1. Sister Sin - "Black Lotus" - Taking the number one slot of 2014 is Sister Sin with "Black Lotus." The fact that a band so early in their career can deliver earth shattering metal of this magnitude is simply astounding. Even within their Euro-metal style, they show the ability to be diverse on "Black Lotus" with killer tracks like the acoustic driven, "The Jinx." While each of our "Top 10" have great songs and other musical merits, this 'rookie' band amongst it's group of 'veterans' are taking the torch of metal by demand, proving that they are the front runners of the future of this genre.
2. Body Count -"Manslaughter"- Ice T shocked the metal community in 2014 with the return of Body Count by releasing the best album of their career with "Manslaughter." Whether it's their remake of Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" or the advance single, "Talk Shit, Get Shot" this album is real deal metal and Ice-T's vocal delivery is beyond words. A beginning to end master piece that came completely from left field in 2014.
3. Sebastian Bach - "Give Em Hell"- One of the biggest singers from the 80's that seems to have a love/hate relationship with the metal community, and at times, his own fan base, continues to prove to his critics that he can still deliver the goods. "Give 'Em Hell" is the perfect example of taking a classic hard rock approach and adding nu-school metal production values, giving the listener a solid body of work and something really enjoyable and 'new' to listen to. While there are a few clunkers on "Give 'Em Hell," the ones that rock, REALLY kick ass. Steve Stevens guitar playing on "Gun To a Knife Fight" is the worthy of the number 3 spot alone.
4. Slash - "World On Fire"- Finding a comfort zone between a current hard rock sound and the Guns N Roses type riffage, which attained the guitar icon the legendary status which he possesses, Slash and his Conspirators have truly set the "World on Fire" with it's 2014 release. Again, demonstrating a real 'band feel' on this album, "Word on Fire" is not a record the average listener can digest in a single listening, as this 17 song opus clocks in at just over 77 minutes of music. The amount of classic sounding GNR type licks are unreal and his soloing is as about as perfect as you can get from Slash.
5. Sixx:A.M. - "Modern Vintage"- Motley Crue mastermind Nikki Sixx's side-project, Sixx:A.M., which oddly enough was never intended to be a 'band,' shows growth once again, as this rising phoenix continues to spread it's wings and shows it's musical expansion on their 3rd full length release, "Modern Vintage." Although, the band has moved away from some of their signature musical stylings, the core has been left intact, which is great song writing by Sixx, vocalist James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba, which there is plenty of on "Modern Vintage."
6. Overkill - "White Devil Armory"- Another band that refuses to sell out or alter it's sound, are the New Jersey kings of Thrash Metal, Overkill. Releasing perhaps the best and most consistent album since 1996's "Killing Kind" CD, "White Devil Armory" is the most convincing, old school sounding metal album I've heard in years. Songs like "Bitter Pill" are pure riffing genius and the Metallica influenced "Where's there's Smoke" sounds like it could have come right off of "Master of Puppets."
7. Accept - "Blind Rage" - Since the reformation of Accept in 2009 by original members, Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Baltes, this band can do no wrong. This is Accept's third release with vocalist, Mark Tornillo, and they just keep getting better and better with each record. Brutally intense riffs with screaming banshee vocals are mixed together, resulting in an anthematic metal masterpiece.
8. Dave Constantino Band - "Touch"- Buffalo, NY music legend, Dave Constantino, triumphantly returns with his second solo release. 'Touch' is a ten-song, blues-rock masterpiece, with incredible musicianship that features well-crafted, late-night bar room rockers, fueled by a unique and uncompromising nasty guitar tone that would warrant the attention and admiration of any guitar-loving fan. This is a release that deserves to be heard over and over again.
9. Red Dragon Cartel - "Red Dragon Cartel"- After decades in obscurity, ex Ozzy/Badlands guitarist, Jake E. Lee, returns with an ambitious new band. But, its Lee's amazing guitar that is still the focal point on this diverse and impressive release. Interestingly, Lee utilizes five guest vocalists, which include Robin Zander, Maria Brinks, Paul Di'Anno, in addition to full time singer-Darren Smith. The first single, "Feeder," which features Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), has a bit of a modern edge, and was well received. However, songs like the riff-heavy, Black Sabbath-influenced, "War Machine," are the style of songs that fans of Jake E. Lee desire the most.
10.Tesla - "Simplicity"- Jeff Keith and the boys are like a late 80's version of AC/DC. Never straying from their signature sound, and in 2014, they released another album of the signature Tesla brand of 'straight ahead rock and roll.' While some of their recent releases have been better than others, "Simplicity" definitely falls into the "better" category. While "Simplicity" didn't deliver another "Modern Day Cowboy" or a "Little Suzi," this release is solid from beginning to end and rightly deserves to be part of our "Top 10" for 2014.