2014 as been a so and so year for rock ’n’ roll, a bunch of good albums, but not so many or not so good; these are the ones I liked the most, for sure the most intriguing, in no particular order. See you in 2015 with a whole lotta rocka rolla action coming your way! – Alle Royale
Alle Royale: SoundCloud
Blues Pills – Blues Pills
For sure the hottest and most anticipated record of the year in my camp and, i must say, it does live up to the big expectations. Well, not every moment could be classified as pure gold here, but the young quartet, that reminds me of a cockier and rockier version of Christine McVie’s Chicken Shack, has all the numbers to reach the brightest horizons, especially in the powerful and beautiful voice of Elin Larsson and in the astonishing guitar talents of Dorian Sorriaux the most inspired rock blues guitarist i’ve heard in ages.
Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls
The Brummies came and conquered once again with one of the best albums of their fantastic career. Touching every nuance of their heavy sonic spectrum and musical legacy, from the groovier grooves of records like „Hell Bent For Leather“ and „British Steel“, to the metal fury of heavy monoliths like „Screaming For Vengeance“ and „Painkiller“, what it takes for a milestone record it’s all here in its magniloquent glory. All killers, no filler.
Magnum – Escape From The Shadow Garden
I must admit i’m a sucker for Bob Catley’s voice and Tony Clarklin’s ability to paint sonic landscapes of a dreamlike quality that only a British lad with his vision could achieve. Yes, because Magnum is a quintessential British melodic hard rock band that through all these years has never been out of fashion, simply because they’ve never been fashionable. All the success they had just because they are good at what they do, actually they are the best at what they do: making you dream, escaping everyday greyness,with a sequence of powerful chords and a vocal melody, simple as that.
H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls
In these depressive years with no hope for the future of rock n’roll,Swedish act H.E.A.T. is the answer to all our fears: they write great songs with even greater hooks, they have impressive instrumental skills but, surprise(!!!), they are actually young and pretty good looking guys too! H.E.A.T. is simply the rock band for the future, the only one i could imagine and consider as a serious contender for a place in the bedroom of a teenager as well as in the stereo of music lovers everywhere. They even made the smart decision of moving form the more AOR and technical compositions of their previous albums (if you still don’t have „Address The Nation“, go and buy a copy, cause it’s simply the best AOR album of the new millenium),to a ballsier and simpler format of hard rock anthems, for the best live performances possible.
AC/DC – Rock Or Bust
I only have three good and important things to say about this great rock n’ roll record: Brian Johnson sings his lungs off better than in a million years, Angus Young plays with a revengeful sense of intensity that almost matches the one on „Highway To Hell“, it’s 35 minutes long.
Goat – Commune
Another Swedish act, another impossibly good live band, another gem. Imagine a sulphurous mix of Hawkwind with good tunes, Sun Ra with accessible melodies and Black Sabbath gone Disneyland. All this and more is Goat, a commune of musicians that created a record that manages to sound dark and uplifting at the same time, for sure the most inspired and interesting record of this 2014. As the ancients used to say, a must listen.
Opeth – Pale Communion
After the good results of „Heritage“, Opeth continue with the pure progressive rock style they embraced and surpass the previous album with a even better and more consistent work; it takes time to appreciate all the moods they create and the twists through the lights and shades of the compositions, but this is exactly what our brains and souls need, in times when the attention span is below zero.
California Breed – California Breed
How Glenn Hughes still manages to sing so good, hitting those impossibly high notes, for me, it’s beyond any human comprehension. „California Breed“, the record, is nothing more than a bunch of good rock tunes, but what really makes them special is how they are performed; and in this very moment no one sings rock better than Glenn Hughes, and take note of hot shot guitarist Andrew Watt, because he’s clearly a talent that will shine even brighter in the near future.
Grand Magus – Triumph And Power
Imagine two big, heavy, hairy balls. This pretty much sums up my vision of GM’s music, in the best possible way; „Triumph And Power“ is everything the title say, a triumph of uncorrupted heavy metal the way Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie Dio created with „Rainbow Rising“, just the perfect soundtrack as i write these lines and outside is snowing with sixteen degrees below zero.
BULLET – Storm Of Blades
The most entertaining live band out there. Once you have witnessed Bullet live there’s no chance you aren’t going to love them and every record they make; sure, it’s nothing that Priest, Accept or AC/DC haven’t done before, but it’s a question of charisma, and Bullet are charismatic as hell.
Buon Anno Nuovo!