2010 MelRock Awards
Back to the 2010 Awards - a few quick notes. I have included titles from MelodicRock Records. I never reviewed any of my own titles for obvious reasons, but felt as if they deserved to be counted amongst their peers for "Best Of" honors. I think I have been very fair how I have placed them and state right now that they would be in the very same places had they been released on any other label.
I noticed a few things in compiling these great albums. One thing is that 2010 was a KILLER year for Debut Albums. So many strong first time releases. The other thing I note is that how quickly time flies. Essentially the 2009 titles are 2 years old and I was adding them into the lists thinking that I had only just reviewed them, just finished talking about them and here we are two years later already. It proves how quickly we are almost forced onto the next title as we are with monthly releases from most labels. There is just so many records to get through and I guess that is why sales are so low for some and why piracy forces it's way into the scene as people clamour to check out more releases than they can possible afford. And nothing there is about to change.
Lastly - because I'm so far behind here - don't shoot me for overlooking any particular title or song. I did my best to go back over the last 2 years and include everything that needed to be included. I think most quality releases over this period have found their way into the lists below. Of course, feel free to let me know what I missed. Just don't yell :)
Coup De Grace
Was there ever any doubt? And with an additional 10 months to contemplate this, there is still no doubt. A melodic rock classic
For any high profile return there is always huge expectations. And in this case the band delivered - none more so than Marcie Free - that voice has been gone for too long, but still sounds wonderful. A diverse, but cohesive album with some absolute blinding AOR tracks.
All's Well That Ends Well
A monster album filled with killer riffs, killer songs, killer solos and a lot of personal angst. There's an an honesty here that speaks to fans in a way few artists can.
Never Too Late
Teaming with the guy that can do no wrong - Erik Martensson - Jimi delivers one of his best vocal performances ever on an album packed with hard hitting songs that define his career. Anthems, heartfelt melodies and emotional vocals. Fist in the air, feel good music, all delievred with a powerful production. Perfect for all fans of Jimi's past and present and still a much loved album for me.
Probably the biggest surprise of the year. A modern styled record, but with all the class of classic Howe lead Bad Company. A memorable and extremely catchy record.
Degreed - Life, Love, Loss
- Well, I decided I can toot my own horn a little. Even if not on my label, this album would have been right here anyway. Absolutely love it. A bridge between the old and the new - with kick ass songs.
Crazy Lixx - New Religion
- With no expectations - this blew me away with its old school hands in the air anthems and contemporary production.
Giant - Promise Land
- Despite the stupid album title and questions over the band name, the guys really delivered a great melodic rock album with some classic production and wonderful songs.
Crash Diet - Generation Wild
- Another surprise package - a lot of angst and energy in this hard rocking, hard sleazing album from Sweden (again!).
Allen/Lande - The Showdown
- Jack's second solo album is a far better and more consistent album than his debut and sits right alongside the awesome Night Ranger album from 2011 as a must have release.
|11||Fenrik Lane - 317|
|12||James LaBrie - Static Impulse|
|13||First Signal - First Signal|
|14||Ratt - Infestation|
|15||Rock Sugar - Reimaginator|
|16||Vega - Kiss Of Life|
|17||N.O.W. - Force Of Nature|
|18||Black Country Communion - Black Country Communion|
|19||Tony Harnell & The Mercury Chain - Round Trip|
|20||Issa - Sign Of Angels|
|21||Auras - New Generation|
|22||Houston - Houston|
|23||Kiske/Somerville - Kiske/Somerville|
|24||Pretty Maids - Pandemonium|
|25||Nelson - Lightning Strikes Twice|
|26||Scorpions - Sting In The Tail|
|27||FM - Metropolis|
|28||Salute - Heart Of The Machine|
|29||Mass - Sea Of Black|
|30||Rick Springfield & Jeff Silverman - From The Vault|
Unruly Child - The Very First Time
Treat - Paper Tiger
Steve Lukather - Darkness In My World
Unruly Child - When We Were Young
Treat - No Way Without You
- Terry Brock - Diamond Blue
- Brian Howe - I'm Back
- Crazy Lixx - My Medicine
- Giant - Believer
Black Country Communion - One Last Soul
- Crash Diet - Generation Wild
- Treat - Roar
- Unruly Child - When Worlds Collide
- Wig Wam - Do Ya Wanna Taste It
- Nelson - You're All I Need
- Vega - Into The Wild
- Steve Lukather - You'll Remember
- Meat Loaf - Peace On Earth
- Ratt - Best Of Me
Allen / Lande - The Showdown
- James LaBrie - I Tried
- Houston - Hold On
- First Signal - This City
- Michael Paynter - Love The Fall
- Treat - Skies Of Mongolia
- Vega - Kiss Of Life
- Black Country Communion - Black Country
- Unruly Child - Read My Mind
- Treat - We Own The Night
H.E.A.T. - We're Gonna Make It To The End
- Allen / Lande - Judgement Day
- Crazy Lixx - Blame It On Love
- Stan Bush - I'm Still Here
- First Signal - When You Believe
- Terry Brock - It's You
- James LaBrie - One More Time
- Asia - Finger On The Trigger
- Two Fires - Burning Bright
- Masterplan - Far From The End Of The World
Mass - All The Years Gone
- James LaBrie - I Need You
- Nelson - Kicking My Heart Around
- H.E.A.T. - Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
- Terry Brock - Face In The Crowd
- Crashdiet - My Armageddon
- Meat Loaf - California Isn't Big Enough
- Steve Lukather - Can't Look Back
- Two Fires - Is It Any Wonder
- Edge Of Forever - I Won't Call You
- Reckless Love - Beautiful Bomb
VOCALIST OF THE YEAR:
Marcie Free (Unruly Child)
Without question, the most anticipated and hyped return of any singer in recent times. And what a voice!
Honorable Mentions - Robert Ernlund (Treat), Terry Brock (Solo & Giant), Brian Howe, James LaBrie.
2009 - John Elefante
2008 - Arnel Pineda
2006 - Pekka Ansio Heino
2005 - Jorn Lande
2004 - Jeff Scott Soto
2003 - Harry Hess.
GUITARIST OF THE YEAR:
One amazing album, a couple of killer tours and some licks from heaven.
Honorable Mentions - Mike Slamer (Terry Brock), Anders Wickstrom (Treat), .
2009 - Erik Martensson (W.E.T.)
2008 - Doug Aldrich
2007 - Thorsten Koehne
2006 - Steve Lukather
2005 - Magnus Karlsson
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:
Steve Lukather, CJ Vanston, Steve MacMillan (FOR: Steve Lukather - All's Well That Ends Well)
This album simply sounds sonically perfect. There is so much going on within this album and the mix is simply crystal clear.
Honorable mentions - Mike Slamer (Terry Brock), Anders Wickstrom (Treat), Brian Howe/Rafe McKenna (Brian Howe).
2009 - Erik Martensson (W.E.T.)
2008 - Dennis Ward
2007 - Dennis Ward
2006 - Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem)
2005 - Dennis Ward
2004 - Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi
2003 - Tommy Denander.
DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:
Jamie Borger (Treat/Last Autumn's Dream)
A simply head-pounding job on the Treat album, plus the always consistent work on last Autumn's Dream. A great year for Jamie.
2009 - Steve West (Danger Danger)
2008 - The Drum Machine
2007 - Kelly Keagy
2006 - Simon Phillips
2005 - Daniel Flores.
BASSIST OF THE YEAR:
Nalle Pahlsson (Treat, Last Autumn's Dream, Chris Laney)
A triple dose of bass glory in 2010 from Nalle. Well deserved!
2009 - Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger)
2008 - Matt Bissonette
2007 - Jack Blades
2006 - Marcel Jacob
KEYBOARDIST OF THE YEAR:
CJ Vanston (Steve Lukather)
CJ added so much atmosphere to this album, but all of it without imposing himself upon it. Subtle brilliance.
2009 - Darren Wharton (Dare)
2008 - Eric Ragno
2007 - Eric Ragno.
Steve Lee (Gotthard); Ronnie James Dio; Jim Clench (April Wine/BTO); Bobby Lee Morgan (Badd Attitude); Mike Edwards (ELO); Michael Been (The Call); Bill Aucoin (manager Kiss, Starz, Toby Beau, Billy Squier, Billy Idol); Dana Key (DeGarmo & Key); Vinnie Chas (Pretty Boy Floyd); Peter Steele (Type O Negative); Bryan Mitchell (studio Engineer); Garry Sharpe Young (Journalist); Tom "T-Bone" Wolk (Hall And Oates); Gregory Pianka (Dirty Looks); Geoff Workman (Engineer and Producer); Jérôme Perdu (Toyz); James Freud (The Models); Bill Bieloh (Moondance Jam founder); Mickey Daniels (Oney).
Marcel Jacob (Talisman/LAD/JSS); Dean Fasano (Prophet/Message); Eric Woolfson (Alan Parsons Project); Pim Koopman & Frank Papendrecht (Kayak en Diesel); Jeff Findley (Photographer); Terry Griffin (wife of Thom Griffin); Greg Ladanyi (Studio Wiz/Producer); Jodi Reese (Shanghai); Patrick Swayze; Kyle Woodring (ex-Survivor, Dennis DeYoung); Mickie Jones (Angel); Wim den Boer (Cotton Soeterboek Band); Guy Babylon (Composer/Elton John Band); Allen Shellenberger (Lit); Tony Dandini (of Journey tribute band 'Capture'); Joel Vinson (Oz Knozz); Midnight (Crimson Glory); Donnie Troy Skiff (Wicked Sins); Michael Jackson; Ean Evans (Lynyrd Skynyrd); Carey Kress (Face Dancer); Gregg Fulkerson (Blue Tears/Attraction 65); Kelly Groucutt (ELO).
These folk who all passed before their tume will be remembered and mourned as great contributors to the music industry. They will be sadly missed.
I don't enjoy highlighting the negative, but one must mention the albums that failed to reach par during 2010 in hope that the same mistakes won't be made next time around.
2010 was a solid year, but for me it also threw up a number of notable failures. None bigger than Captain Zapped. It had the honor of receiving the second lowest score ever and I think I might have been too generous with that 2%.
Mickey Thomas' foray into pop/blues via The Bluemasters failed to make any kind of impact despite the great singer's involvement. Just plain boring and not what any of us AOR fans want to hear.
Bret Michaels continues to confuse fans with a positive spin with his various reality TV appearances, while churning out shit album after shit album as a musician. Time the guy hired proper A&R help and focussed on what fans really want from him. Reality TV only goes so far when you are a born and bred singer.
Eden features one of my favourite UK singers in Nick Workman - but the production curse of Vince O'Regan scored another victim with the release of this band's third and final album. To bad they couldn't deliver once decent sounding album before splitting.
LA Guns - the Phil Lewis version that is - put out one of the worst covers albums I have ever heard. Limp and unfocussed to say the least and horribly mixed.
No one will ever forgive Drive She Said for their best of album - which was marred by the inclusion of three utterly horrendous new tracks - badly produced, badly sung and one of the tunes was so out of left field for this AOR group, fans started wondering if the wrong track had been dropped onto the disc. Sadly is was DSS and I dare say it will probably be the last we ever hear from them.
Cry Wolf was another band to switch musical allegiances to the dark side. Their modern-hard rock themed release came and went without much ado and I doubt they will recover from that either. You simply cannot attempt to make a big comeback and deliver a new style of music to fans that have waited a length of time for new music.
Yngwie Malmsteen continued the roller coaster ride that is his career - this time dipping down for another mess of a release. Nelson's live album also should have been reconsidered - the horrible recording was worse than many bootleg's out there - and I'm including audience recorded shows in that. Thankfully they made up for it with the cool demos release and a cracking new studio album.
Stage Dolls, John Farnham and Robert Plant all did their best to put us to sleep, while the most high profile bomb of the year was probably the comeback Strangeways release. Horrible production, long boring songs and a rushed feeling left this album panned by most fans and critics alike.
2009: Kimberley Dahme - Can't A Girl Change Her Mind, Lita Ford - Wicked Wonderland, Simple Minds - Graffiti Soul, Wetton Downes Icon - 3, Balance - Equilibrium.
2010 was one of the more interesting years for MelodicRock.com. There was the usual business of dealing with labels, artists, management, promoters, retailer, fans and the odd lunatic; but it was also a year which saw me set up my own label (MelodicRock Records - MRR) and take the unwise decision of hosting another MelodicRock Fest.
First to the stats - a generally consistent year, averaging 15,000-18,000 frontpage visits per day. The annual traffic stats reads as follows: 1,623,087 Unique Hits, totalling 5,336,580 visits and 20,978,066 pages viewed. Total "hits" for the 2010 year totalled 337,906,540 for 10,870.06 GigaByte of data transferred. Not too bad! You can add extra for individual forum stats, but that's a general overview.
Sadly the number of visits doesn't necessarily translate to income earned and 2010 was again the worst year on record for that and makes things that little bit tougher - each and every year it seems. A number of retailers dropped advertising during 2010 - not due to any problem with the site, rather their own individual problems like mine - trying to make ends meet. A couple more stores closed business and a couple more are hanging in there. What is universal amongst all advertisers and companies I deal with, 2010 was the toughest year yet and all suffered a further downturn in business. It is the usual call by me to urge everyone reading this to support these businesses as much as you possibly can, but I suspect that you are indeed doing just that and it is the casual or fringe-dwelling fans that are vanishing.
MelodicRock Fest 2 (MRF2) didn't help matters any I'm sad to say. I expanded the concept that was MRF1 into a 3 day event this time around and nearly tripled the number of bands appearing. I locked in a wonderful new venue (which since has disappeared) and paid out far more in advertising than I did for MRF1. And still I got less people through the door each day than I did for MRF1! Just over 500 each day, which was well short of the 700+ per day I needed. So I lost a decent chunk of money I didn't have, when the whole point was to try and raise extra to ensure the site has buffer to operate with. I'm still looking for that buffer!
MRF3 looks as likely as Steve Perry joining Journey. I get a lot of feedback asking of and when, but without significant corporate backing of at least $20k, it won't be anytime soon. 2012 is 15 years of MelodicRock.com, it would be nice to celebrate in style. But you might have to meet me at the pub for a drink instead. Which pub? TBC!
I have to say though - the festival itself was an absolute blast. The line-up was incredible (if I dare say so myself) and the fans gathered were so supportive and so enthusiastic for the event, it really was a terrific weekend all-round (apart from the sales!). Each band I thought brought their A-Game and delivered on the day. It really was a wonderful atmosphere and a room filled with passionate music fans. And I REALLY appreciate the feedback from those that continue to talk about the weekend!
The Treat Fans Like Mushrooms Award - Van Halen - And nothing is expected to change anytime soon!
The 'Steve Perry/Journey' Best Bust Up Award - Portnoy vs Dream Theater - Ugly.
The 'Greg Giuffria - On No, My Studio Is On Fire' Award - Tesla - Sadly the band joined a unique club.
The 'Charlie Watts - I'm Not Dead Yet' Award - Ten - for their ghostly halo PR picture.
The 'Motley Crue - Are We A Band Or Not' Award - Ratt & Stephen Pearcy - Make up your minds already!
The 'Vampires R Us' Award - Sebastian Bach - For 'allegedly' biting bar staff and being arrested in Ontario.
The 'Axl Rose - Anyone's Fault But Mine' Award - Axl Rose - once again making friends everywhere he goes - this time with Reading and Leeds Festival organizers in UK.
The 'Kiss Alive 2029 World Tour' Award - Scorpions & Judas Priest - for announcing their retirements, on the back of new albums and world tours to follow!
The 'Don't Fire Management, Fire Yourself' Award - Jon Bon Jovi - Let Richie run the show for a change.
The 'GWAR - Make It Stop Award' For The Most Unnecessary CD: LA Guns - Covered In Guns (Covers album).
Previous Winner: Duran Duran, Billy Idol.
The 'Frankie Sullivan' Lawsuits-Are-Us Award: Tom Scholz sues Boston Herald; Axl Rose sues Activision - the regulars were at it again!
Previous Winners: Motely Crue, Meatloaf / Jim Steinman, The World Vs SonyBMG, Frankie Sullivan.
The 'Henry Lee Summer' DUI Award - Bobby Blotzer, Vince Neil - Those two...again! Shame!
The 'Gene Simmons' I'll Flog Anything Award: Mickey Thomas - Studio Fantasy Sessions w/Mickey (at $2000 a pop!).
Previous Winner: Beau Hill, George Lynch, Gene Simmons.
The 'Vince Neil' Best Off-Stage Antics Award: Joe Elliott & Ian Hunter - the duo were seen double teaming security and others back/side stage in the UK.
Previous Winners: Richie Sambora, Jani Lane, Jani Lane, Vince Neil, Vince Neil and Sebastian Bach.
2009 and 2010 served up the two single biggest dickheads that I have ever had to deal with in 15 years of running this site. To name them now would be rehashing old crap that has long since disappeared from my radar. Neither is worthy of any further thought. But for anyone in doubt - 2009's DH was all over my Noticeboard for a period of time and responsible for some of the best rants I have seen ever posted there or elsewhere. He will forever be remembered for providing us with some much needed comedy.
2010's dickhead was even worse - a truly vindictive asshole that has had issues with just about everyone he has ever dealt with - to the point where there are few left to deal with. All that come across his path soon after realize what a grade a pillock he is and also stop dealing with him. To his credit, he did manage to spin my dumping his ass from the site into a "I dumped you first" rant posted in a few places. Not that anyone was listening or cared. When he lost all control on the Noticeboard he buried any remaining credibility he might have held on to. To this day he remains in business (not as a full time job), how I don't really know. True comedic gold!