5. Redeemer of Souls, by Judas Priest
Though metal gods Judas Priest have certainly eased off the throttle in terms of touring in recent years, they have by no means gotten out of the fast lane with their music. Redeemer of Souls is the first album without founding guitarist K.K. Downing and features new member Richie Faulkner in his stead. Though Downing is sorely missed by fans of the band, Faulkner does more than well enough in filling the shoes and preserving the legacy of this extraordinary band of metal pioneers; which is by no means an easy feat to accomplish.
Redeemer of Souls is pretty much a musical return to their older style that they were known for in the late 70's and early 80's while also still having some modern touches here and there to not sound like they are just clinging to the past. Interestingly enough there is even a track that has a SERIOUS funk rock vibe; something that I personally never would have seen coming out of Judas Priest. Any fan of the band or old school hard rock and heavy metal will not be disappointed when they pick up a copy of this. Judas Priest may be entering their golden years, but that only means that their music is golden too in this case.
4. Shine, by Bernie Marsden
Bernie who? Again, I understand if you aren't quite familiar with Bernie Marsden. He was one of the founding guitarists of Whitesnake in the late 70's and early 80's. Back then however, the band had a much more bluesy sound, unlike the heavy hair metal they became known for later on. This year he finally put out a new album of all new material under his own name titled Shine. I have to say, for an old timer he sounds incredibly youthful, fresh, and energetic in both his guitar and vocal performances on it. You would never guess he is 63.
Shine is a splendid blend of straight blues and driving rock n' roll with a dash of REALLY old school Mississippi delta style blues here and there. Any fans of the old Whitesnake will be able to easily latch onto it, especially since there is a modernized re-recorded version of the Whitesnake track Trouble with his former band mate David Coverdale singing on it. Even for the average listener however, it is some solid work. It also features blues aficionado Joe Bonamassa on a track as well as Cherry Lee Mewis. He is one of the few old rockers who isn't trying to just cling to his old sound. By going forward in his own way he far surpasses some of the more well known bands/artists who put out albums this year.