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The Best of 2015!

In addition to my top picks for 2015, you can also read the top 5 picks from Mike, Pete, Jez, and Terry. Since we all have different tastes, it makes more sense to see different folks' opinions.

Dan's Picks for the Best of 2015

2015 was a year that had a LOT of very good releases. The problem is that IMO, there weren't just a few that stood head and shoulders above the others, making it very difficult to pick out just 5 that differentiated themselves from the Honorable Mentions. Also, a few December releases REALLY threw a monkey wrench into the works... here I thought I had my top 5 worked out, but NOPE. Actually, my top 3 changed positions several times and in several different orders the more I listened to them down the stretch. AUGH!

Also, there's something that all of my top 3 albums have in common...

The Also Rans

21 Octayne - 20
A Life Divided - Human
A Sound of Thunder - Tales from the Dead Side
Ages - The Malefic Miasma
Ailafar - No Limits
Air Raid - Point of Impact
Air Stream - Kingdom of Isolation
All That Remains - The Order of Things
AlphaState OOTB
Ambush - Desecrator
Ancient Rites - Laguz
Annihilator - Suicide Society (Deluxe Edition)
Asia - Live in San Francisco 2012
Beauvoir-Free - American Trash
Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct
Blood Red Saints - Speedway
Bonfire - Glorious
Bon Jovi - Burning Bridges
Borealis - Purgatory
Buckcherry - Rock 'N' Roll
Bullet for My Valentine - Venom
Cain's Offering - Stormcrow
Canedy - Headbanger
Chaos Frame - Paths to Exile
Chaos Magic - ST
Chastain - We Bleed Metal
Chity - Sinhalbumi
Circle II Circle - Reign Of Darkness
Cold Chisel - The Perfect Crime (Deluxe Edition)
Crystal Ball - Life Rider
Damnation Angels - The Valiant Fire
Danko Jones - Fire Music
Dark Sarah - Behind the Black Veil
Darkness Light - Living with the Danger
Deadheads - Loaded
Dimino - Old Habits Die Hard
Disturbed - Immortalized
Diviner - Fallen Empires
Dracula - Swing of Death
Echoes - Barefoot to the Moon
Eden's Curse - Live With the Curse
Edge of the Blade - The Ghosts of Humans
Ektomorf - Aggressor
Empires of Eden - Architect of Hope
Escape the Fate - Hate Me
Europe - War Of Kings (Deluxe Edition)
Fall Out Boy - American Beauty-American Psycho
Farmikos - ST
Fire - Equator
Forevermore - Destine
Fortress-Eliot - On the Loose... You Can Rock
Gama Bomb - Untouchable Glory
Graveworm - Ascending Hate
Grimm Jack - Thick as Thieves
Gus G. - Brand New Revolution
H.E.A.T. - Live in London
Halestorm - Into the Wild Life
Hardcore Superstar - HCSS
Harem Scarem - Live at the Phoenix
Harmony - Remembrance EP
Helloween - My God-Given Right
Hollywood Vampires - ST
House of Lords - Indestructible
Ilium - My Misanthropia
Imagine Dragons - Smoke and Mirrors
Impellitteri - Venom
Impera - Empire of Sin
Infidel Rising - The Torn Wings of Illusion
Iron Lamb - Fool's Gold
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
Iron Savior Megatropolis 2.0
Issa - Crossfire
Joel Hoekstra's 13 - Dying To Live
Kelly Keeling - Mind Radio
Kerion - CloudRiders Part 2 - Technowars
Leah - Kings & Queens
Lethal Steel - Legion of the Night
Lioncage - Done at Last
Lonewolf - Cult of Steel
Lords of the Trident - Frostburn
Lynch Mob - Rebel
Mad Max - Thunder, Storm & Passion
Magic Kingdom - Savage Requiem
Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall - Kingdom of Rock
Mark Slaughter - Reflections in a Rearview Mirror
Maxxxwell Carlisle - Visions of Speed and Thunder
Messiah's Kiss - Get Your Bulls Out!
Michael Bormann - Closer
Millennial Reign - Carry the Fire
Moxy - 40 Years and Still Riding High
My Dear Addiction - Beautiful
Nelson - Peace Out
Newman - The Elegance Machine
Nomans Land - Last Crusade
Operation Mindcrime - The Key
Orden Ogan - Ravenhead
Order of Chaos - Apocalypse Moon
Ozone - Self Defence
Papa Roach - Fear
Pat Travers Band - Live at the Iridium NYC
Praying Mantis - Legacy
Psyco Drama - From Ashes to Wings
Pyogenesis - A Century in the Curse of Time
Queensryche - Condition Human
Radioactive - F4UR
Raunchy - VicesVirtuesVisions
Rebellion - Wyrd Bio Ful Ar‘d - The History of the Saxons
Red - Of Beauty and Rage
Reds'Cool - Press Hard
Rob Moratti - Tribute to Journey
Rock n Roll Rebels on the Sunset Strip Vol. 1 Discs 3 and 4
Room Experience - ST
Royal Hunt - Devil's Dozen
Saxon - Battering Ram
Say - Orion
Scanner - The Judgement
Scorpions - Return to Forever
Sebastien - Dark Chambers of Deja Vu
Secret of Boris - Your Ghost
Serpentine Sky - ST
Seventh Sin - When Reality Ends
Shallow Ground - Embrace the Fury
Shinedown - Threat to Survival
Shooting Star - Into The Night
Signum Regis - Through the Storm
Sinister - Dark Memorials
Skindred - Volume
Skiprock - Take It or Leave It
Slik Toxik - Irrelevant
Solution 45 - Nightmares in the Waking State Part 1
Soto - Inside the Vertigo
Stahlmann - CO2
Station - S/T
Stormhammer - Echoes of a Lost Paradise
Stormwitch - Season of the Witch
Stormzone - Seven Sins
Street Talk - Restoration Resissue
Street Talk - Transition Reissue
Street Talk - VI Reissue
Sweet & Lynch - Only to Rise
Symphony X - Underworld
Tad Morose - St. Demonius
Talon - Fourplay
Ten - Isla De Muerta
Terra Nova - Reinvent Yourself
The Dreaming - Rise Again
The Grim - Sanctified
The Night Flight Orchestra - Skyline Whispers
The Radio Sun - The Heaven or Heartbreak
The V - Now or Forever
The Winery Dogs - Hot Streak
To Die For - Cult
Tonk - Ruby Voodoo
Toto - XIV
Tribute - A Light in the Black (Tribute to Dio)
Triosphere - The Heart of the Matter
Uriah Heep - Live at Koko
Vanden Plas - Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld II
Vanlade - Rage of the Gods
Vindictiv - World Of Fear
Voodoo Circle - Whisky Fingers
Voodoo Hill - Waterfall
W.A.S.P. - Golgotha
Widespread Panic - Street Dogs
Wild Frontier - Alive 25
Within Silence - Gallery of Life
Wolfpakk - Rise of the Animal
Worldview - The Chosen Few
Yes - Like It Is (Live)
Zero Verdict - Walk Tall

Honorable Mentions

Amaranthe - B-Sides. Alternate mixes and acoustic versions of previous material, it puts an interesting and lighter spin on their material. Quite different... and good.

Angels Or Kings - Kings Of Nowhere. Some people had this in their 2014 lists, but technically it wasn't released over here until January 2015. Great classic AOR!

Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror. These guys can do no wrong. Groundbreaking? No, but well executed. In an otherwise moderately weak year for metal, this one stands out.

Burning Point - ST. Female-fronted old school metal. Chick's got some pipes and the production is solid.

Constancia - Final Curtain. Heavier-edged hard rock, very lushly produced and the vocals are excellent. Something a bit different, not "cookie cutter" in the least. Just outside my top 5.

Def Leppard - Def Leppard. A lot of people didn't like the varied nature of the album, but it didn't bother me in the least. Considerably better than I was expecting. The guys are slowing down a bit and showing their age, but it's still a good listen.

Degreed - Dead But Not Forgotten. Superb slice of modern hard rock with excellent hooks. Very well produced.

FM - Heroes and Villains. Much better than I expected. It fell just outside my top 5 for the year. Harkens back to some of their better early '90s material.

Iron Savior - Live at the Final Frontier. Wow. These guys sound phenomenal live; extremely crisp production and execution. Not many metal bands live sound even remotely like they do on studio cuts, but Iron Savior pulls it off well.

Keldian - Outbound (Reissue). I missed this when it originally came out, and if you enjoy melodic prog you owe yourself a listen. It had me wondering why I had missed their previous efforts.

Khymera - The Grand Design. A very late entry in 2015, it caught me a bit by surprise. Very polished melodic hard rock, possibly better than previous efforts.

Kiske-Somerville - City of Heroes. I was expecting nothing from this, but it is a MAJOR step up from the previous release. Very enjoyable.

Leaves' Eyes - King of Kings. Very strong female-fronted symphonic metal, very listenable and melodic.

Meytal - Alchemy. Not too many chick drummers in the metal scene... this project album has some very enjoyable metal cuts ranging from melodic to aggressive. Better than expected.

Naked - End Game. Another superb slice of Scandi AOR. Just a few notches below the better ones of the year.

Osukaru - Transition. Highly polished and stylistically very diverse melodic rock with both male and female vocals. Some might not like it because it's hard to pigeonhole, but I like the variety.

Peterik-Scherer - Risk Everything. Peterik may be a bit of a flake, but this Scherer dude can seriously SING. Classic AOR. The only think keeping from higher ranking is that there's nothing particularly innovative; at times can come off as a bit of a retread.

Pyramaze - Disciples of the Sun. Technical and polished prog metal with amazing vocals and choruses. Considerably different from, and better than, their previous efforts, IMO.

Revolution Saints - ST. Superstar group with some impecably solid material. Very radio-friendly.

Nalle Pahlsson's Royal Mess - ST. A star-studded affair that produces some varied, yet very enjoyable material.

Sergeant Steel - Riders of the Worm. Humorous "party rock" from a band that just seems to be having a blast!

Stryper - Fallen. Just a tad below the stellar No More Hell to Pay. Still, this slightly heavier version of Stryper makes for a GREAT listen!

The Darkness - Last of Our Kind. Ya either love 'em or ya hate 'em... I dig the varied types of material on this album. Justin actually really SINGS on a few of the tracks. ;)

The Murder of My Sweet - Beth Out of Hell. Not everyone's cup of tea, but this one gets regular replays from me. Concept/rock opera sort of album with lots of varied instrumentation and excellent vocals.

Trixter - Human Era. Some may consider this sacrilegous, but IMO "new" Trixter absolutely blows away the vintage material. Crunchy, enjoyabel, melodic hard rock.

UDO - Navy Metal Night. Udo Dirkschneider has parlayed less into more than any other vocalist on the planet... perhaps with the exception of Bob Dylan and Yoko Ono. That said, this performance with full orchestra is just stuperb!

Von Hertzen Brothers - New Day Rising. Some of the most radio-friendly modern hard (prog?) rock. Very hard to pigeonhole, but great production, orchestration, and choruses.

Dan's Winners

5th Place

cover Serious Black - As Daylight Breaks. This was an early acquisition in the year, and it stayed strong throughout. It's the heaviest album in my top 5, but even it has strong melodic elements. Melodic metal with very lush choruses, it ranges from euro-style power metal with pounding drums to very melodic almost hard-rock stylings. With the lineup of Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween), Thomen Stauch (ex-Blind Guardian), Mario Lochert (ex-Visions Of Atlantis), Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge), Jan Vacik (ex-Dreamscape), and Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose) on vocals, you might expect it to be heavier than it is. The epic "Temple of the Sun + Akhenaton" is straight out of the Ten (Gary Hughes) playbook, but with a heavier edge. That might be my song of the year.

4th Place

cover Cats in Space - Too Many Gods. Superb slice of westcoast AOR, a blend of ELO Part II, Boston, Styx, New England, and other 70s-80s AOR groups. Excellent production and lush harmonies. If there's one complaint that keeps it from being one of the best albums of all time is that many of the songs are too soft. Had more of the songs been like the first single, "Too Many Gods", it would have been an epic all-time release. The danger of the first single not being representative of the album as a whole is that you set peoples' expectations as to what the album will sound like, and in this case the first single was the exception rather than the rule. Now, that said, it still is a superb effort, with plenty of time on the playlist... it's just a lament of what COULD have been.

3rd Place

cover Art Nation - Revolution. Scandi AOR is one of my favorite styles, and this album exemplifies everything good about the genre. Very reminiscent of last year's #1 disc for me, H.E.A.T.'s Tearing Down the Walls. What makes this an even better surprise is the improvement of the lead vocals from his stint at the front of Diamond Dawn. The first half of the album is better than the second half, IMO; it loses a bit of momentum in the middle stages (kill the piano ballad... seriously), but closes nicely. What is it with the Swedes? They are simply dominating melodic rock at the moment.

2nd Place

cover Eclipse - Armageddonize. Oh look... another Swedish melodic rock band. To quote Adam Schein: "Oh GOOOOOD...." This one hit in January of 2015 and immediately went to the top of many people's (admittedly short) lists. But how would it stand the test of time? Would it still be as excellent by the end of the year? In a word: Yup. A bit crunchier than the Art Nation disc, very up-tempo in comparison, yet still what you would expect from Scandi AOR. Not sure why they decided to use an '80s thrash metal band logo as their album cover, but hey, whatever float's your boat. ;) I know that many people love their previous album, Bleed & Scream, but IMO this one is better.

Dan's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2015 CD of the Year

cover Find Me - Dark Angel. Dafuq?... ANOTHER Swedish AOR band? Damn... clean sweep of the gold, silver and bronze in 2015. This one popped in December, very late, so some folks may have missed it. Heck, *I* almost missed it. I saw the album cover in my inbox, didn't bother reading the text of the email, and said to myself "Oh, another gothic/symphonic metal album. I'll let that wait for a bit"... ummm..... NO! If you haven't listened to this album, you REALLY need to remedy that. This is one of the most stellar vocal albums I have heard in ages. If Survivor and Signal had a baby that released an album today, this is how I would hope it sounded. Just brilliant.

Mike's Picks for the Best of 2015

The Also Rans

Armored Saint - Win Hands Down
Michael Bormann - Closer
Cats In Space - Too Many Gods
The Darkness - Last Of Our Kind
Def Leppard - Def Leppard
Devil City Angels - Devil City Angels
Devil's Train - II
Dimino - Old Habits Die Hard
Duran Duran - Paper Gods
Gamma Ray - The Best Of
Gotthard - Live and Bangin'
H.E.A.T. - Live in London
Hollywood Vampires - Hollywood Vampires
House of Lords - Indestructible
Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls
Joel Hoekstra's 13 - Dying To Live
Khymera - The Grand Design
Legion - Animal Inside
Legion - Solace
Lynch Mob - Rebel
Maxx Explosion - Dirty Angels
Rob Moratti - Tribute to Journey
Operation: Mindcrime - The Key
O'regan - Tunnel Vision
Queensryche - Condition Human
Red Sky Mary - River Child
Room Experience - Room Experience
Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts - Blaster
Mark Slaughter - Reflections in a Rear View Mirror
Rick Springfield - Stripped Down
Revolution Saints - Revolution Saints
Scorpions - Return To Forever
Sleazy Way Out - Satisfy Me
Sweet and Lynch - Only To Rise
Toto - XIV
Tributes - Roots of Iron Maiden
Tributes - A Light in the Black: A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio
Trixter - Human Era
UDO - Decadent
UDO - Navy Metal Night
Universe - Mission Rock
Van Halen - Tokyo Dome ~ In Concert
Whitesnake - The Purple Album
The Winery Dogs - Hot Streak

Honorable Mentions

Art Nation - Revolution: Stunning AOR from Swedish newcomers Art Nation; the opening track "Need You to Understand" is one of the top songs of the year

Buckcherry - Rock N Roll: After several misfires, Buckcherry return with a disc full of what they do best; sleazy, dirty, rock n roll

Bulletboys - Elefante': Hands down the best release ever from the Deadline/Cleopatra label; "Symphony" is one of the year's best songs

The Dead Daisies - Revolucion: Now featuring Jon Corabi on vocals, the Dead Daisies are going places! Bluesy, hard rock goodness abounds as evidenced on tracks like "Mexico" and "Midnight Moses"

Sammy Hagar and The Circle - Live: At Your Service: Featuring songs from Sammy's solo catalog, Montrose, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin, this is one helluva live set, and you can tell the guys are having a blast playing them. I know some folks don't like to include live releases in their year end lists, but I went back to this one time and time again throughout the year, so yeah, gonna give it props!

Serpentine Sky - Serpentine Sky: Fantastic melodic hard rock from Aussie newcomers Serpentine Sky. MelodicRock Records put out several high quality releases in 2015 and this is one of the best. "A Whole Lotta Love", "Everybody Wears a Symbol", "You're The One" and "Midnight" are some of the stand out tracks for me

The Night Flight Orchestra - Skyline Whispers: Retro rock done right! From the opener "Sail On" through the closer "Floridian Eyes" this one is chock full of excellent, 70s inspired hard rock

Helloween - My God-Given Right: My second favorite metal release of the year. After several decent, but underwhelming releases, Helloween are back in form with this outstanding disc! "Heroes", "Stay Crazy" , "Lost in America" and "Living on the Edge" are some of my faves

Stryper - Fallen: 2013's "No More Hell to Pay" was going to be a tough act to follow, and while "Fallen" doesn't live up to its predecessor, it's still one of the year's best releases, and another great entry in the Stryper discography. "Pride", "Big Screen Lies" and "Love You Like I Do" are the stand outs here

Shinedown - Threat to Survival: Shinedown remain at the top of their game with another monster modern hard rock release. While not quite on par with the previous two releases, this one is still quite excellent, with "Asking For It", "Cut the Cord" and "How Did You Love" being a few of my faves

W.A.S.P. - Golgotha: I've never been a huge W.A.S.P. fan, but when all the positive reviews started rolling in for this one, I decided to check it out, and I'm damn glad I did. Easily my "biggest surprise" of 2015, this would be my 5B if I were allowed to have one. "Scream", "Last Runaway", "Eyes of My Maker" and the simply excellent "Miss You" are my faves, but the whole disc is fantastic. May be time to check out some of Blackie's back catalog

Mike's Winners

5th Place

cover Nalle Pahlsson's Royal Mess - Royal Mess: Vindictiv bassist Nalle Pahlsson decided it was finally time to put out a collection of songs that he had been working on over the years, and what a collection it is. "Royal Mess" showcases not only his bass skills, but his vocal abilities as well, and he does a great job in my opinion. This is catchy, 80s style melodic hard rock that will instantly stick in your head. I would name favorites, but really, the whole disc is extremely well done, and goes a long way in establishing MelodicRock Records as true force on the melodic rock/metal scene. Well done to everyone involved!

4th Place

cover Symphony X - Underworld: I had checked out Symphony X several times in the past, and they have always leaned too far to the technical side, and were not melodic enough for my tastes, so I always passed on their releases. Well, that has changed with 2015's "Underworld". This is superb melodic/prog metal from start to finish, and while not exactly a concept album, draws its inspiration from "Dante's Inferno", as well as the operetta, "Orpheus in the Underworld". While the entire disc is quite excellent, I would recommend checking out "Nevermore" and "Without You" to hear for yourself just how melodic this band can be.

3rd Place

cover Talon - Fourplay: I was a big fan of Talon's 2002 self titled release, but they kinda fell off the radar for me after said release. Well, no more, as 2015's "Fourplay" is fantastic! As with previous releases, if you enjoy bands like Dokken, XYZ, Legion, etc... you should definitely check this one out. "Sin City Sister", "Holly Would", and " It's a Fine Line Between Love and Lust" are my faves from a disc full of hard rocking tracks. If you haven't picked this one up yet, I highly recommend you do so!

2nd Place

cover Koritni - Night Goes on For Days: I've been a fan of Lex Koritni going back to his days in Green Dollar Colour, and his releases have been getting progressively better along the way, with 2012's "Welcome to the Crossroads" barely missing my top 5 that year. That has now changed with "Night Goes on For Days"; a disc full of hard rocking tracks that hearken back to the late 80s heyday of hard rock n roll. This one has barely left my CD player since it came out in late '15, with "Horns Up" (a splendid hard rock anthem if ever there was one), "Night Goes on For Days" and "Woman in Love" being my faves from a disc that I enjoy from start to finish. If you've never checked Koritni out before, I urge you to please do so, as I believe they have hit their stride!

Mike's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2015 CD of the Year

cover The Poodles - Devil In The Details: At one point, several years back, I referred to House of Lords as the most consistent band in the melodic rock/hard rock genre, but I now believe that title should go to The Poodles. They have consistently put out strong efforts, from their 2006 debut "Metal Will Stand Tall" all the way through 2015's "Devil in the Details", which is my number one CD of the year. Excellent tracks like "House of Cards", "The Greatest", and "Alive" highlight what is an outstanding disc from start to finish. I've come back to this one over and over throughout the year, and if you haven't picked it up yet, you most definitely should. Another top notch effort from the Poodles!

Pete's Picks for the Best of 2015

The Also Rans

21 Octane - 2.0
AOR - Return to LA
Blood Red Saints - Speedway
COP - State of Rock
China Sky - II
Chris Holmes - Shitting Bricks
Def Leppard - Def Leppard
Dennis Churchill Dries - I
Edge of the Blade - The Ghosts of Humans
Empires of Eden - Architect of Hope
Find Me - Dark Angel
Furyon - Lost Salvation
Impellitteri - Venom
Iron Maiden - Book of Souls
Issa - Crossfire
Jettblack - Disguises
John Taglieri - True Believer EP
Jorn Lande & Trond - Dracula-Swing of Death
Kelly Keeling - Mind Radio
Level 10 - Chapter 1
Lies of Smiles - Dreams of the Machinoix
Maxx Explosion - Dirty Angels
Michael Bormann - Closer
Michael Monroe - Blackout States
Michael Schenker - Spirit on a Mission
Moxy - 40 Years and Still Riding High
Nelson - Peace Out
Ozone - Self Defence
Praying Mantis - Legacy
Queensryche - Condition Human
Radioactive - F4UR
Room Experience - Room Experience
Royal Hunt - Devil’s Dozen
Royal Mess - Royal Mess
SOTO - Inside the Vertigo
Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz
Saxon - Battering Ram
Scorpions - Return to Forever
Serpentine - Circle of Knives
Shinedown - Threat to Survival
Stala and So - Stala and So
Stellar Revival - Love, Lust, & Bad Company
Stormzone - Seven Sins
Sweet and Lynch - Only to Rise
Ten - Isla De Muerta
Terra Nova - Reinvent Yourself
The Darkness - Last Of Our Kind
The Dead Daisies - Revolucion
The Winery Dogs - Hot Streak
Thunder - Wonder Days
Toto - XIV
UFO - A Conspiracy of Stars
Whitesnake - The Purple Album

Honorable Mentions

The Answer - Raise a Little Hell: Really, REALLY close to a top five… if I hadn’t been spoiled by Everyday Demons, I might have been more likely to do so. That being said, this is easily their best since the stellar debut.

Art Nation - Revolution: Takes what we heard in Diamond Dawn to a new level, if you like HEAT, you’ll love these guys.

Beauvoir/Free - American Trash: Solid, hooky, hard rock, an enjoyable listen every time.

Bonfire - Glorious: Yes, I know it’s not Claus, but he’s not coming back, and this lineup of Bonfire delivers a big sound, huge riffs, and David Reece certainly delivers on lead vocals.

Constancia - Final Curtain: Excellent follow up to Lost and Gone from these guys. Slightly prig, but moreso melodic hard rock.

The Darker My Horizon - Acquiese: A little bit on the modern side for a melodic rock lineup, but the songs are well written, with good hooks, and lots of guitar… not complaining!

Europe - War of Kings: No more “Final Countdown” stuff for these guys, tearing a page out of the classic rock handbook from the likes of Deep Purple, Rainbow, etc. and doing it extremely well.

Hinder - When The Smoke Clears: Used to hate these guys, and still maybe a little too “bro rock” for this list, but a new singer and some quality songs make me want to listen to it.

House of Lords - Indestructible: Another fine release from a very prolific James Christian and Co. Huge mix from Ty Sims, and plenty of bombastic goodness like you’d expect!

Joel Hoekstra’s 13 - Dying To Live: I was surprised too… a solo record from a guitarist with really good songs… hell yes! This is solid from back to front.

Khymera - The Grand Design: As much as I want to hate the “project” mentality of late, there is NO denying how good this sounds. I challenge you not to walk away humming a chorus or two after listening.

Lynch Mob - Rebel: If you like the grittier direction George has been moving towards for the last several years, this will totally work for you, as it does for me. Oni’s sounding great with this stuff, and with a rhythm section like Pilson/Tichy it just fires on all cylinders.

Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall - Kingdom of Rock: Another one I wasn’t sure about, but this is heads and tails above the first release, with some great songs, and amazing guest vocalists. Hooky power metal… is that a thing? It is now.

Newman - The Elegance Machine: Steve Newman has yet to disappoint, and this is no exception. Super clean, yet powerful production, big huge ass hooks, and Steve’s thought provoking lyrics. It’s a winner.

Operation: Mindcrime - The Key: I’ll get a lot of flak for this I’m sure, but as good as the new Q-Ryche sounds, I find myself liking this better because warts and all, it’s got heart and passion, whereas the new Q just sounds like they’re trying to recreate the old sound. A little filler, a little weirdness, but some real gems among the dust and tumbleweeds rolling through Geoff Tate’s mind…

The Poodles - Devil in the Details: Back to a much hookier style than the last album. Hooky Scandi melodic rock, but very much with their own sound.

The Radio Sun - Heaven or Heartbreak: Melodic Bliss, really good stuff walking the line between power pop and melodic rock, two genres I am very fond of, and they are doing it RIGHT!

Reach - Reach Out To Rock: Solid melodic rock, nothing more, nothing less. I found myself “reach”ing for this one more and more often as the year progressed.

Revolution Saints - Revolution Saints: A solid old-school Journey-esque effort, that I truly enjoyed listening to, but had maybe a few too many ballads.

S.A.Y - Orion: It’s like the return of Intuiton-era TNT, and I love that.

Shooting Star - Into the Night: Out of nowhere they return with a solid album that nods appreciatively to their past efforts, while still sounding fresh.

Mark Slaughter - Reflections In A Rear View Mirror: It;s not VVI, it’s not Slaughter, but it is a solid rock album, with some excellent tracks.

Station - Station: Very good stuff from these guys, I hope there’s more to come. My only complaint is it sounds like it was cobbled together from several different recording sessions/producers.

Stryper - Fallen: Best Stryper album in years, and actually sounds like Stryper. Maybe slightly heavier than the early stuff, but super hooky and well produced.

Suicide Bombers - The Sex Tapes: Independent sleaze done right. Solid, driving songs delivered with plenty of attitude. I wish there were more actual songs on it, but I don’t think these guys are done yet.

Trixter - Human Era: I like this one even better than the last, they sound motivated, the songs are great, and I could listen to Steve Brown play guitar all damn day!

The V - Now or Never: Big surprise from Benedictum’s Veronica Freeman, wasn’t expecting and excellent (and at times even a little poppy) hard rock album.

WASP - Golgotha: Blackie’s back! Not sure what happened, but after several almost disposable albums, he gets back to his roots and puts this sucker out. Best since Headless Children hands down IMHO.

Pete's Winners

5th Place

cover Hungryheart - Dirty Italian Job The vocals, and the blues tinged melodic rock on this album immediately bring to mind Kiss of the Gypsy or Snakecharmer for me, but with an added pop sensibility that takes the sound to a whole different level. Another surprise for me this year, as I was completely unfamiliar with their previous release, but a pleasant one for sure!

4th Place

cover Tonk - Ruby Voodoo Had no idea who these guys were until I was sent a promo from MRR. Absolutely fantastic stuff, with all the bluesy swagger of Koritni, and all the instrumental chops of Lynch Mob while still maintaining their own identity. Well worth a listen if you’re unfamiliar with them, I absolutely love this one.

3rd Place

cover Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct After pigeonholing these guys as a Thin Lizzy soundalike, I had a few songs pop up on shuffle play, and just found myself listening to the whole album… regularly! Obvious nods to Thin Lizzy in sound and style, but damned if it isn’t addictive as hell. Huge hooks, solid guitar work, I think I’m going to listen to it again right now.

2nd Place

cover Talon - Fourplay Talon’s always been a great straight up hard rock band with some metal roots, and I’ve liked all of their albums over the years. But they truly pulled out all the stops with this one. Sure you’ve got the solid rock anthems you would expect, but then add the swagger of tracks like Holly Would, Sin City Sister, or the feel good Raise ‘em High, or even the out of nowhere almost poppy Spun… the whole band sounds fantastic, and getting Michael O’Mara back at the helm was obviously meant to be.

Pete's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2015 CD of the Year

cover Eclipse - Armageddonize I had a feeling about this one after loving Bleed and Scream. I thought they were going to go even further with it, and they did indeed. From driving power, to hooky melodic rock, and some slower emotional moments, this album delivers on every level. Proof in the pudding that it came out early in the year and I’m still listening to it regularly.

Jez's Picks for the Best of 2015

The Also Rans

7th Heaven - Next
Bryan Adams – Get Up
Aerosmith – Rocks Donington
The Amorettes – Game On
AOR – Return To L.A.
Aviary – Heartless
Bon Jovi – Burning Bridges
Burntfield – Cold Heat EP
Tom Cochrane – Take It Home
David Cook – Digital Vein
Dimino - Old Habits Die Hard
Girlschool – Guilty As Sin
The Godz – From The Vault Vol. 4
Gun – Frantic
Hardcore Superstar – HCSS
H.E.A.T – Live In London
Hinder – When The Smoke Clears
House Of Lords - Indistructable
Intelligent Music Project 3 – Touching The Devine
Keldian – Outbound
Korpiklaani - Noita
Leave’s Eyes – King Of Kings
Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For The Fans
Magnum – Escape From The Shadow Garden – Live
Marilyn Manson – The Palle Emperor
Mother’s Finest – Goody 2 Shoes and The Filthy Beasts
Motorhead – Bad Magic
Moxy – 40 Years And Still Flying High
Nelson – Peace Out
Newman – The Elegance Machine
Osukaru – Transition
Ozone – Self Defence
Praying Mantis – Legacy
Queensryche – Condition Human
Dan Reed – Transmission
Todd Rundgren – Global
Rush – R40
David A. Saylor – Built 2 Fight
Neal Schon - Vortex
Scorpions – Return To Forever
Shattered Skies – The World We Used To Know
Shooting Star – Into The Night
Stryper - Fallen
Thunder – Wonder Days
Pat Travers – Retro Rocket
UFO – A Conspiracy Of Stars
The V – Now or Never
Steve Vai – Stillness In Motion: Vai Live In LA
Wake The Nations – Sign Of Heart
Young Gun Silver Fox – West End Coast

Honorable Mentions

Age Sten Nilsen’s Ammunition – Shanghaied. Ex Wig Wam front mans new project, featuring Erik Martenssen, who is it has to be said, is one of the main selling points of this. It sounds exactly like you expect it would, big, bouncy melodic rock tunes with big hooks, so any fans of Nilsen and Martenssen’s other bands/projects should certainly give this a go. Note:: This was released in Japan at the end of 2014 and in the rest of the world at the beginning of 2015.

A Life Divided – Human. As with the previous ‘The Great Escape’ (which made my top 5 for 2013), ‘Human’ is an album chock full of Electro-synth melodies, heavy riffing and catchy choruses throughout. Another very fine album

Arena – The Unquiet Sky. 8th studio album from this very fine prog outfit and another album rich in melody, technical excellence and some excellent progressive music in general

Art Nation – Revolution. Debut album featuring ex Diamond Dawn vocalist Alexander Strandell and another excellent band to add to the list of already established, quality Swedish melodic rock bands. Not quite up there with the very best of the year and it maybe ‘borrows’ a little too much from the H.E.A.T sound at times. But, for a debut, an extremely promising effort and definitely one to check out if you haven’t already

Battle Beast – Unholy Saviour. A good mix of styles this time around, from the more poppy 'Touch In The Night' (which it has to be said is one of my favourite tracks of this year), 'Push It To The Limit', which is very Brother Firetribe like in sound, through to the more familiar , big bombastic metal tracks the band are known for, plus a couple of nice ballads as well. Play loud and enjoy, as it's super stuff

Beauvoir/ Free – American Trash. The nucleus behind Crown of Thorns return with an excellent album of hooky hard rock, with the trademark Jean Beauvoir sound. A couple of songs short of excellence, but still highly recommended all the same

Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct. The 2nd BSR disc and a step up from the impressive debut from a couple of years back. The Thin Lizzy influence is to the fore on a strong set of material, ranging from the up tempo rockers to the more Celtic influenced ballads, along with some impressive guitar work from Messrs Gorham and Johnson.

Care Of Night – Connected. The much awaited debut album from the Swedish AOR’sters that delivers in spades. If your musical tastes require top quality songs, tight harmonies and luscious keys, then this is the one for you. One of THE top AOR discs of the year.

Carpark North – Phoenix (International Edition). One of Denmark’s current top bands and really a rather excellent album of radio friendly pop/ synth rock. Not quite HH material per se, but the album is so good and one of my most played of the year, I couldn’t leave it out. Superb

Champlin/ Williams/ Friestedt. Top quality Westcoast AOR, with more of a slant towards the traditional Westcoast sound, especially in the second half of the album. Half of the songs featured could all have come of any 80’s Toto album, such is the quality on offer. Maybe a little too ‘lite’ for some tastes, but this really is a very very good album indeed.

Charlie – Elysium. A heady mix of melodic rock, classic hard rock with a few progressive under tones and an excellent disc that crept under the radar a couple of months back. This really is 70 odd minutes of outstanding music, with superb arrangements, great melodies and caustic lyrics, making this really standout from the usual run of the mill stuff.

China Sky – II. It’s taken over 25 years to see a follow up to the excellent debut album and whilst this doesn’t reach the heights of that album, it is a solid, enjoyable album with much to recommend (‘One Life ’in particular is an excellent song) and one that grew on me with each subsequent spin. It’s certainly not perfect and could have done with a little more ‘pazazz’ , but it has done just enough to creep into my honourable mentions list.

Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches. COF have always been at the very edge of my musical spectrum, but a band, when i’m in the mood, I have always enjoyed over the years. ‘Hammer Of The Witches’ is dark, complex, intense, heavy as hell in spots, yet it is also melodic and along with ‘Thornogrophy’, is probably one of the most accessible they have ever released. It’s certainly no ‘Midian’, but on the whole, it is one of the best albums they have done and one of the best metal albums of the year

Darkhaus – Providence EP. New Wave, Industrial groove metal, synth rock, call it what you like, but it’s an excellent mix and a quality 4 tracker (+ 1 live / 1 acoustic track) and a highly recommended follow up to 2013’s marvellous ‘My Only Shelter’ album. Roll on album number 2 proper.

The Darkness – Last Of Our Kind. Like ‘em or loathe ‘em, Justin and the boys returns with what is a pretty damned good disc overall. A few weak moments here and there, but otherwise things are pretty much back to normal, although Justin’s vocals have been toned down a notch or 3.

Def Leppard – Def Leppard. Another album that has grown with subsequent listens and one that very nearly crept into my top 5. This is good, very good indeed with ‘Dangerous’ ‘All Time High’ and ‘We Belong’ being as good as anything they have done in the last 20 years and with only a couple of tunes letting the side down, it is the most consistent DL album since ‘Adrenalize’.

Destine – Forevermore. Pop/rock of the highest order, without dipping it’s feet in the dreaded Pop/Punk genre like they have hinted at previously, especially on their debut album. It’s a short album at just over 34 minutes, so it is short and sweet, but as It seems like this is going to be the very last Destine album, It’s good to hear them bowing out on a good note

David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock. One of my favourite guitarists and a really beautifully atmospheric album full of Gilmour’s trademark guitar and some quite lovely compositions. The DTS and 5.1 versions on the Blu-ray, included in the 2 disc box set, are truly stunning as well. Headphones album of the year

Eclipse – Armageddonize. Their best album yet and a blazing set of hard melodic rock songs, with that magic Erik Martenssen stamp. Only just missed a top 5 placing, such is the quality of this one. Truly excellent stuff

FM – Heroes And Villains. This really is a good album and definitely their best since they got back together. It’s trademark FM with no real surprises along the way, but there are some really cracking tunes featured and it also features a production that sounds a million dollars too. Good to see this band going from strength to strength

Iron Maiden – Book Of Souls. The days of ‘Number Of The Beast’ are long gone, but the metal pioneers return with a mammoth double, 11 track monster of an album, highlighted by the 18 minute ‘Empire Of The Clouds’. It is a long album, but I found it pretty easy to digest in one sitting (if you have 90 minutes free that is) and whilst some of the songs are better than others, non are bad and they all add up to one of the bands most consistent, better quality releases, especially in recent years

Issa – Crossfire. This is Issa’s best album by a mile, probably down to the input and songwriting from the Martin Bros and the fact that it does sound like Vega with female vocals a lot of the time. Their input on here is excellent, especially on some of the arrangements and silky smooth production, which makes for a very impressive album overall

Khymera – The Grand Design. It’s been a 7 year wait since the previous ‘The Greatest Wonder’ album, but Dennis Ward has produced another very strong album. The trademark catchy, superbly produced songs are very much to the fore, along with pretty much everything else you would want with a release like this. I still prefer the superb ‘The Greatest Wonder’ over this, but there’s no doubting this is a very fine album indeed which will top many an end of year list.

Kristine – Kristine. The Queen of the synthwave /retro 80’s synth scene with her debut album. Anthemic, pure pop/rock hooks, bathed in 80’s nostalgia, deserving of any 80’s soundtrack album...and it’s brilliant.

Lonely Robot – Please Come Home. An Impressive debut from It Bites, Kino, Frost* and Arena’s multi-talented guitarist, which musically has it’s feet firmly planted the style of all those projects. It’s atmospheric progressive rock, which is exhilarating and a pleasure to listen to from the first song to the last, Steve Hogarth, Nick Kershaw, Heather Findley and Go West’s Peter Cox all make excellent cameo’s throughout.

Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment. An epic mix of lengthy prog, hard rock and stripped-down ballads from one of modern prog rocks best exponents. It’s supremely delivered with the high level musicianship and songwriting you have come to expect connected with his name, making it one of the better progressive rock albums this year.

Muse – Drones. Compared to the more experimental sound of the previous ‘The Resistance’ and ‘The 2nd Law’ albums, ‘Drones’ is a more back to basics rock album and a very well crafted one at that, thanks also to a great ‘Mutt’ Lange production. It’s full to the brim with Matt Bellamy’s trademark seismic riffs and the superb rhythm section of Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard. It's a work of hard rock, operatic melodrama and a very fine album indeed.

The Night Flight Orchestra - Skyline Whispers. A very welcome 2nd album, continuing the style of the ‘Internal Affairs’ debut from 2012. Once again it’s feet are firmly planted in the 70’s classic rock sound, but there is also melodic rock, and a bit of pomp and prog thrown into the mix too, making for a very satisfying 60 odd minutes

Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful. First album proper featuring the new vocalist Floor Jansen. The typical mix of Nightwish’s symphonic/ gothic metal, culminating with the huge 24 minute epic ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. It’s certainly not their best album (listen to ‘Dark Passion Play’ or ‘Once’ for that honour) but it is a very good, solid album from one of the genres best exponents.

The Poodles – Devil In The Details. After a couple of disappointing albums, this is a big return to form and the best album they have done since ‘Clash of the Elements’. It’s slightly more diverse style wise than usual, but it’s chock full of great songs from the more poppy ‘The Greatest and '(What The Hell) Baby’ to the heavier ‘Need To Believe’. This really was a pleasant surprise, as I had pretty much given up any hope of a really strong release from these guys again, but thankfully, they have proven me wrong.

Radioactive – F4ur. Tommy Denander returns with the 4th chapter in the Radioactive story. It’s the usual mix of good songs and his usual class musicianship and overall it's been put together really well, with a good choice of vocalists. Don’t expect any surprises as there aren’t any, but it is a very good and highly recommended all the same

Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints. With a line up of Aldrich, Blades and Castronovo you have some major hitters on the Melodic Rock scene right there. All the right ingredients are in check, from Aldrich’s trademark solos, Castronovo’s excellent Perry’esque vocals, excellent drumming and Blades solid playing coupled with a rock solid (albeit a little ballad heavy) set of songs. It falls a little short of being a total killer release that it should been, purely because it does fall away in the second half a little, but there is no doubting the quality that is on offer here generally.

Romeo’s Daughter – Spin. Follow up to the excellent ‘Rapture’ and definitely up to the bands usual high standards. 10 tracks and a shade under 40 minutes of quality melodic pop rock, that, whilst not quite as good as the previous album, is still one of the better releases this year. Good to see them flying the flag along with fellow Brits FM and still releasing excellent quality albums such as this.

Steve Rothery – The Ghosts Of Pripyat. Sublime, moody, esoteric and beautiful, some of the words I have read that describe this album and ones I cannot fault one bit. This is an excellent instrumental album from the Marillion guitarist, which also features guests Steve Hackett and Steve Wilson, putting the icing on the cake on what is an absolutely top notch album.

Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova. Another varied, musically diverse and original instrumental album from the guitar master, which must rank as one of his best releases, especially in recent years. If you are into guitar music of the highest order, then there aren’t many much better than this

Saxon – Battering Ram. The bastions of British metal and a band very much still on top of their game. Their Old School Metal still gets the old blood pumping and ‘Battering Ram’, incredibly the bands 21st studio album, is yet another top quality album, with the highlight being 'Kingdom Of The Cross' which is an absolute stunning track

Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle. One of the most consistent and renowned prog bands of the last 20 years and their 12th album. It’s another good one too, odd time signatures, intricate instrumentals, tempo changes, beautiful, flowing choruses, all woven together to give that typical SB sound, which is still accessible and highly melodic. It definitely needs more than one listen for it all to sink in, which ultimately proves a worthwhile experience.

Station – Station. Really good, 80's retro melodic rock. At 15 tracks and over 70 minutes, it’s way too long (quality wise it dips in the middle), so a trim of 4-5 songs would have improved it overall, along with a beefed up rhythm section as well, but there are some super tracks on here with ‘True Believer' and that infectious guitar riff in the verse, getting my vote for album highlight. For a debut album, much to commend and I look forward to hearing future material by this band

Sylvan – Home. Very fine German Progressive rock,in the earlier Marillion vein. As usual with Sylvan’s style, It is quite melancholic at times, but features some very good delicate, instrumental passages throughout, mixed in with some heavy sections - ‘Shine’ in particular being a major highlight. if you like good atmospheric prog, with good strong melodies, then look no further than this one.

Von Hertzen Brothers – New Day Rising. Another band that goes from strength to strength on this, their 6th studio album. Style wise ,It’s noticeably more streamlined, so is less ‘proggy’ than previously, although the whole album is still pretty eclectic, ranging from the up tempo, harder rocking material of ‘You Don’t Know My Name & ‘’New Day Rising’ to almost folky stuff of ‘Dreams’ . A shame this band is not more widely well known, as they really are excellent.

W.A.S.P – Golgotha. The return of Blackie and co. in what is definitely one of the years most pleasant surprises. Everything you would expect of a W.A.S.P album is on here, Blackie’s gravelly scream, some ripping rock tracks and a couple of excellent ballads, with special note going to the terrific, near 8 minute ballad ‘Miss You’ with it’s excellent guitar work (how this did not end up on the ‘Crimson Idol’ is anyone’s guess, as it’s one of their very best ballads) . Categorically their best album since ‘92’s ‘The Crimson Idol’ and terrific stuff

Whitesnake – The Purple Album. A ‘Tribute’ to the mark III and IV era of Deep Purple from Coverdale and his new line up. It fares pretty well with some choice cuts from the "Burn", "Stormbringer" and "Come Taste The Band" albums. Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra add the guitar flourish and Coverdale still sounds pretty good throughout. I would have preferred a brand new album of new material if i’m honest, but this is still a very enjoyable hour or so of listening pleasure

The Winery Dogs – Hot Streak. The first album was excellent and this pushes the quality meter up a notch or 2, on what is very strong well executed, produced and structured album. The musicianship is exemplary as you would expect from these 3 guys, so if you want some classic rock played at it’s very best, then look no further than here

Jez's Winners

5th Place

cover Martina Edoff – Unity. Martina’s debut was a promising one, although lacked real consistency in the song writing department, but oh boy! has she turned that around on this 2nd release. Co-produced with H.E.A.T's Jona Tee, who also co-writes some of the songs, this is a quite excellent set of melodic hard rock. Also of interest is that the rest of the H.E.A.T. boys turn out to provide their musical chops and give the album that extra stamp of quality. Rockers, ballads, great guitar riffs, swirling synths and great vocals, this disc has got the lot, so if you like your melodic rock of the best quality and with more than a nod towards the styles of the aforementioned H.E.A.T, as well as Witness and Robin Beck, this album is one of the best of it’s type this year by far.

4th Place

cover Degreed – Dead But Not Forgotten. The previous ‘We Don’t Belong’ was an excellent slice of modern hard rock, which truly deserved its status in my top 5 of 2013. With ‘Dead But Not Forgotten’ the band have not only done it again, they have surpassed that album and then some with a truly wonderous set of material. Over the course of 14 well executed tracks, the band pump out their own brand of hard rock, with huge hooks and great melodies, all wrapped up with a hard rocking backbone with pop sensibilities, which is a completely winning formula on a quite superb album.

3rd Place

cover Find Me – Dark Angel. Album number 2 and once again, for me, an artist making a big step up in terms of songs, production and overall quality. I’ll cut to the chase, this is, by far the best AOR disc of the year and whilst I am generally no big fan of these ‘Project’ type albums, this has won me over with the sheer quality of everything on offer. The standard of the songs on here is to the max, with absolutely no fillers whatsoever, just majestic melodic rock with soaring choruses throughout, with even the Kenny Loggins ‘I’m Free’ cover being very well done. The performance are also of major note, Robbie LaBlanc is absolutely superb on vocals and probably the best I have heard him on any album and the rest of the musicians back him up in very fine fashion. It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to this genre and this really is the absolute cream of the crop

2nd Place

cover Toto – XIV. ‘XIV’ is the best, most consistent Toto record since 'The Seventh One' period. This, more than any other Toto release in the last 30 years, dips it’s toes further back into their earlier releases of the late 70’s/ early 80’s , so has a more retro sound, especially when they nail the more traditional Westcoast/ Steely Dan sound of ‘Chinatown’ or ‘Unknown Soldier’ and ‘Great Expectations, which both hark back to the bands ‘Hydra’ era. As well as those highlights, there are 3 excellent modern pop ballads in ‘All The Tears That’, ‘The Little Things’ and the delicate Jap bonus track ‘Bend’ all 3 top quality, along with the more traditional Toto fare of ‘Holy War’ , ‘Fortune’, ‘Running Out Of Time’ and the very excellent ’21st Century blues (which could have come off any Lukather solo album). There have been a few moans regarding the production/mix and it has to be said that it isn’t the slickest Toto album ever recorded, but personally that is the one and only (very) minor niggle that I can throw at this. Along with Cats In Space, an absolute clear winner by a very long mile this year and a quite sublime disc.

Jez's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2015 CD of the Year

cover Cats In Space – Too Many Gods I’ve been following the progress and looking forward to this release for most of the year and can gladly report back that it has delivered big time, maybe even surpassing my high expectations, so for anyone with a major penchant for 70’s rock, power pop, pomp, retro AOR and melodic rock, you won’t find any better releases anywhere. One of the most fun things when listening to this album, is picking out all the influences that are in the mix, whether it be Queen, Supertramp, ELO, Cheap Trick, 10cc, Jellyfish, New England, The Who or even a slight Westcoast touch on a couple of cuts too, whilst also marvelling at how the band have wrapped all this ‘Retro’ thing up with their own stamp, making it all sound fresh and up to date at the same time. Special note must also go to the harmonies throughout this album, which are some of the best I have heard since the mighty Touch album back in 1980 and i’m not saying that lightly. In a year that has really only thrown up a handful of real true gems, this is at the very very top of that elite list and an album i will be playing for many more years to come. Absolutely Indispensible

Terry's Picks for the Best of 2015

The Also Rans

Baton Rogue Morgue-Anything You Want
Dead of Night-The Dead Shall Rise
Heene Boyz-American Chilly
Kill For Eden-S/T
Kyrie Ellison-Untold Stories: The Scriptures of Sadness
R Genium-Wonderful Wonderful World
Rocky Lewis-Reign of Reptiles
Snakebite-Princess of Pain
Steel Rangers-Full X-Es's

Honorable Mentions

Distillator - Revolutionary Cells. Thrash or be thrashed and done so with laser sharp precision!

Erase - E. Another unknown, but should be. Hard rock to metal on this slab from Greece.

Mad Dragzter - Master of Space and Time. Supremely tight trash metal!

Miron - Lacrimosa. Very very good album in the vein of Fastway and the like. Killer guitar work and the vocals are amazing too!

Osyruss - Renacer. Very proficient prog rock. Its all in espaniol so not for everyone, which is a shame as music should have no language barriers and these boys have the chops to bridge void.

Rusted Guns - S/T. A nifty lil' album of sleazy hard rock.

Sergeant Steel - Riders of the Worm. Brilliant slab of AOR from Austria.

Thrillkiller - Time. Baltimore's super lineage form a great little band and create a monster hard rock EP!

Vitne - Endless Blue. My main man and his nice lil EP. Some very solid song crafting on this EP. Very solid.

Yardstones - White Lies. A good slab of sleazy GnR fueled rock n roll.

Terry's Winners

5th Place

cover The Tip - S/T. Supremely sleezy Nashvillian rock n roll. These boys have the Kix vibe and look nailed with tons of swagger and sexy sexy tunes. Looking forward to more and I would greatly enjoy seeing these boys live!

4th Place

cover Shiraz Lane - Be The Slave Or Be The Change. A super tasty little EP that is a stellar mash up of Skid Row and the like with a smattering of The Darkness. These Scandi young uns are tearing things up and are currently signed to Frontiers for what we can only hope will be a full length. Great start for a VERY solid band.

3rd Place

cover The Suicide Bombers - The Sex Tapes. This one really kills. A stellar hard rock outing that rocks hard. Very Space Age Playboy Kory Clark and Warrior Soul. Dripping with sleazy swagger and as much sexiness as the Tip release.

2nd Place

cover Station - S/T. My favorite American band this year and I wouldn't think they could eclipse the epic EP from last year, but WOW, they did and did so in spades. Hard rock, arena rock, cigarette lighter ballads and they are stellar live as well. A very must have album for all.

Terri's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2015 CD of the Year

cover Purpura Ink - Breakin' Chains. Best album of the year bar none. Brazil has more to offer than rain forests and big booties in thongs and it is this 5 piece hard rock band who have incanted Breaking the Chains era Dokken among others of this ilke. Very quality and should be in EVERYONES collection.

Existing comments about Best of 2015

From: Eric3 Date: January 24, 2016 at 21:40
A very diverse and interesting group of lists as always, gentlemen! I see I have plenty of listening to do! My picks: 1. Issa - Crossfire (and it's not close) 2. Praying Mantis - Legacy 3. House of Lords - Indestructible 4. Peterik/Scherer - Risk Everything 5. Toto XIV I'd love to put the Find Me and Khymera releases in there as well, but they didn't have nearly long enough to sit with me as my top 5 did. Cheers guys and here's to a hard-rocking 2016!

From: 123charpenay Date: January 25, 2016 at 12:43
2015 was a decent year for melodic rock .thanx to the two super ghosts scorpions and def leppard.they have keep up appearances.i m very surprised that nobody speak about scorpions. my picks: 1 SCORPIONS return to forever 2 DEF LEPPARD same 3 KHYMERA the grand design 4 FIND ME dark angel 5 REVOLUTIONS SAINTS same i can add 6 FM heroes and vilains 7 ART NATION revolution 8 ISSA crossfire. that s all.

From: the rocker Date: January 25, 2016 at 15:52
1.Eclipse-Armageddonize 2.Ammunition-Shanghaied 3.Art Nation-Revolution 4.Revolution Saints-s/t 5.Find Me-Dark Angel 6.House Of Lords-Indestructible 7.Trixter-Human Era 8.Khymera-The Grand Design 9.Station-s/t 10.Maxx Explosion-Dirty Angel

From: dannyp13 Date: January 26, 2016 at 15:15
Love looking through all the lists. Was a little surprised not to see Diemonds - Never Wanna Die. One of the best cd's from 2015. If you haven't heard this great cd you should.

From: Doug Date: January 26, 2016 at 19:12
My favorites in no particular order: Def Leppard – Def Leppard; Eclipse - Armageddonize; The Answer - Raise a Little Hell; The Winery Dogs - Hot Streak; Halestorm - Into the Wild Life; Find Me - Dark Angel; and Revolution Saints - Revolution Saints. Worst album? Hands down, Bon Jovi – Burning Bridges. A terrible, lazy release.

From: Doghouse Reilly Date: January 26, 2016 at 21:37
My picks for 2015 are all over the place. Swallow the The Sun: Songs From The North; Clutch: Psychic Warfare; Kataklysm: Of Ghosts And Gods; Symphony X: underworld; Armored Saint: Win Hands Down; Fear Factory: Genexus; Lamb Of God: VII--Sturm Und Drang; Moonspell: Extinct; and a couple of EP's: Broken Teeth: Bulldozer; and The Wild!: G*D*W*B. Other Heavh Harmonies staples like Jettblack, Hardcore Superstar, The Answer and Santa Cruz, I really wanted to like, but in the end felt they were only good and not great, especially compared with past releases (particularly Hardcore Superstar and Jettblack). The good news is, 2016 is already starting off GREAT!

From: juan carlos Date: January 27, 2016 at 8:35
1.- Care of night "Connected". 2.- ISSA "Crossfire". 3.- Blood Red Saints "Speedway". 4.- Khymera "The Grand Design". 5.- Find Me "Dark Angel". 6.- Praying Mantis "Legacy". 7.- CWF "Champlin/Williams/Friestedt". 8.- Art Nation "Revolution". 9.- C.O.P. "State of Rock". 10.- A.O.R. "Return to L.A.". Special mentions: Cats in Space "Too Many Gods", Radioactive "Four", Constancia "Final Curtain", Crossrock "Common Baby", Zaneta "Tales from the Sun", Power Play "All Those Years".

From: metalmastermusic Date: January 27, 2016 at 10:49
1.Station – ST I came across this album at RNS15 and haven’t been able to ply it out of my player since. A perfectly crafted indie release this embodies everything that is 80’s rock with big choruses and great gang vocals to compliment the high vocals. It’s the feel good album that the melodic rock genre needs in a day when much music is dark and brooding. Had this been released on a big label like Frontiers or AFM this band would have the publicity it deserves. 2.Eclipse – Armageddonize I expected another big album from these guys after Bleed and Scream and this album did not disappoint. I’ve enjoyed nearly everything that Erik Martensson has released and this is another fantastic slab of melodic rock. 3.Art Nation - Revolution This was a latecomer to me which I just listened to recently and after listening through it I was very impressed. In the vein of H.E.A.T/Work of Art this is another great release from Sweden. Great melodic choruses and just the right amount of keyboards to comp

From: metalmastermusic Date: January 27, 2016 at 10:52
compliment the guitar work. 4.Suicide Bombers – The Sex Tapes In your face rock n roll! If not for the Glam Rock City group I would have missed out on these guys. With a sound between glam rock with a touch of punk rock. 5.Tremonti – Cauterize I’m not usually a big mainstream music listener but this album has some outstanding riffage on it. Yes it’s a modern sound as you would expect from Tremonti but it has energy to it that is not found on many of today’s albums. I’d say this type of music is usually outside my style of listening as I like more melodic sounding music but it resonated and grew on me. 6.Constancia – Final Curtain Another great Swedish band! I see a theme developing here. Janne Stark and company have a great melodic release on their hands here. 7.Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall - Kingdom of Rock This probably would have moved up the list for me but having multiple singers watered it down for me a bit.

From: metalmastermusic Date: January 27, 2016 at 10:53
8.Stryper – Fallen It’s no secret I am a Stryper fan and this album was very enjoyable with the heaviest sound they have produced yet. Michael’s voice is spot on as usual. 9.Tonk – Ruby Voodoo I was not quite sure what to think of this band when I first got the disc because, who names their band Tonk? Once I popped it in the player I was sold. This album flat out rocks! Great guitar work abounds and I like the in your face vocals. 10.Borealis – Purgatory This is another late listen I’ve had and after listening to this it moved right up my list. Another album that has some killer guitarwork on it. It’s more along the line of powerrock meets prog rock. My favorite tune from this album is Past The Veil.

From: Doug Date: January 27, 2016 at 14:50
On my earlier post, had forgotten about Tremonti's latest, yeah that is a good one. I also liked Ugly Kid Joe's release. Good to see them back in the mix. Some really cool entries mentioned above.

From: Axe Slinger Date: January 28, 2016 at 19:59
1. Find Me - Dark Angel 2. Khymera - The Grand Design 3. FM - Heroes and Villains 5. Stryper - Fallen 6. Royal Hunt - Devil's Dozen 7. Blood Red Saints - Speedway 7. Revolution Saints 8. House of Lords - Indestructible 9. Room Experience 10. The Poodles - Devil in the Details.............Most Excited for 2016, TREAT!!!

From: Axe Slinger Date: January 28, 2016 at 20:01
....forgot Voodoo Circle - Whiskey Fingers. It's in there somewhere high up.

From: Thiago Date: February 2, 2016 at 1:03
IMO 1.Find Me - Dark Angel , 2.Khymera - The Grand Design , 3.C.O.P - State Of Rock , 4.Degreed - Dead But Not Forgotten , 5.Art Nation - Revolution , 6.Care of Night - Connected , 7.7th Heaven - Next , 8.Revolution Saints - Revolution Saints , 9.Eclipse - Armageddonize , 10.Iconic Eye - Hidden In Plain Sight

From: 123charpenay Date: February 5, 2016 at 16:29
i add 9/(receive today)stala & so an excellent realise from the best hard rock country of the world :finland.

From: Scandiman Date: February 7, 2018 at 16:28
Here is my best of list for 2015: Eclipse - Armageddonize, Smash Into Pieces - The Apocalypse DJ, Gun - Frantic, Cats in Space - Too Many Gods, Find Me - Dark Angel. Honorable mentions: Room Experience - S/T, Khymera - The Grand Design, Battle Beast - Unholy Savior, Like a Storm - Awaken the Fire, Destine - Forevermore, FM - Heroes and Villains, and Revolution Saints - S/T.

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