Top 10 AOR / melodic Rock Albums of 2017
Another year, another list to compile…..but one thing is certain to me, and that is that for every decent AOR album this year, there seems to be at least 10 average ones, or even shite ones. The market is full of Melodic Rock/AOR bands vying for our attention.
So….’whats brite, and whats shite?’ For this list, its all ‘brite’
10. Styx – The Mission
Do Styx still need to be making albums? Probably not. Are we glad that they still wanna? Oh yes. Is it just like many others from that era that who are making albums in the 21st Century and settling for ‘meh’? Not on your nelly. One of the very nice surprises of the year
9. Tony Mills – Streets Of Chance
When you have such luminaries as Paul Sabu and the Vega twins wading in with songs, then your starting point is a good one. Couple this with musicians such as Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Denander. Theres some good stuff to be had on here. If I were Craig Joiner (Romeos Daughter), Id check my back pocket to see if any riffs have gone missing as the chorus to ‘Battleground’ is basically Tony singing a Romeos Daughter track!
8. Raintimes – S/T
Those pesky Italians are trying to corner the market in AOR. They make no bones about it either. Pierpaolo wanted an album that sits alongside the first two of The Storm albums, and to be fair to the bloke, with songs like ‘Forever Gone’ and ‘Together As Friends’ he’s not far wrong.
7. Midnite City -S/T
Basically a vehicle for Rob Wylde to take on the Italians, Swedish and Americans and beat them at their own game. Do you know what? He hasn’t half succeeded. Similar to Vega, hes gone for the ‘anthem’ route when writing his songs, and with killers like ‘We Belong’, ‘Last Beat Of My Heart’ and ‘One Step Away’ this debut makes for a cracking album.
6. The Radio Sun – Unstoppable
The Radio Sun seem to live by the mantra ‘if it aint broke, dont fix it’. ‘Unstoppable’ is basically a succession of the previous three albums. If you are a fan of pop-rock, great harmonies, great riffs and instantly hummable choruses then look no further than Australia. There is a good reason these guys are 3 for 3 with the good people at HRH AOR and its with albums like this. They are that prolific I expect a album No.5 from them before the aforementioned HRH AOR in March 18!
5. H.E.A.T. – Into The Great Unknown
This album has divided many H.E.A.T. fans. In fact, its fair to say that its a Marmite album. Me? I cant stand the stuff, but I loved ‘ITGU’. They locked themselves away, old skool (for 18 months) – halfway around the World. The title track, along with ‘Bastard Of Society’ and ‘Time On Our Side’ are good examples of a band on the up.
P.S. I won a years supply of Marmite once…..one jar!
4. Eclipse – Momentum
I was expecting great things of this album, and they almost did it. Dont get me wrong, its a bloody good album, but so was Armaggedonize. I was expecting Mr Martensson to go one step further and become the Whitesnake 87 for the 21st century. It was very close. Songs like ‘Born To Lead’ and ‘Black Rain’ are just devine. The next big step is surely just around the corner
=2. Moritz – About Time Too
Theres been a bit of a personnel change for ‘ATT’ and it hasnt done them any harm. Peter Scallan has removed the reins and the bluesier sound is a perfect fit. ‘Moon And Back’ is catchier than a wicketkeepers glove dipped in treacle, ‘Chance Of A Lifetime’ was born straight out of the 1980s, and the killer song for me is ‘You Dont Know What Love Is’.
=2. Tokyo Motor Fist – ST
Its a vehicle for Ted Poley, and bugger me, he hasnt half put a band together – Greg Smith, Chuck Burgi and Steve brown, and the result is brilliant. Hardly a shite song to be found, with ‘Shameless’, and ‘Put Me To Shame’ are killers. (he likes the word ‘shame’). I just hope that there will be a second album on the cards, and not just this, as it really would be a ‘shame’
1. Lionheart – Second Nature
Ok, so its not exactly ‘AOR’, more ‘classic rock’. The fact that its on AOR Heaven makes it on the list for me. Lionheart have made a comeback of massive proportions (30 yrs in the wilderness, it obviously made them hungry). They came back for a festival appearance and it was that good, they thought they would write an album. With founding fathers Dennis Stratton, Steve Mann, Rocky Newton and Clive Edwards, they went for THE ‘go to’ guy for quality vocals, one Lee Small, the Aldi version of Glenn Hughes (‘Aldi’ in a very good way. Lets face it, Glenn is Glenn). ’30 Years’ is instantly memorable, ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ is melodic rock at its finest, and they even throw in a cover of ‘Dont Pay The Ferryman’. I keep stating on reviews the past few years that Lee Small has eclipsed himself with his performances. He’s done it yet again with Lionheart.
I never thought that a Chris De Burgh cover would sound as good as this….!