ARTICLE: Best of 2009 (gdazegod)
Here's a year end wrap from me, regarding what was top of the pops during 2009. All in all, I found 2009 to be not as good as 2008, which was really a bumper year - let's be honest. Still there were some goodies, but also some major disappointments. What were the issues during the year? Well we saw the battle between the authorities and the BitTorrent community. I'm not familiar with using Torrents, I have no idea how they work, but the various trackers in question must really be dealing to the big studios. My guess it is movie DVD's that are the big culprit. Me? I prefer to go watch it at the Movies. Our favourite sub-genres of music are so marginalised, you really have to wonder whether they are worth the effort. These days, everyone is dealing in digital music, and even if it's an analog source, all you need is a conventional stereo system, an RCA jack, and a program like Audacity to convert from analog to digital. So to the likes of Roger Scott Craig - I appreciate where you are coming from, but you're fighting a losing battle. Get out of the kitchen if it gets too hot - so the saying goes.
We lost a few punters this year, apart from the biggies such as Michael Jackson, a few in the melodic rock/AOR camp include:
Dickie Peterson (Blue Cheer)
Allen Klein (manager Rolling Stones and The Beatles)
Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Mickey Jones (Angel)
Larry Knechtel (Bread)
Marcel Jacob (Talisman)
Midnight (Crimson Glory)
Clive Scott (Jigsaw),
Carey Kress (Face Dancer)
Gegg Fulkerson (Blue Tears)
Kelly Groucutt (ELO) and
Au Revoir dear friends. Thank you for enriching our lives with your talent.
Now onto the best (for me anyway) of 2009.
The AlbumsFree Spirit - Pale Sister Of Light
This one came out at the start of the year, and impressed mostly everyone who heard it. There is something to be said about melodic hard rock acts coming out of Finland these days. The dearth of Finnish bands is equal to all those fantastic tennis players who came out of Sweden during the mid 80's. Bjorn Borg, you have a lot to answer for!
Grand Design - Time Elevation
Ok, I love this CD, even if it reeks of Def Leppard
. So what? It's aped to a tee, I hope they do more in the coming years. There should be no reason why not, as this effort is the best DL album since 'Hysteria'!
Blanc Faces - Falling From The Moon
Strong AOR from the Le Blanc brothers. AOR doesn't get as pristine as this.
Steevi Jaimz - My Private Hell
The biggest surprise of the year, is former Tigertailz
frontman Steevi Jaimz putting this one out. A classy affair taking big digs at Danger Danger
. Pity the rest of the rock world didn't give this the plaudits it deserved.
Last Temptation - Better Late Than Never
This came close as being the album of the year for me, even though it's technically a 1991 album. Frank Vestry is in fine form, as is the lead guitarist Arnie Miot. I hope they can re-band for another 21st century shot at success!
Mastedon - 3
Anything John Elefante gets involved with usually grabs my attention. As did this Mastedon release toward the end of 2009. Some strong songs, not all are immediate, but carrying the class that shines through. 'Nowhere Without Your Love'.. wow, what a song!
Dynazty - Bring The Thunder
Perhaps these guys are carrying the momentum of H.E.A.T
's solid form from 2008? They are similar in ways, and this album typified to me what modern AOR coming out Sweden is all about!
Cains Offering - The Gathering Of The Faithful
I like a good dose of melodic prog metal, and Cains Offering gave that to me during 2009. Sure, I gave other related bands like Stratovarius
and Sonata Arctica
a listen too, but I kept coming back to this one. There may have been higher rated albums in the genre from elsewhere on the Net, but this is one I liked.
AOR - Journey To L.A
Most people tend to write off Fredric Slama's AOR as a sidedish. I totally enjoyed this album, sure there were a few fragments from the past thrown in, but by and large, it was a classy and rich offering.
Nine T Nine - Keep The Flame Alive
Oh yes, the mysterious German band Nine T Nine, who came out of the woodwork like Tiger Wood's 11 (and counting..) mistresses! Musically superb, with crisp clean guitars, wondrous keyboards and female harmony vocals. Though the singer Sharky might take a little getting used to, check out this album if you wanna retake the course of 101 '80's AOR' again!
Other plaudits go to:
Outloud, House Of Lords, Danger Danger, W.E.T, Sunstorm, Firenote, Fab Box, Praying Mantis, Roadfever, Stargazer (Norway), VishusGruv and Wildstreet.
Let's also have a geek at the disappointments of 2009. Magnum's 'In The Valley Of The Moonking' wasn't a great CD at all, same went for the new Tall Stories effort. Bad Habit's 'Above And Beyond' was utter shite, while Dare, U.F.O and Fair Warning didn't hit the intended mark with me. The same with Heaven And Hell and Pathsoray, plus also the Swedish band Prey. Biggest laugh of the year must surely go to Steel Panther, great stuff, 'death to all but metal' was the butt of all metal jokes in 2009! Kudos to John Taglieri for taking a different stance with his music, by wrapping it up in an online book/story. Nice also to see some great releases on Avenue Of Allies and the AOR-FM Records label. A big recognition goes to Gregor Klee and Bruce Donachie for keeping the flame burning in all things AOR.
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