THE ELECTRIC LADY was formed around 2007 in Salo, Finland, by female singer Minna Ora and husband guitarist Kari Ora.
The pair had actually been performing together acoustically since 1998 but they wanted to give their songs more power and decided to form a full rocking band.
Since 2011 they have been writing and recording their debut and the end result is the juicy "Black Moon".
Singer and songwriter Minna Ora creates songs which could easily sit comfortably in any of the last four decades, although the sound & style is firmly planted in the '80s and early '90s female fronted hard rock.
This is classic material as heard from the start with the elegant intro "Un Ange Dans La Tour" which flows into the first main track which is the highly commercial "A Man Of That Kind". A bouncing bass line and husky vocals gives way to a jumping rockin' progression and a punchy chorus.
Another stand out track is the melodic hard rocker "Secret Love" with some cool effects filled guitar and a solid pace from the rhythm section before erupting into a driven catchy chorus.
"Who Cares" is an even more melodious with a pounding bass and drums before a most infectious chorus appears, whilst "Your Heart Is 100 Times Bigger Than Mine" demonstrate a softer ballad approach.
"You Can’t" and "Waterproof" are two more with classic rock riffs that are given modern tweaks. The former has an energetic melody that is backed up by layered keys and some powerful vocals. "Waterproof" is fuelled by a winding riff which converts to a chug in the verse with the chorus mixing both parts.
"Through Ice And Snow" and "Black Moon" are two that rank as more complex and atmospheric with both having a moody, intense feel about them and solos that are more intricate.
The album ends with the 'real' ballad, the keyboard orchestrated "That's The Way", structurally Bon Jovi-esque but arranged in a classic way plenty of strings and piano providing the back drop for Ms. Ora's sultry vocals.
The Electric Lady is a surprisingly tight unit and their debut "Black Moon" is a fun, energetic and organic '80s American-styled female fronted Melodic Hard Rock album.
This is an ideal drive time CD well suited to being blasted out on a summer's day motoring down an open winding road.
Minna Ora owns an expressive voice with a great range and style for this type of music, and she knows how to write catchy melodies for sure. Kari offers up plenty of classic riffs & progressions and effortlessly blends some modern licks with retro melodies galore. The other band members contribute fully with the drums and bass providing a solid engine for this rock vehicle whilst the ever present keys add even more '80s feel.
Production is solid, clear and polished.
"Black Moon" as a whole is held together by very good songwriting and splendid musicianship, making this an absolute belter of a record.
01 - Prelude 'Un Ange Dans La Tour'
02 - A Man Of That Kind
03 - Secret Love
04 - Your Heart Is 100 Times Bigger Than Mine
05 - Let It Rain
06 - You Can't
07 - Through Ice And Snow
08 - Who Cares
09 - Waterproof
10 - Black Moon
11 - That's The Way
Minna Ora – Vocals
Kari Ora – Guitars
Jussi Sinervo – Bass
Samuli Jokinen – Keyboards
Pepe Lindholm – Drums
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Thursday, September 27, 2012
the REAL one
ELF PROJECT is a trio based in New York masterminded by multi-instrumentalist of New Zealand origin Carl Schultz.
Their new album "The Great Divide" is certainly a refreshing take on both neo-progressive rock and hooky melodic rock songwriting, spiced with hard hitting moments.
Elf Project style channels all those glorious sounds that Canadians Rush conjured up during the Moving Pictures, Signals and Grace Under Pressure period, including prominent keyboards now lost in the sound of Geddy Lee's band.
Opening cut "We Pay the Price" busts out of the gate with thunderous bass lines, textured guitar riffs, atmospheric keys and Carl Schultz high pitched, melodic vocals. It keeps going on strong from there.
"The Sirens Call" is a remarkable song, again driven by Schultz and his thick bass grooves and vocals, with fantastic guitar riffs from Mike Cappadozy and Dave Wayne's rock solid drum patterns.
"Love For Sale" mixes prog with Def Leppard styled arena rock, some heavier riffs and nice use of keyboards, while "Illusion" again screams '80s Rush, chock full of catchy hooks and muscular arrangements.
"Pull Me Under" is a little more complex, musically it's quite adventurous with some nifty guitar work from Cappadozy, atmospheric keyboards and fat bass lines, but the song contains catchy melodies and a great chorus.
Schultz's slippery bass slaps provide the intro to the exceptional "No More Monkey Business", a short instrumental that lets the band strut their stuff musically, complete with some nimble stick work from Wayne and layer upon layer of complex guitar riffs and patterns.
The band approaches prog metal on the heavy yet melodic "Reach Out", which features the best vocal work in the album. The sound is more 'bright' in this one.
"Heaven Above" continues on with the heaviness, while sustained riffs and haunting keys permeate the moody "What I Believe".
The album closes with the poppy "Any Other Day" delivering shimmering vocal harmonies, corpulent bass lines and soaring slide guitar.
In "The Great Divide", Elf Project looks itself into Rush's eighties mirror with great results.
The album is infectious from the start, one of those modern prog albums that just has so many feel good moments, upbeat arrangements, catchy hooks and crisp instrumentation.
In fact, the band's ability to create memorable songs cannot be overlooked, as sometimes progressive rock acts tend to overplay at the expense of the song, but not Elf Project.
I hope neo-prog and melodic rock fans don't miss this CD - as it's released by a small label - because contains quality music ready to please listeners of both genres.
01 - We Pay The Price
02 - The Sirens Call
03 - Love For Sale
04 - Illusion
05 - Pull Me Under
06 - No More Monkey Business
07 - Reach Out
08 - Heaven Above
09 - What I Believe
10 - Any Other Day
Carl Schultz: Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Production
Mike Cappadozy: Guitars
Dave Wayne: Drums, Percussion
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WIRELESS were one of the best kept secrets in Canadian rock.
An obscure Toronto - via Australia - based quartet with a neat line in quirky yet powerful hard rock, sending out a message with every turn of the screw.
Prior to "No Static" the band had issued two warmly received if poorly selling albums leaving them to question their very existence.
Indeed, all but resigned to breaking up, word reached Rush bassist/singer Geddy Lee who immediately jumped to the rescue, offering his production services if they would consider sticking together and making another album.
Faced with such overwhelming enthusiasm and a label (Anthem) keen as mustard to bank roll another record, they humbly acceded to demand.
Recorded at Le Studio, Moran Heights, just outside Montreal, "No Static" takes the Wireless mandate to its logical conclusion, crafting arguably the band's definitive musical statement.
Geddy Lee's hands on approach documents a band very much on the attack, leading by example and ramping up the energy level on all fronts. Mike Tilka from Max Webster Band also helped in the process.
Heavier, harder, yet always hummable, "No Static" makes its intent clear from the lead-off track "Pay To Ride" through to the very closing fade of "Journey Of A Possible Hero" and all points in between.
Look out for the epic "East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon", a peach of a tune perfectly encapsulating Wireless' ability impress at every turn.
Properly released on CD for the first time, the sound quality on "No Static" is second to none in this excellent digital remaster.
The complete liner notes takes a deep inside look at the group's creation, roots and demise, a pleasant memorabilia for any '80s rock music fan and collector.
Another great rescue by Rock Candy to a Canadian band that's faded away but not forgotten by true hard rock enthusiasts.
01 - Pay To Ride
02 - Timekeeper
03 - Go Naked Through The World
04 - One Of A Kind
05 - East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon
06 - Deep Heat
07 - Warm Night With A 3/4 Moon
08 - Friends
09 - Journey Of A Possible Hero
Mike Crawford - guitars & backing vocals
Steve McMurray - guitars & backing vocals
Allan Marshall - bass, lead backing vocals
Marty Morin - drums & backing vocals
Produced by Geddy Lee (Rush)
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CHRIS THOMPSON is one of those people who has helped shape the history of rock music and you could definitely say he's one of the 'voices of rock'.
With his distinctive vocal style the man has thrilled us on albums by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Night, Gary Moore, Alan Parsons, Starship and so on.
After leaving Manfred Mann's Earth Band he has embarked on a successful solo career, which sees him mostly touring Germany and Scandinavia, places where classic rock acts are still thriving when it comes to live performances.
From one such tour comes his latest live album, "Berlin Live", a 2CD/DVD combo, which is a mouth-watering prospect for any Chris Thompson fan.
As Chris is best remembered for his role as Manfred Mann Earth Band singer and that's what the fans still want to hear, we naturally find that the tracklist is dominated by MMEB material.
His back-up band of Scandinavian musicians is leaded by Norwegian guitar wizard Mads Eriksen, and the group puts its own slant on things and aren't afraid to branch out in directions that MMEB didn't go. That's said; a more classic / melodic rock orientation.
Thompson and the band sure know how to polish these already pretty flawless jewels.
Besides the MMEB material - which is a must at Chris Thompson shows these days - a few nice surprises also tickle our adventurous nerves.
We have some of Chris' classic songs with Night and from his solo albums, but the greatest surprise comes in the never heard arrangement of "You're the Voice", a song which Chris co-wrote for John Farham's huge hit.
Other welcomed inclusions are the swaying, harmonica-oiled blues "Whole Lot To Give" from his collaboration with Mads Eriksen - who has a solo spot here on "Davy's on the Road Again" (great guitar playing) - and a graceful, breezy version of "Hot Summer Night" from the singer's underrated late '70s project Night.
Still, the emotional zenith comes down with the classic "If You Remember Me", and the bare-bones "For You", a measure of the artist's dedication to his audience who's thanked, each one by name, in the booklet.
Live albums are usually intended for fans. "Berlin Live" is much more than that.
Actually most of these great songs find a new shape here, almost like a new material with new arrangements and some tour de force performances.
The band is in full flight on the whole album. They bring a breath of fresh air to all the songs and offer Chris a variety of choices. Most of all, the group seems to be enjoying itself and Thompson sounds really good, totally convincing in his delivery and performance.
This is a 'real live' album, no overdubs. "Berlin Live" is the full experience: repertoire, performances, live audience reaction. Just the full concert as if you were there.
01 - Father of day
02 - Wasting time
03 - Spirits in the night
04 - Hot summer nights
05 - Martha's madman
06 - Land of the long white cloud
07 - Whole lot to give
08 - If you remember me
09 - Don't kill it Carol
10 - Redemption song
11 - Runner
12 - Mighty Quinn
01 - Piece for the wicked
02 - You Angel you
03 - Davy's on the road again
04 - Blinded by the light
05 - For you
06 - You're the voice
07 - Questions
Chris Thompson - Vocals, Guitar
Mads Eriksen - Guitars
Gunnar Bjelland - Keyboards
Frank Hovland - Bass
Zsolt Meszaros - Drums
Steinar Krokstad - Drums
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Tribute albums are all about the band being paid the tribute. Even if they themselves may never appear on the album, their compositions will be examined and executed from a different angle than what fans will have been familiar with.
"Tales From The Edge; A Tribute To The Music Of Yes" is a very interesting one
as there's not the usual covers done million times such as 'Roundabout' or 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'.
Instead, it really takes a deep look into Yes lesser know numbers like "To Be Over" or "White Car", and performed by groups relatively new to the Prog scene.
Acts like The Samurai Of Prog, 3RD Degree, and Italy's Conqueror are already stablished groups but the rest are pretty unaware for the proggy fans, and their performances impress you to the point of wanting to check out their own work.
Periplo offers a violin-rich rendition of "To Be Over" that develops upon the original. The vocals are a tad grating, but the music is a phenomenal rendition of one of Yes' greatest songs.
I had never heard Italians Vanilla Project before, but listening their brilliant classical arrangement of "Heart of the Sunrise" is something to behold. With the occasional heavy metal kick, and vocals that betray their progressive heritage, Vanilla Project's contribution is among the very best here.
While much of this tribute relies on intense, bombastic performance, Marco Mason's "Show Me" is subtle, acoustic and works wonderfully.
The Samurai Of Prog deliver "Starship Trooper" in a way that recreates the energy of the original, although they don't go much beyond the call with it. Brazilian cover band Yessongs do much the same with "Siberian Khatru", and it's often uncanny how close to the true Yes they're able to sound.
Greenwall's cover of the simple love song "Onward" even goes as far as to sound like smooth R&B, which - depending on where you stand with it - is either a good or bad thing.
TenMidnight do a version of "Tempus Fugit" from Yes' Trevor Horn 'Drama' era, and while they par the original with skill and arrangement, it lacks the intense energy that made the original so cool.
Yesterdays comes in with something completely different on "White Car," which is almost twice as long as the original and bears no resemblance to it. But it's good and enchanting.
"Run Through the Light" by Aquael, another frequently overlooked Yes song, is little different from the original except the sound is fuller toward the end and the vocalist appears to be female, which suits the song well.
"The Fish" gets a grittier rendering with various electric guitars, one of which is fed through a wah pedal. The huskier vocals on "Machine Messiah" gives the song a different vibe even though the instrumentation and arrangement are nearly identical to the original version.
On the other hand, The Opium Cartel gives a complete makeover on "Clear Days", taking on a symphonic electronica sound with low, hushed vocals. Very cool. The "Heart of the Sunrise" presented here has an orchestral introduction before sounding like a straightforward cover.
Truly, these and the rest of the performances on "Tales From The Edge; A Tribute To The Music Of Yes" are all worthy of a listen, although some artists here take more of a welcome risk than others.
YES are one of the Gods in the Prog Olympus, and "Tales From The Edge; A Tribute To The Music Of Yes" is an exciting prospect to hear some fellow fans of the almighty band paying homage in their own way.
This very well recorded Tribute also serves as a comfortable way to be introduced to the passion of many lesser-known prog acts.
Whether it's for Yes or a promising window-shop for talented prog artists, this double CD is worth checking out.
1. The Samurai of Prog - Starship Trooper
2. Periplo - To Be Over
3. Aquael - Run Through the Light
4. zerothehero - The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
5. SETI - Machine Messiah
6. The Opium Cartel - Clear Days
7. Vanilla Project - Heart of the Sunrise
8. TenMidnight - Tempus Fugit
9. Yessongs - Siberian Kathru
10. B612 - Long Distance Runaround
11. Aurora Lunare - Don't Kill the Whale
12. Greenwall - Onward
13. Yesterdays - White Car
1. Luca Scherani - Holy Lamb
2. Jay Tausig - Wonderous Stories
3. Raven Sad - Soon
4. Supernal Endgame - Parallels
5. Subterra - Shock to the System
6. Stefano Vicarelli - Mood for a Day
7. Conqueror - Lift Me Up
8. Armalite - Time and a Word
9. Spirits Burning - South Side of the Sky
10. 3rDegree - Going for the One
11. Alessandro Corvaglia featuring Matteo Nahum - And You And I
12. Marco Masoni - Show Me
13. Din Within - Changes
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Winnipeg's prodigal sons HARLEQUIN were a fine example of an act that benefited from what was called 'CanCon' : Canadian Content, a local Commission that required radio and television broadcasters must air a certain percentage of content at least partly written, produced, presented or otherwise contributed to by persons from Canada.
It didn't hurt either that Harlequin were ‘accidently’ signed to the giant, international CBS corporation, following the absorption of an independent production company that the band had signed to earlier in their career.
"Love Crimes" was the second (but first on a major label) album from the band, produced by Jack ‘Aerosmith’ Douglas in New York at the famed Record Plant Studios.
It was an album achieving Platinum status in Canada, making inroads into the US where the band played shows with the likes of Survivor, Triumph and John Waite.
Featuring an amazing vocalist (George Belanger), superbly crafted songs and a melodic yet hard hitting sound, "Love Crimes" remains a classic creation, with rough-hewn guitar work, lovely keyboards, memorable melody and hugely satisfying hooks.
Of course radio-potent melodic rock was only one side of "Harlequin"s sound. True to their name, Harlequin induce an undercurrent of theatricality to their sound which, at parts, comes through the vocals and rhythm section on such songs as "Heaven" and "Love on the Rocks".
For the biggest part, however, "Love Crimes" remains a straightforward early '80s Melodic Rock / AOR offering that could stand toe to toe with Survivor or Foreigner.
The album features one of the band's greatest hits in "Innocence" (just love this tune, a Classic), the gloriously melodic "It's All Over Now" and the intense "Can't Hold Back", all first class melodic rockers that shine even brighter thanks to this awesome re-mastering process.
Long time out of print, the Rock Candy 24-bit remastering from original source tapes of "Love Crimes" is excellent.
I highly recommend that you catch it before it disappears again.
01 - Innocence
02 - Love On The Rocks
03 - Thinking Of You
04 - It's All Over Now
05 - Heaven (Dial 999)
06 - Sayin' Goodbye To The Boys
07 - Wait For The Night
08 - Crime Of Passion
09 - Can't Hold Back
10 - Midnight Magic
George Belanger - vocals
Glen Willows - guitars
Gary Golden - keyboards
Ralph James - bass
David Budzak - drums
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British legend MAGNUM has been 40 years in the music business delivering quality.
Although the band's sixteenth studio album "On The Thirteenth Day" isn't likely to see Magnum occupying the lofty heights of their pomp, pop and prog glory years, that's no fault of their core duo: vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist/songwriter Tony Clarkin.
Time moves on and fashions change, and the kind of lush, melodic fare that Clarkin composes is now appreciated by a more discerning audience than in the band's heyday.
"On The Thirteenth Day" expands itself upon the impressive catalogue Magnum have amassed over the decades and stands tall and proud alongside their most revered releases. The formula runs pretty close to the last three Magnum offerings; 'Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow', 'Into The Valley Of The Moonking' and 'The Visitation', but considering how pleasing on the ear they all were, the fact that "On The Thirteenth Day" betters them is recommendation enough.
Ease into the uplifting "Shadow Town", the ever building and instantly memorable "So Let It Rain" (the stick in your head song of the album), the wonderfully titled and welcomingly familiar "Blood Red Laughter", or stomping, melancholy intent of "From Within" for confirmation that this is a vintage motor still running at full tilt.
Pleasingly there are a couple of curve-balls, with "Dance Of The Black Tattoo" having a chunkier riff than this band are known for, while "Broken Promises" follows a similar path, but with a bluesier edge.
The voice of the band, Bob Catley, maybe sounds a little lived in these days, but few frontmen can offer up the warmth and emotion of his delivery, while long standing keyboard player Mark Stanway adds the layers of atmosphere that mark out the Magnum signature sound.
The 'most recent' lads also stack up well, with Harry James on drums and bassist Al Barrow proving once again that having the most solid of rhythm sections is priceless in any band of any genre.
However without guitar player and songwriter Tony Clarkin, this band simply wouldn't be, so let's all doff our caps to 'The Hat' and pay reverence to yet another cracking set of songs and another stunning six string performance.
"On The Thirteenth Day" is a fantastic blend of all of the elements with which Magnum have impressed, seduced and won our affection for almost as long as we can remember now.
This is a quite a diverse set of songs but all with the Magnum signature sound, ranging from hard edge rockers, sing along melodic anthems and technically clever ballads with very meaningful lyrics. All definitely melodious and commercial yet in a way sophisticated.
"On The Thirteenth Day" is an impressive statement from a band that would have every right to be sitting with their feet up and living off past glories at this stage of their careers.
The fact that they are not is a reason to rejoice.
01. All The Dreamers
02. Blood Red Laughter
03. Didn't Like You Anyway
04. On The 13th Day
05. So Let It Rain
06. Dance Of The Black Tattoo
07. Shadow Town
08. Putting Things In Place
09. Broken Promises
10. See How They Fall
11. From Within
Bonus Disc 2:
01. Those Were the Days (Demo From 1988-89) 04:14
02. Eyes Like Fire (Full Version) 05:26
03. Blood Red Laughter (Acoustic Version) 04:13
04. We All Need to Be Loved (Live From Prague CZ) 05:17
05. Shadow Town (Acoustic Version) 05:01
06. Moonking (Live From Mannheim D) 06:29
Vocals: Bob Catley
Guitars: Tony Clarkin
Keyboards: Mark Stanway
Bass: Al Barrow
Drums: Harry James
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Since forming in 2007 near Oslo, Norway, THE WHEEL have been recording their debut album while building a name in the live circuit. Playing alongside UFO, Ken Hensley and The Quireboys at festivals has gained them a reputation of a rock solid live band in Scandinavia.
Their self-titled CD was initially presented last year, and now with a better distribution company behind them, The Wheel are ready to show the world their sonic combination of the '70s, '80s and '90s.
At first glance it may look weird on paper, but their sound mixture works really well interspersing blistering guitar riffs from '70s references like Led Zeppelin, Free and the first Van Halen, with a nod to '80s acts like Badlands and spiced with '90s bands like Soundgarden, but the latter only related to the vocals.
Occurs that The Wheel's singer Jan Erik Salvesen vocal color is a mix between Chris Cornell and Sammy Hagar, but the musical focus in the band is driven by founder member Orjan Kvalvik's guitars containing echoes of both Eddie Van Halen and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.
"Into The Water", for example, is a prime slice of good-time rock about the simple pleasures of hitting the beach, with the recognition of summer's 'sunny days gettin´ shorter'. The track feels like it could've been lifted right off Van Halen's '5150'.
Those looking for a little more bluesy hard rock will enjoy the Zepp-style slide-guitar-and-scream of "Love".
The slow melodic rocker "Sparks" has a great hook and an excellent vocal job. The Wheel claims influence from earlier Van Halen, but this song sounds very much like Sammy Hagar's eighties time with the band. Really good one.
And they keep offering variation in the Badland's influenced "Stand Up!" featuring some huge percussion and old school guitar work, contrasting with the Chris Cornell-like vocalisation. Strange but effective.
The Wheel breaks out the blues on the slow starting "Lost Souls". This is a very 'sassy' song that shows the band can write a mean song no matter what time frame they are looking at. There is nothing fancy about this track, it's just a good ole' hard blues tune produced the way it should be.
Some great bass work and a jamming feel mark "Walk On Out". The vocals come across as a little strained, but it does remind me of bands in the past. There is a great build to the chorus and once again the songwriting and instrumental talent shines through.
One of the greatest things Van Halen brought to rock — besides Eddie's insane guitar skills — was an unabashed sense of fun. Where Sabbath moped and wailed about Satan and Zeppelin shrieked about myths, David Lee Roth was all about girls and good times. This was metal with a smile.
The Norwegian rockers in The Wheel recapture that feeling on the band's self-titled debut disc.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a VH clone with guitar fireworks, no. The comparison comes from the feeling, the riffs and song structures. But as said, The Wheel turn their style & sound track-after-track, and this is not a disjointed disc at all.
All sounds reminscent of the last 40 years in Rock, but delivered in very different, tasty way. There is a huge trend right now of classic rock coming back and being integrated into the sound of current hard rock bands, but I really don't know of many bands looking to such different eras and genres to make a sound.
And The Wheel does it. And Rocks. And very, very good I'd say.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrockz
01 - Stand Up!
02 - Into The Water
03 - Love
04 - Tellin' No Lies
05 - Sparks
06 - Lost Soul
07 - Comin' On
08 - Walk On Out
09 - Cry Of The Night
10 - All This Time
Jan Erik Salvesen (ex- Salvation Army) - Vocals
Orjan Kvalvik (ex- Quantum Force) - Guitars
Igor N. Fazliullin - Bass
Bjorn Olav Lauvdal (ex- Evenrude) - Drums
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Founded at the end of the seventies, DEMON growth from being just another NWOBHM act into one of the most musically interesting and socially aware rock bands of their age.
After four successful albums blending metal with progressive overtones, guitarist & composer Mal Spooner - one of the creative forces of the band - sadly passed away.
Demon decided to continue as a band, and their next album "Heart Of Our Time" featured singer Dave Hill now forging a new songwriting partnership with keysman Steve Watts, and guitarist Andy Waterhouse suddenly founding himself as main six-string axeman.
Musically, "Heart Of Our Time" shows a band going through changes and exploring new territories: the uprising UK Melodic Hard Rock movement from the mid-eighties. Definitely the most commercial album of all their catalogue and my favorite from this group.
Some tracks still retain the glossy prog sounds from the previous works, but the overall approach is decidedly '80s, as heard on the radio friendly AOR of title track "Heart Of Our Time" to the beautiful heartfelt ballad "Expressing The Heart".
"In Your Own Light" is a catchy midtempo melodic rocker with 'that' drum sound and uplifting lyrics about helping others no matter what their race or class.
"Genius" is a brilliant proggy AOR tune with a dry bass line driving the song in a very modern way for Demon's standards, while "Expressing The Heart" is a real stand out track, a slow and powerful song where Dave Hill display some vocal gymnastics that is spine tingling to hear.
"Heart Of Our Time" is a little gem from the mid-'80s UK scene, definitely Melodic Rock oriented but with that 'strong vibe' heard, as example, in the initial Phenomena project.
Re-released by a British label with a couple of bonus tracks, "Heart Of Our Time" sounds better than ever.
01 - Heart of Our Time
02 - In Your Own Light
03 - Genius
04 - Expressing The Heart
05 - High Climber
06 - Crossfire
07 - Grown Up
08 - Summit
09 - One Small Step
10 - Hyperactive (Alternative Mix) [2012 Bonus Track]
11 - Dance of Life (Alternative Mix) [2012 Bonus Track]
Dave Hill - Vocals, Effects
Steve Watts - Synths, Keyboards
John Waterhouse - Guitars
Gavin Sutherland - Bass
John Wright - Drums, Percussion
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CYANIDE 4 started a few years ago and played the bars around Athens, Greece, gathering a small but considerable following.
They released a couple of demos and were featured in 'Reborn In Sleaze; A Tribute To Dave Lepard' last year that showed both a bit of promise as well as a flair and love for the neo-Scandi glam.
Four years since their formation, they are having their debut "Everyday Is A Masquerade" released by Perris records.
With many and more than many bands emerging from the Northern and Southern edges of Europe after the first wave of Sleaze Rock/Metal outfits like Crashdiet and Hardcore Superstar spotting the music map with their own revival sting, it would no longer be a separate flirt but more of a whole movement dedicated to what the '80s brought in this style.
And, of course, there would be noble imitators, bands that would try to distance themselves a little bit and others that would try to find a way somewhere in between, which seems to Cyanide's case.
The music in this CD goes from classic sleaze paving the Vain, Pretty Boy Floyd and Crashdiet lane but also put some claws in speedy uptempo tracks and sees some darkness lurking in between the main guitar melodies and the moody yet soaring chorus lines.
“Hide in the Shadow” opens the album and has a good hook - probably the best song here - driving by a solid rhythm and fluid guitar parts.
On the first single and promo video “Live The Life” the band reminds you '80s Vain with simple but catchy harmonies, fine riffs and a good chorus.
has a good idea, but the vocals lack conviction and command... being rather nasal and weak. The guy, could have done so much better, had he taken a couple of lessons, but… I guess, nevermind that. The instrumentation is rather spartan, and while the song could have benefited, if it was a bit faster and tighter, that ain’t the case.
“Temptation Failed” starts with a somewhat offbeat riff, and while it’s pretty catchy, the vocals lack conviction and command being rather nasal and weak.
The band turns into a really Sunset Strip sound in “Innocent Alibi”, a wimpy midtempo, followed by “Anything for Fun”, style-wise with a foot on each continent.
“Parody” starts off blasting fast and loud and shows a more hard attack, “Cyanide” sports a quite introspective sound with a cool hook, while “FFL” (fuck-face-look) is a good commercial rocker in the Shotgun Messiah vein.
“Illusion” is the ballad here, a heavy one with a fine melodic line and some keyboards in the background although a bit repetitive.
“Wasting My Time” starts off fast, and feels like you've heard it before as it shares ideas from previous tracks but is a pretty damn solid song. Actually, it's the closest thing they have to a hit – but it doesn't have a chorus, not a proper one at least.
For the most part "Every Day Is A Masquerade" will please fans of the new wave of Swedish sleaze metal and the eighties Sunset Strip scene as well.
There's good ideas and several influences at the same time, good instrumentation and a singer that has quite a few shortcoming but shows signs of improvement on certain songs.
Cyanide 4 is a young band and still needs work to cook their own personality but if we bear in mind this is their first full studio attempt the result is acceptable.
Promising new band from Greece.
01 - Hide In The Shadow
02 - Live The Life
03 - Temptation Failed
04 - Innocent Alibi
05 - Anything For Fun
06 - Parody
07 - Cyanide
08 - F.F.L.
09 - Wasting My Time
10 - Illusion
11 - Bad Love Parade
12 - Amnesia
13 - Midnight Heat
G.A. Sinn: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Johnyy Slut: Lead Guitar
Nasty George: Bass
Alex Rated: Drums
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Monday, September 24, 2012
BLOODGOOD was one of the most underrated American Hard Rock acts of the '80s, perhaps due their Christian origins. But they were a real quality band in the genre.
After two pretty heavy albums, they changed the musical approach to the dominating glossy-sounding Hard Rock around 1988.
"Rock In A Hard Place" is one of my favorite albums in this style from the 2nd half of the eighties.
It's commercial yet defiant, melodic, with catchy songs and that 'big' production; razor compressed guitars courtesy of the great David Zaffiro, shouting vocals, bombastic drums and even some keyboards into the mix.
Talking about the mix, there's was a big problem with the original release of "Rock In A Hard Place": the bass lines were almost completely missing.
It turns out the recording studio had a ton of false low-end and they wasn't aware of when album was mixed, which is why there was such a lack of low end. And no one seemed to catch it when it was mastered, either. Quite strange, as this sounds as a big budget production.
Luckily, "Rock In A Hard Place" is now finally being re-released, remastered and with its crisp sound in full glory.
Remember back in the day when bands could get away with nine good quality songs on an album? These days this is absolutely unacceptable for any greedy company, and you're forced to have twelve or more, and many of those are fillers.
Well, this is not the case with "Rock In A Hard Place". Just killer-no-fillers 9 tracks plenty of '80s magic.
1 - Shakin' It
2 - Never Be the Same
3 - The Presence
4 - What Have I Done
5 - Heaven on Earth
6 - Do or Die
7 - She's Gone
8 - The World (Keeps Movin' Around)
9 - Seven
Les Carlsen - lead vocals
David Zaffiro - guitars, backing vocals
Michael Bloodgood - bass, backing vocals
Mark Welling - drums
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Joshua Munday is an Australian guitar player who has been part of various recording sessions and endorsed by guitar gear companies Roland or Boss, Joshua has demonstrated guitar products to thousands of people in the past few years and co-headlined many festivals including the Sydney Guitar Show.
"Days Where I Began" is his debut album, under the JOSHUA moniker.
Joshua is not only a dexterous guitar player, he's also a good songwriter and a well trained vocalist. If I had to choose a reference to his music, instantly Richie Kotzen comes to mind.
"Days Where I Began" rocks across twelve immediate tracks under the 4-minute mark, mixing bluesy hard rock tunes with some commercial heavy-funk overtones.
Joshua's support band is tight & dynamic, special mention to drummer Nick Pansini who provides an excellent rhythm and great fills, giving to Joshoa a strong foundation for his sharp riffs and interesting solos.
There's some tracks here where if you don't know who is the artist, you would think this is Richie Kotzen.
Check the blazing rockin' "I Believe In Nothing" for instance. Killer power chords and a short but effective solo, while specially the catchy chorus is pure Kotzen.
Other remarkable tracks are the soulful opener "Days Where I Began", the heavy-funky (great guitar sound) "If I Never See You Again" and the bluesy midtempo "What If I Told You".
We have hard rockers as well in the dynamic "I'll Tell You Why" and "Strip You Down". On some tracks Joshua adds a bit of modern songwriting touches as in "Alone" and "Revolution", but all wrapped with classic rock sounds.
"Days Where I Began" is a solid rockin' album from an artist practically unknown in this part of the globe.
Mainly guitarist, Joshua's arsenal are varied delivering high-voltage riffs and jumpin' solos, but what surprises is his nuanced, versatile singing. His back up band is tight and groovy with a bright presence.
Apart from the really good performances and the strong straight to the point songwriting, another hot spot in this release is the accomplished production. All sounds clear and scintillating, sharp mixed as well.
Coming out from nowhere, Joshua has created a debut album that rocks better than many recent works from well known names in the business.
"Days Where I Began" is groovy, catchy and rocks good.
01 - Days Where I Began
02 - If I Never See You Again
03 - Alone
04 - Baby
05 - I Believe in Nothing
06 - What If I Told You
07 - All Of Mine
08 - Strip You Down
09 - I'll Tell You Why
10 - Not That Far
11 - Revolution
12 - I Still Want You
Joshua Munday - Guitar, Lead & Backing Vocals
Paul McShane - Bass, Backing Vocals
Nick Pansini - Drums & Percussion
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STEVE HARRIS, the 'Boss' of Iron Maiden is busy touring the States, reliving some of his main band’s most glorious moments at this time.
He's chosen the same time to release his decade in the making – tracked whenever he could get time, on the backburner of Maiden activities - solo album, which is not entirely him flying solo, but more of a collaborative effort, titled "British Lion".
Apparently, Steve was managing this band in the early '90s and kinda liked them a bit too much and while the project really went no-where at the time and his solo company 'Beast Records' went into limbo, he kept in contact with them and decided to salvage the material which he also got involved with, playing the bass and co-writing some of the songs by issuing it under his name, as a solo album.
"British Lion" is not being pushed as a metal project. Singer Simon Dawson and guitarist Grahame Leslie have recorded in many rock&pop sessions, including The Outfield, so expect vocals quite away to the typical metal stuff.
Without being too long, the songs tend to dwell in mid-tempo territory mostly, and sound a bit long winded. The entire band is fine and British as it comes, but there's a bit of lack of fire and bite.
Repeated spins, make the album grow, but you’d really expect something more upbeat from Harris than an average to good album.
“This is my God” really reminded me a bit of Thunder and Zeppelin and while it has a nice groove and generally good ideas, it's a paint-it-by-numbers hard rocker, while “Lost Worlds” has hints of Maiden, in the form of a really long expressive part.
“Karma Killer” is almost how things should have been. It’s got a nasty, groovy and instantly recognizable riff and grooves. Taylor even convinces thoroughly on this one. Good chorus.
“Us Against the World” is one of the best moments here, mixing Maiden with UFO and the Scorpions quite nicely. Taylor’s melodic ideas are very smooth and nice, and there are some very smart guitar flourishes.
“The Chosen Ones” is very Lizzyesque, and simply quite good. But even here, in such a feelgood song, there seems to be a bit of uncertainty. Taylor, exclaims a 'yeah' at some point and it almost sounds forced and not that spontaneous. Another great song, but a little more flair, would have made it an anthem.
On “World Without Heaven” the guitars are lower in the mix than they should, really battling with the bass at point, not because of volume, but because they are just not as fat and sharp as they should.
“Judas” is darker, with a very abrupt drop out in the middle and some acoustics, “Eyes of The Young” is a more carefree, almost a ballad that rocks hard.
The real ballad is final track “The Lesson”, rich in strings that bears resemblances to Dio and maybe even Marillion.
Steve Harris really takes a chance by lending his name to this project, when he could have called it just “British Lion” and be done with, possibly making some people expect something-or-other that’s not a million miles away from Maiden.
What we get is an album with decent songwriting, but a bit lack of bite in the performances & production that ends up being detrimental to the overall result.
A more aggressive sound, tighter playing and more spirited vocal performances in certain songs would have benefited the CD strongly. Even some double vocals, or gang choruses here or there would have worked better.
Harris can do anything he wants and it would do nothing to dent the man's reputation. “British Lion” is just a fine, uncommon hard rock album with some good moments to enjoy.
01. This Is My God
02. Lost Worlds
03. Karma Killer
04. Us Against The World
05. The Chosen Ones
06. A World Without Heaven
08. Eyes Of The Young
09. These Are The Hands
10. The Lesson
Steve Harris - bass, backing vocals
Richard Taylor - lead vocals
David Hawkins - guitar, keyboards
Graham Leslie - guitar
Simon Dawson - drums
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TAVARES bros. broke charts during the seventies with their blend of soul, R&B and later some disco music.
But at the end of the decade a new sound was reaching the radio, and the combo together with their label decided to ride the new musical wave.
The title of this album says all; "Supercharged". Super-producers David Foster, Bobby Colomby (Pages) and Benjamin Wright (Michael Jackson), first class songwriters Gerard McMahon, Bill Champlin and David Foster itself among others.
Add to this top session musicians; Toto's Steve Lukather, David Hungate & Greg Phillinganes, Jay Graydon, Ed Greene (Jeff Beck), Paul Jackson Jr... etc.
This awesomely composed, performed and produced album is one of most hidden gems from the prestigious L.A. factory. Musically combines the - for the era - incipient radio West Coast AOR, funk, smooth soul and more.
The use of several producers was a meaningful change for Tavares as the multiple-cook approach to "Supercharged" resulted in a collection of wildly disparate songs covering many styles – but yet an album that ultimately worked brilliantly on its own terms.
All the three producers were able to have their own orchestra (real musicians, no samples here) and terrific session musicians to the fore.
David Foster contributed the disc's heaviest and most bombastic production on the uptempo “I Don’t Want You Anymore” and the big ballad “We Both Tried” (co-written with Bill Champlin) and with 'guys' of the highest calibre; Jay Graydon and Steve Lukather to name some.
This contrasted greatly with Randazzo's contribution, the light, late night West Coast ballad “Paradise” a gentle wisp of a song. The key is, though, while the three songs sounded like the product of entirely different groups, they were great compositions and perhaps even better performances.
Producer Bobby Colomby has Philinganes, Paul Jackson Jr and Pages' keyboardist Steven George (Colomby produced Pages first one) on Gerard McMahon's "Bad Times" arranged in a WC / funk style and exquisite instrumentatation.
Benjamin Wright contributed behind the desk with a more classic smooth West Coast, Soul and R&B sounds in the laid back ballad “I Just Can’t Go On Living Without You” and the sweet midtempo “Why Can’t We Fall In Love”, a cover of a Deniece Williams album cut (co-written by David Foster) that Butch Tavares handled beautifully on lead vocals and turned into one of the best moments on Supercharged.
Incredibly, "Supercharged" only was released on CD in Japan, but now a specialized European label has brought it in all its remastered glory.
It does not matter at what musical genre are you more inclined, "Supercharged" oozes quality on every note, with a top class production impossible to recreate again.
West Coast fans, this is a real treat.
1 - Bad Times (Theme From Defiance)
2 - We Both Tried
3 - Can't Get Enough
4 - Why Can't We Fall In Love
5 - I Can't Go On Living Without You
6 - I Don't Want You Anymore
7 - Paradise
8 - Got To Have Your Love
Lead Vocals – Chubby, Pooch, Ralph & Butch Tavares
Guitars – Paul Jackson Jr., Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Timothy James May
Bass – David Shields, James Jamerson Jr., David Hungate (Toto)
Drums – Ed Greene (Jeff Beck), Harvey Mason (Steve Lukather band)
Percussion – Bobby Colomby, Ed Mann
Keyboards – David Foster, Steven George (Pages), John Barnes, Bill Champlin
Electric Piano – Greg Phillinganes (Toto, Eric Clapton)
Horns – Art Maebe, Brian D.A. O'Connor, William Frank Reichenbach
Sax Soloist – Pete Christlieb (Eric Clapton)
Strings – Albert Edward Gill, Jacqueline Lustgarten, Gina Kronstadt
... and tons more
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AOR legend STAN BUSH has still got the touch.
Hard at work with his live performance group Acoustic Saints in Los Angeles and rumors of a new album in the works, the man is also featured in the newest Transformers game titled Transformers: Fall of Cybertron by High Moon Studios with his new mix of “The Touch” ; Power Mix & Epic Guitar Remix.
The new "Power Mix" for the video game features new heavy guitar layers and a more modern vocal approach than the classic '80s song, with a more sombre feel in line with the new game’s atmosphere. Still, Stan manages to bring a glimpse of hope across with his signature style shining through.
But the gem here is the "Epic Guitar Remix". It's an awesome AOR version with the same vibe of the original but with terrific guitars and 'aural' vocals.
A Must Have for any AOR fan.
“The Touch : Power Mix” Maxi-Single is now available at all music retailers.
1. The Touch (Power Mix) 4:04
2. The Touch (Epic Guitar Remix) 4:21
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If ever a band deserved a good tribute, it is what some people refer to as the "real" LYNYRD SKYNYRD, the band as it existed prior to the 1977 plane crash that killed three of its members.
Most of the performances on this CD - produced by no other than Billy Sherwood - really do justice to the iconic band.
With former Skynyrd members Ed King on slide guitar, Artimus Pyle on drums, and The Original Honkettes (John and Jo Jo Billingsley-White, Leslie Hawkins) on backing vocals, "Double Trouble" musicality is true to the original, and blends well with Thane Shearon's fresh vocal interpretation.
Blackfoot's Rickey Medlocke wrote and did the lead vocal on the original version of "Seasons", one of the Skynyrd's few slow songs. He still does it nicely in this century.
"That Smell" and "What's Your Name" are skillfully interpreted by Canned Heat and Jim Dandy's Black Oak Arkansas, respectively.
But my favorite should be the killer version by Charlie Daniels pairing up with Molly Hatchet for "Free Bird", which works awesomely as a tribute to the original. It's a hot and passionate cover.
The sonically updated remakes by Great White on "Saturday Night Special", and later Dangerous Toys' "Simple Man" works well and vivid.
Hughie Thomasson & The Outlaws take on "Sweet Home Alabama" is pretty good. Also, the Atlanta Rhythm Section does an admirable cover of "Call Me The Breeze".
On the downside, Walter Trout and Rick Derringer are excellent guitarists, but their vocal interpretations of "Gimme Three Steps" (Trout) and "You Got That Right" (Derringer) are somewhat lacking.
Overall, in this well produced Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, most the versions are hits than misses, and the CD is a mandatory choice for fans of the "real" Skynyrd.
It's also an opportunity to listen some classic artists out from the music business for a long time.
As in all tribute albums, it's all a matter of taste. Classic Rock lovers won't be disappointed.
01 - The Outlaws - Sweet Home Alabama
02 - Great White - Saturday Night Special
03 - Artimus Pyle, Ed King & The Original Honkettes - Double Trouble
04 - Canned Heat - That Smell
05 - Molly Hatchet with Charlie Daniels - Free Bird
06 - Walter Trout - Gimme Three Steps
07 - Blackfoot - Seasons
08 - Pat Travers - Gimme Back My Bullets
09 - Jim Dandy's Black Oak Arkansas - What's Your Name
10 - Dangerous Toys - Simple Man
11 - Sky Saxon & Joey Covington (of Jefferson Airplane) - Swamp Music
12 - Rick Derringer - You Got That Right
13 - Atlanta Rhythm Section - Call Me The Breeze
Produced by Billy Sherwood
Jay Schellen (Unruly Child, Asia) - Drums
Billy Sherwood (ex- Yes) - Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Horns, Keyboards, Background Vocals
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Monday, September 17, 2012
MONTROSE self titled debut was (and still is) one of the most influential Hard Rock albums of all time, specially for American musicians.
Ronnie Montrose was an in-demand session guitarist before that, but he was searching for a self-directed musical exploration when he met Sammy Hagar.
Sammy Hagar said not so long ago; "The first Montrose album was the first album I ever recorded and it still stands as one of the best recordings I have ever been a part of".
Hagar saw Montrose playing live as part of the Edgar Winter Group, and get flashed.
Then asked for Ronnie's address, went there, and knocked on his door dressed like David Bowie – big old high heel platform shoes, satin pants, with a Les Paul and a notebook pad with all kinds of lyrics in it.
Hagar recalls; "I said; Hi, I'm Sammy Hagar. I heard you're looking for a singer. He said; 'Come on in. You got any songs?'
I played him the first four songs in my life, which were "Bad Motor Scooter", "Make It Last", "One Thing on My Mind" and "I Don't Want It".
We shook hands, and he said; 'Let's start a band. Do you know any drummers? I've got a bass player, Bill Church'. I had a drummer, Denny Carmassi – wasn't in my band, but he was my favorite drummer around town."
I wrote songs with him, but it was his trip. He's the guy that got me to sing with him. I had no experience whatsoever. I went from zero to a hundred."
Within a month Montrose the band signed to Warner Bros. Records, Ted Templeman producing, Don Landee engineering and the first Montrose album was born a month after that.
The disc combines good-time, party rock with a metal edge and slick guitar work, a sound that bands like Van Halen and Aerosmith would later adopt and polish to perfection (Templeman / Landee were Van Halen's initial tech team).
I bet that many of you never heard Montrose's debut.
Well, let me tell you this is a fantastic album ahead of its time, and still sounds fresh today. Think first VH albums with Hagar on vocals instead DL Roth. Production is exceptional for the age, with a crispy and sparkling sound.
Kerrang! readers voted "Montrose" as the 4th best & influential Metal Album of All Time, and I completely agree with that poll.
This Japanese SHM-CD remaster edition is simply outstanding, above the bar for this type of reissues.
A Must Have.
01 - Rock The Nation
02 - Bad Motor Scooter
03 - Space Station #5
04 - I Don't Want It
05 - Good Rockin' Tonight
06 - Rock Candy
07 - One Thing On My Mind
08 - Make It Last
Sammy Hagar – vocals
Ronnie Montrose – guitar
Bill Church – bass
Denny Carmassi – drums
Produced by Ted Templeman
Engineered by Don Landee and Stephen Jarvis
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For a long time Canada was the most productive Rock Nation on the planet, and HARLEQUIN one of the best bands of the bunch.
"One False Move" was their third outing from back in 1982 following on from the platinum selling 'Love Crimes' which was also re-issued by Rock Candy not too long ago.
With "One False Move", Winnipeg's finest band delivered a much more solid effort, lyrically and musically.
The usually prolific singer George Belanger took a back seat on this one to the emerging songwriting talents of guitarist Glen Willows, who as well as penning the buoyant opener "I Did It For Love" and the hypnotic "Superstitious Feeling" - the album's two big hits - also co-wrote the other eight songs as well.
There's plenty of great commercial AOR with Gary Golden's trademark keyboard fills, Willows' understated guitar parts and Belanger's distinctive choruses all over "Heart Gone Cold", "Shame If You Leave Me" and "Say Goodnight" as well as the slightly heavier guitar-based rockers "Hard Road" and "Heavy Talk".
They stretch out a little on the atmospheric "Ready To Love Again" and the semi-balladic "It's A Woman You Need".
Expertly produced at the time by one of the band's biggest supporters - Aerosmith and Cheap Trick producer Jack Douglas - Rock Candy Records has done another fine job with the remaster, making sure that "One False Move" first switch to CD sparkles as much as it should.
01 - I Did It For Love
02 - Hard Road
03 - Shame If You Leave Me
04 - Say Goodnight
05 - Ready To Love Again
06 - Fine Line
07 - Heart Gone Cold
08 - Heavy Talk
09 - Superstitious Feeling
10 - It's A Woman You Need
George Belanger - vocals
Glen Willows - guitars, vocals
Gary Golden - keyboards, guitar, vocals
Ralph James - bass
David Budzak - drums, percussion, vocals
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Italian founding member, guitarist and lyricist of Labyrinth Olaf Thörsen (real name Carlo Andrea Magnani) started VISION DIVINE as a side project, and over the years become his main band.
"Destination Set To Nowhere" is the group's seventh album, and what an impactful one it is.
Influenced by the the greats Helloween, Vision Divine plays elaborated Prog Metal with a symphonic and power metal touch led by Thorsen's sharp riffs & solos and Fabio Lione's impressive vocal skills.
Lione is one of the best and most requested singers in the genre, having worked recently for Rhapsody and Kamelot, and although I don't like much the aforementioned bands, his performance in Vision Divine is nothing short than brilliant.
Both are perfectly complemented by Alessio Lucatti's versatile keyboard fills, not reduced to accents or simply symphonic layers, he is really a fundamental part in Vision Divine's sound.
"Destination Set To Nowhere" is some kind of a sci-fi tale about humanity forsaking Earth and it's problems, and hoping to begin again on a new world. The lyrics glue solidly with the music on offer, sometimes expressing a sophistication that take Vision Divine into towering altitudes with slight similarities to Dream Theater and alikes.
They build songs around a sing-along styled choruses and there are plenty of catchy elements to hook your ear. But with the progressive elements (mainly futuristic keyboards, zig-zagged progressive rhythms and complex guitar work) the more traditional metal sounds are dropped, giving it a more science-fiction, modern atmosphere as opposed to the - at this point - boring medieval orientated feel that a lot of power metal bands use.
There's also more melancholic and melodic elements added to the music by the lead guitars and more notably, the orchestral backgrounds.
Vision Divine is one of the best bands in the scene combining Prog Metal with Power, profound technical abilities with catchiness and bite with melody.
Musically, "Destination Set To Nowhere" is intense, delivering clever riffing, passionate rhythms, great keyboards layers and miscellaneous drumming. On top of those all, there are the magnificent vocal lines by a voice that is so smooth and clear but also has its own deadly Hyde creeping from its cage from time to time.
I can't really break this tracklist into lone tracks because I believe this entire release is something that you ought to experience in full.
Production & mix is excellent, giving air and space to the juicy arrangements that Vision Divine put on the table in this impeccable recording.
This Limited Edition includes a bonus CD with reworked songs of the band's past albums, a great opportunity for new listeners to discover this creative act, as said, one of the best in the Prog / Melodic Power Metal scene.
CD1 : Destination Set To Nowhere
01. S'io Fosse Foco
02. The Dream Maker
03. Beyond The Sun And Far Away
04. The Ark
05. Mermaids From Their Moons
06. The Lighthouse
07. Message To Home
08. The House Of The Angels
09. The Sin Is You
10. Here We Die
11. Destination Set to Nowhere
CD 2 : Re-Recorded Best Of
01. New Eden
02. Vision Divine
03. Send Me An Angel
04. Taste Of A Goodbye
05. The Fallen Feather
06. La Vita Fugge
07. The Perfect Machine
08. God Is Dead
09. The 25th Hour
11. Gutter Ballet (Savatage cover)
Fabio Lione - Vocals
Olaf Thörsen - Guitars
Andrea Torricini - Bass
Alessio Lucatti - Keyboards
Federico Puleri - Guitars
Alessandro Bissa - Drums
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Brothers Christopher and Felix Borg are the core force behind TASTE, a new Swedish AOR band from Stenungsund.
They just released by themselves their self titled album only available in digital format at the moment.
Actually, Taste was founded almost three years ago, when the bros. decided to write their own songs absolutely influenced by the '80s. It's funny, but when this type of music was in its apogee they were merely kids.
Their music is pure mid-eighties AOR in all aspects, songwriting, style & sound. Think FM debut 'Indiscreet' with tons of keyboards and that commercial approach.
After the instrumental intro "Back to the Future" (being the title a true statement of things to come) "Our Dreams" bring us a soaring FM-like melody that seems composed in 1986. Fine lead vocals by Christoffer who also plays guitar in a very John Norum style, particularly with his mid-eighties sound. Felix plays real drums, bass and does really good backing vocals.
"Cry for Love" has a midtempo pace in the Shy mould but much more melodious, followed by the melodic rock of "Don't Give Up", reminiscent of their contemporary countryman Houston.
"Stay" and "Danger Games" has the Strangeways (UK) sound imprinted all over, both among the most complete tracks on offer here, while "Fallen Angel" is the American tilted tune of the disc, and a good one.
Taste are also able to deliver ballads being "My Rose" quite Europe influenced, and "The One" a bit more uptempo, melodious and consistent.
Despite from being obviously recorded with pro-tools by themselves, Taste's debut sounds much better than many 'official' indie releases.
But that's not the point here. The fact is these two young brothers have composed, performed and recorded a fantastic bunch of pure '80s AOR tunes with class and style, a style absolutely planted in the glorious decade.
With a major label behind (and I'm sure it's going to happen soon) these guys are ready to take the AOR community by storm.
Very, Very Good.
01 - Back to the Future (intro)
02 - Our Dreams
03 - Cry for Love
04 - Don't Give Up
05 - Stay
06 - My Rose
07 - Danger Games
08 - Doesn't Feel Like Love
09 - In My Arms (Tonight)
10 - The One
11 - Fallen Angel
Vocals, Guitar: Christoffer Borg
Drums, Bass: Felix Borg
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After several delayed release dates, D'ERCOLE, the band set up by Damian D'Ercole and Phil Vincent, finally got published thier 3rd effort "Dreams Of The Heart".
The new album is a mix of the band's previous recordings; some tracks with a Melodic Rock / AOR approach including high doses of keyboards and layered harmonies, balanced with more Hard Rock / guitar oriented material as on D'Ercole's debut.
As example, opener "Only Child" starts with classic eighties keys which flows in the entire song, an uptempo Melodic Rock AOR tune reminding you Dare with more punch.
Same with the even more AOR "I'll Be There For You", or the European sounding melodic rockers "You Keep Me Waiting" and "Hurt Me for the Last Time".
Numbers such as "Givin' It All to You", title track "Dreams of the Heart", and specially "She Ain't No Good" or "Wearin' Me Down" are more hard rock oriented, with some of the '80s Dokken influence of the band's first album.
"Dreams Of The Heart" is a fine slab of retro '80s / '90s sounding melodic hard rock, well produced by Phil Vincent with the help of Vince O'Regan (Bob Catley) who also contributed a guest guitar solo.
01 - Only Child
02 - Givin' It All to You
03 - Dreams of the Heart
04 - I'll Be There for You
05 - She Ain't No Good
06 - You Keep Me Waiting
07 - Too Little Too Late
08 - Lies
09 - A Million Miles
10 - Hurt Me for the Last Time
11 - Wearin' Me Down
Phil Vincent – Lead vocals, Synthesizers
Damian D'Ercole – Guitars
William Arnold – Bass
Tane DeAngelis – Drums
Vince O'Regan – Guitar solo
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"Care Of My Soul" was the first proper MARK SPIRO solo album after colaborating with countless major artists as songwriter and arranger.
His name is often named in the same breath as the likes of Desmond Child and Diane Warren, but there are some differences easy to see between Spiro and those two hit machines.
Whilst Child's and Warren's direction are more traditional (not meaning less good) Spiro challenges both himself and his audience more.
For "Care Of My Soul", Spiro took the time to carefully select his best tunes and helped by excellent session musicians like the exquisite Tim Pierce on guitars, recorded these songs with the typical and classy Mark Spiro AOR style, plenty of moody verses & choruses and lots of soft and raspy vocals.
After almost twenty years, "Care Of My Soul" is being re-released by Spiro together with the second volume of brand new songs.
Now re-entitled "Care Of My Soul Vol.1", it has been remastered, includes two previously unreleased tracks, re-arranged song sequence and new artwork.
As said in the previous post, if you like Spiro's delicious songwriting and beautifully crafted soft AOR sounds, you'll love this.
01 - Care Of My Soul
02 - One Of The Reasons
03 - King Arthur
04 - Wheels May Rust
05 - Drop In The Ocean
06 - Between The Raindrops
07 - The Fishermen 3
08 - Women Be True
09 - Wallflower Ranch
10 - You Can't Take That Away
11 - Interlude
12 - Lately
13 - Everything Changes
14 - Hey Daisy (previously unreleased)
15 - Encinitas (previously unreleased)
Mark Spiro - Vocals, Guitar
Tim Pierce - Guitars
Kevin Wyatt - Bass
Jamey Jaz - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jimmy Keegan - Drums
Mike Fisher - Percussion
Pete Candoli - Horns
Lisa Haley, Armen Ksajikian - Strings
Julian Lennon - Vocals
Martika, Christopher Bogan, Lua Crofts, Naimeh Heath, Kelly Sachs, Sandy Simmons, Leslie Spiro - Backing Vocals
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MARK SPIRO is perhaps one of the most gifted songwriters and performers on the AOR / Melodic Rock circuit from the last 30 years. His name is often named in the same breath as the likes of Desmond Child or Diane Warren.
A majority have known him only has a songwriter, a talented such.
Heart, Bad English, Lita Ford and Giant, where he actually where meant to be lead vocalist, are just some of the artists that has been blessed with his compositions.
His first 'American' solo album (Mark recorded his debut in Germany in the mid-eighties) "Care Of My Soul", was a beautiful compendium of his sensibility writing fabulous melodies.
Now Spiro is releasing "Care Of My Soul Vol.2", the sequel, including all new compositions. Most of them are truly outstanding...
There's not much to say: if you like Spiro work, or you're just an AOR / AC aficionado, you'll love this.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrockz
01 - A Beautiful Mistake
02 - Get Into The Going
03 - Love Don't Come Around Here
04 - Starlight
05 - Miss Her Everywhere
06 - Singing You Back To Me
07 - Paper Dragons
08 - Up In Flames
09 - My Greatest Goodbye
10 - Everything Is On It's Way
11 - Say Your Prayers
Mark Spiro: Vocals, guitar, songwriting, producer
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The Long Beach, California, quartet RIVAL SONS made a big splash in 2011 with their breakthrough album 'Pressure & Time'. It put the rest of the retro-rock scene on notice: rehash the past all you want, but we're the future.
And with their brand new album "Head Down", they're here to prove it.
Precious few revivalists possess that old black magic to set them apart. But to a fusion of the Classic Hard Rock and progressive blues of the seventies, genuine soul and a gutsy groove, Rival Sons add the real X Factor: great, great songs.
Such an obvious ingredient, but it's amazing how many others miss it.
Recorded in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb and Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell, "Head Down" takes the band's electrifying blend of Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Free, Deep Purple, The Doors and a dozen others to exhilarating new heights.
Kick the door in, take no prisoners, ask no questions, play it loud; as plans go, it's hard to fault.
Opener "Keep On Swinging" pretty much sums it up: big, bold, swaggering and totally badass, it sets the tone for an album which raises the bar across the board.
The breezy "Wild Animal" and "Until the Sun Comes" contrast nicely with the raunchiness of "All The Way" and "Three Fingers", themselves preludes to the sheer girth of "You Want To" – which recalls Zep at their raucous best – and the mighty "Manifest Destiny Pt. 1", a shadowy, smouldering epic that broods like a black hole.
Although the required ballads aren't the group's strong suit, both "Jordan" and "True" are carried off with confidence and without resorting to slush or schmaltz. Actually, these are superb slow tunes.
Both as performers and songwriters Rival Sons have upped their game, and "Head Down" puts them well ahead of the pack.
It takes a degree of skill to make music that ticks all the Classic Rock boxes without sounding like a shameless exercise in nostalgia, but despite impeccable retro credentials, Rival Sons are doggedly establishing themselves as a vital force for the modern age, too.
A more adventurous beast than the previous album, "Head Down" is a riotous carnival of classic-saluting riffs, sunkissed psychedelia and irresistible hooks, with the band's soul, funk and blues influences thrust joyously to the fore.
"Head Down" honours half a century of Classic (Hard) Rock with reverence, respect and the realisation that this music's still happening, right now.
01 - Keep On Swinging
02 - Wild Animal
03 - You Want To
04 - Until The Sun Comes
05 - Run From Revelation
06 - Jordan
07 - All The Way
08 - The Heist
09 - Three Fingers
10 - Nava
11 - Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)
12 - Manifest Destiny (Pt. 2)
13 - True
Jay Buchanan (vocals)
Scott Holiday (guitars)
Robin Everhart (bass)
Michael Miley (drums)
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Despite having released a debut album at the tail-end of the '80s that has since become a bit of a cult favourite amongst more than a few aficionados of melodically tinged hard rock, for MARCHELLO - the band of guitarist & vocalist Gene Marchello - things turned out with their 2nd disc.
Marchello's debut gained a reasonable amount of interest in the States thanks to encouraging levels of airplay on MTV for their first video and a fair bit of touring.
But their label, as happened with many bands of the genre when the musical climate began to change, dropped Marchello's contract.
Then, the follow up album Gene and his band mates (bassist Nick DiMichino, drummer John Miceli and keyboard player Gary Bivona) recorded, remained unreleased for over twenty years.
Now it's being officially released, entitled "The Magic Comes Alive".
Gene Marchello recalls that the label opted to bring in a couple of producers to the recording (whose names he cannot remember) in order to complete a project that resulted in more than enough material for an album planned to feature no less than fourteen songs.
The finished record certainly provided evidence that Gene had learnt a great deal from the experience of recording & touring, and thus features vocal performances full in confidence and akin to a cross between the styles of erstwhile Journey vocalist Steve Perry and Danger Danger frontman Ted Poley.
His guitar skills shows a clear development as well, redefining his style influenced by the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Vito Bratta (White Lion) and Yngwie Malmsteen.
The 14 songs in "The Magic Comes Alive" deliver some killer rockin' tunes ranging from elaborated Melodic Hard Rock to straight American Hair Metal.
We have Van Halen-like rockers as "Boys Night Out", Hair Metal anthems in "The Power Of Money" and "Rock Me" or awesome AOR rockers such as the Journey influenced "Every Man’s Lover" and "Wall Of Paper".
Furthermore the album contains a cool cover version of "I Feel Good" from the King Of Soul James Brown arranged in a hard rockin' way.
So in this lost album you get everything ‘people like us’ liked to hear back at the end of the '80s / earlier '90s, with very good production and sound.
Following hot on the heels of the recently released Roq Royale album, the AOR Heaven Classix series get continued with the never released second Marchello album, entitled "The Magic Comes Alive".
The recording has been digitally remastered by Chris Lyne (Soul Doctor), contains extensive liner notes & photos, and it's strictly limited to 1000 copies.
Another previously unreleased gem at the AOR Heaven Classix series.
01 - The Magic Comes Alive
02 - Boys Night Out
03 - Every Man's Lover
04 - Wall Of Paper
05 - The Power Of Money
06 - Rock Me
07 - All God's Angels
08 - Good Good Girls
09 - Sleazy Street
10 - Euphoria
11 - Dancers
12 - Riot
13 - I Feel Good
14 - Spitting Image
Gene Marchello - guitars, lead and backing vocals
Nick DiMichino - bass, backing vocals
Gary Bivona - keyboards, backing vocals
John Miceli - drums, percussion
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"On Earth As It Is In Heaven" was ANGEL third album and showcases the band expanding their horizons by taking a more Melodic Hard Rock path, but one with hooks and riffs to the fore.
Just because the music was harder and edgier, isn't to say that they had abandoned their progressive roots altogether as Gregg Giuffria's keyboard work will testify.
Produced by seasoned sound man Eddie Kramer (Hendrix, Zeppelin), the songs here display more edge and rockin' approach.
Guitarist Punky Meadows showers the songs with tasteful riffs but the leads are where he truly shines. Mickie Jones' bass work and drummer Barry Brandt are mirrored reflections of consistency while vocalist Frank DiMino rounds out this powerhouse group.
Gregg Giuffria and DiMino serve the band well with two distinctive voices that are perfectly harmonized throughout the album.
Songs such as "Can You Feel It", "Cast The First Stone" and "White Lightning" explode with a sense of urgency that suggests the band were scaling new heights of creativity and feeling all the better for it.
As a curiosity, check the symmetrical album cover. The band's logo it reads the same upside down, back to front and in a mirror.
"On Earth As It Is In Heaven" is the third and last for the moment Angel's essential reissue by Rock Candy, with the usual 24-bit remastering from original source tapes and enhanced artwork.
Take a note: this is taken from the original Japanese mix and superior (better) track sequence.
01 - Can You Feel It
02 - She's A Mover
03 - Big Boy (Let's Do It Again)
04 - Telephone Exchange
05 - White Lightning
06 - On The Rocks
07 - You're Not Fooling Me
08 - That Magic Touch
09 - Cast The First Stone
10 - Just A Dream
Frank DiMino: Vocals
Punky Meadows: Acoustic & Electric Guitars
Gregg Giuffria: Keyboards
Mickie Jones: Bass
Barry Brandt: Drums
Dan Wyman: Synthesizer, Programming
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WHITE FLAME was founded in the cold winter of 2002 when guitar player Anthon and drummer Jony decided to play some of his own music. Since then, White Flame has been doing some noise in their native Finland and the Scandinavian charts.
With their 3rd album in the making to be released soon, the band is presenting a bunch of songs to rock the World.
White Flame's new album 'Cougar' is being produced by afamed knob-twiddling Chris Laney, and we can taste some of their work here.
These Finnish guys music is what happens when '80s meets '00s. White Flame's songs are so distinctly from the '80s, yet the sound it definately up to date.
"I Know Where You Live" is the first single from the album, and at first listen you find out that this new album will have a big and polished sound, rocking hard but heavily produced with numerous overdubs and multi-track layers.
Indeed the bombastic sound is present as well in the cover of Roxette's 1989 hit "The Look", filled with stinging guitars, huge drums and the reverb turned to 10.
We have here as well some remixed songs from their previous albums, the modern and break-up "Frontrow Girl", the melodic Tyketto-tinted "Certainly Something" and the hard rocker "Kill The Radio".
Judging the quality of this new material both in performance and production, White Flame could become international superstars with their upcoming album 'Cougar'.
One thing is for certain, if you are a fan of the new wave of Scandinavian Hard Rock (led by H.E.A.T), you need to check these guys and be prepared for their new full length CD.
01 - I Know Where You Live
02 - The Look
03 - Frontrow Girl
04 - Certainly Something
05 - Kill The Radio
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BIG BIG TRAIN was formed in 1990 by Andy Poole and Greg Spawton, initially influenced by Prog acts as Steve Hackett and It Bites.
It's a sign of the growing importance of Big Big Train that both original members have been able to convince some major figures such as Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard) and Dave Gregory (XTC) to join them to form what they now regard as the definitive line-up of the band.
"English Electric" is their 7th album, a musical departure from the band's previous works.
Many classic Prog fans will simply adore this album as I think it represents the direction that Genesis should have taken following 'Trick Of The Tail', but they opted for a more a mainstream style.
Indeed from the outset David Longon's sweet Phil Collins-like voice sets the scene for the eight songs which are brimming with musical talent and carefully crafted lyrics that tell a wide variety of very English tales about the countryside and the people, from art forgers to child miners, to uncle Jack's appreciation of the hedgerows.
While there is a sense of Victorian nostalgia about the album, it is also very modern. There's not a wasted note anywhere - most of the songs are in the 7-9 minutes range, but only because that is what is required to tell each particular story.
No needless noodling, which nearly killed progressive music forever - the immense talents of the musicians are tightly reigned in by songwriting of the highest calibre, but always given enough freedom to endow the songs with great emotional depth.
From the very first track "The First Rebreather" shows a perfect synergy of sounds. A medium tempo grand opening very majestic. Second track "Uncle Jack" sounds quite folkish with some twists in the middle that shows the band roots and versatility.
"Summoned By Bells" is another highlight with soaring vocals and a more upbeat feel that gives way, unexpectedly, to a complex laid-back passage where the brass players are allowed to stretch out a little.
The forth and the sixth "Judas Unrepentant" and "Upton Heath" are also strong tracks. The former is a bit more uptempo with great orchestra in the mid section. I would say it's quite a Neal Morse-ish.
Seventh track "A Boy in Darkness" is a bit harder to describe. A power symphony with underground seventies prog perhaps. Lastly "Hedgerow" delivers a powerful mid tempo grand finale, varied and beautiful.
"English Electric Part 1" is an album that ticks all the boxes in classic Prog aficionados musical wish list: marvellous melodies, lush orchestrations, tight ensemble playing and really interesting lyrics / stories.
Many people will say that this isn't a Prog album, but that really depends on your personal definition of Prog, as the not so common textures, instrumentation and arragements featured here are truly 'progressive', in the definition of the word.
One word screams out all of the time that this is playing, and that is 'maturity'. The band have changed immensely since those early days and have produced an album that is huge and the reason for that is the control that pervades everything that is happening.
I'd say "English Electric Part 1" is a work of carefully and possibly painfully crafted perfection, a mandatory listen for every Prog fan.
01 - The First Rebreather
02 - Uncle Jack
03 - Winchester From St Giles' Hill
04 - Judas Unrepentant
05 - Summoned By Bells
06 - Upton Heath
07 - A Boy In Darkness
08 - Hedgerow
Andy Poole: bass, keyboards
Greg Spawton: guitars, keyboards, bass
David Longdon: vocals, flute, glockenspiel
Nick D'Virgilio: drums
Ken Brake: string section, double bass
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