1. Whitesnake "Good To Be Bad" (wiki)
- we had to wait a long time for this - 11 years in fact - but boy was it worth the wait. If it is the last Whitesnake album, then what a way to go out. Powerful, well produced, and some of the best Coverdale songs penned for many years. DC may not be the live voice of old, but this release sits alongside the old classics of the late 70s and 80s, and indeed takes much inspiration from them - there's bits of them all throughout.
2. Metallica "Death Magnetic" (wiki)
- the midwives of thrash returned with a vengeance. Badly needing to restore credibility following the shambolic St Anger back in '03, Metallica totally succeeded with their best release since the seminal 'Black Album' of 1991. Fast riffs, blistering solos, words of death and destruction, it fitted the darkened economic mood of both the UK and USA. Welcome back to the top table guys.
3. Elbow "The Seldom Seen Kid" (wiki)
- definitely a surpirse choice for me as Elbow seem to be in the alternative/indie rock category, but it's a record that cannot be ignored. It works on so many levels, and crosses so many genres that it's difficult not to like - to me it's a bit prog. Stand out tracks "Grounds For Divorce" and "One Day Like This" shine through with multi-layered musical arrangements pushing many boundaries. Well worth a listen more than once.
Also on the shortlist:
- Judas Priest "Nostradamus" (wiki)
- Yngwie J Malmsteen's Rising Force "Perpetual Flame" (wiki)
- Stone Gods "Silver Spoons and Broken Bones" (wiki)
- Coldplay "Viva La Vida" (wiki)
Not on the shortlist:
- AC/DC "Black Ice" - not as good as made out
- Oasis "Dig Out Your Soul" - ditto.