As autumn leaves fall, we continue the Best of Lists with Hard Rock and AOR bands. This excludes psychedelic/retro bands that will be featured in another future list seperately. As a quick reminder, for variety, only one album per band was chosen, but if you like something, assume the rest of their catalogue is also worth exploring (unless otherwise noted). So without further ado:
The TOP 21 Hard Rock Albums of 2010-18
21. Lugnet - Lugnet (Pride and Joy - 2016)
Straight from the first notes of the opener "All the Way" you know what the band is about: Straightforward and uncompromising hard rock. There are elements from Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Spiritual Beggars in the sound of the band, but the songs themselves do not sound or feel derivative but rather the bands has developed a personal take in the aforementioned type of sound and mastered it as to make it truly personal. Highlights of a very promising debut include the aforementioned opener as well as "It ain't Easy", "In the Still of the Water" and the more epic closer "Into the Light".
20. Three Lions - Three Lions ( Frontiers - 2014)
Three Lions are a band formed from well known guitar player Vinny Burns (Asia. Bob Catley, Ten, Dare) along with drummer Greg Morgan (Dare, Ten) and newcomer vocalist Nigel Bailey. This is a pure 80s hard rock/ AOR album featuring songs characteristic of that scene with opener "Trouble in a red dress" being in an exemplary song of the scene, while "Hold Me Down" acts as an equally great follow-up. The guitar work of the album is superb and oozes with nostagia while a modern production keeps it fresh at the same time. An awesome album through and through with power ballad "Don't Let Me Fall" acting as a highlight to the high school dance that never was.
19. Dee Snider - We are the ones (earMusic - 2016)
This is one of the 3 releases of Dee this decade. The first one was a rendition of musicals in 2012 ("Dee Does Broadway") and the newest one ("For the Love of Metal", 2018) is a more straightforward heavy metal release in a sound more typical of Dee Snider. However in "We are the Ones", Dee tries new things in his music with very interesting results! Songs like "Rule the World", "So What" and the eponymous "We are the Ones" show that there are more things this very talented legend can do beyond rehashing old formulas.
18. The Temperance Movement - The Temperance Movement (Earache - 2013)
Being hailed as the "new Rival Sons", the band delivered in its debut album an excellent release of southern hard rock, with its own personal distinguished sound that is not comparable to rival sons; these British guys are their own beast, releasing a further two great albums afterwards and cementing their place as one of the best southern/hard rock acts of the decade. Highlights of this album include "Midnight Black", Only Friend" and "Know for Sure", but their whole catalog is worth checking out for great rock tunes.
17. Black Country Communion - Black Country Communion 2 (Mascot - 2011)
The best output from from the collaboration of rock legends Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham. More about the excellent result of this super-project can be found here.
16. Sixx:A.M. - Prayers for the Blessed (Eleven Seven Music - 2016)
A very different release from Nikky Sixx (Motley Crue), which combines more traditional elements in a modern framework. You can find more information here.
15. WolveSpirit - Free (Spirit Stone Records)
An old-fashioned rock release featuring unique female vocals and a genuine feeling of early rock. You can read more here.
14. Stonerider - Hologram (Audiam - 2016)
An exciting independent release which seemlessly blends blues and psychedelic rock. The album was also featured among the best albums of 2016. Read more here.
13. The Order of the Solar Temple - The Order of the Solar Temple (I, Voidhanger -2014)
This completely obscure gem from Canadian occult rockers is in number 13 of the best rock albums of this decade. This is truly an unknown album worth your time, which you can hear in its entirety below. Then you can read a more extensive piece here
12. Mountain Witch - Burning Village ( This Charming Man Records - 2016)
German doom/hard rock band Mountain Witch are at number 12 with their excellent 2016 abum "Burning Village", combining epic slow riffing with a retro 70s feeling. Read more here.
11. Green Fairy - Wasted Land (Hungry Ghost- 2013)
Just a breath away from the top 10 of the best rock albums of the decade so far is the second album from the Swiss folk/hard rock act. For more information about "Wasted Land" you can click here.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2...