David’s Top 10 Rock Albums of 2014
With 2014 coming to a close, the sounds of sleigh bells in our ears and warm thoughts of toys under the tree, it’s time to drown that all out with some ROCK! The music gods have been kind to us this year, which means putting togther this list of the Top 10 Rock Albums wasn’t easy. The honorable mentions list is huge, but I tried to keep the list managable at ten. Now let’s discuss the definition of the word rock in this case. Now with a million different sub-genres popping up every second, the debate over what’s “rock” anymore has gotten a bit fuzzy, so for the sake of argument and rioting in the streets, I decided to keep it a little broad. We don’t want fifty different lists here to try and cover everything, after all. That means if the band falls under rock, indie rock, alternative rock, progressive rock, or hard rock it was considered for this article. Now, let the countdown ensue!
10) Jack White – Lazaretto
The second solo studio album from Jack White, Lazaretto is a blizzard of styles and tones that come together like an old worn journal. The title track stands out heavy on this one, with one of the most memorable bass lines I’ve heard in awhile. Digging deeper you’ll discover more warming songs like Temporary Ground featuring Ruby Amanfu with some beautiful back-up vocals. To top that, you can also buy the Limited Edition Ultra LP which includes secret songs, hidden grooves, and a freaking kick ass hologram that materializes when the record is played. In other words, buy the vinyl!
9) Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
This is the eighth studio album from the band, featuring eight songs recorded in eight different cities, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New Orleans. Each song shows a little bit of the personality of the cities they were recorded in. The album also features an array of musical guests including Rick Nielsen, Joe Walsh, and Zac Brown.
8) Opeth – Pale Communion
Now before you say it, yes, Opeth is traditionally a Progressive Death Metal band, but their newest album, Pale Communion, could easily fool anyone new to the band. It is a big step away from their traditional sound, void of death screams, it creates a more melodic and expansive sound that almost paints a world of it’s own. This is not an album to listen to while running errands or jogging around the park, but rather an album you sit down and experience. Moon Above/Sun Below for instance clocks in at 10:53, twisting it’s way through gritty rock one minute and smooth acoustic blues the next. There’s also Elysian Woes and Faith in Others which can wisp you into a harmonic trance. This is an unforgetable album in this band’s history for sure.
7) Slash – World on Fire
Myles Kennedy and Slash are a duo made in rock heaven. Having been a huge Alter Bridge fan, it still shocks me hearing them play at times, but Kennedy’s voice proves to be the real punch that Slash’s solo career needed. This is the third solo album for Slash and second studio album to feature Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. The title track is a ballsy full throttle trip through sex and drugs that can only be played at max volume. Beyond that you’ll get more mid-tempo tracks like Shadow Life and The Unholy, as well the masterful instrumental Safari Inn that oozes those delicious Slash licks we’ve come to love, and could be easily be my new favoirte instrumental. But don’t be mistaken, this was written to be a room shaking album through and through, and it lives up to it.
6) The Afghan Whigs – Do to the Beast
It’s been 16 years since The Afghan Whigs last released an album. Talk about taking a break! Back with their seventh studio album, they haven’t lost that intensity that inspired bands like My Chemical Romance and Jimmy Eat World. Do to the Beast is muddy and soothing at the same time, with an attitude that has been missing in a lot of new bands. Matamoros stands out the most with it’s catchy pop-funk groove that makes you wanna get up and show off your moves. The rest of the album follows a more relaxed tone, that wavers on the side of deep and moody.
5) AC/DC – Rock or Bust
Rock or Bust is AC/DC’s fifteenth internationally released album and first ever album without long-time guitarist Malcom Young, who left the band for health reasons earlier this year. While lead vocalist Brian Johnson admitted it was difficult making the album without Malcom, they’ve now proven that nothing can stop this classic rock and roll power house. Rock or Bust may be the shortest album that the band has ever released, but it delivers on the fiery rockin’ tones we’ve come to expect from them. Along side the title track, songs like Sweet Candy, Dogs of War, and Rock the House help to make this one of their best albums in quite a while.
4) The Pretty Reckless – Going to Hell
Only the second album from the band, it has cemented Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless as a reliable source for deep lyrics wrapped in a sexy, head-banging package. Spawning five singles, this album doesn’t have a sore track on it. While the biggest single, Heaven Knows, is getting more radio air time than re-runs of Family Guy. House on a Hill and Waiting for a Friend offer some of the best lyrics on the album.
3) Godsmack – 1000hp
Some folks love starting rumors that Godsmack is dead and split seemingly after every album, but 1000hp proves that those folks can go shove it where the sun don’t shine. The follow up to 2010’s gold selling The Oracle, Godsmack doesn’t hold their tongue on this one. Having seen them live multiple times, including on their current tour, I can tell you that the team is rocking as hard as ever. Locked & Loaded and FML are two of the best addtions to the roster.
2) Nothing More – Nothing More
Don’t let the title deceive you. Nothing More has released five albums prior, but decided to step it up a notch with their self-titled sixth album. Chucked full of throbbing guitar and bass riffs, the lyrics could easily be overlooked by some, but that would be a mistake my friend. As Nothing More tells quite the story throughout its 17 track line up. It has its share of middle finger anthems like Mr. MTV and Friendly Fire that are sure to be on repeat for that next gym session.
1) Hellyeah – Blood for Blood
This is the greatest album not just for Hellyeah as a band, but for the career of its members. Hellyeah split ways with guitarist Greg Tribbet (Mudvayne) and bassist Bob “Zilla” Kakaha (Damageplan) to make the album in the style they wanted. This album embodies a real sense of unfiltered aggression and power that can’t be faked. Blood for Blood is heavy but with good reason. It’s not brutal just for appearances, but it builds a connection through the punches that help you feel for every word. Moth and Hush are exceptional examples of this, while DMF and Gift are unforgiving messages to a clear audience.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”