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  • Styx: Serpent is Rising/Man of Miracles/Crystal Ball/Equinox/Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight/Cornerstone- been on somewhat of a Styx binge these last few weeks, getting set to see them live once again at the end of this month in a venue quite near where I live. These are easily the cream of their recorded output, all great examples of hard rock, prog, and pomp/AOR brilliance.

  • Jethro Tull: Stand Up/Benefit- two early gems from this band that never get old.

  • Eagles: Once of These Nights- for some reason this album never seems to get its due, but it's clearly one of my favorites from them, with the title track perhaps my favorite Eagles song of all time.

  • Nile: What Should Not Be Unearthed- my favorite death metal release of 2015 has been making its way back into my rotation again. One of the heaviest albums ever!!

  • George Kolias: Invictus- not to be outdone by his regular bands recent album (see above), drum god Kolias released a stellar death metal album of his own in 2015, that quite frankly wasn't that far removed from the brilliant Nile CD.

  • Blues Pills: Lady in Gold- new effort from this splendid UK act is a little more refined and veering into classic rock territory, but the songs are great, the vocals spectacular, and could megastardom be far behind?

  • Michael Shrieve: Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder- hot new album from the Santana drum legend and his modern day fusion combo.

  • The Dead Daisies: Make Some Noise- one of my big surprises this summer, and just a great '80s styled hard rock record with a super star line-up.

  • Emerson Lake & Palmer: Emerson Lake & Palmer/Pictures at an Exhibition/Tarkus- BMG has done a great job on these remasters, and happy to be reliving these once again.

  • Blues Funeral: The Search- new band from Texas plays '70s styled proto-metal with some doom elements, featuring great guitar work, riffs to die for, and solid vocals. A band to watch out for!

  • Mangrove: Endless Skies/A Distant Dream of Tomorrow/Days of the Wicked- what a potent band this is! These Swedes do the retro '70s hard rock & stoner thing to a tee, so if you love all the great heavyweights of the '70s, make sure you check them out!

  • Brutus: Wandering Blind- see above. Another can't miss band from Scandinavia!

  • Rival Sons: Hollow Bones- great band, fun album, why they aren't huge I'll never know...

  • Santana: IV- back in rotation yet again! What a great album!

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