Thursday, July 24, 2014

BOMBAY BLACK - Walk Of Shame (2014)

BOMBAY BLACK - Walk Of Shame (2014) full


One of the best and more underrated acts from the present Hard Rock scene, BOMBAY BLACK, are back with their 6th studio album "Walk Of Shame".
If there's any shame, it's precisely why this band isn't way bigger in the music business than they are.

Bombay Black already have 5 very good records under their belt, but "Walk Of Shame" is hands-down the band's best disc, and my pick for the party-rock disc of the summer, if not the year.
These guys approach to classic American Hard Rock is really updated both in sound & style, making a modern take on the L.A. Sunset Strip Scene cock rawk with attitude and originality.
The songs have that old-school feel, yet with inventive arrangements and lots, lots of hooks. You could picture just about every song blaring at top volume from a convertible on the way to the beach in 1990, however, all sounds really 2014, powerful, assassin.

BOMBAY BLACK - Walk Of Shame (2014) inside

Written by vocalist Erik Johnson and co-produced with bassist Ty Sims, "Walk Of Shame" sounds crystal clear yet stained and spontaneous with a smoky veneer on the likes of "Bye Bye Juliet", the best song Motley Crue never wrote.
One of Bombay Black’s biggest draws is the way Johnson delivers his midrange hair metal vocals and the powerful melodies emanating from the groovy twin guitars. Even without the fantastic production, the riffage alone would shatter the Great Wall, hammering home again and again on track after track.

But Bombay Black are not a one trick pony. Apart from the melting hard rockers such as the aforementioned "Bye Bye Juliet" (a highlight), "Sex & Gasoline", or the anthemic hands-in-the-air "Everything You Wanted" (another highlight), they have much more to offer.
You have great melodic hard rock tunes on the catchy "America's Sweetheart" (infectious chorus) and "I May As Well", foot-tapping hair metal in "Come Over Here" and "Sunshine", a really well elaborated power ballad in "Sucker", and even some exploration on the groovy mid-tempo "Haunting L.A." which starts with synth samples.

BOMBAY BLACK - Walk Of Shame (2014) back cover

This Arkansas quartet rocks like no-other with their unique Hard Rock style, and "Walk Of Shame" is an album you must listen.
It's classic early '90s American Hard Rock / Hair Metal / Melodic Hard Rock but transported to 2014, a logical evolution from a genre that still admits new frontiers, and Bombay Black prove this on their excellent new record.
Sooner or later, the world is going to have to realize that BOMBAY BLACK is simply one of the best bands on the planet making Hard Rock today.

01 - Bye Bye Juliet
02 - Sex & Gasoline
03 - America's Sweetheart
04 - Come Over Here
05 - Dressed to the Nines
06 - Living on Mars
07 - Haunting L.A.
08 - Superstardumb
09 - Everything You Wanted
10 - Pretty People
11 - I May As Well
12 - Sucker
13 - Sunshine

Erik Johnson - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Ty Sims - Bass, Backing Vocals
Justin Velte - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Barry Whaley - Drums, Backing Vocals



POINT BLANK - Volume 9 (2014)

POINT BLANK - Volume 9 (2014) full


Do you remember POINT BLANK? These Texans are one of the core units of high-class classic southern rock since they released the self-titled debut in 1976 and were handled by ZZ Top’s manager, Bill Ham. Perhaps you know them for the more AOR / Melodic Rock oriented material the band produced in the early '80s.
Point Blank broke up in 1983, but returned in 2007 with a new record and another in 2009. The band has unfortunately lost some of its original members (R.I.P), but still they have now returned with another slab of killer classic rock entitled "Volume 9".

Singer John O’Daniels and guitarist Rusty Burns are still standing and they still deliver the goods teaching here to some 'stars' how things should be done when you talk about southern flavored classic rock.
The CD starts with "Blast!," an upbeat little instrumental to get you going and the guitars of Michael 'Mouse' Mayes and Rusty Burns are on fire. The entire track is a warning.
"Howling Wolf" is driven by a haunting six-string melody where O'Daniels tells us of a dream about the Howling Wolf calling me... might be calling you. This a rocking tribute to the blues, with references to 'Texas Flood', 'Highway 61' and Howling Wolf, a legend who showed us all how to howl those blues, and yet it carries the Point Blank cadence throughout. No one else has a sound like this, don't it make ya wanna howl like the wolf?

POINT BLANK - Volume 9 (2014) inside

"Automobile" rocks hard inviting you for a drive. This is the story of a '36 Ford. I love songs about cars, and this one's joining the lineup with all my other faves. Prepare for Rusty's guitar to light your ass on fire.
"Lies Like Hell" is a slow burning bluesy number with lots of charm, followed by the dynamic rocker "Johnny Dallas" with a hot riff and a catchy chorus.
After the nice, very melodic midtempo "Amigos" (love the lyrics), we continue with some 5-star rhythm where Point Blank gives all it got with an uncommon ability on the masterful "Start The Car", penned by Jude Cole, a songwriter guitarist from Illinois who worked among others with Moon Martin and released some stupendous AOR albums. This tune fits Point Blank like a glove, supremely wrapped up with beautiful guitar notes by Burns and Mayes. Here, John O’Daniels is really mind-blowing.

Same feeling just a bit more muted is deployed on "It Ain’t Right" signed by the Blank's keyboards player Larry Telford and O'Daniels. It's, instrumentally, an intense song.
Point Blank have always included a few ballads and this album is no exception; "Heart Of A Fool" is an emotional, laid back sultry bluesy number co-written with Gregg Allman including a great sax solo.
The stand is closed with some pure Point Blank on the commercial rocker "To Be a Man" that ends this record full of appeal. Catchy riff, swaggerin' vocals, classic keyboards, this is pure classic rock and one of the highlights on the album.

POINT BLANK - Volume 9 (2014) back

It's hard to know the writings in a song unless you've lived them. The mambers in Point Blank have, and "Volume 9" is a testament to what they have, indeed, what we've all seen.
On this new record, Point Blank sparks that trip to a place we've all known, and wished we'd never lost. It is a testament to the uncompromising state of classic rock with a timeless message.
Every track shows strength, in your face bluesy hard rock in cadence with great musicianship and each song has something to say. Their messages are worth your attention, and you'll enjoy every one.
Rusty Burns calls "Volume 9" a labor of love. It shows, believe me.
Very Recommended.

01 - Blast
02 - Howlin' Wolf
03 - Where I Belong
04 - Automobile
05 - Lies Like Hell
06 - Johnny Dallas
07 - Amigos
08 - Start The Car
09 - It Ain't Right
10 - Heart Of A Fool
11 - To Be A Man

John O'Daniels - Vocals
Rusty Burns - Guitar
Mouse Mayes - Guitar
Larry Telford - Keyboards
Kirk Powers - Bass
Mike Gage - Drums



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NIVA - Incremental IV [Japanese Edition] (2014)

NIVA - Incremental IV [Japanese Edition] (2014)  full


Swedish singer Tony Niva is a veteran musician who started his musical career in 1987 fronting many cult bands such as Zanity, Swedish Erotica and Axia but he's probably best known for being the lead singer in Lion's Share.
But Tony's present musical child is his own band NIVA with 3 recordings under its belt, and with the new CD "Incremental IV" to be released next month through AOR Heaven. In Japan, the album is being released today, July 23rd, with two bonus tracks

If you've heard Niva's great previous album presented at 0day, you will be really pleased with "Incremental IV", simply beacuse it's even better.
This is pure Scandinavian Melodic Rock / AOR with soaring vocals, keyboards aplenty (really good orchestrations as well) and contagious choruses.
You have pumping and polished melodic rockers on "Don't You Know", "Magnitude", "Play The Game", or the anthemic "Lost And Found".

If you need your Scandi AOR dose just get "Better Just Forgotten" or the velvety "Only You" (a highlight).
Of course there's ballads: the very classy piano driven "Travel Back In Time" and the compelling mid-tempo "All By Myself".
Japanese bonus tracks "In The Ray Of Light" and "Leading Me On Again" really worth it, the former being a marching rocker, the latter more AOR with synths all over and a nice chorus.

"Incremental IV" is another great Swedish Melodic Hard Rock / AOR effort by Tony Niva and his guys.
Everything sounds perfect, polished, melodic, thanks to Marcus Persson's crystal clear production (and his terrific keyboard orchestrations). If there's any fault to mention, the guitar solos are too formulaic at places.
If the pure (no contamination here) sounds of the genre are your thing - read: Last Autumn's Dream, Fair Warning, Grand Illusion, Novak, etc. - you can't miss "Incremental IV".
Highly Recommended.

01. Don't You Know
02. Crush
03. Better Just Forgotten
04. Magnitude
05. The Reason Why
06. Travel Back In Time
07. Play The Game
08. Only You
09. Lost And Found
10. All By Myself
11. Coming Back To You
12. In The Ray Of Light (Bonus Only Japan)
13. Leading Me On Again (Bonus Only Japan)

Tony Niva - vocals
Roger Ljunggren - guitar
Marcus Persson - keyboards, backing vocals
Jan Stal - bass
Bengan Anderson - drums



ANIDAY (Robby Valentine) - Aniday (2014)

ANIDAY (Robby Valentine) - Aniday (2014) full Robby Valentine


ANIDAY is a new Dutch band, and what makes their self-titled debut stand out is that the mighty Robby Valentine is all over it. Valentine produces it, he plays pretty much everything on it and has written most of it along with his partner Maria Catharina Schuitemaker who on lead and background vocals delivers a stunning performance.

This is a project that is a showcase for Maria Catharina's vocal talents that runs alongside Robby's solo ventures, so fans of the Dutch maestro are in for a real treat and with his much delayed solo album appearing later this year there is much to look forward to if you are partial to his extraordinary talents.
As befits any release that features Valentine, this album is big on production, choruses and arrangements and rather than be keyboard led, this is very much a guitar driven album with the keys playing a somewhat subdued role adding colour and texture to a set of songs which deliver instantly memorable melodies and has hooks aplenty.

ANIDAY (Robby Valentine) - Aniday (2014) band

"Aniday" is very much a modern, contemporary sounding heavy rock album that lets vocalist Maria Catharina show off her excellent vocal range whether it be on out and out rockers such as "Born Yesterday" or slow burning ballads like "When Loving You Is Wrong".
Other very good numbers are the eastern flavoured "Buscando La Vida", an epic sounding track with a stunning arrangement and Maria Catharina giving it all on vocals, which I may add has a husky, raspy quality that lifts the album throughout and giving the whole project a edgy quality.

The aforementioned "Born Yesterday" is also a real highlight, which flies out the traps with thick, heavy guitars and a huge chorus. "We Belong" is a song that could be lifted off any Valentine album which is surprising as this track is a Maria Catharina penned song, and at over 6 minutes long has plenty of room for some guitar histrionics from Paul Coenradie.
There is even time for the band to lay down some blues and edgy heavy funk with the songs "Not Much Of A Man" and "Get Funky", while album closer "Lost The Way" rounds off proceedings nicely with a catchy chorus that with any justice would be gracing the charts worldwide.

ANIDAY (Robby Valentine) - Aniday (2014) inside

Aniday have produced an album of first class modern melodic hard rock, which should appeal to not just Robby Valentine followers but also to a wider audience. It may be a little premature but I think this record is already nailed on to be one of the releases of the year.
The quality is maintained throughout and there is not a weak track on the album. Production is excellent, a huge sound, layered, but never cluttered giving every instrument and voice space to breath and shine. "Aniday" is a great release, and in Maria Catharina, a new vocal force to be reckoned with.
Finally, Robby's solo album 'Bizzaro World' should be out later in the year.. appetite suitably whetted.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Can't Take No More
02 - Hole In My Heart
03 - When Loving You Is Wrong
04 - Buscando La Vida
05 - Born Yesterday
06 - We Belong
07 - Don't Fool With Me
08 - Dream On
09 - Not Much Of A Man
10 - Get Funky
11 - Leave Me With Your Lies
12 - Lost The Way

Maria Catharina Schuitemaker - vocals
Robby Valentine - guitar, keyboards, bass, synths
Paul Coenradie - guitar
David Clarkson - drums
thanks to glorydazemusic



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HENRIC BLOMQVIST & FRIENDS - All Of Your Illusions (2014)

HENRIC BLOMQVIST & FRIENDS - All Of Your Illusions (2014) full


Hailing from Pietarsaari, Finland, guitarist HENRIC BLOMQVIST has been working as session musician, playing in many cover bands, as well as writing and recording original material.
His just released first solo album "All Of Your Illusions" came about following a conversation with sometime Rainbow / MSG vocalist Doogie White and sees Blomqvist call on several of his friends in the music industry to add their contributions.

Aside from White the record also includes vocalists Jari Tiura (Stargazery, ex-MSG), Jukka Nummi (Rainbow Shakers, Angry Machines, ex-Myon) and Johan Mattjus, (Solid Faces, ex- Stormwing), while the back up band consists of MyGrain's bassist Jonas Kuhlberg, ex- Stormwing Sven Wannäs on Hammond B3 & keyboards and Roger Snellman (Solid Faces, ex-Tinderbox) behind the drum kit.
This is very much an album with its sound & style based on the Classic Hard Rock of the '80s, and in particular Perfect Strangers era Deep Purple and Joe Lynn Turner fronted Rainbow are two that come immediately to mind.

Blomqvist's considerable talents as a guitarist of note are very much at the forefront and, unlike similarly conceived projects, the theme of utilising several different lead vocalists does not detract from the end result or interrupt the flow of the album.

HENRIC BLOMQVIST & FRIENDS - All Of Your Illusions (2014) booklet

"All Of Your Illusions" is also more than just a guitarists showcase as exemplified by the Hammond driven "Black Sky" and the swirling keyboards of the rock solid instrumental title track, both of which could be viewed as tributes to the late Jon Lord.
Other highlights include "Place Of Fear" which starts of with some eerie synths, belting into some classic riffs with a bit of twist - more to it than your average headbanging riff, the somehow catchy "Thunderbrigade" filled with electro acoustics, and the ballad "Pain That Gains", not the sugary type and constructed over a clever six-string arrangement.

"Till The End Of Time" kicks in with masterful riffery and runs over a melodic chorus, chugging along a bluesy rhythm.
"Lonely As I Am" starts off a little heavier, drums pounding out a rhythm matching the guitar, before those riffs come in again. The chorus is a little different from what you expect, slower, more deliberate – and Doogie White does a very good job carrying the vocal melodies through the verses.

HENRIC BLOMQVIST & FRIENDS - All Of Your Illusions (2014) back cover

So there you have it. Definitely "All Of Your Illusions" as a debut solo album it is a good result: good songwriting, solid musical performances and musically varied enough - always around classic hard rock - to keep the interest.
All the vocalists involved glue very well and the concept of letting them have input into the structure is a winner. Production wise, perhaps a little more rawness would have benefited the overall kick, but in the other hand, all sounds really melodic and polished.
"All Of Your Illusions" is a consistently strong debut album by Henric Blomqvist with some inspired musicianship and with all of the Classic Rock / traditional Hard Rock trademarks.

01 - Place of Fear
02 - Thunderbrigade
03 - Pain That Gains
04 - Black Sky
05 - Plenty of Reasons
06 - Till The End of Time
07 - When We Were Young
08 - Perfect Dream
09 - Lonely As I Am
10 - All of You Illusions

Henric Blomqvist - guitar
Jonas Kuhlberg - bass
Sven Wannäs - keyboards, Hammond B3
Roger Snellman - drums
Lead Vocals by:
Johan Mattjus
Jukka Nummi
Jari Tiura
Doogie White




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UPDATED July 24, 2014



FLAMING ROW - Mirage: A Portrayal Of Figures (2014)

FLAMING ROW - Mirage: A Portrayal Of Figures (2014) full


It's exciting to see progressive metal bands continually moving away from the norm, and toward new, fresh sounds and combinations. FLAMING ROW out of Germany has released their second album, and it's ambitious for certain.
"Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures" is a massive, mind-blowing album that has a cohesive, definite story to it.

"Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures" is huge in many ways, from story to guest musicians. These include members of bands such as Haken, Spock's Beard, Pain of Salvation and even Ayreon. This is really impressive for a band that is only on its second album.
The story revolves around the Magistrate, a group of alien rulers that have decided that mankind has progressed too far in their technological abilities, but not far enough in their morality or unity. This certainly isn't anything new, as I can name a few albums with similar plots.
However, the added twist is that the survivors have banded together to fight back, but a lowly soldier believes that his leaders have different plans than they claim. It's obviously quite an undertaking, and I believe they pull it off pretty well with clever peculiarity at the end.

FLAMING ROW - Mirage: A Portrayal Of Figures (2014) booklet

Speaking about the songwriting, we have some quite long tracks but with many parts in between, real 'songs into songs' with their own personality all well-suited to the story.
The music, indeed, is the shining force on this album. Calling Flaming Row a progressive metal band is a bit of a generalization, as there are many styles at work here.
Sure, there are some hefty, progressive metallic portions, but there are also fusion sequences, articulated hard rock riffs, melodic acoustics, many European folk influences, and even some rousing 'saloon' piano, for lack of a better description.
An eclectic mix, then, of heavy guitars (at times), dynamic drums and bass, the always excellent keyboards adding grandiose textures and and guest musicians that play everything from Uilleann pipes, whistles, sax, and violins to mandolins, cellos, and basically everything you can imagine.

The songs themselves are extraordinary for the most part. The album begins with a 16+ minute title track that feels epic and soaring. Right on its heels, though, we have my favorite track "Aim L45", a quieter, more organic and basically acoustic tune that is simply beautiful.
But, after that, "Burning Sky" starts the massive feeling all over again. This is rather representative of the entire album, as the styles and tone move up and down and all over the place.

The myriad of vocalists that appear on this record make for a diverse, if sometimes hard to distinguish, array of 'faces' to remember. However, the music keeps the listener grounded, and always appears a new nuance to discover.

"Mirage: A Portrayal of Figures" is a soaring story of giant proportions, one that is told awesomely and executed musically even better.
The many styles in play by Flaming Row and company keep things interesting, and there are some jaw-dropping moments that really make the album what it is: one of the most complete and intriguing progressive records of the year.
STRONGLY Recommended.

01 - Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures Pt.1
02 - Aim L45
03 - Burning Sky
04 - Journey To The Afterlife
05 - Alcatraz
06 - Memento Mori
07 - Pictures
08 - In Appearance - A Portrayal Of Figures Pt.2

Martin Schnella - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Kiri Geile - Vocals
Niklas Kahl - Drums
Marek Arnold - Keyboards, Saxophone

Jimmy Keegan (Spock's Beard): drums
Leo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation): drums
Lars Lehmann (U.F.O.): bass
Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex- Pain Of Salvation): bass
Dave Meros (Spock's Beard): bass
Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon / Star One): guitar solo
Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery): vocals, synth solo
Brendt Allman (Shadow Gallery): vocals, guitar solo
Eric Brenton (Neal Morse): violin, viola, string arrangement
Nathan Brenton (Neal Morse): cello, string arrangement
Diego Tejeida (Haken): keyboard solo
Tobias Reiss: piano
Ole Rausch: additional guitar solo
Stephan Wegner: guitar
Jens Kommnick: uillean pipes, whistles, cello, fiddle, mandoline
Hauke Nies: marching drums, cajon, bongos
Rolf Wagels: bodhran
Ted Leonard (Spock's Beard / Enchant): vocals
Magali Luyten (Ayreon / Beautiful Sin): vocals
Johan Hallgren (Ex-Pain Of Salvation): vocals
Simon Moskon: vocals
Lars Begerow: vocals
Michael Lowin: vocals
Anne Trautmann: vocals
Melanie Mau: vocals
Anja Hampe: vocals
Second Life Syndrome: words



Monday, July 21, 2014

BAD BOY EDDY - Over The Top [Deluxe Edition] (2014)

BAD BOY EDDY - Over The Top [Deluxe Edition] (2014) full


Veterans from the Californian Bay area, BAD BOY EDDY have been rocking the underground scene since the late '80s playing in every venue and opening for major acts such as Trixter, Firehouse, Saigon Kick, Y&T, Quiet Riot and many more, but a record contract was frustrated.
It's never too late, and after those years the experienced quintet finally have their official, silver pressed CD debut "Over The Top" out there.

The Bad Boy Eddy crew are like the Sunset Blvd history alive, as if the years had not passed by for them.
Guitarist Dave Saker has been on stage for 25 plus years and was signed on CBS records in 1984 with the band 'OZ'. Many of you surely have his solo-band album 'Saker' released few years ago by Retrospect Records.
The rhythm section of Tin Sanders & Larry Bernal were in countless acts as well, and with new powerhouse vocalist Eddy Vega's strong presence, in the last two years Bad Boy Eddy rapidly gained attention from the media.
A specialized label signed them and now we can enjoy "Over The Top" worldwide.

BAD BOY EDDY - Over The Top [Deluxe Edition] (2014) booklet

As said before, Bad Boy Eddy were able to maintain the '80s feel intact over the years, and this is reflected this record.
This is real fist-pumping, heart-thumping '80s Californian hard rock with all the energy and kickin' sounds of that era driven by catchy melodies and genuine attitude.
Essentially you're thrown into The Cathouse or the Whisky A Go-Go where the only thing surrounding you is sweaty bodies, sex, damp leather and the smell of melting hairspray.
They have the look, they have the sound, they have the feeling... Bad Boy Eddy are the complete total package for all your Eighties Hair Metal needs.

If you're a fan of this genre (and who does not?) when it's played as it supposed to do, you'll be in love with anthems such as "Fever", "She Gives Me A Feeling", "Rad Ruby", "Living Lies" and "The Chosen Ones".
They could be more aggressive with hot riffage in "I Don't Want You", "Teenage Sacrifice" and the groovy "Paybacks A Bitch", or really close to melodic hard rock on "She Gives Me A Feeling" and the catchy "Funky Monkey".
Of course they made space for a ballad in "Fly Away", but even there Bad Boy Eddy doesn't lose their grip.

BAD BOY EDDY - Over The Top [Deluxe Edition] (2014) inside

We had to wait almost 25 for Bad Boy Eddy's debut, but hell, they definitely deliver what they promise.
Let me emphasize the stupendous production: truly great for this genre with a crisp and clear sound enhancing the melodies yet not cutting the edge.
It's hard to imagine this could be written and recorded in this era. We hear a little bit of everything here, you could throw Kix, Stryper, Dio, Dokken, Skid Row and many more in a blender and still not nail it any better than Bad Boy Eddy did. The boys aren't joking when they called this record "Over The Top".
A real bad ass.

01 - Fever
02 - She Gives Me A Feeling
03 - I Don't Want You
04 - Super Sonic Freak
05 - Living Lies
06 - Funky Monkey
07 - Rad Ruby
08 - Teenage Sacrifice
09 - Fly Away
10 - Maker Of Dreams
11 - Paybacks A Bitch [bonus track]
12 - The Chosen Ones [bonus track]

Eddie Vega - lead vocals
Dave Saker - lead guitar / vocals
Eddie Nixon - guitar
Tim Sanders - bass
Larry Bernal - drums



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