mk’s 2012 Non-Metal Top 10

5. Corrosion of Conformity – Corrosion of Conformity

First effort without Pepper on board so the vox takes a little more time to appreciate, but the music quality is still there, if maybe perhaps a bit more speed to it than the ‘sludge/groove’ we’ve come to expect. Track 2 is the standout and very classic CoC. For the rest you’ll find some new sounds and pace in parts, but overall still an enjoyable release.

4. Tremonti – All I Was

I’ve gotta ask why a guitarist part of a successful band feels the need to want their own band? Just about every guitarist from Pearl Jam has done so to some level of success, and we can’t ignore Zakk of course, so why would Tremonti not give it a go? A great guitarist no doubt, BUT who thought he could actually sing? In some ways it’s very paint-by-numbers and in the mould of your Nickelback-type bands, but as a debut, he’s yet to fall for the radio-friendly approach and has some killer guitar riffs all the way through. All up, certainly worth some attention and makes my list.

3. Kiss – Monster

For the past couple of decades these guys have been nothing but a small passing interest. Even when Sonic Boom was a return after an 11 year break, I still didn’t care for them much. Fast forward to 2012 circa Kiss and could we have a more appropriate album title than this?  A Monster indeed!!  It is full of some very modern sounding songs with catchy riffs but mixed in with some great 70’s sounding nostalgia like ‘Back to the Stone Age’ for example. Certainly made my ears prick-up and for that reason makes my list.

2. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth

I’ll put my hand up and admit that I have become a huge Hagar fan over the past few decades, so when David was coming back into the fold and with the way they treated Michael Anthony, I was as ready as ever to hate the heck out of this record. Turns out that me and humble pie had a short but necessary relationship to have – not only was I eating some of that, I was actually turning into a fan again!! Let’s just put Tattoo to the side everyone – it’s an easy song to hate. The rest though is a great listen. She’s the Woman and modern classic example of what these guys used to pump out many years ago. TMOC was going to be hard to beat into number one, but this effort isn’t very far behind!

1. The Mark Of Cain – Songs Of The Third And Fifth

Lets take a walk down memory lane for a bit here. When This is This came out, I was nervous – could they top Ill at Ease? Could it be that good? Turns out it wasn’t as good….BUT….it was a classic in its own right. A record that took some time to like, but was a winner once the investment was made.
Move forward (a long way forward) to the final news the crew were finally in the studio. We get Barkhammer as a tasty selection. My heart sunk on first listen, and the second and third. I was hoping this wasn’t the best of the lot. Thankfully it wasn’t. Not sure the reasoning behind that song being the first one they release to the starving fans, but its water under the bridge now. SOTTF has a wealth of songs to write home to your relatives about. I’m not sure where to start – the monotonous of Eastern Decline, the riffing in Milosevic, Kym doing his thing on 1000 Yards and then my fave Heart of Stone, which would fit right in I think on the Ill At Ease mantle. Just brilliant!! Guess I have to wait another 12 or so years for the next one. Forget me being old by then, these guys will be older!!

Honourable Mention

ZZ Top – La Futura

Well hello, 10 years since the last release and close to 20 years since their heyday. Sheesh, those beards must be a good tinge of grey by now.  Likewise the music has a tinge of grey to it also now. Much slower tempo and less catchy riffs from the two hairy folks. This is very much your southern rock/blues classic which they have always had as their foundation, so you can’t fault them on that. Is it memorable for me? No, not really. But I am impressed they continue playing and releasing music. Cudos.

Soundgarden – King Animal

I really want to like this, I really do.  Problem being is that from about track 4 onwards there is more bad than good.  The first few tracks are killer, however slower songs like Taree really show to me that the connection I had with them has shifted. In all honesty this record mostly fits in right after their last full-length. For me however I’d already started to lose interest in them with Down on the Upside. They get a mention in my list as I’m glad they are back together making music again and I can only hope for better days from here.

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