With 2014 nearing its halfway point, rock fans have been blessed to have such a wide variety of new music to fill their ever-growing libraries with. What’s interesting to note is the quality that both veteran bands as well as newbies have put out. Unlike the pop and country genres who continue to pump out album after album to cash in while an artist is hot, for example Rhianna, the consumer suffers from bottom of the barrel song selections. It’s quite evident that rock artists take pride in their craft focusing more on quality than quantity.
I’ve devised a list of what I feel are the five best rock albums for the first half of 2014 with this Tuesday’s releases being the cut-off date. The list is not in any particular order as these are all quite different. This is not a contest, just one metalhead's opinion. Of course, not everyone will agree with my list, so feel free to add your comments at the bottom of your favorite and tell us why you think they belong here as well.
Seether – Words As Weapons: This album clearly displays the maturity that Seether has grown as songwriters and performers. Having been a Seether fan since Disclaimer, I can honestly say it has everything any Seether fan would want in an album; in-your-face straight-up rock anthems that’ll make you pump your fists in the air as well as power ballads that will touch the bottom of your heart. Look for Seether at the biggest rock festival this summer, Rockstar Uproar Festival!
Linkin Park – The Hunting Party: These boys have dropped the mainstream pop-rock vibe and have gone back to basics and the sound we all fell in love with in the first place: they were different, mixing hard rock with punk and hip-hop influences. Their message couldn’t be any clearer with Chester Bennington getting right in your face from the start on the album’s first track, “Keys to the Kingdom”. The guitars are much heavier than the previous offering with a whole lot less electronica, much to the fan’s delight. Love when bands go back to what put them on the map in the first place. Bravo, Linkin Park! Look for them out all summer on their Carnivores Tour with 30 Seconds to Mars throughout North America. Check out their website for dates and cities on what’s sure to be one of the biggest concerts of the summer.
Lacuna Coil – Broken Crown Halo: Talk about quality, this is perhaps their best offering to date. Lead singer, Cristina Scabbia has never sounded better. Her voice contrasting with the heavy bass, the hard guitars and the grinding vocals of Andrea Ferro give this album a perfect balance. There are a number of memorable tracks here, “Nothing Stands in Our Way”, “Zombies”, “Hostage to the Light” to name a few. Their live shows are incredibly entertaining and a blast to experience. They just look like they’re having so much fun on stage. Cristina’s smile will melt your heart as she is one of the most beautiful women in rock today. Having played in a number of festivals and shows throughout North America this past winter and spring, they are currently touring in Europe for the summer. We can only hope for an encore tour.
Arch Enemy – War Eternal: This Swedish band is back and hotter than ever with new singer, Alissa White-Gluz who can certainly growl with the best of them. She gives Arch Enemy a fresh look and feel and her stage presence is phenomenal. But she’s not the only thing that stands out here. For me, it’s the guitars. I haven’t heard this much guitar magic since Van Halen II was released in 1979. Arch Enemy is touring full-force worldwide with this album so be sure to check their website for dates and cities.
The Pretty Reckless – Going to Hell: This second full-length album from The Pretty Reckless is masterful from start to finish thanks to some genius songwriting. There’s something for everyone here from the edgy “Follow Me Down” to the anthem, “Heaven Knows” to the power ballad “House on a Hill”. Taylor Momsen has proven that she’s a force to be reckoned with in today’s rock world with a distinctively powerful voice. Look for The Pretty Reckless out on tour with Adelitas Way in late summer through the fall across North America. Both bands put on a great show!
Coming in the second half of the year we can look forward to new releases from powerhouses such as Godsmack, Limp Bizkit, Otherwise and Adelitas Way amongst many others. 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for new music!