Hair Metal Mansion

Another year in rock and metal has come and gone... and this year might have been more difficult than any because there were just so many albums that I listened to and enjoyed. Both from our 80's favorites and "new" blood that is carrying the torch. With any list that you have to "rank", it seems like it's a never ending cycle of changing the order around, and that was the case for me. So I'm done, this is it! lol, here's my top albums of 2012, with some honorable mentions & other categories thrown in as well.

A big thank you to all of the artists and labels that have been so supportive of Hair Metal Mansion!

1. L.A. Guns - "Hollywood Forever"

These sunset strip legends deliver another in your face, sleazy masterpiece with a bit of a darker feel to it. Who knew they could deliever another album on par with their previous release "Tales From the Strip", but they have done just that. Fans of classic L.A. Guns will not be disappointed.

2. Great White - "Elation"

The first GW album to feature Terry Ilous on vocals. Being that Great White has always been one of my favorites and Ilous is one of the most underrated voices to come out of the 80s, this was the perfect storm for me! Re-energized, and each member is at the top of their game... that classic, bluesy style Great White is known for, with a new soulful flare.

3. Tango Down - "Identity Crisis"

The latest record from melodic rockers, Tango Down.. this time, they have taken it to a whole new level with the addition of veteran singer, David Reece (Bangalore Choir/Accept). Crunchy riffs, and big hooks that will stick with you. Very memorable.

4. T&N - "Slave To The Empire"

What can I say? This is the closet thing to a Dokken reunion we are going to get, let's face it. George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and "Wild" Mick Brown reunited once again, not only to deliver some killer new/original material in the same vein as the stuff we love from them, but they recruited some big-name guests to take part in Dokken classics such as Brian Tichy (Whitesnake), Sebastian Bach, Robert Mason (Warrant), Doug Pinnick (King's X) and Tim "Ripper" Owens.

5. Hardline - "Danger Zone"

Even though Johnny Gioeli is the only member left from the original Hardline lineup, this is the BEST Hardline effort since that classic "Double Eclipse" debut. Johnny has never sounded better and has the instant classic melodic rock anthems to back it up.

6. Lita Ford - "Living Like a Runaway"

FINALLY, we can now say that the Lita Ford we have come to know and love over the years, is officially back. Lita returns to the style that made her what she is, accompanied by guitarist and producer Gary Hoey. The best Lita Ford stuff in a long time, filled with hard edged riffs and grooves that only Lita can provide.

7. Adler - "Back from the Dead"

The best Guns N' Roses-related release in a long time, if you ask me. Great to see Steven Adler back and healthy, and he has a killer band backing him up - including Jacob Bunton from Lynam, Lonny Paul (Adler's Appetite) and Johnny Martin. Killer production thanks to Jeff Pilson. This album has it all, from the kick ass anthems to the ballads with a whole lof of passion and hooks.

8. Trixter - "New Audio Machine"

Another return and a triumphant one at that. Pete Loran, Steve Brown, PJ Farley and Mark "Gus" Scott - yes, all orgiinal members, which is very rare these days. This is some of the best work of their career.

9. Bad Boy Eddy - "Over The Top"

Absolutely killer release from these Bay Area rockers - classic style metal with a whole lotta fantastic riffs. Take notice of these guys!

10. Sister Sin - "Now & Forever"

Hard n' heavy, female fronted rock from Sweden. They combine their classic metal influences of the 80's, with a new-in your face style that will have you raising your fist and bangin' your head.

11. M!SS Crazy - "Grip"

Led by the one and only Markus Allen Christopher, returns with a third M!SS Crazy album that I just love. Straight up rock with his signature raspy vocal style. 

12. Accept - "Stalingrad"

These German metal legends deliver again. The second album to feature Mark Tornillo on vocals and the perfect follow up to "Blood of the Nations".

13. Halestorm - "A Strange Case Of.."

Lzzy Hale, one of the best voices in today's hard rock scene. This is a band that seems to appeal to both the modern rock crowd and fans of the classic hard rock style.

14. Dokken - "Broken Bones"

If this is infact the final Dokken studio album, Don and the boys go out on a high note. More of that signature Dokken style. Guitarist Jon Levin deserves more recognition.

15. Bonrud - "Save Tomorrow"

One of the surprises of the year for me. If you love top notch melodic rock, with strong vocals and guitar to match, I strongly recommend you give this one a shot.

16. Lovebite - "Lock N' Load"

Another new, young bad to hit the scene. That classic glam/sleaze style that ruled the glory days of the sunset strip, by way of Birmingham, UK. One of the most promising new acts to keep our eye on.

17. S.U.N. - "Something Unto Nothing"

This year's top "supergroup" - Canadian, award winning singer Sass Jordan, drummer Tommy Stewart, along with Whitesnake members Brian Tichy & Michael Devin, join forces to deliver a true classic hard rock album.

18. Frank Hannon - "Six String Soldiers"

The new solo effort from guitarist Frank Hannon, of course of the Tesla fame. Frank proves once again why he should always be in the conversation when talking about top guitarists in hard rock. Insrumentals mixed with newcomer Jeff Sandoval on vocals. Some cool guest appearances from the likes of Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Pat Travers, Rick Derringer & Dickey Betts. Air guitars out for this one!

19. The Last Vegas - "Bad Decisions"

Nice to have a band here in the states (Chicago) to call our own, that is keeping real rock n roll alive, with their own sleazy style.

20. Tyketto - "Dig In Deep"

Another one of the most underrated bands from the early 90's is back at it again! Danny Vaughn has another one of the strongest/most underrated voices of our genre, and glad to see him back at with Tyketto.

Honorable Mentions:

KISS "Monster", Bangalore Choir "Metaphor", HEAT "Address the Nation", Eclipse "Bleed & Scream", Lillian Axe "The Days Before Tomorrow", Geoff Tate "Kings & Thieves", John Corabi "Unplugged", Fatal Smile "21st Century Freaks", Crazy Lixx "Riot Avenue", Gotthard "Firebirth", Jack Blades "Back in the Game", Little Caesar "American Dream", Hotel Diablo "The Return To Psycho California", Diemonds "The Bad Pack", Humbucker "ROCKS", Xander Demos "Guitarcadia", Van Halen "A Different Kind of Truth", Jeff Scott Soto "Damage Control", Jackyl "Best In Show", Doro "Raise Your Fist", Dynazty "Sultans of Sin", Devil's Train self-titled, Donnie Vie "Wrapped Around My Middle Finger", Jorn "Bringing Heavy Rock to the Land", Herman Frank "Right in the Guts", Hess "Living In Yesterday", Million $ Reload "A Sinner's Saint" & Slash "Apocalyptic Love".

EP's that would have made the list if they were full albums:

Lynch Mob - "Sound Mountain Sessions", Bloody Red Hearts self-titled & Black Tora "Raise Your Fists".

Live Albums worth checking out:

Kix "Live In Baltimore", Y&T "Live at the Mystic Theatre" & UDO "Live In Sofia".

Hair metal recorded back in the day, that finally got an official release:

Murder Bay "Never Was An Angel", Youngblood "No Retreat", Rattleshake self-titled & Gypsy Rose "Poisoned By Love".

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Was just brought to my attention - KISS "Monster"....I KNEW there would be one that I would totally forget to add in there, and I definitely would have! See, this thing drives me crazy every year, hahaha...KISS would definitely be in the top 20, but just threw it in honorable mentions now anyway.

Thank you so much for including T&N's killer album in this list. Gotta give it up to George Jeff and Mick for doing what they do together so well. George always rocks the shit! Keep rockin' Andrew!!! \m/ \m/

Very nice list Andrew!  I completely forgot about Hardline on my list!  But I definitely agree- Hollywood Forever is a freaking killer album!

Cool list, but where's the Fastway release?


In any case, it's almost 2013 and classic metal marches on!

Looks great Andrew ;) \m/

VERY good list. Definitely love almost everything on this list. The Youngblood CD was a special surprise. Just recently found it and been rocking it hard. Sister Sin and Doro CD's have gotten lots of abuse as well.

Great list. A couple of surprises with no Van Halen in the top 20. Great to see Bad Boy Eddie so high on the list. One for me that was a standout that's missing is White Flame -Cougar. This is an amazing album that needs to be checked out. Have to agree strongly with Tango Down's latest. By far the best thing David Reece has done since the first Bangalore Choir album.

Dude nice choice for number one I bought L.A. Guns' Hollywood Forever two weeks after it was released and it was one of a few CDs I ever bought without hearing a few songs from it first. I gotta admit that I at first thought just watch me but a new album from a band and not know any songs and then I'll find it sucks and I'll be mad. But luckily it didn't turn out that way just about every song is great especially Underneath The Sun which is my favorite off the whole CD.

How is Aerosmith's 2012 album not in here?!



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