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ROADRUNNER RECORDS TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2011 REVEALED...

Posted on December 7, 2011


The time has come to reveal the top twenty in our Roadrunner Records Albums of 2011 poll, as voted for by you, the fans! You can see the results below, from twenty right through to number one. The winner of the competition that we ran alongside this poll is Zoe Lockwood. Check your emails, Zoe - you got mail!

We want to know what you think of the top twenty - do you agree or disagree with your fellow fans' votes? Should someone else have won? Tell us today on our Facebook page by clicking here...

20 Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band - 'How I Go'

Kenny Wayne Shepherd's How I Go not only serves as a strong reminder of the chops that causedGuitar World to place him right behind B.B. King and Eric Clapton on their list of blues guitarists, but it's the strongest indication yet of his gifted songwriting talent. The album pairs Kenny's deeply soulful and impassioned takes on classic material like Bessie Smith's "Blackwater Blues," Albert King's "Oh, Pretty Woman" and The Beatles "Yer Blues" alongside the strongest writing and co-writing of his career thus far.

Let's not forget that Kenny co-wrote "Blue on Black" very early on. The song was #1 on the Rock Charts for 17 consecutive weeks. All of the accolades heaped upon his playing are well deserved and well earned. But there is so much more to offer.

"At this point, most people who know about me know I can play guitar," Shepherd says. "As far as my approach to guitar on this record, it's not about showing people how much I can play. It’s about really choosing the right notes and playing them at the right times so that every note penetrates people, and they feel it inside and it’s not just some fleeting thing that just goes right by them. "I wanted to be conservative, and selective, and tasteful in the solos that I did," he adds. "I wanted to concentrate on the song as a whole: the vocals, the arrangements, so every instrument that is being played contributes to the song and takes it to a better place."

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.



19 Lenny Kravitz - 'Black & White America'


BLACK AND WHITE AMERICA was written in reaction to a documentary Kravitz saw about racism in the post-Obama United States. Amidst the defiant lyrics, the songwriter references his own family history, and the experiences of his parents as an interracial couple in the 1960s. "People used to yell obscenities and spit at them," he says, "and this was in New York City, not in the South. So it's about me personally and about the situation with race in this country. Maybe we are beginning to move on, but there's still a lot of people who want to hold onto their old ideas."

Though the sonic emphasis of BLACK AND WHITE AMERICA may land squarely on the funk, the force behind such guitar-driven smashes as "Fly Away" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way" hasn't turned his back on rock. Songs like "Rock Star City Life," and the first single, "Stand," give the album a healthy dose of crunching riffs.

“This album is a celebration,” he offers. “Anybody listening is going to feel it and be uplifted by the spirit of the music”.

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


18 Rob Zombie - 'Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Special Edition'


Rob Zombie is a 7 time Grammy-nominated recording artist, having sold over fifteen million albums worldwide to date. Late 2009 brought Zombie to a new home at Roadrunner Records, with a new album, the long awaited Hellbilly Deluxe 2.

The demons were let loose on Hellbilly Deluxe 2, which comes a dozen years after its predecessor, Hellbilly Deluxe, the album that established Zombie as a solo artist in his own right following the demise of White Zombie. That album also yielded a string of successful radio singles, namely “Dragula” and “Living Dead Girl,” both of which dominated the airwaves in 1998 and 1999, closing out the decade, Zombie style.

Well, it’s a new decade (and a new millennium, not to mention) and Hellbilly Deluxe 2 picked up where its predecessor left off. Even though there were two studio albums -2001’s The Sinister Urge and 2006’s Educated Horses—in between the Hellbilly bookends, only an artist of Zombie’s caliber, however, can make the jump so seamlessly with Hellbilly Deluxe 2, which features the infectious single, “Sick Bubblegum,” which sounds like it was written during the original’s sessions, but remains modern, relevant and forward-thinking. “What?” is a catchy, distorted track that screams of signature Zombie, the one his throng of fans knows and loves. “Werewolf, Baby!” is another sick ‘n twisted rock ‘n roll anthem, while other electric romps like “Jesus Frankenstein” and the thunderous “Mars Needs Women” are vintage Zombie featuring ass-moving grooves piled on a storm of chunky riffs. Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is Rob Zombie in 2010: leaner and meaner, with the same snarl and appreciation for all things dark and a little bit dastardly. It’s no easy feat to record a companion-style follow-up 10 years later, but Rob Zombie makes it look and sound easy.

“This was one of the least stressful records I’ve ever made. The songs fell together in record time. ” says Zombie, “For some reason the best songs always come easy.”

The Special Edition of Hellbilly Deluxe 2 was released on Valentines Day 2011.

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


17 Kids In Glass Houses - 'In Gold Blood'


‘In Gold Blood’ is the crossroads that vocalist Aled Phillips, guitarists Joel Fisher and Iain Mahanty, bassist Andrew Sheehy and drummer Philip Jenkins stand at in 2011. The systems, rules and beliefs they were raised with colliding with the ideas, understanding and opinions formed by experience all coloured by the obstacles, challenges and complexities life has thrown at them along the way.

“It’s an album that discusses my own experience of life,” vocalist Phillips admits. “I started to question how I had arrived at this point in my life, looking at the good and bad, the relationships and everything else that defines me now. I wrote about it all but I did so in a different context, I created an exaggeration of modern society, a completely depraved world where everyone has resorted to carnal desires and instincts, and placed all my thoughts in that world.”

It is a universe without a name but one that permeates all eleven tracks on the album. The record is a story, of a man and a woman surrounded by chaos and madness that start a journey hoping to escape it all. They wander, they learn and they eventually find the reality and the answers they were looking for. At the end only the man remains, a scarred survivor, his companion no longer by his side and his future uncertain.

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


16 DevilDriver - 'Beast'


DevilDriver tear their way through heavy metal again with Beast, the band's fifth album for Roadrunner Records, which is an exorcism of animalistic, primal hooks, death metal percussion and propulsive thrashing. While many bands in the modern era are already withering away by their second album and have shriveled up and died by their third, DevilDriver have proven to mutate, growing stronger, deadlier and more immortal with each successive release. Beast is living, firebreathing proof of that unassailable fact.

DevilDriver continue breaking the mold and busting heads in the studio and on stage. Who can forget their now legendary appearance at Download 2007, which arguably generated the biggest circle pit in history? Or any other live show they've played for that matter? Or any of the explosive anthems they've released to radio or video? Nevertheless, everything that has come before merely served as a prelude to the birth of Beast.

"It's another level," Fafara says of his band's latest offering, insisting that the band isn’t tethered to any style, genre or self-imposed limitations. "We didn't simply re-issue a sound we found that worked, which most bands will do especially on their fifth, sixth or seventh record. They'll lay on their laurels and stick to what they've done. We're not looking at what anyone around us is doing. Since we're not paying attention to any of that, we were able to find unique music within ourselves. We tried to break some boundaries and stretch the genre open. We keep redefining ourselves."

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


15 Slash - 'Slash: Special Edition'


May 2010 saw rock icon Slash release his debut solo album “Slash” on Roadrunner Records. The album features an all-star roster of guest musicians including Ian Astbury, Chris Cornell, Rocco DeLuca, Fergie, Dave Grohl, Myles Kennedy, Kid Rock, Lemmy Kilmister, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Duff McKagan, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, and Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother. Slash, enlisted the services of producing partner Eric Valentine (Queens of Stone Age, The All-American Rejects) and compiled a rhythm section of bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) and drummer Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails). Slash handled the majority of arranging and songwriting duties and hand-picked each guest artist. The album was released to widespread critical acclaim and saw Slash headlining a sold out UK tour as well as show stealing performances at Download, Glastonbury and Wireless festivals in the UK.

Roadrunner released “Beautiful Dangerous” as a single in early 2011. The single features a stunning vocal performance from Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) and an equally compulsive video.

To tie in with the single release, Roadrunner released a special edition of the Slash album in a 1 cd/1 dvd format. The CD features the full album plus exclusive acoustic versions of “Back To Cali” (Slash), “Fall To Pieces” (original by Velvet Revolver) and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (originally GnR) all featuring Myles Kennedy on vocals.



14 Times Of Grace - 'The Hymn Of A Broken Man'


“In all my life. I have yet to write a record that bares my soul as much as this record does,” Jesse explains. “Adam and I had a real spiritual connection while making this and I know that it comes through in the performances and lyrics. This record has our blood, sweat, and tears flowing through it. It is painfully honest at times. In short, this record is our catharsis.”

The album begins with the almost militaristic “Strength In Numbers,” which melds layered vocal melodies with thunderous drums, and the ferocious “Fight For Life”, which is balanced by Leach’s emotive vocals. “Willing” boasts a more contemplative yet just as feral vibe. There are moments of sheer beauty – the raw and elegant "Until The End Of Days" – and moments of true riffing majesty, as on the headbangin’ stompers "Live In Love and Hope Remains". The album closes with the exquisite Fall From Grace, with Dutkiewicz on lead vocal duty. Check it out.

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.




13 The Devil Wears Prada - 'Dead Throne'


Rising metalcore band, The Devil Wears Prada released their fourth full-length album on September 12th 2011. Earlier this year, the band toured Europe as support for Bring Me the Horizon as well as a run of dates including Rock Am Ring / Rock Im Park and Download Festival main stage – “ …they set out their stall and deliver just what they promise” Kerrang!.

The band recently finished recording its latest album with producer Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) and Mike Hranica described the album by commenting, "The new record contains the heavy aspects of the Zombie EP, meshed with the melody of the full lengths. ‘Born To Lose’captures some of those elements and serves as a comprehensive preview to the album. By all means I'd call it our most emotional, well-written album to date."

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


12 Black Stone Cherry - 'Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea'


Hitting the road in support of their 2006 self-titled debut helped inspire and direct Black Stone Cherry's worldview when it came time to write the new album. The band traveled extensively outside the United States during the tour cycle. This allowed them to stretch their creative muscle with songs like "Please Come In" and “Sunrise” which show the band's growth and diversity.

"This album has allowed us to dig deep into our roots," continues Young. "It also shows our influences in the songwriting. Our band is a positive band and we try to write songs that are uplifting. We also have a big storytelling side to us which comes through on songs like 'Ghost of Floyd Collins’ and ‘Reverend Wrinkle.’"  Vocalist/guitarist Chris Robertson reflects on the process, saying, “Starting out as a band seven years ago, with high hopes and even bigger dreams, I honestly believe this record shows the experience of our past travels, and gives a hint of the future. It captures all the energy and heart that embody Black Stone Cherry. We took some chances on this album and I believe that our fans will appreciate seeing the other sides of the band that they may or may not have known existed.”

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


11 Nickelback - 'Here And Now'


While 2011 proved one of the most turbulent years in recent history, Nickelback has emerged rock-steady with an album that both shakes rock and roll to its core while offering a true sense of escapism to their millions of fans across the globe. If ever the world needed to feel good again, that time is ... Here and Now.

Traversing the sonic spectrum with a pulsating energy and enthusiasm reflected in the musical diversity, Here and Now is the much-loved Nickelback experience propelled to new levels as the band continues to lure listeners into their trademark party brew of fast-lane indulgences; some tunes tamed by somber reflection while others wickedly embraced with a devilish wink and a smile. With almost 45 million sold worldwide, music fans remain thirsty for the vicarious thrills of Nickelback's newest intoxicating elixir.

"I think we're very lucky because from the beginning, we never painted ourselves into a corner of saying we're only going to make one kind of music," explains Chad Kroeger, during the final days of recording Here and Now at his Mountain View Studios outside Vancouver. "As a result, we're kind of all over the map with the songs that get accepted by our fans. And that's fantastic, because that means there's always going to be a ton of diversity on all our records."

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.



10 Megadeth - 'Th1rt3en'




One of the most recognized and culturally significant names in metal over the last thirty years, MEGADETH’s ‘Th1rt3en’, is indeed, the band’s thirteenth studio album. It marks the recorded return of bassist Dave Ellefson (part of the band's classic line-up from 1983 to 2002) and features, ’Never Dead’, (specifically recorded for the ‘NeverDead’ video game franchise), ’Sudden Death’ (recorded for ‘Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock’) and lead single, ‘Public Enemy No.1’ (showcased live this summer, as MEGADETH played selected shows with the Big 4, including a set at Knebworth in July).

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.



9 Rush - 'Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland'


Captured in April at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena during the renowned trio’s extensive Time Machine World Tour, “TIME MACHINE 2011: LIVE IN CLEVELAND” marks the band’s first live album recorded at a U.S show, a deliberate nod of gratitude to the first city to support Rush on its radio airwaves. The wildly popular tour featured a set filled with classic hits, fan favorites, and a glimpse into Rush’s forthcoming 20th studio album “CLOCKWORK ANGELS”.

As a centerpiece for the concerts, the band performed their landmark album “MOVING PICTURES” in its entirety – a first in the band’s long and illustrious career. Rave reviews of the tour included The Hollywood Reporter’s declaration that “the current Time Machine jaunt is nothing less than a must see…for nearly three hours, with intermission, Rush proved why it remains among rock’s elite live acts.”

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.


8 Slipknot - 'Iowa: Tenth Anniversary Edition'


Slipknot's 'Iowa' hit stores a mere two weeks before the horrific World Trade Center attack in New York, and while it would be a lazy perception to state the far-reaching effects of these two events, it would be unfair to let it pass without comment. Slipknot's debut album two years previous had already written a mission statement for the band and their fans, 'Iowa' scrawled a dirty great line under the whole damn thing, not so much turning everything up to 11 but refining the package into something even more devastating. 'The Heretic Anthem', 'My Plague', 'Left Behind'… It's hard to believe you're not looking at a greatest hits album - and ten years on, as the world remains a changed place following 9/11, so too the landscape in metal is forever imprinted with the Iowan nontet's unique contribution.

The Special 10th Anniversary Edition of the album was released this year and contains a ton of extra, including a DVD featuring footage shot by Clown himself!

Pick up a copy of the album from iTunes or Play.com.



7 Alter Bridge - 'AB III.5'


As any Alter Bridge fan will tell you, this is a band that doesn't put out bad records - but with their first Roadrunner full-length Myles Kennedy's boys really excelled themselves with 'ABIII' - an absolute belter from start to finish. Of course, where the guys were found lacking in the imaginative album title stakes, they were found to have made a whopping great withdrawal from the Bank of Enormous Rock Anthems - 'Isolation', 'I Know It Hurts', opener 'Slip To The Void' - this is an album that uses Mark Tremonti's seemingly limitless supply of breezeblock riffs as a backbone for a career-best record, allowing Myles Kennedy to soar over the top with his unmistakeable vocals.

The band chose to relrelease this album with added tracks that they have carefully selected and feel finish up the album as a whole.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.



6 Mastodon 'The Hunter'

If you take a look at the UK's Top 20 chart on any given week, the number of Atlanta prog-sludge bands counting members with tattoos on their face would quite probably be pretty low. Thank your lucky stars, then, for the existence of Mastodon and their Roadrunner debut 'The Hunter' - an album of such deviously catchy metal anthems even Jools Holland fell under their spell. Special mention also must go to the mind-bending sculpture which forms the album's cover - another example of the band's unwavering dedication to giving their fans something really special.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.



5 Dream Theater 'A Dramatic Turn of Events'

Just months before the release of 'A Dramatic Turn of Events', it wouldn't have taken too much pessimism to be concerned for Dream Theater's future, following the well documented exit of drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy - but fans needn't have worried. Signing up New Yoik drummer Mike Mangini, the band knuckled down to some good hard graft and put together one of the best albums of their long and storied career - making a stop in the UK top 20 and US top 10 for good measure.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.



4 Within Temptation 'The Unforgiving'


Following the success of 'The Heart of Everything' and their more orchestral effort 'An Acoustic Night at the Theatre', Within Temptation decided to step things up a notch in all departments with 'The Unforgiving'. From the visual element of the accompanying comic book to the over-arching concept, the band left no stone unturned in their effort to create a truly unique package. Of course, the songs were the key, and as critics and fans rallied to express their overwhelming approval of the album, it became clear Within Temptation had successfully moved up another gear in their sensational career.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.



3 Trivium 'In Waves'


If writing a fifth album could be considered a bull, Trivium not only grabbed it by the horns - they swung it round their heads, kicked it in the ass and danced round its corpse. 'In Waves' was the result - and while it has not been available to fans for long, it has been received with such ferocious positivity it's clear the band got this one just right. With new approaches to writing and vocal delivery, a strong visual concept and a new drummer in Nick Augusto, Matt Heafy's men are looking towards a very strong future indeed.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.



2 Opeth 'Heritage'


Taking the brave step of dropping the growls - and pretty much all the metal - from their previously growl-heavy prog metal, Swedish legends Opeth were left with just the prog bit. But what a bit it is. An album of such depth and innovation - and yet somehow feeling like the soundtrack to the best 70s heist movie you've never seen - 'Heritage' turned fans' expectations upside down, reminding all of us not to get too comfortable - this is one band that refuses to rest on its laurels.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.


1 Machine Head 'Unto The Locust'


How do you follow 'The Blackening'? How do you turn your brain back to writing an album after four solid years of touring the world? If there's one band who had the answers to both those questions, it's Machine Head, and their response was nothing short of sensational. In the eyes of fans, journalists, even Satan himself, this is an album so entirely without fault, to hear a negative word said about 'Unto the Locust' somehow doesn't work. It's an impervious album. Bullets bounce off it. The tracks are so towering King Kong would run out of puff trying to climb them. With 'The Blackening', Machine Head had proved it was possible to come from recording a cover of 'Message In A Bottle' to a position of almost unparalleled respect in metal circles - and let's be honest, that's no mean feat. With 'Unto The Locust', the band finally scored their names into the arms of metal history like a rabid fan with a Stanley knife.

Pick up a copy of the album from Play.com or iTunes.


 

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