It’s been a fantastic year thus far for Hard Rock album releases. No, make that super fantastic. The obvious trend I’ve seen with all these incredible Hard Rock albums of 2011 is: A majority of these albums are from seasoned or old school bands. There have been many comeback albums released so far this year that absolutely ROCK… hello King Kobra, The Cars, Warrant, Mr. Big and Nelson, to name more than a few.
Realistically, I cannot possibly listen to every Hard Rock album that’s been released at this point in the year, therefore this list of MUST OWN albums for this Summer of 2011 may not correspond with your favorites in parts or in whole. As we approach the midway point of 2011, these are the Hard Rock albums that have ROCKED my brains out! In my Metal opinion, these are five albums worth your hard earned money to buy and crank up LOUD during this coming Summer of 2011… and beyond.
* Metal Odyssey Note: This list is in no particular order and it is Part II of a series. All the albums chosen are 2011 releases. You have to wait for the “Metal Odyssey Best Of 2011″ lists that come out around Christmas/New Years for a definitive list. Be patient, that time will come quicker than we all know!
SHAKRA – From Switzerland comes the Hard Rockin’ and much experienced… SHAKRA. This band puts double exclamation points after their brand of Hard Rock and I’m listening! Back On Track (AFM Records) is the 8th studio release from SHAKRA, plus they are showcasing a new lead singer: John Prakesh, replacing Mark Fox. John comes across as an original with some slight Mark Storace (Krokus) influence here and there.
Old Schoolers from the 80′s heydays of Arena dwelling just have to dig what SHAKRA plays for Hard Rock, I know I dig ‘em. Mixed into all 13 melodically driven songs on this album, there’s so much thump and stomp and tasty guitar licks happening that it makes for an above memorable listen time and again. Once you buy and listen to this new SHAKRA album, it might just become a top favorite on your playlist, due to the Hard Rockin’ ass kicking it gives you.
THE POODLES – Attention North America: There is a Hard Rock band from Sweden that are a hot ticket over in Europe and they deservedly should catch on over this side of the Atlantic, they call themselves: THE POODLES. On May 3rd, 2011, the fourth studio album from this Swiss Hard Rockin’ outfit, Performocracy, was released in the U.S. via Frontiers Records. This new album is incredibly loaded with everything great about Melodic Hard Rock and… quality songs are the rule!
From the lead vocals of Jakob Samuel and the beyond catchy chorus, to the driving guitar of Henrik Bergqvist, Performocracy has 13 songs without one filler to be heard. THE POODLES make it their mission to ROCK like a late 80′s Arena Band while bestowing a bounty of impressive hard edged relevancy. This band steers away from the corn-dog lyrics that so often becomes recycled from generation to generation. I really dig listening to THE POODLES. Fans of 80′s Hard Rock along with connoisseurs of today’s mainstream and non-mainstream Hard Rock should find them very appealing too.
Warning: There is “something” about the overall sound, feel and vibes of THE POODLES songs, thus becoming unavoidably contagious to the ears, resulting in ultra-repeated listens to Performocracy.
SEETHER – I wrote in a previous post regarding this new SEETHER album, that the song Here And Now brought me to tears. I will never shy away from the Metal truth, that song hit me on a personal level like an emotional avalanche. Just a tremendous song it is, with it’s unbelievably melodic ride. Released on May 17th, via Wind-up, Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray is yet another Hard Rockin’ milestone in the growing and always impressive catalog from SEETHER.
Shaun Morgan proved to me a long time ago he is a premier songwriter, musician and vocalist. Shaun’s lyrical expressions are simply amazing on this new album. I can’t prevent myself from calling this album a contender for Hard Rock album of the year… or even album of the year. Country Song became an instant hit once it was available on iTunes as the lead single… and for good reason, this song Rocks. SEETHER convincingly shows they are a band that can play the ever legit Heavy Rock, with their unique Alternative style, while the mainstream absorbs them like a Hard Rock hungry sponge.
WHITESNAKE – There is that mystique about David Coverdale’s vocals that just makes me feel like everything is alright… that everything is gonna be okay. It’s always felt that way to me, regarding David’s vocals, going back three decades now. David Coverdale can sing the Hard Rock daylights out of the sky and still he comes across as soothing to my ears. Does that sound corn-dog? Maybe… at least I’m being honest though.
David Coverdale has never sounded mightier, while his band is as melodic and Hard Rock driven as ever, on the eleventh studio album from Whitesnake. Forevermore, which released back in March on Frontiers Records is solid proof that Whitesnake reigns atop the Hard Rock heap, looking up at no one. Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach are quickly becoming a legendary Hard Rock guitar duo and Forevermore is the audio evidence. Between deluxe editions, Amazon.com and iTunes, there are loads of bonus tracks out there for Forevermore that you can sink your Hard Rockin’ senses into.
What separates Whitesnake from the pack of other old school Hard Rock bands, is this band’s uncanny ability to write and play songs that instantly scream out: timeless. To not own Forevermore, if your a Hard Rock fan, is a crime under the Metal Odyssey “Code Of Rock”. My favorite song on Forevermore is One of These Days. It’s just like I said at the beginning of this post… David Coverdale sings this song and it’s alright… my vibes tell me everything is gonna be okay.
BLACK STONE CHERRY – Back in 2006, Black Stone Cherry released their self-titled debut on RoadRunner Records and I was drawn into their Classic Rock influence from the onset. The raw sound of this band may have diminished a good deal since that first album, still there is an air of Classic Rock roots about their sound that makes Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea so attention grabbing. This being the third studio album from Black Stone Cherry, all with RoadRunner Records, this one can easily be pointed out as their best. This band is a throwback to when artists cared about writing and playing a complete album of songs.
The bluesy vocals of Chris Robertson mingles so well with his Hard Rock and Southern Rock tones. The song Killing Floor is a can of psyche-you-out whoop-ass that I’ll need to drink in for many more years to come. The nod of reverence to old school seems to illuminate from Black Stone Cherry like a beacon, making it a quality that I admire most. With the cover of Can’t You See, originally written by (the late) Toy Caldwell for The Marshall Tucker Band, it only shows the Southern and Classic Rock roots will never fade away for this group. This is an album of 12 songs that will stand the test of Rock ‘n’ Roll time… and forever be labeled a Hard Rock gem from 2011.
* For more info on the bands and their albums listed above, just click on the very cool links provided below:
LONG LIVE HARD ROCK.