2014 - Another Year of Rock
In 2014 Gene Simmons famously declared that rock is finally dead, blaming it all on file sharing. The music landscape has most certainly changed, but if Gene's explanation is the whole truth then why are all other musical genres not all dead? The industry is not promoting rock music to anywhere near the extent they promote and publicise other genres, hence the shrinking audience. Despite this, we are fortunate that many great rock acts continued to release quality new music in 2014.
Firstly, how can we not mention Babymetal? Back in February, a certain video went a tad viral and took over social media. You have to wonder who thought, ‘hmmm, Death Metal is good, but it could do with more J-pop’. The result is something totally insane. ‘Gimme Chocolate’ may be the most famous of their songs, but our not my favourite. We have to point out ‘Head Bangya’ is, in our opinion, much better done and manages to maintain the metal backing for the whole song; also, it’s insanely catchy.
In 2014 it was good to see that Glenn Hughes got back on his feet after the demise of Black Country Communion in grandiose style with California Breed. Their eponymous album is just great, Glenn is clearly on top form with his new supergroup.
Royal Blood came out of nowhere to take us by surprise. Oh, all right, they came out of Brighton. But a two piece rock band with such a full on fat riff sound - amazing.
Faced with difficult times for Slipknot, with the sad loss of Paul Gray, it was heavily debated whether there would be a new album from the group. We’re surprised and glad to be listening to The Gray Chapter. We wish them well.
2014 is also the year we discovered Motion Device, young and full of passion to revitalise rock music. We were very impressed when Tequila Mockingbyrd got in touch and we encountered their brand of Aussie classic rock riffery.
Just as we were breaking up for Christmas 2014, we got our grubby hands on the new single from Roses Unread. It’s called ‘Fallen’ and should be out on public release by the time you read this.
Averse to being pigeon holed musically, Roses Unread describe their style as “heavy, bouncy music... that makes people want to fight the good fight”.
Fallen captures the spirit of this perfectly, it’s a catchy single all right, bouncing between the melodic and the heavy. We like it! Fallen is the perfect appetiser for the release of Roses Unread’s new album in 2015.
Some Fond Farewells
In the Sorry To See You Go corner for 2014 we have Status Quo and Motley Crue. Quo are retiring with dignity, Crue with a public contract. That's showbiz folks. And on a sadder note, we are saying goodbye to some of the stars. Goodbye to Wayne Static, Tommy Ramone, Johnny Winter, and Jack Bruce from Cream.
Raise your glass in respect to Blackberry Smoke for their deep south blues vibe double live album Leave a Scar, showcasing their Skynyrd style southern harmony and melodic rock.
This year also saw The Pretty Reckless release ‘Going to Hell’. There’s also a ton of variety, ‘Follow Me Down’ being similar to ‘My Medicine’, only more catchy and with a good beat. On the other hand, the title track and Heaven Knows are fast, strong and catchy tracks.
Rival Sons turned out another stonking good album in 2014. Great Western Valyyrie. Raw bluesy rock and roll of the highest calibre, sixties and seventies style with a hint of psychedelic majesty.
Kicking back against the broken American Dream is Tom Petty with his 2014 album Hypnotic Eye, angry and tight.
Back in business again were AC/DC, with their 2014 release Rock or Bust, just in time for Christmas. Wasn't it great to see them pumping out filthy, sexy rock music for the fans. So sad to hear about Mal of course, but we do respect the band's grit for carrying on against adversity. Man Down would have been a decent album title, but Rock or Bust says it all. Great album.
It’s a close call, but Miracle of Sound managed to release his latest album, Level 5, just in time to make 2014. In its 30 tracks is a stunning range of styles, from the soft defiance of ‘A Dog’s Life’, through the epic, old fashioned (medieval-old) ‘Wake the White Wolf’, straight through to the rock/ metal that he’s so good at (I’ll recommend ‘Fistful of Concrete’). And that’s before we even talk about the comical songs like ‘Ploughing the Troll’.
Paul Jack's album choice for 2014 is World on Fire, by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. PJ describes it as a huge album and a huge achievement. 17 tracks of rock magic.
All in all, 2014 has been a good year for fans of rock music. As we look forwards to 2015, let us all remember to try our darndest to prove Mr Simmons wrong.