UK's ROMEO'S DAUGHTER created one of the most lovable female-fronted melodic rock / AOR albums ever with their '88 debut produced in part by talented Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, and a solid follower in '93.
After their very good comeback album in 2012, the quintet fronted by the stunning Leigh Matty (voted Number 5 Lady Rock Singer of all time in Classic Rock / AOR Magazine) returns with a new studio record to be released tomorrow April 20 entitled “Spin”, that will excite any fan of the genre.
The new album includes all the traditional elements of the band but they are delivered in a more 'modern', matured way. It's been 26 whole years since the classic debut and the band grew up, so Romeo's Daughter sound here is rightly updated.
But don't worry, "Spin" is a glorious mix of melodic rock and AOR and all with the pure velvet tones of Leigh Matty leading the way.
The opening tune "Touch" exactly paints what Romeo's Daughter is in 2015; rockier, 'darker' but with the melody in front row. Craig Joiner's jabbing guitar riff and Leigh's deep vocal in the first verse set the tone before bursting into a huge chorus where keyboards add to the mix in great stabs.
"Already Gone" starts on a chug along riff before a cracking pace is set before a massive multi layered chorus. The excellent mix shines with Craig's riff to the fore but you marvel at Ed Poole's bass work that underpins the whole tune.
"Love Will Come To Those That Wait" is just a brilliant power ballad and it's movin' to the band's earlier works.
"Enemy" has a chorus line that will make you whistle it for days while "Tonight" seems like an edgy rocker taken from the band's second album.
In "All Because Of You" we have a catchy uptempo song with a beautiful chorus and a sweet melody to die for. Smoky Leigh vocal and classy keys on this one.
"Didn't See You Coming" begins on a picked acoustic guitar on a song that is Romeo's Daughter unplugged. Leigh's vocal soars in the chorus to new heights and during the verse is quite hazy in comparison. I'm sure it would be a huge hit if radio picked it up.
What you can expect from a song called "Radio" done by a melodic rock band? An ultra-catchy track. The chorus is fantastic with the lyrics saying 'give me guitars' and a melody that I will sing out loud. It has a great pump and a lengthy Craig guitar solo takes it to new altitude.
"Perfect Plan" and "Tall Buildings" finish the album in style. The former all stop start guitar riff and a big chorus, the latter built on an early drum pattern plus round bass lines that then builds into the chorus where Matty's vocal whoa whoah's fit snuggly.
With the unseasonable warm weather we are currently enjoying making it feel like summer is already here, listening "Spin" only reinforces this sensation.
Romeo's Daughter have matured and while the overall sound is more 'edgy', this new album is packed with a bunch of feel-good, summer-ready tunes plenty of melody and catchy choruses.
"Spin" sees Romeo's Daughter embracing their past but also look to the future with an album that equally will delight old & young Melodic Rock aficionados. Catch them on tour with FM next month.
02. Already Gone
03. Love will come to those who wait
05. Didn't see it coming
08. All Because of you
09. Perfect Plan
10. Tall Buildings
Leigh Matty – Vocals
Craig Joiner – Guitars
Tony Mitman – Keyboards
Ed Poole – Bass
Andy Wells – Drums
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Sunday, April 19, 2015
Regarded by many as the best album ever recorded by talented guitarist Vivian Campbell, the self-titled debut by RIVERDOGS has been remastered by Rock Candy and released in a Special Deluxe Collector’s 2CD Edition, featuring no less than 11 bonus tracks on an extra CD.
Following an introduction to guitarist Vivian Campbell - at the moment ex- DIO and Whitesnake - he agreed to produce Riverdogs' first demo. Vivian was so impressed by their talent, he joined the band for their debut-album, released on Epic Records in 1990. Soon after, drummer Marc Danzeisen joined the band to complete the line-up, but the drums on the record were done by excellent session cat Mike Baird.
Riverdogs born in Los Angeles at a time when hair-metal was king, but were determined to avoid clichés, adopting a bluesy melodic rock style where restraint was central and excess frowned upon.
Naturally Vivian Campbell played an influential part in fashioning the musical palate but both bassist Nick Brophy and vocalist Rob Lamothe also attracted immediate attention.
Brophy is a great guitarist as well, so his bass playing is much more than just 'fills', it's complex and organic, sounding rock steady with excellent runs showcasing each song. A real 'bass guitar' work.
And you have the soulful vocals of Rob Lamothe. He delivers as much grit, emotion and power into these songs as you would ever want. Put him up there with Lou Gramm, Kelly Keeling or Paul Rodgers.
He was virtually unknown before the release of this album, and as good as the album is, the name Lamothe will still get you far more blank stares than smiles of recognition. Warm, commanding and instantly identifiable, Lamothe’s voice didn’t rely on meaningless bombast to get noticed.
Tracks like "Baby Blue", "I Believe", "Whisper" and the awesome "Water From The Moon" are superb.
Produced by Michael Frondelli (Kiss, Rolling Stones) and polished by Jeff Glixman (Gary Moore, Kansas) "Riverdogs" was greeted with universal acclaim but any hopes of hitting the big time were immediately extinguished when their label president was fired and a new regime installed showing zero excitement amongst the new team. It was a devastating blow and one that they never recovered from.
Campbell joined Def Leppard, Rob Lamothe pursued a solo career, and Marc Danzeisen went on to play drums with Little Caesar and Gilby Clarke. Nick Brophy become a respected engineer and producer, working with artists like Rolling Stones, Avril Levine, Hootie and the Blowfish, etc.
Anyway, Riverdogs still gets together to play for fun and eventually record new songs.
"Riverdogs" is one of the most overlooked records of all time, and a terrific piece of organic melodic rock. There's not a weak song on the disc and Vivian's guitar work is some of the best I've ever heard.
The Rock Candy remaster is very clean with lovely warm dynamics. And we have a bonus CD featuring all the songs from the main album re-worked acoustically, recorded at different Radio Stations while promoting the album.
As plus, there's the non-album track "Pennsylvania", previously unreleased.
CD 1 : Riverdogs remastered
01 - Whisper
02 - Toy Soldier
03 - Big House
04 - Holy War
05 - Baby Blue
06 - I Believe
07 - Water From The Moon
08 - Rain, Rain
09 - Spooky
10 - America
CD 2 : Radio Station Performances 1990
01 - Whisper (recorded on KRXQ, Sacramento)
02 - Toy Soldier (recorded on KTXQ, Dallas)
03 - Big House (recorded on WMMS, Cleveland)
04 - Holy War (recorded on WNEW, New York)
05 - Baby Blue (recorded on WRIF, Detroit)
06 - I Believe (recorded on KRQR, San Francisco)
07 - Water From The Moon (recorded on KNAC, Los Angeles)
08 - Rain, Rain (recorded on KOME, San Jose)
09 - Spooky (recorded on WLZR, Milwaukee)
10 - America (recorded on WMMR, Philadelphia)
11 - Pennsylvania (recorded on WDVE, Pittsburgh) [non album track]
Rob Lamothe - vocals, guitars and keyboards
Vivian Campbell - guitars and vocals
Nick Brophy - bass and vocals
Mike Baird - drums
Allen DeSilva - drums (10)
Kevin Gilbert - keyboards (10)
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KANSAS needs no introduction, one of the bands - perhaps the most important - that helped to forge the progressive rock music in America. The just released DVD/CD "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" gets a long-overdue look behind the scenes of the veteran band’s long journey.
The video disc features a documentary film telling the story of the band supplemented by vintage video clips and photos, of how Kansas go from a no name bar band to multi-million record selling stadium act in 3 to 4 years but they also released 5 brilliant albums during that same time - each distinctly different from the other and certainly something Kansas themselves would never be able to duplicate.
And there's also a great audio CD, covering this brilliant period of Kansas.
The near 80 minutes in duration CD contains 'dialogue' excerpts from the documentary introducing most of the songs by the original members of the band (around 45 seconds each), so this plays out like an 'audio history' of Kansas.
And works wonderfully.
The sound quality is excellent, remastered by maestro Jeff Glixman (Magnun, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore) and with song selection by Kansas drummer Phil Ehart.
They have chosen the best songs and deep cuts from the first five albums, but there's also a previously unreleased version of "Can I Tell You" which was recorded live in the studio for the Don Kirshner Rock Concert series.
I think the release of Kansas' "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" was a great decision, because brings to the new generation the awesome early period of this talented band.
If you're a casual Kansas listener who knows them just through "Dust In The Wind" or their '80s stuff, then this CD is absolutely recommended. I truly believe you'll be entertained and informed by it.
On the other hand, if you're a rabid fan, by all means purchase it to round out your collection.
One case or another, "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" is a great opportunity to rediscover this awesome act.
01 - Intro
02 - The Pilgrimage
03 - Rock Concert (Dialogue)
04 - Can I Tell You
05 - The First Album (Dialogue)
06 - Journey From Mariabronn
07 - The Second Album (Dialogue)
08 - Song For America
09 - Down The Road
10 - Masque (Dialogue)
11 - Icarus - Born On Wings Of Steel
12 - The Pinnacle
13 - Leftoverture (Dialogue)
14 - The Wall
15 - Wayward Son (Dialogue)
16 - Carry On Wayward Son
17 - Kerry The Songwriter
18 - Miracles Out Of Nowhere
19 - Time For A New Record (Dialogue)
20 - Point Of Know Return
21 - Finger Exercise (Dialogue)
22 - Dust In The Wind
23 - The Miracle (Dialogue)
24 - Nobody's Home
Steve Walsh – lead and backing vocals, keyboards
Kerry Livgren – guitars, keys, Moog synthesizer, backing vocals
Robby Steinhardt – violin, lead and backing vocals
Rich Williams – electric & acoustic guitars
Dave Hope – bass, backing vocals
Phil Ehart – drums, percussion
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Friday, April 17, 2015
* the Real one - No cuts
The fine purveyors of Swedish sleaze hard rock HARDCORE SUPERSTAR are back with their tenth studio album "HCSS" to be released next April 22. And the good news, the Gothenburg boys, now in their 21st year of existence, are as mean and salacious as always.
"HCSS" is a self-confessed return to their roots, with the guys having recently claimed: "We anted to reinvent ourselves, so we had to go back to the summer of '94 when we first started this band and through that get in contact with the feeling and the vibe that inspired us in the first place.
That same philosophy goes for the whole album — how we approached the recordings, artwork, choice of the right guy to mix the album and so on."
If ever you want to hear a song that properly sums up Hardcore Superstar, give the opener "Party Til I’m Gone" a spin. The stirring riff and hefty chorus tied with glam rock elements make this belter a winner on every level.
Then the classy flamingo guitar intro to "The Cemetery", as you would expect, erupts into a cacophony of mayhem with a typically brash stomping vibe. It has everything that a song with the band should have.
If you listen carefully you can hear how the band tried to go back to the sound they had in the beginning even if it still is the 'newer' sound in front, showing the front teeth.
Should we talk about the album best song and you should listen to "Off With Their Heads". It's a bit quieter but still heavy and has the typical features of what makes Hardcore Superstar just one of Sweden’s best bands. This ass-kicker contains every ingredient that makes up the HCSS formula, brassy lyrics, a throwback '80s chorus hinged with Vic Zino’s melodic guitar tones.
That continues on "Fly", a monumental track that unearths magical memories of Motley Crue’s Home Sweet Home. This song probably won’t be played in 50 years time, but it deserves to be revered today.
For a track that opens with some haunting bass tones from Martin Sandvik and then an excellent guitar riff, "The Ocean" becomes a let down. The feeble verses lead into a sadly lacklustre chorus on a song promising a lot more.
"Touch The Sky" meanwhile promises and wholeheartedly delivers, HCSS don’t just specialise in extroverted sleaze rock, they do the dark and moody stuff with the same results.
And just to completely mess with your minds, they dip their wicks in a bit of prog too. Listening to the intro to "Growing Old", you could be forgiven for thinking you were spinning some classic Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The haunting futuristic keyboards add a real touch of class to a song that compels from the start, and to it’s hell raising finish.
"Glue" is a ready wrapped pressie for riff lovers. The powerhouse of a lick dominates this track with slick precision. This song was released to the public last November and may have got lost in the Christmas market scramble. Hands down the best thing on the album and should be re released when this album hits the stores.
"Messed Up For Sure" closes things out with a bang, an audacious little number containing an interesting interlude that unleashes a mind bending finale.
After the very first listen, "HCSS" is synonymous with everything we associate with Hardcore Superstar.
Sandvik and Andreasson remain the power couple where that driving rhythm is concerned. Zino's dirty, sleazy lead guitar licks are as prevalent as ever on this album while Berg's trademark vocals remain undiminished, yet demonstrative of a range we may not have previously been aware of.
I have to say for a band that has been treading the hard rock boards for over two decades now, and delivering quality music, their star remains lit, but warrants a much brighter glow.
This album merely confirms what we all already knew: Sweden, and Hardcore Superstar, Rocks.
01. Don't Mean Shit
02. Party 'Til I'm Gone
03. The Cemetery
04. Off With Their Heads
06. The Ocean
07. Touch the Sky (feat. Etzia)
08. Growing Old
10. Messed Up for Sure
Jocke Berg – Vocals
Vic Zino – Guitar
Martin Sandvik – Bass
Adde Andreasson – Drums
Once again Chris Impellitteri and Rob Rock team up for killer stab of Melodic US Shredding Metal; IMPELLITTERI, one of the definitive US Metal acts from the '80s are back with a new album entitled "Venom", released by Frontiers Records with 2 bonus tracks in its European Edition.
Chris Impellitteri influenced thousand players with his virtuoso guitar style, and together with 'the metal vocalist' Rob Rock they've carved names for themselves around the world. Every time they get together magic happens and “Venom” is no exception.
Impellitteri's fret work is dazzling as usual, he always seems to know when to let loose and when to hold back. Unlike some guitar wizards he doesn't get in the way of the song, that's always been the case with the band, it seems a strong chorus is just as import than the solos.
Rob Rock's powerhouse delivery blends perfectly with Impellitteri's style, for those who appreciate melody and harmony this album is pure ear candy.
“Venom” has a bit of a theme to it, they are taking you on a journey through all the ages of Metal. Having said that, it's not forced and the songs stands on their own.
I appreciated that they did add a few different elements to the music, songs like “Rise” and “Domino Theory” in particular seem to be a bit more forward thinking and unique.
Don’t get me wrong, they don’t stray that far from the foudational US metal / hard rock that everyone loves, but they’re not just filling the album with a bunch of soundalike tracks. I think that’s a big misconception about this underrated genre, there is room for some experimenting and “Venom” does explore some of those boundaries.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the rhythm section of James Pulli on bass and Jon Dette on drums. These guys have the task of giving these songs their backbone and they do so extremely well, the album in it’s entirety is a spectacular piece of kick ass metal music.
Are you afraid to Rock? '80s US Metal sounds too much outdated for you?
You better check Impellitteri's "Venom"... this motherf* rocks like few are capable today, a clear example of an era that it isn't dead, oh no guys, it's alive, energetic and kick ass as ever.
01 - Venom
02 - Empire Of Lies
03 - We Own The Night
04 - Nightmare
05 - Face The Enemy
06 - Domino Theory
07 - Jehovah
08 - Rise
09 - Time Machine
10 - Holding On
11 - Rock Through The Night (European Bonus Track)
12 - Reach For The Sky (European Bonus Track)
Chris Impellitteri – Guitars
Rob Rock – Vocals
James Pulli – Bass
Jon Dette – Drums
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One of the most influential and internationally successful acts of the global metal scene, Germans HELLOWEEN celebrates their 30th anniversary with the release of their 15th studio album 'My God-Given Right', due out on June 1.
On April 17th, HELLOWEEN will release the hymn “Battle’s Won”, which is the first single off of the album. A limited quantity of the special edition 2-track vinyl single will be will be available.
My God-Given Right was recorded between October 2014 and February 2015 at the band’s very own MiSueno Studio in Tenerife with long-term producer Charlie Bauerfeind handling production and recording duties.
The enchanting artwork of the main album was once again created by graphic guru Martin Häusler (Bon Jovi, Queen, Gotthard).
The band's first self-titled EP was released in 1985, making their new album My God-Given Right the celebratory marker for their impressive 30 year career.
And judging the quality of this 2-track single, they are better than ever as unit. Production is bombastic, brilliant.
01. Battle's Won
02. Lost In America
Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69, ex-Kymera) - Vocals
Michael Weikath (ex-Powerfool) - Guitars
Sascha Gerstner (ex-Freedom Call) - Guitars
Markus Grosskopf (ex-Avantasia) - Bass
Dani Löble (Krokus) - Drums
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Incredibly 20 years have passed since 'Apocalyptica plays Metallica by Four Cellos' appeared. Yes it was an album of covers, but it wasn’t just another metal band playing it safe at regurgitating the same old stuff. Instead it was a Finnish cello wielding quartet reimagining the lines between rock, metal and classical music, releasing a fine piece of neo-classical artistry.
The years rumbled on and what could have been a flash in the pan, a craze, didn’t end up that way, and now APOCALYPTICA are set to add their ninth full-length entitled "Shadowmaker" to their already rich sonic palette.
I loved that first album, it was really cool to hear those well known Metallica songs going instrumental, arranged and played on cellos. But to be honest, since then I lost the trace of Apocalyptica.
Well, "Shadowmaker" brings something new to the table, so I think it was worth to investigate: Apocalyptica now features a singer.
They have hired Franky Perez (ex-Scars on Broadway) to sing some songs and this decision is considered by many as a big career step. Perez is certainly a good vocalist and feels like a good addition to Apocalyptica.
My opinion is: yes, Apocalyptica needed a twist, and 'song format' tracks with vocals are a good move. And while these songs with vocals are OK, the band ends sounding like another typical metal band.
I mean, all are good tracks, but the star on the record are the instrumentals with a pure cello sound.
You know, Apocalyptica are instrumental, cello/metal, and this where they shine. They are a group of uber talented musicians and "Shadowmaker" truly stands out when there are no vocals involved and no distortion to the strings.
"Seed of Chaos", "Till Death Do us Part" and especially the awesome "Riot Lights" are incredibly powerful songs and do not need a human voice to stand out as beautiful and incredibly expressive pieces of music.
However, the tracks featuring vocals but made with a more relaxed instrumental cellos find a very nice balance, and I think this is the path Apocalyptica should explore. Add vocals but with cellos sounding pure, not with distortion and effects.
In this vein the dynamic "Sea Song (You Waded Out)" or the cinematic "Dead Man's Eyes" come out really well, as Perez's vocals really goes with the flow of the instruments and mingles with them instead of simply asserting his vocals on the piece of music.
Instrumentally Paavo, Eicca, Perttu and Mikko sound as energetic as they have in the past, being that this is such an advanced release for the band, hats off to them for weaving in new intricacies and keeping the energy levels up.
"Shadowmaker" is a record that breaks with the band's tradition and fans need to see for themselves whether they like the constant singing or whether they prefer their favourite band to simply swing their strings while creating perfectly harmonious and also disturbing music.
It is a really interesting, new facet for Apocalyptica.
01 - I-III-V Seed of Chaos
02 - Cold Blood
03 - Shadowmaker
04 - Slow Burn
05 - Reign of Fear [bonus track]
06 - Hole In My Soul
07 - House of Chains
08 - Riot Lights
09 - Come Back Down [bonus track]
10 - Sea Song (You Waded Out)
11 - Till Death Do Us Part
12 - Dead Man's Eyes
13 - Hall of the Mountain King (feat. Avanti Orchestra) [bonus track]
Paavo Lötjönen - Cello
Eicca Toppinen - Cello
Perttu Kivilaakso - Cello
Mikko Siren - Drums
Franky Perez - Vocals
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Jim Peterik, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and the man behind Survivor success, without a doubt has an ear for great vocalists. He 'discovered' Marc Scherer, a master jeweler by profession, when he was recording vocals for his group in Peterik's studio three years ago.
Since then, Peterik has wanted to craft songs and an album to showcase Scherer's superb vocals, and the result is "Risk Everything", a CD released by Frontiers Records under the names of both artists PETERIK / SCHERER.
And indeed, Scherer owns a powerful and melodic voice, a full five octave range. He can belt it out or bring it down to a whisper. And his voice is in the proper context.
Of course, Peterik has crafted classy AOR / Melodic Rock songs: lots of melody, harmony and groove with catchy refrains and vibrant guitar solos. Considering his nearly inexhaustible experience, sounds from Survivor to Toto to Journey, among others, come to mind.
Properly, not only do his commanding presence, the production keeps Scherer in front of the music; it's there to support and carry him along. And it sounds pretty fandamntastic too.
From the first crystal clean guitar tones in opener title track “Risk Everything” to the autobiographical undertones of brilliant storytelling and ultra-melodic grandeur of “Independence Day”, this album is everything fans of the genre could have asked for.
The music fittingly illustrates the stories told in Marc Scherer’s clean-cut voice, all embroidered with flawless vocal harmonies. But what perhaps what strikes here the most is the fact Jim Peterik still hasn’t run out of ideas for composing tunes that are catchy but tasteful, and simply captivating.
Plenty of tracks on the album are kept at a mid-tempo groove, ‘80s infused keyboard sound upfront and juxtaposed with rich lead guitar work like in “Chance Of A Lifetime”, “The Dying Of The Light”, “Cold Blooded” or the rocking “Brand New Heart”.
You have a few songs that blur the line between anthem and ballad as on “Desperate In Love”, its first part ballad-esque only to morph smoothly into an AOR Melodic mid-tempo further on. Also “The Crescendo” has this feeling, bringing to mind '80s Styx.
There’s also a true ballad, the charming, heart-tugging “How Long Is A Moment” with all that classic melodies we love.
Then, albeit somewhat tempered by tinkly keyboards, the distinct, thumping rhythm of “Milestones” reminds you classic Survivor with a 'fresh' vocalist.
One brilliant song after another, there’s hardly a highlight to be picked among the eleven songs on Risk Everything – each of them equally great.
"Risk Everything" is yet another jewel in Jim Peterik’s crown – an musician and songwriter that doesn’t need more recognition or acclaim, but the one who still can surprise a listener with quite a few melodic aces up his sleeve. And simultaneously, an album that put the relatively little known Marc Scherer in the same league as the mentioned singers Peterik’s previously collaborated with – Toby Hitchcock, Dave Bickler and the late, great Jimi Jamison.
Apart from perfectly crafted melodies, it’s Scherer’s range and clear vocal tone the biggest assets to the eleven songs on the record. Peterik is there to add harmony vocals and his share of strong guitar work / sparkling keyboard lines.
Yes, the combo PETERIK / SCHERER works like a charm, and let’s only hope – on behalf of all Melodic Rock aficionados out there – that "Risk Everything" it’s only the first of many albums released under their collaborative moniker.
01. Risk Everything
02. Chance Of A Lifetime
03. Cold Blooded
04. Desperate In Love
05. Thee Crescendo
06. The Dying of The Light
07. How Long Is A Moment
08. Brand New Heart
09. Broken Home
11. Your Independence Day
Marc Scherer – lead vocals
Jim Peterik – guitars, keyboards, vocals
Ed Breckenfeld (Pride of Lions, Jimi Jamison) – drums
Nick Rich – drums
Klem Hayes (Pride of Lions) – bass
Bob Lizik (Dennis DeYoung, Pride of Lions) – bass
Bill Syniar (Survivor, Kelly Keagy) – bass
Mike Aquino (Mecca, Pride of Lions) – add. guitars
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