1. Van Halen - "A Different Kind of Truth" - Perhaps the best "Reunion" album to be released by a band and it doesn't even feature the original lineup. Van Halen proved to the music world that the chemistry between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth is as potent as ever by creating a record that picks up right where "1984" left off.
2. KISS - "Monster" - Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer find their footing, as they continue to explore the musical chemistry of the current lineup of the band, which is clearly the driving force behind the rejuvenation of their musical inspiration. "Monster" draws from their roots (ie: Led Zeppelin, Mountain & Humble Pie), culminating in a number of great songs written solely within the confines of the band.
3. L.A. Guns - "Hollywood Forever" - The Andy Johns produced CD shows there is still L.A.T (Life after Tracii) for L.A.G. For most bands, when losing your lead guitarist becomes the death knell for a group, for L.A. Guns, it seems to have had the opposite effect. Since Tracii Guns (the band's namesake and founder) left the group in 2002, L.A. Guns seem to be more inspired than ever, and have produced 2 great records in his absence. 2005's "Tales from the Strip" was an amazing effort, and 2012's "Hollywood Forever" is just that much better. Great production and cool tunes underlining the fact that Phil Lewis & Steve Riley and co. still have the mojo.
4. John Corabi - "Unplugged" - Coming in under the radar as always, John Corabi released his "Unplugged" CD this past November on Rat Pack Records. One of Hard Rock's hidden treasures, Corabi has one of the best smokey, 'whiskey' voices you will find, which really shines on this all acoustic outing. Featuring five new original tracks, along with seven re-recorded acoustic versions of classic songs from John's musical past, "Unplugged" successfully delivers these awesome songs in a bare bones approach, without becoming a tree hugging, earth muffin in the process.
5. Sister Sin - "Now and Forever" - The female fronted "old-school" band out of Sweden continues to carry the flag for Euro-Metal with their latest 2012 release. Taking elements of what made the early Motley Crue records great, and adding the cutting edge, powerhouse vocals courtesy of Liv Jagrell, Sister Sin lives and breathes the raucous spirit of true 80's Heavy Metal and Rock 'n' Roll, without any of the retro, retread hype. "Now and Forever" continues in the tradition of their previous releases, giving the listener 10 more reasons of why Sister Sin is the real deal.