A very Happy New Year to all. As usual it’s time to post my annual Top 10 of the year list for music. It was VERY hard to limit it to 10! So many great new albums this year. Sadly many went virtually unnoticed and were gone and off the radar in a week. It’s a really awful trend that seems to get worse every year. Lack of true support for new rock music, especially new music from classic bands. I pride myself on always supporting new music on both of my radio shows and feel it is very important. This coming weekend for New Years my annual FM Best of 2015 radio special airs on all affiliate stations (as usual this is free to stream as well). All of my Top 10 will be heard and much more. So please have a listen. Maybe there is something you missed and can go rediscover. If you want the bands you love to still make new music you must seek it out and support it and buy it! If you don’t it will all come to an end and we are in serious risk in my view of that happening. That being said a ton of great new stuff was released and here are a few of my favorites of 2015. Please feel free to post a comment with yours!

1: Black Star Riders- The Killer Instinct
TRAGIC this album was essentially ignored by rock radio in the US! The second album from the band born from what was Thin Lizzy. But in reality this band now has only one member who was in classic Lizzy (Scott Gorham) and has very much evolved into it’s own original entity with the best qualities of Lizzy. 10 tracks, meat and potatoes hard rock, great songs and playing. Not a bad track on the album. They’ve spent much of their time working Europe. I hope America wakes up and they can do more here soon. Favorites tracks: “The Killer Instinct”, “Charlie I Gotta Go”, “Bullet Blues”, “Finest Hour”, but really top to bottom great, which is why it earns top honors.

2: The Winery Dogs- Hot Streak
The band took some turns on album two, and honestly some of it took a little time to grow on me. The first 4 tracks slam you just like album 1, then the fun begins with various twists and turns. But once it fully sinks in it’s easy to appreciate the growth and evolution they are exhibiting. Many thought these guys would never truly be a “band” and make a second album. Not the case, and they made a hell of a statement with Hot Streak. The talent and playing ability is obvious, but it’s SONGS that make this band special, and Kotzen remains in my view one of the singles greatest all around talents in rock. Favorite tracks: “Oblivion”, “How Long”, “Captain Love”, “Think It Over”, “Empire”, “Hot Streak”, “The Devil You Know”.

3: Europe- War Of Kings
In a year where Europe was on every TV in the US non stop with an insurance commercial, they also released new music that was maybe the best album they ever made, and sadly also went ignored here for the most part. I always liked the band but this was a huge growth to me for them. Great performances and songs! Europe grew up with UFO, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, and those influences are fully on display. If anything it is more inline with classic Purple than anything. Just a rich, well written, classic sounding album. Great vocals from Joey Tempest and of course John Norum on guitar is killer as always. Love where this band has gone 30 plus years after they formed, and they were great live. Favorite tracks: “Second Day”, “War Of Kings”, “Praise You”, “Nothin To Ya”, “Angels With Broken Hearts”.

4: Farmikos- Farmikos
Former Ozzy guitarist Joe Holmes finally returns and has a killer new band. Loaded with massive riffs and amazing solos and playing. I’ve always felt Joe was very overlooked in Ozzy history and couldn’t be happier that he is playing like a monster again. Singer Robbie Locke has a howl like Chris Cornell. Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo helps out on bass and now A7X drummer Brooks Wackerman crushes on drums on most tracks. Joe needs to find a permanent bass player and drummer and get this band out live. The music begs to be heard like that. He’s already working on a second album. Love the guys playing and this was an awesome first step with a diverse mix of hard rock and tremendous guitar playing and tone. Favorite tracks: “Scapegoat”, “Sound Of My Gun”, “Am I One”, “Exit Stencils”,

5: Marilyn Manson- The Pale Emperor
Lifelong Manson fan and he continues a creative comeback with another strong album. I love Manson less industrial and more Bowie, and that’s where this album sits. But it still has the signature heaviness at times as well and the always amazing production that is a trademark of his albums. On this album Manson worked with writer, producer, guitarist Tyler Bates for the first time, and the results illustrated a perfect pairing. Favorite Tracks: “Deep Six”, “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge”, “Warship My Wreck”, “Killing Strangers”

6: Michael Monroe- Blackout States
Make it 3 in a row for Monroe as far as great in your face raw rock albums that just kick ass! It’s easy to just call Michael a glam pioneer, and he is, but there is so much more going on. Not many glam artists are loved by Lemmy and GnR equally like Michael is and Hanoi was. Attitude, aggression, catchy songs, and in your face playing make this another great solo release. Nod to Michael’s killer band, which includes playing and writing contributions from Steve Conte, Sami Yaffa and Rich Jones, who write some great hooks! Can’t wait to see them live on Monsters Cruise. “This Ain’t No Love Song”, “Old Kings Road”, “Blackout States”, “Good Old Bad Days”, “Goin Down With The Ship”.

7: WASP- Golgotha
Blackie has made one of his finest albums. Loaded with great songs and super tasty guitar playing. The band has been largely off the radar in the US focusing more on Europe where they get more traction, but I hope that changes soon. Trust me, take the time to seek this album out. Chock full of epic hard rock/metal, well written songs, great performances! Favorite tracks: “Miss You”, “Last Runaway”, “Scream”, “Golgotha”.

8: Iron Maiden- The Book Of Souls
Epic would be an understatement! There’s a side of me that kind of wishes Maiden would give us a 45 minute 10 songs fast heavy metal album. But this is 2015 and they have evolved really into a progressive metal band in recent years. If you take the time to absorb this massive undertaking it’s truly amazing what they have accomplished at this stage in their career. And Bruce’s performance considering what he was dealing with is just incredible!
Favorite Tracks: “Speed Of Light”, “If Eternity Should Fail”, “The Red & The Black”, Tears Of A Clown”.

9: Tremonti- Cauterize
Album number 2 from this project is another beast! Mark’s playing is top notch and his voice gets better and better. Wolfgang VH on bass and an incredible performance from drummer Garret Whitlock. Elements of rock, metal and thrash and massive riffs and grooves throughout. During downtime from AB this is an awesome band to have new music from!
Favorite Tracks: “Another Heart”, “Radical Change”, “Flying Monkeys”, “Cauterize”, “”Fall Again”.

10: Motor Sister- Ride
Like most people I was exposed to the songs of Jim Wilson through this passion project by Scott Ian and Pearl. If you grew up loving classic 70’s feeling hard rock than Ride had that in spades. I’m curious if this band continues what all new songs would sound like. But kudos to Scott and the band for shining a light on this overlooked artist and his songs. Favorite Tracks: “This Song Reminds Me Of You”, “Fool Around”, “A Hole”, “Beg Borrow Steal”.

I know, I know, what about __________! Like I said there were a TON of great albums and way more that I liked and played. But this is what I came up with for 2015 and only picked 10. So post your lists in comments and thanks for reading, listening, following, watching, etc! It is appreciated. Happy, healthy, safe 2016!

41 Responses

  1. 10) Hollywood Vampires. A great straight forward rock album that breaths new life into some classics.

    9) Saxon – Battering Ram. Although not as good as their last album Sacrifice, Saxon continues a string of great old school metal albums.

    8) Helloween- My God Given Right. The kings of Power Metal released a strong collection of catchy progressive songs as they are known for.

    7) Huntress- Static. Great old school Metal that delves into singer Jill Janus’ recent mental issues, resulting in a dark and personal album.

    6) Motorhead – Bad Magic. Lemmy’s swan song is an excellent in you face album. A fitting end to a legendary career. RIP Lemmy.

    5) Ugly Kid Joe- Uglier Than they Used To Be. An straight ahead rock album that is excellent start to finish. Unfortunately it seems to have off the radar for many.

    4) Armored Saint- Win Hands Down. A great old school metal album the way its meant to sound. John Bush and Company are in top form. They need to tour more.

    3) Metal Allegiance. With talent like Alex Skolnick, Mike Portnoy, and Dave Effelson together with a host of guests, it is impossible not to make an excellent album. Each song brings a different style to the table which makes for a virtual cornucopia of awesomeness.

    2) Ghost- Meliora. This is a band I resisted for a long time because I didn’t know quite what to make of them. Now I’m hooked. A perfect blend of melody, old school metal, and demonic goodness. Ghost is the next big thing

    1) Iron Maiden – Book of Souls. A polarizing album with a lot of fans, but I think this is Maiden’s best album in 15 years (if not longer). “Empire of the Clouds” is the most epic song Maiden has ever written, plus it is full of classic Maiden tracks that I am looking forward to seeing live.

    That is my 2015 list for anyone who cares. I do want to note that my top 3 albums are pretty much interchangeable, and it was hard to narrow it down.

    Honorable Mentions: Queensryche- Condition Human, Slayer- Repentless, Motor Sister- Ride, Buckcherry- Rock N Roll, Act of Defiance- Birth and Burial.

  2. Just had to throw in my top 10:

    1. The Book of Souls – Iron Maiden
    2. Immortalized – Disturbed
    3. Got Your Six – Five Finger Death Punch
    4. Repentless – Slayer
    5. Hail to the King – Avenged Sevenfold
    6. Nevermore – Symphony X
    7. Bad Magic – Motorhead
    8. Silence in the Snow – Trivium
    9. Win Hands Down – Armored Saint
    10. Into the Wild Life – Halestorm

    3-10 are in no particular order, but those are my favorites from this year.

  3. Some very nice picks there Eddie! I like how you favoured a lot of bands that are not on the usual suspects-list, at least not in the States! My top 5 for 2015 is:
    1. Eclipse: Armageddonize
    2. Revolution Saints: Revolution Saints
    3. Days of Jupiter: Only ashes remain
    4. House of Lords: Indestructible
    5. Ghost: Meliora

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