I grew up listening to rock music. I and my brother once had hundreds of cassettes collection, ranging from Hard Rock, Heavy Metal to Thrash Metal. We placed Kiss, Van Halen, Motley Crue posters all over our room’s wall. When we were in college, we tried to mimic our idol by sporting long hair. I once even had a belief that “Rock is not just a music, Rock is a religion“.
Silly stuffs. *grin*
But really, eventhough I know some of you may even *hate* this music, I found it until now, this kind of music brought the technical skills of their musicians to the limit, especially the guitarists. It is due to the fast tempo and “live approach” of the music (less samplings and digitized music). Most rock fans agreed that enjoying rock music is not only listening to the songs, but also witnessing the great skills of musicians, and feeling the energy when they perform it “live” (headbanging, anyone?)
For those who still don’t get it :), here I listed my “All-Time Favorites of Top Ten Rock Albums” (not in order of anything) that I will be willingly to hear over, over and over again. It is simply because there are so much to hear from these records: the songs, the skills, the energy. Check them out!
Rock never die! Salam Metal! *smile*
Van Halen – 5150 (1986)
This is one of the first albums that introduced me to rock music. Sammy Hagar just joined the band, and he produced a classic collection, containing great, hard-yet-melodic songs featuring guitar and drums virtuoso courtesy of Eddie and Alex Van Halen.
What to Listen: Why Can’t This Be Love, Dreams, 5150
Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Who knows this band before this album? Their single, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” took USA and rest of the world by storm. It is a mind-changing album, which was released in the mainstream of glam rock. Axl Rose and Slash’s controversial characters were well represented in this epic, brutal, punk rock n’ roll album.
What to Listen: Sweet Child O’ Mine, Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle
Dream Theater – Images and Words (1992)
It is a masterpiece of progressive rock album. Truly demonstrate how musicians’ technical skills and profound lyrics are composed in harmony. I can’t talk enough about how good is this album. I even already talked about it on my previous posting. Check out yourself.
What to Listen: Metropolis Part I, Surrounded, Pull Me Under
David Lee Roth – Skyscrapper (1988)
People may hate this album because of its “unnatural” approach to recording. David Lee Roth used all of samples and channels in music studio to produce perfectly detailed sounds. He recorded his vocals and voices in no less than 3 channels, while Steve Vai (guitars) and Billy Sheehan (bass) filled in the remaining channels with their pulsating play. The songs also include enough variety of music that can cater almost everyone’s taste. From ballad, pop rock to speed metal.
What to Listen: Just Like A Paradise, Perfect Timing, Hot Dog and A Shake
Metallica – And Justice for All (1988)
This record won a Grammy Award for the first heavy metal record category back in 1988. Grown up from a simply garage band in L.A., this album propelled Metallica to ‘supergroup’ status. Anybody who thinks Heavy Metal is not an art, should check this album first before throwing their opinion.
What to Listen: And Justice for All, One, Blackened
Extreme – III Sides to Every Story (1992)
After succesfully put their single “More Than Words” as worldwide hit in 1991, Extreme did not falsely fall into a trap of producing song with similar recipe. In fact they released their best album, which combined heavy metal, rock, funk and Queen-alike choir and orchestra. Nuno Bettencourt’s guitar play was as impressive as ever. Pat Badger and Paul Geary set the groove on rhythm section that beautifully assembled with Nuno’s rich exploration of sound.
What to Listen: Rest in Peace, Cupid’s Dead, Who Cares
Living Colour – Vivid (1989)
It is perhaps the band’s only significant record, but it stacked up right th ere with other great rock albums. Living Colour was a rare breed. While their other neighbors were busy in rapping and jazzing, they chose to work on different beat: rock music. But they mixed it with their music roots: funk, jazz and rap. The result was a much-talk about album in 1989. There were so much variety on its beat and groove, and Vernon Reid highlighted every song with exhilarating display of his guitars’ distorted sounds.
What to Listen: Cult of Personality, What’s Your Favourite Colour?, Glamour Boys
Mr. Big – Lean Into It (1991)
Even though it was the sweet “To Be With You” that propelled Mr. Big to worldwide artist status, the album that housed that single was far from being typical pop rock album that looked more on popularity than its musica l aspect. “Lean Into It” was arguably the best album of the band. Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert and Pat Torpey are highly skilled musicians that could somehow integrate their individual equipment artistry into hard-but-strong-in-melody-songs. Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert’s then-famous electric drill songs “Daddy, Brother, Lover and Little Boy” opened up the record that set the listeners’ expectation. You will know instantly that these guys are technically good. And so are their songs.
What to Listen: Daddy, Brother, Lover and Little Boy; Alive and Kickin’, Just Take My Heart
Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1986)
The only “Live” album that become my all-time favorites. It includes all great (and legendary) songs by Iron Maiden circa mid 80’s. When you listened to this album, you can feel the energy of the songs and the musicians. The crowd noises made it is even powerful. By the way, one particular thing I loved about Iron Maiden was that their guitarists (Dave Murray and Adrian Smith) recorded their guitar sounds on two separate channels (left and right). I could still remember how I and my brother adjusted the balance of our sound system, just to listen the different solos and riffs from the best-duo guitarist ever.
What to Listen: The Trooper, Aces High, Running Free
Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
Dave Coverdale, ex vocalist of Deep Purple, made fortune by releasing this record. It was sold in multiple platinum back in 1987. He actually replaced all of his band members after that, and formed a “super group” which featured first class musicians, such as Adrian Vandenberg, Steve Vai and Rudy Sarzo. However, it was actually John Sykes, another excellent guitarist, whose Coverdale actually worked with to produce this most-successful album of Whitesnake. John Sykes’ famous riffs and clean-and-melodic guitar solo sounds were really deep to be heard over, and over again. Adrian Vandenberg contributed to the most successful single from this album, “Here I Go Again”, with his (also famous) guitar solo that brought the song to different dimension.
What to Listen: In the Still of the Night, Is This Love, Here I Go Again