Do you give a shit what floated my Boat in 2019? Probably not… I mean we’re practically halfway through January… but regardless, I had started it, so I’ll finish it… here are WILL’s Top 5 Albums of 2019.
5. L.A. Guns – “The Devil You Know”
I’m thinking Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis may have been heavily hitting the Black Sabbath Catalog before laying down one note or lyric for “The Devil You Know”. I didn’t expect this heavy of an album from the guys and was pleasantly surprised at their direction. Phil sounds amazing on the album, Tracii provides some (as usual) Killer Guitar work, and there are some noteable driving bass lines from Johnny Martin that are essential to making this easily the heaviest album that L.A. Guns has released. They dial it back to more familiar territory on songs like, “Needle To The Bone” and “Gone Honey” but overall this is a METAL Album. Not every song on the album does it for me, but I appreciate that the Guns expanded on their sound and didn’t rest on their laurels, making it one of the more interesting releases of 2019.
4. Alter Bridge – “Walk The Sky”
For Alter Bridge Fans, the anticipation of the release of a new album is excruciating and exhilarating. The wait until the album drops is a killer, but the breadcrumb of video’s they released leading up to this release (Starting with the great, “Wouldn’t You Rather“) was a great way to build the excitement for the full album. Another Tour De Force of Songs, “Walk The Sky” didn’t hit me right away as it did with their previous releases, but it’s an album that grows with each listen and there are many songs that have quickly become favorites and fit in perfectly with the rest of the AB catalog. I especially like the throwback synth sounds scattered throughout the album but are very apparent at the start of “Godspeed” that would fit in with any 80’s AOR type bands. Alter Bridge, didn’t make a retro album, but use these solely as compliments to their amazing melodies and complex riffs. Mark Tremonti’s guitar work and Myles Kennedy’s vocals are as sublime as ever. An aspect that knocked it down a peg in my book was the bass and drum production in the mix that was too “in your face” and detracted from the guitar and vocals in many instances. Another stellar offering that has provided another handful of incredible, memorable tunes.
Also, The Video for “Dying Light” is amazing and should have been the next Bond Title and Opening Credit Sequence. Watch it…you know I’m right.
3. Beasto Blanco – “We Are”
Beasto Blanco released another killer of an album that expands on their post-apocalyptic, dystopian industrial sounding discography. “We Are” is a jump forward in songwriting while remaining true to their rock/metal core. The band are stellar and really shine on tracks like first single, “The Seeker”, “Solitary Rave”, “Perception of Me” and “Let’s Rip”. Who knew you could dance to a metal album?! Brother Latham weaves some intricate solos into this groove heavy album while the vocal trade off’s between Chuck and Calico keep this disc fresh for many repeated spins. They’ve incorporated a bunch of tracks from “We Are” into their setlist, which is good news because Beasto Blanco put on one hell of a see it to believe it show. This is one to pick up and stick in your collection because after all, “We Are” ALL Beasto Blanco!
2. Tom Keifer – “Rise”
Tom Keifer and #Keiferband deliver what can only be described as his most personal, emotional release to date. Arguably as good as or better than anything he’s released since Cinderella’s Debut, Tom pours his heart into every song on “Rise”. Incorporating the talents of #Keiferband have really brought this album to life, with everyone member of the band having a moment to shine. This album takes you on a journey from heavy to almost delicate and from vulnerable to defiant. Tom’s signature sound and vocals have never been stronger and he bares his soul to the world. I expected a decent album from Tom, but didn’t expect the caliber and quality that he shared with us. This would have been my number one of the year if not for….
1. Rival Sons – “Feral Roots”
Rival Sons were a band that I felt were way too over-hyped. All their previous albums had moments of brilliance, but they were too few and far between for me. I also wasn’t a fan of the distorted production that seemed to be their signature sound. Well it all came together with “Feral Roots”. An album of amazing diversity from the opening guitar riff of “Do Your Worst” to the uplifting protest anthem and album closer, “Shooting Stars”. Jay Buchanan’s vocals are enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck rise. A disc FULL of beautiful layers and exquisite songwriting. I dubbed the middle tracks on this album, (“Look Away”, “Feral Roots” and “Too Bad”) The Trifecta of Epic. Three songs that just grow in intensity and emotion that I played on a loop for over a month
“Feral Roots” was musical perfection. A masterpiece that belongs in every music lover’s collection.
My Plus-One-For-The-Road… and my EP Of The Year…
American Jetset – “Live Love Die On Main”
Even though this EP was released on December 23rd of 2018, it makes my Best of 2019 list because that’s really when anyone got to hear it. “Live Love Die on Main” is a throwback to that gritty, raw sound of the Sunset Strip when Faster Pussycat, Motley and GnR ruled the town. American Jetset are now recording their first full length album, and “LLDOM” acts as a great taste of what’s to come from a band who have been turning heads live with their recent opening slots for the likes of Jack Russell’s Great White, Slaughter, Tom Keifer and many others. They’ve got a great sound and these 5 songs are a great selection showing the band’s versatility and style.
What…? You haven’t heard it?! Check out the Sampler, NOW!