What about the songs then?


I started out early this year with the songs-list, by compiling "Best of 2003"-cd's which ended up dominating the car CD player. By the end of the year I had three volumes done, and 20-30 songs ready for the volume 4...out of those I compiled my charts, and they came out relatively easy. As usual, I put together a short list of mainstream radio song favourites.

Endre "Bandi" Hübner:

This year I introduced new categories to my lists namely lyrics and refrains. The first to draw your attention to those who put some noteworthy effort into delivering something new with their music (Paul Gilbert dominating this one with his hilarious sense of humor showcased with almost each and every song on “Gilbert Hotel”); the latter to pay tribute to songs that could have easily gotten into the top 10 of the song-list but somehow they didn’t. When it comes to rock-songwriting, rule number 1 is “the refrain should explode”. Well, these refrains come out with a bang for sure, it’s just the rest of the song that kept them from making it to the top songs list.

Jorge Antonoya:

Now that 2003 is well over, I look back and see an overall interesting year, yet not so great as one may thought taking into account the great number of releases. I see a problem in that, the overflood of releases, specially in such a reduced market as the melodic rock one. The eternal debate between quality versus amount... Well, this past year we have had both, but less of the former in the AOR/MHR realms (with exceptions like Pride Of Lions, Vertigo, etc). That's why this year I've listened mainly to more metal oriented bands, a genre I had lost my faith in untill very recently. And within all those subgenres and divisions, there are some aspects I'd like to point some thoughts:

a) There's life beyond Dream Theater for a prog metal band (thanks god!)

b) Gothic Metal has become one of the engines or pillars of metal in today's scene, even though most of the leading bands in this style don't want to be labelled as Gothic, or simply don't play it any more. (Does it make any sense to you?)

c) There are some smart producers in the US paying a lot of attention to what's happening in the European scene, and blending it with US ingredients all in the name of commercial success (namely Evanescence)... Question would be, why it doesn't work for European bands as well?

d) The old commonplace "everything has been invented on music, there's no room for innovation" proves to be false once again, it's all down to how hard do you want to scratch your brain cells. Just two fine examples on my album list: Anathema and The Gathering.

The Spanish scene... always a tricky issue to deal with... As everywhere else, you can feel tempted to say is very healthy because of the growing number of releases each year. But out of all those albums released, how many sell a decent number of copies? No more than 10 each year... And not precisely the ones to add something worthy musically (always an opinion). But one thing is for sure, the level of the musicians playing has increased considerably over the years. This is specially evident when you go back to any Spanish album of the 80's (with some honorable exceptions like Baron Rojo) and listen to it. Most of the times you can't help getting red in shame. Noteworthy releases this year were Nexx, critically acclaimed and at the same level as any international act of the kind nowadays (big names not included), and Jorge Salán, one of the best new guitarists out there, pity that his debut album was only released domestically.

As for live events, well, in this matter no doubt the year has been incredibly good, so many artists came to Spain, even old legends who never came on their heydays (Y&T, Twisted Sister, etc). Good line ups in festivals too, with Metalmania and Lorca Rock standing out. On the mellower side, we had our fair share, Danger Danger, Dokken, JSS, Bonfire, Talisman... Seems to me artists out there are starting noticing us... this or it's just that they don't have anywhere else to go whilst the British scene enjoys its chronical "condition critical". I bet on the second, sadly.

Although overall I'm not very optimistic for 2004, there are already some really good releases out there, and lots of fans have their hopes put on any given forthcoming release, be it Judas Priest, Europe or, like me, TNT, just to name a few. Finally and as a wish note, will I be able to see again Ozzy live before the End of the Days? God only knows (god being my childhood/teenage metal hero now an MTV superstar much to our shame, children of the 80's.) :-(

ROCKUNITED.COM Top 15 Songs of 2003:

1. Jamie Meyer: Good Girl (Sony/Columbia)
A hit in Jamie's home country Sweden, and for once, deservingly. A suberb piece of finely-crafted pop rock with energy, melody and a hook to die for.


2. Masterplan: Enlighten Me (AFM)
3. At Vance: Broken Vow (AFM)
4. Ignition: Down On My Luck (MTM/Atenzia)
5. Harem Scarem: Waited (Frontiers)
6. Pride Of Lions: It's Criminal(Frontiers)
7. Coastland Ride: Let Me Let You Go (AOR Heaven)
8. Crystal Blue: Never Say Surrender (MTM)
9. On The Rise: Beat Of A Heart (Frontiers)
10. The Darkness: Growing On Me (Atlantic)
11. Stratovarius: Eagleheart (Nuclear Blast)
12. Talisman: Sorry (Frontiers)
13. Johnny Lima: Welcome To Paradise (Frontiers)
14. Vertigo: China Sky (Frontiers)
15. Evanescence: Bring Me To Life (Wind-Up)

ROCKUNITED.COM Top 10 Ballads of 2003:

1. Pride Of Lions: Uninterrupted Melody (Frontiers)
From the Album Of The Year comes the Ballad Of The Year. Great vocals from the newcomer Toby Hitchcock and a big, majestic chorus.


2. Evanescence: Hello (Wind-Up)
3. Jim Jidhed: I'll Be Ready Then (Atenzia)
4. Vertigo: More Than Enough (Frontiers)
5. Harem Scarem: Higher (Frontiers)
6. Crystal Blue: Sylvia (MTM)
7. Styx: Yes I Can (Sanctuary)
8: On The Rise: Memories Forever (Frontiers)
9. Jamie Mayer: Last Goodbye, First Hello (Sony/Columbia)
10. Bob Catley: Meaning Of Love (Now & Then/Frontiers)
The personal song charts of the team!


1. Ignition - First To Cry
What can I say? AOR perfection.
2. Jamie Mayer - Good Girl
Upbeat, catchy, irrestistable...a hit!
3. Masterplan - Through Thick And Thin
Why on earth was this left off the Masterplan album? Their most melodic, yet still powerful song!

4. Kilpi - Nerokasta Ikävää
5. Harem Scarem - Waited
6. Scott Sudbury - Give A Damn
7. Perfect World - You'll Be Gone
8. On The Rise - Beat Of Your Heart
9. Brian McDonald Project - Out Of Time
10. Johnny Lima - Welcome To My Paradise
11. Coastland Ride - Let Me Let You Go
12. Jim Jidhed - Now We Cry
13. Mark Spiro - Saving Grace
14. Ring Of Fire - My Deja-Vu
15. Negative - The Moment Of Our Love
16. Meat Loaf - Couldn't Have Said It Better
17. Nexx - Remember
18. Gotthard - where i belong
19. Vertigo - Straight To Your Heart
20. Pride Of Lions - It's Criminal
21. Attraction 65 - In Another Life
22. Crystal Blue - Never Say Surrender
23. HIM - The Funeral Of Hearts
24. Stratovarius - Eagle Heart
25. Talisman - Sorry


1. Bob Catley - Meaning Of Love
2. Jim Jidhed - I Can't Go On
3. Jamie Mayer - Last Goodbye, First Hello
4. Styx - Yes I Can
5. Pride Of Lions - Interrupted Melody
6. Vertigo - More Than Enough
7. Urban Tale - Still Strong
8. Johnny Lima - Something About You
9. Damn Cheetah - Without Your Love
10. The Rasmus - Funeral Song


1. Delta Goodrem - Lost Without You
2. Nerdee - Broken Glass
3. No Doubt - It's My Life
4. Anssi Kela - 1972
5. Sami Tapio - Ukkosta Ja Ullakolla


1. Jamie Meyer - Good Girl
2. Crystal Blue - Believe me
3. Evanescence - Bring Me To Life
4. Charon - In Brief War
5. Pride Of Lions - It's Criminal
6. Backyard Babies - Minus Celcius
7. Johnny Lima - Welcome To Paradise
8. Mikael Erlandsson - I Love You
9. The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love
10.Demon Drive - Remember Where You Heard It First
11.On The Rise - Beat Of The Heart
12.Dragonforce - Black Winter Night
13.Jani Lane - Funny
14.HTP - Lost Dream
15.Vertigo - Straight To The Heart
16.Newman - Last Known Survivors
17.Kick The Kangaroo - Something Else
18.Lynch/Pilson - The Evil That You Are
19.Drive,She Said - What's It Gonna Take
20.Harem Scarem - Waited
21.Thunder - Loser
22.Saga - Marathon
23.Ignition - Down On My Luck
24.Faro - Surrender
25.Brian McDonald Project - Out Of Time


1. XYZ - All I'm Asking
2. Pride Of Lions - Interrupted Melody
3. Styx - Yes I Can
4. Newman - Watching You
5. Evanescence - Hello
6. Crystal Blue - Sylvia
7. Vertigo - More Than Enough
8. Jamie Mayer - Last Goodbye, First Hello
9. Jim Jidhed - I'll Be Ready Then
10.Wild Horses - Rebel Road
11.Mikael Erlandsson - Soul Is My Name
12.MilesAbove - St.Marks Square
13.Ignition - Should Have Done You Right
14.Dragonfire - Starfire
15.Harem Scarem - Higher
16.Taraxacum - If I Had Known
17.Johnny Lima - Something About You
18.Sun Caged - Unchanging
19.Thunder - If I Can't Feel Love
20.On The Rise - Memories Forever
21.Bob Catley - Meaning Of Love
22.Dreamtide - You Can't Burn My Heart Down
23.Lynyrd Skynyrd - Read White & Blue
24.Saga - Blind Side Of Your Heart
25.Jesse Damon - Love Isn't Love



1. Coastland Ride: Let Me Let You Go
2. Ignition: Down On My Luck
3. Vertigo: China Sky
4. Jamie Meyer: One Way Street
5. Mikael Erlandsson: Stop Following Me
6. Talisman: Sorry
7. Jim Jidhed: Full Circle
8. Paul Gilbert: Universal
9. Jorge Salán: One Way
10. Gotthard: What I Like
11. Demon Drive: Misdemenour
12. Wild Horses: Can't Get By
13. Firehouse: Door To Door
14. Crystal Blue: Believe Me
15. Nexx: Arches Of Faith
16. Pride Of Lions: Sound Of Home


1. Jeff Scott Soto: Good Love
2. Gotthard: Have A Little Faith
3. Ignition: Should Have Done You Right
4. Jim Jidhed: I'll Be Ready Then
5. Gotthard: First Time In A Long Time
6. Mikael Erlandsson: Soul Is My Name
7. Pride Of Lions: Prideland
8. Wild Horses: Rebel Road
9. On The Rise: Memories Forever
10. Crystal Blue: Sylvia
11. Coastland Ride: Sleepless
12. Nexx: 40 Day & 40 Nights
13. On The Rise: Keep Our Love Alive
14. Jesse Damon: Love Isn't Love
15. Drive She Said: How Can I Be Sure


1. Jorge Salán: Running Free
2. Paul Gilbert: W.T.R.O.
3. Vernon Neilly: Moonlight In Paradise
4. Morris O'Connor: B-Town
5. Patrick DeCoste: Greasy Fingers


1. Paul Gilbert: Lay Off The Morphine
2. Coastland Ride: On The Path Of Greed
3. Mikael Erlandsson: Stop (Following Me)
4. Paul Gilbert: Universal
5. Pride Of Lions: First Time Around The Sun
6. Paul Gilbert: Older Guy
7. Coastland Ride: Second Hand America
8. Pride Of Lions: Music And Me
9. Gotthard: What I Like
10. Jorge Salán: One Way


1. Crystal Blue: Back On Track
2. Stoneflower: Rock My Nation
3. Jesse Damon: Do You Feel Lucky Tonight
4. On The Rise: Pride
5. Ignition: Fire With Fire
6. Demon Drive: Waterfall
7. Drive She Said: Stronger



1. Heavy Metal Kids - Viva New York
2. The Darkness - Growing on Me
3. Michael Monroe - Shattered Smile
4. Negative - The Moment of Our Love
5. Hardcore Superstar - Still I'm Glad


1. Sonata Arctica: The Ruins Of My Life (Spinefarm)
2. Tarot: Pyre Of Gods (Spinefarm)
3. Kamelot: Center Of The Universe (Noise)
4. Lost Horizon: Again Will The Fire Burn (Music For Nations)
5. Masterplan: Enlighten Me (AFM)
6. Circle II Circle: Watching In Silence (AFM)
7. Evergrey: As I Lie Here Bleeding (InsideOut Music)
8. Katatonia: Ghost Of The Sun (Peaceville)
9. Within Temptation: Ice Queen (DSFA)
10. Dionysus: Time Will Tell (AFM)
11. Dreamtale: Angel Eyes (Spinefarm)
12. At Vance: Broken Vow (AFM)
13. For My Pain: My Wound Is Deeper Than Yours (Spinefarm)
14. Dragonforce: Valley Of The Damned (Noise)
15. Last Tribe: Sound Of Rain (Frontiers)
16. Lullacry: Pitch Black Emotions (Spinefarm)
17. Dreamtide: Eden (Frontiers)
18. TOC: Wait (Spinefarm)
19. Stratovarius: Eagleheart (Nuclear Blast)
20. Stratovarius: I'm Still Alive (Nuclear Blast)

Near Top 20 ranks:
Barilari: Raindrops Of Fire (Drakkar)
Dream Theater: As I Am (Elektra)
Sethian: Heavens May Fall (Spinefarm)
Machine Men: Man In Chains (Dynamic Arts)
Urban Tale: Starship Of Giants (Frontiers)
Edenbridge: Perennial Dreams (Massacre)
Poisonblack: Love Infernal (Century Media)
Random Eyes: Hero (Ugalabugala)


1. Kamelot: Wander (Noise)
2. Sonata Arctica: The Misery (Spinefarm)
3. Masterplan: When Love Comes Close (AFM)
4. Within Temptation: Our Farewell (DSFA)
5. Blackmore's Night: Where Are We Going From Here (SPV)
6. HIM: Sweet Pandemonium (BMG)
7. Stratovarius: Season Of Faith's Perfection (Nuclear Blast)
8. Evergrey: I'm Sorry (InsideOut Music)
9. Stratovarius: Papillon (Nuclear Blast)
10. Dragonforce: Starfire (Noise)
11. Dreamtale: If You Will Go (Spinefarm)
12. Urban Tale: Mary (Frontiers)
13. TOC: Mary Lou Is Dead (Spinefarm)
14. Labyrinth: When I Will Fly Far (Century Media)
15. Katatonia: Omerta (Peaceville)
16. Random Eyes: Tomorrow Will Come (Ugalabugala)
17. At Vance: Shining Star (AFM)
18. Secret Sphere: More Than Simple Emotions (Nuclear Blast)
19. Edenbridge: As Far As Eyes Can See (Massacre)


1. Within Temptation: Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush)
2. TOC: Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple)
3. Sonata Arctica: Fade To Black (Metallica)
4. Barilari: Stargazer (Rainbow)

They've all captured a lot of the original atmosphere in these versions and TOC speeded up the good old "Smoke" to a new level. Barilari decided not to sing Rainbow's classic in english, so the new title for "Stargazer" is now "Astronomo". Ok, whatever..but it's still good.


1. To/Die/For: (I Just Died) In Your Arms (Cutting Crew)
2. Vertigo: Love Is Blind (Uriah Heep)

These two bands decided to rape the old versions, both of them are a real drag, like you just got thrown from the sixth floor and got a brain damage. But if you like it reaaaaal slow, maybe they're for you.



1. Evanescence - Going Under
2. Ignition - Down On My Luck
3. Give Me A Sign - TNT
4. Harem Scarem - Waited
5. 40ft. Ringo - Anyway
6. Brokenheart - Destrozando Un Corazón
7. Pride Of Lions - It's Criminal
8. Avalanch - Lucero
9. Nexx - If You Could Read My Mind
10. Epica - Sensorium
11. Radioactive - Lies Feed On Lies
12. Cuatro Gatos - Un Extraño En Mi Cabeza
13. HIM - Buried Alive By Love
14. Masterplan - Enlighten Me
15. Evanescence - Bring Me To Life
16. The Rasmus - In The Shadows
17. On The Rise - Beat Of Your Heart
18. Dream Theater - As I Am
19. Thunder - Loser
20. Vertigo - Straight To Your Heart
21. Crystal Blue - Never Say Surrender
22. Coastland Ride - Let Me Let You Go
23. Johnny Lima - Welcome To My Paradise


1. Jim Jidhed - I'll Be Ready Then
2. Evanescence - Hello
3. The Gathering - Learn About It
4. Vertigo - More Than Enough
5. Nexx - One More Day
6. On The Rise - Memories Forever
7. Harem Scarem - Higher
8. Pride Of Lions - Interrupted Melody
9. Thunder - If I Can't Feel Love
10. Crystal Blue - Sylvia

Best Instrumental Album:
Jorge Salán - The Utopian Sea Of Clouds

Best Live Performances
1. TNT
2. Jeff Scott Soto
3. The Gathering
4. Apocalyptica
5. Within Temptation
6. Symphony X
7. Slayer
8. Scorpions
9. Talisman
10. Nexx

Biggest Dissapointment Live:

Best EP:
TNT - Give Me A Sign

Best Newcomer:

Best Lyrics:
Evanescence - Hello


1. Dream Theater - As I Am
2. Masterplan - Enlighten Me
3. At Vance - Broken Vow
4. Ring Of Fire - My Deja-Vu
5. Stratovarius - Eagle Heart


1. Pride Of Lions - Interrupted Melody
2. Harem Scarem - Higher
3. Dream Theater - Vacant
4. Sun Caged - Unchanging
5. Evanescence - Hello