Sunday, November 29, 2015

TNT - Intuition [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered UICY-25143]

TNT - Intuition [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered UICY-25143] full

Without a doubt one of the greatest bands in Scandinavian Rock history, Norwegian TNT's most popular albums were recently reissued in remastered form on high quality SHM-CD in Japan, like this "Intuition", their more Melodic / AORish effort.

Coming off the extraordinary ‘Tell No Tales’ which mixed edgy hard rockers with melodious gems, "Intuition" is a pure Scandi AOR / pop metal Heaven. Pure 1989's I'd say.
Every track verses are trademark TNT awesomeness, everyone firing away nicely and with purpose, while every chorus is to die for.
Just like the last album, the guitar work is awesome. The solos are nothing short of amazing, and the riffs are pretty damn catchy. Tony Harnell's voice is once again incredibly as well with that huge range and emotion. There is also plenty of keyboard and synth parts in most of the songs which were typical in the era, but cleverly arranged.

All tracks in "Intuition" are melodic perfection, polished to the extreme, slick, gorgeous and wrapped by a crystal clear production.
"Tonight I'm Fallen", the top class of "Take Me Down (Fallen Angel)", "Learn to Love", "Caught Between The Tigers", the ballad "End of the Line", and of course the title track are almost perfect.

However, nothing on here even compares to the title track. This song is absolutely amazing. From the beginning when the riff kicks in, you are hooked to it instantly. This has to be one of the catchiest and feel-good song ever produced by a Scandi AOR / MR act.
In fact, this is my favorite TNT song, and probably one of my favorite '80s tunes regarding the genre.
Nope, they certainly don't make 'em like this anymore. This song shines of beauty, and it rocks too, which is what matters.

"Intuition" always sounded fantastic even in its original edition. However this Japanese SHM-CD remastered reissue provides an extra brilliance plus more bass presence and dynamic range.
At only $13.96 this is a mandatory purchase, A Must Have in your collection.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

フォーマット:SHM-CD; 品番:UICY-25143

01 - A Nation Free (Intro)
02 - Caught Between The Tigers
03 - Tonight I'm Falling
04 - End Of The Line
05 - Intuition
06 - Forever Shine On
07 - Learn To Love
08 - Ordinary Lover
09 - Take Me Down (Fallen Angel)
10 - Wisdom

Tony Harnell – lead, harmony and backing vocals
Ronni LeTekrø – guitars, 1/4 stepper guitar, lead vocals on 8
Morty Black – bass and pedal synthesizer
Kenneth Odiin – drums and percussion
Kjetil Bjerkestrand – keyboards, synths
Joe Lynn Turner – backing vocals



TNT - Tell No Tales [LTD Japan SHM-CD Remastered UICY-75603]

TNT - Tell No Tales [LTD Japan SHM-CD Remastered UICY-75603] full

TNT is one of the greatest melodic hard rock acts ever coming out from the Norwegian scene, and from the Scandinavian genre's history in general. Their most popular albums were recently reissued on high quality SHM-CD in Japan, like this "Tell No Tales", TNT's third effort.
Although "Tell No Tales" previously appeared on SHM-CD before, this Limited Release on Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP) version from 2013 is the first featuring the album remastered.

It took TNT three years to follow their previous ‘Knights of the New Thunder,’ and when they did, they clearly had some different aims in mind: the American market.
So what if it was more commercial? So what if it was even slicker? So what if it was even more melodic and melodic hard rock oriented?
Everything gelled, and it was the sound of authority. It was the same lineup from the previous record, and it was a band on a very serious mission, coming up with a gem every – single – song. Wow.

If you dig Dokken and Def Leppard, if you like the fiery histrionics of Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Trilogy’ and ‘Eclipse’ or the smoothness of Europe, if you ever liked anything about TNT – and what self-respecting hard rock fan can’t find something to love about vocalist Tony Harnell and guitarist Ronni Le Tekro – you must add this album to your collection and put it into rotation immediately.
This is a totally incredible, elite, killer slice of melodic hard rock mastery. No one has ever done it better. No, not even Dokken…

"Tell No Tales" kicks off on a pristine note, the one-two punch of “Everyone’s a Star” and “10,000 Lovers (in One)” showing a glistening, crystalline TNT emerging from and surpassing the myth-metal direction they could have gone in after the previous album. It’s all positive vibes and celestial cleanliness here.
Catchy as hell, too. There’s no denying how they totally own it on these two openers, as well as third track “As Far as the Eye Can See.”
Glory. Glory. And more Glory.

Then we get into the balladic side of TNT. “Child’s Play” is grandiose, and a rather excellent display of Harnell’s incomparable voice. The song stacks on the lush layers of sound the band were starting to slather on many of their compositions, and the Brian May-esque approach of guitarist Ronni Le Tekro is in keeping with the Queen-like studio approach that TNT display throughout this album.
Later ballad “Northern Lights” is the ethereal flipside of “Child’s Play,” a step into pure AOR territory, and it’s undeniably beautiful. Commercial, super-slick, squeaky clean authority comes back with “Listen to Your Heart,” a track of considerable emotional weight.

So is there anything resembling TNT's edgy, metallic past here? Absolutely. “Desperate Night” is dark and brooding, a mid-paced thing of epic stature. Textured and layered, “Desperate Night” may indeed be the ultimate TNT track if you’re looking for serious epic metal within an unapologetic melodic foundation.
Then there’s the title track: melodic metal amped up in precision and power. This song smokes. It has to be considered in any serious metal fan’s library of greatness. "Tell No Tales" decapitates with its sharp Le Tekro riffing and insane solo, topped by the incredible command Harnell has of his high pitched wail.

If I could compare how TNT sounds here, it would have to be Europe's Out Of This World era (only that "Tell No Tales" appeared earlier) mixed with all the American charm of the second half of the '80s. It has the emotional feel of Europe, yet also has the fun side of US melodic hard / glam which go together perfectly.

This Japanese SHM-CD Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP) version of "Tell No Tales" was requested by a reader of this blog, and I can see why: to check the remaster.
The original production of the album was - and still is - awesome, but this remastering blows out of the water any previous release: vibrant is the word.
A Must Have.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

フォーマット:SHM-CD; 品番:UICY-75603
【TNT】 Tell No Tales ~ [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)]

01 - Everyone's A Star
02 - 10.000 Lovers (In One)
03 - As Far As The Eye Can See
04 - Sapphire
05 - Child's Play
07 - Listen To Your Heart
08 - Desperate Night
09 - Northern Lights
10 - Incipits
11 - Tell No Tales

Tony Harnell – vocals
Ronni Le Tekrø – guitars, guitar synthesizer
Morty Black – bass guitar, pedal synthesizer
Diesel Dahl – drums, percussion
additional personnel:
Håkon Iversen – background vocals
Bård Svendsen – keyboards and programming
Bjørn Nessjø – keyboards and programming
Carlos Waadeland – keyboards and programming



Saturday, November 28, 2015

CHARLIE - Elysium (2015)

CHARLIE - Elysium (2015)

At this point of Rock history, British melodic rockers CHARLIE are a cult classic band with some great albums recorded during the Seventies / Eighties, until the band returned in 2009 for a solid comeback album. I am sure none was expecting a new Charlie album ever, but founder, singer & songwriter Terry Thomas has recruited original members Julian Colbeck and Martin Smith (along with guest drummer Steve Alexander) for the recording of this final album entitled "Elysium".
And I am glad he did it, as "Elysium" is a wonderful, delicious CD from start to finish.

During the Seventies Charlie blended melodious rocking songs (in the style of City Boy to name one reference) with some progressive elements. The band released five albums that went quite unnoticed in UK, however, in the USA things were decidedly different as their melodic style gained them significant traction on FM radio, which resulted in the band working almost exclusively for that market.
In the early '80s they moved to USA and embraced the AOR / melodic rock sound so popular in the first half of the decade, creating some memorable tunes into four 'American' albums.
Then Terry Thomas concentrated in producing other artists, until the mid-2000's when resurrected Charlie and released a celebrated comeback album in 2009, almost recorded all by himself.

Honestly, I was not expecting a new Charlie album, even less with original members at the helm. Well, Terry Thomas did it, and "Elysium" is one of the best albums you'll hear this year.
Call it what you want: melodic rock, progressive, hard rock (classic), all is here blended in this new CD.
The hook-filled melodies, the interesting arrangements, the biting, cynical lyrics are all in place on this 2015 Charlie release. Oh yeah, Charlie 2015 is more about thought-mind themes than girls & rock 'n roll lifestyle, but this is a plus, believe me.

CHARLIE - Elysium (2015) inside

You have melodic hard rockers like opener 'YouTube Girl', the groovy 'Make It Real' or the ridiculously catchy 'I Want A Maserati' (they haven't lost the sense of humor). There's also classic rockers with tons of groove and attitude like 'Clutching At Straws' including Hammond B3 and excellent atmospheres.
But my favorites are the intelligent melodic rockers such as 'Talking Heads', 'Call Me Dave', the cheerful 'Hey Dude', or the acoustically filled and poppy 'The Super Rich'. Thomas & Co. also add an elaborate touch of melodic progressive on songs like the captivating 'Virus', and especially the terrific 'Abandon Ship'.
There's as well elegant ballads in title track 'Elysium' (more a mid-tempo, slow melodic rocker indeed) and the heartfelt 'Thinking About You', both songs arranged and performed with class.

As said above, from my personal experience, "Elysium" is one of the best albums I heard this year.
It's expansive, rocking but far from ordinary, melodic but with essence, there's some beautifully crafted harmonies, fantastic guitar solos, catchy choruses and really, really good lyrics.
As happened with the new Dakota album, this new Charlie album is being silently released through a small London based label called Floating World Records.
It doesn't matter, we are here to bring you these little hidden gems... Charlie's "Elysium" deserve to be listened by all quality Rock music aficionados.
Awesome record : HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - YouTube Girl
02 - The Ballad of Kerry Katona
03 - Virus
04 - Make It Real
05 - Elysium
06 - I Want A Maserati
07 - Thinking About You
08 - Call Me Dave
09 - Clutching At Straws
10 - Hey Dude
11 - Abandon Ship
12 - The Super Rich
13 - Sad
14 - Talking Heads

Terry Thomas - lead vocals, guitar
Martin Smith - guitar, bass, backing vocals
Julian Colbeck - keyboards, backing vocals
Steve Alexander (Jeff Beck Band) - guest drummer



DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015)

DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015) full

DEF LEPPARD celebrated new self-titled album includes an exclusive bonus track in its Japanese release; bassist Rick Savage's own version of the track 'Last Dance' where he sings lead and backing vocals providing a special feel to the song.
Besides, in terms of overall sound, this Japan CD press seems to be a little more bright than the European release.

If you were thinking why the new Def Leppard album has been dubbed “Def Leppard” - a self titled at this stage of their career - it's simply because the record contents can only be described as sounding like... well, Def Leppard.
What we have here is an album that is classic Def Leppard without actually honing in on any one album or era. There’s parts of Hysteria, Adrenalize, Euphoria, Slang, X and even Sparkle on here. In other words, it's “Def Leppard”.

The first half of the album is true, traditional '80s - '90s Def Leppard, and I love it! Catchy songs, sharp riffs and 'that' melodic, layered choruses. The second is more varied, where they blend their recent modern sound with the band's eclectic influences, but all, in trademark Def Lep style.
Opener 'Let's Go' is an absolute classic Hysteria-era Leppard; big drums, big guitars, big harmonies – it may be a little structurally similar to Pour Some Sugar On Me, but who cares?
'Dangerous' that follows is an awesome ultra-melodic rocker, while the bass-driven 'Man Enough' somehow manages to sound classic rock with punch; there are elements of Queen circa 'The Game' here – great fun.

DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015) disc

The classy ballad 'We Belong' features all band members singing lead vocal lines for the first time, the excellent driving melodic rocker 'Invincible' is contagious, while the heavily-programmed 'Energized' adds modern waves.
There's happy rhythms on 'Sea Of Love', then 'Forever Young' continue the no-frills approach from the 'Songs From The Sparkle Lounge' album. The Hard Rocking, guitar-driven 'All Time High' and 'Broke 'N' Brokenhearted' nod back to the High 'N' Dry and Pyromania days, albeit with a more modern sheen.

Sounding quite unlike anything that Def Leppard have recorded before is the wonderful 'Battle Of My Own' that sees the band go all Led Zeppelin on us (Lep Zeppelin?), initially acoustic-led until the power-chords crash in, accompanied by string effects.
The beautiful, serene ballad 'Last Dance' has acoustic elements that harks back to some of the 'Retroactive' tracks.
On 'Blind Faith' Def Leppard mix blues licks with some Beatles-que Sgt. Pepper-era strings and woodwinds on the album's slow-building finale. It culminates with an anthemic coda where singer Joe Elliott briefly breaks out the piercing high register of his younger days.

DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015) back

Def Leppard's new studio album is one of the biggest surprises in 2015. I hoped for such an album many, many years, but I never thought that it would see the light of day.
Joe Elliott & Co proved me wrong, so if you're a fan of the early, classic Def Leppard days, then you need to check out this record. You will love it.

『DEF LEPPARD』 / デフ・レパード
Ward Records ~ 【GQCS-90056 / CD】

01. Let's Go
02. Dangerous
03. Man Enough
04. We Belong
05. Invincible
06. Sea of Love
07. Energized
08. All Time High
09. Battle of My Own
10. Broke 'N' Brokenhearted
11. Forever Young
12. Last Dance
13. Wings of an Angel
14. Blind Faith
15. Last Dance (Sav's version) [Japan bonus track]

Joe Elliott - Vocals
Phil Collen - Guitars, Vocals
Vivian Campbell - Guitars, Vocals
Rick "Sav" Savage - Bass, Vocals
Rick Allen - Drums



Friday, November 27, 2015

MAJOR INSTINCT - Roots & Wings (2015)

MAJOR INSTINCT - Roots & Wings (2015) full

The other AOR Heaven Records release this month is "Roots & Wings" the debut album from MAJOR INSTINCT, the new band assembled by B.J. Laneby, bass player & songwriter from Swedish melodic hard rock veterans M.ILL.ION.

After 25 years, seven highly critically acclaimed albums, six figure sales and international touring, Laneby decided to put M.ILL.ION to rest and start something new. The decision was partly sparked after the bassist became very ill and nearly died at the end of their last UK tour (June / July 2014). Major Instinct became reality after several months of intensive care.
The line-up includes Laneby himself on bass, the very good Stefano Marchesini (ex-Human Race) lead vocals, Magnus Mild on guitar, Johan Hall (ex- M.ILL.ION) on drums and 22 year old newcomer Gabriel Glamheden on keyboards and Hammond organ.
In July 2015, the studio sessions took place in the real old-school fashion, with their very own guitarist Magnus Mild acting as the engineer, and with the precious help of Victor Olsson (Saffire) behind the mixing desk, and the ultra experienced guitarist / engineer Martin Kronlund (Love Undercover, Dogface, etc…) taking care of the mastering duties.

The album opens with title track 'Roots And Wings' starting off with mellow guitars and keys, gradually building up until the drums kicks in with a searing voice. The great grand organ whilst in the background continues throughout this track.
Next 'One In A Million' feels more classic hard rock starts, very classic Whitesnake and Deep Purple kind of sound, something evident throughout much of the album.
'High Five' begins with a melodic vocal outburst and settles into a classic sing-a-long anthem. The track features some hot riffs, which will have you picking up that air guitar and reaching for the stars as you belt out “Gimme High Five And Show The World We Can Do It Together”.

Tracks like 'Don’t Come To Me' or '316' will leave you humming with its riffage, while 'I Need A Drink' and 'Here And Now' have the feel of Whitesnake stadium anthems for the early 80s era. Especially the latter delivers great hooks and a sing-a-long chorus. Another great solo here too and there is even room for some ”shoo-whoop-dee-doo-whop”.
'Eyes From Above' is the ballad of the album with slower keys and guitars. The track is mixed with really smooth vocals creating a dazed atmosphere, boasting a great solo too. Last cut 'Mother Of All' is also slow yet more mid-tempo in a classic rock mould with a grand Hammond organ taking man role while the soulful vocals remind us of what a powerful singer Stefano is.

MAJOR INSTINCT - Roots & Wings (2015) inside

Very classy in the making, "Roots & Wings" blends classic hard rock roots indeed with modern sounds from the genre, mostly coming from the edgy guitar riffs / set-up.
Major Instinct may be a new band but they sound like as if they were together for years. The songwriting is good, well constructed & arranged, and production helps to provide a warm classic vibe.
You can't go wrong with "Roots & Wings", it's all classic hard rock stuff, and it's all good.
Strongly Recommended.

01 - Roots & Wings
02 - One in a Million
03 - High Five
04 - 316
05 - I Need a Drink
06 - Eyes From Above
07 - Don't Come to Me
08 - Here and Now
09 - Kicked to the Ground
10 - Follow the Trends
11 - Cold Wind Blows
12 - Mother of All

Stefano Marchesini - Lead Vocals
Magnus Mild - Guitar
Gabriel Glamheden - Keyboards
B.J. Laneby - Bass
Johan Hall - Drums



THE GLORIA STORY - Greetings From Electric Wasteland (2015)

THE GLORIA STORY - Greetings From Electric Wasteland (2015) full

One of the best things about Swedes THE GLORIA STORY is that you can taste the warmth of their music and musicianship from the very first time the 'play' button has been pressed. Already presented here on the blog with their previous albums, the band is releasing today November 27 the brand new album "Greetings From Electric Wasteland".
Or I should say 'brand old album' ? Because The Gloria Story are all about old-school Rock and Roll. And that's not necessary a bad thing, as consistency is laudable when you play fine as these Swedes do.

The Gloria Story have a chosen path and they stick to it on their third album "Greetings From Electric Wasteland". It's catchy, melodic retro rock rooted in a Seventies vibe with a hard rock edge.
Once more they hit the studio to do an analog recording of their righteous and rowdy rock n roll. I wouldn't be surprised if they recorded this album live.
As usual, The Gloria Story songs roar with bristling guitar riffs, razor sharp leads, grooving bass lines, rhythmic thumping drums, and Filip Rapp's pitched vocals. The energy is palatable as the pace is often up, the individual musical parts gelling with manic assertiveness.

Basically, The Gloria Story is about good times party rock n roll music. Sometimes they twist it up with some novelty as with 'White Man Blues' and it's iconic retro guitar riffs that would make Chubby Checker proud.
Then there's the uncomplicated pop groove tied to those sharp riffs in 'Down To The Liquor Store'. For the straight rush of fast forward classic rock, 'Beast Of A Northern Light' propels with anxiousness and speed.
Yet there are some calmer moments, at least one, with the lighter 'Hold Me Tonight' featuring piano with gang vocals and more of the spry guitar work.

THE GLORIA STORY - Greetings From Electric Wasteland (2015) back

So, is "Greetings From Electric Wasteland" is much different than what The Gloria Story has been doing for these many years? Nope. They just keep getting better at it.
All is more polished in the songwriting department, the songs are more focused, the choruses catchier. Yeah, The Gloria Story could be a new Scandi retro Classic Rock legend in the making.
But keep it simple; they just Rock. And Rock really good.

01 - Beast Of A Northern Light
02 - Bang Bang (Pull The Trigger)
03 - Look Left, Walk Right
04 - Whiteman Blues
05 - Cardinal Sin
06 - Roadtrip
07 - Electric Wasteland
08 - Crusty Pie
09 - Down To The Liquor Store
10 - Hold Me Tonight
11 - I Would Die (If You Wanted)
12 - Thunderchild

Filip Rapp - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
Carl Ahlander - Guitar
Jocke Rang - Guitar
Fredrik Axelsson - Bass, Backing Vocals
Henrik Siberg - Drums



Thursday, November 26, 2015

SAFFIRE - For The Greater Good (2015)

SAFFIRE - For The Greater Good (2015) full

Highly praised worldwide - and in this blog too - the first album from Swedes SAFFIRE combined melodic hard rock with AOR in equal parts. But for their second effort "For The Greater Good" the guys have gone even further; this is a fascinating melodic hard rock album exploring many territories and melodies through inventive arrangements and sounds.

"For The Greater Good" is a pumped up and fast flowing take on AOR with that sentiment at its heart, but with a strong injection of pace and a little bit of grit thrown in too. This new Saffire albums is being released by AOR Heaven Records, but believe me, this is rockier, heavier and has more depth than “simple” AOR. If you want clean and fresh melodic hard rock with brains, then this is in must have territory.
The first couple of tracks are really good rockers showing Saffire members prowess as musicians with soaring vocals, strong arrangements and an anthemic feel.

But then arrives title track "For The Greater Good"... wow ... this is killer, devastating, captivating melodic hard rock piece with truly original arrangements, variation and kick. The multi-part harmonies will blow you away, the riffs are to die for and the solo is a blast. Think Erik Martensson's Eclipse, Dynazty, Kymera... yes, this is that good.
Same with the haunting verses of follower "Heartless", a calmer AOR piece with clean guitars but then explodes into a fantastic pumping chorus. Again... WOW.

"Dandelion's Shame" is heavier, with a lot of bite, but catchy as hell, just listen that prime chorus. "Shadowland" turn thing even harder with a groovy classic riff, epic vocals and swirling keyboards.
One think I want to mention about this new Saffire albums are the keyboards: most are classic organ-like - not synth sounding - which adds a special aura to the album, and works greatly.

More quality arrives with the broken "Wake Up the World" (with some Coldspell on it!), "As Promises Burn" brings a delicate midtempo yet farrr from the common, elaborated and juicy.
"Blame It on the Rain" brings catchy, rapid AOR to the table with an irresistible riff / chorus combination, "Ghost Town" rips your ears with a monster groove - and then the guys surprise again with a peculiar chorus, before the superb "This Is Not the End" ends the CD on high note as well with a semi-ballad feel but plenty of magic.

SAFFIRE - For The Greater Good (2015) inside

Saffire's "For The Greater Good" will leave you with your jaw dropped and your melodic hard rock heart happy.
One of the greatest things of this album (among many) is that whilst the songs are vaguely scripted along expected lines, there is endless variety in them. There are plenty of changes of pace and attitude with some genuine diversions on the way.
I'd say there's a word which perfectly describes this album: "momentum". The guys in Saffire are masters in that, you know what I mean? That special moment in a song when you say; wow! There's a plenty in this terrific CD.

What a great year for the genre has been so far... add Saffire's "For The Greater Good" to the 'best of' list.
A Must Have.

01. The Great Escape
02. Casters of the First Stone
03. For the Greater Good
04. Heartless
05. Dandelion's Shame
06. Shadowland
07. Wake Up the World
08. As Promises Burn
09. Blame It on the Rain
10. Ghost Town
11. This Is Not the End

Tobias Jansson – Vocals
Victor Olsson – Guitars
Dino Zuzic – Keyboards
Magnus Carlsson – Bass
Anton Roos – Drums



VOODOO CIRCLE - Whisky Fingers (2015)

VOODOO CIRCLE - Whisky Fingers (2015) full

VOODOO CIRCLE, the super-group that consists of extraordinary Primal Fear guitarist Alex Beyrodt, the voice of Pink Cream 69 and many others David Readman, talented Mat Sinner plus the two newest members in the form of the 'mighty' Alessandro del Vecchio (Lionville) and drummer Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear, ex-U.D.O.) is finally back with album number four and probably the band's best record to date: "Whisky Fingers".

I’ll admit that while listening to Voodoo Circle, I sometimes forget it’s them and think I’m hearing the new Whitesnake album, and that’s not a bad thing in my book. Although Alex Beyrodt plays a guitar style that’s reminiscent of John Sykes and David Readman often sounds like a dead ringer for David Coverdale, what’s not to like about that?
If you like your classic ’80s style hard rock, you should really enjoy this new Voodoo Circle release. It certainly feels like it could have been released during that time frame.

My favorite tracks overall are “Trapped In Paradise” which is also the first single, where Alesandro Del Vecchio duet on vocals with Readman (and he owns a powerfil one), the catchy “Heartbreaking Woman,” the hard hitting “Medicine Man” (perhaps the absolute highlight) and the rolling “Devil Takes Me Down.”

But, honestly, I enjoy the whole album, there's not a weak track here. There’s a bluesy feel throughout "Whisky Fingers" and it should satisfy both the fans of great guitar playing and those who just like a nice mix of rockers and ballads.
Talking about ballads, track 5 “The Day The Walls Came Down” is awesome, with its piano and acoustic start soon joined by the unmistakable David Readman’s pipes, with a great solo midway through just like a blast from the past when hard ballads ruled the wave.

VOODOO CIRCLE - Whisky Fingers (2015) inside

Killer album, no doubt about that. The guys here nailed it and delivered their best record to date - and one of the best classic hard rock albums appeared in recent times.
Powerful rockers, groovy mid-tempos, superb guitar lines, strong vocal performances and a fan-damn-tastic production are the juicy ingredients of "Whiskey Fingers".
Highly Recommended.

01. Trapped In Paradise
02. Heartbreaking Woman
03. Watch And Wait (I Got My Eye On You)
04. Medicine Man
05. The Day The Walls Came Down
06. Heart Of Stone
07. Straight Shooter
08. The Rhythm Of My Heart
09. Devil Takes Me Down
10. 5 O’Clock
11. Been Said And Done

David Readman – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Mat Sinner – Bass
Alessandro del Vecchio – Keyboards, Vocals
Francesco Jovino – Drums



SERGEANT STEEL - Riders Of The Worm (2015)

SERGEANT STEEL - Riders Of The Worm (2015) full

Austrian melodic rockers SERGEANT STEEL have been creating a solid career since 2007, and we've been pleased by their very good previous album featured here. The six-piece returns with a brand new CD, the funnily entitled "Riders Of The Worm".
With guest appearances from Mark Slaughter (Slaughter, Vinnie Vincent Invasion) and Kane Roberts (Alice Cooper) plus the legendary Michael Wagener at the production helm you be sure to get a top notch sounding album.

Sergeant Steel is all about catchy melodies, driving hooks / choruses and great guitar work that brings back memories of the late '80s, early '90s L.A. hard rock / hair metal scene, but also a strong melodic rock / AOR feel.
The album starts out with a happy going song in the aptly named 'Happy Time (Love On Demand)', and you soon realize that the sound resembles lot of yesteryear still having its uniqueness. Next we have 'Dirty Habits', and I see why it has been chosen as lead single, as its the more 'instant' song in the album, a simple yet catchy hard rocker with riff recalling Krokus or Airbourne. Cool track.

Kane Roberts of Alice Cooper fame offers a guest appearance in 'Silver Spoon', a really good melodic rocker very much in the vein of Roberts' solo material (great stuff) adorned with lovely keyboards and a driving tempo. Very '80s and I love it! A Highlight.
Also to stand out is follower 'Where My Heart Is', a melodic AOR ballad with sweet vocals and a superb guitar solo which reminds me Germans Craaft.
In fact, much of the material on the album sounds, to me, if Craaft would be recorded this album in 2015. And this is compliment.

'Young And Hungry' gives a glimpse of what the lyrics are as the band attempts an anthem here and I must say it almost does work for the boys, especially with another guest appearance in the form of the Hard Rock legend Mark Slaughter as he makes his presence felt through his vocals. The chorus is layered and multi-part harmonized.
'Only Good Girls (Love A Rock 'n' Roll Boy)' is a much faster song and offers a hard rock, riff driven punch, as the groovy 'Mr. Right', another kick as tune with a hooky chorus.
'Can't Take My Hands' is another catchy rocker in the vein of '90s Cinderella and that implies a bluesy touch, 'Rock 'n' Roll Highway' while still rocking, adds a modern touch in the style of Brother Firetribe, and I like it a lot, as shows Sergeant Steel other side, almost AOR (in the uptempo mode).

SERGEANT STEEL - Riders Of The Worm (2015) inside

'Promised Land' is another ballad, and a surprising one: there's acoustic guitars but not the traditional nylon, all are processed and toguether with the synth arrangements and the smooth vocals the song results really interesting and unique. Gotta say it's another highlight.
The ends the CD with the groovy hard rocker 'Trouble Maker', which I think it's partially sung by one of the guitar players, but the main motto here is the anthemic chorus and the sharp guitar work.

Firmly planted in the late '80s / early '90s melodic hard rock sound but showing a welcomed variation, "Riders Of The Worm" is a really, really good new album by Sergeant Steel. It's rocking, energetic at places and melodic at the same time.
Most songs are truly strong, catchy, accompanied by accurate musicianship (great guitar work) and fine vocals / choruses, crowned by a vibrant Michael Wagener production - easily the best job heard from him in the last 10 years.
Very, Highly Recommended.

01 - Happy Time (Love On Demand)
02 - Dirty Habits
03 - Silver Spoon [feat. Kane Roberts]
04 - Where My Heart Is
05 - Young And Hungry [feat. Mark Slaughter]
06 - Only Good Girls (Love A Rock n Roll Boy)
07 - Hot Widow
08 - Mr. Right
09 - Can't Take My Hands
10 - Rock n Roll Highway
11 - Samsara
12 - Promised Land
13 - Trouble Maker

Phil Vanderkill (lead vocals)
Jack Power (guitars, backing vocals)
Chuck Boom (guitars, backing vocals)
Ben Bateman (keyboards)
Ronny Roxx (bass)
Cøsy Cøxx (drums)



Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015)

Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015) full

"The Legend of Valley Doom Part 1" is the first installment of a planned fantasy concept by Norwegian vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Marius Danielsen (of the band Darkest Sins). As you can probably guess it's an all-star affair featuring vocalists & musicians from a wide variety of international acts from across the metal globe.
Notable names such as Timo Tolkki, Tim 'Ripper' Owens, Chris Caffery, Ross the Boss, Mark Boals, Edu Falaschi, Mike LePond, the legendary Robb Weir (Tygers of Pan Tang), and many other are featured throughout alongside leader & conductor Danielsen, as they deliver the storyline in grand, epic, power metal fashion.

If you love the sweeping, epic power metal of Avantasia, Rhapsody of Fire, Freedom Call, and Sonata Arctica, then without a doubt this album is going to be for you. However, there's also very melodic passages akin hard rock, particularly its groove, and nice progressive interludes which will intrigue listeners outside of the metal circle.

Danielsen's vocals are reminiscent of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson at times, and he literally soars with power and precision over these epic arrangements, especially impressive when paired up against former Judas Priest belter Owens on "The Prophecy of the Warrior King", the much traveled (and excellent) Boals on "The Battle of Bargor-Zun", and the leather lunged Mikael Holst on the speedy "Haunting My Dreams".

Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015) booklet

Anthems are aplenty here, and one of the best is the raging "Mirror of Truth", complete with some incredible vocals from Danielsen and hard driving arrangements. The title cut is about as epic as you can get, as symphonic keyboards, virtuoso guitar work and galloping rhythms form the framework for multiple vocalists to play their roles.

"Lost in a Dream of No Return" is quite catchy, as Danielsen & ex-Dark Moor & Fairyland singer Elisa Martin trade off amid sizzling guitar solos from Heavenly's Olivier Lapauze and ex-Manowar gun slinger Ross the Boss.
For those who want a slice of straight forward, pedal-to-the-metal melodic metal, look no further than "Raise Your Shields", a crisp barnburner with Boals taking the sole vocal and really running with it.

Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015) back

A project like this obviously takes a lot of time, effort, and love to put together, and Danielsen apparently worked on this first part for close to 10 years.
Not sure how long the second installment of 'The Legend of Valley Doom' will take to come to fruition, but I'm sure there's plenty left of the tale to tell, and in the meantime, there's enough epic & bombast here to hold us over for quite some time.

01 - Intro
02 - The Battle Of Bargor-Zun
03 - Prophecy Of The Warrior King
04 - Chamber Of Wisdom
05 - Mirror Of Truth
06 - Haunting My Dreams
07 - The Legend Of Valley Doom
08 - Lost In A Dream
09 - Raise Your Shields
10 - Free As The Wind
11 - Fallen Heroes Of Our Land
12 - Outro

Marius Danielsen - vocals, guitars
Peter Danielsen - keyboards, synths
Anniken Rassmusen - bass, vocals
Esa Ahonen - guitars
Ludvig Pedersen - drums

Edu Falaschi (ex-Angra, Almah)
Tim Ripper Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen)
Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Iron Mask, Royal Hunt)
Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland)
Elisa C. Martin (Hamka, ex-Dark Moor, ex-Fairyland)
Alessio Garavello (ex-Power Quest, A New Tomorrow)
Kai Somby (Intrigue)
Artur Almeida (Attick Demons)
George Tsalikis (Zandelle)
John Yelland (Disforia, Judicator)
Simon Byron (ex-Crystal Empire, Sunset)
Mikael Holst (Timeless Miracle)

Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius, Avalon)
Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Ross the Boss (ex-Manowar, DeathDealer)
Robb Weir (Tygers of Pan Tang)
Tobi Kersting (Orden Ogan)
Jimmy Hedlund (Falconer)
Marco Wriedt (Axxis, 21Octayne)
Olivier Lapauze (Heavenly)
Felipe (Twilight Force)
Alex TheKing Mele (Kaledon)
Kristian Tjelle (ex-Nocturnal Illusion)
Gard Austrheim (My Decending Ark, ex-Fatty Sunroad)
Marius Danielsen (Darkest Sins)
Sigurd Kårstad (Darkest Sins)

Keyboards, Synth:
Peter Danielsen (Eunomia, Darkest Sins)
Alessio Lucatti (Vision Divine, Etherna)

Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian)
Mike LePond (Symphony X)
Ignacio Lopez (Skiltron)
Giorgio Novarino (ex-Crystal Empire, ex-Bejelit)
Marius Danielsen (Darkest Sins)

Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire)
Ludvig Pedersen (Darkest Sins)



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