I have been following SHANNON NOLL's discography since his first 2004 album, as his music has a mature Classic Rock, catchy rock&pop sound. After a four-year recording gap, Noll is releasing a new album; "A Million Suns".
Born in New South Wales, Australia, Shannon Noll may have come to the country’s attention through his part in the Australian Idol series but since those days he built a really solid career based on strong melodic rock songs featuring his honest, distinctive gravelly Aussie vocal style.
"A Million Suns" is his fourth album and it is definitely the strongest set of songs he has written and also contains the highest quality production we've heard from him yet, handled by Bryon Jones who worked on Noll's first two albums.
The CD contain a good mix of rockers and ballads but the common theme is catchy and radio friendly vocal hooks backed up by powerful musical performances.
First track on the album and promotional single "Switch Me On" has impassioned melodies and good guitars, a bit modern and obviously intended for radio, whilst the title track pays tribute to the Australian summer and focuses on Noll’s voice, more melodic than rocking but definitely one to get caught up in.
The highlights are the arena-sized anthems "My Place in the Line" and "Living in Stereo", that might satisfy those waiting impatiently for the next Bryan Adams record, both really good melodic rock songs.
The rocker "Til We Say So" is a blistering slice of blue-collar Classic Rock that showcase Noll's vocals at their most gravelly.
The great and infectious rock&pop arrangement of "Would It Be So Bad" has a hooky chorus super easy to like.
On the massive power ballad "Long Way Home" Shannon sounds as last decade Def Leppard, a really good tune full of passion and harmonies.
"A Million Suns" is another good commercial rock album by Shannon Noll, and while there's a standard supply of aching, mid-tempo efforts, the CD is definitely aimed at the live arena, with plenty of upbeat and cool rock numbers destined to get the punters up and about.
Noll has teamed up with some big names to write the songs for this album, all well crafted and faithful to his classic rock roots while ramping up the pace like never before.
"A Million Suns" should appeal to all classic and melodic rock fans with taste for commercial tunes with substance and endurance.
Really well done.
01 - Switch Me On
02 - A Million Suns
03 - My Place In The Line
04 - Come Home
05 - Rewind
06 - 'til We Say So
07 - Long Way Home
08 - Living In Stereo
09 - Path Of Gold
10 - Collide
11 - Would It Be So Bad
12 - It's A Man's Man's Man's World
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
One of the musical surprises of the year comes from Northern California, by the hand of TIME HORIZON and their first album "Living Water".
The genesis of the band started in the mid-90's when keyboardist Ralph Otteson and guitar player David Dickerson were mixing their demos and meet in the studio drummer/vocalist Bruce Gaetke.
Time Horizon was born and they began composing and performing new fresh original songs. The debut album has been in gestation for some time, featuring 10 songs written between 2005 and 2010.
Time Horizon offers on "Living Water" a fantastic slice of AOR inspired Prog Rock, with tons of melodies, catchy rhythms and excellent musicianship.
The band themselves cite their influences as a mixture of Kansas, Boston, Styx, Spock's Beard, Saga and Neal Morse, and to be fair they have it pretty much spot on, with the majority of the songs on 'Living Water' combining progressive themes with layers of vocal harmonies and hooks galore.
I hear a distinct cross-over appeal to the classic AOR market, such that they may fit better in the Crossover Prog sub-genre than in the traditional prog. The individual instrumental performances are top notch. Drummer Bruce Gaetke also doubles up on vocals, and while his percussive work is great, it is really his vocals, the guitar work of Dave Dickerson and keyboard playing of Ralph Otteson that shines brightest on this uplifting CD.
Opener 'Life Fantastic' has a slower Styx-like vibe with touches of Saga, and after some majestic keys the guitars take over to set the stage for Gaetke's opening vocals. Excellent keys and guitar work follow, along with strong bass and solid drums. A very strong start.
My own personal highlight of the album is the ultra catchy "Age Of Wonders", musically reminiscent of the most commercial Kansas, where the layers of vocals are so Boston inspired, making this a song that I can listen to over and over without ever tiring of. Tons of lovely keyboards here, as on much of this brilliant CD.
"Time Horizon" is an unexpected four minute journey into Michel Jarre / Alan Parsons territory, combining some beautifully layered keyboard textures with vocorder-enhanced voices and ethereal lyrics. The mechanized vocals add to the mystery and dramatic power of the lyrics being delivered, all surrounded by fantastic synths.
On "Forgiveness" the drums are slowly added with inspired bass lines and guitars to build the climax. The pipe organ like keys make it sound like it was performed in a church, making the sound even more majestic. Emotional vocals from Gretke and a soaring guitar solo crowns the tune.
The excellent Rush-esque drums open the catchy AOR "Feel The Change", before those cool keys join in again to provide just the right touch. This is a classic Kansas / Boston influenced track where the interaction between Otteson's massive keys and Dickerson's and Gourley's guitar work is just amazing. Gaetke's drum never misses a beat. A favorite to me.
Adding variation arrives "Me Chili Caliente", the only (and short) intrumental. It's a piece full of acoustic guitar at the opening that will bring back memories of some of Steve Howe's famous interludes on Yes' albums of the 70s. But there is also a Steve Hackett sound to this piece as well. I could have listened to 10 to 15 minutes of this guitar work.
Another winner is the majestic "I Am Not Alone ('Till the Dawn)". It opens with fantastic, powerful vintage keyboards, before blazing guitars and heavy bass mix well with the drum beats to build rhythm and melody. I love the way that the main ballad-like piano/vocal section leads the way to an instrumental break that kicks the tempo and intensity up a notch. A perfect blending of the band's prog and AOR sensibilities.
Title track "Living Water" is catchy poppy-prog number built around a tribal drum rhythm and some tight group-vocal melodies which play in counterpoint with one another. Very nice harmonies.
Closer "Paradise" reminds me Saga sonically, but the song structure has again Kansas similarities. A very melodic track with where all the members have their instrumental showcase.
Time Horizon’s debut album "Living Water" is a collection of wonderful accessible Prog-AOR songs perfectly crafted.
Mature songwriting, varied and interesting, with all the songs sonically arranged to sound different and enchanting. The recording / production are on the highest professional caliber, and the band's musical chops are certainly superb, with Otterson's majestic keyboards in particular, often rising up to steal the show. I love quality keyboards, and here are tons of them.
Time Horizon is also quite strong vocally, with Gaetke's warm, friendly mid-range voice used to great effect, as well as some fantastic sweet harmonies that should appeal to fans of Kansas and Boston.
It resulted all together in an excellent sounding album without any weak composition, inspired and effective.
"Living Water" is another surprise of the year, don't miss it.
01 - Life Fantastic
02 - Living Water Prelude
03 - Age of Wonders
04 - Time Horizon
05 - Forgivness
06 - Feel the Change
07 - Me Chili Caliente
08 - I Am Not Alone (Til the Dawn)
09 - Living Water
10 - Paradise
Ralph Otteson (keyboards / background vocals)
Bruce Gaetke (drums / lead vocals)
David Dickerson (electric and acoustic guitars / keyboards)
Steve Gourley (bass guitar)
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sweden band ORIZ is the project of guitarist Alexander Oriz, which is releasing their second album simply entitled "II".
Producer/musician from Huskvarna, Alexander Oriz has been involved in various musical projects, playing in some different bands sharing stage with Eye, Paul Dianno, White Lion, Thunderbolt, etc.
As part of hard rockers Sanchez he recorded on the album 'Nightride' in 2009, but soon left the group to found his own band, releasing the debut 'Oriz' the next year.
Coming from a guitarist, you would expect that "Oriz II" is guitar oriented album. Oriz certainly shows off his skills with good solos and riffs, however, the odd thing here is the use of quirky keyboard parts, with a curious sound and arrangements.
Many songs, including the rockers "Forever Free", "Put Out the Flame" and "This Feeling" to name a few, have these unusual keyboards in a persistent presence.
You like it or not, but they are original for sure.
Otherwise, as mentioned, on the whole the music is interesting and entertaining, and there's a little bit everything.
A heavier song like the hard rock "Desert Rider", or for catchy hooks, "Captured" and "Forever Free". Then a song like "Living", while generally interesting, seems to lumber along.
Perhaps one the most pleasing song is the instrumental "A Glimpse of Light and Denial", where Oriz stretches much more on his guitar solos.
"Oriz II" is an interesting album of melodic hard rock tunes, with a more than obvious nod to the early Eighties.
Well written and produced, the songs are effective for the most part, and there's a real challenge with the keyboard work / sound. Not virtuously but sonically. It is up to you whether or not to accept this particular approach.
1. Forever Free
2. Desert Rider
3. Put Out The Flame
4. This Feeling
6. Your Lies
8. The Cage
9. Glimpse Of Light And Denial
Mattias Eriksson: vocals
Alexander Oriz: guitars
David Mauritzon: guitars
Christopher Davidsson: bass
Emil Eriksson: drums
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Monday, November 28, 2011
not the 'cuts' version floating around
After almost ten years, Swedish vocalist Matti Alfonzetti is releasing his 3rd solo CD "Here Comes The Night".
Not much known in America but with a considerable reputation in mainland Europe, he isn't a newcomer to the Melodic Rock genre.
Matti debuted at the end of the eighties as lead singer of Swedes Bam Bam Boys, recorded with Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham band Western Front, UK's Jagged Edge, Skintrade, Boxer and even toured as Talisman's frontman.
In 2000 Alfonzetti's first solo album 'Ready' saw the light of day - and two years later the disc 'Machine'. Following this Matti started getting into songwriting and producing for bands such as The Poodles among others.
One new project emerged in 2007, Road To Ruin, including Sampo Axelsson and Lars Chriss of Lion's Share.
Now, Alfonzetti's third solo album is ready, returning to the music and vocal style of his first solo album with up to date production, helped by talented Daniel Flores.
In short: this is pure Euro Melodic Rock, with strong flavours of prime time Bon Jovi and early Europe, with catchy choruses, melodic and sometime bluesy vocals, and rather polished sound.
The album opens really well with the semi-midtempo "Losing You" which includes some modern AOR elements, followed the elegant title track "Here Comes The Night", focused on his vocals but featuring a long and effective guitar solo.
There's more 'harder' oriented tracks as "I'll Wait For You", "Don't Listen To Your Heart" and "Rock 'N Roll Heart", still retaining the MR essence.
More AOR focused songs are the poignant "Heartbreaker" (great vocal job), the bluesy "Why Can't You Love Me", the Americanized "Lay Your Love On Me" and the power ballad "Set Me Free".
For the end Alfonzetti reserved the tougher track of all, the melodic hard rocker "I Will Never Let You Fall", with a punchier vocal and a strong edgy riff.
"Here Comes The Night" is an effective Melodic Rock recording with good songs and melodies.
As a vocalist solo album, the emphasis is on the vocal department, but being Alfonzetti a multi-instrumentalist as well, all the instrumentation has a strong prescence and offers good arrangements and musicianship.
Alfonzetti has one of those warm and easy-listening voices (in the vein of Goran Edman) that perfectly fits into the classic Melodi Rock mould.
"Here Comes The Night" is an album that pushes all the right buttons,
convincing and truly enjoyable.
01 - Losing You
02 - Here Comes The Night
03 - I'll Wait For You
04 - Heartbreaker
05 - Don't Listen To Your Heart
06 - Why Can't You Love Me
07 - Lay Your Love On Me
08 - Rock 'N Roll Heart
09 - Set Me Free
10 - I Will Never Let You Fall
Matt Alfonzetti - Vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Daniel Flores - drums, keyboards
Marcus Jidell (Evergrey) - lead guitar
Emil Fredholm (Plankton) - lead guitar
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Sunday, November 27, 2011
As member of John Parr's live band, after completing an arena tour supporting Journey, Yorkshire, UK based guitarist John Oxley was keen to replicate the magic of Journey again on stage.
Together with his friend bass player Paul Flanaghan who's musical collaboration of over 20 years was destined to continue, both felt strongly that not only Journey but also Foreigner would be a perfect combination to make a tribute band.
Some 12 months on and following the band's debut sell out show on the 10th January 09, the band aptly named 'A Foreigners Journey' have played over 100 shows throughout the UK and also performed at various international festivals.
In August 2009 the band joined forces with award winning singer/songwriter Jimi Anderson whose perfect pitched vocals and stage presence gave a new dimension to the project.
Drummer Ian Ferris, saxophone player Chris Backhouse & Greg Brownlow on Keyboards and second guitar complete this new and exciting line-up, taking this dual tribute show of Foreigner and Journey to another level.
Neal Schon and Ross Valory from Journey & Jeff Pilson & Jason Bonham from Foreigner have approved and given thumbs up to 'A Foreigners Journey', now established as one of the most respected tribute bands around today.
A Foreigners Journey does exactly what it says and promises. It's a great combo with a superb lead singer belting out classics from the back catalogues of both bands, hit after hit, virtually non stop.
They have professionally recorded in the studio some songs included in their set, but this material is not for sale, just for promotional use only.
Of course their versions are faithful to the originals, but adding some personal spice to these stainless classics.
'A Foreigners Journey' are really, really good, don't miss them if they play at a venue near you.
You've seen exclusively here, at 0dayrock
01 - Separate Ways
02 - Waiting For A Girl Like You
03 - Cold As Ice
04 - Faithfully
05 - Don't Stop Believing
Jimi Anderson - Vocals
John Oxley - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Paul Flanaghan - Bass & Backing Vocals
Greg Brownlow - Keyboards, Guitar
Chris Backhouse - Sax
Ian Ferris - Drums
Not For Sale
Formed in the fall of 1985 in Palos Hills, IL, DREAMS started performing high-energy Melodic Rock in the northern Illinois area in early 1986.
Originally based out of Chicago’s southwest suburbs, the band members began perfecting their musical skills and style by covering popular top-40 songs at local high school and college performance.
Within a few years, Dreams started writing and performing original music as their abilities and popularity continued to grow.
For the next five years, Dreams performed an intense blend of original and cover material in front of thousands of people during more than 300 shows, including headlining performances at major universities, nightclubs and numerous city festivals (Tinley Park, Lisle, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Lansing and many more).
Additional highlights include selling 5,000 cassettes of original material and showcasing for major record labels on Hollywood's famous Sunset Strip in the early 1990’s.
Dreams' success can be attributed to the band’s relationship with Gary Loizzo (keyboardist Todd's father). Gary is a Grammy-nominated recording engineer who worked with multimillion-selling Styx records in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, as well as on many other successful recordings.
Dreams' experience with Gary helped them to refine their writing and recording skills and gave them an education and foundation that few young bands have enjoyed.
Then, the band's own material recorded in that era has a high quality sound an production, compared to any major label recording.
After years of inquiries about these songs, Dreams finally made them available.
What we have here is a pure late 80's Melodic Rock / AOR bliss with catchy choruses and crisp sound.
Their style reminds you instantly early Night Ranger style, REO Speedwagon and Loverboy. In short: brash, big choruses, killer synths and over the top guitar playing in a typical 80's fashion.
Released at a time when rockin' AOR / Melodic Rock ruled the radio, "Dreams" should've been a smash hit album. Luckily, never is too late.
"Dreams" has all the melody and catchiness to be a winner, faultless in all departments and textbook AOR / Melodic Rock to any fan of the genre.
01 - Drive You Crazy
02 - The Fear Of Being Alone
03 - (Does It Feel) Like You Want It To
04 - Do You Feel For Me
05 - Livin' In Another World
06 - Feels Like I'm In Love
07 - Run
08 - Always There For You
09 - Coming Down On Me
10 - Something I Need
11 - Lovin' You Ain't Enough
12 - Livin' In Another World (Original Version)
Linas Kastys - lead vocals
Paul Smith - guitar
Todd Loizzo - keyboards
John Oskorep - bass & acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Dave Batastini - drums, backing vocals
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Classic Rock legend Bob Seger is releasing "Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets", a career-spanning 2 CD set running the length of his full music career, featuring completely new remasters of each song, all from the original master tapes.
The best part of a compilation that takes the best pieces of an artist’s career is the opportunity to remember why a particular artist stayed around and popular for so long.
For more than 40 years, the songs of Bob Seger have resonated in a songwriter's style with a sound Seger keeps individualistic. His attention to the details make his songs stand up above simple chord progressions.
For those listeners who may have only heard the super popular hits, "Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets" introduces songs like "Fire Lake" and his first-ever single "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" shows up here for the first time on CD, finally bringing something from the Bob Seger System days to the digital era.
More stories that stay timeless while transporting the listener to different places in time through effective use of imagery. "Like A Rock" may pull listeners into a Chevy commercial, while tracks like "Her Strut" may show the inspiration Seger took from artists like ZZ Top. Even "Still the Same" recalls a Led Zeppelin feel in its theme and presentation.
The rockers like "The Fire Down Below" and the title track sound terrific, the ballads like "We've Got Tonight" and "Against the Wind" sound as fine as always, and of course you can't begrudge the absolute classics: "Night Moves", "Mainstreet", "Turn the Page" and his biggest-charting song; the 80's mainstream "Shakedown".
We also have two previously unreleased covers: a middle-of-the-road ride on Tom Waits' "Downtown Train" and a far more fun romp through the Little Richard classic "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey (Going Back to Birmingham)".
"Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets" adequately comprises Seger's career, one of the biggest icons of the Classic Rock genre.
What is perhaps most striking about this set, though - and this speaks more to Seger's indelible impact on American music than it does anything else - is that at 26 tracks it still doesn’t cover all the hits.
Young listeners who heard Bob Seger because of Metallica's cover of "Turn the Page" should dive into this compilation to uncover the nuggets of truth that may have been missed.
For the Classic Rock fans, here's a way to finally get some rare tracks in one convenient place, surrounded by some of Seger's very best music meticulously re-mastered from the original master tapes.
Solid retrospective, 'like a rock'.
01. Old Time Rock And Roll
02. Hollywood Nights
03. Night Moves
05. Roll Me Away
06. Turn The Page
07. Her Strut
08. Still The Same
09. You'll Accomp'ny Me
10. We've Got Tonight
11. Like A Rock
12. Fire Lake
13. Tryin' To Live My Life Without You
01. Rock And Roll Never Forgets
02. Against The Wind
03. Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
04. The Fire Down Below
05. Travelin' Man (Live)
06. Beautiful Loser (Live)
08. Shame On The Moon
10. Little Drummer Boy
11. Wait For Me
12. Hey Hey Hey Hey (Going Back To Birmingham)
13. Downtown Train
14. Living Inside My Heart [Walmart Exclusive]
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I am not a big fan of sleaze. But undoubtedly, regardless of the genre, Crashdiet's smash 2005 album "Rest In Sleaze" was one of the best rock releases of the past decade, with great songs, musicianship and unusual quality vocals/lyrics for this music style, brained by their leader Dave Lepard.
The news shook the entire Crashdiet and general rock fans across the globe when Lepard (real name David Hellman) was found dead on January 20th, 2006. He had committed suicide following his battle with drug addiction, resulting in a deep depression.
"Reborn In Sleaze : A Tribute To Dave Lepard" is a complete track-for-track re-creation of 'Rest In Sleaze' in tribute to Dave Lepard's legacy, performed by bands who were contemporaries of Crashdiet or who burst through the door that Crashdiet/Lepard had kicked open.
Most bands featured are relatively new to the scene and not necessary belongs to the sleazy movement, as the Italian hard 'n heavy group Midnite Sun who opens the disc with "Knokk 'Em Down". Their good version is beefed up with a much heavier musical arrangement but faithful to the original.
Next up is Speed Stroke's take on "Riot In Everyone", again very faithful to the sound of the original, but with a more melodic guitar work and a pumpin' bass.
Italian sleaze outfit Skull Daze aren't messing around with their monster cover of "Queen Obscene/69 Shots". This track dishes out unexpected surprises, because although it feels fresh, the arrangement is actually fairly close to the original and vocalist Johnny Rainbow hits notes hard, harsh and wild.
"Breakin' The Chainz" is where the magic truly kicks in on this album, and possessing the no-half-measures syndrome is Scottish sleaze-glam quartet PeepShow, who serves Lepard proud here. Johnny Gunn's vocal efforts confirm that when his band set out to do something, they do it well. This is a band set for big things in the future and Peep Show is a name to watch out for.
With a band named Superhorrorfuck covering "Needle In Your Eye", you would think that expecting something heavy would be reasonable, and you would be right. Their version is dirty and groovy -- and this is the case for Ragdolls' 'Tikket' as well. I don't like both at all.
'Tast of cyanide' is part of the chorus to the song "Out Of Line", so perhaps it comes as no surprise that Cyanide 4 takes on this song. As such, these guys turn this track into more of a straight-up hair metal song than a sleaze song, with a clean solo and smoother vocals. It is an impressive and revised contribution.
Hell In The Club takes "Straight Outta Hell" into a new dimension of sleaze, adding their own Italian metal twist -- the minor changes to the arrangement made by the band (mostly in the guitar riffs) work really well.
It's really surprisingly to see AORsters / MR Shining Line covering the original album closer "Back On Trakk". As expected, their version is melodic rock oriented with very good guitars, vocals and a melodic re-worked chorus. You almost won't recognize this as a Crashdiet song, but I don't care. I love Shining Line's (their debut album is really good) and their cover is the best on this tribute album.
As bonus, there's a Crashdiet old song, "Lost Horizons", performed by French glamsters BlackRain. They absolutely nails the feel and emotion of this ballad, melodically and sincerely. The album couldn't have ended better if it had tried -- having a tissue handy when streaming this track is a good idea. Sang in the form of Dave Lepard, vocals soar so high and so sweet that they'll pull at the heart strings of listeners for sure.
Overall, "Reborn In Sleaze : A Tribute To Dave Lepard" is a good tribute album, a nice way to remember Dave Leppard and his music, but it is also a chance for people to hear some new bands doing songs they may already be familiar with.
Some are good, some not, but that's depends on your musical tastes. And melodic rockers have an exclusive Shining Line track to collect.
Limited to just 250 numbered copies, on "Reborn In Sleaze: A Tribute To Dave Lepard" it is easy to appreciate the concept and the integrity behind the release, and after a few listens, you start to see just how much passion and effort has gone into remaking each and every single 'trakk' on this album.
01. Knokk 'Em Down (performed by Midnite Sun)
02. Riot In Everyone (performed by Speed Stroke)
03. Queen Obscene (69 Shots) (performed by Skull Daze)
04. Breakin' The Chainz (performed by Peep Show)
05. Needle In Your Eye (performed by Superhorrorfuck)
06. Tikket (performed by Ragdolls)
07. Out Of Line (performed by Cyanide 4)
08. It's A Miracle (performed by DNR)
09. Straight Outta Hell (performed by Hell In The Club)
10. Back On Trakk (performed by Shining Line)
11. Lost Horizons (performed by BlackRain) [bonus track]
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Saturday, November 26, 2011
Danish band FATE has a long history and a fairly long list of past members, a list that actually extends longer than their discography.
Last year, original member Peter Steincke talked with guitar hero Torben Enevoldsen (Section A / Fatal Force), asking him to join the band and wrote together the sixth album of the band; "Ghost From The Past".
The premise was to bring back Fate's melodious rock sound of the eighties.
And they have succeeded on "Ghost From The Past". The overall style recalls to the best album of Fate, 1990's 'Scratch 'N Sniff', basically thanks to the melodic and punchy guitar work by Torben Enevoldsen.
The extensive use of keyboards - a trademark of the band's most glorious moments - is welcomed, and seems the band has found a very good vocalist on Dagfinn Joensen, which has a clean and tuneful voice reaching high notes easily with versatility.
The CD starts really well with typical the '80s keyboard sounds of "Children Of the Night", a catchy melodic rocker with a very good chorus. The really good keyboard lines brightens up the tune, but it's clear from the beginning that what will drive the music on this album are the guitars. Enevoldsen has added a melodic yet strong sound to the band, with killer rhythm guitars and fine articulated solos.
"Miracle" is another assassin Euro Melodic number blended with 'hard AOR' mixing awesome keyboards with rockin' guitars and again, a catchy chorus.
"Seeds Of Terror" is a bit heavier and modern AOR rocker in a unmistakable Scandi style, while follower "Fear Of The Stranger" has a more dark / epic style.
There's a nice melody on the semi-midtempo "At The End Of The Day", with a synth / six string counterpoint and a style that reminds me Last Autumn's Dream.
Next, eighties AOR defines the simple but effective refrain of "All That I Want".
"Follow Your Heart" is a slower track, the almost mandatory ballad. Despite its nature still includes plenty of great guitar work. Nice one.
"Daddy's Girl" is one of my favorites. This keyboard driven tune is truly faithful to Fate's 80's style, catchy and foot-tapping.
The rest of the material maintains a good level, being the melodic and modern "Moving On", the anthemic "The Last Time" and the great keyboard infused "The Other Side" the best.
With "Ghosts From The Past" Fate has returned in great form, delivering one of the best albums of their career. It's a punchy, strong Melodic Hard Rock album spiced with classy AOR, melodious yet powerful.
Besides the solid songwriting what stands out on this album is the phenomenal guitar job of Torben Enevoldsen. But all the musicianship is truly good, and the massive use of keyboards enriches the sound all over.
Produced by the band and Thomas Pedersen at various studios in Denmark, "Ghosts From The Past" has a polished but sharp edge, well mixed and mastered.
01 - Children Of The Night
02 - Miracle
03 - Seeds Of Terror
04 - Fear Of The Stranger
05 - At The End Of The Day
06 - All That I Want
07 - Follow Your Heart
08 - Daddy's Girl
09 - Moving On
10 - Murder
11 - The Last Time
12 - I Believe In Rock 'N' Roll
13 - The Other Side
Dagfinn Joensen - Vocals
Torben Enevoldsen - Guitars
Mikkel Henderson - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Peter Steincke - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jens Berglid - Drums
Kira Li - Guest Backing Vocals
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In 2007, Crash Music released BLACK 'N BLUE "Rarities", a collection of rare demos, live cuts and previously unreleased songs from the band's back catalogue.
Out of print, now it has been re-issued by Goomba Music.
"These tracks are classic demos and live rockers that I have salvaged and re-mastered from my original tapes to be enjoyed today," says Black 'N Blue frontman Jaime St. James. "I have also thown in my 2002 'Hell Yeah' demos to round out a very rare BNB rock 'n' roll blast from the past."
The most interesting stuff are the demos from the early 80's pre-1st album, as the opening cut "Violent Kid". This one is described as being a representation of a heavier sound the band had before being signed. A really cool song that deserves a finished studio version. Tommy Thayer really jams on this track.
"Sign In Blood" early track that never made it on an album. It's slightly heavier than much of their debut, a bit in Ratt’s style of hard rock.
Every Black ‘N Blue fan recognizes "Wicked Bitch" as one of the band's biggest anthems. This version is slightly different that the original studio version.
"Cold Heart" is a demo that didn’t really cut it for me. They could rework this song a little bit, and improve it, but I could see why this one didn't get released. The sound quality is noticeably lower than the other tracks from 1983.
"Hold on To 18" is a little different than the version on the band’s self titled album from 1984, more raw and direct.
"Lickety Split" is a cool upbeat tune, that seems to capture Black ‘N Blue having a lot of fun. This one is from 1986 so I guess it was done during the sessions for "Nasty Nasty". I like it a lot because has a real party feel to it and it's fairly unique. It would have fit in fine on that year's album.
"Serious Drag" is a raw sounding cut that has some good sounding guitar parts and catchy arrangements.
"So Long" and "Hell Yeah" are demos of songs appeared on the recent album of the band. It's cool to hear these pre-production takes.
The live versions of both "Autoblast" and "I'm the King" are the same included on the band's 'Live in Detroit 1984' record, but the good thing is a sound quality far superior here, clearly remastered. For that reason, it's nice to have these songs here.
Also included as bonus is the recent pre-production version of "You're My Monkey" (re-entitled on this year's new album simply as 'Monkey').
"Rarities" is a good collection of rare songs of Black 'N Blue, showing how they sounded before stardom, and on the second half, how the new 2011 album songs were conceived.
It's a nice package, with good quality sound and remastering. Essential for fans but also a pleasant listen to any American melodic hard rock enthusiast.
01. Violent Kid (1982)
02. Sign In Blood (1983)
03. Wicked Bitch (1983)
04. Cold Heart (1983)
05. Hold On To 18 (1983)
06. Lickety Split (1986)
07. Serious Drag (2002)
08. So Long (2002)
09. Hell Yeah (2002)
10. Autoblast (1984) Live
11. I'm The King (1984) Live
12. You're My Monkey (2010 demo) [hidden bonus track]
Jaime St. James - vocals and drums
Tommy Thayer - guitar
Jeff Warner - guitar
Patrick Young - bass
Pete Holmes - drums
Billy Morris - guitar (7, 8 & 9)
Joe Frietchen - bass (7, 8 & 9)
Danny Morris - keyboards (7, 8 & 9)
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Last of a dying breed. That's how many people describes Chris Cornell.
And agree, only the good survive. Cornell and his band Soundgarden (together with Alice In Chains and maybe STP) were the only worthwhile artists - or at least with perdurable talent - from the grunge movement.
Cornell is releasing an album of live "Songbook" tour performances, featuring his own songs as well as a few covers.
Although Cornell is recording a new album with Soundgarden for the first time in 15 years, he continues to work as a solo artist.
It has been said that a truly great song can be stripped down to a basic vocal and instrumental accompaniment, and still be every bit as powerful and affecting as a full band version.
This is the approach Chris Cornell has taken on "Songbook", collecting recordings taken at different venues from his solo acoustic tours.
The sheer range of material included here reminds you how varied and interesting Cornell's career has been. You get a couple of Soundgarden tracks, six of his own solo songs, some Audioslave tracks, some Temple of the Dog songs and even a few covers just for good measure.
There is indeed something for everyone in "Songbook".
Even though the songs are stripped back to their barest of bones, none of the songs particularly suffer from their lack of instrumentation and in fact, some are even enhanced by it.
In particular, the horrible hip hop stylings of "Ground Zero" from his last (and incredibly controversial) solo effort Scream is turned into a kind of great funky work out that allows Chris's voice to really shine, which, by the way, is stronger than it has sounded in years.
"Call Me A Dog" from the Temple of the Dog album becomes a beautifully delicate track, even more fragile than its original album version.
His take on Led Zepp classic "Thank You" is done with taste and sentiment as well.
Soundgarden's biggest hit "Black Hole Sun" is transformed into an even more haunting, sinister tune.
All of the Audioslave versions are better than the originals (which I don't like much) in my opinion. Some, "I am the Highway" and "Wide Awake" in particular, actually eclipse the studio versions by many thousands of miles.
"Cleaning My Gun" is an unreleased song from the Chris Cornell archive, whilst his re-work of John Lennon's "Imagine" is fantastic, even if it adds nothing to the original.
The collection finishes with a slightly stripped back studio version of "The Keeper", which Cornell wrote for the film Machine Gun Preacher. The song is easily the best Cornell solo track since 1998's 'Euphoria Morning' album.
"Songbook" is a truly good album, reflecting Chris Cornell's sensibility as artist, with intimate live performances.
There aren’t many rock vocalists currently working who could achieve what Cornell did on the Songbook tour, without the protection of a band or the safety blanket of playlists and compositions learnt from years of touring the same material, and Cornell makes a mockery of those limitations in others.
Cornell’s voice has always been soaked in soul, as well as carrying an irresistible smokey edge that injected poignancy to even the most bold rock songs he lent it to in his former roles, and it has never sounded as good or as hard-hitting as when teamed up here with a simple guitar as company.
It is proof that a voice can sell a song of any type, provided that voice in convincing and charismatic enough to carry a different agenda within the song than originally composed.
And quite frankly, Cornell’s voice could convince me of most things. In this stripped back format, you really get the sense of how well he understands the mechanics of vocal work, of punctuating sound with other sound, and quite frankly it is a joy to be shown those skills.
I like it.
01 - As Hope And Promise Fade
02 - Scar On The Sky
03 - Call Me A Dog
04 - Ground Zero
05 - Cant Change Me
06 - I Am The Highway
07 - Thank You (Led Zeppelin cover)
08 - Cleaning My Gun
09 - Wide Awake
10 - Fell On Black Days
11 - All Night Thing
12 - Doesn't Remind Me
13 - Like A Stone
14 - Black Hole Sun
15 - Imagine (John Lennon Cover)
16 - The Keeper (New song 2011) [Machine Gun Preacher OST]
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The Dutch project TRF (THE ROCK FILES) started back in 2003 when guitarist Adjan Emmen and renowned bass player Peter Vink (Ayreon, Star One), after playing together in the local rock band Omsk, decided to re-arrange the song material Adjan wrote some time ago.
While finalizing the songs, they were looking for a good singer, and met Jerry ten Bhomer, the perfect vocalist for this kind of material.
Vink recommended Rutger Klijn for the bass slot and with Pim Kooiman on drums and Marco Hoogerheide on guest keyboards, the band was completed and went into the studio.
"A Life On Earth", the amazing debut of The Rock Files, is full of an impressive musicality and incredible mature songwriting.
They play a crisp melodic rock dyed with progressive elements, where Saga meets commercial Queensryche, blending fantastic guitar melodies with high quality vocal harmonies.
"A Life On Earth" is a concept album holding 11 songs (chapters) representing the inevitable ups & downs of life on Earth. A story, of course with moments of pain but in the end there is a message of hope.
But you can enjoy the tracks randomly, and take for sure that here you'll find some fine, fantastic songs.
First track "Life" is a clear example of the quality on offer, where the full toned guitar of Adjan and the colorful vocals by Jerry rocks the place. This is pretty direct melodic rocker, but the rest of the material is incredibly varied and interesting.
Follower "Birth" is a solid, powerful track with proggy but melodic nuances, in a style of what Queensryche seems had forgotten. Great song.
"Desire" adds some acoustics to the mix but the song is fast paced with a really captivating breaks and skilled drum arrangements.
The semi-slow "Despair" features a very intelligent six string work with pristine acoustics blended with layers of melodic electric guitars, all surrounded by great vocal harmonies. This track is a real gem, complex but really easy to digest and enjoy.
The instrumental "Sinking" is an inventive and never boring composition where all these talented musicians contribute to create a catchy tune full swing.
"Rebirth" goes to more classic prog but with a great sense of the melody, brilliant guitar work again and superb arrangements.
"Precious" rocks again mounted on a strong riff and a fat bass, where the vocals change the register over and over. This is another track with superb rhythm, and a particular catchiness. Seriously, this band is really good!
On the last track "Faith", TRF don't stop to surprise us, with another highlight in an album full of them. Do you miss Queensryche glorious days spiced with the good old Saga? Wait to listen this one. But TRF have their own sound and personality. Tons of melodies and clever arrangements to end one of the most complete debuts recently.
I think I've said all about TRF above.
No, wait, there's much, much more on this amazing album.
"A Life On Earth" is an indie recording / release, but you will not notice at any time. All is awesomely arranged, played and mixed. Don't expect a boring avant-garde experimentation or a simply melodic rock album with proggy overtones.
No, "A Life On Earth" is vital, entertaining, with a crisp sound and great performances.
The music is dominated by the fantastic melodic guitar work of mastermind Adjan Emmen but the rest of the instruments have a cohesive, dynamic role on these beautifully crafted songs. And the vocals... I don't know where singer Jerry ten Bhomer has been or played with, but he is a true revelation.
Coming out of nowhere (actually, from the Netherlands), with little promotion and fanfare, TRF / THE ROCK FILES has delivered one of the best (if not the best) indie albums of the year.
Don't miss "A Life On Earth", you will regret later.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrock
01 - Life
02 - Birth
03 - Desire
04 - Despair
05 - Sinking
06 - Regression
07 - Rebirth
08 - Rising
09 - Child
10 - Precious
11 - Faith
Jerry ten Bhomer - Vocals
Adjan Emmen - Guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
Marco Hoogerheide - Keyboards
Rutger Klijn - Bass
Pim Kooiman - Drums
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Rainey Haynes is one of those great voices that never make it big, but largely deserved stardom. She is releasing independently "Bring On The Fire", a compilation of 13 remarkable tunes recorded in the second half of the '80s.
Who is Rainey?
The girl showed an interest in singing, songwriting, and performing at a very early age, and had taught herself to play guitar by age 13. At 18, she moved to New Orleans, where she formed a rock band in 1982, touring the States from coast to coast, even Europe and the Near East to entertain U.S. troops.
In 1985 she moved to Los Angeles, where she played at numerous Southern California music venues with a new version of her band, which over a period of time included Steve Farris (lead guitarist for Mister Mister), Bob Birch (long time and current bass player for Elton John), Rocket Ritchotte (former guitarist for Stan Bush and Barrage, David Lee Roth, Cher), Kenny Rarrick (former keyboard player for Melissa Manchester), and Michael Dorian (former keyboard player for Terence Trent D'Arby).
Meanwhile she was writing and performing songs that were included in film and TV soundtracks. Her voice was heard in numerous episodes of the TV series Fame, many cartoons and commercials.
Then Rainey wrote and performed the songs 'I Can Fly' and 'Technique' for the successful film 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun', and later a duet with John Farnham; 'My World is Empty without You Babe' for the 'Voyage of the Rock Aliens' soundtrack.
But her real big step was the contribution for the top box office 'Iron Eagle' movie with the song 'Old Enough To Rock and Roll', one of the best tunes on the film. Many people were disappointed that the song did not get on the album soundtrack CD, and remained as one of the most sought after songs by collectors.
"Bring On The Fire" includes, for the first time ever, the full '86 original version of "Old Enough To Rock and Roll" plus 12 great AOR / Rock&Pop songs professionally recorded by Rainey, with class session musicians as back-up band.
Her voice / style on these songs is a mix between Robin Beck and Patty Smyth (Scandal) meets Tina Turner.
We can hear lovely eighties tunes as "Bring On The Fire" or "Love Kills" clearly inspired in the Robin Beck's 'Trouble or Nothin' style, while "Secret Secret" reminds you the first Fiona Flanagan. Really good tracks.
"Young Romans" and "I Want Your Love" goes into the rockier Tina Turner circa 1986, "Tell Me" has a more Margaret Becker adult-melodic rock orientation, and "You Ain't Leavin" is ballad with a Pat Benatar vibe.
Rainey even covers Bad Company's classic "Feel Like Making Love", performed with intensity and emotion.
"Bring On The Fire" is a great collection of wonderful tunes recorded more than 25 years ago but never released until now.
The sound quality and production varies between tracks, clearly from different sessions, but all are well recorded and a pleasure for any '80s lover.
Rainey Haynes continues writing music, which she records in her studio and occasionally performs in small venues.
You can get this CD at her website; www.raineyonline.com
Really, Really Nice.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrock
01 - Bring On The Fire
02 - Love Kills
03 - Secret Secret
04 - Young Romans
05 - Feel Like Making Love
06 - You Ain't Leavin'
07 - I Want Your Love
08 - Tell Me
09 - Woman In a Man's World
10 - Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
11 - Red Hot Love
12 - Isn't It Time
13 - Old Enough To Rock & Roll [Iron Eagle OST] (bonus track)
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It has been a long road for DAYLIGHT ROBBERY since the very early nineties.
The Birmingham, UK band recorded some exciting demos the trend of the moment with the typical AOR - rock flavour similar in style to the likes of Tobruk or Shy.
The group toured the islands supporting several established bands but never actually recorded anything.
Respected singer Tony Nicholl continued in the music business as part of different projects, keeping in touch with DR original guitarist Mark Carleton.
A couple years ago they decided to reborn Daylight Robbery to finally record the band's debut.
"Cross Your Heart... & Hope To Die" includes some songs written 20 years ago and new material as well. The band defines their sound as 'Heavy Melodic AOR Rock'.
And indeed Daylight Robbery blend these genres here, being the first six tracks on the album obviously the older songs, in the classy AOR vein we love, and the new compositions more hard, even hard 'n heavy style-wise.
Opener "Cross Your Heart" is a wonderful classic AOR stomper, in the best early Shy fashion. A very melodic and marching tune with all the lovely '80s tips to be a winner. Solid guitars, fat bass lines, synths galore and monster chorus. Nicholl has that kind of British, strong and powerful, but controlled voice that can reach high notes but feels melodic at the same time.
The band maintain a high standard in the songwriting on the following tracks.
"Shame On You" rocks with an insistent melody to die for. This is a great melodic rocker with a pump not present on the actual bands in the genre.
"While You Were Sleeping" is a song that melodic rock bands doesn't write anymore. It's a pure, solid as a stone euro melodic rocker with a catchy rhythm but with power and force. The chorus is terrific and the blistering guitar solo rocks. Awesome track.
"Crossing The Great Divide" is a little gem. Runs 8 min, but don't expect a 'prog' long track here. This is simply a great AOR tune. Starts as a ballad with a piano / synth and soaring vocals, then in the middle the pace increases to a midtempo full of magic, remembering the first House Of Lords. They add a beautiful synth orchestrated part as well. Really good and original track.
"R E U N I T E" has a semi-midtempo structure, although the guitars are strong and the chorus is contagious.
It's not specified, but seems with "Real Love Is The Answer" begins the new written material. This one is a melodic rocker with a more modern approach and different guitar sound, but retaining the big harmony vocals and the catchiness. Good one.
"Shes' Got Me Understood" is a simple but fresh melodic hard rock with some retro keyboards and tongue-in-cheek vibe.
In the last two tracks "1.000 Points Of Light" and "In The Line Of Fire" the band explores a new territory. Hard 'n heavy tracks not convincing at all, at least considering the preceding material.
It took more than twenty years for Daylight Robbery, but worth it.
"Cross Your Heart... & Hope To Die" is marvelous trip back to the golden years of the British Melodic Rock / AOR. And I punctuate this for the songwriting on offer here.
Daylight Robbery has 'that' magic '80s touch & vibe lost on many acts of the genre.
Self produced but with a really good polished sound, you have all the time the whole impression that this is a band who know exactly what they’re doing. And they do wonders.
I am a sucker for this kind of material, and I am pretty sure that you, Classy Rockin' AOR fan, will enjoy this album as sybarites.
One of the surprises of the year. Support this band, they are awesome.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrock
01 - Cross Your Heart
02 - Shame On You
03 - The Perfect Storm
04 - While You Were Sleeping
05 - Crossing The Great Divide
06 - R E U N I T E
07 - Real Love Is The Answer
08 - Shes' Got Me Understood
09 - 1.000 Points Of Light
10 - In The Line Of Fire
Tony Nicholl - Vocals, Guitar
Mark Carleton - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Colin Murdoch - Bass, Backing Vocals
Duncan Cook - Keyboards
Ben Dixon - Drums
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Christian bands have developed an interesting performance since the middle of the '80s, launching radiable and commercial discs, with very good artistic production.
ILLUSTRATOR, Gaube's bros. group, was one of them.
Their self titled debut, gained considerable success in CCM circles and mainstream radio, but was their 2nd "Somewhere In The World" which achieved recognition between AOR fans, thanks to the catchy melodies and lush harmonies.
A third album was recorded but never released until now.
"III ; Effect Of The Boomerang" sees the band with a more contemporary approach to their music, retaining the AOR / Westcoast elements ever present on their work.
"Light Up The World" and "Waiting For You" have a Mr. Mister-like style. Both feature great guitar from Dan Gaub, nice choruses and cool backing vocals.
There's competent soft rock tunes as the westcoast tingled "I Guess You Know" and "First Time", or the aorish "So Goes The Story" and "Every Step".
You have also rockin' tracks with nice rhythm on "Burnin' Down" (great hot solo) and "Falling".
"III ; Effect Of The Boomerang" is an enjoyable album with an eighties / nineties style: smooth vocals, good stylized guitars and stunning production.
There's a lot variation on this recording to keep you interested.
01 - Light Up The World
02 - Blind Man
03 - I Guess You Know
04 - Cover My Eyes
05 - Someone
06 - Waiting For You
07 - Idol
08 - Every Step
09 - So Goes The Story
10 - One Rose
11 - Chasing Rainbows
12 - Angel Eyes
13 - Burnin' Down
14 - First Time
15 - Falling
Nathan Gaub: Vocals, Keyboards, Synth Programming
Dan Gaub: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Percussion
Dawndee Gaub: Vocals, Keyboards
Kirk Allen: Drums, Electronic Percussion
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Italian's HOMERUN 2008 debut was well received by melodic hard rock fans and the press (ended #10 on AORheaven magazine), only slightly criticized for their similarity with rockers Gotthard.
Now established in Florida, Homerun is back with the new album "Black World", not only with a new line-up, but with a new sound as well.
With the new rhythm section and lead guitarist, the band have now a tighter assembling and helped by a better production has recorded a quite effective Melodic Hard Rock record in the European style.
New lead guitar Valerio Castiglioni has added to the music punchy leads in the Nuno vein and some Zakk Wilde-like chops, while singer Matteo Albarelli now sometimes sounds like Michael Voss (Mad Max, Casanova).
Despite the album cover art and title, "Black World" isn't a dark album, in fact it's a melodic collection of songs firmly planted in the late '80s and early '90s eras.
After the mysterious synth & effects intro, first proper track "Silence Is Broken" is a pretty heavy tune with big drums, chugging guitars and dense background keyboards. It's clear that Homerun has evolved from being a Gotthard clone, as here sounds as classic Pretty Maids.
Folower "No More" has some hard progressive elements with a melodic verve that makes the chorus really interesting. Great keyboard arrangement which gives the track a special aura.
The ballad "As We Did Before" is beautifully crafted, led by some deft piano work and an overall approach to the style of Place Vendome.
The sway of "Ephemeral Light" hung on the dual guitar fulcrum of Andrea Ringoli and Valerio Castiglioni, a melodic rocker with a stadium appeal. This track has a style similar to the great Germans Fair Warning. One of my favorite tracks of the record for sure.
On the fine rocker "Our Love Song" is where the band recalls the Gotthard style, simple and effective song.
Title track "Black World" impresses with its jagged beat and strong riffage. The chorus is powerful and melodic, again, remind me Fair Warning.
"Princess Of Time" is another ballad, acoustically based but the keyboards are the motto of the song. Great synth arrangements and melodic, deep guitar solo. Really good.
The melodic hard rocker "The Golden Cage" has a Pink Cream 69 style, with a pounding rhythm section and good breaks, adding variation to the CD.
There's a fervent classy rocker on "Lipstick", a catchy track with hammonds and punchy guitars.
I really like the electric piano staccato on "Intoxification Of Love", where the the solid rhythm section (really round bass) drives the song.
They move off into different territory yet again for "Firefly", a really nice semi-midtempo rocker full of melody and a good-time vibe. Really good commercial tune.
Last track "Another Reason To" returns to the hard rock ala Gotthard, with some hints of Casanova as well, particularly on the vocal harmonies. The big and long guitar solo and hammond keyboard adds power to this good rocker.
As bonus track, the band offer an acoustic version of "No More". The clever arrangements, the percussion beats and the airy guitars add a new dimension to this likeable song.
Seems Homerun has found an identity and that's noticeable on their quite good new album "Black World".
There's many influences as noted, but the band now have their own sound, clearly benefited by the new musicians into the line-up. Their craft of Euro Melodic Hard rock is catchy, melodious and truly effective.
Varied, well arranged and played, "Black World" is more than recommended to any melodic rocker out there.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrock
01 - Intro
02 - Silence's Broken
03 - No More
04 - As We Did Before
05 - Ephemeral Light
06 - Our Love Song
07 - Black World
08 - Princess Of Time
09 - The Golden Cage
10 - Lipstick
11 - Intoxication Of Love
12 - Firefly
13 - Another Reason To
14 - No More (acoustic version) [bonus track]
Matteo Albarelli - Vocals
Valerio Castiglioni - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Andrea Ringoli - Guitar
Walter Borrelli - Synths, Hammond, Backing Vocals
Paolo Luoni - Electric & Acoustic Bass
William Battiston - Drums
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Switchblade Scarlett hails from Ohio, where the founding members of the band all met while teaching at the School of Rock in Cleveland.
Their just released debut "White. Line. Fever.", a blend of '80s arena Hard Rock without the 'hair style' with some seventies Glam, in the vein of New York Dolls and alikes. The band defines their music as 'Party Rock' with big guitars and anthemic choruses.
The 'party' is there, and some tracks are really catchy and direct, however some songs are in the middle of nowhere.
I don't think that "Big Apple Baby" was the best choice for an opener. It's a furious track with a hard attack driven by razor guitars and angry vocals, but lacks consistence in my opinion.
Things get better on the glammy (not sleazy) title track "White. Line. Fever.", with an anthemic pretensions and a good rhythm, sadly the forced vocals and an out of place synth arrangement deviates the attention.
For "Say Anything" Switchblade Scarlett really 'switch' the style and the sonic approach for a more '80s commercial and poppy rocker, almost AORish during the chorus. Good one.
Follower is really good too. Occurs that "Heart Breakers" is a cover of a Pat Benatar tune, slightly harder then the original, well arranged and performed.
Next, "Little Hearts" is nice melodic rocker with an American retro vibe and a cool refrain. The band feels good on this kind of material, so at this point I was wondering the 'why?' on the style developed on the first two tracks.
"Party Girls (Can I Be Your Man)" returns to the classic hard rock mold but fortunately with more clean (although raspy) vocals and fine guitar progressions. The constant gang-backing vocals works well.
"Gone" starts as a bar-bluesy rocker but soon is flooded by melodic harmony vocals and some eighties synths. Curious combination for sure and not bad at all.
"Dirty Girl" is a guitar fueled song but melodic, reminding me some Quireboys material, "Lucielle" has a Sunset Blvd scent, and "Saigon Lullaby" turns a bit heavier, in the middle of the road between an anthem and a retro hard rocker.
The disc ends with "...At Least The Rolling Stones Still Make Me Smile" an acoustic track with a bluegrass smell complete with slide guitar and a stripped vibe.
"White. Line. Fever." is a good album (except the weak and gritty 2 first tracks) with some good compositions and ideas.
Switchblade Scarlett is a new band that needs to improve on many departments, specially the musical direction. A band could be wide stylistically but on their debut needs to be focused.
They sound more comfortable here on the melodic tunes with some hard attack, complemented with nice harmony vocals.
The production is as good as it gets for an indie release, decent for the most part.
If Switchblade Scarlett nail the style that better suit for them, we can expect a promising future for this band.
01 - Big Apple Baby
02 - White. Line. Fever.
03 - Say Anything
04 - Heart Breakers
05 - Little Hearts
06 - Red Clay
07 - Party Girls (Can I Be Your Man)
08 - Gone
09 - Dirty Girl
10 - Lucielle
11 - Saigon Lullaby
12 - ...At Least The Rolling Stones Still Make Me Smile
Shawn Perry - Vocas, Guitar
Corey Linden - Guitar, backing vocals
Russ Richards - Keyboards, backing vocals
Spider Lane - Bass, backing vocals
Scott Dall - Drums, backing vocals
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
ROYAL BLOOD was an international band consisting of two time Grammy nominee Italian guitar wizard Alex Masi, UK bassist Rocky Newton (MSG, Lionheart) and American frontman Eric Golbach (Starship's Craig Chaquico, WWE, The Aqua Nets).
As many hard / hair rock bands from the late '80s, they were sunk with the birth of the grunge in Seattle.
"Thanks Seattle...For Killing My Band And My Dreams!" (hence the funny title) contains 16 tracks recorded by the band between 1988-1991, but never released.
Royal Blood used to play typical late '80s American Hard Rock with some Hair touches, specially the earlier material. At first listen found these song collection too much diverse, but after a few repeats I was truly hooked by many songs.
Bass player Rocky Newton songwriting style is noticeable (he has written several MSG songs, and even collaborated with Def Leppard among others) while Alex Masi's pen is definitely hard rock oriented.
Lead singer Eric Golbach was receiving offers to sing for the likes of Peter Criss or Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), and it's clear why. He has a powerful throat and the trained meanings of the genre, with a timbre similar to a young Jamie St. James (Black 'N Blue) and Ray Gillen in places.
Alex Masi playing is terrific, his George Lynch-like chops and attack are all over, with melting solos and a huge sound.
In fact, several songs here recalls George Lynch's solo album 'Sacred Groove', as the guitar fueled "Something You Should Know" with its gang-like backing vocals, and "If You Wanted To Kill Me". Also "Outrageous" and the melodic "A Better Way" are in the style of Lynch's post Dokken band Lynch's Mob.
More commercial tunes can be found on the catchy "Move Me", with a chorus and a vibe in the MSG-McAuley's '87 style, or the Leppardized "Every Dog Has It's Day".
On some songs the band shows some heavy bluesy sounds ala Badlands, heard on "Do Or Die" and "Move Me".
The band sounds as White Lion meets Van Halen in "I Don't Want Her", with Masi playing some awesome Eddie trademark licks and scales.
"Under Fire" was already recorded by Alex Masi for his solo album 'Attack of the Neon Shark' (performed by Jeff Scott Soto there). This version is more relaxed and 'hair' oriented.
"Thanks Seattle...For Killing My Band And My Dreams!" is a pretty good collection of songs, diverse, but all enrolled into the arena American Hard Rock classic style of the late '80 / earlier '90's.
Tight performances, fine songwriting for the genre and good quality sound, although some are pre-production demos. This album is also a huge surprise for the fans of underrated guitar virtuoso Alex Masi, who plays smokin' solos and great rhythm guitars here.
Royal Blood arrived too late into the scene, they had talent and deserved better luck.
1 - Do Or Die
2 - Something You Should Know
3 - Angel Of Love
4 - Can You Hear Me? (For A Friend)
5 - Boys Get Tough
6 - If You Wanted To Kill Me
7 - I Don't Want Her
8 - Every Dog Has It's Day
9 - Under Fire
10 - (It's My) Groove Thang
11 - Tear It Down
12 - Move Me
13 - Bring On the Night
14 - Flying
15 - Outrageous
16 - A Better Way
Alex Masi - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Rocky Newton (ex MSG, Lionheart) - Bass, Backing Vocals
Eric E. Golbach - Lead Vocals
Peter Larrieu - Drums
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SLASH, one of the more instantly recognizable contemporary hard rock guitarists, is releasing his first ever live solo album 'Made In Stoke 24/7/11'.
In fact, this is his 2nd 'real solo' album, as he has played and recorded continuously but always under different band monikers.
On Slash's 2010 self-titled release, the guitarist worked with some of rock's greatest singers – Ozzy, Lemmy, Chris Cornell and Iggy Pop, among others.
When it came time to tour, those vocalists obviously had other commitments, so the guitarist recruited Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy, as well as bassist Todd Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz, to travel around the world with him. He wasn't looking for this to be a long-term band, but the chemistry was undeniable.
That cohesion is on display on "Made In Stoke 24/7/11", a live chronicle of the guitarist's return to UK Stoke-On-Trent, the town where he was raised until the age of five.
The set list featured at this Stoke-on-Trent performance is a 21-song-long marathon spanning basically every band, side project and solo album Slash has put out so far.
For instance, the opening track "Been There Lately" is from Ain’t Life Grand, a Slash’s Snakepit album (one of his side projects during the time before Guns n’ Roses disbanded).
The concert then rolls into "Night Train" a classic Guns n’ Roses song in which the Stoke-on-Trent audience takes great pleasure in singing aloud.
"Ghost" then comes, the first song in the set list that is off of Slash’s new record. His style of songwriting fits with his classics, but still has a very fresh sound to it. Along with Myles Kennedy’s agile vocals, many of the songs featured in this performance are highlights of the night, especially "Back From Cali", a single from Slash’s solo record.
A last minute edition to the solo LP, the song actually ended up being one of the singles and is the first song on the album to feature Myles Kennedy as a collaboration. "Back From Cali" is one of the best songs Slash has written, but its bluesy intro and explosive chorus make it something set apart from the classic Guns 'N Roses and Velvet Revolver hits. There is a maturity to "Back From Cali", and Kennedy’s singing is superb.
The concert continues with many Guns hits such as "Rocket Queen", "Civil War", "Patience", "Sweet Child O' Mine", "Mr. Brownstone", where the band and specially Myles Kennedy does a great job revitalizing these classics.
Slash’s guitar playing is inspired throughout the performance, especially on "Grandfather Solo" where Slash performs a medley of riffs and leads before launching into the signature opening of the classic "Sweet Child O’ Mine".
"Sliver" then follows, a favorite amongst Velvet Revolver fans. Kennedy valiantly tries to mirror Scott Weiland’s lengthier tone but ends up sounding like Myles Kennedy singing a Revolver tune. Nevertheless, the song is a landmark in Slash’s career.
Talking about classics, "Paradise City" then closes out the night in a killer version, a fitting end to a performance that had a lot of different allusions to the past, the present and the future.
Slash has done so much in his career and the performance in "Made In Stoke" shows it. It's a very, very professional played and performed show. The musicianship is phenomenal, the set list is well-thought out and there is no doubt that fans of Slash’s playing will enjoy this live album immensely.
Particularly G 'N R fans, as this is the closest to how the legendary band should sound today, hot and rockin', but extremely 'pro' (Axl take note).
General rock listeners have a lot to enjoy in this album as well, as it is a means to discover a lot of Slash’s lesser known material and at the same time experience his signature brand of trademark axe shredding.
Released as double-disc CD and a special-edition 2CD+DVD package, "Made In Stoke" really Rocks.
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"Here And Now", the seventh studio album from Canadians NICKELBACK is set to hit stores this week.
Loved and hated equally, their commercial hard rock / pop never have been of my preference, but that's not the point here.
Seems the 'cool thing' is to hate Nickelback, specially the press. Meanwhile, the band sold a combined 21 million copies of their last six albums when no one was buying records.
The truth is that they aren't half bad, you can't deny they're good at what they do: commercial poppy tunes with some distorted guitar.
So why it is reviewed here?
Because on this new album we can appreciate some really good hard rockers. Seriously. And the grungy and 'modern rock' sound are gone, at least for the most part.
Amongst they typical stuff that I don't care, there's a really well crafted hardrocker on "Bottoms Up". Strong riff on this one, not tuned down, just on full octane. The song is constructed on a classic hard rock skeleton and the overall sound is pretty retro eighties, even seventies, complete with wah-wah.
Another interesting one is the stomping "Midnight Queen", with its furious early nineties hard rock overtones, not grunge at all. In fact, it's a catchy and good rocker with a cool (short) guitar solo.
"Here And Now" is a pretty standard Nickelback record. There’s some small variations from the formula here but nothing ground breaking.
You have your typical Top 40 sound oriented tracks, the ballads, etc., but only 1/3 of the album are slower songs, so haters stop whining about it.
People need to constantly be reminded that Nickelback is a rock band. With their poppy chart intentions, yes, but not bad at all. You like it or not.
That's why it is reviewed here; many people likes Nickelback.
And if you like it, with "Here And Now" you won't be disappointed.
01 - This Means War
02 - Bottoms Up
03 - When We Stand Together
04 - Midnight Queen
05 - Gotta Get Me Some
06 - Lullaby
07 - Kiss It Goodbye
08 - Trying Not To Love You
09 - Holding On To Heaven
10 - Everything I Wanna Do
11 - Don't Ever Let It End
Chad Kroeger – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Ryan Peake – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Mike Kroeger – bass
Daniel Adair – drums, backing vocals
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At this point, with almost a 40-year career, UK's MAGNUM are some kind of institution in the Melodic Rock scene.
Their successful last albums have seen critics and fans comparing them to the glory days of the '80s when albums such as ‘On A Storytellers Night’ or ‘Vigilante’ saw Magnum at the top of their creativeness.
Due this musical renaissance and a whole new generation rediscovering their back catalogue, Magnum have decided to re-visit their past decade albums.
"Evolution" is a reflection of that, consisting of songs released only after the bands' reformation in 2001.
"Evolution" offers 2 tracks from each last five albums, all have been re-mixed, tweaked, polished, and a few bits and pieces have been re-recorded. Plus, there's two brand new songs to enjoy.
Magnum’s sound has evolved over the past decade and that is shown in the remixes making the songs more cohesive to listen to here on one album.
This new make up - particularly the re-recorded parts - are most noticeable on the first four tracks, with an enhanced and strong guitar sound.
The first two, taken from the album 'Breath Of Life' had been clearly benefited by new Clarkins' biting guitars.
On "That Holy Touch" Bob Catley’s partially re-recorded vocals sound brighter in the mix along with a fresh rhythm section the whole song sounds ‘bigger’ than the original studio recording.
"Just Like January" too has grown in stature thanks to some sympathetic enhancing. Harry James’ newly recorded drums and Al Barrow’s beefed up bass serve to flesh out the whole affair. The majestic orchestration is also raised a notch with some Mark Stanway’s keyboard swathes sounding better than ever.
The album ‘Brand New Morning’ is represented by the coupling of the title track and "Immigrant Song". These songs are a sonic revelation. The former has always had an opening crunch to it, but now it is ready to move up a weight division with Clarkin’s guitar and Barrow’s bass adding some significant punch. James’ drums also sound huge and add that killer left hook.
"Immigrant Song" is possibly the biggest improvement, and one that Barrow personally feels has had a sympathetic 'face-lift'. The re-recorded bass and guitars give the song greater depth and weight.
"When We Were Younger" has been given a fresh lease of life and has far more impact than when first heard on the album 'Princess Alice & The Broken Arrow'. The song has a new edge to it with James’ drums and some over-hauled guitar.
One of my favorites of the new era is the infectious "All My Bridges". The newly recorded seasoned rhythm section has enhanced the song fist-pumping-pomp style. Love it.
The 2 new tracks are really good.
"The Fall" is an instant and catchy tune with an uplifting vibe. Stanway’s tender keyboards give way to a melodious guitar riff. This mid tempo rocker cleverly eases through the gears with Catley’s voice creating amazing vocal melodies sounding better than ever.
"Do You Know Who You Are?" has a distinct '80s AOR feel plenty of hooks. It's full of lovely keyboards and a soaring vocal delivery by Catley. This is a song you'll find humming to yourself long after it has finished. One of their best songs ever.
Very often bands add ‘new’ tracks to flesh out albums such as these, but this is most certainly not the case here.
If this is a look into Magnum's future, then there is much to look forward to.
"Evolution" celebrate this second era of Magnum very well and is a fantastic introduction to those who don’t own any of the recent releases.
But if you are a fan and already have their recent Cd's, this is essential as well, because with these remixes and uplifted sound this package sounds as a 'whole new' album, cohesive and integral.
The engineering is terrific, all sounds perfect, crisp and vital.
"Evolution" is excellent, and even if you have the albums that have been sampled, you really need to hear the great two new tracks and enjoy the brilliant re-mixes.
A Must Have.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrock
Bob Catley - vocals
Mark Stanway - keyboards
Tony Clarkin - guitars
Al Barrow - bass, backing vocals
Gary "Harry" James - drums
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Founded last year by veteran rock vocalist/songwriter Robert Fleischman (Journey / Vinnie Vincent Invasion), THE SKY is releasing their self-produced, self-titled debut album.
Although the singer recorded various solo albums and has been part of bands including Channel and the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, he seems destined to always be known as 'the first front man of Journey' (preceding Steve Perry by nine months or so) between the albums 'Next' and 'Infinity'.
Upon his induction with Journey to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Robert's desire to perform live was again inspired.
After auditioning musicians in his native town of Los Angeles, he decided to look into a different circle of players. LA session drummer Andre LaBelle, who played with Robert in the past with ex Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent, had relocated to Virginia.
Robert soon discovered that Richmond was exploding with talent and decided to develop the band in Virginia. Holding down the rhythm section is drummer Andre LaBelle and bassist Steve Barber. The guitars are provided by Stephan LaJaunie and Brady Cole.
THE SKY plays handmade, song-driven rock & roll with punch.
It's high energy music with a classic rock pattern, up front guitars and a direct style. In fact, most of the album was recorded live in the studio.
Their sound is a balance of classic American Rock and some Brit-pop with a bit of psychedelia, a cocktail where The Who, The Cult, Tom Petty or The Rolling Stones comes to mind.
Any questions about what the listener is going to experience or what the band is about are quickly answered when "All I Want" bangs loudly at your door until "Boomerang" with it's more brooding but no less punchy riff decides not to wait and just kicks it in. Good songs if you like this genre.
I don't like at all the dissonant "In And Out", but things change colors with the retro Brit sounding "The Real Beat" and the Tom Petty-like follower "Dancing In My Head" with its Cheap Trick influences as well. Both are have more restrained and open wide guitars.
The bluesy, melodic classic rocker "Revelation" is one of the best tracks here, together with the acoustically driven "Smile". Both songs deliver the necessary change of pace that stops the album from being one-dimensional in intensity.
"Time" is another of the really good tracks of the CD. It has a radio-friendly vibe with harmony and backing vocals countered by edgy guitar riffs. Here is where Fleischman's voice really sounds melodic, just the way I like.
After many years Robert Fleischman is back with a new band, and that's a good thing. I would preferred a more melodic music as in his days with Channel, but the man has opted to 'rock on' with straight rock.
Some of "The Sky" rockers work pretty well, some others not. Many tracks are vibrant, energetic and really exude rock 'n roll pulse, while others are boring and with some Brit-pop touches that personally don't like.
For the most part I think these are well crafted songs for this genre, and all the musicians involved are more than competent.
The debut album from "The Sky" may not be perfect but considering it is the vehicle for Fleischman's return, it's more than welcomed.
If you like guitar driven rock with big riffs and a live feel, this is for you.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 - All I Want
02 - Boomerang
03 - In And Out
04 - The Real Beat
05 - Dancing In My Head
06 - Revelation
07 - Broken Glass
08 - Smile
09 - Drowning Man
10 - Time
11 - Sunshine
Robert Fleischman (lead vocals)
Stephan LaJaunie (guitar)
Brady Cole (guitar)
Steve Barber (bass)
Andre LaBelle (drums)
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Golden Swedes HOUSTON are releasing "Relaunch", a new album covering classic AOR songs.
Produced – as with the ‘Houston’ debut – by AOR connoisseur Ricky Delin, includes one new original track (written by Delin) plus two bonus acoustic tracks recently recorded.
Says Houston drummer & core member, Freddie Allen:
“This year has been so great for Houston, with the first album getting so much recognition, so we just wanted to show everyone where we come from musically. ‘Relaunch’ is a way of paying tribute to our heroes, whilst at the same time updating today’s audience on the classic AOR songs we have loved for so long.
The Michael Bolton composition ‘Carrie’ was a track we felt has been somewhat overlooked through the years, and the same with the Laura Branigan ballad, ‘Didn’t We Almost Win It All’.
Meanwhile, ‘Runaway’, the opening track, by Dakota, is a genuinely classic song, and that’s also true of Airrace’s ‘Brief Encounter’.
To top it all off, our producer Ricky Delin wrote a new song called ‘Without Your Love’, and the mini-album also includes acoustic versions of two of the debut album’s songs, which we recorded in London back in March.
We sincerely hope you will enjoy this record as much as we do!”
Just wait to listen their awesome version of "Carrie", the great song criminally underrated between AOR circles, or the driven take on Airrace's "Brief Encounter", my favorites here.
"Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya" remains as one of my top songs ever. Houston version is more modernized and spacey, with a big guitar solo. Really good.
A surprise (a good one) is to find Laura Branigan's "Didn’t We Almost Win It All", beautiful ballad covered with Houston's elegant touches, they excel on these kind tunes.
Another perennial top classic song is "Runaway", nicely arranged here.
I am a sucker for everything recorded by Houston, and "Relaunch" is not the exception.
This magic duo has the melodies, the talent and that 'special touch' necessary to be elegant and different into the AOR genre.
1) Runaway (originally recorded by US AORsters Dakota)
2) Carrie (originally recorded by Michael Bolton)
3) Brief Encounter (originally recorded by UK melodic maestros Airrace and featuring Airrace’s Laurie Mansworth on guest guitar)
4) Don’t You Know What Love Is (originally recorded by US outfit Touch, the first band ever to play the Monsters Of Rock festival, and featuring Touch's keyboard player Mark Mangold on guest vox)
5) Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya (originally recorded by US Pompsters New England, whose self-titled debut album was produced by Kiss’ Paul Stanley)
6) Didn’t We Almost Win It All (originally recorded by the late Laura Branigan)
7) Without Your Love (New 2011 song written by Ricky Delin; a duet with Amaranthe front-woman Elize Ryd)
8) Truth Slips (New 2011 acoustic recording)
9) 1000 Songs (New 2011 acoustic recording)
Hampus 'Hank' Erix - Lead Vocals
Freddie Allen - Drums
Laurie Mansworth - guest guitar
Mark Mangold - guest keyboards, backing vocals
Elize Ryd - guest vocals
"The Ghost You Gave To Me" is the sixth album from Woodstock, New York band "3" (also known as Three).
The name of the band originally stems from founder Joey Eppard's own fascination with the number: "It is a reference to the construct of our reality as having predominantly 3 aspects. For example, we live in a 3 dimensional universe on the 3rd planet from the sun, experiencing time as past, present and future in a form that consists of mind, body and spirit."
Much more than that strange proggy band that seems out of place on the Metal Blade label, "3" is a melodic prog rock institution, which still doesn't accurately describe what this creative act are all about. The genre-defying diversity of their music is what gives them the self-proclaimed title of a hybrid band.
But the most vital pieces of information concerning 3 are the depth of beauty, lush and meticulously performed instrumentation, and the surprising amount of catchy material on every album.
"The Ghost You Gave to Me" may include the catchiest batch of their tunes yet.
The upper range ethereality of Joey Eppard's vocals, as well as the many colors painted with his unique style of acoustic and electric guitar playing, along with the solid guitars of Billy Riker, continue to be a big part of 3's sound on this new recording. Those delicate touches that reach so deep and the subtle, yet somehow bursting beams of light created, which collectively transcend popular notions of the guitar, are what have always been this band's trademark.
The rhythm team of bassist Daniel Grimsland and drummer Chris Gartmann (who also contributes to those ever important backing vocals) complete the musical puzzle, one of those duos that support, accent, and meander with a purpose in one giant wave of percussive and low-end might.
But what stands out even more on this album are the hooks, led by an insanely catchy cut called "React" that should be a worldwide smash hit among rock and pop fans alike.
"High Times" is another track full of melodies and harmony vocals, driven by foot-tap rhythm and sizzling guitars, which go to define 3's distinct identity.
Though "It's Alive" gets notably heavy in progressive rock terms it is the basic intensity of the chorus that still ends up sticking, just as "Pretty" penetrates and stays on terms all its own strong groove, closest to straight melodic rock.
"Numbers" starts progressive with some dark ambient but in the middle breaks out a groovy riff that could easily have come from a melodic metal band.
The band offers a lighter melodic rock version of itself on "On With The Sun", that conjures images of a pristine, ice covered landscape in a nice vocal melody and acoustic work supported by fantastic drum and bass work.
"Only Child” includes tribal-esque beats and unexpected shifts in direction, probably stands out as the most progressive track on the record. It's a mysterious and intriguing song.
The nearly minimalist "The Barriers" will have you offering Pink Floyd comparisons before you're forced to quality the statement by noting a vague folksiness. It's ethereal and atmospheric, and again curiously infectious.
'3' isn't your regular band for sure.
The befuddlement of searching for just the right words to capture they sound is half the fun; the other half involves the pure enjoyment of the music that the band has created on "The Ghost You Gave To Me".
The entire album serves up a helping of prog with a side of non traditional metal, and as would be expected there are numerous transitions and changes in sound and structure. The changes occur frequently within songs so that each track has a bit of the heavy, a bit of the melodic, a bit of the mainstream rock, and so on.
3's songs are driven by Joey Eppard's smooth immediately recognizable melodic singing which has expanded in range and goes in several new directions, supported by the musicality of the rest of the band, specially Chris Gartmann's brilliant and expressive drumming.
With "The Ghost You Gave Me", '3' continues to transcend themselves and evolve, while still remaining entertaining and intriguing.
01 - Sirenum Scopuli (intro)
02 - React
03 - Sparrow
04 - High Times
05 - Numbers
06 - One With The Sun
07 - The Ghost You Gave To Me
08 - Pretty
09 - Afterglow
10 - Its Alive
11 - Only Child
12 - The Barrier
Joey Eppard - lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars
Billy Riker - guitars, effects
Daniel Grimsland - bass, backing vocals
Chris "Gartdrumm" Gartmann - drums, backing vocals
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