There was a boiling pot in the Spanish Melodic Hard Rock scene during the second half of the '80s. Great bands like Niagara, Manzano, Sangre Azul or Hiroshima offered quality albums on par with any major European band around. Amongst them yet with a more underground profile, Marshall Monroe, a hard rock act from Madrid.
From the ashes Marshall Monroe born DANGER, including Jorge Fontecha (vocals), Jose A. Martin (ex- Sangre Azul) and Jose Antonio Casal on guitar, Luis Perona (bass) and Jose A. Pereira (drums).
In 1989 Danger recorded a 4-track demo which lead them to the Yamaha Band Explosion Contest, and Danger were the National Spanish winners. Therefore, they performed at the Tokyo, Japan worlwide finals highlighting a short-lived career, as after a several shows in Spain the group disbanded.
But a lot of material was composed during those golden years, and DANGER reunited again to finally give shape to these shelved songs. With the original line-up plus new young singer Amosquiro Amularo, Danger have just recorded their debut CD "Rescue 1989".
What we have here is a wonderful slice of Melodic Hard Rock written 25 years ago freshly recorded but with the 1989 sound, more specifically keyboard-driven / sharp-riff fueled songs in the Scandinavian tradition akin Treat, Europe, Dalton and alike.
You can't go wrong with AOR-tinted numbers like "Take My Love", "Alone", "Never Treat Me Like a Loser" "Danger (Let's Get Away)" all adorned with synths flurry and catchy choruses.
Danger show their harder side with the melodic "Hunter", "Since You Been Gone" (not a Rainbow cover) and the rockin' "Rock & Roll" plenty of six-string bursts.
Fans of the golden '80s you're advised: Danger's "Rescue 1989" is some kind of a lost Melodic Hard Rock / AOR album, and a really good one.
01 - Action
02 - Take My Love
03 - Since You Been Gone
04 - Alone
05 - Never Treat Me Like a Loser
06 - Hunter
07 - Danger (Let's Get Away)
08 - Rock & Roll
09 - Without Someone to Help Me
10 - Hunter (Acoustic Version)
11 - Take My Love (Acoustic Version)
Amosquiro Amularo - Vocals
Jose A. Martin - Guitar
Jose A. Pereira - Drums
Carlos Abad - Keyboards
Luis J. Perona - Bass
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Physical CD, order here;
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Danish prog metal quartet ANUBIS GATE have just released their 6th album, “Horizons”, the first without long-time members Morten Sørensen and Jesper M. Jensen, and doing well to stay with long-time producer Jacob Hansen.
New members Morten Gade and Morten Gade Sørensen offer their exceptional instrumental skills for this new record, a really captivating blend of influences resulting in a truly original product.
Yes, Anubis Gate is not yor typical prog metal band.
In comparison to other present progressive metal, Anubis Gate feels almost quaint in comparison. While other bands are happy to impress you with their virtuosic prowess, Anubis Gate has a much stronger focus on songwriting. Sonically, "Horizons" feels close to the Devin Townsend Project, largely due to the excellent production handled by Kim Olesen and Hansen.
Yes, there are quite heavy music here with layers of thick riffage and uneven time signatures, yet still wrapped up in melody. Thanks to this approach the progressive nature of their metal is nearly disguised by their wall of sound.
A good example comes with "Revolution Come Undone", a rapid and chunky number that moves with an underlying groove (something common in many songs here). Then there's "Breach of Faith" which, like other songs has dense riffs, but turns more on a singular guitar lead, and just a touch of piano. It's one of the best songs here.
"Never Like This" is exemplary of the band's ambitious, but inevitably excellent and evocative songwriting, that fuses liquid but hard-hitting riffs and airy, creative melodic work.
Henrik Fevre expands his vocals here quite significantly, his immense range travelling from spectrum to spectrum and delivering catchy hooks in a deliciously fussion fashion. Coming from Rock&Pop roots, he offers something unique and tangible to the prog metal table.
"Hear My Call" is my favorite track on the CD; It gets you instantly hooked by a deceptively heavy, yet groovy intro riff, which drives the majority of the song, with yet again a creative display of melodic progressions. The chorus is delightful, with Henrik showing a soaring facet to his vocal repertoire. Both guitarists possess a unique ability to seamlessly transcend between the heavy and melodic in an instant, which is sudden and followable at the same time.
Of course, "A Dream Within A Dream" requires a mention; their epic 14 minutes composition which never gets boring combining strong upbeat passages with a terrific array of amorphous soundscapes.
"Erasure" is a surprising and very enjoyable acoustic piece that garnishes the end of the album. Predominantly filled by acoustic guitars, there's a dramatic crash of distorted electric that breaks up any potential monotony. Did I mention the hauntingly beautiful lyrics?
One of the most original and varied prog metal albums appeared lately, Anubis Gate's “Horizons” is a highly recommended listen for fans of all genres. Anubis Gate is not reduced to a specific style, there's something for everyone here.
Despite the sometimes heavy, dark, melancholic tone, the album manages to maintain an organic feel, plenty of melodies. There is a distinctly modern bent to “Horizons”, which help Anubis Gate stand apart from their contemporaries. More importantly, the band carve their own niche in a genre oversaturated with musicians who know how to play their instruments but have never written a good 'song'.
These Danish guys are really, really good, not strangely are signed by Nightmare Records (same as Teramaze), a label with impressive acts in their roster.
01 - Destined To Remember
02 - Never Like This (A Dream)
03 - Hear My Call
04 - Airways
05 - Revolution Come Undone
06 - Breach Of Faith
07 - Mindlessness
08 - Horizons
09 - A Dream Within A Dream
10 - Erasure
Henrik Fevre – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Kim Olesen – Guitars, Keyboards
Michael Bodin – Guitars
Morten Gade Sørensen – Drums
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
"Tearing Down The Walls" is the long awaited new studio album by Swedish Melodic Hard Rock wonders H.E.A.T.
Once again the guys decided to move to Bohus Studios with Grammy award winning producer Tobias Lindell to follow-up the success the pairing had with the previous album, and they have surpassed themselves.
Fourth album, the second with new vocalist and Swedish Idol winner Erik Gronwall, and first release without guitarist Dave Dalone (who decided to leave the band in July of 2013 to pursue new musical challenges), "Tearing Down The Walls" is a blast since the beginning.
Actually, opener "Point Of No Return" is my favourite track on the CD. It starts quietly with a keyboard and acoustic guitar intro for around a minute before exploding into the main body of the track. And when I say, it explodes, I mean it. Pounding drums and wailing guitars join forces with a driving rhythm to great effect, laying the foundations before a chorus to end all choruses kicks in and blows my mind. The first time I heard this track, I found myself smiling and nodding my head in appreciation almost immediately.
I'm sure you already heard "A Shot At Redemption", the first single released in February; it’s got a real party feel to it with it’s relentlessly catchy upbeat feel and that really strong chorus. It reminds you Slippery When Wet-era Bon Jovi.
In the past H.E.A.T has impressed thoroughly with a blend of Melodic Rock with a healthy dose of Classic Rock reverence thrown into the mix. It’s a sound they have honed over the last 3 full-length releases.
Where "Tearing Down The Walls" differs is that it takes that sound and builds on it. This is an album that retains those H.E.A.T trademarks and turns up the volume, kicks out the jams and lets fly with a more intense sound!
Indeed, the sound is larger than life and the songwriting style is obviously focalized on the dynamics / hooks, and a little less on the harmonic side than before, yet the melodies are everywhere, very addictive and contagious.
The DNA of the band is still clearly tagged toward MR / AOR (ckeck the awesome "Mannequin Show"), only updated by classic overtones (the terrific Def Leppard-like "Enemy In Me"), with a solid coherence with their newly balanced style between Melodic Heaven (the highlight "We Will Never Die" and "All The Nights") and Hard Rock Hell ("Inferno" and "Eye For An Eye"), the whole thing is enhanced by new arrangements yet still very classy but in a new found density.
This Japanese Edition includes the bonus track "Shame", a melodic rocker ready for the arenas with a pulsating rhythm, killer guitar work and a Europe (Kee Marcello era) vibe.
H.E.A.T is the TOP Melodic Hard Rock / AOR band out there, period.
Four albums in and not one duffer yet, and now possibly with their best since the debut. Yes, "Tearing Down The Walls" is simply awesome.
The Swedish combo is at the top of its glory, at the peak of their art / mastery of musical craft on this "Tearing Down The Walls", a CD that will soon be considered, rightly, as a cornerstone of their career but also as a strong statement directed toward the non-believers and the doubters, plus it’s a clear message for the fans of the band and this beloved genre as a concrete confirmation of a bright future.
01. Point Of No Return
02. A Shot At Redemption
04. The Wreckoning
05. Tearing Down The Walls
06. Mannequin Show
07. We Will Never Die
09. All The Nights
10. Eye For An Eye
11. Enemy In Me
12. Laughing At Tomorrow
13 - Shame (Japanese Bonus Track)
Erik Grönwall - Vocals
Eric Rivers - Guitar
Jimmy Jay - Bass
Jona Tee - Keyboards
Crash - Drums
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"Give 'Em Hell" is the upcoming fifth solo studio album by ex- Skid Row frontman SEBASTIAN BACH to be released in Europe by Frontiers Records this Friday.
I don't know if Bach will ever rejoin Skid Row for a full on reunion but, I'll tell you one thing, if he continues to release solo albums of this quality then I won't care because this new work is a fabulous listen.
For hard rock stalwarts, Sebastian Bach is one of those legends. His distinctive voice is one of the most cherished in the history of Rock, and although some legends seem to lose their energy over time, he has never lost his focus and attitude.
I liked his previous album Kicking & Screaming, but this "Give 'Em Hell" raises it three notches further and it might be something to do with who he has recruited to help him write and record. Firstly, on bass, we have none other than Mr Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver, Guns N' Roses).
Not to be outdone, there are three great guitarists involved. John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie), the awesome Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Atomic Playboys) and Devin Bronson (Avril Lavigne, Pink) and it is their riffs and solos that lift this album beyond good.
Last, but certainly not least, is drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Riot, Fates Warning) who lays down some pretty thunderous stick work. Sebastian himself is in better voice than I've heard for a long time and, together, they have made an album that is pretty heavy, full of hooks and great playing but, most importantly, melody, but it's certainly not stuck in the past.
Additionally, this is what I liked most on this new record compared to previous Sebastian Bach albums; there is an increase in vocal harmonies on this new material. Bob Marlette (Rob Zombie, Black Sabbath) has once again returned to produce and, on top of the great songwriting, everything sounds huge.
I know they are good friends with Axl Rose, but Bach and his cohorts have released something that the modern day 'tribute' Guns 'N Roses couldn't even dream about. If you love this type of Eighties inspired hard rock / metal, then the groove these songs have are going to kick you into tomorrow.
"Give 'Em Hell" is one of those rare albums that is immediate but also improves with each listen (and I only needed two spins). It's a heavy rock album that is going to make a BBQ or summer festival feel like bliss.
From the opening notes of "Hell Inside My Head" this caught my attention and, within a couple of minutes, you couldn't wipe the smile off my face and I really don't think there is a filler track here. All are solid numbers.
"Temptation" has a chorus that will have you singing for all your worth (indeed, most of the songs do), "Push Away" has a guitar solo that screams absolute quality and "Gun To A Knife Fight" is one of a handful of tracks that really wouldn't sound out of place on 'Slave To The Grind'.
There's also a terrific cover of April Wine's "Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game" really melodious and full of charm. This Japanese version (released two weeks ago) features as bonus track an acoustic version of this song, with Sebastian sounding like he used to do in 1988.
Stop worrying about Skid Row, if that happens it happens, embrace Sebastian Bach instead because "Give 'Em Hell" is the best thing he's done for ages.
01. Hell Inside My Head
03. All My Friends Are Dead
05. Push Away
07. Had Enough
08. Gun To A Knife Fight
09. Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game
10. Taking Back Tomorrow
12. Forget You
13. Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game (Acoustic) [Japan bonus]
Sebastian Bach - vocals
Duff McKagan - bass
Devin Bronson - guitar
Bobby Jarzombek - drums, percussion
John 5 - guitar
Steve Stevens - guitar
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
UPDATED April 17, 2014
Now signed by Nightmare Records, the Australian progressive metal combo TERAMAZE are releasing today their fourth album "Esoteric Symbolism" one that fans of the style would do well to take notice of.
Teramaze tries something different for the genre here, exploring sounds from all regions of the Prog spectrum overlain with a truly unique vocal delivery.
"Esoteric Symbolism" is a tightly written, composed and executed album with a dark atmosphere you don’t often hear in this style. But I should correct the term: not dark, 'melancholic' is the word here.
It’s pretty damned uncommon to hear prog metal sound this melancholic. There’s also noted similarities in the groove and vocal dynamism with the awesome TesseracT.
Although Teramaze may adhere pretty comfortably to prog-power form, there’s an earnest grip of style that’s always refreshing to see, in this and any other sort of music. It's Teramaze's melancholy that has them stand out the most when all is said; technical guitar work and symphonic undertones are pretty common fare in prog metal, but not Teramaze's 'special' feeling.
Maybe these descriptions are taking impressions of Teramaze's melancholy too far, but it’s not every day I hear such a melodic band tote such a cynical atmosphere. It’s refreshing, to say the least, and makes for a more engaging emotional experience.
Although such a focus on melody would usually see instrumental wizardry placed on the backburner, "Esoteric Symbolism" is really impressive for the technique and complexity of its guitar work. The songs may have been written with an economy for time and structure in mind, but it doesn't stop Teramaze from sporting some excellently vicious riffs. And they’re incredibly interesting to listen to; technical, disciplined, sharp and never indecent to the overall song skeleton.
After the short instrumental "All Seeing Eye", opener "Line Of Symmetry" is an emotionally-moving tidal wave of carefully clipped and precise arrangements. It deviates between mystical, clean passages, and incredibly powerful and fast riffs derived from the realms of Power.
"Bodies of Betrayal" is one of my absolute favorites; the riffs go from being deceptively heavy, with carefully-threaded grooves and sudden, evocative outbursts of melody.
Brett Rerekura delivers a unique timbre of vocals that shimmer between the powerful and the soulful. He is one of a small few vocalists I am aware of that barely use vibrato, in what is typically an extremely melodic genre. Like Fate Warning's Ray Alder, he delivers something that many other Prog bands simply do not have.
"Bodies of Betrayal" and "Dust of Martyrs" proves the stupendous instrumental skills of the band. The latter features particularly heavier and aggressive riffage, articulated and punchy over the truly heavy rhythm section. Title Track has shades of Eighties Queensryche, and it's another personal favorite.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Teramaze seems to be capable of writing whatever the heck they wanted, and get away with it sounding excellent. The album closes with "In Vitro", and I can exclaim with confidence that this track made the hairs on my neck stand on end. Swamped in thick-yet-melodic riffs, the timbres of the band's skilled vocalist evoke vibes that are bursting full of raw emotion and power, whilst at the same time, providing deliciously catchy moments.
"Esoteric Symbolism" is one of the few Prog Metal albums that made some impact on me so far this year. And a truly impressive one.
Having been around since the early '90s, Teramaze have undoubtedly developed into an incredibly proficient act from a technical perspective, but also into a different approach melodically speaking. "Esoteric Symbolism" is a really long album (78 min.) but you always find something original which keeps you hooked and listening with interest.
01 - All Seeing Eye
02 - Line of Symmetry
03 - Transhumanist
04 - Bodies of Betrayal
05 - Parallels / Dual Reality
06 - Spawn
07 - Punishment By Design
08 - Dust of Martyrs
09 - The Divulgence Act
10 - Esoteric Symbolism
11 - VI Order Out of Chaos
12 - VII Darkest Days of Symphony
13 - VIII in Vitro
Brett Rerekura – vocals
Dean Wells – guitar, backing vocals
John Zambelis – guitar
Dean Kennedy – drums
BUY IT !
Louisiana Music Hall of Fame members LILLIAN AXE will be releasing their thirteenth album, the acoustic live double CD / DVD "One Night In The Temple" next month, May 2014.
Lillian Axe chosen a creative approach for this show, as the performance took place in a real Masonic Temple which provided a special atmosphere for the recording.
Produced by guitarist Steve Blaze, "One Night In The Temple" features all Lillian Axe hits including True Believer, Show A Little Love, Crucified, Misery Loves Company, Ghost of Winter, The Great Divide, Bow Your Head, Waters Rising and the crowd favorite Nobody Knows.
Blaze reflects; "When I first had the idea of putting this show together, it was originally going to be a private 20 person show with acoustic guitars, vocals and no production, however, it took on a life of its own."
Well, seems things took on a life indeed, as "One Night In The Temple" does not sounds like a 'no production' recording. Everything comes out polished and really well mixed.
The performances are quite organic, well rehearsed and the band feels having a good time. And also the lucky diehard fans attending the show.
Some songs are delivered in a truly 'electric' unplugged form, pretty energetic and vital. Perhaps the only downside are the spoken intro on all songs, but this is a promotional copy and I'm suspect the final mastering on the CD's will be tweaked.
"One Night In The Temple" is a must have for Lillian Axe fans, but also a well worthy addition to your collection if liked the strong unplugged albums by Tesla, Dokken, etc. released in the past.
01. Waters Rising
02. Death Comes Tomorrow
03. Ghost Of Winter
04. See You Someday
05. The Great Divide
06 Nocturnal Symphony
07. Sad Day On Planet Earth
08. Bow Your Head
09. Show A Little Love
10. Misery Loves Company
02. The World Stopped Turning
03. Dyin' To Live (Shades Of Blue)
04. Until The End Of The World
05. The Day I Met You
06. The Promised Land
07. Nobody Knows
08. My Apologies
09. True Believer
10. Nobody Knows (Crowd Version)
Brian Jones (lead vocals)
Steve Blaze (guitar and vocals)
Sam Poitevent (guitar and vocals)
Eric Morris (bass)
Ken Koudelka (drums)