BEST of 2014: Hard Rock TOP 20

It’s now time to drop the Best of 2014 lists for Metal, Hard Rock, and Modern Rock. All three lists will be added tonight.

For now though, let’s give you the Best of 2014 TOP 20 Hard Rock releases. These are the 20 CD’s that not only received critical acclaim from critics and fans, but also spent the most time on my music player and radio show. These are all records that I not only loved the most but received a high number of requests for as well. Starting at number 20 and counting down…

20) Bulletrain – Start Talking


Classic hard rock tunes done with a modern twist. Some real kickers here. A definite band to watch for the future.

19) Cage The Gods – Badlands

Cage The Gods

English band that plays a smoking style of late 80’s influenced East Coast hard rock a la Kix with a dose of Bon Jovi. The singer really reminds of Axl Rose in places as well without it sounding like a rip off. A real kicker.

18) Kix – Rock Your Face Off


There were questions if these guys could return to form with this, their first release in almost two decades. That question was answered with a resounding YES! This is classic Kix in every sense.

17) Age Sten Nilsen’s Ammunition – Shanghaied

Age Sten Nilsen's Ammunition

The former singer of Wig Wam returns with his first solo CD. Featuring Erik Martensson on lead guitars and helping with the songwriting, this CD showcases everything that was awesome about Wig Wam and builds on that with even better tunes. Would have ranked higher if not released at the very tail end of the year.

16) Sister – Disguised Vultures


One of the most relentless hard rock CD’s this year. If you’re looking for something to rattle the windows and piss off the neighbors, you won’t find a better choice. This is what it would sound like if Iggy Pop and The Murderdolls decided to do a record together.

15) X-Drive – Get Your Rock On


Featuring Keith St. John and James Lomenzo, they give a modern ass kicking to the 80’s sound.

14) Johnny Lima – My Revolution

Johnny Lima

This CD still gets tons of listens while I drive. There’s more hooks on this thing then a fishing boat. This is Melodic Rock at it’s best!

13) Mach 22 – Sweet Talk Intervention

Mach 22

One smoking debut for these guys. Another band to watch in the future. I’ll be expecting huge things from them.

12) Angels Or Kings – Kings Of Nowhere

Angels Or Kings

This one came to my attention via the station that I DJ for. It was an instant favorite with a huge Foreigner style vibe. Amazing vocals really make this record something special and take it to that next level.

11) Bailey – Long Way Down


Another one that came in at the tail end of the year, thus it’s ranking. A killer record from beginning to end and probably would have ranked higher with more time to listen.

10) Faithsedge – The Answer Of Insanity


A raging slab of melodic rock with plenty of power elements. You can really hear the time that Giancarlo Floridia put into the production of this thing. It’s crystal clear and really has that “mean” tone coming out of the speakers.

9) Stone Machine – Rock Ain’t Dead

Stone Machine

Keeping that old school hard rock sound alive with a ton of raging riffs and killer vocals. This CD fires on all cylinders like a classic muscle car. This is cruising music, just be careful of the speeding tickets!

8) Bombay Black – Walk Of Shame

Bombay Black

I can’t name another band that does it quite like Bombay Black. Slamming hard rock tunes mixed with lyrics that are both sarcastic and hilarious. Also one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. Oh, and don’t party with these guys…you’ll just die!

7) Saints Of Rebellion – New American Dream

Saints Of Rebellion

A raging debut from Saints Of Rebellion. Bluesy, raging vocals mixed with slamming guitar tracks and a rhythm section whose foundation you could build a house on. This one will rattle your brain.

6) Chrome Mollie – All Or Nuthin’

Chrome Mollie

And in this corner, hailing from Detroit Rock City, are the bad boys of Chrome Mollie. One of the hardest working bands out there with a releases that delivers a heavy dose of hard rock!

5) One Bad Son – Black Buffalo

One Bad Son

These Canadians came to my attention earlier this year via friend, Maria Haskins. I was immediately hooked and have their last two CD’s on pretty much non stop repeat. This is one monster of a record that will definitely kick your ass.

4) Ron Keel – Metal Cowboy

Ron Keel

As a fan of Ron for close to 30 years now, I’ve seen all the styles that Ron has covered over the years. From the early Hard rock days with Steeler to Sabre Tiger to The Rattlers and Ronnie Lee Keel and back to Keel. This is the DEFINITIVE Ron Keel record. This takes his entire career and  wraps it up into one face melting, rock n roller coaster ride. A must have for any hard rock fan!

3) Romantic Rebel – Romantic Rebel

Romantic Rebel

This band popped unto my desk courtesy of Pavement Entertainment and quickly became a favorite. I’ve seen them go from road noobs to road warriors in under a year. This record rips and roars from beginning to end. I look forward to finally seeing their live show in a couple weeks!

2) Pretty Wild – Pretty Wild

Pretty Wild

Mixing a sound that take old school Slaughter and combining with the new Scandinavian sound, this is one bad ass mf’er of a CD!  Their tune “Staring At The Sun” is easily one of my most played tunes of the entire year. This is a MUST HAVE!

And that leaves us with the #1 Spot…

1) H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls



 I knew that lead singer Erik Gronwell was going to be a HUGE star the first time I seen the video of him doing “18 & Life” for Swedish Idol. I was overjoyed when he won the show and was announced as the singer of this band. This record showcases exactly why the made the right choice hiring him. This is a barn burner of a record that doesn’t have a bad note on it. The production is flawless and it just SOUNDS like a classic record.


About The Music God CJ Plain

Music fanatic and Internet Station owne. I am also the host of the radio shows, The Motor City Glam Slam and The Big Ass Monster Rockin' Metal Show! His station is Riot On The Set Radio located at Both of his shows can be heard weekly, exclusively on the station. View all posts by The Music God CJ Plain

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