Tracks of 2014: Hard Rock Heaven

Our look back at the best tracks of the year continues with the very best in melodic rock

H.E.A.T - Tearing Down The Walls 2014 was the year that these Swedes, long feted as the new messiahs of melodic rock, toughened up their sound, got in people’s faces, (almost) stole top honours at the Firefest and began living up to that billing. With a prize Download slot now confirmed, watch them go in ’15!

Work Of Art - Time To Let G0 Though_ Toto XIV_ is due next year, Steve Lukather has kept us waiting almost a decade for a follow-up to Falling In Between. As proven by Time To Let Go, the Swedes, who once listed their influences as “Toto, Toto and Toto”, have helped to keep alive the signature sound of their heroes.

Tesla - So Divine… From the vinyl revolving at the start of this song’s video (a subject they reminisce about on_ MP3_, another track from their current album Simplicity), to the fact that it has a strong chorus, sung in tune by Jeff Keith, Tesla are old skool – and proud of the fact. May it ever remain thus…

FM - Cold Hearted Having released two albums during 2013 (with another, Heroes & Villains, due to follow next May), FM ‘kept their hands in’ with a value for money 11-song EP entitled Futurama. A staple of their live set throughout ’14, this fine Bad Company-esque anthem was among its four studio tracks.

Winger - Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine With the release of Better Days Comin’, their sixth studio disc, Winger found themselves on the end of some patchy reviews for the first time since a reunion back in 2006. Reminiscent of their pre-grunge heyday era, Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine is among its most direct and memorable offerings.

Night Ranger - High Road Despite the presence of two lead vocalists – bass player Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy – Night Ranger have a sound that’s immediately recognisable. High Road is the summery, hook-laden title track of the band’s eleventh album, High Road, their last to feature Joel Hoekstra (now of Whitesnake) on guitar.

Ten - Alone In The Dark Tonight Back in November, British veterans Ten rediscovered their mojo with_ Albion_, a glorious mix of melody, muscle and pomp-rock majesty. Look out for an official promo of this song filmed at the Firefest back in October, when frontman Gary Hughes requested that the audience should produce clips via their camera phones.

Vega - _All Or Nothing _ Vega’s slightly alternate take on traditional AOR themes has been both a blessing and a curse, generating schism with fans, critics and record labels alike. However, when they get things right – as they do here – such quibbles become irrelevant. The contrary gits have yet to film a video for_ All Or Nothing_, so here’s Stereo Messiah instead.

In Faith - Does It Feel Like Love Having been likened to Winger, Tyketto and vintage-era Harem Scarem, In Faith have made a seismic, immediate impact upon the melodic rock scene, their debut album, There’s A Storm Coming, arriving by Rocktopia Records as recently as late October, though their place on this list is well deserved.

Brother Firetribe - Reality Bites 2014 was a great year for these well regarded Finns. A vehicle for the melodic rock fantasies of Nightwish guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, Brother Firetribe returned with Diamond In The Firepit, their first new work since 2008’s Heart Full Of Fire, to register their UK debut at Firefest. Now they must keep their Pekkas up!

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.