Your Top Albums of 2005

Add Your Best CDs of 2005

23/01/07: Christian Pohl -
I think 2005 was a great melodic year, so I have to write down a lot of stuff. It comes in alphabetical order:
Allen/Lande - The battle (Melodic Rock,music by Magnus Karlsson)
Astral Doors - Evil is forever (Metal with a touch of Dio)
Brazen Abbot - My resurrection (Purple influenced Hard Rock)
Danger Danger - Live and nude (Melodic Rock)
Dreamland - Future's calling (Melodic Metal)
Epica - Consign to oblivion (Gothic)
Gotthard - Lip service (Melodic Rock)
Heartland - Move on (Melodic Rock)
Iommi - Fused (Metal with Glenn Hughes)
Joe Lynn Turner - The usual suspects (Melodic Hard Rock)
Kamelot - The black halo (Melodic Progressive Metal)
Kinrick - Sense your darkness (Metal)
Tony Martin - Scream (Hard Rock)
Masterplan - Aeronautics (Melodic Metal)
Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion (Melodic Power Metal)
Place Vendome - s./t. (Melodic Rock with Michael Kiske)
Primal Fear - Seven seals (Heavy Metal)
Rush - R30 (it's Rush)
Seven Wishes - Destination:Alive (Hard Rock)
Seventh Key - Live in Atlanta (Melodic Rock)
Shakra - Fall (Hard Rock)
Starbreaker - s./t. (with Magnus Karlsson + Tony Harnell)
Supreme Majesty - Elements of creation (Melodic Metal)
that's it :-)

06/01/07: Matthew -
First of all, I'd like to thank Andrew for running such a top notch site. I've been coming to everyday for almost three years. Sometimes, I think I know more about the current news in Melodic Rock than current world events!

I tend to lean towards more progressive music, but a strong sense of melody is at the core of everything I listen to. Here are my top picks for 2005, including some titles that might not necessarily have been talked about at this site:

1 - Novak, Forever Endeavour (still can't get enough of this one and can't wait for the next)
2 - TNT, All The Way To The Sun ("Driving" has to be one of the top songs of the year)
3 - Place Vendome, Self Titled (Great AOR album)
4 - Anberlin, Never Take Friendship Personal (best modern rock album in years)
5 - X-Saviour, Caleidoscope (melodic and progressive with a different twist)
6 - Kino, Picture (a melodic album that would likely appeal to many AOR fans on this site)
7 - Neal Morse, ? (brilliant prog epic)
8 - Porcupine Tree, Deadwing (heavy, progressive and melodic)
9 - Journey, Generations (this one really grew on me)
10 - Radioactive, Taken ("Stronger Than Yesterday" is a classic)

13/07/06: Nina -
1. Bon Jovi- Have a nice day
2. Bon Jovi- Have a nice day
3. Bon Jovi- Have a nice day

...The greatest album of 2003., 2004., 2005., 2006.

- BON JOVI - HAVE A NICE DAY (not every song is a killer but those who are simply rock you out of this world)
- GOTTHARD - LIP SERVICE (this is unbelievable one of the closest thing to perfection ever made)
- PLACE VENDOME - S/T (wonderfull...simply huge choruses)
- WIG WAM - HARD TO BE A ROCK AND ROLLER IN KIEV (even bigger than the band in 15 years)

31/05/06: restless one - petermay@adam
1. Allen/Lande : The Battle 2. TnT : All The Way to the Sun 3. Harem Scarem : Overload 4. Masterplan : Aeronautics 5. Journey : Generations

21/05/06: Twofires -
My late top 3 is

1. Gotthard - Lipservice
2. oliver hartman - Out in the cold
3. sister Hazel - Lift


1. Bon Jovi - Have a Nice day

02/04/06: Craig Bishop -
Here we go again. I cannot believe another year has gone by already!

1. TNT - All the Way to the Sun: Hands up who thought they produced a far superior album (both sonically & musically) than My Religion? Surely I can't be the only one?

2. HAREM SCAREM - Overload: Nothing I can really say about this band that hasn't already been said. Pure Class!!!

3. PLACE VENDOME - Place Vendome: Welcome back Michael Kiske! Surprise package of the year for sure. Can’t wait for his new solo album!
4. ALLEN/LANDE - The Battle: By far the best heavy rock album of the year. A Classic!
5. DREAM THEATER – Octavarium: Welcome back boys, easily their best album since Scenes From A Memory.
6. GOTTHARD - Lip Service
7. STARBREAKER - Starbreaker
8. MASTERPLAN - Aeronautics
10. KHYMERA – A New Promise

16/03/06: SAVA -
My list in alphabetical order:

AFTER FOREVER - Remagine (gothic/power metal)
ALLEN-LANDE - The Battle (melodic metal)
ASTRAL DOORS - Evil Is Forever (classic hard rock/heavy metal)
BLANC FACES - Blanc Faces (melodic rock)
CIRCUS MAXIMUS - The 1st Chapter (progressive metal)
DARK TRANQUILLITY - Character (melodic death metal)
DIVINEFIRE - Hero (power/thrash metal)
FREAK KITCHEN - Organic (special hard rock)
GLENN HUGHES - Soul Mover (hard rock)
HATE - Anaclasis (brutal death metal)
IMPELLITTERI - Pedal To The Metal (metal)
JADED HEART - Helluva Time (melodic hard rock)
JOE LYNN TURNER - The Usual Suspects (classic hard rock)
JOURNEY - Generations (classic rock)
KHYMERA - A New Promise (melodic hard rock)
KREATOR - Enemy Of God (thrash/speed metal)
LANA LANE - Lady MacBeth (progressive heavy metal/hard rock)
MASTERPLAN - Aeronautics (melodic/power metal)
MORS PRINCIPIUM EST - The Unborn (melodic death metal)
NOCTURNAL RITES - Grand Illusion (heavy metal)
OLD MAN'S CHILD - Vermin (black/death/thrash metal)
OLIVER HATRMANN - Out In The Cold (melodic hard rock)
PLACE VENDOME - Place Vendome (melodic heavy metal/hard rock)
RICHARD ANDERSSON - The Ultimative Andersson Collection (classic Malmsteein metal)
ROB ROCK - Holy Hell (heavy metal/hard rock)
ROBIN BECK - Do You Miss Me (melodic rock/pop)
RUSSELL ALLEN - Russell Allen's Atomic Soul (hard rock)
SCAR SYMMETRY - Symmetric In Design (melodic death metal)
SENTENCED - The Funeral Album (heavy/melodic metal)
TONY MARTIN - Scream (Heavy Metal)
TRIVIUM - Ascendacy (so-called NWOAHM)
VADER - The Art Of War (EP) (brutal death metal)
VISION DIVINE - The Perfect Machine (power/progressive metal)

I know that some great music didn't come to my hands...
Best wishes...

04/03/06: Mike -
1. Kamelot - The Black Halo
2. Masterplan - Aeronautics
3. Allen/Lande - The Battle
4. Gotthard - Lip Service
5. Oliver Hartmann - Out In The Cold

04/03/06: Mike -
1. Kamelot - The Black Halo
2. Masterplan - Aeronautics
3. Allen/Lande - The Battle
4. Gotthard - Lip Service
5. Oliver Hartmann - Out In The Cold

22/02/06: Restless One -
1.Marcie Free - Tormented (JAPAN CD) Absolutely Brilliant Heavy Melodic Rock... Worth the High Price on Ebay! Got it in 2005. 2.Allen / Lande - The Battle. Great Vocals (Jorn Lande) Suberb Heavy Melodic Rock with catchy choruses which stick in your head!3.Masterplan - Aeronautics. Jorn Lande wins again...

20/02/06: WardyS3 (Mick Ward) -
Well it took me close to an hour to get through Melrock 05 and all your comments so I'm gonna make this real short and list in order my picks then only make mention of what were other highlights for me in 05. These ARE NOT only melodicrock albums and I'm not going to break them into catagories. So there! ;)

Should mention also that although Andrew has had me do some reviews for him in 05 (Thanks for trusting me with those A, sorry didn't get all you gave me done but hopefully time permits me to get a few more done for you in 06), I've not heard a lot of what has been listened to by all of you so consider this my list of MY purchases for 2005 if you would.

1. Paradise Lost - 'Self titled'
2. Pagan's Mind - Enigmatic Calling
3. Charon - Songs for the Sinners
4. Masterplan - Aeronautics
5. Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny of Souls
6. Vanishing Point - Embrace the Silence
7. Sevendust - Next
8. Helloween - The Keeper III
9. Dream Theater - Octavarium
10. Allen/Lande - The Battle

Other highlights;
Circus Maximus - the 1st Chapter
Royal Hunt - Paper Blood
Thunder - The Magnificent Seventh
Beautiful Creatures - Deuce
D.A.D - Scare Yourself
Disturbed - 10000 Fists
Kings X - Ogre Tones

Disapointment for 2005 was new Audioslave.
Song of the year, tuff but goes to Masterplan's Falling Sparrow, followed by Charon's new single Colder.
Surprise release was Disturbed as I usually hate this stuff!?
My Melodicrock surprise release was Vanishing Point, only just discovered em weeks before new album, & boy did they deliver!
Best album packaging/artwork goes to Paradise Lost (due to the fold out digi pack format I paid huge for but was worth it), followed closely by Masterplan's Aeronautics - (I was lucky enough to grab the digi pack format of this also!)

With a new Queensryche (and MindcrimeII at that!), Evergrey, Whitesnake live DVD/CD (finally) and a possible 'I'm hoping but know it's a long shot' Megadeth release, 2006 is already looking to be huge!

Here's a rockin 2006 to you all!!!!!

19/02/06: Mange - Sweden
Mötley Crüe
Tommy Lee
System Of A Down
Black Label Society
Crucified Barbara
In Flames

18/02/06: jonas -
A tough one as usual, but my top five (six)would be something like this.
1. Opeth-Ghost reveries (Progressive mix of death metal, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd)
2. Harem Scarem - Overload (always very high quality songwriting)
3. Starbreaker (Tony Harnell is GOD)
4. Primal Fear-Seven seals (Haevy Metal as it should sound)
5. Crash Diet-Rest in Sleaze (Sleaze at it´s best. RIP Dave Lepard)

6. Bad Moon Rising - Full moon collection (Mr Aldich on guitar, what more is there to say)

14/02/06: Geoff -
Two best of lists from me. My combined Top 5 of the year is:

1. Cauterize - 'Paper Wings'
2. Hedley - s/t
3. Blanc Faces - s/t
4. Anberlin - 'Never take friendship personal'
5. Hotshot - s/t

Melodic Hard Rock (in order):

Blanc Faces s/t
Hotshot hotshot
Airless 2nd round
Place Vendome s/t
Khymera a new promise
91 Suite times they change
Crashdiet rest in sleaze
Surrender better late than never
Sha Boom the race is on
Gypsy Rose s/t
Phillip Bardowell in the cut
Bad Habit hear say
Jaded Heart helluva time
Swedish Erotica too daze gone
Blue Tears mad, bad and dangerous
Dogpound a night in the gutter
Gotthard lipservice
Harem Scarem overload
Circus stay for the ride
Robin Beck do you miss me
TNT all the way to the sun
Silence Nostalgia
SIN equilibrium
Bombay Black mercy
Emerald Rain sleepwalk
Line of Fire line of fire
Bon Jovi have a nice day
Allen/Lande the battle
Bruce Turgon outside looking in
Vain on the line
Starbreaker s/t
Change of Heart Truth or dare
Matrex I'll always remember
Shy unfinished business
LA Guns tales from the strip
Seven Wishes destination alive
Terra Nova escape
Rox Diamond powerdrive
Return return
Diving for Pearls texas
Stryper reborn
Silver Gold
Boysvoice serentity
Crystal Ball Time walker
Hardcore Superstar s/t
Shakra fall
Radioactive taken
Oliver Hartmann out in the cold
Alien dark eyes

Modern Hard rock (in order):

Cauterize paper wings
Hedley s/t
Anberlin never take freindship personal
Story of the Year In the wake of determination
Hinder extreme behaviour
Bullet for my Valentine the poison
Silverstein discovering the waterfront
Houston Calls a collection of short stories
Acceptance phantoms
Funeral for a Friend hours
The Receiving End of Sirens between the heart and the synapse
All American Rejects move along
Mest photographs
The Used in love and death
Ra Duality
My American Heart the meaning in make-up
The Wedding s/t
Waking Ashland composure
Stretch Arm Strong free at last
Nickelback all the right reasons
Spitalfield stop doing bad things
Trust Company true parallels
Hawthorne Heights silence in black and white
Spill Canvas One fell swoop
Number One Gun promises for the imperfect
Cartel chroma
Trapt someone in control
Default one thing remains
Rise Against siren songs for the counter cult
Cold a different kind of pain
My Chemical Romance three cheers for revenge
Fall Out Boy under the cork tree
Thrice vheissu
3 Doors Down 17 days
Shinedown us and them

14/02/06: Zok -
2005 was a good year for rock!

1 Masterplan - Aeronautics / Kamelot - The black halo
2 Judas Priest - Angel of retribution
3 Primal fear - Seven Seals
4 Allen/Lande - The battle
5 Gotthard - Lipservice
6 Crashdiet - Rest in Sleaze
7 Disturbed - Ten thousand fists
8 Place Vendome - Place vendome
9 Final Frontier - High tension Wire
10 Starbreaker - Starbreaker
11 Heartland - Move on
12 Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny of souls
13 Bruce Turgon - Outside lookin in
14 Khymera - A new Promise
15 Diving for pearls - Texas
16 Black Label Society - Mafia
17 Blanc Faces - Blanc Faces
18 Hammerfall - Chapter v
19 Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion
20 Bon Jovi - Have a nice day
21 Edge of forever - Let the demon rock n roll
22 Philip Bardowell - In the cut
23 Frameshift(Sebastian Bach) - An Absence of empathy

13/02/06: Joey -

12/02/06: frytz -
overall a really cool year for Rock! Great to hear Michael Kiske on such a strong record!!!!

1 - Place Vendome
2 - Harem Scarem - overload
3 - Winterville - everything in moderation
4 - Black Label Society - Mafia
5 - John Norum - Optimus
6 - Richie Kotzen - Get Up
7 - King's X - Ogre Tones
8 - Thunder - the magnificent 7th
9 - Journey - Generations
10 - Allen/Lande - the battle

12/02/06: Roger -
I am very very surprised that not one of my top 3 of the year even cracked your list.... But here are my top 3 of the year.

1 - Frameshift -Absence Of Empathy - with Sebastian Bach, by far... the album of the year, an incredible peice of work, best thing i've heard in years.
2 - Dream Theater - Octavarium - Dream Theater seems to get better and better for every album that they release..Great Stuff!

3 - James Labrie - Elements Of Persuasion - By far Jame's best solo work to date... it was actually heavier than Dream Theater, I was very impressed and it didnt sound like a "solo" album at all.... Some of it sounded as heavy as Megadeth, its almost like Megadeth with James Labrie on vocals..Great !

12/02/06: Charles -
I very much enjoyed what 2005 had on offer! Here's my top 15 albums ...

1. TNT - All The Way To The Sun
2. Masterplan - Aeronautics
3. Allen/Lande - The Battle
4. Starbreaker - S/T
5. Place Vendrome - S/T
6. Pendragon - Believe
7. Shaman - Reason
8. Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy
9. Harem Scarem - Overload
10. Brazen Abbot - My Resurrection
11. Dream Theater - Octavarium
12. Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day
13. Joe Lynn Turner - The Usual Suspects
14. Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In
15. Journey - Generations

I'm afraid I'm also among the minority that believes TNT got an even better album out than My Religion, which was itself phenomenal... It's one of those that grows on you and doesn't let go, and I felt My Religion had a couple of tracks that I got easily bored of. There's none of that on AtWttS

Masterplan blew my mind, and my top song of 2005 would be Black In The Burn. Every song has its own draw and identity, and Jorn just delivers some of the most mind-melting vocals I ever heard.
But directly behind that release is Allen/Lande, another damn near perfect release. These 2 albums can interchange in the top 3 all the time. Strongest top 3 I think I've ever had.

10/02/06: Shade -
1 KAMELOT The black halo
2 ARENA Peppers Ghost
3 THUNDER The Magnificent Seventh
4 Glenn Hughes Soul Mover
5 Rob Rock Holy Hell
6 AUDIOVISION The calling
7 RPWL World through my eyes
8 Stacie Rose Shadow & splendor
9 Allen/Lande The Battle
10 Forty Deuce Nothing To Lose
11 Riverside Second Life Syndrom
12 Starbreaker Starbreaker
13 Katie Melua Piece by piece
15 FLAGSHIP Maiden Voyage
16 Steve Howe Spectrum
17 Kate Bush Aerial
18 Bruce Dickinson Tyranny of Souls
19 Dream Theather Octavarium
20 Stream of Passion Embrace the storm
21 Doomfoxx Doomfoxx
22 SHAKIRA Fijacion oral Vol.1
23 Status Quo The Party ain't over yet
24 Gotthard Lipservive
25 Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros (Bad out there)
26 UFO Showtime
27 Legs Diamond Diamonds are forever
28 Helloween Keeper of the 7 Keys-The Legacy
29 Simple Minds Black & White 050505
30 RPWL Start the fire / Live

I am having some non-rock albums in here like every year.
For me there's good music and music I don't like, and of course I like Katia Melua, Kate Bush and SHAKIRA !!! "If you don't like it I don't care."

My top three shows (out of almost 45 I think ! with Festivals count as one) have been :

ARENA + RPWL @ the Eclipsed festival in Aschaffenburg
EVERYTHING was perfect on this day, I will never forget this,
I can remember having tears in my eyes at the ARENA show so
beautiful it was, meet both bands, did two wonderful interviews
all was excellent, one of my alltime Top 10 shows EVER !

AGENT STEEL @ Keep it true 5 - special day also, maybe too personal, my friends in Agent Steel were on a tour and it was not crowded at the shows to say the least, but on this day in April 2005 about 1000 people were there and a few hundred going crazy. I know people were critisizing the sound, I was right infront of the stage and I was loving every second of it.
Very special they played the whole of "Skeptics Apocalypse".

Bang Your Head Festival 2005 as a whole - as everybody (?) knows by now a big thunderstorm hurricane destroyed the camping grounds. The spirit, helpfullness and the local people helping out, bringing food and drinks, people helping each other and so on, that it the Metal community I really like, plus the peacefull ongoing event and most of all the crew that worked their asses off so that it could even continue that was a highlight in itself that wouldn't be possible at Rock Am Ring or elsewhere , then the bands who played only a few (3) songs and put all their energy and strenght into it (Demon, Vicious Rumors etc) making the best out of this situation.

10/02/06: Rev Chadwick Norris -
By far the best Hard Rock / Melodic album of the Year was Stryper's Reborn. It was a successful release along with a tour to match. The guys can only get better with each new release. No one in the industry are tighter or can match the chemistry the guys have.

10/02/06: Almir Fuschini -
First of all, congratulations, Andrew. What a great job. I dare to say the greatest since you started the site.

Now my Top 10 Cds:

1 - Allen/Lande - The Battle

2 - Place Vendome - S/T

3 - Khymera - A New Promise

4 - Oliver Hartmann - Out In The Cold

5 - Jaded Heart - Helluva Time

6 - Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In

7 - Brazen Abott - My Resurection

8 - Joe Lynn Turner - The Usual Suspects

9 - Phillip Bardwell - In The Cut

10 - Radioactive - Taken

That's it!

09/02/06: Ed -
Andrew - great job. However, I think you totally overlooked Crash Diet - Rest In Sleaze. Unfortunately, the lead singer just passed, but this is a great album nonetheless. If you are into huge backing vocals, catchy refrains, powerful guitars, and lots of attitude, this is the cd for you. I can't stop listening to it. They have some mp3 samples at

09/02/06: Shawn Pooley -
1. Hedley - Hedley: Debut cd from a new Canadian act spawned from the second season of the Canadian Idol tv show. Lead singer Jacob Hoggard made the top 3, then begged fans to vote him off so he could pursue a career with Hedley, and not be stuck into the Idol contract as a solo artist. Clearly the most entertaining and charasmatic of all Idol finalists, fans honoured his wishes and he didn't make the final two. A year to the day that Season two finished, the Hedley cd was released. Five months have passed, the album has gone Platinum in Canada and has already spawned three hit singles. Very nu-breed'ish, with so much melody and hooks that even five months later I am catching new things in the songs I hadn't heard before. Reaction on this site has been very positive from those who have heard the cd or the soundbites. In the Simple Plan style maybe, but definately a cut above (and I loved Simple Plans latest cd). The band is still an unknown commodity outside of Canada, so it would be a nice surprise to anyones collection.

2. Gotthard - Lip Service: I am afraid to admit that I hadn't heard of Gotthard till 2005. It's hard to believe given their back catalog. When I saw all the discussion regarding Gotthard in the message boards, I snooped around to hear some clips. The first thing I heard was "Lift U Up" and I was sold in the matter of about 10 seconds. When I ordered the cd from one of Andrews Sponsors, they talked me into also purchasing "One Team One Spirit" the greatest hits collection so I could catch up on their history as well. Unbelievable stuff! I am a fan forever now. If it wasn't for, I would never know who these guys were.

3. TNT - All The Way To The Sun: Well, at least with TNT I can truthly say I was on board since 1985. I have to say though that I am in the minority in thinking this cd is better than 2004's "My Religion". After numerous listens, just more songs on this one stood out for me. "Driving", "Me And I" and "Sometimes" are as good as anything they have ever done.

4. Harem Scarem - Overload: I am surprised at the pace these guys keep putting out music, and great music at that. I wouldn't rank it as high as "Weight Of The World" and "Higher", but it was a very solid record. It took me longer to like it than the previous two, but after numerous listens, the melodies really were there and it's another great Harem Scarem release.

5. Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day: I echo the sentiments of almost everyone on this one. A much better cd than the last two (though I think Bounce was better than I guess they are steadily improving....again). I also agree that the bonus tracks that were left out of the North American cd should have been on the cd. Bon Jovi, we are not scared of the rockers, give us more of them! It seemed some throwaways (eg Wildflower) made the cd, and the kick ass rockers were the bonus tracks. Very sad.

6. Billy Idol - Devil's Playground: Loved it! I think "Romeo's Waiting" is one of the best songs of 2005. It was good to see Billy Idol put out what to me sounded like a classic Billy Idol record. I wish the song about Christmas became a Christmas time hit though...but I didn't hear a thing about it. I think it was released? Does anyone know?

7. Bif Naked - Superbeautifulmonster: She's been rocking Canada for 10 years, but I think she's still unknown everywhere else. Another classic Bif release which included a killer cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters". Tonnes of ear candy on the cd for everyone.

8. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons: I'm another Nickelback basher who had to admit this album kicked some serious ass. I'm still waiting for "Far Away" to be released, a smash in the waiting. "Saving Me" is doing the deed right now though.

9. Bo Bice - The Real Thing: I was very surprised at the number of quality songs on this cd. "Nothing Without You" is a killer track.

10. The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell And Back: Some very catchy tunes, and kick ass cover art. Too bad the album didn't sell worth a shit.

09/02/06: jake to the bone -
1. Harem scarem - Overload
2. Gotthard - Lipservice
3. Blanc faces - Blanc faces
4. Oliver Hartmann - Out in the cold
5. Philip Bardowell - In the cut
6. Journey - Generations
7. Thunder - The magnificent seventh
8. Radioactive - Taken
9. Place vendome - Place vendome
10. Emerald rain - Sleepwalk

09/02/06: Daymond Cain -
1. Masterplan - Aeronautics (Falling Sparrow just ROCKS!)
2. Allen/Lande - The Battle (Norwegian vocalist Jorn scores again)
3. Nickelback - All the Right Reasons (Lyrics to "Animals" worth price of admission. The rest kicks too)
4. Starbreaker - S/T (Tony Harnell and Co. just shred)
5. TNT - All the Way to the Sun (and a very awesome return)
6. Gotthard - Lip Service (Replace Krokus as Swiss top export)
7. Styper - Reborn (Hallelujah)
8. Bon-Jovi - Have a Nice Day (A great tongue-in-cheek F.U. song, sarcasm at its best)
9. Disturbed - 10,000 Fists (Just rocks - "Land of Confusion" better than the original)
10 Billy Idol - Devil's Playground (Reunited w/Steve Stevens with a solid effort.

08/02/06: Stocky -
1. Jaded Heart - Helluva Time
2. Kamelot - Black Halo
3. Wig Wam - Hard to be a Rock n Roller
4. Vanishing Point - Embrace The Silence
5. Allen/Lande - The Battle
6. Masterpaln - Aeronautics
7. Hammerfall - Chapter V
8. Nickelback - All The right reasons
9. Freedom Call - The Circle Of Life
10.Starbreaker - Starbreaker

08/02/06: John (trekman) -
Well, I just wanted to tell Andrew that it was well worth the wait for the best of 2005. Great Job Mate! Well Done!!

As most of the posters have done here, it was/is all your opinion and feelings as to what was and was not good. Anyone that seriously has a problem with any of it and blasts you, really needs to get a life. Its personal opinion. Thats what reviewing is about.

Anyway...I think the part that hit me the hardest, that almost brought a tear to my eye is how bad the music industry (business part) has become. How its all about the profit and how so many have forgotten what the music is about. How much and what it means to so many. Its to bad they dont/wont listen to the people that are here the indies, the artists and the lovers of great music like us.

I go through the message and notice boards both and see how some fans can be obsessed with what they believe in. Making it a less than enjoyable place for others some times. I applaude you Andrew for your actions towards these types. All the crazies!! You give them a VERY fair chance to stop or come clean. Yet they persist and end up losing the privlidge of being here!

I Love this site! I have since I first came upon it. It has brought music to me that I love and probably never would have heard, had I not been here. It has introduced me to new friends around the world. And I think enhanced my life in a way. Dont laugh. Music is a BIG part of my life every day. It hard to imagine what my life would be like without the music I Love.

I really have never had any problems with the site, except with the radio station being down,the playlist, and the links page missing. LOL But I know those things also take time. And good things come to those who wait. We got MRxtra didnt we? Which I thourghly love. I have downloaded music 100 times worth what I am paying for the service. And anyone that doesnt think its worth the price is foolish!

Reviews & Interviews and music bytes are always top notch. They have always been enjoyable and quite often help me with the decision on what to and not to buy.

I want to Thank You personally for all the hard work, the extra hours in the day, the sweat, the sacrifices, the bullshit, and the stress you endure for making this the fantastic site that it is! I have sent you many emails and questions and even though they make take a while for you to respond (it's ok) you have always written back. I think that a lot of us wish we could be in your place. Being so close to those that make the music what it is. But we would have to take the bad with the good. And many wouldnt/couldnt handle it very well. Giving up without a fight. But adverisity and a good challenge will only make us stronger and wiser for the next problem.

You take a big risk placing info and pics of your family here. As some people will use it wrongly. Your trust and belief in all your friend here is appreciated. Thank you for allowing/trusting us to see and bringing a part of your personal life to us. It really makes for a better relationship and family feeling for us all.

And finally, for someone who is thousands of miles away on another continent. Someone that I have not and probably never will :( meet. (Although I did hear your CMS interview) I take pride in calling you Mate. I respect and admire you for who you are and what you do.

Thank You Andrew for being here, for us all!!

John Blanchard (trekman)
Jackson, Michigan

08/02/06: nicko -
Top Ten of 2005.
1.Vain-On The Line
3.Alice Cooper-Dirty Diamonds
5.Bon Jovi-Have a Nice Day
6.Beautiful Creatures-Deuce
8.TnT-All The Way To The Sun
10.Hollywood Rocks-Box Set

08/02/06: Jabba -
One word - Stryper.

After 15 years apart... killer.

08/02/06: Andy Hawes -
I have to agree with a lot of Andrew's comments about 2005. For me, the year has been particularly notable for the poor showing of the AOR fraternity. Ok, there have been some decent albums, but there have been some colossal disappointments too. In particular, the production quality on some CDs. I think that a number of key 'name' producers have been very much 'overworked' and this has shown in the quality of sound on the work they produce. I'm particularly concerned about the production on Robin Beck's album...Some GREAT songs let down by a weak production... I can literally get guitar sounds like that in my bedroom on my digital 8-track recorder. Now, come on...that can't be right, can it? These guys are using far better gear than me (I hope!!). Even my current fave top bloke Tommy Denander let me down with a rather weak effort with Radioactive's 'Taken'. Just not up to the standard of 'Yeah' at all and let's not even talk about Bobby Kimball's vocals on the first track (he's SO much better than that performance suggests!!)So, is it just a case of these guys being all over the place on so many projects that they can't really do any of them justice? maybe... Or is it simply that the AOR crowd is running out of ideas? I hope not. I have been a fan of this sort of stuff for 26 years, own literally hundreds of CDs, have loads of MRX MP3 downloads and, until recently bought a lot of music every month. Sadly, in the past 6 months, I have found my interest in new music in my beloved genre slipping away and I find myself seeking out the re-issues of stuff I either missed out on originally or had on dodgy cassette or vinyl and was never released onto CD until now. Hopefully 2006 can rekindle my faith... The new Ambition CD sounds great from the samples I've heard and I can't wait to hear Toto's new one. Will the new Survivor be any good? Hope so, but ain't holding my breath...
On a positive note, Bon Jovi kicked major ass in 2005 with 'Have A Nice Day'and Place Vendome impressed me as well. Gotthard's album is also a regular resident in my car's CD player on the way to work....

08/02/06: Figge -
1. Russell Allen / Jorn Lande - The Battle
2. Masterplan - Aeronautics
3. Gotthard - Lipservice
4. Place Vendome - Place Vendome
5. Billy Idol - Devil's Playground
6. Forty Deuce - Nothing To Lose
7. Starbreaker - Starbreaker

08/02/06: Little Linda -
I'm afraid anything with Jorn Lande on vocals is going to be pretty hard to touch by anybody in my humble opinion. That man is a god. The power and passion he delivers in each and every song is just magnificent.

I just wish he'd come back over to the UK and do a gig, or even better a tour.

Other highlights from the years releases would also include Gotthard (both Lipservice and their live tour) and Power Quest (again both for Magic Never Dies and their live performances).

I'd also like to vote Jorn Lande for Firefest III (if it goes ahead)!

08/02/06: Jeff -
Best CD's 0f 2005
1. Gotthard - Lip Service
2. Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day

08/02/06: Federico -
In 2004 my tastes were more similar to Andrew's favorites.(TNT-my religion was my winner). Here's my hit parade

1-Wig wam-Hard to be a rock n' roller
3-Bon jovi-Have a nice day
4-Big cock-Year of the cock
5-Place vendome-s/t
6-Tnt-all the way to the sun
7-Shy-sunset and wine
8-Vision Divine-The perfect machine
9-The darkness-one way ticket
10-L.A guns-Tales from the strip
11-Sha-boom-the race is one
12-Crash diet-Rest in sleaze(r.i.p. Dave)
13-Khymera-a new promise
14-Deep purple-rapture of the deep
15-Billy Idol-Devil's playground
17-Hammerfall-chpter five
18-Jaded heart-helluva time
20-Michele Luppi's heaven-Strive
21-Helloween-The legacy of keeper
22-Rasmus-hide from the sun
23-Joe Lynn Turner-the usual suspects
I must admit that I have listen just some tracks from Masterplan,Edguy,Bombay Black and Allen/Lande

07/02/06: Lars Björkström -
Frontiers or MTM! I would love to hear an album with Jorn lande, Magnus Karlsson, Dennis Ward and Daniel Flores.
These guys are just mazing.
That would be awesome!
Great choice for musicians of the year.


07/02/06: Marc Vanway -

07/02/06: Tomas Magnusson -
I agree with Andrew on most parts of his list but in my opinion one certain album should have been in on it. Here is my 2005 top three:
1. Kamelot "The black halo" - the word melodic finds a new meaning on this album. You must check it out. Fantastic production and songs that are so magically melodical that you simply drift away into another world.
2. Masterplan "Aeronautics" -Fantastic album, heavy, melodic and JORN!!!
3. Allen/Lande - a marvellous album as well with even more Jorn.

One notable thing with my top 3. All Norweigan singers!! Kahn in Kamelot and Jorn Lande. Whats with this country?

Cheers! //Tomas

07/02/06: Lennie -
My favourites of the year are (key songs in brackets) -

1. Allen/Lande - The Battle
(Come Alive, Wish for a Miracle, My Own Way)
2. Gotthard - Lip Service
(Cupid's Arrow, Anytime Anywhere, Said & Done, Can't Stop)
3. Masterplan - Aeronautics
(Im Not Afraid, Falling Sparrow, Black in the Burn)
4. Place Vendome - s/t
(Cross the Line, Magic Carpet Ride, Sign of the Times)
5. Heartland - Move On
(City of Lights, Too Sad to Cry, Remember Me)
6. Nickelback - All the Right Reasons
(Animals, Fight for...., Someone That Youre With)
7. Harem Scarem - Overload
(Afterglow, Forgive & Forget, All You're Getting)
8. Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day
(HAND, Last Man Standing, I Am, Dirty Little Secret)
9. Coldplay - X & Y
(White Shadows, Talk, X & Y, The Hardest Part)
10. Mostly Autumn - Storms Over Still Water
(Heart Life, Black Rain, Storms Over Still Water)

Honourable mentions (in no particular order)

Journey - Generations
Hartmann - Out in the Cold
Foo Fighters - In Your Honour
Kate Bush - Aeriel
Khymera - A New Promise
Starbreaker - Starbreaker
SOAD - Hypnotise/Mesmorise

Top songs -

1. Allen Lande - My Own Way
2. Place Vendome - Sign of the Times
3. Masterplan - Falling Sparrow
4. Gotthard - Said & Done
5. Heartland - City of Lights

Finally a massive thankyou to Andrew for the best rock site on the web - keep up the good work!


07/02/06: Henrik Sjogren -
These are my top 20 2005.
1 Beautiful Creatures - Deuce
2 Buckcherry - Fifteen
3 Harem Scarem - Overload
4 Robin Black - Instant Classic
5 Hinder - Extreme Behavior
6 Dishwalla - Dishwalla
7 Darkness - One Way Ticket...
8 Vain - On The Line
9 L.A.Guns - Tales From The Strip
10 Black Velvets - Black Velvets
11 Cherry Monroe - The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful
12 Billy Idol - Devils Playground
13 Journey - Generations
14 Glitterati - Glitterati
15 Crashdiet - Rest In Sleaze
16 Click Five - Greetings From Imrie House
17 Ra - Duality
18 Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In
19 Diving For Pearls - Texas
20 Stryper - Reborn

07/02/06: John Arena -

First up I should mention that as an uplugged Yankee I would have no idea that people were still making the kind of music I love were it not for this site. So please accept my thanks for that.

That said...The idea that we as fans get to dictate 'what we want' to the artists or that the artists owe us anything other than what they feel is their best effort is, well, almost disturbing. We have the most powerful vote and that is our dollars. If Don Dokken wants to go in the direction he mentions, I will wish him the best of luck because he will have to do it without my hard earned. And then I'll throw on 'Back for the Attack'. Those are my options. That's it.

If Dokken, or Harem Scarem or anyone else don't want to re-record albums they did 15 years ago what makes you think the music will be any better if they record music they really don't feel like recording anymore because we want them to? I can't help but think that looking at the artist/fan relationship in those terms leads to anything other than stagnation. Ask anyone who still reads comics. (But that is SUCH another story.)

I 'm coming off a bit harsh here I know, but this sentiment kinda freaks me out a lil' bit. One of the things I love most about the music being made now that there is no overriding concern about getting songs on the radio or movie soundtracks, is that while the style remains the same the music itself is so much more organic. "What I Want" isn't what I want.

Again, I owe just about every CD I've bought in the last 2 years (proabably about 80 of them or so) to discovering this site. And I'll remain a loyal Mr-X member 'till the lights go out. (Some weeks I actually wake up early to check for the update so I'll have some new tunes to listen to on the way in to work.) But... I can't for the life of me see this 'fine line' you're talking about...If I don't like it I won't buy it. And I'm pretty sure I won't like it any better if I think I'm being pandered to.

best regards,

07/02/06: Arney -
These are my top 10 releases of 2005.
1. GOTTHARD- Lip Service
2. WIG WAM- Hard to be a rock n' roller...
3. BISS- Face Off
5. THUNDER- The Magnificent Seventh
6. STEVE WALSH- Shadowman
7. JAMES LaBRIE- Elements of persuasion
8. TNT- All the way to the sun
9. SAIDIAN- For those who walk the path forlorn
10.ARENA- Peppers Ghost
The best Cd I bought in 2005 was released in 2004 which is way out ahead of everthing new I heard this year. That CD being NIGHTWISH- Once. The CD I was most dissapointed in was the Styx covers album- Big Bang Theory.The best concert I saw was once again Nightwish, which also included the amazing Vanishing Point opening the evening (can't wait to hear their 2005 release-Embrace the silence, I may comment on it next year).The album I bought because of all the rave reveiws was Masterplan's-Aeronautics yet to me it didn't live up to all the hype, its OK but definately not great, hence the reason I haven't bought the Allen/Lande project- The Battle. Overall I've enjoyed 2005 & look forward to many of the promised releases of 2006. Can't wait to see Foreigner in Melbourne May 2006. Cheers, Arney.

07/02/06: simone roman -
best cd of 2005: shannon noll "lift"

07/02/06: Sean -
I sent my favs under the Best CD's and Best of '05. Sorry if I posted wrong. As for your rants with Joe Elliot. I read them throughout the year. Now I'm a Def Lep fan since '83... seen then 19 times... and would take a bullet for any member. That being said, if you didn't like the record, oh well. You are entitled to your opinion. I downladed the record in November, and yes I will still buy it in May. I think it is really good. Some of the songs I question, but they do them well. The mix sound great, so I don't understand your comments on that. I listen to Def Leppard records maybe closer then anyone, so I can pcik out mistakes or things that sound a bit strange. This record is done well and though I'd rather hear new material, I think this record will represent Def Lep in a good light. Just my two sense. Enjoy your sight, though I don't know most of the bands you talk about. Keep it up. Take it easy on my boys. Rock On...

07/02/06: IAN -

07/02/06: Sean -
Some of my favs for '05

Avenged Sevenfold

and my absolute fav is DAMONE... Out Here All Night... if you don't like this record, you simply DO NOT rock.

07/02/06: IAN -
What Andrew has written about last years music scene , i mostly agree with , too many band's promising a release only for nothing to appear , lacklustre album's mainly from the aor side of thing's and bad turnout's a live gig's have hampered the rock music genre in 2005 . If 2006 is going to be better then band's and labels really have to deliver big time , Frontiers seem's to be leading the way with TOTO / AMBITION / TONY O'HORA etc , and i hope Escape , MTM , Majestic and the other's follow suit . Prog ruled in 2005 ( for me anyway ) but i really hope aor make's it's long overdue comeback this year . As for the live side of thing's wouldn't it be nice if Journey could tear themselves away from the USA ( read big buck's ), and finally give all the European fans who have supported them over the years a tour ( NOT LIKELY )and as Andrew says let's see the turnout at gig's rise especially Firefest . I hope this year has more positives than negatives we'll have to wait and see but fingers crossed .

07/02/06: Freddy De Keyzer -
2005 was a fantastic year for progressive/symphonic rock/metal and powermetal !
A shame that the same can't be said of my fave genres AOR and pomp metal ! Hope 2006 will be better !
By far the best record of 2005 was the PRESTO BALLET debut 'Peace Among The Ruins' !
A BRILLIANT mix of seventies Styx and Kansas !
Way overlooked, a REAL GEM ! I can't repeat it enough !
For those that still not bought this one ! GO GET IT PRONTO !
On number two I place Bruce Turgon ! Reminds me of the CLASSIC SHADOW KING, but not as strong to be honest ! But still a bloody great record !
On the third place we find the best pure, classic AOR release of 2005 and that's Philip Bardowell !
Other goodies include Flagship, Radioactive, Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Blanc Faces, Artension, Royal Hunt, Place Vendome, Khymera, Vanishing Point,Firewind, Masterplan, Starbreaker, Hartmann, Iommi, Broke N'Blue, Legs Diamond, Allen Lande, Secret Smile, Lana Lane,Liesegang/White,Bitter Suite, Space Odyssey, Supreme Majesty,Circle II Circle, Heartland, Change Of Heart, Tommy Funderburk,Rob Rock, James Labrie, Heartbreak Radio and (2004 205) Outland and Edge Of Forever.
Then the big disappointments !
Of course, and we are now used at it : the biggest CRAP band on earth (sorry, that's my opinion) : Harem Scarem ! Once again 'pure rubbish' !
Hope they fade away forever and ever !
Other disappointments : the new Journey and the Soul Sirkus disaster ! Both times mr.Schon is too blame ! He's responsible for the modern, crap sound on both records !
Best reissues : without a shadow of a doubt the mighty FORTUNE ! But also very welcome were Tantrum, Coney Hatch, 1994 etc. etc.
All in all, a good year in my book !

07/02/06: Mark Jamieson -
Hi, just sent my top 20 albums of 2005 and have made an error. Please remove Soul SirkUS-World Play and replace with AVIAN-From The Depths Of Time.
Many thanks....Mark.

07/02/06: Ricardo (Portugal) -
Best cd's of 2006 (in my humble opinion)
and the winner is...

1. Crashdiet - Rest in Sleaze - Best Glam/sleaze rock cd since the 80's
2. Starbreaker ( mr.tony harnell in excellent form)
3. Allen/Lande -the battle-
4. Heartland - move on -
5. Gotthard - Lipservice -
6. Khymera - New promise -
7. Jaded Heart - Helluva Time -
8. Wig Wam - Hard to be a Rock and Roller -
9. Oliver Hartmann - Ou in Cold -
10. Joe Lynn turner - Usual Suspects-

07/02/06: GAFF -
1. Neal Morse - ? (brilliant album if you can get past the religous overtones of the whole thing. Great to hear Steve Hackett again).

2. Iommi - Fused (this just kicks ass!)

3. Robert Plant - Mighty Rearranger (the most interesting thing he's done in years. laid back does not equal boring.)

4. The Darkness - One Way Ticket... (These guys can rock and they are a lot of fun to listen too.)

5. Soul Sirkus - World Play (too bad these guys won't get a chance to develop. This was a very promising first album.)

6. Alice Cooper - Dirty Diamonds. (I didn't dig this at first but when I heard these songs live it changed my mind. Alice is still better than most. You Make Me Wanna just rules.)

7. Journey - Generations (too much of a mixed bag. There's good stuff here but also a few not so good ones. Neal needs to calm down on the shredding and start playing those lush melodies again.)

8. Wetton/Downes - Icon (not Asia quality but enough to wet the appetite for more. Looking forward to the reunion.)

9. Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day (OK, heard it all before)

10. Dream Theater - Octavarium (OK we get it. You guys can play really fast and at the same time. How about a good song for a change?)

07/02/06: Mark Jamieson -
Here's my top 20 for 2005. Year after the quality of Melodic Rock never fails to impress me, let's hope 2006 will be another excellent year. Since the early 80's i've followed this genre and it's great to see so many new and old bands/artists flying the flag for the music we love. M3.

1. KAMELOT-The Black Halo
2. BRUCE TURGON-Outside Looking In
3. LEISEGANG/WHITE-Visual Surveillance Of Extremities
4. THUNDERSTONE-Tools Of Destruction
5. HELLOWEEN-Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy
6. ROB ROCK-Holy Hell
9. MASTERPLAN-Aeronautics
11.BALANCE OF POWER-Heathenology
12.KHYMERA-A New Promise
13.SEVENTH KEY-Live in Atlanta (DVD)
15.SOUL SIRKUS-World Play
16.ALLEN/LANDE-The Battle
17.YNGWIE MALMSTEEN-Unleash The Fury
18.NOVAK-Forever Endeavour
19.SHY-Sunset & Vine
20.HAREM SCAREM-Overload

Where will it all end?

07/02/06: John -

07/02/06: ton Jansen -
Best three albums in 2005
Blanc Faces - same title
Greenhouze - same title
Boystown -Angels with dirty faces

07/02/06: ROBERT -
4º - WIG WAM

07/02/06: aorjocke -
1. KHYMERA - A New Promise (Just great AOR!)
2. OUTLAND - Long Way Home
3. 91 SUITE - Times They Change
4. BLANC FACES - Blanc Faces
6. ROX DIAMOND - Powerdrive
7. CHANGE OF HEART - Truth Or Dare
8. ALLEN/LANDE - The Battle
9. FINAL FRONTIER - High Tension Wire
10.PLACE VENDOME - Place Vendome
Best Reissues:
1. FM - Indiscreet (Best AOR Album Ever!!)
2. FM - Tough It Out (Just Love Steve Overlands Voice!)
3. TOMMY SHAW - Ambition ( A Classic Piece Of AOR)
4. BOYSTOWN - Angels With Dirty Faces (Big Surprise!)
5. SURRENDER - Better Later Than Never
6. DEMURE - Demure (With Marti Sippola On Song, From The Band Renegade...Great Singer!)
7. DEFCON - Defcon (Really Nice Melodic Hardrock / AOR)
8. LAOS - We Want It /One Of The Best Female Fronted Albums!)
9. HOTSHOT - Hotshot
10.REFUGEE - Affairs In Babylon

07/02/06: Jonny B -
2005 felt too much like the Saturation Era all over again. There's a reason why Angel Milk had 150 band offers, yet only signed 2. Perhaps filtering out the clutter would be beneficial for Melodic Rock in 2006.

There were very few 2005 titles that impressed me at all. But I do have enough for a Top 5.

1. Masterplan "Aeronautics" (it was a no-contest. 2nd place seems more like 8th place in comparison.)
2. Starbreaker "S/T"
3. Broke N Blue "The Waiting"
4. After Forever "Remagine"
5. Ra "Duality"

07/02/06: Erik -
Cool... am I the first?

My favourites of the year:

1) Gotthard - Lipservice
2) Harem Scarem - Overload
3) Philip Bardowell - In The Cut
4) Oliver Hartmann - Out In The Colt
5) Place Vendome - Place Vendome
6) Khymera - A New Promise
7) TNT - All The Way To The Sun
8) Wetton Downes - Icon
9) Journey - Generations
10) Thunder - The Magnificent Seventh

07/02/06: Axe Machine -
1 - PLACE VENDOME / Place Vendome
2 - HARTMANN / Out In The Cold
3 - 91 SUITE / Times They Change
4 - BON JOVI / Have A Nice Day
5 - ALLEN LANDE / The Battle
6 - LEGS DIAMOND / Diamonds Are Forever
7 - BRUCE TURGON / Outside Looking In
8 - GOTTHARD / Lipservice
9 - STARBREAKER / Starbreaker
10- ROBIN BECK / Do You Miss Me

Most Disappointing Releases: TNT/All The Way To The Sun, HAREM SCAREM/Overload & GLENN HUGHES/Soul Mover

07/02/06: jari heikkinen -
my top 5 albums.
1.allen/lande//the battle
3.kamelot//the black halo vendome//place vandome
5.thunderstone//tool of destruction

07/02/06: Brad -

1.) James Kinne: Fleeting (SC68)
Written, arranged, performed, and produced by James Kinne. People who love to listen to music usually attach memories to certain songs or albums. The stronger the memories, the more intense the connection. That's why #1 was a shoe-in this year. There are so many memories tied to this album. That's not to take away from how well crafted each song is either. "Touch the Ground" many have heard me talk about as the "Beautiful Day" chill moment of the past couple of years for me - it's all about taking steps outside of the comfort zone. The album stretches that zone over and over and each time hits the mark, thus the album is diverse, but not erratic. There's a subtle, very understated guitar outro to "Finally Home" with a bluesy-texture that weaves between the finger-picked bluegrass-ish feeling instrumental bed of the song that just works beautifully. "Writing on the Wall" - turn it up to a nice volume, start nodding your head, enjoy the perfectly placed harmonies, feel the acoustic start to pulse in your foot as it goes up and down - then imagine how amazing this would be as a summer radio song! (go to the link below and test this one out - simple!) "I Become" is a masterpiece - I remember first hearing this a day or so after it's conception, it was yet another side of his songwriting I saw. Vocally you listen to this album and just marvel at the vocal clarity and tone of what has become a truly amazing voice - and when he harmonizes with himself it's breathtaking (see "Somewhere" and "Drip"). A new version of a "For(N)Ever," which was recorded a few years ago with his old band, is here. A song written about his mother, James does something brave and comes out with a gorgeous performance. In the original version, after the emotional vocal, the song went on for four minutes of emotional guitar soloing which to me always carried the majority of the emotional impact of the song. But now, the song has been shortened, ending after the vocal, and James now takes on all of the intense emotion vocally, over a soft acoustic background, and delivers an unguarded, raw, and open performance. The album is essentially perfect in my book. Kudos also for featuring one of the dirtiest bass notes I can remember (see "Found").
If everyone could receive one musical gift for the holidays - my vote would be for a nicely wrapped copy of Fleeting, with the following words: "Experience the joy that real, true music can bring you."
Key tracks: "Touch the Ground," "Drip," "I Become," "Somewhere," "Writing on the Wall," "Heaven Sent" - "Writing on the Wall" & "Somewhere" full streams - 2 min clips of each track - buy the disc, or to download

2.) James Blunt: Back to Bedlam (Custard/Atlantic)
I was first exposed to this via the track "Cry" which was set to a video montage of images from the new season of Doctor Who back in August and I was immediately captivated by the delicate, haunting and wonderful soundtrack it provided to the moving images from a series I was emotionally tied to. It was gut wrenching the music and the images. Hopeful, yet so sad.....then I started to separate the song and the visuals and the song itself held all that emotion even without the images. "Goodbye My Lover" is even more gutting - devastating, but no less beautiful (note for parties - the track was recorded in Carrie Fisher's (yes, Princess Leia) bathroom as he was renting from her at the time and she had an amazing sounding piano in her bathroom, of course). "You're Beautiful" which is starting to make waves here in the States (after holding the #1 spot for weeks in the UK and across Europe, as did the album) is a #1 waiting to happen. A stunning album from start to finish. Each listen you'll fall more and more in love.
Key tracks: "Cry," "Out of My Mind," "Goodbye My Lover," "Wise men" - videos for "You're Beautiful" & "Wise men"

3.) Within Temptation: The Silent Force [Special Edition] (Gun Records/BMG Int'l) [EU]
Grandiose, symphonic, majestic, layered, and unabashed prog-metal! Sharon Den Adel is a vocal powerhouse - think a combination of Kate Bush meets Sarah Brightman - over a more symphonic and melodic version of Queensryce. My friend Chris Kay got me into their previous CD early last year and this new album came out in Europe in late 2004, but I'm seeing a 2005 release date for the import version so I'm considering this a 2005 release. If you're a fan of Evanescence, they don't even come remotely close to touching these guys. Powerful melodies, amazing vocal prowess, and a very theatrical and beautiful musical texture and landscape. "Pale" is one of the best songs of the year, amazingly tender and aching, with a hauntingly gorgeous vocal. "Jillian" is a full-steam ahead rocker with driving guitars and keys, catching fire at the chorus and you'll be fist-pumping along to down the highway (seriously!). A brilliant all-around release.
Key tracks: "Pale," "It's the Fear," "Stand My Ground," "See Who I Am" - watch the video for "Stand My Ground"

4.) Anna Nalick: Wreck of the Day (Columbia/SonyBMG)
I'm sure that you've all heard me talk about Anna at some point in the last 15 months, ever since that fateful day her 5-track sampler arrived in the mail in August of last year. Then you might have received an email from me after her April performance on The Tonight Show when she raised her hand to stop her band and belted out the emotional climax of "Breathe 2 A.M." a capella for a nationwide audience - bringing it to it's knees - "....And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd / 'Cause these words are my diary screaming out loud / And I know that you'll use them however you want to..." Or maybe I sent you another note after I finally saw her live a few months ago when she blew me away more than any artist I can think of (the live audio shows I had of her from late '04, early '05 did not even compare) - I was expecting a good show, but she blew me away! I said it then and I'll say it now, she's the new Pat Benatar, with songs delivered from a more singer/songwriter pov, as she writes all of her own stuff (sorry Pat), and her voice live is stunning, passionate, yearning, powerful, and sultry, oh, and powerful. She's the most impressive female rock vocalist I've seen live (beating out the previous crownholder, Chantal Kreviazuk). The album is so much more than the 'played-to-death-on-your-chr/aaa-radio-station' "Breathe" so give it a go and you'll find it easy to love! The haunting, slide guitar and tender, poignant vocals of "Wreck of the Day," the coy, playful Pat Benatar straight-arm back off "Heartbreaker" turn-around of "Consider This," or the slam dunk "Paper Bag." "In the Rough" - well, Pat just stepped down and gave Anna the new crown....especially in a live setting. I'll shut up now.
Key tracks: "Paper Bag," "Breathe 2 A.M.," "Consider This," "Wreck of the Day," "In the Rough" - full streams of "Breathe," "Citadel," and "Wreck of the Day" - for full video streams of "Breathe" and "In the Rough"

5.) Kino: Picture (InsideOut/SPV)
Uh oh, a prog-rock supergroup! Combining members or ex-members of Arena, Marillion, It Bites, and Porcupine Tree, this quartet is a prog powerhouse, but with it's eyes set ahead towards creating great, melodically lush compositions, not necessarily prog epics. If you're not sold after the first cut, the unlikely day of an artist being courted around to have his music 'sold' to the execs, complete with mid-section breakdown, then you're just not trying. The lush melodies and harmonies streaming from "Letting Go" and "Holding On" will make any true music fans heart swell with Kino love. And of course, although these songs are very strongly focused on what's good for the song and not an ego-fest, there is some brilliant musicianship on the album as these boys all have great chops. I can't say enough good things about this one, it might take a few listens to grow, but once it starts, the garden that results is simply gorgeous.
Key tracks: "Losers' Day Parade," "All You See," "Letting Go," "Perfect Tense" - download a 4-minute medley of samples from the album

6.) Porcupine Tree: Deadwing (Lava Records/Atlantic)
This one isn't going to make your rainy day full of bright sunshine if that's what you're looking for. But if you're looking for dark and extremely moody, atmospheric, driving rock, with a pinch of psychedelia and Pink Floyd meets Queensryche - then you're in luck. And as dark as it gets, the vocals still make you want to sing along, they make the saddest music sound very happy through lush melodies and Steven Wilson's unique approach to building song structures. The highlight is the meandering 12-minute epic, "Arriving Somewhere, But Not Here" which starts in the studio next to '70s Floyd and passes through time and space with a stunning little guitar solo, dreamy verses and chorus, and driving instrumental break complete with punctuated bass-led melody. They really are an amazing group of musicians and how they weave melodies and textures together is really exciting to hear.
Key tracks: "Arriving Somewhere, But Not Here," "Shallow," "Mellotron Scratch," "Deadwing" - 1 minute clips from each track - quick album preview w/video

7.) Great Big Sea: The Hard and the Easy [CD/DVD] (Zoe Records/UMVD)
I know nothing about Newfoundland culture or traditions. I know that a good friend of mine, Will, moved back home to Newfoundland a couple years ago and that every time I listen to this disc I think of him and miss our talks about music, etc. This is a disc of traditional Newfoundland songs, but it doesn't matter that I don't know anything about logging or horses, or boating, etc. The arrangements and the music is catchy and a blast to listen to! Harmonies galore! The DVD helps explain the background of the songs and the great lengths they took to track down some of them (as many have no recorded history, they're just 'known') including one that had to be transcribed from an answering machine performance. You also get a very intimate performance of almost all of the songs on DVD as well. I could never do it justice by explaining this disc, but if you can, sample it and you'll really love it. Some great sing-alongs, some tender love songs that'll make your heart swell, and even some scandalous mermaid love.
Key tracks: "The Mermaid," "Come and I Will Sing You," "The River Driver," "Concerning Charlie Horse," "Graceful & Charming" - samples of each song on the album

8.) John Wesley: Shiver (Intact) [U.K.]
One of those albums that you don't necessarily say 'there are 6 brilliant tracks,' but instead it's a stellar album from start to finish and all the tracks work well with each other. There are a few tracks that stand out from the rest but the whole album is just solid. While Wes' material many times is dark and brooding, there are many times the spark of light and hope hidden within and this is no different. The production is superb and the mix is helped by Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson (Wes is a touring guitarist with P. Tree), which is something that hasn't been perfect on his previous releases. The title track will give you shivers as one of the best voices in music weaves the passion of a singer/songwriter with the power of a full electric band. It's a great rock album and if you're looking for a modern day Springsteen with a darker tone and more personal lyrics, then this is an album worth checking out. This may be going a bit far, but I don't think so - I think in many ways, he is a new Springsteen with a louder PRS, check out these lines from "King of 17": "We head to the east to catch up to the sun / You smile as you watch it rise / We come from nothing, we leave nothing behind / My world is the hope in your eyes."
Key tracks: "Shiver," "Please Come Back," "Pretty Lives," "King of 17" - stream the entire album online! or to purchase only

9.) Missy Higgins: The Sound of White (Reprise/Warner Bros.)
There's good reason that Missy swept the Australian Recording Industry Awards (like our Grammy's) this past year. Missy wrote and arranged the entire album, played gorgeous piano and guitar, and delivered these delicate and haunting songs with the voice of an angel. The Australian accent on her voice only increases the charm as it gives another unique quality to that beautifully yearning instrument. Where Keri Noble won me over last year and Jo Davidson in previous years, Missy Higgins is the vocal/piano album of the year for me. If you've ever loved the sound of a female voice and piano then this is a definite must-have. Upbeat, pensive, yearning, mellow, sultry, haunting - it's everything a brilliant singer/songwriter album should be. Here's a great lyric: "But I will learn to breathe this ugliness you see/So we can both be there and we can both share the dark/And in our honesty, together we will rise/Out of our nightminds, and into the light/At the end of the fight..."
Key tracks: "Nightminds," "Katie," "All for Believing," "Ten Days," "Unbroken," "The Sound of the White" - full song streaming audio of each track on the album

10.) Coldplay: X & Y (Capitol Records)
From the opening minute of "Square One," Coldplay sets the tone for the album, starting soft and spacey, moving to atmospheric with Chris Martin's lilting vocals, and then switching smoothly to a driving chorus propelled by bass and guitar. They set an atmosphere and run with it - this time around it's stunning. The title track is one of the best compositions of the year and was my first introduction to the album (even before I really heard the single, I heard "X & Y" set to a video compilation of scenes from Doctor Who and it gave me chills). The hidden track at the end is one of the best songs on the album - simply stunning! Their gift is knowing where and how to place textures and instruments (including voice) to add intensity and emotion, without forcing through sudden changes in volume or aggression - it just feels as if it naturally flows there. A great example is "Fix You" which just naturally builds and builds with layer upon layer, all very naturally and organically.
Key tracks: "X & Y," "Til Kingdom Comes," "Fix You," "White Shadows," "A Message"

11.) Robert Plant & the Strange Sensation: Mighty ReArranger (Sanctuary/SonyBMG)
Teaming up again with the band he used on 2002's blues based Dreamland, Plant weaves African rhythms, blues, folk, rock, and Eastern influences for a set of diverse tracks. Plant's voice shows no signs of wear from his years screaming above Page's guitar, and I think it sounds better than it ever has. It rocks with Zep-like abandon on "Tin Pan Alley" and then slides easily into "All the Kings Horses" which features only an acoustic and Plant's voice. Without a doubt, Plant's best solo effort, and it rivals some of the better Zepplin albums as well! I love this quote about it and it probably sums the album up better than I can: "[It's] a literate, ambitious, and sublimely vulgar exercise in how to make a mature yet utterly unfettered rock & roll album that takes chances, not prisoners, and apologizes for nothing." (AMG) It's a damn shame though that you'll never hear the CD on the radio....the DJ is too busy cueing up "Kashmir" again.
Key tracks: "All the Kings Horses," "Shine it All Around," "Let the Four Winds Blow," "Mighty ReArranger" - streaming 2-min audio clips from each song on the album

12.) Our Lady Peace: Healthy in Paranoid Times (Columbia/SonyBMG)
One day the stars will align and I will end up seeing OLP live. Had I seen this tour I'm thinking that this disc would have cracked the top 10 because from what I've seen on video, these guys put on an amazingly intense live show. That and I haven't spent as much time with it as I would have if it would still play in my computer, but it won't. Along with the Tragically Hip, OLP are one of the most consistent and important contributors to modern Canadian rock. Raine Maida has a brilliant way with words and they are a tight, cohesive unit who never fail to impress.
Key tracks: "Angels/Losing/Sleep," "Love and Trust," "Don't Stop," "Boy," "Where Are You" - clips of three tracks

13.) Embrace: Out of Nothing (Lava Records/Atlantic)
Apparently these guys are pretty big across the pond, going #1 with this album. I just love the energy and huge, enormous chorus' that they deliver on most of the tracks. Haunting piano, driving guitars, these are definite arena anthems. Reminds me a bit of the Keane album last year, but this one has more instrumental flavor than that did, and more variation in tempo and texture. "Someday" is the builder of the century, starting out with guitar and voice, exploding into a gigantic chorus that begs for the windows down driving in the summer. It continues with a crescendo build until the end, ending with a choir-like chorus. (it's not nearly as cheesy as I'm making it sound - it's quite magical actually). It's atmospheric Brit-rock at it's finest. Scotland on Sunday (paper) gives it a rather intriguing quote: "Rather big, and really quite clever." I couldn't say it better myself (obviously).
Key tracks: "Someday," "Ashes," "Spell It Out," "Wish 'Em All Away" - song samples of the full album

14.) Blue Rodeo: Are You Ready (Rounder Records/UMVD)
They've been around for quite some time, but this is my first Blue Rodeo experience (apart from a Jim Cuddy track or two on a Canadian Famine Benefit CD) and I was more than pleasantly surprised. More diverse (or so it seems) than their previous efforts, they combine their typical country-folk-rock with some more rockin' influences to deliver Are You Ready. At times it reminds me of 1970's acts like Firefall or The Eagles., but with a definite modern feel and some wonderful guitar lines. The gem on this is "Tired of Pretending" which begins and ends with a very dark and somber minor-key trumpet solo while the song itself steams ahead with an intense and guitar-driven fire, hard-edged and vocally menacing. A gorgeous dichotomy.
Key tracks: "Tired of Pretending," "Are You Ready," "Runaway Train," "Finger Lakes," "Don't Get Angry" - song samples, plus full length stream of "Rena"

15.) David Gray: Life in Slow Motion (iht/ATO/RCA/SonyBMG)
The first few listens to this disc left me wanting more, a lot more. I was looking forward to a return to sparseness, after his last somewhat over-produced release, and I didn't feel it. I liked a few tracks right off ("Hospital Food" and "Nos Da Cariad"), but I was swept away. It wasn't until a couple of months later that I stumbled upon a promotional electronic press kit DVD that showed footage of Gray recording in an old church and I heard him talk about the recording that I realized as they played clips from the album that I felt I was missing something. After a couple more spins I really took to the disc and realized that I was going in with one too many pre-conceptions, it still had his great gift for majestic and emotional songwriting, even if it wasn't as sparse as White Ladder.
Key tracks: "Hospital Food," "Slow Motion," "Nos Da Cariad," "Alibi," "Ain't No Love" - mp3 clips from each song on the album, plus the video for "The One I Love"

16.) The Coral: The Invisible Invasion (Deltasonic/Columbia/SonyBMG)
These U.K. rockers put out more almost as many albums as Ryan Adams does (haha). But they're so good it doesn't matter. This disc didn't grab me as quickly as their last one did, but then one day I was listening to it again and it hit me. "Arabian Sand" is a driven by a great guitar lick that follows the vocal and everything about the song is just exactly what I love about these guys (although near the end of the song it gets a tad strange). Not nearly as spacey as they last disc, more straight-forward rock, but still diverse as they always tend to be, but each song breathes nicely without having all the strangeness packed into each song - such a cool creepy organ sound on "Leaving Today." Great stuff!
Key tracks: "Arabian Sand," "In the Morning," "She Sings the Mourning," "Leaving Today" - samples of each track on the album

17.) Long-View: Mercury (14th Floor/Columbia/SonyBMG)
"Further" starts off with a driving, richness and the album just opens up from there with gorgeous melodies, soaring vocals, and a variety of lush textures. The album has an sorrowful and mournful feel overall, but there's a hopeful undercurrent. There are a couple of tracks that meander a bit, but the songs that are strong and pure brilliance!
Key tracks: "Can't Explain," "Further," "If You Asked," "When You Sleep" - videos and audio streams - some audio clips

18.) Stream of Passion: Embrace the Storm (InsideOut/SPV)
From the mind of Arjen Lucassen, who created last year's masterpiece, Ayreon's The Human Equation, comes a straight-forward rock/metal album (with the faintest hint of prog mixed in) with one of the vocalists on The Human Equation, an unknown female vocalist from Mexico, Marcela Bovio. The album was composed with her band and Arjen over the internet from his home in Holland to theirs in Mexico (hence the 'stream' in Stream of Passion). Is it ground-breaking, not really, but Marcela has a gorgeous voice (can be very powerful as well) and Arjen is an incredible composer and guitarist.
Key tracks: "Whereever You Are," "Deceiver," "Passion," "Embrace the Storm," 'Out in the Real World" - multiple sound clips, and a promo video

19.) Neil Diamond: 12 Songs (Columbia/SonyBMG)
I went into this with a fully open mind, considering I had been reluctantly brought up on way too many Diamond cassettes as a child. But the collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, detailed in the liner notes, was inspiring for Neil as he took pen to paper for the first time in a long while and had a hand in composing the entire album. It's sparse, on most tracks light acoustic guitar and vocals with some incidental instrumentation. Diamond opens up his heart on paper and the results are an extremely honest, open, raw, and brilliant collection of songs. From the lush acoustic sounds of "Delirious Love," to the yearning, almost pleading ache of "Save Me A Saturday Night," the somber opener, "Oh Mary," Heartbreaker Benmont Tench's ripping hammond organ solo on "Man of God," and the album's gem, "Hell Yeah." If only all of us can stand up and sing "Hell Yeah" when we're Neil's age, then we'll all be able to say we've done it all and made as much of our time on Earth. I never thought I'd have Neil on this list, but this album took me by surprise.
Key tracks: "Hell Yeah," "Oh Mary," "Save Me a Saturday Night," "We" - clips on the home page player

20.) Kate Rusby: The Girl Who Couldn't Fly (Pure Records/Compass Records)
She's from Yorkshire, England and writes traditional English Folk songs as well as takes traditional songs and puts a new spin on them. When she sings you can hear her lovely accent and the more you listen, the more you can't help but fall in love with her vocal delivery, accent, love for the material, and how she breathes life into these special songs. I know nothing about this genre or it's deep history, but she makes me love it and that's good enough for me.
Key tracks: "Fare Thee Well," "The Game of All Fours," "No Names," "The Lark" - mp3 samples of 4 tracks from the album

21.) Spock's Beard: Octane [2-CD Special Edition] (InsideOut/SPV)
The first 7 tracks of the proper album are a conceptual piece about a man who crashes his car and flashes back through his life through his parents' separation, high school, starting a family, etc. Not your typical prog-rock fare though, as they dropped that the hard-core progging when Neal Morse left a few years ago. This is more straight ahead, and although there is a loose concept, and some instrumental passages that stray, it's definitely more controlled structurally (in both good and bad ways as I got into the old Beard). The second part of the album is a set of short non-conceptual rockers, including some of their post-Morse finest work in the gem, "There Was a Time." It took me a long time (months) to get into this disc, actually until I heard most of it live on their 2-CD live set released in the fall, but out of context it started to sound better, and now the album works for me.
Key tracks: "The Ballet of the Impact," "She Is Everything," "There Was a Time," - Scroll for Spock's Beard and you can download 2 full MP3 tracks including "There Was a Time"

Honorable Mention:

Ryan Adams: Cold Roses [Lost Highway]
Blue Merle: Burning in the Sun [Island]
The Clumsy Lovers: Smart Kid [Nettwerk]
Dishwalla: Dishwalla [Immergent Records]
Dream Theater: Octavarium [Atlantic]
Hot Hot Heat: Elevator [Sire Records]
Eric Johnson: Bloom [Favored Nations]
King's X: Ogre Tones [InsideOut Music/SPV]
stellastarr*: harmonies for the haunted [RCA Records/BMG]
The Wrights: Down This Road [ACR/RCA/BMG]
Zucchero & Co.: Zucchero & Co. [Concord Records]

Most listened to discs in 2005 that weren't released in 2005:
Threshold: Subsurface
Damien Rice: O
Queen: Various Catalog Titles
Pat Benatar: Various Catalog Titles

Songs of 2005 (a few off the top of my head that are worth mentioning that are not on albums listed in the Top 20):
"Nothin' 'Bout Love Makes Sense" - LeAnn Rimes
"Real Fine Place to Start" - Sara Evans
"Pure Love" - Zucchero & Dolores O'Riordan
"Because of You" (a cappela version) - Kelly Clarkson

If you're still bored from everything above:
Other CDs from 2005 worth a listen if you're looking for something to spin (it's a shame that these good discs don't get a plug):
Abandoned Pools: Armed to the Teeth
Trey Anastasio: Shine
Antigone Rising: From the Ground Up
Better Than Ezra: Before the Robots
Blues Traveler: Bastardos!
Tracy Bonham: Blink the Brightest
Alison Brown: Stolen Moments
Solomon Burke: Make Do With What You Got
Kate Bush: Aerial
Ryan Cabrera: You Stand Watching
Chris Caffery: W.A.R.P.E.D.
Conjure One: Extraordinary Ways
Nikka Costa: can'tneverdidnothin'
Cross Canadian Ragweed: Garage
Depeche Mode: Playing the Angel
The Devlins: Waves
Mike Doughty: Haughty Melodic
Dredg: Catch Without Arms
Kathleen Edwards: Back to Me
Ben Folds: Songs for Silverman
Franz Ferdinand: You Could Have it So Much Better
Go-Betweens: Oceans Apart
HammerFall: Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Josh Joplin: Jaywalker
Institute: Distort Yourself
Tracy LaBarbera: Debutante EP
Miranda Lambert: Kerosene
Ben Lee: Awake Is the New Sleep
The Like: Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?
Louis XIV: The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
Lauren Lucas: The Carolina Kind
Nickel Creek: Why Should the Fire Die?
Keri Noble: Summer '05 Demos
Glen Phillips: Winter Pays for Summer
The Raveonettes: Pretty in Black
Secret Machines: The Road Leads Where It's Led EP
Bruce Springsteen: Devils & Dust
Switchfoot: Nothing Is Sound
Symphony X: The Odyssey
Rob Thomas: Something to be
Tristania: Ashes
The Vanity Project: The Vanity Project
The Wallflowers: Rebel, Sweetheart
Ricky Warwick: Love Many, Trust Few
We Are Scientists: With Love and Squalor
Young Dubliners: Real World

06/02/06: Vikki Roxx -
1. Oliver Hartmann - Out in the cold
2. Dogpound - A night in the gutter
3. Power Quest - Magic never dies
4. Gotthard - Lipservice
5. Change of Heart - Truth or dare
6. Harem Scarem - Overload
7. Allen/Lande - The Battle
8. 91 Suite - Times they change
9. Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In
10. Khymera - A New Promise
8. Bon Jovi - Have a nice day

06/02/06: Viktor Loukota -
1)STEVE VAI - Real Illusions - out of this world
2)BON JOVI - Have A Nice Day - best record since Keep The Faith
3)DREAM THEATER - Octavarium - progmetal kings
4)JOURNEY - Generations - classic sound
5)BILLY IDOL - Devil´s Playground - it´s been a long time

06/02/06: Patric Burkhardt -
1. Edguy –superheroes (EP)
2. Gotthard – Lipservice
3. Oliver Hartmann - Out In The Cold
4. Place Vendome - Place Vendome
5. Johnny Lima - Version 1.2
6. Outland - Long Way Home
7. Deep Purple - Rapture Of The Deep
8. Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day
9. Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In
10. Allen / Lande The Battle

06/02/06: Niraj Kapur -
God Bless Frontier Records, Escape Music and for their remarkable support of rock music and AOR Heaven for their endlessly brilliant supply of CD's. Heartland's Move On and Thunder's Magnificent Seven were major highlights of the year. Blanc Faces - what a terrific debut. Welcome back, Robin Beck. Kudos to Wetton/Downes and Oliver Hartmann. JLT -you're still brilliant after all these years. Bon Jovi-good, could have been better. I love Journey and their interviews, but disappointed by Generations.

06/02/06: Bastien -
Great job, very interesting choice and comments, i think my top 3 will be:

1 - Place Vendome
2 - Allen/Lande
3 - Gotthard - Lipservice

Keep up the great work!

Bastien from Quebec, Canada