BEST OF 2020 - Robert De Pasqua (Radio DJ)

BEST OF 2020 – Robert De Pasqua

This year CGCM decided to include EP (previously they were excluded from Top Ten Albums). Live albums and re-records were still disqualified, new music only for Best of Year. We also instigated a (highly complex🤣 – 1 point for 10th place through to 10 points for 1st place) rating system throughout all individual lists to culminate a Collective Best of 2020.

You can find the Collective List as well as all our Best of 2020 content including contributors’ individual lists, podcasts and radio DJ shows here: CGCM’s Best of 2020 (Year in Review)

BEST OF 2020 – Robert De Pasqua (Radio DJ) 🇨🇦

2020 has had its share of trials and tribulations. I’m sure nobody would dispute that! As challenging as it was, I tried to focus on the things that inspired or uplifted my spirits. One of the things that has always been a constant in my life (no matter how hard things get) is my love for music. I have digested so many new releases and a ton of older releases this year that have previously passed me by. 2020 has been a year of discovery for me, on the music front. Would I say this has been the best year for new releases? Truthfully, no, but it has had some definite highlights. Here are my top 10 releases of the year.

#10 – CONFESS – Burn ‘Em All 🇸🇪

(Street Symphonies Records)

I tell you Sweden sure does turn out some quality hard rock. This time around it comes from Sleaze Rockers Confess! This is their third full-length album and it does not disappoint. What you get is 11 high energy rocking tracks that pretty much doesn’t let you up to take a breath. This album is relentless with tracks like the opener “So What” and the title track “Burn ‘Em All“. With track titles like that, you know you are in for a serious ass-kicking rock album.

My personal favourite tracks are “Is It Love” and “Heresy“.

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#9 – BLOODY HEELS – Ignite the Sky 🇱🇻

(Frontiers Music SRL)

The only hard rock band that I’m aware of from Latvia is Bloody Heels, and let me tell you they sure represent quite nicely. These rockers sure know how to create a unique blend of Hard Rock that obviously got the attention of Frontiers Records, who released their second full-length album. When concerts are up and running they would be a band I’d be very interested to see live.

This album is very good from top to bottom, but if I had to pick a favourite track “Thin Line” steals the show for me. A bombastic anthemic rocker that as soon as you hear it once it WILL get stuck in your head.

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#8 – HAREM SCAREM – Change the World 🇨🇦

(Frontiers Music SRL)

Full disclosure – Harem Scarem is my favourite Canadian band of all time. I have to say as a whole, I thought their two previous albums Thirteen and United were stronger additions to their extensive catalogue. Thirteen was absolute perfection in my opinion, but there is really no such thing as a bad Harem Scarem release.

Focusing on the subject/album at hand – Change The World is by no means a lacklustre release. This album has some really outstanding tracks on it such as the hook-laden “Aftershock” and what a sensational sing-along chorus in “The Death Of Me“. Nobody writes songs like those quite like Hess and Lesperance. This is a must-own for any Scarem fan and is worthy to be in any melodic rock collection. Period.

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#7 – PASSION – Passion 🇬🇧

(Frontiers Music SRL)

UK rockers make a huge splash with their debut this year. Is it just me or does vocalist Lion Ravarez sound a heck of a lot like Ted Poley from Danger Danger? Wow, a lot of these tracks would not be out of place on Danger Danger‘s debut album from 1989! This one is a must-own for fans of Danger Danger. One of the top songs of 2020 has to be “Too Bad For Baby“, what an outstanding track that is!

Sidenote: they also released an EP this year called Under the Covers where they do cover songs from Van Halen, Slaughter, Ratt and Winger and that is also worth seeking out!

CGCM Album Review: PASSION – Passion by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall

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#6 – MICHAEL GRANT AND THE ASSASSINS – Always The Villain 🇺🇸

(Frontiers Music SRL)

Being a huge fan of Michael Grant‘s previous band Endeverafter, I was elated to hear that he was coming out with a new release after leaving L.A. Guns with his band The Assassins. I’m very happy to report that these guys did not disappoint. They sure delivered in spades with a ton of attitude and melody to please any rocker!

The album starts off with a high-energy 1, 2 punch with “Barrell Of A Gun” and “Always the Villian“, but the track that really resonates with me the most is the next song “Killing Me Slowly“. This album is a welcome return from Michael Grant, and I eagerly
await more material from him and his band in the future.

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#5 – BLACK SWAN – Shake the World 🇺🇸

(Frontiers Music SRL)

I have to honest, when I first read about this new “supergroup” being put together, I wasn’t really expecting much. This album features Robin McAuley (MSG), Reb Beach (Winger/Whitesnake), Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken and currently of Foreigner) and Matt Starr (Mr. Big/Ace Frehley). When this was released in February and I got to hear the album in its entirety, I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least!

This is a fantastic album with highlights that include: “Shake The World“, “Johnny Come Marching” and “She’s On To Us“. If you are an MSG, Winger or Dokken fan I suggest you give this one a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised like I was.

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#4 – KHYMERA – Master of Illusions 🇺🇸

(Frontiers Music SRL)

The biggest surprise of the year was this album for me. I never checked these guys out before, but thanks to the radio show I am a part of, The Psychotic Stripshow, my co-host TrevorPsychooneMcDougall played these guys on our B-Sides, Bonus Tracks Episode and I was instantly hooked when I heard that song from their last release! Then I had to obtain all their releases including
the newest one.

What you get here is an album filled with all killer no filler. Every song that comes on I can’t help but think I like more than the last track. Each song on this release is a highlight and it’s just flat out a “must-own” release of 2020. If you want a few tracks to check out, listen to: “Walk Away“, “The First Time” or the ballad (yes I said ballad) “Father To Son“.

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#3 – BUTCH WALKER – American Love Story 🇺🇸

(Ruby Red Recordings Inc.)

American Love StoryI have liked almost everything that Butch Walker has ever released in his career even though admittedly sometimes the musical direction he goes in really takes some time to warm up too. When I heard that this album was going to be a concept album, I was sure I was going to find it boring AF! That ended up not being the case at all. In fact, quite the opposite happened. This is one of my all-time favourite Butch Walker solo albums that has a very heavy and serious tone to it (discusses racism, homophobia and hate), but somehow manages to sound quite “happy” and “upbeat”
for the most part. I enjoy every track, but some highlights would be “Gridlock“, “Flyover State” and “Out In The Open“.

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#2 – STORM FORCE – Age of Fear 🇨🇦

(Escape Music)

Some Canadian rock n’ roll makes my top two! Brighton Rock‘s own Greg Fraser comes out with a new band that is nothing short of spectacular. These guys just flat out rock! “Because of You” gets my vote for the best opening track of the year. After hearing this track, you will be singing it for hours or maybe days later (I know I have). Every track on this album is a “banger” and absolutely essential for all collectors to own.

CGCM Album review Storm Force – Age of Fear by Wallygator

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#1 – H.E.A.T – II 🇸🇪

(earMUSIC)

H.E.A.T - H.E.A.T II ALbum FrontProbably not a surprise for many who know my love for this band. They are hands down my favourite “newer” band since Erik Grönwall came in the fold in 2012! I consider their last album Into The Great Unknown from 2017 an absolutely perfect album, so they had their work cut out for them to top that one. Did they manage to better their last effort? My answer is, I believe it’s on at least the same level as their last effort, even though the vibe of this record is less pop-oriented and more arena rock-friendly as a whole.

I’d be remiss to not mention the news of Erik leaving the band this year and them replacing him with their original vocalist Kenny Leckremo. Only time will tell how I am going to feel about this decision (truthfully, the first 2 albums with Kenny did very little for me), but I’m not counting them out. They have grown a lot over the years as a band and I think they may be able to pull it off with something that will retain their core fan base. The whole album is a highlight, but if you are new to the band or not familiar with this album yet, check out – “Dangerous Ground“, “Come Clean“, “One By One“, or my top ballad of the year “Nothing To Say“.

CGCM Album Review: H.E.A.T – II by TrevorPsychooneMcDougall

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Closing Thoughts

I decided to leave out a list of EPs or Honourable Mentions, which was a lot harder than I thought when it came down to the bare bones of selecting my top albums. Fact of the matter is, there are a TON of amazing releases out there for you to discover, and I hope my list may turn you on to something that may of passed you by otherwise. All the best to all the readers of the website and listeners of all the shows on CGCM Radio.

-RDP

Don’t forget to take a look at all our Best of 2020 content including the COLLECTIVE BEST ALBUMS LIST (culminated via the ratings in the individual lists), all our contributors’ individual best lists, podcast episodes and Radio DJ shows CGCM’s Best of 2020 (Year in Review)