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The Best of 2005!

I'm doing things slightly different this year. In addition to my top picks for 2005, you'll also be able to read the top 5 picks from some of the site volunteers. Since we all have different tastes, it makes more sense to see different folks' opinions. Since we each bought and listened to different pools of CDs, for each person I've listed "the field" from which that person's top picks were taken. Honorable mention CDs (those just shy of Top 5 consideration) are denoted in bold.

Dan's Picks

The Field (honorable mentions in bold):

Backstreet Boys - Never Gone (DualDisc). Zomba Records
Balance of Power - Heathenology. Avalon Records (Japan)
Black N Blue - Collected (Boxed Set). Majestic Rock (United Kingdom)
Blue Tears - Mad, Bad & Dangerous. Suncity Records (Australia)
Circle II Circle - The Middle of Nowhere. AFM Records (Germany)
Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star (Ltd. Best Buy 2-CD edition). Sony/BMG Music
Dark Illusion - Beyond the Shadows. Battlefield Records (Sweden)
Darkness, The - One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back. Atlantic Records
Deadly Sin - Sunborn. Nightmare Records
Demons and Wizards - Touched by the Crimson King. Scarecrow Records
Disturbed - 10,000 Fists. Reprise Records
Doctor Butcher - Doctor Butcher (Reissue). Black Lotus Records
Evenrude - One Size Fits All (Reissue). MTM Classix
Falconer - Crime vs. Grandeur. Metal Blade Records
Fall Out Boy - From Under the Cork Tree. Island Records
Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian (Reissue 2CD + DVD Box). Metal Blade
Fear Factory - Transgression (DualDisc). Calvin Records
Fozzy - All That Remains. Southern Music
Friction - Baby Talk (Reissue). Retrospect Records
Gamma Ray - Majestic. Sanctuary Records
Gotthard - Lipservice (DualDisc)
HIM - Dark Light (Limited Edition). Sire Records
Harem Scarem - Overload. Frontiers Records
Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy. Steamhammer (Germany)
Jaded Heart - Helluva Time. Frontiers Records
Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution (CD + DVD). Epic Records
Kinrick - Sense Your Darkness. Leviathan Records
Line of Fire - Line of Fire. Tribunal Records
Malmsteen, Yngwie - Unleash the Fury. Spitfire Records
Mr. Nasty - Ain't Dead Yet!. Hardline Records
Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor. Century Media
Opeth - Ghost Reveries. Roadrunner Records
Overloaded - Hail the Kingdom. No Deal Records
Place Vendome - Place Vendome. Frontiers Records
Primal Fear - Seven Seals. Nuclear Blast
Pump - Against Everyone's Advice. Big Rock Music (Brazil)
Ra - Duality.
Royal Hunt - Paper Blood. Magna Carta Records
Schoolboy Crush - Good Time, Bad Boys. Suncity Records (Australia)
Schultz, Mark - Live... A Night of Stories & Songs (CD + DVD)
Sevendust - Next (Ltd. CD + DVD). Winedark Records
Shadow Gallery - Room V. Inside Out Music
Sonata Arctica - The End of This Chapter (Ltd. Edition CD + DVD). Avalon Records (Japan)
Soul Sirkus - World Play (CD + DVD). Frontiers Records
Stream of Passion - Embrace the Storm (Special Edition CD + DVD)
Stryper - Reborn. Big3 Records
Surrender - Better Later Than Never. ZENtunes
Swedish Erotica - Too Daze Gone. MTM Music
TNT - All the Way to the Sun. MTM Music
Tribute - Gods of Thunder - A Norwegian Tribute to KISS. Voices Music
Tristania - Ashes. Steamhammer/SPV
Tristania - Midwinter Tears (CD + DVD). Napalm Records (Germany)
Velvet Revolver - Contraband (DualDisc). RCA/BMG Records
Whitecross - Nineteen Eighty Seven. Girder Records
XYZ - Forbidden Demos 1985-1991. FYCO Records
XYZ - Rainy Days

Dan's Winners:

5th Place

cover The Darkness - One Way Ticket to Hell and Back. Atlantic Records. The Darkness. Ya either love 'em or ya hate 'em. I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this sophomore effort, but this ended up being much better than anticipated. This is a much more polished effort than the debut. I think the mistake that many people make is to try and jam the band into an '80s rock pigeonhole, when their brand of music has much more in common with '70s rock. The similarities to Slade, The Sweet, Queen, and ELO are all over the album. Hawkins' piercing falsetto vocals are toned down quite a bit from the first album, but still present. Biggest letdown is that the album is so short. They should have added 3-4 more tracks. Plenty of hooks to grab your attention though.

4th Place

cover Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists. Warner Brothers. Awww, yeah! Disturbed's second album Believe, while a solid effort, was very toned down compared to the debut. It was more melodic and polished, yet lacked the pure aggression of The Sickness. There was a lot of speculation as to what direction the third album would take. In my opinion Ten Thousand Fists is a blend of the two previous albums. It retains the polish of Believe, while returning to the aggressive nature of the debut. The title cut is a great metal anthem!

3rd Place

cover Place Vendome - S/T. Frontiers Records. Who would have thought that the other lead vocalist from Helloween could make a top notch AOR album? Since Pink Cream 69 did their tour of duty with Andi Deris, was this somehow obligatory? ;) All kidding aside, this is an excellent slice of melodic hard rock.

2nd Place

cover Him - Dark Light. Sire Records. If there ever was an album to be classified as "Goth AOR" this would be it! Dark and brooding, yet very melodic, with excellent choruses. I've listened to some of their earlier material, but was not as enamored with it; this album seems to be a bit of a switch for them, and is very accessible. In the lower register, the timbre of the lead vocalist reminds me a lot of Ten's Gary Hughes (Blasphemy! Well, sit down with the album and take a listen through... it jumps out at you).

Dan's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2005 CD of the Year!

cover Gotthard - Lipservice. Nuclear Blast. This one came out of left field... after the last few Gotthard releases, which were fairly laid back (some might say "timid"), this one is a breath of fresh air! There is a vibrancy to it; it feels alive. It harkens back to their earlier material, yet doesn't sound rehashed. Some definite sing-along choruses to be found, and the song "Lift U Up" is downright infectious (haven't been able to get the darned song out of my head for a few days now), and "Cupid's Arrow" is just a stellar track. Even got a bit of the ole Def Lep thang goin' on with "Everything I Want." This album is apparently available in several different formats. I recommend the DualDisc version that also has the entire album in 5.1 DTS surround sound, as well as the video for "Lift U Up".

Mike's Picks

The Field (honorable mentions in bold):

AdrianGale - Live Program
American Minor - American Minor
Big Cock - Year Of The Cock
Bitter Suite - Crime of Love
Bombay Black - Mercy
Cinderella - Rocked, Wired Bluesed: The Greatest Hits
Crashdiet - Rest In Sleaze
Crystal Pistol - Crystal Pistol
Darren Smith Band - Keep The Spirit Alive
Gotthard - Lipservice
Green Dollar Colour - S/T
Headrush - Headrush
Heartland - Move On
Hotshot - Hotshot
Jake E. Lee - Retraced
Kelly Keeling - Giving Sight to the Eye
Masterplan - Aeronautics
Midnight Circus - Money Shot
Ra - Duality
Regime - Straight Through Your Heart
Revolution Riot - Blues For the Spiritually Retarded
Soul Doctor - For a Fistful of Dollars
Starbreaker - Starbreaker
Stryper - Reborn
Surrender - Better Later Than Never
Tango Down - Take 1
Trixie - Lift You Up
Walk The Sky - Walk The Sky
XYZ - Rainy Days
Zan Clan - We Are Zan Clan... Who the FUCK Are You

Mike's Winners:

5th Place

cover Crystal Pistol - S/T. Alert Records (Canada). Ahh yes, my big surprise of 2005. Another excellent sleaze release for fans of CrashDiet, Zan Clan, or Revolution Riot. "Rockstar" and "Live Fast" make this one a must have for sleaze merchants!

4th Place

cover Ra - Duality. Republic/Universal Records. Modern, melodic, and memorable all rolled into one, this release has received numerous spins this year. "Fallen Angels", "Take Me Away" and their cover of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" made this a must have for me!

3rd Place

cover CrashDiet - Rest in Sleaze. Universal (Sweden). 2005 was a great year for sleaze fans, and CrashDiet delivered the standout disc of the genre. "Breakin' the Chainz" and "Riot in Everyone" simply rawk!

2nd Place

cover Gotthard - Lipservice. Nuclear Blast. This one will be at the top of many year end lists, and rightfully so. Just an all-round excellent release from these Swiss rockers, with standouts being "Lift U Up", the Def Leppardesque "Everything I Want", and "I Wonder" being my faves.

Mike's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2005 CD of the Year!

cover Darren Smith Band - Keep The Spirit Alive. MTM Music. I know, I know... alot of people are probably going WTF, but for me, this one stuck with me from the first listen earlier this year, and I've come back to it time and time again. "There You Go" and "Everybody Knows" are simply awesome melodic hard rock tracks. I highly recommend checking this one out if you haven't done so already!

Pete's Picks

The Field (honorable mentions in bold):

Allen/Lande - The Battle
Big Cock - Year Of The Cock
BoysVoice - Serenity
Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny of Souls
Buckcherry - 15
Corrosion of Conformity - In The Arms of God
Dream Theater - Octavarium
Gotthard - Lipservice
Harem Scarem - Overload
INXS - Switch
Jaded Heart - Helluva Time
James LaBrie - Elements of Persuasion
Joe Lynn Turner - The Usual Suspects
Joe Perry - s/t
Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution
Law And Order - The Glass House
Masterplan - Aeronautics
Midnight - Sakada (just because it's so freakin' weird...)
Place Vendome - s/t
Ra - Duality
Rob Rock - Holy Hell
Soul SirkUS - World Play
Starbreaker - Starbreaker
Stryper - Reborn
TNT - All THe Way To The Sun
The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell... And Back
Vain - On The Line
Wednesday 13 - Transylvania 90210
Wig Wam - Hard To Be A Rock 'n' Roller... In Kiev
XYZ - Rainy Days
Zan Clan - We Are Zan Clan... Who the FUCK Are You

Pete's Winners:

5th Place

cover Buckcherry - 15. Universal (Japan).

4th Place

cover Place Vendome - S/T. Frontiers Records.

3rd Place

cover Starbreaker - S/T. Frontiers Records.

2nd Place

cover Allen/Lande - The Battle. Frontiers Records.

Pete's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2005 CD of the Year!

cover Wig Wam - Hard To Be A Rock 'n' Roller... In Kiev Voices of Wonder.

Existing comments about Best of 2005

From: Doghouse Reilly Date: February 8, 2014 at 12:16
Nashville Pussy: Get Some!; Brand New Sin: Recipe For Disaster; L.A. Guns: Tales From The Strip; American Dog: Scars-N-Bars; Arch Enemy: Doomsday Machine; Kreator: Enemy Of God; Exodus: Shovel Headed Kill Machine; Children Of Bodom: Are You Dead Yet?; Opeth: Ghost Reveries; Corrosion Of Conformity: In The Arms Of God.

From: Scandiman Date: February 7, 2018 at 15:59
Here is my top releases for 2005: Wig Wam - Hard to Be a Rock 'n' Roller, Gotthard - Lipservice, Place Vendome - S/T, Khymera - A New Promise, 91 Suite - Times They Change. Honorable mentions: Ra - Duality, Blanc Faces - S/T, Harem Scarem - Overload, Thunder - The Magnificent Seventh, and Shakra - Fall.

From: Auslander Date: February 3, 2020 at 5:05
Underrated CD of 2005: Mercy by Bombay Black.

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