Were Good Hard Rock Releases Hard to Find from '95-'98? Our Response to Chris Jericho
5/25/2011 1:39:04 PM by Eric

Fozzy vocalist Chris Jericho [link] recently posted a Twitter comment that good rock records were hard to find from 1995-1998. While I certainly agree with Jericho that rock records were very hard to come by at that time, I still believe there was an abundance of great records out then...but your really had to get the dirt and grime under your nails digging deep enough.

1995 was a fairly good year as all of your big corporate hard rock bands had a few good strokes left (remember Warrant and Winger both had great albums in the early 90s along with Tesla) and the overall vibe to the Europeans and a few American bar acts was that hard music was still the party soundtrack of choice. We were all hardheaded, even me, with the flannel shirts and Grunge movement that kept the parties sedated.

Choice albums from 1995:
Clutch - Clutch
Dokken - Dysfunctional (Sony's attempt to still recreate success)
Foo Fighters - Foo Fighters (and The Colour and the Shape in '97)
L.A. Guns - Vicious Circle
Nasty Idols - Heroes For Sale
Ozzy Osbourne - Ozzmosis (not a fantastic release, but a few solid tunes)
Pretty Maids - Scream (easily the heaviest hard rock on the planet in the 90s)
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead
Skid Row - Subhuman Race
Stonewashed - Way Of Thorns (often mislabeled as Way Of Thorns - Stonewashed)
White Cross - Equilibrium (leaning towards alternative)
Z-Lot Z - Tearing At Your Mind
Rated X - Words
Skitzotik - Skitzotik
Bloodstone - Fight For Jerusalem
(all 3 of the above available domestically on the long defunct Long Island Records)

By 1996 it was a churning sea of label dumps and low-end affairs. 1998 is probably the worst year. By that point mainstream Ugly Kid Joe, Warrant, Winger, Skid Row, Tesla, etc were all told to take a hike. CMG International still had their arms wide open to embrace a few of these acts--everything from Dokken to Saxon to Overkill to BOC landed on their stoop while mainstream commercial labels looked for post-grunge in rap rock and bastard child Nu-metal.  These rock releases did come out and are worth looking into.

Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth
Chroming Rose - New World (got pushed stateside by Impulse Music store's small Pulse Records label)
Godsmack - Godsmack
Impellitteri - Screaming Symphony (and Eye Of The Hurricane in '97)
Jackyl - Cut The Crap (had some staying power on rock radio, Brian Johnson helped with a duet)
Pink Cream 69 - Electrified (post Andi Deris era started here...Deris left for Helloween)
Pretty Maids - Spooked (again the heaviest hard rock on the planet at this time)
Push - Maximum Entertainment
Victory - Voiceprint (last record before the reunion in 2002)

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Solemnity Impellitteri
Twisted Tower Dire Circle II Circle
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The Project Hate Overlorde
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Bloody Sign Soilwork
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Severe Torture Boomerang
Operatika Swallow The Sun
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Mirador Brand New Sin
Darkane Supagroup
Leaves Eyes Iron Maidens
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Ewigkeit Vinterriket
Phantom X Mistress
Define Divine Absolution
Across Tundras Katatonia
Blackmore's Night Wolves in the Throne Room
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Valhalla Vore
Phoenix Mourning Warrant (Amer)
The Strongest Proof Unsilent Phenomenon
Bloodbound Scary Manilow
Fleshgore From the Grave
Skyforger Wednesday 13
Setherial The Abominable Iron Sloth
Zoroaster Cult of Daath
Venom Obtest
Deicide Quest of Aidance
Melechesh Stonegard
Omnium Gatherum Old Man's Child
Blood of the Black Owl White Wizzard
Divine Empire Pentacle
Katrina Johansson Denial Fiend
Warner Drive Transmission 0
Retrospective Glenn Hughes
Bilocate Manilla Road
Godhead Virgin Black
Intolerant Medieval Steel
End of Man Sotajumala
DC4 Earthen Grave