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Best Of 2008 - 2008 Jeffrey343


Is it me, or was 2008 a really good year for our genre? I was more involved in listening to new releases last year than ever before, and there were several of them. It helped that some of the biggest names out there put out new material in 2008. But of all that, what did I like the best? It was hard, but I narrowed it down to my ten favourites. I didn't get to hear everything out there, but I did get to hear a good amount of new stuff.

I am putting these in order, although that order is likely to fluctuate over time. It will be interesting to see how much it has changed this time next year.


Best of 2008

Myland - No Man's Land
This is pretty darn close to being a perfect album. If the vocals were mixed a little stronger, and if it were a little stronger lyrically, it would be one for the ages. As it is, it is still an amazing piece of work. I'll be listening to this for years.

Marcello-Vestry - Marcello-Vestry
I’m not a big fan of the term 'hair metal', but this is a textbook example of what it should sound like. Frank Vestry's smooth vocals with Rob Marcello's axe wizardry make for a great fun rockin' release. Most of the songs themselves are your typical hair metal tunes, but the craftsmanship elevates the material to lofty heights. Each song has little above-and-beyond touches that keep my interest no matter how many times I play this.

Whitesnake - Good To Be Bad
One of the legacy bands with a great new release. Great combination of classic Whitesnake plus a more modern sound. Coverdale still sounds good. To me, Whitesnake began with 'Slide It In', and the next two continued that sound and modernized it. This album captures the spirit of the 1987 & 1989 releases and brings back that magic. This would be my wife's favourite of the year too.

Jimi Jamison - Crossroads Moment
I earlier proclaimed this the album of the year. It will have to settle for 4th place in a very good year. A superb return to form for the Jimi Jamison - Jim Peterik team. Of course it sounds a lot like Survivor, but it also sounds a lot like Pride Of Lions, and it has a more 'grown up' sound compared to much AOR, with an abundance of lyrical depth. Jamison still has a great voice, and Peterik can still write great songs. This is an album that is more outstanding for lyrics rather than for amazing musicianship.

H.E.A.T - Heat
What's really cool is that these are young guys - not guys my age (40+) - making this kind of music. Very solid debut. Kenny Leckremo's vocals elevate this to the upper echelons of 80's style hard rock; this is definitely better than the bulk of material that it emulates. Looking forward to more great stuff from these guys.

Journey - Revelation
Lots of controversy over selecting an unknown Steve Perry clone in Arnel Pineda. But the album itself is very good. I'm still not a fan of the sound quality - it just doesn't sound quite right to me, and that is surprising because I'm sure the budget for this one was much higher than several others from this year with better sound. This has become my favourite Journey album.

Khymera - The Greatest Wonder
Another great slice of AOR, with great guitar and keyboard and vocal work bringing great songs to life. Dennis Ward has a great voice for this stuff. One great song after another, even if I sometimes struggle to fully differentiate between them.

Dokken - Lightning Strikes Again
I got 'Back For The Attack' back in 1987 and have played it zillions of times over the years. This new album captures that sound very nicely, and several of these tracks could be on BFTA. Don Dokken’s voice ain’t what it was, but this is still darn good.

3 Doors Down - 3 Doors Down
Yeah, this one is more mainstream than what you'll normally find here, and 'It's Not My Time' was inescapable on FM and satellite radio the past few months. But this is really good stuff. Things are not totally hopeless in the world of mainstream rock. There are some songs that don't work as well for me, but this is their best and most consistent work by far.

Brother Firetribe - Heart Full Of Fire
Very nice rockin' album. This is not at all far behind Marcello-Vestry and H.E.A.T. Looking forward to their future stuff.

Others I like a lot:

Elevener - When Kaleidoscopes Collide
This is just on the verge of greatness. Great songs, with lots of keys complementing great guitar work. I just can't totally buy into the vocals. I hate to pick on Johan Bergquist, because he sings the heck out of these songs. I just wish he sounded like Jimi Jamison - now that would be something! I hated to leave this out of the top ten, but appropriately it is eleventh.

AC/DC – Black Ice
Very nice return to form. Fun one to listen to.

Frozen Rain - Frozen Rain
Close to being great, but only reaches very good status. Parts of every song (well, not a big fan of the two ballads) are stunning, but the songs just don’t maintain that consistent level of greatness. But definitely a very nice album.

Pleasure Dome - For Your Personal Amusement
There are some really cool songs on here. Ted Poley’s voice works well here.

The Bright - In Lucid Dreams
Very nice modern rock album. This should be all over radio.

Winter Parade – II
Still getting a feel for this, but I do like it.

Bullet - Bite The Bullet
Just discovered this one and haven't played it that much yet, but it is just as advertised by everyone else - an awesome display of songs and riffs in the vein of AC/DC, Krokus, and Accept. I can see why y'all like it so much. I'll be spending more time getting to know this one. A real fun rocker for sure!

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#1 | jeffrey343 on February 04 2009 16:31:31
If I may be permitted to update my own list...

I finally got the new House Of Lords 'Come To My Kingdom' CD in early mid January, and I've been listening to it quite a bit. That one definitely goes into the top ten, probably knocking 3 Doors Down out.
#2 | jeffrey343 on January 04 2010 17:49:06
There have been some changes over the past year, as I expected. The Marcello-Vestry CD has ascended to the top by far, getting more spins in 2009 than anything else by far. It's in my top 1% - yep, that good. The Journey CD got a lot of play too, in part because the wife enjoys it a lot. I played the House Of Lords CD a lot too - it was great when I went on long runs while training for a marathon. The Myland CD fell from grace somewhat; it's great musically, but the lyrics aren't super-strong, and the vocals are thinner than I prefer. One that hasn't been reviewed here that I heard late was Ramos-Hugo "The Dream". Pretty good stuff. Eclipse "Are You Ready To Rock" is also pretty darn good.
#3 | jeffrey343 on November 22 2010 21:02:18
Ranking them now, I'd put the top two as Marcello-Vestry and Elevener. The rest of the list is pretty fluid. That Elevener album has really grown on me - I just had to buy in on the vocals. Just goes to show you how things can change in time.
#4 | gdazegod on November 23 2010 05:35:30
I got the Elevener boys to send Stan Meissner a CD copy.. via Facebook. Haha! Interesting hook up.. I think Stan wondered what all the fuss was about.. lol.
#5 | jeffrey343 on February 06 2012 04:47:56
As I work on my 2011 list, I figure I'll revisit 2008. Of these, Marcello Vestry is still easily the pick of the crop. The others I still play pretty regularly are H.e.a.t, Journey, 3 Doors Down, Khymera, and House Of Lords.
#6 | jeffrey343 on January 22 2013 03:54:53
No real changes since last year's update. Marcello Vestry gets played a LOT still, and I'd say the House Of Lords and Elevener get decent air time. I pick and choose from most of the others for various playlists throughout the year. I keep forgetting how good that Khymera album is.
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