Every year I try to post the top 10 bands that were receiving airplay in the hopes that you, my readers, may discover some new and unknown music to check out. This year, I did not delve into music as much as I usually do, but there were still plenty of good bands coming out through the speakers to get me through the day, and these are the top 10!
10. Alice Cooper
The grandfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper is always a staple. From his classic work such as Billion Dollar Babies to his latest album Welcome 2 My Nightmare Alice never disappoints with his music or his wordplay. There is a covers album in the works currently that's slated for a spring 2014 release, and I cannot wait for that one since the selection is sure to feature some off the beaten path tunes.
The best vocalist in meal even in death (RIP) Ronnie James Dio's music continues to strike into the hearts and minds of those who listen to his work. Any of the albums he produced under this, his eponymous band, are worth checking out. Killing the Dragon, Holy Diver, and Evil or Divine are some of the best albums to check out, but you really cannot go wrong with any option.
These 70's rockers are overlooked by a lot of people, but they have some fantastic music! They also put on a great live show I have been fortunate to see twice as the band typically tours the West Coast instead of the East (they are playing in New Hampshire in April, though!). There last album Live at the Mystic released in 2012 captures the live energy the band gives on stage quite well. I would recommend that double album Mean Streak or In Rock We Trust as the initial albums to check out.
What can I say? Pro rock as its best. Rush is a phenom that cannot be denied, and if you tried them once a few years ago, go back and give them another shot. If you didn't like the earlier albums, try the latter ones as their sounds has evolved over the years. I honestly believe everyone should listen to them as they have such a talent for music.
6. Symphony X
One of the bands that has taken me by storm the last few years, Symphony X blew me away with their last album Iconoclast and I quickly went out and grabbed the rest of the discography. Dealing with mythology and other sci-fi subjects, the lyrics, music, and voice of front-man Russell Allen make this a full package band.
5. Joe Satriani
This mainstay blues rock guitarist will always be one of my favorite straight music listens. If you did not know, he is the guy who taught Kirk Hamment (Metallica), Steve Vai, and Alex Skolnick (Testament) to name a few students how to play guitar. Satriani has not released any solo work in three years unfortunately except concerts, but he is also active with the band Chickenfoot if you prefer music with vocals instead of straight instrumental work.
4. Van Halen
Van Halen's last album from 2009 A Different Kind of Truth received a lot of airplay this year for some reason. Initially the album never grabbed me, but this time around something clicked and it stuck in my player for a few weeks. It will never be as good as the classic albums, which would be the ones I recommend picking up, but it still has merit for a band that was on hiatus for over a decade.
3. Amon Amarth
2013 brought the release of Amon Amarth's 9th studio album Deceiver of the Gods. To see how well I enjoyed that album, you will have to check out my "Best Albums of 2013" article to come out shortly after this one. The band has continued to grow and develop this musical prowess with their latest album and continue the trend started with With Oden on Our Side that made the vocals a little easier to understand than the previous albums while also varying the musical intonation. Anything 2006 to present would be the albums I recommend picking up the most.
Not a metal artist, but there is almost no other to compare this blues guitar giant too. Between his solo work, work with Beth Hard, and Black Country Communion (first two albums) there is always a chance to get a Bonamassa fix. His latest release was a string of DVDs that captured various shows in London all with a different theme. I hope to do a concert DVD series on these releases comparing the different styles of the concerts. Highly recommended for any musical enthusiast as Bonamassa not only plays the blues, but in recent albums there has been a higher rock presence.
1. Iced Earth
In 2013, Iced Earth released their second live album Live in Ancient Kourion. It was an awesome album! While not as expansive or breathtaking as Alive in Athens was when it was released, the albums still conveys the band in all its energy while showcasing their awesome live show. They will be releasing a new album January 2014 and it should be an awesome listen if their last studio album Dystopia is any indication on where this band is going. That album, Alive in Athens, Something Wicked this Way Comes, and The Glorious Burden would be some of the best albums to check out if unfamiliar with the band.
I hope I was able to broaden the horizons for some of your readers and you go out and check out some of this great music. Comment if you do and let us know what you think and happy listening into 2014!