Saturday, January 21, 2012

SOLEIL MOON - On The Way To Everything (2011)

SOLEIL MOON - On The Way To Everything

*

The first album of SOLEIL MOON, '99s 'World's Apart' was one of the best AOR / West Coast / Adult Contemporary CD's of the nineties, and still ranks in my Top 50 list of the best of all time. Yes, it's that good.

Soleil Moon isn’t so much known even between fans of the genre (which it is a crime), nor their members, but all of them are top-shelf music-biz pros – producers, writers, and first-call session musicians – playing the music they love in order to discover what truly matters to them.
Not that working with everyone from Beyonce to Richard Marx -- as the busy players behind Soleil Moon have done -- isn’t a thrill in itself, but this is the project that lets these musical journeymen get in touch with something very personal.
The latest example of what that process sounds like is the second Soleil Moon album, "On The Way To Everything".

The man who makes it all come to life is Larry King. No, not that Larry King – save the jokes, he’s heard them all.
This Larry King is a mind-bogglingly multi-talented singer, songwriter, player, producer and bandleader who has been a full-time musician of one stripe or another since he was 12 years old.
After his college years, King moved to L.A. in the late ‘80s, forming the group Human Factor. They cut a record for the Warner Bros-distributed Caliber label that earned some attention, but by the early ‘90s, he returned to lucrative session work, becoming an in-demand singer for 'every jingle that had a guy screaming his balls off' as he jokingly describes it.Before long, King’s connections led to him becoming something of an entrepreneur, establishing his own recording studio, publishing business, production company, and more -- all of which are still thriving – but after this long list of twists and turns, he finally found his way to Soleil Moon.

King sees life as 'a constant state of reinventing ourselves', and for him that meant partnering with keyboardist/producer John Blasucci to bring life to some of the more personal songs he’d been writing, ones that wouldn’t become part of his production projects for other artists.
“I like to do material that’s kind of art-rockish, album-oriented… timeless tunes that are more about orchestration and less a ‘let’s make a pop tune for radio and follow the trends’ kind of thing.” , says King.
The pair dubbed their partnership Soleil Moon, expressing the Yin/Yang-like balance of both their working dynamic and their music. Supported by a batch of world-class players (master Michael Thompson on guitars, drummer Kenny Aronoff of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Todd Sucherman of Styx), Soleil Moon released Worlds Apart in 1999, making a big impact on Adult Contemporary radio with 'Willingly', 'Never Say Goodbye' and the title track.

More than a decade later, Soleil Moon is finally set to unveil the long-awaited follow-up album, "On The Way To Everything".
Why the wait? For a guy with as many irons in the fire as King, it’s not so easy to get the kind of clear head you need for such an all-consuming labor of love.
The songs were recorded over the past 10 years, whenever King and his cronies could steal an opportune moment in the studio in between other projects.
And while it’s not easy throwing everything you’ve got into an endeavor that’s more about artistic expression than commercial appeal, it’s a risk Soleil Moon is willing to take for the sake of "On The Way To Everything".
Blending bittersweet, melodic ballads, burning hard-rock riffs, smooth grooves, and anything else that happens to suit their fancy, Soleil Moon has made an album of supreme musicality.

Opener “History Repeats Its Pages” is a pulsing, powerful history lesson lamenting how rarely the human race learns from its mistakes. Lush, soaring ballad “Love the Way You Love” deals with the joys and complexities of romantic relationships. The emotional travelogue really kicks into full gear with “On the Way To Everything,” whose blend catchy rhythms and propulsive pop melody frames a father’s hopes for a newborn child just beginning to play the game of life.
Soon, however, things turn darker; “Goodnight Irene” is about the death of a child, surrounded by a beautiful piano and great atmosphere.
The Americana, power-chord-driven narrative of “Freedom” goes on to reflect on the horrors of child abuse, and the lengths to which a battered boy must go to escape.
Then the churning instrumental rocker “Burn” appears, exploding with a confusion and anger that are natural reactions to the previous track’s tragic tale.
After some infectious odes to aging and wanderlust with “Down”, the transcendent “Move On” returns us to the album’s “life’s a journey” theme, before the big, bold, “Here I Am” closes things out with a statement of joyful acceptance, the kind that can only come at the end of a soul’s long, eventful travels.


"On The Way To Everything" shows clearly that Larry King and John Blasucci have abundant confidence in themselves and the music they make together.
Impeccably produced and arranged entirely by King and Blasucci (who also co-wrote all the tracks), this new album is more Adult Contemporary than its predecessor, still retaining the West Coast / AOR essence blending King's rock instincts with John's sleek smooth-flavored approach into a sophisticated slab of music.
"On The Way To Everything" offers high quality music and intelligent lyrics, something that is not easy to find nowadays.
Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - History Repeats Its Pages
02 - Love The Way You Love
03 - On The Way To Everything
04 - Blackbird
05 - Goodnight Irene
06 - Freedom
07 - Burn
08 - Down
09 - Colorado
10 - Move On
11 - Here I Am

Larry King - Lead & Backing Vocals
John Blasucci - Keyboards, Synths, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris Siebold - Guitars
Lamaar Jones - Bass
Khari Parker - Drums




BUY IT !
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004M8STBS

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Friday, January 20, 2012

CHICKENFOOT - Different Devil [Mini Album] (2012)

CHICKENFOOT - Different Devil [Mini Album] (2012)

*

CHICKENFOOT have just released the third single from their 'Chickenfoot III' album.
“Different Devil” surfaces just prior to the band’s week-long Road Test tour dates across Europe, which begin January 12 in Manchester, UK.

With two former Van Halen members in Chickenfoot – singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony – the timing of the move is sure to fire up the Chickenfoot vs. VH debate amongst some fans, as the song also lands at radio at the same time as the new VH track 'Tattoo' arrives on the scene.

With acoustic guitars and a mid-tempo rhythm track, the song is a mile from the charging 'Big Foot' and 'Three And A Half Letters', the band’s previous singles.
Sammy Hagar stays out of the stratosphere vocally, opting to sing in a lower register while patiently addressing a song to his (hopefully and presumably fictitious) long-term lover, who’s wondering if there’s better options out there for her romantically. As the song kicks into a higher gear, he issues his confident challenge.

The single [radio edited, different from the album version] is being released only in Europe as a "Mini Album", including hot live takes of "Turnin' Left" (with a great jam in the middle), "My Kinda Girl" and "Learning To Fall", all recorded in Phoenix, USA.
Rocks.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Different Devil [radio edit] (3:59)
02 - Turnin' Left [Live from Phoenix] (8:37)
03 - My Kinda Girl [Live from Phoenix] (4:36)
04 - Learning To Fall [Live from Phoenix] (5:58)

Sammy Hagar - Vocals, Guitar
Joe Satriani - Guitars
Michael Anthony - Bass, Vocals
Chad Smith - Drums, Percussion




BUY IT !
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Different-Devil-Mini-Album/dp/B006UFRQWE

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ROBBY VALENTINE - A Tribute To Queen (2012)

ROBBY VALENTINE - A Tribute To Queen (2012)

*

It's well known the admiration of the mighty Dutch ROBBY VALENTINE for UK's legends Queen and the late Freddie Mercury.

On Nov. 5th, 2011, Valentine performed at the 'Queen Fanclub Day' in Koningshof Theater, Maassluis, NL. For this occasion he recorded an entire album of Queen covers titled "Valentine - A Tribute To Queen", of course, produced by himself.
The CD was sold out at the evening, but now is available as an official 2012 release, exclusively at RV.com.

Not much description needed; if you like classic Queen, you'll love "Valentine - A Tribute To Queen".
Except "We Will Rock You" which is versioned in a quasi-techno form, all the songs are respectful to the originals. Robby even has recorded "Bohemian Rhapsody" complete with the mythical middle opera section, with awesome results.
The quality on this recording is guaranteed, it's your decision if you need these versions of not. I am a big fan of Valentine's music and Queen as well, so "Valentine - A Tribute To Queen" is a must have for me.

Robby is going to perform "Valentine - A Tribute To Queen" at the upcoming 27th International Queen Convention in the UK, next April 29th.
More info on the event + location can be found here: www.queenworld.com


01 - Save Me
02 - Flick Of The Wrist
03 - Lily Of The Valley
04 - Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
05 - Bohemian Rhapsody
06 - Ogre Battle
07 - Jealousy
08 - Bicycle Race
09 - We Will Rock You
10 - We Are The Champions



BUY IT !
www.robbyvalentine.com

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

NED DOHENY - The Darkness Beyond The Fire (2011)

NED DOHENY The Darkness Beyond The Fire

*

Old Classic AOR connoisseurs already know NED DOHENY. His solo album 'Hard Candy' still remains as top favorite on many lists in the genre, and the follower 'Prone', though only released in Japan, was equally good.
Being absent in the business for 17-18 years, Ned is back with the new album "The Darkness Beyond The Fire".

Doheny was under contract to a Japanese label in early '90s, and the deal obligated him to deliver a final album. The tunes Ned wrote during that period were some of the most personal of his life, but the pressure to complete the album and the transformation he was undergoing obliged himself to release a body of work that was more demo than a finished product.
Thus, Ned revisted those tunes and re-recorded the whole thing including stellar musicians, with new arrangements and a polished production handled by himself.
The result is "The Darkness Beyond The Fire", a classy West Coast / AOR recording.

The album takes off with "Between Two Worlds", a superb breezy melodious track with an organic sound, driven by acoustic guitars, dreamy keyboards and using heavier, only male, top background vocalists: Sherwood Ball (Jay Graydon's Airplay), Bryan Garofalo (Steve Perry Band), Joseph Williams (Toto) and himself, giving the song now a more depth and life-anchoring meaning.
"Perish The Thought" has a classic West Coast feel, rhythmically rich and deep, with closely arranged vocals supported by the great Maxine Lewis on the background.
On "Too Late For Love" and "Ghostdancer" he introduces some EWI winds of Steve Tavaglione to the arrangement, the background vocals are significantly reduced to avoid the sweetness, singing in a haunting manner coherently on both songs.
"The Secret Society Of Women" is incredibly smooth with a special bitter sounding concept, while "Love In The Rear View Mirror" has a more upbeat rhythm and a catchy percussion.

"Trail’s End" sounds much modern and really American, with a different approach than the rest of the tracks on the album. It's one of the best and originally composed songs, but all are superbly written here, believe me.
"Life After Romance", featuring Don Grusin’s acoustic piano, Sherwood Ball and Joseph Williams on backing vocals, has a romantic melancholy tone, and an exquisite, intimate lead vocal performance by Doheny. This is pure West Coast guys...
"In A Perfect World", once written for a Japanese female vocal trio called Amazons released in 1995 with Doheny singing duet, seems to be the last song he has written and it is yet another everlasting love-affirming song, with a fantastic chorus.


For Ned Doheny his return to the music world took almost 20 years (a conflicting divorce and raise his son in-between) but well worth the wait.
"The Darkness Beyond The Fire" is the most personal album of his career, surely recorded in the way he wanted: with refined arrangements, a careful attention on every detail and a pristine production.
This is a beautifully crafted West Coast AOR album full of classic sounds, from an artist committed to his own style without care to what’s happening nowadays in music industry. "The Darkness Beyond The Fire" isn't polluted by any actual trend, this is pure West Coast as it should be done.
If you hesitate to get it because you think this style is outdated, let me tell you, without imposing, that you’re terribly wrong… this music is pure class.
Buy it, and re-assure yourself that there are still genuine artists in this world. They need and deserve acknowledgment and applause.
"The Darkness Beyond The Fire" was originally released at the end of 2010 only in Japan, but it is available worldwide since the last month of 2011 with a slightly different cover artwork.
Highly Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Between Two Worlds
02 - Perish The Thought
03 - Too Late For Love
04 - Ghostdancer
05 - The Secret Society Of Women
06 - Love In The Rear View Mirror
07 - Trail's End
08 - Life After Romance
09 - In A Perfect World
10 - I Will Let You Go


Ned Doheny: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer
Musicians:
Keyboards: Cat Grey, Don Grusin, Greg Mathieson
Bass: Cat Grey, Jimmy Haslip
Drums: Gary Mallaber, Joey Heredia, Michael White
Percussion: Luis Conte
EWI: Steve Tavaglione
Violin: Charlie Bisharat
Background Vocals: Sherwood Ball, Bryan Garofalo, Joseph Williams, Maxine Lewis, Leslie Smith, Marliyn Scott




BUY IT !
www.cdbaby.com/cd/neddoheny

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ANGEL CITY - Face To Face [Rock Candy remaster] (2011)

ANGEL CITY - Face To Face [Rock Candy remaster] (2011)

*

Known as simply 'The Angels' in their homeland of Australia, ANGEL CITY is a band that made a worldwide splash around 1980 and still can be found jamming in the Land Down Under today.

It was Bon Scott who took the band under his wing and got them their first record contract. The band released two albums in their native land before signing worldwide to Epic record in 1980.
"Face To Face" took the best songs off of both Aussie albums plus "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" (the re-recorded version that appeared on the Out Of The Blue E.P.) and make one hell of a Rock 'N Roll record.

Sure, the music is brittle and deeply indebted to earlier AC/DC’s uncompromising raucous boogie but the twist in the tale is the band’s lyrical component. Front man Doc Neeson’s hypnotic story telling formed the backbone of a style that caught the imagination and propelled them to success on stages from London to Los Angeles.
The band’s best songs are “Take A Long Line,” “Shadow Boxer,” “Can’t Shake It”, “After the Rain,” and my favorite “No Exit”.


Angel City's "Face To Face" fit in nicely with AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and Cold Chisel. Just great foot stompin', old fashion rock and roll. Last year, "Face To Face" was listed in the book "100 Best Australian Albums of All Time".
This Rock Candy 24-bit remastering from original source tapes is just fabulous.
If you remember Angel City then pick this puppy up as you will love hearing these songs again with fantastic sound. If you have never heard of them, then discover a great band from yesteryear.
Either way, Angel City is a kick ass rock band that deserves another look.
"Face To Face" is indeed; Rock 'N Roll in its purest form.


01 - Take A Long Line
02 - Marseilles
03 - After The Rain
04 - Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again
05 - Shadow Boxer
06 - Comin' Down
07 - Out Of The Blue
08 - Can't Shake It
09 - Waiting For The World
10 - No Exit

Doc Neeson – lead vocals
Richard Brewster – lead guitar
John Brewster – rhythm guitar
Chris Bailey – bass guitar
Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup – drums


ANGEL CITY - Face To Face [Rock Candy remaster] back cover




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www.amazon.co.uk/Face-Angel-City/dp/B005J4X978

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

TOWER CITY - The Ones That Matter (2011-2012)

TOWER CITY - The Ones That Matter 2011

*

TOWER CITY, the American trio who formed in 1988, are best known for their album ‘A Little Bit Of Fire’ which has a cult following amongst AOR loving fans worldwide, largely in Europe.

The album, recorded back in 1992 with the help of Mike Slamer (Streets, Steelhouse Lane, Seventh Key) features some of the best AOR / Melodic Rock songwriting you are ever likely to hear, sadly looked destined to never be heard, until the now defunct German label MTM Records released the album in 1996 gaining high praise to the band.
With the songs on that album having been written and recorded in the early nineties, by 1996, the band had since become known by the name Colorvine, which delivered a more progressive and alternative form of melodic rock that gained them a solid fan base within the USA.

Now here we are in 2011 and the music of Tower City will be heard in a way it never has before.
The band has remastered a selection of their best songs (including titles from the second '98 album 'All Or Nothing'), along with 4 new tracks that have been recorded in the last 7 years, entitled "The Ones That Matter".

Saltis brothers said;
"We have never been inactive as musicians. Our music may not have been represented as we felt it should have the first time around.
We went back and looked at a lot of the tracks, picked some of our favorites, and revamped a collection that we could be proud of presenting to those listeners that still cared.
The 4 new tracks are representative of our growth together after the Tower City days."


For me personally, Tower City's music is littered with virtually everything that I love about the Melodic Rock / AOR genres.
Together with Steelhouse Lane, Tower City carried the flame during the second half of the nineties. In fact, both bands were somehow connected. Steelhouse Lane's mastermind, Mike Slammer, helped this band in the artistic production department, songwriting and playing some guitars.
Tower City is a very, very good band, with a late '80s MR/AOR arena style full of trademark hooks, lush melodies and monster choruses.
As brothers Saltis like to say: "Time passes, people change, but the good music remains!"
Highly Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Moonlight
02 - Little Bit Of fire
03 - Smoke (New track 2011)
04 - In These Arms
05 - Talking To Sarah
06 - Ain't Nobody To Love
07 - Say You Love Me (New track 2011)
08 - Six Strings (New track 2011)
09 - I'll Sleep Tonight
10 - Love And Money
11 - Surrender
12 - Hot Water
13 - When It All Falls Down
14 - Wishbone (New track 2011)
15 - Closer To The Heart
16 - Hungry


Larry Saltis – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Heath Saltis – Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Tim Paul Weiner – Bass, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Scott Sanders – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Mike Slamer – Guitar
Billy Cioce – Drums







BUY IT !
www.cdbaby.com/cd/towercity

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LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM - Nine Lives [Japanese Retail] (2012)

LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM - Nine Lives [Japanese Retail]
Retail HQ

*


LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM does not stop. Their new album "Nine Lives", just released in Japan, is scheduled to be released in Europe on January 20th, 2012.

Following their very good last album 'Yes' released a few months ago, these Swedes seems to have an endless inspiration and creativity.
And the good thing is that "Nine Lives" maintains the high level of quality of its predecessor.
Perhaps even more melodic sonically, "Nine Lives" surely will stand on top amongst the wish lists of every Melodic Rock / AOR fan this year 2012.


Seems the European release has been delayed, so you, impatient melodic rocker, go and get the Japanese CD edition including the usual bonus track.
It's not cheap, but worth every penny.
Highly Recommended.


01 - In A Perfect World
02 - Nine Lives
03 - Is This Just Another Heartache
04 - Merry-Go-Round
05 - Golden Cage
06 - All I Can Think Of
07 - Megalomania
08 - The Last To Know
09 - Angel Eyes
10 - We Never Said Goodbye
11 - Waited A Long Time (Japan bonus track)
12 - Don't Let Love Fade Away


Mikael Erlandsson - Vocals and keyboards
Andy Malecek - Guitar
Jamie Borger − Drums
Nalle Pahlsson − Bass
Jeff Scott Soto − Guest Vocals
Jenny Redenkvist − Guest Vocals



BUY IT !
www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=MICP-11030

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AETHELLIS - NorthUmbria (2012)

AETHELLIS - NorthUmbria (2011-2012)

*

Ellsworth Hall is the brain behind the Neo Prog project AETHELLIS and his trademark sound are the keyboards, lots of keyboards, as is heard on the second album "NorthUmbria".
Listening to Aethellis brings me back about 25 years. Even though at times, some twists and turns make it obvious that this album is from the new millennium, there is always a strong early 80's feel about this music.

Tagged a Neo Prog, in my opinion Aethellis style is eighties proggy AOR, with diverse influences ranging from Camel, ELP, Genesis and Tony Banks solo albums, but also a strong Pomp feel in the vein of Shooting Star, Saga, Asia and The Alan Parsons Project.
Ellsworth Hall is an amazing multi-instrumentalist and a good vocalist. As singer, he can be compared to the likes of Greg Lake, Steve Hackett and why not, John Wetton. Musically most of his compositions are short with a classic format, although "NorthUmbria" features a couple of long numbers firmly planted into the classic prog tradition.

The Aethellis style is very melodic based and the keyboard is the main instrument in all songs, but all the instruments find its place in the rhythmic tracks of this album.
Whe have catchy tunes such as the pompy "Dire Need" or "Sounds Good", a great light-prog ballad in "Without A Sound" (where Aethellis sounds like earlier eighties Alan Parsons) and really good instrumentals as the rock-funkish "Celui Qui Soit La Bosse" or the beautiful crafted "The Penal Colony", where Camel comes to mind.
The more classic prog is represented on the two movements of "Northumbria / Mephisto Breeze" which features breezy harmony vocals and "The Peace Path" where the balladry fuses with a commercial Genesis light side.


"NorthUmbria" is a truly enjoyable album of 80's inspired prog including really well crafted songs.
The melody is the rule here, really easy listening and catchy but still adventurous enough to keep you interested from start to finish. Mr. Hall has also put a lot of effort into the production, as despite this is an independent CD the is sound remarkably good.
Hopefully Aethellis will find it's audience even though 80's inspired light prog is not really the flavor of the day, but I'm sure that any fan of the era (including AOR aficionados) will adore "NorthUmbria".
Love it.


01 - Northumbria / Mephisto Breeze
02 - The Awakening
03 - Dire Need
04 - The Penal Colony
05 - Without A Sound
06 - Celui Qui Soit La Bosse
07 - Exchanger Prague
08 - The Peace Path
09 - Sounds Good


Ellsworth Hall (keyboards / vocals / guitar / synths)
Mark Van Natta (guitars / vocals)
Erik Marks (bass)
Chris Marks (guitar)
Joseph Dwyer (sax)
Mike Harrington (drums)






BUY IT !
www.cdbaby.com/cd/aethellis3

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MICHAEL FLEXIG (Zeno) - World Of Tomorrow (2011)

MICHAEL FLEXIG (Zeno) - World Of Tomorrow (2011)

MICHAEL FLEXIG was the vocalist behind Zeno, the brainchild of German guitarist Zeno Roth (brother of the ex- Scorpions legendary axeman Uli Jon Roth), and both published a bunch of wonderful AOR albums in the '80s-90's.
Flexig decided to record 11 Zeno Roth originals in his own way entitled "World Of Tomorrow".

This is a curious release, as all these songs has been released before as Zeno-the band - OK maybe Flexig wanted to give them his own touch - but occurs that this album was produced by... Zeno Roth.
Then, as expected, "World Of Tomorrow" sounds as a Zeno album.
And that's not a bad thing, on the contrary, all these really good tunes blows your speakers away with huge bombastic guitar chords and soaring vocals.
Perhaps there's a little diffence in the way Flexig delivers his parts, on top of the mix and with a bit more roughness but still extemely melodic and modulated.

"World Of Tomorrow" includes very well crafted songs by the great pen of Zeno Roth, some of them close to the classic status right now, such as "Eastern Sun", "Together", "Heat Of Emotion" or "Out In The Night".
But all are really fine Melodic Hard Rock tunes, well produced and performed.
Long time fans will find some slightly new arrangements on some tracks, and if you never heard Zeno-the band, this is a good opportunity to appreciate Roth's top songwriting and Michael Flexig vocal abilities (soaring for sure).
Really Good Stuff.


MICHAEL FLEXIG (Zeno) - World Of Tomorrowtracks





BUY IT !
www.amazon.com/World-of-Tomorrow/dp/B004L094OI

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AETHELLIS - NorthUmbria (2012)

AETHELLIS - NorthUmbria (2011-2012)

*

Ellsworth Hall is the brain behind the Neo Prog project AETHELLIS and his trademark sound are the keyboards, lots of keyboards, as is heard on the second album "NorthUmbria".
Listening to Aethellis brings me back about 25 years. Even though at times, some twists and turns make it obvious that this album is from the new millennium, there is always a strong early 80's feel about this music.

Tagged a Neo Prog, in my opinion Aethellis style is eighties proggy AOR, with diverse influences ranging from Camel, ELP, Genesis and Tony Banks solo albums, but also a strong Pomp feel in the vein of Shooting Star, Saga, Asia and The Alan Parsons Project.
Ellsworth Hall is an amazing multi-instrumentalist and a good vocalist. As singer, he can be compared to the likes of Greg Lake, Steve Hackett and why not, John Wetton. Musically most of his compositions are short with a classic format, although "NorthUmbria" features a couple of long numbers firmly planted into the classic prog tradition.

The Aethellis style is very melodic based and the keyboard is the main instrument in all songs, but all the instruments find its place in the rhythmic tracks of this album.
Whe have catchy tunes such as the pompy "Dire Need" or "Sounds Good", a great light-prog ballad in "Without A Sound" (where Aethellis sounds like earlier eighties Alan Parsons) and really good instrumentals as the rock-funkish "Celui Qui Soit La Bosse" or the beautiful crafted "The Penal Colony", where Camel comes to mind.
The more classic prog is represented on the two movements of "Northumbria / Mephisto Breeze" which features breezy harmony vocals and "The Peace Path" where the balladry fuses with a commercial Genesis light side.


"NorthUmbria" is a truly enjoyable album of 80's inspired prog including really well crafted songs.
The melody is the rule here, really easy listening and catchy but still adventurous enough to keep you interested from start to finish. Mr. Hall has also put a lot of effort into the production, as despite this is an independent CD the is sound remarkably good.
Hopefully Aethellis will find it's audience even though 80's inspired light prog is not really the flavor of the day, but I'm sure that any fan of the era (including AOR aficionados) will adore "NorthUmbria".
Love it.


01 - Northumbria / Mephisto Breeze
02 - The Awakening
03 - Dire Need
04 - The Penal Colony
05 - Without A Sound
06 - Celui Qui Soit La Bosse
07 - Exchanger Prague
08 - The Peace Path
09 - Sounds Good


Ellsworth Hall (keyboards / vocals / guitar / synths)
Mark Van Natta (guitars / vocals)
Erik Marks (bass)
Chris Marks (guitar)
Joseph Dwyer (sax)
Mike Harrington (drums)






BUY IT !
www.cdbaby.com/cd/aethellis3

Read more...

Monday, January 16, 2012

BLUE MAMMOTH - Blue Mammoth (2011)

BLUE MAMMOTH - Blue Mammoth (2011)

*

BLUE MAMMOTH is a new superb prog band from Brazil and their self-titled debut encapsulates the best elements of early pioneers combined with the new tendencies of the genre.

Listed as a Neo Prog band, Blue Mammoth is much more in the AOR vein of the neo-prog spectrum than most of the new acts in the style.
The band rocks it out with a vintage '70s hard prog sound too, and adds to the mix some sympho sounds as well, all cooked with a modern production.
There's a great mix of melody, over the top keyboard structures, complex arrangements and crunchy guitars throughout this debut. Much of the CD is broken down into lengthy multi-part suites, called "Blue Mammoth", "Rain of Changes" and "Quixotes's Dream", plus a few other single tracks.

"Blue Mammoth" opens with regal majesty as "Overture - The Awakening Of A Giant" grabs hold of you with its bombastic synthesizer fanfare and dynamic gong and cymbal crashes, guitar / keyboard duels and vocal harmonies creating a massive wall of sound, all propelled by a hard and energetic driving rhythm section.
Then, when we thought things couldn't get any better, Part IV "Coda - Back Again" gains the momentum of a steaming locomotive in the vein of German progsters Eloy.
"Metamorphosis", with its heavy riffs and raging Hammond, is a safe bet for Uriah Heep fans, while the 17-minute "Rain of Changes" contains all the elements modern prog lovers need to have.
"The Same Old Sad Tale" almost reminds of vintage Asia, with its more commercial edge and excellent singer Michell sounding a bit like John Wetton and guitarist Lupac adding in some tasty guitar work not unlike the legendary Steve Howe.
The album closes in great form with the soaring, lush prog of "Resurrection Day" and the Deep Purple influenced heavy rock of "Infinite Strangers".


"Blue Mammoth" is indeed a mammoth album, embracing the best of the classic prog and proggy AOR of all times, blended with traditional classy Hard Rock.
Blue Mammoth takes inspiration from the giants YES, Genesis, ELP, Jethro Tull, IQ, Marillion, Styx, Kansas just to name a few, delivering an exquisite cocktail of sounds. Mainly vintage, but with today's rich and crystal high standard production.
Founder member Julian Quilodran attacks his bass with the ferocity of a youthful Chris Squire, employing his instrument more as a lead than bass guitar. The vocals are superb, there's plenty of supreme guitar and keyboard work, all complemented by flutes, mellotron, taurus pedals and much more sounds.
"Blue Mammoth" features brilliant compositions and masterful musicianship, a more than recommended debut from a band that surely has a bright future ahead of themselves.
Highly Recommended


BLUE MAMMOTH - Blue Mammoth (2011)tracklist


Julian Quilodran - bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals, cello, flute
Andre Micheli - piano, organ, synths, lead and backing vocals
Thiago Meyer - drums, electronic and acoustic percussion, backing vocals
Andre Lupac - electric and acoustic guitars, flute, backing vocals




BUY IT !
http://synphonic.8m.com/country/brazil.htm

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JAKKS - Fire (2011)

JAKKS - Fire (2011) bonus tracks

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It has been said many times on this site; Melodic Hard Rock has no boundaries.
JAKKS from Argentina is one of the few bands from South America carrying the flag of the genre, releasing their first international album "Fire".

Formed in 2006 and after some line-up changes, the band published independently their debut 'Fuego En Tu Piel' in 2008 -with Spanish lyrics- obtaining good success locally and in Brazil.
Jakks has opened shows for Vince Neil and Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns, filmed commercials for major brands such as 7UP or Citröen and toured the area as main act.
In 2011 the band signed a deal with UK's based label Z Records to release "Fire" (their debut with re-recorded vocals sung in English) in Europe, USA and Japan.

"Fire" takes elements of 80's classic bands like Bon Jovi, Dokken, Bonfire, Bad English and alike.
There’s some good upbeat hard rockers here, such as "Making Me Burn", "Don't Hold You Back" and the opening track "Just An Obsession" (where singer Alec Michaels does his best Rhett Forrester impression).
Also interesting melodic rock tunes like "Nothing Else Tonight", "Everything" and "Endless Night" featuring a catchy riffs. We can hear as well some AOR elements, most notably in the bouncy, keyboard laden "For Your Love".
The ballads are present too; "Dreams" is a nice one and the love song "Come Back To Me" has a sweet melodious line in the Bad English style.


"Fire" is a cool Melodic Hard Rock album from a strange land for this kind of genre, with the type of sound that has propelled several bands to stardom over the years.
Of course, the production is far from perfect, but it's clear that Jakks has a profuse love for this lovely style and they do their best on these songs.
Alec Michaels has a good voice, although a bit too accented at times, and he is helped by a competent band, specially Kkris Pueblas' hot six-string performance.
As a starting point, "Fire" has plenty of heart and some rather pleasing songs, but the next one needs to be that much better to give Jakks a chance of getting anywhere.
Interesting.


01 - Just An Obsession
02 - Break Them
03 - Nothing Else Tonight
04 - Come Back To Me
05 - Everything
06 - Endless Nights
07 - For Your Love
08 - Making Me Burn
09 - Dreams
10 - Dont Hold You Back
11 - Angel Of My Dreams
12 - Follow Me [Bonus Track]
13 - Romperé (Break Them spanish version) [Bonus Track]
14 - Lejos De Ti (Come Back To Me spanish version) [Bonus Track]


Alec Michels - Vocals
Kkris Pueblas - Guitars
Akrue Novalis - Bass, Backing Vocals
Chris Motta - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Seba Arean - Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
German Simeone - Bass
Micaela Dive - Chorus (2,7,9)
Melissa Evila - Guitar (1,3)
Roque D'agostino - Acoustic Guitar (9)








BUY IT !
www.nehrecords.com/SHOP/JakksFire.htm

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VOODOO SIX - Falling Knives [Limited Edition] (2011)

VOODOO SIX - Falling Knives [Limited Edition] (2011)

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London based hard rockers VOODOO SIX first came to many people's attention with their album 'First Hit For Free' in 2008, furnished with critical acclaim from the likes of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris and music critics alike.
Following 'Fluke?' (2010) which was engineered by Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, Metallica), Voodoo Six is releasing "Falling Knives", a limited edition EP only available digitally until the end of February.

This new EP features three brand new tracks and three re-worked versions of songss from Voodoo Six's debut.
The band's sound is a rough-around-the-edges take on traditional Hard Rock boasting the raw energy of '70s / '80s bands, plus an accessible Classic Rock feel. The result feels very trendy and unusually cool for what is essentially tarted-up old man's rock.
Seems these guys are a blast on the stage and that feeling really comes over on the EP.

"Falling Knives" works well at any volume, but it really makes sense when your speakers have smoke pouring from them.
The title track is a bouncy affair with a Southern US rock charm about it. "Sharp Sand" features a commercial chorus and has chart-botherer written all over it. This track is a punchy affair, played in a modern context but with interesting stop/start sections as well.
"Stop" has a good groove running beneath it, a very 70's flavored track laden with attitude and intensity.
The re-recorded songs are solid as well. "One More Day" should be a live favorite with its heavy-funk catchy intro, "Feed My Soul" sounds like Chris Cornell / Soundgarden featuring guitar subtleties that makes it extremely pleasing to the ear, whilst "No Friend (Of Mine)" rounding the EP off with some power, sounding as a heavier version of Black Country Communion.


"Falling Knives" is a really effective Hard Rock EP played in the classic style with modern stylings thrown in.
What most I like from Voodoo Six is their clear sound, powerful and blasting, but all the instruments are perfectly separated in the mix helped by a really good production.
Luke Purdie has born to sing classic Hard Rock, Tony Newton's bass is pumping, low-down and dirty, while the guitars riffs & solos are sharp and panned on both channels.
Voodoo Six seems destined for great things on the back of high profile tours with Iron Maiden, Extreme and Alice Cooper, also performing at The Download Festival.
Hat off to these guys for their ability to create genuine Hard Rock exciting sounds.

01 - Falling Knives
02 - Sharp Sand
03 - Stop
04 - One More Day (2011 version)
05 - Feed My Soul (2011 version)
06 - No Friend (2011 version)

Luke Purdie - Vocals
Tony Newton - Bass
Matt Pearce - Guitar
Chris Jones - Guitar
Joe Lazarus - Drums


BUY IT !
www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Knives/dp/B00617ZA10

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

N0LOVELOST - N0LoveLost (2011)

N0LOVELOST - N0LoveLost (2011)

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WOW!
Who are these guys from N0LoveLost and where they've been 'till now?
Hailing from Winston Salem, NC, N0LoveLost was formed in 2006. All members are veteran musicians of the east coast circuit.
Vocalist Scott Board began his career with Cerebus, a North Carolina metal group that garnered national attention with their album 'Too Late To Pray'.
In the early '90s, Board, along with Jason Staton, Brian Azbell and Russell Kahle were members of Dimage, recording the album 'It Takes Time'. Jeff Brooks, a former member of circuit favorites Zak and Sequence, was brought in to add keyboards, additional guitars and background vocals.

N0LoveLost plays Melodic Hard Rock, although not sounding as your typical band of the genre. Yes, the big guitars, melodies and choruses are there, but they add to the music extra ingredients.
The rhythm section has a dry, compressed sound, adding some synth bass which makes it different from the rest. They arrange the terrific vocal harmonies in an original way, and Scott Board lead vocals escapes from the usual cliché.

Every song on this CD reflects a wide range of 80’s and 90’s influences, but as said, N0LoveLost has their own style and sound. And quite original for sure.
Opener "(Eternal) Miles Apart" perhaps is the most traditional in stylings, with an earlier eighties melodious vibe and even some pomp, all with a modern production.
"Another Bad Goodbye" is driven by a strong riff and a chorus crowned by very good vocal harmonies that reminds me C.I.T.A. / Guild Of Ages, followed by the semi-midtempo "Sign Of The Times" featuring a quirky guitar work and an accomplished vocal performance by Board.
The faster "Back On The Streets" is pretty eighties, blending some UK's influences of that era with Queensryche circa Rage for Order. In fact, Scott Board's vocals reminds me Geoff Tate many times on this recording, just with a more melodic timbre. A great track with a pumping bass line and fine drumming.

They go to the nineties with''L.I.E. In Ecstacy", a heavy rocker in the vein of Lynch Mob, while on the slowly, atmospheric "Grounded" the band adds some acoustics and Queensryche comes to mind again. Very, very well composed track with solid harmonies.
"Skin And Bone" is a dark hard rocker with a classic riff. This song, structurally and sonically seems taken out of George Lynch's stupendous album Sacred Groove. Of course the guitars shine here, also the excellent drum fills and the roaring vocals.
The golden days of Winger are revived on "Desiree", one of my favorites on this really good CD. Great melodies and harmony vocals here, plus a stylized six-string solo.

"Closer To Home" is somehow a ballad, but it's much more than that. The band blends a classic sweet melody with a progressive arrangement resulting in an original and innovative composition.
"Little Things" is a nineties melodic rocker full of melody. Connoisseurs surely will remember the great band Stun Leer from that era. Well, this track recalls their style, with a simply irresistible pre-chorus and 'that' drums. A winner.
"Friend Of Pain" closes the album in great form. It's a dark hard rocker with a Winger's 'Pull' infatuation all over. Love it.


Coming out of nowhere, almost with no promotion, greatly produced and released by themselves, N0LoveLost has delivered an original, splendid Melodic Hard Rock album.
"N0LoveLost" hit the streets on November, 2011. Support this fabulous indie band, they deserve a world-wide recognition for this truly good self-managed release.
As Bill Leverty from Firehouse said: “WOW, what a great CD !! - Well done guys”.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox


01 - (Eternal) Miles Apart
02 - Another Bad Goodbye
03 - Sign Of The Times
04 - Back On The Streets
05 - ''L.I.E.'' In Ecstacy
06 - Grounded
07 - Skin And Bone
08 - Break
09 - Desiree'
10 - Closer To Home
11 - Little Things
12 - Catch Me Carrie
13 - Friend Of Pain


Scott Board - Lead Vocals
Jason Staton - Guitar, Vocals
Jeff Brooks - Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Russ Kahle - Bass
Brian Azbell - Drums, Vocals




BUY IT !
www.cdbaby.com/cd/n0lovelost
.

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ACOUSTIC SAINTS (Stan Bush) - ST (2012)

ACOUSTIC SAINTS Stan Bush 2012

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ACOUSTIC SAINTS is new band put together by guitarist, singer and songwriter AOR icon Stan Bush, bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House of Lords, Giuffria) and Rick Sailon (Laura Brannigan, Richard Page, Jim Messina).

While Stan Bush is most likely working on a new album, 'Acoustic Saints' started as a side project intended to play some small gigs.
Stan had to say: "Yeah, we just got together with Chuck to play some acoustics, this is a very cool thing. We're doing only great classic songs, with a few originals thrown in.
It's myself, Chuck Wright with his acoustic bass and Rick Sailon on violin, acoustic guitar & mandolin."


The Acoustic Saints reinterpret Classic Rock fave tunes from the '70s and '80s, such as "Whiter Shade Of Pale", "Hotel California" or Bush's penned "Love Don't Lie" (popularized by House of Lords) with a moody atmospheric vibe.

This is a promotional only recording, not for sale.
Catch them at the Hard Rock Hollywood (right on Hollywood Blvd) on January 14th, 2012!

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Boys Of Summer
02 - Ramble On
03 - Maggie May
04 - Whiter Shade Of Pale
05 - Love Don't Lie
06 - In Your Eyes (Live)


Stan Bush - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Chuck Wright - Acoustic Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Sailon - Violin, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin



.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

BLUEROSE - Fallen From Heaven (2012)

BLUEROSE - Fallen From Heaven  2011 2012

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The Melodic Hard Rock / AOR project BLUEROSE started in 2006 as a cover band. Now these Italians are releasing their independently recorded debut "Fallen From Heaven" including original material.
Seems many Italian young musicians have a profound love for these genres (Lionville, Soul Seller) lately.

Founded by guitar player Riccardo Scaramelli and drummer Cristiano Primosi (who also co-wrote the songs), Bluerose's debut is inspired by classic American bands of the '80s.
Not usual for this kind of music, "Fallen From Heaven" is somehow a concept album telling the story of an angel called Bluerose who is fallen on Earth, describing his emotions during his journey.

Almost all tracks on the CD are preceded by an instrumental intro, which is quite interesting. The first two 'main tracks' are amongst the best on offer here.
"Fallen From Heaven" is a nice melodic hard rocker driven by a never-ceasing melodic guitar, whilst "Eyes To Eyes" has the classic hair metal sound impregnated all over.
Then "Wasted" has an eighties European Hard Rock mold, with a fast pace and a good shredding guitar solo. However, this style does not fit well for the band IMHO, and the chorus is weak and repetitive.

"Lonely Days" is another good tune, a well composed power ballad in the classic style, which also reveals in the lyrics the main concept of the story.
"Rock On" rocks again with a good riff and cool backing vocals, followed by the Americanized "Power", obviously inspired by Arizona's Icon.
The commercial Melodic Rock of "On Through The Night" reminds you a second hand Johnny Lima, "Born To Be In Love" has a nice AOR rock feel, and "No More Lies" sounds like a light White Lion.
"No One But You" ends the journey of the angel and the album in acoustic mode, a fine ballad although a bit generic.


The intentions of Bluerose on "Fallen From Heaven" are more than laudable, playing the genres we all love. Add to this the good idea of a whole album as a concept story.
Some songs are quite well composed, and the musicianship is good. But they need a real singer, as it's clear that Scaramelli is mainly guitarist, his vocals are weak for the most part, sometimes a bit out of pitch.
Production, and particularly the mix (managed by themselves) on a few tracks does not help either, but this is an indie recording and those aspects can be corrected with a major budget at hand.
Bluerose has potential, just check the video-track below. It's a matter of time if they are ready for bigger things.
Interesting.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01. (intro: The Fallen) Fallen From Heaven
02. (intro: The Desire) Eyes To Eyes
03. (intro: The Lostness) Wasted
04. (intro: The Loneliness) Lonely Days
05. (intro: The Feeling) Rock On
06. Power
07. (intro: The Sorrow) On Through The Night
08. (intro: The Love) Born To Be In Love
09. (intro: The Guilt) No More Lies
10. No One But You


Riccardo Scaramelli - Guitars / Vocals / Keyboards
Giuliano Soranno - Guitars
Sebastiano Canalaz - Guitars / Backing Vocals
Guido Lucchese - Bass / Backing Vocals
Cristiano Primosi - Drums & Percussion







BUY IT !
www.tunecore.com/music/bluerose

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CREDO - Against Reason (2011)

CREDO - Against Reason (2011)

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With almost a 20 year-career but only two albums under their belt, Scottish Neo Progsters CREDO are releasing a new CD; "Against Reason".
Debut 'Field Of Vision' in 1994 enjoyed some success in the UK and Neo Prog strongholds across Europe. Credo toured the continent and set to work on a second album in 1999, but following an appalling run of bad luck, ill health and assorted disasters, few people expected the new album to see the light of day; or even to see Credo on a stage again.
However, with a lot of hard work and determination, 'Rhetoric' was released in 2005 - exactly 11 years to the day after their debut! The disc was exceptionally well-received, gaining universal praise, and is rightly viewed as a giant leap forward for the band from their debut CD.

Musically, Credo is a true Neo Prog band: Symphonic Prog Rock with more guitars, less pomp and lots of emotional, pleasant melodies. They are heavily influenced by the first Marillion / Fish era.
"Against Reason" sees this band reaching another level completely in terms of songwriting and performances, bolder, more complex and exciting, while still retaining their fine melodic sense.
With a right production and strong musicianship, everything works on "Against Reason". On the tasteful arrangements you hear chimming electric guitars, elegant keyboards lines, brilliant bass runs and a versatile drummer. Singer Mark Colton has a very good voice and a fine dramatic interpretation that, while still showing Fish's influence, is now very much his own.

The album opens with the 10 minute "Staring At The Sun", an environmentally friendly number which hits the ground running with an attention grabbing synth burst introducing the album's most anthemic track.
"Cardinal Sin" ventures into sensitive and emotive areas, with Birrell's lead guitar capturing the emotions of the song beautifully, while Colton's vocals expose the full drama of the lyrics.
"Intimate Strangers" features the voices of band in full harmony, before concluding with a fine instrumental section. The title track is the only completely instrumental tune on the album. A relatively brief piece, it offers a relaxed interlude between the stronger numbers which surround it.
"Insane" takes on the weighty topic of what people will do -especially in terms of violence- in the name of religion. Understandably, this is probably also the heaviest track musically too.

"Reason to Live" is the shortest track on the album, and thus acts as a second respite among its weighty peers. The song is a reflective harmony piece with atmospheric floating synths.
"Conspiracy (MCF)" deals with the dearth of truth and conspiracy theories in modern society. There is a bit of a Genesis feel to the track in the Banks-like synth breaks too.
The album closes with what for me is the best of the bunch. "Ghosts of Yesterday" reminds me in passing of the earlier days of Arena. Lyrically the song looks at the human impact of political decisions, in particular those relating to traditional industries. This 13+ minute epic is performed at a regal pace (dictated by the ticking clock which opens the song). Beginning as a quasi-acoustic number, the track builds through strong melodies and repeated refrains in classic, Melodic Neo Prog style. Birrell's lead guitar never sounded better, but the whole band are in their element here. As the piece reaches its crescendo in a melting pot of soaring guitars, sways of synths and repeating refrains, we are lifted ever higher by the majesty of the music.


With "Against Reason", Credo has graduated from a very promising group to one of the best Neo Prog bands of the new millennium.
Credo's sound is explicitly Neo Prog; the music revolves around big choruses, melodic and upbeat song structures, and the synths get more than a couple of moments to lead the band onward.
Additionally, if you're tired of airy-fairy fantasy prog lyrics, and feel like you need some more down to earth emotion, then you really should give this album a shot.
Hopefully "Against Reason" will find the global success it warrants. After all, it is not every day that you stumble upon a CD that has not a single weak track, which sounds fresh, powerful and convincing from beginning to end.
Highly Recommended


01 - Staring At The Sun
02 - Cardinal Sin
03 - Intimate Strangers
04 - Against Reason
05 - Insane
06 - Reason To Live
07 - Conspiracy (MCF)
08 - Ghosts Of Yesterday


Mark Colton : vocals & percussion
Tim Birrell : guitars
Mike Varty : keyboards, backing vocals
Jim Murdoch : bass, backing vocals
Martin Meads : drums






BUY IT !
www.amazon.com/Against-Reason-Credo/dp/B004WBZHJC

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

COLORSTONE - Into The Garden (2011-2012)

COLORSTONE - Into The Garden 2011 2012

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COLORSTONE is a new rocking band from Malmö, Sweden, which are releasing their self-financed debut "Into The Garden".
A new band, but the musicians involved aren't newcomers at all.
Fredrik Bergengren was one of the founder members of the AOR act Time Gallery, releasing two very good albums during the nineties (the self-titled one was recently re-issued and already presented here at zerodayrock).
Bergengren and his partners in Colorstone have recorded on over 50 CD's with various artists covering many genres, so expect quality musicianship here.

"Into The Garden" is inspired in the Classic Hard Rock style of the '80s with some late seventies hints, wrapped by a modern melodious sound and updated production.
Fredrik Bergengren's classy guitar tone drive the tunes supported by a fat bass and a crispy sounding drumming, with the use of abundant percussion.
Johan Dahlström vocals are clear and intense, sometimes rough, sometimes melodic, with a wide range reaching high notes when needed.

We can find varied styling on the CD, as the groovy opener "Into The Garden Of Destruction", followed by catchy rhythm of the guitar driven "Silverspoon" and then the heavy-bluesy "Intoxicated" which adds a cool harmonica.
One of my favorites is the retro melodic rocker "Show Me All The Way" where Dahlström's passionate vocals sounds as a young Bono.
"Flowing" is one of the most interesting tracks. Starts slowly with very well arranged layers of guitars and whispering vocals, and after the tasteful middle six-string solo the song increases the tempo. A lot of class on this one.
"One Of A Kind" rocks hard in a vintage style with fine riffing and powerful vocals, "Find Myself" mixes some clean / distorted guitars for good effect, while the melodic "Truly Mine" adds some nineties sounds ala Dan Reed Network.
The semi-midtempo "How Do You Feel" is a rocker with good harmonies, "To Be Someone" has more melodic hard rock orientation in the vein of the recent Bad Habit, while "Soul Generator" adds some hard bluesy touches in the Richie Kotzen style. "Sometimes Down Is The Only Way Up" is an acoustic affair with a warm ambience.


"Into The Garden" is a solid rockin' album with very good musicianship, impeccably performed and arranged.
What most I like about this album is the crispy sound, I mean sonically, as all the instruments truly comes brilliant out of the speakers. This kind of music usually is recorded a bit muddy to provide roughness and edge, but Colortone opts for a vivid delivery which enhances the melodies.
The only drawback of "Into The Garden" is its length. Sure, it's a self-released album and the band decided to full-fill the CD capacity with all the music possible. Bad move IMHO, specially being the last tracks pretty weak, far from the quality of the previous ones. Ending the album at track 12 would have made this a much better rounded disc.
"Into The Garden" is a good classy Hard Rock album with some Melodic Rock moments, spiced with the characteristic Swedish sound that has become so popular these days.
Only available on digital format at the moment, but seems it will be pressed on physical CD soon.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Into The Garden Of Destruction
02 - Silverspoon
03 - Intoxicated
04 - Show Me All The Way
05 - Flowing
06 - One Of A Kind
07 - Find Myself
08 - Truly Mine
09 - How Do You Feel
10 - To Be Someone
11 - Soul Generator
12 - Sometimes Down Is The Only Way Up
13 - Good Life
14 - Someone Else
15 - Tonight's The Night
16 - The Secret
17 - Solitude Waiting


Fredrik Bergengren (ex Time Gallery, Mikael Wiehe & Tricky Track):
Guitars, Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Johan Dahlström (ex Silver Mountain):
Lead & Backing Vocals
Olle Nilsson (ex Tricky Track):
Drums, Percussion & Backing Vocals
Jonas Sandquist (ex Wasteland):
Bass, Keyboards & Backing Vocals







BUY IT !
www.amazon.com/Into-The-Garden/dp/B006MON91A

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Friday, January 6, 2012

KEE MARCELLO - Redux : Europe (2012)

KEE MARCELLO - Redux : Europe  2011 2012

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Kjell Hilding Lövbom, most known as KEE MARCELLO, the guitarist who replaced John Norum in the Swedish band Europe back in 1986, just released in Sweden "Redux : Europe", featuring own new tracks alongside modern, harder-sounding re-recordings of Europe and Marcello's previous band Easy Action hits.
The CD will be released in the rest of the world in February 2012, accompanied by remastered and repackaged versions of Kee's two solo earlier albums, "Redux : Shine On" and "Redux : Melon Demon Divine".

When asked why he chose to re-record Europe songs, Marcello said, " *Redux* is Latin for 'reclaim' or 'take back,' and that's what I'm doing here. These songs are part of my past and I wanted to bring them into the future."
This is a controversial release for sure. But not the only one.
Marcello is publishing as well his autobiographical book 'The Rock Star God Forgot', revealing some 'dirty secrets' (from his view) of his years as Europe member.
More than that, Kee has sparked a scandal in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, revealing that he is suing Europe for one fifth of the revenue the band has earned since 1993.
According to Kee, he bought out John Norum when he replaced him in 1986 and therefore owns a fifth of the brand 'Europe'.
"We tried to reach a settlement, one million Euros," Kee said, "But they did not react to it and therefore we must take them to court. I bought all of Norum's rights in 1987 when I joined the band, so in order to get them back, we have to make some kind of settlement."
In the interview Kee also claimed he was promised to be a part of the 2003 reunion together with Norum, but their manager Petri H. Lunden 'broke the promise' and told Kee he was out of the band.

Ugh.
Let's better talk about the music on "Redux : Europe".
These Europe classic songs are untouchable, none can make better versions of these gems. Albums as "Out Of This World" and "Prisoners In Paradise" still rank between my favorites ever.
But seems Kee needed to re-record them in his own style. Most of them are pretty well versioned with a modern production, particularly the songs taken from 'Prisoners In Paradise' and the Easy Action (Marcello's previous band) tracks.
Surprisingly, Kee sings well, with a rougher style, but in control. He isn't able to reach Joey Tempest range, then the vocal parts were arranged to suit his voice, which works for the most part.
Of course, his melodic, terrific sustained guitar tone and technique is intact, and he shines specially on the good instrumental tracks featured here.


Listening "Redux : Europe" from an outsider perspective (not as Europe fan), this is a good rocking album, very well performed and produced.
A good song is always a good song, and there's many here. Most of them works well.
But I don't like some versions at all. In example, "The Final Countdown" was substantially changed here and Kee's vocals are weak. "Mind In The Gutter" featuring (his daughter?) Hanna Marcello is terrible. On the other hand, a very difficult song to perform as "Carrie" was truly well rounded.
Anyway, as said, "Redux : Europe" is a good Hard Rock disc, with a remarkable good production and strong musical performances.
It depends on you if you like it or not...


01 - Redux : Europe
02 - Superstitious
03 - Seventh Sign
04 - Let The Good Times Rock
05 - Girl From Lebanon
06 - The Final Countdown
07 - We Go Rocking (Slight Return)
08 - Carrie
09 - Hammers Heart
10 - Bumble Kee
11 - Here Comes The Night
12 - Halfway To Heaven
13 - More Than Meets The Eye
14 - Mind In The Gutter (feat. Hanna Marcello)
15 - Open Your Heart
16 - Rock The Night


Kee Marcello: Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Jonny Scaramanga: Guitar
Ken Sandin: Bass
Paul White: Drums
The Unknown: Keyboards
Hanna Marcello: guest Vocals




BUY IT !
cdon.se/musik/marcello_kee/redux_europe_(signerad)-16081621

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HIMORA - Argue All You Want (2011)

HIMORA - Argue All You Want (2011)

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Norwegian rockers HIMORA are playing together, on and off, for about a decade, and now it's time for their full-length debut "Argue All You Want".
They have been acted on a couple of Scandinavian tours as a backing band for Eric Martin (Mr. Big) and showing their own material as well.

The band's style, as described by themselves, is melodic retro rock 'Cheap Trick meets Bad Company with a bit of old-school Aerosmith thrown in'.
They are clearly influenced by the late '70s - early '80s incarnations of the aforementioned bands, mixed with a hint of the commerciality of Mr. Big.
Morten Fredheim has a warm and rich mellow tone, with a timbre which sounds like a cross between a young Lou Gramm and Paul Rodgers. The guitar licks are quite varied and interesting, pretty straight from the valvular amps.

The swagger of "Just Can't Stop" kicks things off with a catchy rhythm.
"Like A Heart Attack" is then slower, moodier and darker before a more classic feel on the next, "Too Long At The Fair".
"Birmingham" has a groovy opening bass line and an infectious melody, whilst "Wings" reminds you the very earlier Foreigner.
The melodious "When The Boys Are Back" is influenced by Cheap Trick, "Big Betty" is pretty commercial in the Aerosmith / Climax Blues Band style, and on the shuffle of "Summer Dress" I can hear some hints of Little Feat.
"Fisherman's Blues" is a nice and melodic semi-slow tune, with a pedal steel arrangement reminiscent of Dobbie Bros.


"Argue All You Want" has a broad, classic rock appeal to fans that already dig this type of familiar, friendly radio rock.
Pleasant. That's the overriding feeling one gets listening to this one. It's very, very inoffensive but not in a dull way. What this record does contain are some good melodies and quite quirky lyrics in places, with a melodic and polished sound.
There's no question that the writers in the band have an ear for melody, although you get the impression that Himora kind of plays it safe with their formula, but "Argue All You Want" is not a bad album nonetheless.
It's a cool and more than decent rocking disc.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Just Can't Stop
02 - Like A Heart Attack
03 - Too Long At The Fair
04 - Birmingham
05 - When The Boys Are Back
06 - Wings
07 - Big Betty
08 - Summer Dress
09 - Fisherman's Blues
10 - Mexico Smile
11 - Legend In Your Lunchbox
12 - This Is The Life (digital download exclusive bonus)


Morten Fredheim: Vocals
Terje Kjorlaug: Guitars
Endre Hallre: Bass
Remi Fagereng: Drums







BUY IT !
www.musicbymail.eu/index.php?i=35485

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JOE BONAMASSA - No Hits, No Hype, Just The Best (2012)

JOE BONAMASSA - No Hits, No Hype, Just The Best (2012)

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After his last year's good album 'Dust Bowl' and the success of Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa starts 2012 with a new album; "No Hits, No Hype, Just The Best", compiling the best of his recent recordings.

"No Hits, No Hype, Just The Best" is a 12-track CD released in conjunction with Classic Rock Magazine, so it not will be available in regular stores. To get it you need to purchase Classic Rock Magazine #167.
Every track has been hand-picked by famed producer Kevin Shirley and Classic Rock Magazine staff.
A very good selections for sure. Includes many tracks of Bonamassa's solo albums, a couple of Black Country Communion tunes and a song from Joe's recent collaboration with female singer Beth Hart.


"No Hits, No Hype, Just The Best" is a very good compendium of Bonamassa's career.
As guitar player, his style is deep and complex, a true virtuoso. His polished sound remembers Eric Johnson on the melodic parts, and Stevie Ray Vaughan or Steve Morse when he decides to shred.
This album should appeal to any quality Classic Rock rock fan, guitar lover and of course the recent super group Black Country Communion.
Good Stuff


JOE BONAMASSA - No Hits, No Hype, Just The Best 2012 back




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www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/the-new-issue-of-classic-rock-is-out-now-2

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ONE MAN'S TRASH (feat. Jimi Jamison) - HiStory (2011)

ONE MAN'S TRASH (feat. Jimi Jamison) - HiStory (2011)

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Living legend Jimi Jamison, former lead singer of Target, Cobra and Survivor, still belongs to the best vocalists. ONE MAN’S TRASH is a project that sees Jamison teaming up with German songwriter/guitarist Fred Zahl for a brand new album entitled “HiStory”, that sounds like a mixture of Survivor, Jamison’s solo efforts and American Classic Rock.

For those who don't know Fred Zahl, he is a German musician trained in the USA who has wrote music for several European artists and played gigs with Ken Hensley, Paul Carrack, Alanah Myles and many more.
Searching the perfect voice for a new own project, Zahl met Jimi Jamison last year and together started writing brand new songs. "HiStory" is the first product of this collaboration.
Music-wise One Man’s Trash play rather up-tempo Melodic Rock, often combining AOR structures with classic American rock. Production wise "HiStory" come fairly close to the sound of a Jamison solo album, contrasting the melodic hard rock approach of his recent colaboration album 'Kimball-Jamison'.

"HiStory", in good AOR tradition, prioritizes great songwriting over flamboyant performances with the vocals being the protagonist instrument, also delivering most of the melodic lines on the CD.
Upon first play "HiStory" seems like the natural continuation of Jimi’s latest solo album Crossroads, since the new project takes shape on the same mixture of acoustic and electric guitars, complemented by keyboard harmonies and supported by a very natural-sounding rhythm section.
Still, "HiStory" is a substantially more up-lifting album than Crossroads, a super-positive release, one that comes out as a celebration of Jimi’s thirty-year career in rock.
No question, this material is straight to the point, optimistic Melodic Rock / AOR baring no fillers within its track-list; “Real Thing”, “The Restless Kind”, the ambiguous “Lose My Mind”, the autobiographical “History” and the classic-sounding ballad “Through Your Eyes” really say everything regarding the songwriting quality and level of musicianship featured on "HiStory".


"HiStory" is a fantastic CD.
One Man’s Trash seems to come out of nowhere, still bringing to front the same stimulating sound we have come to expect from Jimi Jamison over the last decade.
This album comes out far more a personal album than either Crossroads or Kimball-Jamison. One happily notes that Jimi has co-written with Zahl all the twelve tracks featured here, as opposed to Crossroads which was composed by Jim Peterik (for the biggest part) and Kimball Jamison having been put together by external songwriters.
If you are a fan of Jimi Jamison and have enjoyed his latest works you definitely do not want to miss out on this remarkable Melodic Rock / AOR effort.
Highly Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - Real Thing
02 - The Restless Kind
03 - Long Time
04 - History
05 - Meadowland
06 - Lose My Mind
07 - Through Your Eyes
08 - She Shine's
09 - Out Of Control
10 - Tears In My Eyes
11 - The Restless Kind (Acoustic)
12 - History (Hotelroom Version)


Jimi Jamison: Vocals
Fred Zahl: Guitars
Beathoven: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Timo von Kresslein: Backing Vocals
Heinzangel: Drums, Backing Vocals

Guest musicians:
Hugh McDonald (Bon Jovi): Bass
Ricky Phillips (The Babys, Bad English): Bass
Tommy Denander: Guitar
Bertram Engel (Joshua, Tony Carey): Drums




BUY IT !
www.amazon.de/History-Jami-Trash-Feat-Jamison/dp/B005ZNLYIY

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STRANGEWAYS - Age Of Reason (2011)

STRANGEWAYS - Age Of Reason (2011)

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Scottish AOR legends STRANGEWAYS are back with a new album; "Age Of Reason", produced and released by themselves on their own label.
Since the last year's pretty disappointed return 'Perfect World', the band has reunited with its original line-up; extraordinaire vocalist Terry Brock, guitarist Ian J. Stewart, bassist David Stewart, keyboard player David Moore and drummer Jim Drummond.

The first good news are that "Age Of Reason" is much, much better than the previous CD.
Ian Stewart is the musical director of this band, and he never has followed the trends or wrote his music in a way that how supposedly should sound regarding the genre.
So where does this new album stand amongst the Strangeways catalogue?
There is enough here to remind older fans of the 'good old days', but as always, there is material in there that is there because this is what the band wanted to do, not were forced to do.
'Perfect World' possibly strayed too far away from the Strangeways core sound, but "Age Of Reason" returns the band to more familiar territory, albeit still far removed from the 'AOR by numbers' approach of other bands, or indeed earlier albums.
This brand new album is rootsy, melodic, sometimes bluesy, melancholic, moody, rocking in varying degrees and quantities, but as always the quality shines through.
Obviously Terry Brock has lost none of his talent and you will enjoy some fine guitar work and melodies on this CD.

The album kicks off with two absolute snorters in the shape of "The Sentinel" (think on their classic 'Where Are They Now') and "Run", showing that old dogs, happily, don't learn too many new tricks, with Brock's silky voice soaring effortlessly and Stewart's extraordinary wailing guitar in good form.
The slower "Playin’ It Over" is amongst the best on show and is much more than just a simple midtempo. It is dark and moody with a superb rolling bass that allows the vocal to flow gently over the beat.
"Call" is a good ballad evoking some magnificent Scottish atmosphere, in spite of the American at the mike, whilst the semi-midtempo "End Of The Day" has a sweet melodic rock feel.
"Alive Again" has a ring of UK's Magnum meeting up some American classic bands in a well suited paced track, one of the best composed on the album.
"Frozen" is the more rocking song here, although too formulaic and simple, while the good last track "Long Road' straddles the semi balladry that Strangeways seem to do better than anyone else, and once again shows the difference that the song is always king.


Compared to their previous effort, Strangeways' new CD "Age Of Reason" is much, much more solid and enjoyable.
This is soft Melodic Rock with sweet relaxed AOR moments. Not glossy as the 80's material, but draws upon influences from that era, highlighting a band happy not to retread old ground yet pay a respectful nod to the past whilst moving forward.
If I were to level one criticism at "Age Of Reason" I would say that there are too many slow-paced tracks on offer. Most long standing fans of the band would have preferred a few more uptempo rockers, but we are dealing with a band that have always done things their way, and writers that always put songs first, everything else second.
Overall, "Age Of Reason" demonstrates a classic Strangeways affair. An album that grows on you, with good moments and melodies.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - The Sentinel
02 - Run
03 - Playin' It Over
04 - As We Fall
05 - Call
06 - End Of The Day
07 - Alive Again
08 - Silver Moon
09 - Frozen
10 - Long Road


Terry Brock (vocals)
Ian James Stewart (guitar)
David Stewart (bass, backing vocals)
Dave Moore (keyboards)
Jim Drummond (drums)




BUY IT !
www.nehrecords.com/SHOP/StrangewaysAge.htm

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

RED WHITE & BLUES (feat. Matti Alfonzetti) - Shine (2011)

RED WHITE & BLUES (feat. Matti Alfonzetti) - Shine (2011)

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The new UK/Swedish band that all in the music rock management are talking about for a couple of weeks now is called RED WHITE & BLUES.
"Shine" is the debut album from this duo who you may not have heard of yet… I say yet as you will soon, believe me.

This group features no other than talented Myke Gray and Matti Alfonzetti.
Originally working together in the acclaimed Jagged Edge, which released the stunning album 'Fuel For Your Soul', Matti Alfonzetti went on to record with acts such as Road To Ruin, Skintrade and also issue a series of solo albums, the last released just a month ago ('Here Comes The Night').
Myke Gray went on to form Skin, one the the UK's best loved rock bands, which racked up hit singles such as 'Money' and whose debut album made the UK Top 10.
Now Matti and Myke are back together and Red White & Blues are sure to impress any fan of high quality rock music.

Joining Myke (guitars) and Alfonzetti (vocals & bass) is drummer Che Leon Beresford to complete the line-up.
The trio play classy traditional Hard Rock, which is some of the best I have heard in many years, with a baggage of original classic songs that most bands would die for.
As a mark of how good Red White & Blues are, as well as supporting The Quireboys and Whitesnake recently, they are also playing along with Chickenfoot on their forthcoming UK dates in January.
All concert promoters and managers want Red White & Blues on their major acts gigs, and I can hear why.

Don't be mislead by the band's name. That's refers to the colors, not the genre.
Red White & Blues is an oiled classy Hard Rock machine, based on blues rock, yes, as many pure Hard Rock bands from England. But their sound combines the best of Skin, Jagged Edge and Thunder with a bit of early Whitesnake / Def Leppard.
"Shine" is a so energetic and passionate CD that I can figure out how hot they ought to sound on stage.

The opening song "Stand Up For Rock 'N' Roll" sets out the bands stall greatly. This is a heavy rock anthem of the first degree with fantastic playing from Myke Gray, his guitar work throughout the album is amazing, from blistering solos to slow melodic lines, all are taken in his stride.
Another highlight throughout the disc is the vocal delivery from Alfonzetti. His voice is perfectly suited to this style of rock with a powerful, bluesy delivery not unlike Paul Rodgers in parts which is high praise in my book.
The album highlights are too numerous to mention with all 14 tracks being of the highest quality, but if pushed I would recommend "Set My Sights On You", "Let It Shine" and the excellent ballad "A Little Too Late" as a good starting point.

I can't recommend Red White & Blues' "Shine" enough.
It is a fun, upbeat, hard rocking album in the classic style, including terrific original songs wonderfully executed and produced with a crispy & brilliant sound.
At the moment the album appears to only be available through the band's own website or at gigs. Get a copy while you can; it's limited to 1000 units.
If you like Classic Rock and well written songs with hooks big enough for shark fishing, then this is definitely for you.
The only issue I have with the album is it was too late for my 'Best of 2011' list !
Highly, Highly Recommended.


01 - Stand Up For Rock And Roll
02 - Shame Shame
03 - Rescue Me
04 - Red White & Blues
05 - Let It Shine
06 - A Little Too Late
07 - Good Times
08 - Get It On
09 - Counts For Nothing
10 - Set My Sights On You
11 - Long Way From Home
12 - Girls And Guitars
13 - The Best Is Yet To Come
14 - The Road To Hell

Matti Alfonzetti - Lead & Backing Vocals, Bass
Myke Gray - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Che Leon Beresford - Drums & Percussion


BUY IT !
theredwhiteandblues.com/rwbshop/prod_1684375-Shine.html
.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

RANDOM EYES - Light Up (2011)

RANDOM EYES - Light Up (2011)

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RANDOM EYES, from Jyväskylä, Finland, has been in the music business for a while, but seems the band's new album "Light Up" will be their international introduction.
The Random Eyes saga began in 1999 when guitarist and songwriter Timo Kuusjärvi met vocalist Christian Palin while both were serving in the Finnish army and the two became fast friends through their mutual musical interests.
Over the course of 2002 the band was completed and entered themselves in a nationwide band contest, where Random Eyes claimed the gold at the event, coming across as the most complete unit with the advent of only three songs.
Convincing both the public and the judges, Random Eyes quickly became a hot topic through word of mouth and media coverage of the event.

During the past decade, the band has published 2 full-length albums but suffered several line-up changes.
After three years' turmoil, Random Eyes returns with 'Light Up' and a rejuvenated line-up featuring drum prodigy Rolf Pilve and two new guitarists.
This Finnish band presents their own brand of modern hard rock with Euro melodic metal elements blended with 80's hooklines.

The album opens with the title track "Light Up" which has a very appealing positive vibe. A really melodic and harmonic vocal arrangement is followed by a catchy potent riff and blasting drums. The chorus is very commercial in the vein of their compatriots H.E.A.T but much more harder. The CD couldn't really get a better start. It's the kind of a song that should work very well live, a bouncy 'hands-in-the-air' number with an arena chorus. "Decadence" is a darker, heavier track with a frantic beat, yet highly melodic chorus. The closest thing to a ballad on the album is "Hold Me", a strangely fascinating song with vocalist Christian Palin pushing his voice to the edge.

The CD standout for me is "Tell Me" with its absolutely stunning hook mixed with modern-ish production values, although structurally this track is very 80's, including some fun keyboard touches.
The remaining six tracks aren't impressive as the very good first tunes, but have their moments.
"Blind Man" is melodic metal oriented with good guitar solos, "Stand Your Ground" has a nice melodic rock vibe with the band's personal approach, and "Eclipse" has a cool refrain. "Megalomaniac" and "Vendetta" aren't bad at all, just too much melodic metal oriented for my tastes. Anyway, very well performed for the genre.


"Light Up" is a truly interesting CD by Random Eyes, that really worth to investigate.
The first half of the album is very, very good, and certainly will appeal to any Melodic Hard Rock listener. The rest of the material is pretty good as well, just more melodic metal oriented (which definitely does not means bad).
The good thing about Random Eyes is their originality. They really doesn't sound too much like any other band, which is quite an achievement in the metal/hard rock genre. Renowned producer Tero Kinnunen has done a brilliant job behind the desk, enhancing the band's stupendous musicianship.
If you like European bands such as H.E.A.T, Serpentine, Edguy, Eden's Curse, etc, but with an 'extra touch' of originalty, you need to check this one.
Very Good.


01 - Light Up
02 - Decadence
03 - Hold Me
04 - Tell Me
05 - Blind Man
06 - Megalomaniac
07 - Stand Your Ground
08 - Eclipse
09 - Chaos Theory
10 - Vendetta


Christian Palin - Vocals
Sami Rönkkö - Guitars
Karim Elbanna - Guitars
Voitto Rintala - Bass
Rolf Pilve - Drums








BUY IT !
cdon.eu/music/random_eyes/light_up-14465864

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LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM - Nine Lives (2012)

LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM - Nine Lives (2012)

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LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM does not stop. Their new album "Nine Lives", just released in Japan, is scheduled to be released in Europe on January 20th, 2012.

Following their very good last album 'Yes' released a few months ago, these Swedes seems to have an endless inspiration and creativity.
And the good thing is that "Nine Lives" maintains the high level of quality of its predecessor.
Perhaps even more melodic sonically, "Nine Lives" surely will stand on top amongst the wish lists of every Melodic Rock / AOR fan this year 2012.


Seems the European release has been delayed, so you, impatient melodic rocker, go and get the Japanese CD edition including the usual bonus track. It's not cheap, but worth every penny.
Highly Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock


01 - In A Perfect World
02 - Nine Lives
03 - Is This Just Another Heartache
04 - Merry-Go-Round
05 - Golden Cage
06 - All I Can Think Of
07 - Megalomania
08 - The Last To Know
09 - Angel Eyes
10 - We Never Said Goodbye
11 - Waited A Long Time (Japan bonus track)
12 - Don't Let Love Fade Away


Mikael Erlandsson - Vocals and keyboards
Andy Malecek - Guitar
Jamie Borger − Drums
Nalle Pahlsson − Bass



BUY IT !
www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=MICP-11030

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