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Check out all CGCMs BEST OF 2019 lists from each individual contributor. Enjoy listening to the Best of 2019 podcasts, featuring a ton of the music and hopefully you found some things that maybe you missed throughout the year. Feel free to share the lists and/or podcasts around and let us know what you were rocking to in 2019.
Keep an eye on our Upcoming Release page for all the info on the hottest releases throughout 2020. Every article we post has Amazon links (if available) so you can easily buy the album and support the artists. Here’s to 2020 🥂
BEST OF 2019 – Brian Ronald (Photographer/Writer) 🇨🇦
2019 was another year with an abundance of superior CD’s. I felt the year started off with a bang and ended strong with some great releases in between. In total, I bought, listened and streamed almost 250 albums. The cool thing about top 10’s is everyone’s are different. If everyone had the same fave CDs the conversations would be non-existent and we wouldn’t require the massive choices we have every year. So narrowing it down to 10 was almost impossible. What ends up happening is the CD’s that I rotate and continually spin are the ones that contend for the coveted prize of being in my ultimate 10. Of course, I can’t stop at 10 so I usually include my “Too Good to Be Missed” 10 as well below. Thanks, and enjoy!
#10 Dream Theater – Distance Over Time 🇺🇸
Dream Theater strikes back with this amazing CD. This February release hung in there and when it was time to round out my top 10 I just could not exclude it. John Petrucci never sounded better with amazing riffs and solos that were out of this world. James LaBrie has always been one of my favourite vocalists and he gets to shine a lot on this CD as surprisingly they have quite a few short(er) songs than normal. I also found it a bit rockier in spots without the prog. Standouts include “Unearthed Angel”, “Paralyzed” and “Fall into the Light”. It’s a really good start to my Top 10.
#9 Burning Rain – Face the Music 🇺🇸
After a 6 year absence, Burning Rain is back with a vengeance. For me, I wasn’t thrilled with 2013’s Epic Obsession but Face the Music picks up right where Pleasure to Burn left off. Ingredients include Doug Aldrich ripping and soloing from start to finish and Keith St. John in top form making him one of the best rock vocalists out there. Rounding out the quartet is former Y&T bass man Brad Lang and Slaughter drummer Blas Elias. Standout tracks include – “Shelter”, “Hideaway” and the classic rocker “Nasty Hustle”.
#8 Nightrider – Rock Machine 🇺🇸
New Hampshire’s rock and roll band Nightrider was formed in 1980. They now have a full-length CD of their smoking hard rock songs. I really love the energy these guys put out. The songs are full of melody, riffs, solos and great vocals by Steve Labrecque. If you like early Judas Priest or even early Helix you’ll love these tunes. Check out these beauties – “Hard Driving Metal Machine”, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, “Power of Passion” and the Black ‘N Blue sounding “Rockin’ Down the Night”! They have even included a 1990 recorded song “You Can’t See the Sun” – and it’s a perfect ending!
#7 Whitesnake – Flesh and Blood 🇬🇧
I know this CD got a lot of mixed reaction but the only person doing my top 10 is me and I loved it. Maybe my most played album of the year. David Coverdale sounds great and the songs are stellar. “Always and Forever” is as 80s Whitesnake as you will ever get and another contender for song of the year. “Will I Ever”, “Gonna Be Alright” and “Heart of Stone” are all fabulous as well and are the two bonus tracks. I can’t finish without mentioning the amazing drumming of Tommy Aldridge throughout!
CGCM Album Review: Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
#6 Tygers of Pan Tang – Ritual 🇬🇧
Well, the Tygers have done it again. Maybe not quite as good as 2016’s self-titled CD which was my overall number 1 but still a master craft in performance brilliance. This one is still in heavy rotation as the year ends so who knows given the chance how high it might have climbed. Sole survivor Robb Weir has really pulled these guys back from the brink especially with the great vocals of Iacopo Meille. Top tracks include the wonderful “White Lines” as well as “Destiny”, “Spoils of War” and “Sail On”.
CGCM Album Review: Tygers of Pan Tang – Ritual by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
#5 D.A.D. – A Prayer for the Loud 🇩🇰
To be honest D.A.D. aka Disneyland After Dark are a band that slipped through the cracks during their heyday and it wasn’t until I saw them on 2016’s Monsters of Rock Cruise that my head exploded. How could I have missed these guys? I had heard of them but not about them. Well, thank God their “heyday” is still happening as this new release is simply put – outstanding! From the ripping heavy opening track, “Burning Star” to the likes of “The Sky is Made of Blues” to the terrific title track, these Danes have established themselves with their unique style and sound well above my radar now.
CGCM Album Review: D-A-D – Prayer for the Loud by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
#4 Starbreaker – Dysphoria 🇸🇪
Tony Harnell and Starbreaker are back folks and in truly classic form. Tony is my 2nd best pure vocalist next to Steve Perry and TNT is one of my ultimate bands. This third effort (first in 11 years) from him and guitar wizard Magnus Karlsson is an example of why I love music so much and continue on the endless journey searching for the best in class. There’s not a bad song on the whole damn CD. This release hung in the entire year right from its January street date. That’s tough to do. “Pure Evil”, “Last December”, “How Many More Goodbyes” and the incredible “Fire Away” are tops on my list.
#3 Age of Reflection – A New Dawn 🇸🇪
Every week I check out both the new Hard Rock and Melodic Rock release calendar and pencil in the ones of interest. On slower weeks I sample any others. This particular week I sampled Age of Reflection on Deezer for fun as I liked what I heard on their first CD. Not expecting to be blown away I was shocked that I couldn’t stop playing it. I immediately ordered it and fell in love with it while commuting to and from work. What a brilliant CD from these Swedish rockers. Lars Nygren and company sure brought the house down with gems like “Here I Stand”, “Go”, “A New Dawn” and a marvellous rendition of Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died (in Your Arms)”. Not to be outdone by another song of the year “Write It on the Wall”.
CGCM Album Review: Age of Reflection – A New Dawn by Rich “The Meister” Dillon
#2 Carl Dixon – Unbroken 🇨🇦
Carl Dixon best known for his work in Coney Hatch has just released a masterpiece. With the help of fellow Canadian drummer Mark Santers, this is pure bliss. It’s a true melodic journey that captures the feel and essence of the early 80’s sound. The opening track “Can’t Love a Memory” is surely a candidate for song of the year. The CD is loaded with the homage of yesteryear with songs like “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “Summer Nights”. This release has 11 songs and each and every one is great. All killer, no filler! It was a December release that stole my heart as well as a spot in my Top 10.
#1 John Diva and the Rockets of Love – Mama Said Rock is Dead 🇩🇪
I’ve heard a lot of people including myself say “what if Steel Panther made a regular rock album?” Well, I think if they did it would sound just like this. It’s a fantastic mix of melodic glam with a hard rock edge. However, it almost didn’t work out this way as when I first heard the first single “Rock n Roll Heaven”, I didn’t care for it and passed it up. But then I heard “Blinded” and “Wild Life” (two pure gems), I bought the CD and instantly fell in love with every other track. It’s so gratifying to not only learn of a new band but to have it land in the top spot for 2019, it’s great for music!
CGCM Album Review: John Diva and the Rockets of Love – Mama Said Rock is Dead by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
BEST OF 2019 – Brian Ronald – The Honourable Ten
The Ferrymen – A New Evil
Rockett Love – Greetings From Rocketland
The Defiants – Zokusho
Stargazer – The Sky is the Limit (CGCM Album Review by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall)
Crashdiet – Rust
Kane Roberts – The New Normal
Angel – Risen (CGCM Album Review by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall)
Keen Hue – Heydays
Temple Balls – Untamed
Pretty Maids – Undress Your Madness
Too Good to Be Missed!!
Brian Ronald 12/25/2019