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The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

Hurtsmile – Hurtsmile

Hurtsmile – Hurtsmile [IMPORT] (2011, Frontiers Records)

1. “Just War Theory” … 2:41
2. “Stillborn” … 3:51
3. “Love Thy Neighbor” … 3:42
4. “Kaffur (Infidel)” … 4:29
5. “Painter Paint” … 2:30
6. “Tolerance Song [Edit]” … 3:23
7. “Set Me Free” … 4:19
8. “Jesus Would You Meet Me” … 3:15
9. “Slave” … 5:19
10. “Beyond The Garden/Kicking Against The Goads” … 6:25
11. “Just War Reprise” … 4:19
12. “The Murder Of Daniel Faulkner (4699)” … 5:35

Band:
Gary Cherone – Vocals
Mark Cherone – Guitar
Joe Pessia – Bass, Mandolin
Dana Spellman – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Gary Cherone & Joe Pessia

One of the year’s best albums is one that I didn’t even know existed until just as it was released and even then I didn’t give much thought to buying it. Hurtsmile is a new side-project from Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone (his brother Mark is in the band as well) and I found out about this new venture thanks to a Frontier Records advertisement in a recent issue of  British magazine Classic Rock. I thought to myself that it could be an interesting listen because afterall I was a fan of Extreme’s Saudades de Rock but the last time Cherone fronted a new band (Tribe of Judash), I remembered not caring much for the one song I heard on the radio. I ended up checking out some YouTube clips from this album and really liked what I had heard.

Extreme did a good job of updating their sound with Saudades de Rock and many of these songs I could envision being on a new Extreme album, like the beautiful ballad “Painter Paint” or the reggae of “Just War Reprise” and “Love Thy Neighbor”. But this isn’t “Extreme featuring Gary Cherone”. The lyrics are a lot more serious and political and there’s no funk to be found. “Just War Theory”, “Kaffur (Infidel)”, “Tolerance Song (Edit)” and “The Murder of Daniel Faulkner (4699)” tackle heavy issues. “The Murder of Daniel Faulkner (4699)” is a Dylan-esque ballad that details the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Meanwhile, the infectious upbeat bluegrass sounds of “Jesus Would You Meet Me” sees a man (Gary Cherone?) asking Jesus if he’s going to meet him on his dying bed.

What I really love about this album is that you can’t really peg this album down to any certain style. “Painter Paint”, “Just War Reprise” and “The Murder of Daniel Faulkner (4699)” are three completely different sounding songs: a sweet ballad (and not the “More Than Words” kind), reggae and bluegrass. Then on the flip side “Just War Theory”, “Set Me Free” and “Stillborn” feature enough modern hard rock crunch to be radio hits if anyone would actually pay attention.

Much credit due to the Cherone Brothers. Gary is really one of rock’s most underrated vocalists. He’s taken a beating over the years for Van Halen III but the guy is a great performer live and in the studio. He sings his butt off on this album, no small feat considering the genre hopping being done. He’s just as comfortable singing softly as he is screaming about war and tolerance or singing reggae. As for his brother Mark, this guy is a great guitar player. I didn’t even know Gary had a brother! Where has he been hiding him? Nuno is amazing but Mark more than holds his on this album with some great riffs and leads.

I can’t see this album budging from my Top 10 list for 2011. This band isn’t an Extreme clone but I think anyone that is an Extreme fan will love this album.

Highlights: “Just War Theory”, “Stillborn”, “Painter Paint”, “Jesus Would You Meet Me”, “Slave”, “Beyond The Garden/Kicking Against The Goads”

http://www.hurtsmile.com
http://www.facebook.com/Hurtsmile
http://www.myspace.com/hurtsmile

Buy the album at Amazon.com

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