Kimmo: I started my last year's rambling saying that "2004 was a rather average year". It didn't get that much better in 2005 when it comes to the quality of albums released, but overall, the attitude towards hard rock and metal seems to have changed. Finland's always been a rather pro-metal nation, but in 2005 I think the positivity toward HR and metal has reached an all-time high. According to IFPI Finland (The Finnish National Group of IFPI, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), about 30% of the top20 domestic sellers could be classified as metal or hard rock. Not too bad!
What about 2005? Well, not that many "9" ratings during the year, (not a single 10 as usual), but a whole truckload of "8"s. Something which only made it more difficult to come up with a best of list (due to the multiple choices and several hardrock and rock genres).
My hat off to Magnus Karlsson and his two excellent melodic metal albums. I never been a big fan of Last Tribe though and his songwriting skill kind of surprised me with the CD's of Starbreaker (featuring Tony Harnell of TNT fame) and Allen/Lande (featuring Jorn Lande of Masterplan and Russell Allen of Symphony X). I've been listening to his latest work (the Tony O'Hora CD - 2006) and it's already kind of predictable tho'(karlsson's klister?).
I must say that I'm mostly disappointed with the AOR releases of 2005. Sure, you had the fine rock of Blanc Faces, Bruce Turgon, Shy, but it's obvious that it's more about quantity than quality in 2005. Ehem, The Stratovarious and Hammerfall releases didn't add much of quality either for that matter. I'm sure Sanctuary must be shaking their heads in disbelief. First they pass out millions of $$$$$ to Stratovarius, then you get a completely new line-up, nervous breakdowns, knife attack, and a really dodgey "comeback" album. No wonder they're going broke nowadays... we're talking about the biggest failure in hardrock of the century. The A&R person [I'm not going to name him, but he used to work with Journey ;-)] did a great work, I'm sure.
Nocturnal Rites produced their best album release ever, Coheed And Cambria shocked the world with their morbid sci-fi story, Dream Theater killed'em all, and the Judas Priest comeback wasn't "too shabby" after all (they ended up on #18 on my personal list). But to be honest... we all expected something bigger and better by the Metal Gods. The biggest surprise? well, maybe Crashdiet as they managed to top the charts in Sweden with their 80's sleaze and outfit. Kreator were the Enemy's Of God (#14 on my personal list), and even Deep Purple did good (#17).
The MOB is a supergroup consisting of Doug Pinnick (King's X), Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Tim Drury (The Eagles, Whitesnake), and Kip Winger (Winger, Alice Cooper). I have no idea why people didn't like it as much as I did??? Me thinks (Popeye) it's a great CD that ended up at #10.
THE ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2005:
1. Allen - Lande: The Battle (Frontiers)
RockUnited.Com review: "Russel Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Masterplan, Millenium, The Snakes, Yngwie Malmsteen, solo, etc), head to head - with the aid of some of the most excellent Melodic Metal songs of the year. Indeed, this CD also belongs to that special category that holds no real filler whatsoever."
TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2004, POSITIONS 2-25:
2. Crashdïet - Rest In Sleaze (Universal)
3. Gotthard - Lipservice (Nuclear Blast)
4. Dream Theater - Octavarium (Atlantic)
5. Starbreaker - s/t (Frontiers)
6. Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion
7. Masterplan - Aeronautics (AFM)
8. Shadow Gallery - Room V
9. Sha-Boom - The Race Is On (DF Records)
10. Blanc Faces - s/t (Frontiers)
11. Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In (Frontiers)
12. James LaBrie - Elements of persuasion
13. Zeno - Zenology 2
14. Sentenced - The Funeral Album
15. Riverside - Second life syndrome
16. Jay Miles - 9 Hours (MTM Music)
17. Highland Glory - Forever Endeavour
18. Thunderstone - Tools Of Destruction
19. Porcupine Tree - Deadwing
20. Stratovarius - s/t
21. Pallas - The dreams of men
22. Kamelot - The Black Halo (Sanctuary)
23. Journey - Generations (Frontiers)
24. Hanoi Rocks - Another Hostile Takeover
25, Coheed And Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV (Sony/Columbia)
version 1.01 01-18-06
personal album charts of the team!
1. Gotthard: Lipservice (Nuclear Blast)
Although there are a couple of tracks on this album that I usually skip, the immense quality of the remaining dozen or so tracks is enough to make this the album of the year. The superb production does help, too.
2. Allen - Lande: The Battle (Frontiers)
Two great vocalists, one great songwriter/guitarist and some great songs. Spectacular.
3. Nocturnal Rites: Grand Illusion (Century Media)
This band came out of nowhere into my knowledge and made a huge impression this year. Awesome album!
4. Philip Bardowell: In The Cut (Frontiers)
The pure AOR album of the year!
5. Khymera: A New Promise (Frontiers)
A surprise of the year: Pink Cream 69 bassist and great producer Dennis Ward turns out to be one hell of a vocalist as well!
6. Blanc Faces: s/t (Frontiers)
The best new AOR band of 2005.
7. Crashdïet: Rest In Sleaze (Universal)
Sleaze ain't dead! Hair-raising glam rockers! On a major label!
8. Zeno: Zenology 2 (MTM Music)
It's something special when a band can beat most of the competition with "left-overs" from the 80'ies!
9. Turgon, Bruce Outside Looking In (Frontiers)
The spirit of Shadow King lives on. Turgon is the master of dark melodies.
10. Masterplan: Aeronautics (AFM) (Frontiers)
Jorn Lande - the vocalist of the year with two albums in Top Ten!
11. Starbreaker: s/t(Frontiers)
12. Sha-Boom: The Race Is On
13. Robin Beck: Do You Miss Me(Frontiers)
14. Jaded Heart: Helluva Time(Frontiers)
15. Joe Lynn Turner: The Usual Suspects(Frontiers)
16. Hartmann: Out In The Cold(Frontiers)
17. Freedom Call: Circle Of Life
18. Place Vendome: Place Vendome (Frontiers)
19. The Rasmus: Hide From The Sun (Playground)
20. The Mob: s/t (Frontiers)
The songs of 2005:
1. Gotthard - Anytime Anywhere
2. Allen Lande - Where Have The Angels Gone
3. Wig Wam - In My Dreams
4. Crashdïet - It's A Miracle
5. Blanc Faces - Stranger To Love
6. Jaded Heart - Dreams You'll Never See
7. Zeno - Hard Beat
8. Philip Bardowell - Never Too Late For Love
9. Place Vendome - I Will Be Waiting
10. Freedom Call - Starlight
1. Stratovarius - s/t
2. Journey - Generations
3. Harem Scarem - Overload
1. Dream Theater - Octavarium (Atlantic)
I don't care what others say, me thinks (Popeye) it's "Prog-Metal at its best in 2005. So what if they included a "U2" song and the title track ticks in at 20+ minutes.
2. Allen/Lande - The Battle (Frontiers)
The best work ever of Last Tribe guitarist, Magnus Karlsson. Two lead vocalists, Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and Russell Allen (Symphony X), bombastic metal, melodic melodies. Clash of titans, clash of titans!!!
3. Coheed And Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV (Sony/Columbia)
It's weird, twisted, morbid, progressive, and darn interesting at the same time. This sci-fi story is waaay out there along with the real nutters of rock.
4. Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion (Century Media)
Simply put the best melodic "power metal" album of the year. Better than Helloween and miles ahead of this years' Strato, Masterplan, Hammerfall.
5. Waltham - Waltham (Rykodisc)
Sure, they recorded a indie CD years ago, however, this is their first "label" release featuring new songs as well. The best mix out there of Nu-Breed and old Rick Springfield & The Outfield albums.
6. Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor (Century Media)
Dark, progressive, complex, metal, with Warrel Dane in the spotlight (ex-Sanctuary). Mosh! Mosh!
7. Crashdiet - Rest In Sleaze (Universal)
Hairspray and spandex on young Swedes doing Mötley Crüe and Skid Row inspired rock in 2005.
8. RPWL - World Through My Eyes (InsideOut)
Major Pink Floyd influences and otherwise wicked krautrock makes this one fine prog-rock album.
9. Starbreaker - Starbreaker (Frontiers)
TNT's Tony Harnell and that darn Swede again (see #2). Karlsson's Melodic Metal ruled in 2005 (Karlsson's Klister?)
10.The MOB - The MOB (Frontiers)
Doug Pinnick (King's X), Rob Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Tim Drury (Eagles, Whitesnake) & Kip Winger (Winger, Alice Cooper) = success.
11.Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy (SPV)
12.Blanc Faces - Blanc Faces (Frontiers)
13.Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In (Frontiers)
14.Kreator - Enemy Of God (SPV)
15.Extol - Blueprint (Century Media)
16.Joe Lynn Turner - The Usual Suspects (Frontiers)
17.Deep Purple - Rapture Of The Deep (Edel)
18.Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution (Sony/Columbia)
19.Zeno - Zenology II (MTM)
20.System Of A Down - Hypnotize (Sony/BMG)
21.The Rasmus - Hide From The Sun (Playground)
22.Bullet For My Valentine - The Poison (Sony/BMG)
23.Shy - Sunset And Vine (MTM)
24.Primal Fear - Seven Seals (Nuclear Blast)
25.Robin Beck - Do You Miss Me (Frontiers)
26.Edge Of Forever - Let The Demon Rock'n'Roll (MTM)
27.Story Of The Year - In The Wake Of Determination (Maverick/Warner)
28.Kino - Picture (InsideOut)
29.Tommy Lee - Tommy Land The Ride (SPV)
30.Stryper - Reborn (MTM)
Stratovarius - S/T
Bad Habit - Hear-Say
Final Frontier - High Tension Wire
Harem Scarem - Overload
Return - S/T
Spock's Beard - Octane
Soul SirkUS - World Play
Hammerfall - Chapter V
Wet Animal - S/T (ex-Trouble)
Pointless live albums:
1. Queen + Paul Rodgers - Return Of The Champions
2. Tramp's White Lion - Rocking The USA
3. Aerosmith - Rockin' The Joint
4. Sepultura - Live In Sâu Paulo
Best or Worst? Lyrics of 2005:
1. System Of A Down - Vicinity Of Obscenity
("Banana banana banana terracotta, banana terracotta terracotta pie, banana banana banana terracotta, banana terracotta terracotta pie").
2. Sha-Boom - Blah, Blah, Blah
("All you say is blah blah bla, I'm telling you na-na now, nothing but blah blah bla, it's time to say goodbye now").
3. Any Power metal act with too much DUNGeons & dragons b.s.
4. Any AOR act with too much "Hold On" & "Under The Gun" b.s.
5. Any AGGRO act with too much AGGRO b.s.
1. Jay Miles - 9 Hours (MTM)
2. Sha-Boom - The Race Is On (DF)
3. Journey - Generations (Frontiers)
4. Novak - Forever Enfavour (MTM)
5. Jeff Urso - Straight Ahead (Rhytmic Wave)
6. Gotthard - Lipservice (Nuclear Blast)
7. Heartland -Move On (Escape)
8. James Byrd - Crimes Of Virtuosity (Lion Music)
9. Allen/Lande - The Battle (Frontiers)
10. Crashdiet - Rest In Sleaze (Universal)
11. Edge Of Forever - Let The Demon Rock n' Roll (MTM)
12. Soul SirkUS - World Play (Frontiers)
13. Stefan Moren - The Last Call (Swedmetal)
14. Joop Wolters - Speed, Traffic, & Guitar Accidents (Lion Music)
1. Highland Glory: Forever Endeavour (Massacre)
2. Thunderstone: Tools Of Destruction (Nuclear Blast)
3. Allen - Lande: The Battle (Frontiers)
4. Shadow Gallery: Room V (Inside Out)
5. Wingdom: Reality (High And Loud)
6. Erol Sora: Demented Honour (Duration)
7. Iron Mask: Hordes Of The Brave (Lion Music)
8. Circus Maximus: The 1st Chapter (Frontiers)
9. Gotthard: Lipservice (Nuclear Blast)
10. Starbreaker: Starbreaker (Frontiers)
11. Dream Theater: Octavarium (Atlantic)
12. TNT: All The Way To The Sun (MTM)
13. Lee Z: Shadowland (Escapi Music)
14. Masterplan: Aeronautics (AFM)
15. Labyrinth: Freeman (Arise)
16. Vanishing Point: Embrace The Silence (Surreal)
17. Kamelot: The Black Halo (SPV)
18. Lana Lane: Lady MacBeth (Frontiers)
19. Lullacry: Vol. 4 (Spinefarm)
20. Headrush: Headrush (Frontiers)
21. Circle II Circle: The Middle Of Nowhere (AFM)
22. James LaBrie: Elements Of Persuasion (SPV)
23. Freedom Call: The Circle Of Life (SPV)
24. Stratovarius: Stratovarius (Sanctuary)
25. Machine Men: Elegies (Century Media)
26. Hollywood: Black Tide Silver Path (True Talent)
27. Soul Doctor: For A Fistful Of Dollars(Frontiers)
28. Lambs: With Every Bullet So Far(Uho Productions)
29. At Vance: Chained (AFM)
30. Richard Andersson's Space Odyssey: The Astral Episode (Regain)
31. Dreamland: Future's Calling (Dockyard 1)
32. Ristinolla: Ei Kauniimpaa (Edel)
33. Tori Amos: The Beekeeper (Epic)
Malice In Wonderland, Prayer, Crystal Eyes, Hammerfall, Soul Sirkus, Sentenced, Feiled, Excalion, Vanity Ink, Miseria, The Chant, Magellan, Evil Masquerade, Pantommind, Zero Hour, Mind Gate, Saidian,
Ben Jackson, Product Of Rage, Spearfish, Zebrafish, Nevermore,
MISSED 2005 AT LEAST:
Crash Diet, Stryper, Black Majesty,
Firewind, Artension, Hartmann, Frameshift, Helloween,
Journey, Nocturnal Rites, Khymera.
1. Sentenced - The Funeral Album
2. Crashdiet - Rest in Sleaze
3. Hanoi Rocks - Another Hostile Takeover
4. L.A Guns: Tales from the Strip
5. Stratovarius: s/t
6. D.A.D. - Scare Yourself
7. Zan Clan - We Are Zan Clan, Who The F**k Are You
8. Cowboy Prostitutes - S/t
9. Gun Shy - After Dark
10. HIM - Dark Light
1. Riverside - Second life syndrome
2. Porcupine Tree - Deadwing
3. Pallas - The dreams of men
4. James LaBrie - Elements of persuasion
5. Shadow Gallery - Room V
6. Dream Theater - Octavarium
7. Communic - Conspiracy in mind
8. Allen/Lande - The battle
9. The Tea Party - Seven circles
10.Masterplan - Aeronautics
11.Kamelot - Epica
12.Epica - Consign to oblivion
13.Frameshift - In absence of empathy
14.Glenn Hughes - Soul mover
15.Annihilator - Schizo de luxe
Dream Theater - Sacrificed Sons
Rush - R30