By Shane Pinnegar
2012 has been another amazing year of great music – so much so that it’s hard to narrow down hundreds and hundreds of releases to say this CD is better than that CD – especially when artists like The Hip Priests, Chickenfoot, US Bluesman Jeff Powers, Tesla’s Frank Hannon, Generation Swine, Tame Impala and many more released such great albums.
Of course, there are so MANY new releases worth listening to… and 2012 found this humble scribe listening to less, but immersing more in them. Physical CD’s got a lot more listens – and reviews – from me this year too: as much as 100% ROCK MAGAZINE is always open to reviewing digital music, we can only guarantee reviews of physical material – if only to keep the desk clean!! ;o)
On with the show – and there can only be 25 albums – here are mine…
1. The Domnicks – Super Real
The most summery, Sixties, Stonesy, Faces-ey, soul filled blast through rock n’ roll’s past you’ll find. Irresistible and un-put-downable.
Singer/guitarist Nick Sheppard told us “”That’s really flattering, considering all the amazing music released this year – thank you very much!”
2. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
Against all odds the Van Halen brothers, Diamond Dave and young Wolfgang VH managed to make an album that kabooms the best of their history into 2012 – and who cares if most of it was derived from old demos: ADKOT fucken’ rocks!
3. Ginger – 555%
Calling for pledges for his latest album, Ginger was more surprised than anyone to have been over subscribed by 555% (and more!). A triple album of melodic power pop and heartfelt majesty. 100% is the commercial, single CD version – all killer no filler. But 555% is better, 5.55 times better!
4. Chainsaw Hookers – Self titled
Bludgeoning Motorpunk from semi-belligerent innovators of “Blood Rock”, Chainsaw Hookers crafted a horror movie soundtrack to be truly scared of. Mad.
Guitarist Jon Russo told us “Thanks to the awesome folk at 100% Rock for supporting the blue collar rockers. Chainsaw Hookers love you long time, baby!”
5. Danko Jones – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue
Heads down rock n’ roll from one of the coolest, no-nonsensest rockers around – there’s not a moment’s respite on “RnR is BnB”, from crazy ass rockers Legs and Terrified, through to gospel rock mayhem of I Believed In God.
When quizzed by 100% ROCK MAGAZINE’s Toddstar, Danko said, “Wicked, that’s good to hear.” Before following up with his official quote about being in our top ten: “I agree!”. You can’t argue with the man.
6. Graphic Fiction Heroes – Who Will Save Us Now?
Looking for the finest melodic rock goodness, full of riffs and clever lyrics and just goddam great songs? Look no further…
Singer/guitarist Chris Gibbs explained “GFH intended on making an album in every sense of the word: a listening experience that is coherent from start to finish, with songs that aim to add up to more than the sum of the parts. I hope we got close to that, and I hope that the material resonates with everyone who listens to the album. Thanks 100% ROCK MAGAZINE!”
7. Reverse Grip – Hunger For Chaos
Take three Canadian brothers plus a lanky, mad bassist, and go crazy with a sleaze rock template that starts at Guns n’ Roses and KISS and finishes with… Reverse Grip. Stylish and catchy, if you’re gonna be influenced by what came before, this is a masterclass in how to do so while stamping your own identity all over it.
Drummer Dylan Broda, on tour in Europe, said “Wow! We are totally stoked to hear you’re putting HFC in your top 10! This makes us feel like all of our hard work and effort means something and helps motivate us to keep the Rock Rollin!”
8. Destroy She Said – Down To Dirty
Melbourne’s DESTROY SHE SAID delivered a debut album that was equal parts metal, Aussie pub rock and drug fueled madness. There’s nothing not to like here… if you can handle it!
The band stated “We’re stoked! Thanks to the crew at 100% Rock Magazine for a killer review and their support over the past 12 months – the work you guys do to promote Aussie Rock is brilliant and very much appreciated.”
9. Youngblood – No Retreat
Eonian Records unearthed this treasure, originally recorded in 1989 but never released, and with a bit of spit n’ polish, unleashed it on the world in 2012. It’s everything you could hope for in a hard rock – some might say ‘hair metal’ – album.
10. Spit Like This – Normalityville Horror
Horror punk? Metal? Heavy rock? It’s whatever you want it to be – but it’s bloody good! Spit Like This and producer Chris Tsangarides collaborated on the album, it’s release, and they even got the veteran producer to fool around in the film clip for single Zero To Sixty, parodying both The Young Ones TV show, and the Tsangarides-featuring The Story Of Anvil movie.
Frontman Lord Zion joked “Now Shane has voted our album his 10th best of the year, we feel the time is finally right to release him from our basement and give him – what we like to call – a ‘sporting head start’. PS – thanks!”
11. Julian Angel’s Beautiful Beast – California Suntan
Julian Angel ain’t about to let being born twenty years late for the Sunset Strip hair metal revolution get in the way of his guitar-tastic fetishism. Mad skills on the guitar complement the song craft and we have a minor cock rock classic, right here.
Angel was excited to be recognized laughing all the way: “Quote: 25 bucks!! I totally get it that California Suntan is in your top list (I included money in the jewel box, okay?), but what do you mean by a “quote”? I’m ready, you can have anything from me!”
12. Zeroking – Kings Of Self Destruction
One of the first albums I heard this year also proved to be one of the most enduring – KOSD resonates with it’s modern take on hard rock, singer Andy Haught paying out on the superficiality of California, whilst the band rage with a real fire in their belly behind him.
Singer Andy Haught told us “It’s a tremendous honour to be recognized for your work and even more so when its coming from the other side of the world. Shane and 100% Rock have been staunch supporters since first seeing us at Rocklahoma 2009 and for that we are sincerely appreciative.”
13. Mammoth Mammoth – Vol III Hell’s Likely
Mammoth Mammoth aren’t stoner rock, metal, psych or freak out rock. They distill all the above into a unique sound which is as huge as the band’s name (so big they named it twice!), and as scary as hell to the innocent. Every day is a good day to die with Hell’s Likely bashing out up to eleven.
MM drummer Bones told us “We’re totally psyched to be in 100% ROCK MAGAZINE’s top albums of the year. These guys got onto the album as soon as it was spat off the press, so props to them – remain MAMMOTH y’all!”
14. Accept – Stalingrad
2010’s “Blood Of Nations” surprised many by showing that ACCEPT could return to their classic 80’s pre-thrash Metal sound and make it sound fantastic even with a different singer. 2012’s “Stalingrad” took their classical music influenced guitar assault to even newer – magnificent – places.
Lead guitarist Wolf Hoffman had this to say about the band’s inclusion: “Accept’s “Stalingrad” is one of the top metal albums of the year in 100% ROCK MAGAZINE? WOW – how amazing is THAT!!? Thanks to everybody at 100% ROCK and all our fans worldwide who made the comeback of ACCEPT a reality!!! See you in 2013 !!!”
15. American Dog – Poison Smile
Call them Redneck boozehounds if you like, but American Dog have forged new ground from their beer and AC/DC-infused roots, “Poison Smile” being their best studio album to date.
Singer/bassist Michael Hannon responded to the news excitedly: “Hell Yeah!!! Living under the underground and singing about Hot Women and Cold Beer may be out of fashion, but American Dog have no regard for fashion, it’s all about the Rawk!”
16. AxeWound – Vultures
AxeWound take a NWOBHM and thrash foundation, and layer it with modern metal goodness. Riffs, solos, screams, and REAL singing abound. It’s a modern metal classic from a modern metal supergroup (members of Bullet For My Valentine, Cancer Bats, Rise To Remain, Pitchshifter and Glamour Of The Kill) that never takes itself too seriously.
17. KISS – Monster
Stadium-sized anthems from the ultimate stadium hard rock band. Building on “Sonic Boom” and taking things a few steps further, “Monster” may not have the classic KISS sound, but it shows off every single thing that has made the band great for almost forty years.
18. Psychonaut – Shock ‘Em Dead
What do you get when you combine a love of thrash metal, Star Wars, horror movies, Frank Zappa and more? Psychonaut have crafted an album of rare brilliance – an alternate reality where the art of the creation is more important than the critical response, but so right that the critical response is very much thumbs up.
Chief troublemaker Mark Vattimo says “Many thanks for the inclusion on the list! 100% ROCK ‘EM DEAD!”
19. Rush – Clockwork Angels
Rush’s Twentieth studio album is everything an old school fan could hope for – it reeks of their old riff-fueled rocking days, whilst still keeping one foot firmly in their 80’s/90’s proggish days… the result is simply a great collection of songs, performed by the best power trio to have ever lasted this long!
20. L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever
Returning to rude form, L.A. Guns delve into the Hollywood’s underbelly for a trip down memory lane, blasting out the best album that the band – in any incarnation – has managed in well over a decade.
21. Buffalo Summer – self titled
An album that reminds us why we love new bands – bluesy rock with great melodies and huge riffs.
The band were genuinely excited to hear of their inclusion: “We are thrilled we can bring a little bit of Summer to the land of Oz”, they messaged.
22. Ghost – Opus Eponymous
Blue Oyster Cult styled madness from a cardinal-garbed, face painted group of faceless-nameless madmen led by Papa Emeritus. Brilliant – even without cowbell.
23. Hailmary – Choice. Path. Consequence. Solution.
Some say grunge killed the glory days of heavy rock and hair metal, others say it helped clean the slate. It’s hard to care either way when an album this good, with a foot in both the grunge and heavy rock camps, crosses your stereo. It’s a game changer for the band – fantastic songs, huge riffs, great lyrics… world class.
Singer/guitarist Kevin Curran said “Glad to make the 100% ROCK list, we better be ahead of Nickelback!” Of course, they are! By a LONG shot!
24. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
The last true guitar hero left standing let loose with a wild collection of songs that must have made his former singer break shit out of bipolar jealousy. With Myles Kennedy on board the transition (that isn’t really that much of a transition) from guitarist to legend is complete…
25. Sister Sin – Now And Forever
When you have a German metal band with a female singer, it’s hard to escape the Doro comparisons. When that band does a duet with the uncontested Queen of Metal, and head out on tour with her, then it’s a no brainer. Sister Sin play classic metal the way it should be and this album is relentlessly great.
2. Sunset Riot – Uprising
3. ZZ Top – Texicali
4. The Joy Elevation – Self titled
5. Doro – Raise Your Fist In The Air
6. The Treatment – Then & Again
7. Sleepfreak – self titled
8. Riff X – Search For A Better Day
9. Gerry Quigley & The Nomadic Druids – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
10. Axe Cane – self titled
Aerosmith’s desperate attempt to reconnect with their glory days by dragging in their early producer Jack Douglas, which failed due to only 5 or 6 good songs being on board and WAY too much filler, Idol dross and rubbish better suited for a Steven Tyler solo album.
Steve Harris’s British Lion album – what should have been the album of the year from one of modern metal’s guiding lights never rose above the above average in every department.
Being betrayed or misjudged by people you thought were mates, but in hindsight were just using you for help, publicity or whatever else. Success is the best revenge, however – and we’re on fire at the moment! For those who believed the gossip and lies…? You should’ve known better, and you won’t be trusted as a sincere friend again.
Joining the freelance staff at local Street Press Xpress Magazine. Thanks for your faith and patience Bob!!
The opening of the new Perth Arena – finally our isolated little city has a truly world class venue!
So many great tours to look forward to in 2013 – in the first half of the year alone we’re looking forward to seeing Robert Plant, Status Quo, Santana, Paul Simon, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Deep Purple, Journey, Black Sabbath, Glenn Frey and many more!
Great support for 100% ROCK from great people, & being able to look forward to a very bright future with our magazine without constant personal and business manipulations. In just 3 1/2 months we have knocked up almost 170,000 readers – a figure, incidentally, which took my previous webzine a full THIRTEEN MONTHS to achieve!
Thanks for reading and Rock on!! \m/
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE