Twelve months ago red hot US rockers Tesla walked away with the 2008 rushonrock Album of The Year and this year’s race to the top has been just as compelling.

There have been some cracking releases from established acts and some surprise hits from hitherto unknown bands.

And while we haven’t always given them the credit they deserve at the time, several albums released earlier this year have really grown on the rushonrock staff.

So get ready for our list of the 20 best records we’ve heard in 2009 and feel free to respond with your own!


1. Free Spirit – Pale Sister Of Light

We’d never heard of this fantastic band until March – let alone heard their music. But this incredibly accomplished piece of work ranked alongside anything we reviewed by established acts in 2009. Melodic, moody and, at times, made for stadiums we’re hoping a few of Free Spirit’s better tunes gain widespread recognition in 2010.

We said:  “Singer Sami Alho has a hint of Klaus Meine, David Coverdale and Mike Tramp in his fantastic voice – in fact White Lion would be as good a place as any to start when comparing the band to what’s gone before. But it’s more about what might happen in the future as far as Free Spirit is concerned. This is a band which could rule the world just as long as the world gives them a chance.”

2. Hot Leg – Red Light Fever

3. Lynch Mob – Smoke & Mirrors

4. Long Distant Calling – Avoid The Light

5. Europe – Last Look At Eden

6. Steel Panther – Feel The Steel

7. Converge – Axe To Fall

8. Quireboys – Halfpenny Dancer

9. Shinedown – The Sound Of Madness

10. Therapy? – Crooked Timber

11. Howard Leese – Secret Weapon

12. Pearl Jam – Backspacer

13. Kiss – Sonic Boom

14. INME – Herald Moth

15. Three Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom

16. Black Crowes – Before The Frost…

17. Winger – Karma

18. Surefire – Surefire

19. The Answer – Everyday Demons

20. Stryper – Murder By Pride