Thursday, January 4, 2018

THE TOP 17 OF 2017!!!

Hard to believe it, but another year has passed and it is 2018 already!  Over the course of 2017, I had the opportunity to hear so much new music, by so many different bands...sometimes weeks or months before anyone else, that it has been a true blast for me and Glitter2Gutter!  First time bands busting out of the gates...established bands still blazing on...reunited bands making the comeback album...we've heard it all this year, and so much of it has been great stuff!  So, let's get things started with....


2017 was a big year for people reading Glitter2Gutter!  The top 3 most-read album reviews this year had so many reads that they have joined the Top 10 of all time!  That's some serious reading, folks!  This category is purely data opinions, no guesswork, just pure, raw data.  These 17 albums had the most "unique hits" during the year, which does not factor in people re-reading a post from the same IP address, scroll-through reading, etc. 

17.  OWL COMPANY - Horizon  

16.  QUIET RIOT - Road Rage

15.  BABYLON A.D. - Revelation Highway

14.  SHAKRA - Snakes And Ladders

12.  THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH - Untraveled Roads: Live

11.  DOLL HAZARD - Transatlantic Meltdown

10.  GOLD, FRANKINCENSE & MYRRH - Identity Crisis

9.  GROUPIE HIGH SCHOOL - ...Ladies & Gentlemen

8.  LIVESAY - Frozen Hell

7.  FICTION SYXX - Tall, Dark Secrets


4.  DELIVERANCE - The Subversive Kind

3.  ROMEO RIOT - Sing It Loud

2.  BOBAFLEX - Eloquent Demons

...and with more than 1140 unique readers, the most read review of 2017....



Not a lot needs to be said here, as all of the artists on this list released their first album in 2017 (we don't hold demos against the New Artist of the Year nominees).  A couple of these releases were sent to me relatively late, so reviews are not yet up...but they will be soon!  Even so, it was an absolute dog-fight for the Top Three spots, with each likely deserving of being the, and this order may even change tomorrow if I were to re-write this ranking!  Congrats to everyone on this list, as all hopefully have bright futures!

8.  VINCE VOLTAGE  (Review To Come)

7.  GOLD, FRANKINCENSE & MYRRH  (Band of sisters brings edge and grit to this set, while also managing to show a softer, sweeter side when the moment calls for it.  Looking for big things from these girls in the future.)

6.  GRETA VAN FLEET (Review To Come)

5.  SILKED & STAINED  (These Greeks may own the surprise album of the year for me, and I can't stop playing Love On The Road, even 5 months after first spinning it!)

4.  TEQUILA SUNRISE  (Spaniards show a flair for 80s inspired rock that would likely had them charting 25-30 years ago.)

3.  FICTION SYXX (Insanely talented band with beautifully crafted songs.  Check our lists and you will see Fiction Syxx had an amazing year for a debut act!)

2.  DOLL HAZARD  (Transatlantic Meltdown is, in my opinion, a modern sleaze masterpiece that simply must be heard!  Hopefully these two guys will figure out the time and place to record a follow-up in the not-too-distant future!)

...and the Number 1 New Artist of the Year is...

1.  ROMEO RIOT  (A label-family supergroup, Romeo Riot's debut effort contains some of the catchiest hooks and most memorable melodies of all the albums I reviewed this year.  Hopefully this won't be a "one and done" effort, as Sing It Loud is simply a great record!)


There were a handful of nice comebacks this year, so picking our Top 8 was a bit of a challenge.  That being said, the Number One comeback of the year...not really all that close....

8.  STEPHEN PEARCY Smash  "It's not completely Ratt, and it's not really Arcade, but it's definitely solid, hard-edged rock, and Pearcy hasn't sounded better on a solo effort...ever."

7.  12 STONES - Picture Perfect  5 years between albums, a new record label, and the band manages to pull off what may be their best album ever...

6.  JACK RUSSEL'S GREAT WHITE - He Saw It Comin' The first album from Jack's version of the legendary band contains a few classic-sounding cuts along with several new twists to keep the band musically interesting in 2017!

5.  LA GUNS - The Missing Peace  Included here due to the "comeback" of the Guns/Lewis duo, The Missing Peace is an excellent return to form.

4.  PROJECT 86 - Sheep Among Wolves  Hardcore/metalcore legends prove they still have plenty left in the tank, releasing not only a new album but a killer covers EP, as well!

3.  AUTOGRAPH - Get Off Your Ass  We're going to go ahead and include these guys as their new release includes the material from last year's EP.  This is a band that I had truly left for dead, yet it comes back with a new singer and the most complete record since their sophomore effort.

2.  BABYLON A.D. - Revelation Highway  Sure, some of these are old Persuaders tracks, but they are re-recorded and mixed with several tracks of new material making the project, as a whole, an amazing return for a band that kind of just evaporated after 2000's third album...

...and the Number One Comeback Album Of The Year....

1.  GALACTIC COWBOYS - Long Way Back To The Moon  Not really a contest, LWBttM is a simply spectacular return to form for a wildly underappreciated band!  Let's hope its not another 17 years between albums!


This year G2G reviewed 58 albums, and have another dozen or so written and simply needing final editing, so I heard a LOT of music...and most of it was really, really good!  It is safe to say, at least for me, that 2017 was one of the better years in recent memory for hard rock and metal, and I am hopeful that 2018 will hold similar greatness!


BIGFOOT Bigfoot (Review To Come)  Melodic hard rockers Bigfoot definitely bring their "A" game to the table on their debut album, with big rockers, smooth melodic delivery, and a sweeping epic to close things out that is one of the better tracks I've heard this year.  Maybe a song or two too long, I'm hoping for another Bigfoot sighting of in the near future (yeah, yeah...I know....)

BLACK BAMBI Black Bambi (Review To Come)  I never thought this album would properly see the light of day, despite the multiple bootlegs that circulated on the music-trading underground, but Black Bambi is finally here and it is dang good!  Nicely produced and very well performed, it still leaves me wondering why this band never got the chance to break out on radio and MTV.

DEVOID Cup Of Tears  Had this CD crossed my desk earlier, there is no doubt it would have made the top ten...perhaps even top five...heck, maybe even grabbed the top spot for the year!  I simply love this record and am filled with anticipation for the band's next release, hopefully not too far in the future. This is EXACTLY what melodic metal should sound like to my ears!  An amazing, must-hear record.

EMPERORS & ELEPHANTS Moth "Picking up right where their debut album left off, Moth features heavy, down-tuned, grungy guitars, big, punchy drums, and thick bass work along with the unmistakable vocals of Andrews who can exude hurt, pain, and anger with his style in a way that not many others appear able to do these days."

HOUSE OF LORDS Saint Of The Lost Souls  Probably my favorite album by the insanely talented and vocally-charismatic James Christian since Cartesian Dreams, and a definite step-up from the relatively disappointing Indestructible, with excellent work from Jimi Bell on guitars, BJ Zampa on drums, and newcomer Chris Tristram on bass.  If the Top 17 was expanded to a Top 20 or 25, this record would definitely be there.

IRON SAVIOR Reforged: Riding On Fire   Despite the fact that this is an album of re-recorded material, it deserves mention due to the superb work done here.  "The performances here are top-notch, with blisteringly fast rhythm guitar work, blazing solos, and some excellent drumming from brand-new drummer, Klose, along with Sielck's voice as snarling and menacing as it stands, this is a nearly perfect collection and an amazing primer for any new fans who want to check out the band's earlier, classic material without paying ridiculous prices."  

JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE He Saw It Comin'  "Crank this eclectic collection, but give it time to grow on you organically.  Don't try to force the record into being Psycho City II or Shot In The Dark II, because you will be being unfair to yourself and to the record."

MANAFEST Stones  A modern rocker with hints of rap mixed throughout the record, Manafest will not be everyone's cup of tea, but Stones deserves a nod.  Currently on tour with Adelita's Way, you may want to check Manafest out if you get the chance in a live setting, as you may be pleasantly surprised with what you ear, even if it's not your regular style of music.

OTHERWISE Sleeping Lions  "Definitely the band's most complete album, and their most interesting, it might not have the big, stand-out tracks like "Soldiers" or "Darker Side Of The Moon", but I feel it is the album that is going to stick with listeners.  Intricate and detailed in places, blazing with anger in others, Sleeping Lions pretty much runs the gamut for the band musically, with hard, crunchy numbers and even a couple of mellower, more laid back moments."  

SILKED & STAINED Love On The Road  "There is no way I anticipated enjoying this record as much as I do, and I find myself returning to it time and time again.  Here's hoping the band gets some recognition in the States and throughout Europe...maybe even Japan...and is able to continue on, as I think they have quite a bit to offer."

SKARLETT RIOT Renegade (Review To Come)  Mixing the angst of modern rockers like Bullet For My Valentine with melodic female vocals and a few hints of 80s-era attitude and edge, Skarlett Riot could really find themselves building an audience in the metal world in 2018 and beyond!

STEELHEART Through Worlds Of Stardust (Review To Come)  Forget everything you thought you knew about Steelheart, as this is 70s-inspired classic rock with some 80s attitude thrown into the mix.

SWEET & LYNCH Unified (Review To Come)  Not quite as solid as their debut, but a very good record, nonetheless.  Sweet is in top-classic Stryper vocals form, and Lynch...well, it's George Lynch!

TEQUILA SUNRISE Danger Zone  "All in all, I found myself really enjoying this record, and the talent is obviously there in large quantities, especially in the guitars and the vocals.  I found it to be a really fun nostalgia trip without the songs all sounding like rehashes of 80s classics.  In all honesty, I think this band could have been a player in the 80s/early 90s, as they have a definite feel for the songwriting, the structure, and the performances of that era."

UNRULY CHILD Can't Go Home The best of the band's output since the reunion of the classic 1992 line-up.  Not the best record in their catalog, but probably Top 3.

And now...THE LIST....

17.  OWL COMPANY Horizon  "Horizon is one of those records that should get massive heavy rock radio attention...and possibly even Grammy-type attention...but it is likely going to fly under the radar of those "in the know" morons who think they know what metal and heavy rock fans want.  Trust me, if you want actual old-school metal, soaked in whiskey and filtered through the doomy sludge of the 70s, heavy rockers Owl Company are exactly what you have been searching for." 

16.  LIV SIN Follow Me  "Generally heavier, and certainly faster in several places than with Sister Sin, Liv Sin has enough elements of her previous band to carry fans over, but there is even more metallic goodness here than in her previous work, and metalheads who may have dismissed her in the past are likely to sit up and take notice now."  

15.  HELL IN THE CLUB See You On The Dark Side (Review To Come)  Slightly different from the Euro-sleaze fans have come to expect from this band, yet still oozing with enough raunch and filth...and absolute place this record solidly among the best I have heard so far this year.    

14.  LA GUNS The Missing Peace  " No skippers, no filler, no pointless intros, outros, or interludes, just a snarling collection of sleaze-drenched rockers and a couple of big power ballads fashioned from some really good songwriting and musical execution.   Edgy, sleazy, gritty...and yet still allowing for a bit of fun...The Missing Peace is everything I could have hoped for in an LA Guns reunion album, minus, of course, a full reunion with Steve Riley, Kelly Nickels, and Mick Cripps..."

13.  NIGHT RANGER Don't Let Up  "While it doesn't reach the level of the band's first three records, Seven Wishes, Midnight Madness, and Dawn Patrol, Don't Let Up is a definite keeper, with all of the classic hard rock elements in place...minus the power ballad...even if all of the classic players are not.  The additions of Levy, and especially Kelli, bring a freshness to the familiar feel of this great band, and that "magic" feel has returned that I felt so connected to back in the 1980s.  The songs are well-written and nearly perfectly played, and the production is absolutely spot-on throughout the record.  Try as I might, I have a hard time finding any major flaws, and only a couple of "lesser" songs (which really aren't bad songs, at all...), keep me from pushing this all the way to the top."

12.  INGLORIOUS II (Review To Come)  While claims that Inglorious may be "the best band to come out of Great Britain since Led Zeppelin" seem a bit over-the-top and, quite frankly, WAY too early, II is definitely catchy as hell and a great, great record with tons of energy and top-notch performances.

11.  SHALLOW SIDE One "For a band I have never heard of prior to this, Shallow Side seems to have hoarded some fairly significant musical talent for their little band and stashed it away so that they could unleash it upon the listeners at the time of their own choosing.  This band knows who they are and are unapologetic about it.  I can appreciate that as a listener because while the sounds and styles vary from track to track, never do you feel like you have a bunch of CDs on shuffle here as the band changes things up.  Rather, you feel exactly like the band intends for you to feel...entertained, a bit challenged, possibly a bit physically exhausted, and still wanting more."

10.  BOBAFLEX Eloquent Demons  " much as I have thoroughly enjoyed their previous efforts, especially Charlatan's Web and Anything That Moves, there is no doubt in my mind that Eloquent Demons has taken the band to a new level."

9.  TOKYO MOTOR FIST Tokyo Motor Fist  "To my mind, this has the feel of a best of record, because there is no truly weak song here. The flow is flawless, there are no weak songs, and the musicianship is top notch.  And as to Ted Poley, I do not think he has ever sounded better anywhere, including the Danger Danger or Poley/Rivera releases, which is saying something, in my mind.  The production is crystal clear, the mix is stellar...I honestly don't have much negative to say about Tokyo Motor Fist other than I have no clue what the name means!"

8.  FICTION SYXX   Tall, Dark Secrets  "Combining an obvious love for the melodic style of the 80s with a somewhat progressive approach to several songs, Fiction Syxx sounds at times to be very familiar and very spite of the fact that nothing here come off as clones or copies of anyone else's music or style."

7.  SHAKRA Snakes And Ladders  "This is a great record from start to finish, and one that I constantly find myself spinning again and again.  What a truly great return for Fox and for Shakra.  Perhaps now the band will get the due that it is deserved!"

6.  ECLIPSE Momentum (Review To Come)  Continuing with the melodic hard rock excellence that this band has brought to the scene for the past few releases, Momentum may be the best album these guys have released, and could easily have slipped into the Top 5 were it not for a couple of surprise hits ahead of it.

5.  BABYLON A.D.  Revelation Highway  "All five of the original band members are here for Revelation Highway, which adds even more to the overall greatness of this record.  No one sounds as if they have lost anything to my ears.  The guitars are edgy yet melodic, with blazing solos and chunky rhythm sections, Davis' voice, while perhaps a touch lower in register than previously, still has grit, power, and range, and there is a tightness to the band that can only be attained through years of playing together.   I absolutely love this record, minor production flaws notwithstanding."  

4.  GALACTIC COWBOYS  Long Way Back To The Moon  "I don't know that this record will be the one that "breaks" the band to the world, as I'm not sure that is even a possibility now, with the way radio and internet music outlets operate.  But it is a record that should give musicians and artists hope that creativity still counts for something and that perhaps perseverance can be its own reward of sorts."  

3.  DOLL HAZARD  Transatlantic Meltdown  "Doll Hazard is an absolutely must-hear for fans of this style of music, and the incorporation of the men's influences and respective bands has created an album that will be hard to match for just about any band who runs on the sleazier, dirtier side of rock n roll.  Regardless of the distance between them, the two men managed to pull off what should be pointed to as a modern standard for the sleaze-punk genre." 

2.  ROMEO RIOT  Sing It Loud  "No question that Sing It Loud is a Top 17 for 2017.  The question is just how high in that Top 17 of '17 it will finish!"  Pure, unadulterated melodic hard rock goodness from start to finish, with huge hooks and amazing songwriting, Romeo Riot sounds as much like a family having an absolute blast as it does a band!  Here's hoping for more in the near future!

...and the Number One album of the year for Glitter2Gutter....

1.  RIVERDOGS  California  "There is very little I can say negatively about this record, and I find myself drawn to just put it on "album repeat" and let it run over and over in the background...except that I keep finding myself stopping to appreciate the overall musical experience the album brings.  This is a mature rock record, to be sure, with deeper thought levels involved in the lyrics of the vast majority of the songs, but that doesn't mean it isn't catchy or inspired.  Quite the opposite is true, in my opinion, as something about every track here definitely catches my attention and pulls me in its direction.  To say that this is a candidate for Record of the Year for me is not an overstatement..."

So there you have it!  The Top 17 of 2017, as voted on by...well, by me.  Here's hoping that 2018 will bring even more hard rock/metal greatness and that everyone finds something that they simply can't stop listening to in the upcoming year!

Thanks for reading!!!

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