A couple weeks ago I was recommending a few new (at the time) hard rock albums and singles to someone to check out when he made a comment that rock music today is pretty much dead (in his opinion, of course). That struck a chord with me, and so I proceeded to tell him my thoughts on the matter.
I don’t necessarily think that rock is dead, so much as there isn’t as big of an outlet for them in Chicago, and that’s because there’s no major rock station here anymore. There are at least a handful of stations playing Top 40 and general pop music, two major country stations, one classic rock station, and the rest are either oldies or what could be considered adult contemporary. Not a single modern hard rock station. If someone wants a bigger variety they need to switch to Sirius radio, and only there can one hear any genre they want.
I have a friend who told me about a hard rock station on Sirius she always listens to and knew I would enjoy as well. When I started listening to the Octane station on Sirius Radio I knew rock music wasn’t dead. At least not the hard rock that I fell in love with when I was a sophomore in high school. Octane plays the best of the hard rock bands that came out in the late 90’s and early 2000’s as well as the newest bands making noise in the music business today.
Back to my original point, though. Rock music is not dead. Bands that were huge and really put hard rock on the charts again in the early 2000’s are still making music, even if it takes them a little longer to release their records. 2014 alone was a big year for releases by hard rock veterans as well as bands who have made a splash in the last five years. Papa Roach and Avenged Sevenfold both released new albums last winter, Chevelle released theirs in May, Seether in July, and Godsmack in August. Of Mice & Men, Five Finger Death Punch, Theory of a Deadman, Thousand Foot Krutch and In Flames also released albums last year.
And let’s not forget about David Draiman’s side project Device, whose debut album was released in April of 2013. He teamed up with former Filter guitarist during Disturbed’s hiatus to create an album with a more industrial metal sound that featured guest appearances by Geezer Butler, Glenn Hughes, M. Shadows, Serj Tankian, Tom Morello and Lizzy Hale. In fact, Draiman and Hale covered “Close My Eyes Forever,” originally recorded and by Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford. Their version of that classic rock ballad alone makes the album worth listening to.
In the past few months alone there have been some awesome, kickass records that were released and are proof rock is not dead. Let me start with Halestorm’s third full length album Into the Wild Life because it’s a personal favorite of mine. While it is slightly different from their two predecessors, it’s hands down one of the best rock records I’ve heard. It stays true to Halestorm’s original sound while still branching out of their comfort zone in a way other bands might not for fear of what their fans or rock radio might think of them. And ya know what? They nailed it. Lizzy Hale’s vocals are outstanding, and she more than proves she belongs alongside rock’s leading females such as Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and Lita Ford. If you’re a rock fan then there’s no reason you wouldn’t thoroughly enjoy this album.
Another band whose long awaited album was recently released is Three Days Grace’s Human. When the announcement came that original singer Adam Gontier was exiting the band and taking his place would be My Darkest Days singer Matt Walst, there was no doubt concern about how much the new album could really be a Three Days Grace album without Adam’s unique vocals. With that said, the new album did not disappoint. To put it simply, if Three Days Grace and My Darkest Days had a drunken one night stand, Human would be their love child. Stand out tracks include Painkiller, Human Race, Landmine and Fallen Angel, but really there’s not a track I would skip while listening.
Speaking of the former Three Days Grace singer, Adam Gontier went and hooked up with Staind guitarist Mike Mushok, Eye Empire bassist Corey Lowery and Five Finger drummer Rich Beddoe to form super rock group Saint Asonia. With two singles released so far and the album due out July 31st, they made their debut by performing a short set at Rock on the Range in New York. If the whole album is anything like their first singles Better Place and Blow Me Wide Open, then rock fans are in for a treat.
The last band whose newly released album I’ll briefly dissect just in case you needed further proof that rock isn’t dead is Breaking Benjamin. After a five year hiatus due to singer Ben Burnley’s mysterious and apparently incurable (since no doctor has yet to diagnose him) illness, Breaking Benjamin returns with Dark Before Dawn. It picks up where they left off as if no time has gone by. Though this is the first album by the band to feature an entirely different lineup, the music and especially Ben’s vocals sound as strong as ever. This album fits in perfectly with the rest of the band’s discography and fans must agree because it debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. If you’ve followed the band since the beginning and love all of their other albums, you need to hear this album. Now, no hesitation.
So just to review I’ve given you at least three new rock albums to check out, plus two singles, and listed a handful of bands whose albums last year were not only released but also well received. I mean, I could go on and on listing bands and songs that are worth checking out and downloading but is it really necessary? If you’re not impressed by the bands and their albums/songs I’ve given you so far, then maybe you’re just in the wrong genre all together. I believe the point here is that if you’re not finding any hard rock bands you’re liking then you’re not looking in the right places. Because I’m telling you, rock music isn’t dead. Maybe you’re just living under a rock.