10. Anathema – Falling deeper
Their 2nd compilation concentrating on their Doom period. A reimagining of the old results in a new refreshed set of songs that are totally captivating
9. Rival Sons – Pressure & Time
Yes, Led Zep have been on the phone and Jimmy Page wants his riffs back, but who cares! Excellent songs, superb vocals, and more importantly ‘if it aint broke, dont fucking fix it’
8. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events
With Portnoy gone, DT still prove theres life in the old dog yet. Complex rhythms and utterly bonkers fret wankery as usual makes the future look very bright indeed for DT
7. Airrace – Back To The Start
Keep it simple? No chance. 27 years between albums, a reformation and a split within a matter of months, but the result is one of the best AOR albums of 2011.
6. Journey – Eclipse
Yes Pineda is no Steve Perry, but this guy can hit all the right notes and proves that he is the right man for the job. The albums not bad either!
5. Chickenfoot – III
Chickenfoot prove that they are now a fully fledged band and the result is one kick-ass album. They truly show the younger generation how it should be done. Hagar never sounded better than this.
4. Lionville – Lionville
Surprise of the year! Totally wicked AOR/Westcoast album. Georgeous vocals, choruses covered in maple syrup and just brilliant. Should have been the best AOR album of 2011, but for this…..
3. Work Of Art – In Progress
With AOR having a renaissance WoA come out and shoot down all contenders. Wonderful melodies, just like Journey and Toto used to write. 25yrs ago it would have sold by the shitload, but its still a great album, 2011 or any other year
2. Mastodon – The Hunter
Total surprise for me, this one! Saw them supporting Tool a few years ago and did nothing for me. The Hunter….Wow! Think more Prog than metal, with a mix of Rush and Dream Theater thrown in for good measure. Brutal in parts, totally sublime, with Dailor surely using a stunt drummer on certain songs. Plus, anyone who can sing ‘I killed a man, ’cause he killed my goat’ gets my vote any day of the week
1. Opeth – Heritage
Opeth have been working to this point for a number of years and the result is staggering. Im certain fans will be lost along the way, but with Akerfeldt in this form anything is possible in the coming years. 70s style hard rock with more than a bit of Prog thown in
Some others worth considering but just missed out….
Black Country Communion – 2
Shy – ST
Big Life – ST
Pain Of Salvation – Road Salt Two
Issa – The Storm
Bobby Kimball / Jimi Jamison – Kimball Jamison
Rush – Moving Pictures Reissue