Well, its fair to say that 2015 has been a strong year for the Melodic Rock community. Frontiers seem to have the majority share of talent, but that doesn’t stop other labels and independents from getting in on the act……
Working our way down from 20 to 1, here we go
20. Serpentine – Circle Of Knives
Welsh rockers Serpentine finally kill the ghost of Tony Mills. (I know he isn’t dead! Its a metaphor!). Yes its Ten influenced, but that’s not a bad thing
19. Impera – Empire Of Sin
Classic rock with a capital ‘K’, mainly down to the excellent vocals of one Matti Alfonzetti. The bloke should be a household name, well if its any consolation, you are in my household mate!
18. Art Nation – Revolution
The Swedes seem to be leading the way when it comes to rock music and Art Nation are no exception….
17. Find Me – Dark Angel
The Swedes are at it again. This time its Daniel Flores. If you lit WOA, W.E.T. and Eclipse then Find Me is right up your street. Polished AOR
16. Dakota – Long Road Home
After an 11 year hiatus, Dakota returned with some reworked songs and a few new ones. A must for fans of their debut. With this kind of output they make Guns and Roses seem positively prolific!
=14. Hungryheart – Dirty Italian Job
80s AOR carried out with great applomb by these Italians. Another country trying to single-handedly keep melodic rock alive and well
=14. The King Lot – ST
These guys blew me away supporting Dan Reed Network. Thirty years ago, they would be pretty damn huge. Huge riffs, killer choruses.
=11. Def Leppard – ST
Its been a while since Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, but what a return the Leps made. Its up there with their best work, certainly their best since Hysteria!
=11. Room Experience
More AOR invasion from this lovable bunch of Italians. A project that’s taken years to come to fruition by Gianluca Firmo, it proved well worth the wait. If you love your AOR with more than a slice of papry keyboards then look no further than this.
=11. Reach – Reach Out To Rock
Three very young lads (and one young lad) make a highly impressive debut. With nods more to hair metal, I for one cant wait to see what they come up with next
10. Dimino – Old habits Die Hard
Why it took Frank Dimino sooooo long to record a solo album is beyond me. It was one of the surprises of the year for me. ‘never Again’ speeds out of the blocks quicker than Usain Bolt wearing a meat unitard being chased by a pack of zombie wolves!
9. Stryper – Fallen
Stryper continue their rich vein of form and their heavier direction thankfully. Mushy ballads have all but disappeared, and in comes power, strength, positivity and most of all, heaviness!
8. Gronholm – Relativity Code For Love
Another surprise for me in 2015. Id never heard of them until this, and boy, is it a cracking album. Lee Smalls has NEVER sounded better than this.
7. Revolution Saints – ST
I know, lets get 3 giants of rock (ok one is a real short arse) to come together for an album, and lets make the not regarded as as a singer the singer! Castronovo IS one hell of a singer. This was the album that the current Journey should be striving to make
6. Newman – The Elegance Machine
I am a late arrival to the Newman party, and I’m ashamed to admit it. The last 2 albums Ive had to review have been an absolute pleasure. Its more on the heavier side of melodic, but who gives a shit. This bloke is one of Britain’s finest exponents of melodic rock, long may he continue
=4. Age Sten Nilsen’s Ammunition – Shanghaied
Age does a ‘Dio’, and ditched Wig Wam for a new life. He basically forms Eclipse MKII for one of the BEST melodic rock albums of 2015. Massive choruses, not a dud on the album, it could easily be my No.1. From here on in the results are that close.
=4. FM – Heroes and Villains
I am a tad biased when it comes to my beloved FM, but they wouldn’t be in here if it wasn’t any good (my proof – the disappointing Overland Ousey album). FM are in a very rich vein of form and this is one of their best pieces of work and sits close behind ‘Indiscreet’ and ‘Tough It Out’, its that good!
3. Romeos Daughter – Spin
OK its not exactly an AOR album as such, its a defining album for Romeos Daughter. They could have given up the ghost since reforming , but like their friends FM, they choose to plough through the field and make new music that is probably their most consistent and best work to date. They should be the darlings of Radio 2, but for some reason are overlooked, and that is a huge travesty.
=1. Blood Red Saints – Speedway
Its a contrast to the joint winner of my 2015 list, but BRS are more ‘classic’ 80s AOR than anyone else on this list and they are a brand new band. Thanks to the dulcet tones of Pete Godfrey, and the superb songs (no fillers here folks) they deserve to be No.1 on their own
=1. Eclipse – Armageddonize
Erik Martensson’s Eclipse are at the other end of the melodic rock spectrum to Blood Red Saints. More raw power and edge to their music, they are the 2015 Oxford Dictionary meaning of ‘anthemic rock’. Not a shit song on the album, its slayed me from the off. My best album of 2015 despite the aggro it took to get me the album on vinyl. A HUGE album!