5 Great Rock/Hard Rock/Metal Albums That You May or May Not Know

This is a guest post by author Xavior Zevon

There are many albums out there that I like a great deal; maybe even love. However, I reserve the title of great for a relatively small number of albums. In order for that title to be given, I have to like every song on the album and if there is a song on it that I don’t don’t like, the greatness of the rest sure better make up for it. I love turning people on to new albums, so here are five that you should check out in no particular order.

Dokken—Dysfunctional 1994
Dokken was a great band in the eighties and it was fairly well known that they did not really get along all that well. With that, it was no surprise that after their 1987 release ‘Back for the Attack’ and the following tour, they disbanded. However, in 1994, they put aside all of their differences and recorded a new album called ‘Dysfunctional.’ At this point, 80’s bands were as unhip as they came in the mainstream and even though this album did not sell all that well, it was an amazing record.
With this release, Dokken acted like they had something to prove. They were not going to go quietly into that 80’s night and they released one of my favorite albums by them to prove it. They clung to the core sound that made them famous back in the day but also modernized ever so slightly, for a more mature sounding, yet still totally rocking album. ‘Too High To Fly’ was a killer song and then they closed the album with an acoustic cover of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s song ‘From the Beginning.’ Unfortunately, tensions in the band remained high and shortly after the release of the following album ‘Shadow Life’ (which is only for the truest Dokken fans), George Lynch left the band for good to work on many other projects, including his own band, the Lynch Mob. Jeff Pilson remained for another two albums but was supposedly replaced without even being notified around 2001. He has kept very busy though and has been a very active member of Foreigner for over ten years.

Driveblind–Driveblind 2006
Who is Driveblind you ask? Well, to put it simply, they were a really good band from Scotland. They started off, with this great debut and then released a second album that could only be purchased online and was nowhere near as good and then they disappeared. Despite this band originating in the 2000’s, they had a very rich sound that was very reminiscent of  70’s rock. The songs that rock on this record will definitely rock you, yet still have a catchy melody to them and then there are several mellow songs that you can slow dance with the one that you love to. How the opening track ‘Silhouette’ didn’t become a massive hit for these guys is beyond me, for it is an awesome song and ‘Autumn Red’ is just hauntingly beautiful.
I discovered this band in 2006 when they opened for Candlebox. I never pay much attention to the opening act, unless they are somebody I know, but I was immediately intrigued by these guys. I only wish they could have kept it going. I don’t watch ‘the Voice’ on TV, but a previous girlfriend did and I watched an episode with her in 2012 and I was quite surprised to see that Terry McDermott (the lead singer ) was competing on the show. I didn’t realize that it was him until after the season was over; otherwise, I might have actually watched it. I recalled hearing that he came in second place, which I guess wasn’t bad. He also has another band these days called Lotus Crush, which is a band he does with some of the former members of Candlebox.  I have heard some stuff that I like with these guys, but nothing compares to that first Driveblind album.

Buckcherry–Buckcherry 1999
This is probably the heaviest album on this list. When most people think of Buckcherry, they immediately think of the biggest hit, ‘Crazy Bitch.’ However, there were two albums preceding that one that I feel were their best work, but if you see them live, they almost pretend like neither one exist. The band’s debut came out at a time where rock music was on very shaky ground and they proved that there was still some rock of quality out there to be found. This album starts out fast and heavy, yet still very catchy and only eases up in a few places. The big hit off of this album was ‘Lit Up’ which is about the only song they play live off of it these days, but every song on the album rocks; ‘For the Movies’ and ‘Check Your Head’ are two other great songs that are worth checking out.
After this album, they released their sophomore effort, ‘Time Bomb’ which was even heavier and still very much a great album too and then they disbanded. In the meantime, Josh Todd (the lead singer) almost became the lead vocalist for Velvet Revolver, but that job ultimately went to Scott Weiland. Instead, he released a solo album that had some pretty good stuff on it and then Buck Cherry got back together (after 2 years of not doing anything together), with a mostly new line-up and then had their greatest success.

Veruca Salt–Ghost Notes 2015
Veruca Salt rode the grunge wave in 1994 with their hit song Seether and then their follow-up album in 1997 gave us their second biggest hit, ‘Volcano Girls.’ Both of these albums were great, but the band was still largely written off as a one-hit wonder and then they disbanded (sort of). The two main members were Louise Post and Nina Gordon. Nina went solo and did a more pop/adult contemporary type of thing and Loise reformed Veruca Salt with a completely new line-up (other than herself of course) and this was the way things went for the next 17 years.
The music the two girls released in this time frame was hit and miss, yet there was still some great songs done on both sides. However, there was a magic that is hard to describe in the music that they did together that was just lost during this time. Then by some miracle, the girls decided to duke out their grievances and put the original line-up back together and released ‘Ghost Notes.’ That was a very long time to be apart and most bands that get back together after being apart that long very rarely recapture what they had, but that was not the case here. It was like they put the pause button on their magic and then all the sudden clicked the button off and there it was all over again; as if those 17 years never happened. Every song on this album is good to great and the whole album will either make you want to dance and play air guitar or will tug ever so slightly at your heart strings. Basically, if you liked their first two albums, you will like this one too. I love all 3.

Kiss–Revenge 1992
If you ask most Kiss fans what their favorite Kiss album is, almost all of them say ‘Destroyer.’In fact, most longtime Kiss fans tend to pretend there was never an era where they didn’t wear make-up at all and I suppose the band themselves believe it too, because if you see them live, you will not hear many songs from their 80’s or 90’s catalogues.
Well, if you ask me, Revenge proves all of that nonsense wrong. This album’s awesomeness is to be reckoned with and I believe it to be far superior to Destroyer. With that, I expect to get lots of hate mail now for Kiss fans are some of the most passionate fans out there. Regardless, even if you don’t think it is better, it is still a great album. Gene Simmons was on fire with his songwriting on this collection of songs and ‘Unholy,’ Domino,’ and ‘Thou Shalt Not’ were some of his best ever.
This was also Eric Singer’s first album with the band on drums, since the untimely passing of Eric Carr the year before. Singer is still in the band and wears the catman make-up in place of Original drummer Peter Chris. Anyway, if you like Kiss at all and are not make-up biased, then you should check this album out and even if you are, listen to it and close your eyes. Then pretend that they were still wearing make-up when they sang these songs and you should be happy too.