The year 2012 will go down as one of the best for rock and heavy metal fans. Several big name bands released highly anticipated albums that lived up to—and in some cases far exceeded—most expectations.
While I could list way more than five albums, this list features the best rock releases of 2012 in my opinion.
Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones Part 1
Love him or hate him, when it comes to painting a picture through lyrics, Corey Taylor is a talented artist. The album follows the storyline of a man at a crossroads, and the narrative Taylor has penned is utterly captivating. Big choruses, a few heavier songs that go into the realm of metal and a few slower, quieter songs mixed in make this the perfect example of what a hard rock record should be. The lyrics alone make this one of the best albums of the last few years. Standout tracks: The first seven songs and the Japanese bonus track, “Gallows Humor.”
Adler – Back From the Dead
To say Steven Adler’s life has been tumultuous would be an understatement. The former Guns N’ Roses drummer has seen more press for his substance abuse issues than for his musical endeavors in the past few years. But Back From the Dead shows that Adler has overcome the odds and is seemingly out to conquer the rock world once again. Produced by Jeff Pilson (Dokken/Foreigner), who also played bass on the recording, the 11 tracks on this album roar forth with reckless abandon. Songs like “Habit” and “Own Worst Enemy” feature harrowing lyrics, while “Blown Away” and the title track are straight up rock at its finest. Featuring guest appearances by John 5 and Adler’s old bandmate and friend Slash, Back From the Dead is an album that delivers on all facets. Standout tracks: All of them.
Tremonti – All I Was
Creed and Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti gets a chance to spread his wings on his debut solo album. Taking a completely different path from his other projects, Tremonti packs a wallop into these 12 tracks, delivering an album that borders gingerly between rock and heavy metal. Even the songs that come across as filler are structured well and skillfully designed. Great vocals, solid guitar riffs and solos, and melodic, catchy songs make this a must have. Standout tracks: “Leave it Alone,” “The Things I’ve Seen,” “You Waste Your Time.”
The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
Chicago’s bad boys return with their best release yet. Combining 1970’s rock and infusing it with a modern style of the 80’s glam/sleaze scene, The Last Vegas continues to fire on all cylinders. Vocalist Chad Cherry’s Tom Keifer/Axl Rose inspired vocal style is the perfect compliment to the band’s impressive songwriting abilities. While a few forgettable tracks keep this release from being perfect, there’s no reason fans of the Sunset Strip style of rock n’ roll will be disappointed. Standout tracks: “Other Side,” “Evil Eyes,” “It Ain’t Easy.”
Black Country Communion – Afterglow
This is the third, and quite possibly last, release from the group that VH-1 Classic’s “That Metal Show” called, “The best new band of the last 10 years.” At 61-years-old, vocalist Glenn Hughes sounds as fresh and powerful as he did when he first appeared on the scene 45 year ago. Jason Bonham’s drumming is top notch, Derek Sherinian’s keyboards are more prominent than ever before, and Joe Bonamassa is at his bluesy best on the guitar. If this is in fact the band’s Swan song then fans will be left with the knowledge that BCC definitely went out on top. Standout tracks: “Confessor,” “Dandelion.”