Trond Nicolaisen and Andreas Stanseth, two young fans of '80s metal from Norway decided to establish their own musical project some years ago, named Tomorrow’s Outlook.
Trond would not join the ranks as musician but as manager and co-songwriter – Andreas became the bassist in the band and worth to mention, he’s actually the main songwriter as well. A first serious experience for these guys but they are absolutely passionate by the forces of Metal and loaded with tons of good ideas to let the deal be done in hope to succeed.
Around 2007, the hunt for other musicians was a real priority. As time passed by, Oystein Kvile Hanssen entered as full member / lead guitarist, and after some demo recordings many well known names joined the project with enthusiasm: the excellent session drummers Charlie Zeleny and Mike Haid, the acclaimed Shrapnel records alumni Michael Harris on guitars, and an impressive list on singers.
We have ex-Helloween (and now in Unisonic) Michael Kiske, Graham Bonnet (ex-Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz), Scott Oliva (ex- Wind Wraith), Norman ‘SKI’ Kiersnowski (ex Deadly Blessing / Faith Factor). One by one frontmen with a worldwide, legendary reputation but there is one more named Mike Gorham who offers his interesting singing skills to the band also.
Tomorrow’s Outlook’s debut album “34613” has taken almost four years to complete everything together as Trond and Andreas planned, recorded in a song-by-song situation by the hand of multiple engineers, all worked out in Norway, Finland, Germany and the US.
“34613” delivers thirteen tracks inspired by American eighties US melodic hard / metal in the vein of Impelliteri, Crimson Glory, the first Queensryche and some Euro influences such as Helloween.
Michael Harris let speak its shred guitar in a generous manner on "As Darkness Falls" (intro), followed by the uptempo heavy overtones of "Gate To Freedom" performed by ex-Wind Wraith singer Scott Oliva. A good melodic metal track driven by double drums and strong riff including keyboards.
Fans of legendary singer Graham Bonnet will enjoy "Glass Mountain", a hard rocker reminiscent to the good old days of the Hard Rock music of Alcatrazz / Impellitteri.
There are two versions of a song called "The Ethereal Dream". The first one features the very classic vocals of Mike Gorham and Michael Harris on guitars, and it's more rockier. The second and reprisal version was sung by Michael Kiske, with a much more melodic rock approach, one of my favorites track here. Kiske proves he is still on top of his game.
The unknown singer Mike Gorham is surprisingly good. On the slow rocker "Song For You" puts on the table an example of his wide vocal range as the song changes its pace many times and he fits all in a good way. On the more metalized "Doubt" he shows a rough side, with consistent amounts of power.
After the pretty boring instrumental title track, the following songs are performed by ex classic metal US band Deadly Blessing singer Norman 'Ski' Kiersnowski. I am not particularly fan of his sometimes high pitched vocals, but the man can sing a metal tune.
"White Lightning" is slow and epic melodic metal ala David T. Chastain, "Liquid Scream" reminds me Crimson Glory, "Kill Again" is more Impelliteri-like, and "March Of The Demons" (the best of the four) is a powerful US styled classic heavy.
Graham Bonnet treats us again with another good one, this time a cover song from Lizzy Borden entitled "Red Rum". The track is taken from the upcoming 'Baptized In Blood – A Tribute To Lizzy Borden' album that probably will see daylight soon. Perhaps the best song on offer here, as Bonnet sings his hear out.
Tomorrow’s Outlook is an interesting project, obviously a labor of love. There's constant references of '80s classic metal on “34613”, not much 'heavy' sonically as the overall approach is pretty melodic.
But as on many albums like this - recorded through several instances - the result is somehow not completely cohesive. In example, on some tracks the drumming is solid and driving, while on others weak and uninspired. Same with production.
Anyway, “34613” is a good opportunity to listen the good ol' Graham Bonnet rocking again, a nice performance by Michael Kiske, and fundamentally a good dose of vintage US '80s classic metal, a style not much praised by new bands nowadays.
01 - As Darkness Falls (Intro)
02 - Gate To Freedom (feat. Scott Oliva)
03 - Glass Mountain (feat. Graham Bonnet)
04 - A Song For You (feat. Mike Gorham)
05 - Doubt (feat. Mike Gorham)
06 - The Etheral Dream (feat. Mike Gorham)
07 - 34613 (Instrumental)
08 - White Lightning (feat. Norman Kiersnowski)
09 - Liquid Scream (feat. Norman Kiersnowski)
10 - Kill Again (feat. Norman Kiersnowski)
11 - March Of The Demons (feat. Norman Kiersnowski)
12 - Red Rum [Lizzy Borden Cover] (feat. Graham Bonnet)
13 - The Etherial Dream [Reprise] (feat. Michael Kiske)
Andreas Stenseth: Bass
Mike Haid: Drums
Charlie Zeleny: Drums
Sami Saarinen: Guitar
Michael Harris: Guitar
Oystein K. Hanssen: Guitar
Mike Gorham: Vocals
Norman Kiersnowski aka SKI: Vocals
Scott Oliva: Vocals
Graham Bonnet: Vocals
Michael Kiske: Vocals
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Monday, March 26, 2012
Digipak Limited Edition + bonus + poster
Prolific German guitar player Axel Rudi Pell has a tremendous career so far. On the new album "Circle Of The Oath" (his 14th), continues his love for the very traditional, straight ahead hook-laden power influenced hard rock, including the classic strong ballad and the epic arrangements that brings out the air guitarist in most who enjoy this genre.
Axel has a formula that works really well for him, and seems for many music fans too, as the man has sold more than 1,5 million albums to date. He is not afraid to wear his Dio / Rainbow / Blackmore influences on his sleeve, and he does it very well, in fine shape and style.
Johnny Gioeli delivers a powerhouse vocal performance as usual, while the drums courtesy of Mike Terrana are top notch and keep the traditonal metal vibe going through this release.
Axel isn’t a shredder, his style of soloing is more from the Blackmore, Schenker and Moore mould where pieces build from sparse notes bends to faster runs. I never considered Pell an eminent guitarist, but really effective and clever.
The key factor in "Circle Of The Oath" is the quality of the tunes, and if you’re a fan of this classy genre you will find plenty moments of joy here. Some of the tunes do have an amazing musical depth, probably more than ever before.
Another notable difference is in the lyrics, nowhere near as cheesy as they have been on past albums. Gone are the Kings, Queens, crowns and pyramids, now replaced by themes like life, death, loss, war, love.
"Circle Of The Oath" makes you think of '80s DIO; melodic, heavy, punchy hard rock music.
After the serene introduction "The Guillotine Suite", "Ghost In The Black" is one of the fastest tracks of the album, filled with rapid guitar work, powerful keyboards and very solid vocals courtesy of Johnny Gioeli.
Follower "Run With the Wind" is a high energy number tailor-made for live audience involvement, with Gioeli’s strong, bluesy enhanced range befitting the classic mold of Dio, Bonnet and Gillian.
"Before I Die" is a catchy and accessible hard rock track with a classic atmosphere, a staple that Axel Rudi Pell has had over their whole career. One of my favs in this CD.
Another standout cut for me is the title track "Circle Of The Oath", an epic nine-minute song with a nod to Zeppelin via Whitesnake. The opening third of the song has fine acoustic parts with Gioeli gaining the chance to flex a lot of his lower and mid-range with thick harmonies, before the heavier electric parts and the dark keyboard segments hit a home run in the chorus.
Then we have the heavy and lumbering "Bridges to Nowhere", and an attempt at an anthem in "Lived Our Lives Before".
Continuing the band’s tradition of featuring tasty power ballads in their albums, Pell’s clean skills come into focus on the heartfelt "Lived Our Lives Before", a lights in the air tune embellished with sweet keyboards and a good guitar solo.
"Hold On To Your Dreams" is pretty heavy yet melodic, followed by the epic "World Of Confusion" where the pacing mirrors Rainbow and Dio.
This Limited Edition Digipak (which includes a poster of the cover artwork), features as bonus track a hot version of Rainbow's "Temple Of The King", recorded live at the Bang Your Head Festival 2011.
You have to understand something about Axel Rudi Pell; he has a sonic formula that works for him and from album to album he doesn’t stray from it.
On "Circle Of The Oath" they keep the ball rolling once more. It's hook laden, traditional hard rock, very much in the Rainbow / Dio vein, cohesive and effective.
The songs are solidly well written and arranged, there's interesting deep musical passages and good lyrics, but the honest truth is that "Circle of the Oath sounds exactly like Pell's previous albums.
It’s truly enjoyable while it’s spinning, powerful and with a superb production.
So, if you love Axel Rudi Pell's formula then by all means pick up a copy of "Circle Of The Oath".
1. The Guillotine Suite (Intro)
2. Ghost In The Black
3. Run With The Wind
4. Before I Die
5. Circle Of The Oath
6. Fortunes Of War
7. Bridges To Nowhere
8. Lived Our Lives Before
9. Hold On To Your Dreams
10. World Of Confusion (The Masquerade Ball Pt. II)
Limited Edition Bonus Track:
11. The Temple Of The King (live at Bang Your Head Fest 2011)
Johnny Gioeli - Lead and Backing Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell - Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Volker Krawczak - Bass
Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards
Mike Terrana - Drums & percussion
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German born Christian Tolle is a respected musician involved in many bands such as Cooper Inc., Underdog, Lehmann, and done studio sessions with the likes of AOR, Bangalore Choir and more.
Besides, the man has his own band, the Christian Tolle Project.
C.T.P's released two albums during the past decade, featuring international guests like Steve Lukather, Michael Thompson, Doug Aldrich or Tim Pierce, with excellent reviews and feedback from the press, media and the AOR / MR community.
2012 will be the year of C.T.P again: the brand new and third release "The Higher They Climb".
Christian and expert Michael Voss co-produced 12 tracks between summer and winter 2011. The result is nothing short of stunning Melodic Rock, this time more rockin' oriented than the previous albums.
Performed with an incredible amount of energy the album contains a powerful mixture of hard hitting songs and catchy melodic hooklines, great guitar work and some of the best voices in the genre contributing.
David Reece (Bangalore Choir) sings with his trademark raspy throat the classic hard rockers "The Price of Love", "That's My Name", "Out of My Head" and the stomping "Love is Fire".
Leon Goewie (Vengeance) does a very nice job on the intense title track "The Higher They Climb" and the Americanized "In and Outta Love".
The we have the stainless Paul Shortino (King Kobra, Ex-Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt) on the melodic hard rocker "Too Young" and the British sounding "Dreamchild", both really good songs,
Tolle has reserved the Melodic Rock tracks to Michael Voss (Michael Schenker, Casanova, Mad Max), as his vocal color is special to the great melody line of "Blue Butterfly Day" and the balladry of "Roll On", while "Half That Man" has a catchy modern Euro Melodic Rock style, one of the best tunes of the CD.
"The Higher They Climb" is a consistent and hooky Melodic Hard Rock album, very well recorded and produced, with a 'classic rock' warm feel.
The list of vocalists is impressive, all delivering great performances. Christian also invited a few of his six-string friends to join as guests: L.A. guitar wizard / maestro Michael Landau, Ben Granfelt (Ex-Wishbone Ash), Andy Susemihl and Morris Adriaens have contributed a guitar solo on one track each, giving the record a special flavour.
In summary you can put it this way: C.T.P "The Higher They Climb" delivers lovable tunes, energy, melody, no fillers - just good songs.
01 - Too Young (feat. Paul Shortino)
02 - The Higher They Climb (feat. Leon Goewie)
03 - The Price of Love (feat. David Reece)
04 - Blue Butterfly Day (feat. Michael Voss)
05 - Love Crash (feat. David Reece)
06 - Out of My Head (feat. David Reece)
07 - In and Outta Love (feat. Leon Goewie)
08 - Half that Man (feat. Michael Voss)
09 - That's My Name (feat. David Reece)
10 - Roll On (feat. Michael Voss)
11 - Love is Fire (feat. David Reece)
12 - Dreamchild (feat Paul Shortino)
Christian Tolle: Guitars, Bass
Morris Adriaens: Keyboards, Guitar
Philipp Artzt: Drums, Keyboards
David Reece (Bangalore Choir): Vocals
Leon Goewie (Vengeance): Vocals
Paul Shortino (King Kobra, Rough Cutt): Vocals
Michael Voss (MSG, Casanova, Mad Max): Vocals
Michael Landau: Guitar
Ben Granfelt (Ex-Wishbone Ash): Guitar
Andy Susemihl: Guitar
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Thursday, March 22, 2012
After almost six years away from the acclaimed 'Crashed on PlanetHard', the Milan, Italy based quartet PLANETHARD are back with their second full length CD "No Deal", that will leave the audiences impressed for sure.
PlanetHard has dramatically improved in all departments, taking the time to write killer songs plenty of hooks and melodies.
The band also sounds tight as never, with a monster rhythm section, an updated guitar sound and a special attention to the vocal harmony arrangements.
PlanetHard plays Hard Rock, dynamic and intense, and for this new set of songs they've added several '80s touches to the music, sounding much more melodic than on their previous hard-bluesy oriented album.
The CD opens with the classic hard rock of "Ride Away", which has a very melodic chorus and a sizzling guitar solo. PlanetHard rocks when play songs in this style/genre, they're truly convincing and catchy.
In the same vein we find the American influenced "Nothing For Free" with verses and guitars typically from the L.A. scene.
More heavy-riff based are the dark "Abuse", the modern "Wings In Vain" and "This World", the latter with a tremendous sharp guitar riff driving the song.
A curiosity is the cover of Prince's pop classic "Sign Of The Times", almost unrecognizable in this Americanized hard rock version, with a tuned-down guitar and high amounts of percussion. Cool.
But PlanetHard also has a Melodic Rock side, and they're really good in this matter too.
The full-bodied melody of the ballad "To Tame Myself" is excellent, including keyboards and acoustic guitars to the mix.
"Empty Book Of Friends" is an Euro melodic rocker with a catchy hook and a song structure in the Scandinavian style. The vocals are particularly remarkable, with a meaty lead and very well arranged backings. One of the best tracks of the album.
"Until Tomorrow Comes" also sounds Scandi, specially the choruses, but more hard, including a melting melodic guitar solo.
The melodic hard rock of "No Reason To Lie" reminds me the second incarnation of Two Fires or The Storm. Effective and impactful.
PlanetHard has released an very good rockin' album blending powerful hard songs with melodic rockers for a good measure. This isn't a disjointed salad at all, as the band navigates with ease between both styles.
The songs are really well written and arranged, organically played with flawless vocals juxtaposed with an enviable instrumental technique.
With a vital and sparkling production, "No Deal" rocks, and rocks good.
You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock
01 - Ride Away
02 - This World
03 - Abuse
04 - Wings In Vain
05 - To Tame Myself
06 - Nothing For Free
07 - Another Myself
08 - Mass Extermination
09 - Empty Book Of Friends
10 - Sign Of The Times (Prince cover)
11 - Until Tomorrow Comes
12 - No Reason To Lie
Mark Sivo: Vocals
Mark D'Andrea: Guitars
Alessandro Furia: Bass
Stefano Arrigoni: Drums
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There are a lot of 'should have made it' stories from the 1980s, but one that really stands out is the American melodic rock band AXE.
If you remember them at all, it’s probably from their anthemic hit – 1982’s “Rock n’ Roll Party in the Streets.”
Aside from that, the band never really caught on on the major leagues, despite they fact that their hard rocking (yet always melodic) sound was tailor made for AOR radio in the ‘80s.
Maybe their 'heavy metal' band name and album covers were at odds with their overall sound? Whatever the reason, AXE remains one of the more overlooked bands from the eighties Melodic Rock scene.
Now, Cleopatra/Deadline has given us an excuse to revisit Axe’s back catalogue with Axeology, a two-disc retrospective that spans the band’s career from 1979 though 2001.
There are 36 songs total – six from 1979’s Axe, six from 1980’s Living on the Edge, seven from 1982’s Offering, six from 1983’s Nemesis, five from 1996’s Five and four from their 2000 album The Crown.
Rounding out the collection is a pair of previously unreleased ‘80s era songs – “Bad Sometimes” and “No Heroes.”
Axeology is the perfect AXE anthology, packaged in a deluxe 8-panel digipak with full liner notes written by Axe leader Bobby Barth, original LP sleeve artwork, rare photos, and more.
It not only covers their best albums, but you get a hefty chunk of their long out of print first two albums as well as some of their later material.
Honestly, the remastered tracks from the first two albums "Axe" and "Living on the Edge" alone worth the price of admission.
But we have more, as the songs from "Nemesis" and "Offering" are newly re-recorded versions done specifically for this compilation, showing that AXE got the fire intact and still rocks!
If you’re new to AXE, "Axeology" really is a fantastic starting point, and longtime fans will probably want to check it out just to hear the remastered versions of the early songs and the bonus tracks.
Awesome double CD-set. Highly Recommended.
You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock
1. Life's Just An Illusion
2. Hang On
5. Back On The Streets
7. Living On The Edge
8. Fantasy Of Love
9. First Time, Last Time
10. Carry On
11. Running The Gauntlet
12. For A Little While
13. Rock 'n' Roll Party In The Streets*
14. Steal Another Fantasy*
16. Burn The City Down*
17. Now Or Never*
18. Holdin' On*
19. Silent Soldiers*
20. BONUS TRACK: Bad Sometimes [prev. unreleased]
1. Heat In The Streets*
2. Young Hearts*
3. All Through The Night*
4. Eagle Flies Alone*
5. Let The Music Come Back*
7. Magic (In Our Eyes)
8. Heroes and Legends
9. Burn Me Once Burn Me Twice
10. Where There's Smoke, There's Fire
11. Any Place On This Highway (Is Home)
12. The Crown
13. Good Times
14. Torturous Game
15. Foolish Deception
16. BONUS TRACK: No Heroes [prev. unreleased]
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BLANCAWHITE's "Resurgence Of Rock" is the brainchild project of international lawyer and Hard Rock fan Ken Savage, who think that there isn’t many music today that celebrates ‘80s classic rock. So a couple of years ago took out his legal pad and began writing lyrics.
Helped by Austin Schell, who according to the press release "is a consummate musician, composer & arranger and a veteran of the Austin, Texas music scene", he took the basic building blocks of classic hard rock and put them together with Savage’s lyrics to create come fresh songs that mixes sounds of the '70s and '80s with a modern-day perspective.
The interesting side of this project is the fact these guys have managed to pull-in a bunch of legendary singers to perform their songs: Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt, King Cobra), Lorraine Lewis (Femme Fatale), Terry Ilous (XYZ, Great White) and Jeff Paris, a singer in his own right, but also a songwriter for many acts such as Vixen, Cinderella, etc.
I was excited to hear Jeff Paris and Lorraine Lewis getting something out again, while Shortino and Ilous can sing anything and make it sound decent.
Well, it isn't exactly the case here. The major problem resides on the weak production and the musicians involved (not listed) are really technically poor, specially the guitar players.
Anyway, there's some to enjoy from the singers.
The best is Paul Shortino, who in the rockin' title track "Resurgence Of Rock" mentions many of the great hard rock acts of the '80s, and on the cool and party song "Livin’ It Up" his raspy voice sounds pretty good.
Jeff Paris is singing "One For The Ages" and it’s OK, not a classic Jeff Paris vocal as the song is a classic rock tune, and he tries to fit that mould. On "Take Me Back", an acoustic melodic rocker, Jeff does a decent job as well, although production ruins what could be a better track.
Well that's all for me, as the performances on the remaining tracks are really bad...
Lorraine Lewis is misspend here: "Still Turnin' Heads" is the more potable, but where she really sounds terrible (like an old witch in bad fairy tale) is on "Hundred Years War", the worst song I've heard in Ages. A shame.
Same with Jeff Paris' "Another Hotel Bar" and Shortino's "Woman Side / Famous Last Chords", they can't help in no way, as the songs are truly bad and the guitar work is simply horrible. I can play better chords than that.
We at zerodayrock only recommend what we consider good material. Several albums are discarded day by day to be reviewed here.
This time we made an exception as many of you are real fans of the vocalists involved. Some performances are acceptable, some not, but it isn't the singer's fault in our opinion, just the terrible production guidance and the weak songwriting.
Give it a listen, you decide.
01 - Resurgence Of Rock (Paul Shortino)
02 - One For The Ages (Jeff Paris)
03 - Your Boyfriend Is Lame (Terry Ilous)
04 - Take Me Back (Jeff Paris)
05 - Livin' It Up! [n a Mexican Bar] (Paul Shortino)
06 - Still Turnin' Heads (Lorraine Lewis)
07 - Another Hotel Bar (Jeff Paris)
08 - Hundred Years War (Lorraine Lewis)
09 - Woman Side / Famous Last Chords (Paul Shortino)
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The Franco-Australian Hard-Melodic Rock combo KORITNI already have two studio albums (plus a live and an acoustic one), being their last one 'Game Of Fools' highly praised by the fans and critics.
A good one indeed, but their new effort "Welcome To The Crossroads" simply blows out of the water not only anything previously released by the band, but many other recent material by major acts of the genre.
The difference on "Welcome To The Crossroads" fundamentally resides in the stupendous, powerful production handled by leader and singer Lex Koritni. It has great dynamics that let each instrument breathe and shine but all integrated into a punchy and compact sound.
To a great extent, this result also must be credited to the first rate mix & engineering by legend Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, Chickenfoot, Queen), Dean Maher and Daniel Leffler. Add to this the collaboration of prestigious guests such as Jeff Scott Soto, Rusty Brown (Electric Mary) and Jeff Waters (Annihilator).
So we have a terrific sound, tech and musicians... what about the songs?
On "Welcome To The Crossroads", Koritni delivers bomb after bomb of polished hard rock with intense riffage, not forgetting the melody and the fun.
Lex is a complete singer with a flexible register, always in control and harmonic, with a timbre that reminds me Gary Cherone (Extreme). One of the highlights of this band is the formidable rhythm section, specially Chris Brown's excellent drumming which together the fat groove of Dean Hunter's bass provides a mammoth foundation for the biting guitars.
Opener and title track "Down At The Crossroads" is an irresistible rocker with a tap-footing chorus, where the always effective Jeff Scott Soto shares the vocals with Lex on the second part of the song.
One of the winners is the following track "Better Off Dead", catchy and fun to death. A smokin' tune with sharp guitars and a stupendous vocal duel between Koritni and Rusty Brown's raspy vocals.
"Party's Over" adds some heavy funk in the Mr. Big style Ritchie Kotzen-era, a truly party song as the next; the hot hard rocker "TV's Just A Medium" which features a slamming guitar solo by Jeff Waters (Annihilator) and terrific gang choruses.
Now we have another highlight, the Melodic Rock heaven of "Lost For Words", an extremely melodic and catchy tune full of magic and a hit potential. It's one of those songs that you never get tired to listen, as its structure, arrangements and punch moves your Melodic Rock fiber. Great, great one.
Next, we have two unstoppable rockers; "In The Sydney Summertimes" and "Sometimes". The latter starts slowly and bluesy, but then explodes into a melting melodic hard rocker.
The semi-midtempo "Money Talks, It Says Goodbye" is groovy with a scorching guitar solo, while "Let's Go Crazy" rocks with melody and shows Lex's versatility, revealing the different intonations that he is capable of.
This is also ascertainable in his fantastic performance on"Hold On", a top class electric ballad to die for, driving by a memorable melody. Seriously, a fantastic song!
For the end we have more variation, as "Take it Like a Man" begins in a country western way including acoustic guitar, banjo, slide... before exploding into a big heavy rock with an enormous chorus. A power-track that ends with the same atmosphere as starts.
You will be surprised by the quality of Koritni's "Welcome To The Crossroads". In all departments.
Every song is catchy, fun and feature interesting arrangements & hooks, the musicianship is terrific, the vocals are strong and varied, all surrounded by a first rate production. Even the artwork is excellent.
Do yourself a favor Hard Rock & Melodic Rock fan, and get a copy pronto. This is a dazzling, extremely impressive CD, one of the best of the year without a doubt.
01 - Down At The Crossroads (feat. Jeff Scott Soto)
02 - Better Off Dead (feat. Rusty Brown)
03 - Party's Over
04 - Now a Word From Our Sponsors
05 - TV's Just a Medium (feat. Jeff Waters)
06 - Lost For Words
07 - Sydney in the Summertime
08 - Sometimes
09 - Money Talks, it Says Goodbye
10 - Let's Go Crazy
11 - Hold On
12 - Take it Like a Man
Lex Koritni: Vocals
Eddy Santacreu: Guitar
Luke Cuerden: Guitar, Vocals
Matt Hunter: Bass
Chris Brown: Drums
Jeff Scott Soto - guest Vocals
Rusty Brown - guest Vocals
Jeff Waters - guest Guitar solo
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“Apocalyptic Youth” is the debut album of the new Swedish/American act CASABLANCA, featuring well known members guitarist Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper, Electric Angels) and drummer Josephine Forsman (Sahara Hotnights), together with bass player Mats Rubarth (Swedish national team football star), guitarist Erik Stenemo (Melody Club) and the charismatic lead singer Anders Ljung on vocals (Space Age Baby Jane).
The band started sometime in 2010 releasing two singles so far (“Dowtown” and “Love and Desperation”) while they have opened for Kiss on their last tour in Sweden.
“Apocalyptic Youth” is a fun, energetic, lighthearted album. Not lighthearted in a poppy way but in its overall vibe and approach. Summertime rock, if you will.
Despite an album title that sounds better suited to a Norwegian black metal band, there is nothing dark or dangerous about this release. The sonic characteristics are wide open, the guitars and drums given ample room to breathe and allow the melodies to dominate rather than focus on overt aggression.
Casablanca want to rock you, but they don’t feel the need to rock your face off.
In keeping with the band’s mature sound, the guitar tone is warm and smooth, with rich, earthy textures. Ryan Roxie is not what you would call a shredder, but he has talent to spare, even if that talent does not manifest itself in flash and sizzle.
The drummer is female, a rarity in the rock realm, and Josephine Forsman’s authoritative skin-pounding perfectly complements Roxie’s six-string skills and emphatically proves that a drum kit is not exclusively masculine domain.
The disc kicks off with the title track "Apocalyptic Youth" and it’s certainly a good start. I can already see the audience as a wild and crazy bunch when it is presented.
"Deliberatley Wasted" is song number two, a high octane rocker that opens with a superlative hook and then the chorus takes that hook and makes it explode, powered by gang backing vocals into a powerhouse anthem.
The first single "Downtown" has a multi-part opening harmony very reminiscent of the post power pop scene, a cool blending of acoustic guitars and electric guitar.
Elsewhere, "Love and Desperation" comfortably rides along on some catchy, pulsing rhythms, "Beast of Summer" channels the breezy mid-tempo excellence of prime Bon Jovi, and "Secret Agents of Lust" reeks so much of the ‘80s that you’ll be digging your parachute pants and pastel shirts out of the closet while cranking up the Miami Vice soundtrack on cassette.
On many tracks Casablanca fill this album with a bevy of guitar parts that instantly connect with the ears of all melodic hard rock followers of the eighties arena rock, as heard on "Rich Girl" which features some twin Erik Stenemo / Ryan Roxie guitar harmonies in a Blue Oyster Cult meets Thin Lizzy manner or the ode to all things America "Last Of The Rockstars".
It would have been enticingly easy for Casablanca to simply take the 'monkey see, monkey do' route and copy the Swedish sleaze/glam sound being exported from that country on a regular basis.
Instead, they have crafted their own sound that is pure melodic, ‘80s-influenced melodic hard rock but without strict adherence to preconceived formulas. Before anyone gets the wrong impression, while Casablanca might go slightly against the grain, they do so without ruffling the feathers of melodic rock fans.
This is not an avant-garde album or eclectic exercise in experimentation; this is a melodic hard rock release with all the requisite bells and whistles, but with a unique edge that Casablanca can rightfully call their own.
"Apocalyptic Youth" was recorded in the legendary Swedish Polar Studios, produced by Chris Laney (H.E.A.T, Europe, Crazy Lixx) who has provided a glistening sound with clear sharpness.
One of the top debut albums of 2012 for sure.
01 - Apocalyptic Youth
02 - Deliberately Wasted
03 - Downtown
04 - The Juggler
05 - Rich Girl
06 - Love and Desperation
07 - Secret Agents of Lust
08 - Beast of Summer
09 - Last of the Rockstars
10 - A Lifetime on the Run
Anders Ljung – Vocals
Ryan Roxie – Guitars
Erik Stenemo – Guitars
Mats Rubarth – Bass
Josephine Forsman – Drums
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From Italy arrives another promising Melodic Rock / AOR band ; SECOND SIGHT.
The group recorded independently the EP 'Back On Earth' in 2009, and now are giving the final touches to their full length debut 'State Of Mine', to be released this year.
As advance, we have the pleasure to enjoy a preview of some new material together with the debut EP on this 're-issue / promo only' of "Back On Earth".
I must confess that Second Sight slips under my radar back in 2009. What a shame, as the stuff featured here is top notch in all aspects.
From high quality songwriting to the exiting arrangements and musical performances, Second Sight has all the skills needed to be stars in the actual Melodic Rock / AOR arena.
Seems I am not the only one impressed by these Italians, as they recruited two excellent and well known singers to track down the vocal parts; Norwegians Faith Circus' vocalist Marc Farrano and Bennech Lyngboe (Main Attraction / On The Rise), with guitar contributions from guitar hero Alex De Rosso as well.
For the new album, Second Sight re-recorded one of the best songs recently heard in this genre; "Heart Of Stone". This is a pure Melodic AOR heaven from start to finish, an irresistible melody crowned by an extremely catchy chorus. The original 2009 version featured later in the tracklist is equally good, but the new take has much more punch and better production.
The new track "Looking For A Miracle" is a climatic midtempo with clean guitars in the best eighties tradition, but explodes during the fantastic chorus, and after a melodious guitar solo keeps rockin' with very well arranged harmony vocals.
Now it's time for the original EP tracks (new to me), and what a bunch of goodies.
"Talk To Me" is a winner. A sumptuous AOR rocker driven by melodic guitars / swirling keyboards and an excellent vocal job by Marc Farrano.
One thing that really like about this band is the way they start each song; with a short 'little guitar solo', always melodic and tasteful.
This even happens with the ballad "Your Eyes". After a the guitar / keys intro, the slightly raspy and affected vocals builds the song into a juicy tune. This isn't your typical lights-in-the-air slow song. With the addition of great acoustic guitars and cleverly placed keyboards, the track has some kind of relentless power, and the guitar solo really rocks.
Then we have the awesome Melodic Hard Rocker "Sign Of The Times", a truly driving rockin' track with a magical refrain and an over the top chorus. Bennech Lyngboe does a terrific job on the leads, confirming he is an overlooked singer and needs to be called by many bands to take profit of his vocals abilities.
"Back In Your Heart" starts with mysterious '80s keyboards and the 'guitar lick', and then a portentous riff sustains the track, which has a more than interesting pre-chorus cascade and an old-school AOR main chorus. The eighties synths are present all the time and the guitar solo is fabulous.
For the end the band offers a new, acoustic version of the ballad "Your Eyes", more laid back but effective and enchanting as the original, this time with more polished and harmonic vocals.
As you see, I have wrote a lot about this band / album, and take for sure that much more would be written / spoken about them.
Just hope Second Sight find a proper management (and a big label) to catapult them to the stardom, as they have the fire and the skills to write & play premium Melodic Rock / AOR. The material featured here is one of the most exciting and interesting I have heard in many, many years.
Some bands excels in the songwriting department, some on the musicianship, but it's hard to find one truly good on both.
Second Sight is one of them, believe me.
You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock
01 - Heart Of Stone (New Version 2012)
02 - Looking For A Miracle (New Song 2012)
03 - Talk To Me
04 - Your Eyes
05 - Sign Of The Times
06 - Back In Your Heart
07 - Heart Of Stone
08 - Your Eyes (Acoustic Version 2012)
Marc Farrano (Faith Circus) - Vocals
Bennech Lyngboe (Main Attraction / On The Rise) - Vocals
Pier Mazzini - Keyboards
Fulvio Carlini - Guitar
Andrea Maddalone - Guitar
Gian Simmons - Bass
Zack Rondinelli - Drums
Alex De Rosso - guest Guitar
Not for Sale
the REAL one
Swedish sensation H.E.A.T are back with another blast; "Address The Nation".
After the unfortunate departure of vocalist Kenny Leckremo in 2010, H.E.A.T recruited the winner of the 2009 edition of Swedish Idol. The guy certainly proved he was up to the job with excellent live performances, and many a breath has been held waiting for the band’s debut with the new boy.
Whilst Finnish band Reckless Love seemed to go towards a more poppy, synth sound for their recent album, H.E.A.T have pretty much decided that if something ain’t broke there’s no point trying to fix it.
Each of the ten tracks on "Address The Nation" is a snapshot of what rockin' AOR is all about, with big choruses and joyful bouncing galore. Only the final track, "Downtown" has a seriousness not associated with the band, but it makes up for it by being a superb - if moody - track with a first class guitar solo.
Vocalist Erik Gronwall does not disappoint in any way here, and those who predicted a doom laden future for the band after Leckremo left will look pretty silly after people hear the vocals here.
Opening track "Breaking The Silence" really showcases his voice, bringing to mind his awesome '18 And Life' Swedish Idol audition in 2009. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also one of the best songs the band has produced, and I love the fact that for each album they have opened with a kick ass track that really puts you in the mood for the rest.
But the album is full of wonders.
"Living On The Run", "The One And Only", "Better Off Alone", "Heartbreaker" are all pure AOR / Melodic Rock heaven, with a modern and updated style. The band even adds some original sax on "In And Out Of Trouble" to expand their lush, thundering sound.
"Address The Nation" is one of those albums that you listen to several times in a row, because time goes so fast when it’s on. It’s over 40 minutes, but you will seriously wonder where the time went as "Downtown" once again rolls to a close.
A wonderful fusion of keyboards, guitars and a fantastic voice, “Address The Nation” should see H.E.A.T get bigger and bigger.
One of the albums of the year.
01 - Breaking the Silence
02 - Living On The Run
03 - Falling Down
04 - The One And Only
05 - Better Off Alone
06 - In And Out Of Trouble
07 - Need Her
08 - Heartbreaker
09 - It’s All About Tonight
10 - Downtown
Erik Grönwall: Vocals
Dave Dalone: Guitars
Eric Rivers: Guitars
Jona Tee: Keyboards
Jimmy Jay: Bass
BUY IT !
Will Wallner and Vivien Vain met after arriving in America from Europe. Discovering they shared similar musical tastes they began to write together.
After a year performing around L.A. they ran into legendary drummers Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/DIO) & Carmen Appice (King Cobra) who, after hearing the Wallner And Vain demo, agreed to perform drums on their self titled debut album.
The project has since evolved to feature several other high calibrer guests such as Brian Tichy, Rudy Sarzo, Tony Franklin, Jimmy Bain, Derek Sherinian and Tony Carey with Wallner and Vain performing all guitars and vocals respectively.
So with such a serious amount of firepower you would expect this material to have the kick of a ten ton mule and you would be right.
The end result is a remarkable melodic hard rock CD, much, much better than many albums released recently by 'big names'.
Highlights include “Dream Stealer”, with its majestic beginning with Vinny using some alternative percussion. The guitar work by Will Wallner is a good example of the technical but soulful playing you are going to hear through all songs. We have a well-placed pace change at 1:30 that leads to some huge vocals by Vivian Vain. The guitar work blends very well with the drums and keyboards in a jamming feel.
“Miles Ahead” once again has Vinny on drums and he and Rudy are showing off in the rhythm work. This song is completely built around the vocals of Vivian and her deeper rockin' bluesy tone, taking you back to the days of metal Queens Lita Ford and Lee Aaron, not as much the sound, as the attitude Vivan’s voice portrays.
“Indestructible” has Will steering the ship on guitar and we hear Carmine on drums creating a great vibe in the background. The rhythm becomes seriously contagious and Will’s solo work over top of it is incredible.
“Soul Monster” has a great hard rock hook and displays the voice of Will Warner along with his excellent guitar work. The chorus is very catchy and one of my favorites on the album, but I find it breaks the continuity with Will singing. I would love to hear this song with Vivian at the mic.
Will Wallner And Vivien Vain, with the help of such a top notch backing band, have put together a cracking thirty eight minute dose of top notch Melodic Hard Rock.
Every track on here is truly solid and quite frankly, short as it may seem, the running time is just perfect.
Wallner delivers some truly excellent riffs & solos with a style like a cross between Randy Rhoads & Jake E. Lee. Some have complained about the vocals but to be honest Vain keeps it simple, giving a straight down the line, and her powerful pipes are a very good match for Wallner six-string work, suiting this stuff to a tee.
If you are a fan of classy '80s melodic hard rock, you ought to check out this CD. Don't miss it, you won’t be disappointed.
01 - The Dream
02 - Dreamstealer
03 - Streets of Rage
04 - Fourteen Twenty Eight
05 - All That I Want
06 - Miles Ahead
07 - Soul Monster
08 - Rising
09 - Indestructible
Vivien Vain – Vocals
Will Wallner – Guitar
Tony Carey – Keys on Tracks 1, 2, 8, 9
Jimmy Bain – Bass on Track 2
Vinny Appice – Drums on Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6
Carmine Appice – Drums on Tracks 3, 5, 9
Tony Franklin – Bass on Tracks 3, 5, 7, 9
Rudy Sarzo – Bass on Tracks 4, 6
Brian Tichy – Drums on Track 7
Derek Sherinian – Keys on Track 7
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Friday, March 16, 2012
Maybe the name KLAUS LULEY didn't ring a bell in you, but this vocalist / guitarist was the frontman in two of the best eighties German Melodic Hard Rock bands; Tokio and Craaft.
After recording three albums with Tokio, Luley formed the Craaft together with Reinhold Besser and Franz Keil and was very successful across the borders of Europe. Albums like their mighty debut 'Craaft' and 'Second Honeymoon' still are sought after in every rock collection and are highlights of the Melodic Rock genre.
Together with acts like Bonfire and Scorpions, Craaft were the driving force when it comes to Melodic Rock ‘made in Germany’.
Now, after a break of nearly two decades, Klaus Luley is back as solo artist with "Today's Tomorrow", a pack of tunes written during the last hard struggling years to find his way back into the music business.
After meeting producer Michael Voss (Mad Max, Casanova, Michael Schenker) two years ago, they planned to record a full new album with Luley songs to showcase Klaus’ abilities as musician and songwriter.
Opener "Can't Live Without You" instantly reminds you Craaft 1988 and their album Second Honeymoon. It is driven by a synth keyboard line and typical '80s compressed drums. The verses are undoubtedly Scandi-crafted, falling in a marching AOR layered chorus. Luley vocals are intact and he delivers a good melodic guitar solo as well. For fans of the classy Scandi AOR this track is must.
Follower "Mountain Of Love" is another great one, in the old school style too. A simple midtempo tune but with an awesome, extremely melodic chorus in the Casanova style.
The melodic rocker "Slippin' Away" is more German in its essence, reminding me Zeno specially in the chorus, where Klaus vocal inflections are similar to Michael Flexig.
"Livin' In The Night" is the ballad, with a song structure in the best Scorpions mould, reinforced by Luley's vocal timbre resembling Klaus Meine. Good guitar work on this one.
The album returns to the Scandi melodic rock path with a remake of the old Tokyo hit single "Tokyo", in a good updated 2012 version. Next, "Don't Wanna See Your Face" is an old school rocker with vintage sounding keys and a cool chorus, with solid vocalization.
On "Higher" the sound changes a bit, as it is more 'open' sonically. The overall feel is truly Scandinavian with the guitars pushed back in the mix to give the rhythm section an extra room. "Here In My Arms" is a bluesy rocker, again in the early Scorpions style featuring a nice six-string work and a cool piano strengthen the chorus.
Luley's goes more modern with the hard rockin' "Still Got A Long Way To Go", a track build over a strong guitar riff, which adds some electronics as well. Last track "When The Night Comes Down" is a fine midtempo rocker with a Fair Warning / Zeno vibe, featuring an arena-like chorus.
The return of Klaus Luley to the Melodic Rock / AOR scene is a pleasant surprise.
For the most part, "Today's Tomorrow" rightfully captures the vibe of the '80s highlighting Luley’s way to play these genres as they used to be. At the same time, shows his more contemporary Melodic Rock side, with an updated sound and stylings.
Experienced session musicians Chris Elbers (Gary Barden) on drums and Matthias Rethmann (LeeZ, Silver, Michael Schenker) on bass, helped Luley to create an album plenty of classy instrumentation and melodies. Maybe the production would needed an extra punch, but all here sounds pretty crispy and well mixed.
This a promo version from the album to be released on April 27, and features some digital watermark sounds that doesn't affect the listening experience at all.
If you are a fan (like me) of classic eighties German / Scandi AOR, Luley's "Today's Tomorrow" is a mandatory purchase.
01 - Can't Live Without You
02 - Mountain Of Love
03 - Slippin' Away
04 - Livin' In The Night
05 - Tokyo
06 - Don't Wanna See Your Face
07 - Higher
08 - Here In My Arms
09 - Still Got A Long Way To Go
10 - Take Me Today
11 - When The Night Comes Down
Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards: Klaus Luley
Drums: Chris Elbers (Gary Barden)
Bass: Matthias Rethmann (LeeZ, Silver, Michael Schenker)
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Swedish melodic prog-metallers EVERGREY released in North America at the end of the last year a two-disc greatest hits collection; "A Decade And A Half". This deluxe package contains previously unreleased songs, live tracks and an extensive booklet.
Rarely a 'Best Of' is really the most representative of the band's best works. With Evergrey's focus on lyrical themes throughout some of its records, a 'Best Of' might seem counter-intuitive to some listeners.
Thankfully, this compilation patches together a complete picture of the band over its 15-year existence.
Separating themselves from other metal oriented acts, the focus on purely clean singing and painfully realistic / emotional lyrics have become the group’s trademark.
The mates of Sweden's Evergrey have cemented a reputation as some of Gothenburg's finest musicians throughout the years with their melodic progressive metal.
"A Decade and a Half" gives listeners more than enough material to get a good picture of Evergrey if they've never heard of the band before.
Jumping off from the band's third album, "The Masterplan" begins the first disc and runs on into a track from the first record, "Blackened Dawn". Lead guitarist/vocalist Tom Englund's lyrics take on an especially Lovecraftian feel in some songs, often taking on fatalistic stances and getting at the heart of victimization, fear, guilt, outrage and paranoia.
In "Rulers of the Mind," the band confronts conspiracy and helplessness through an expertly played and highly melodic piano and riff-driven approach. "A Touch of Blessing" feels oddly-placed, and will feel oddly placed to listeners that are already familiar with the band's discography. It feels like an opener in the middle of an album with its slow intro, which is exactly what it is.
It doesn't looks like any pre-meditation was put into the ordering of the tracks.
Included are songs from the live album/DVD 'A Night To Remember', as well as a couple of unreleased unplugged versions of songs from 'Glorious Collision'.
"The Great Deceiver" and "Monday Morning Apocalypse" kick off CD 2, which tends to focus a little more on the latter half of the Evergrey discography, but still remains fairly representative.
First-time listeners will get to hear here a logical blend of the various incarnations of Evergrey from its most exploratory to its most concise, back to back material.
Fans will be happy with the 2 previously unreleased tracks plus that all the major songs of the band are on two discs instead of interspersed throughout nine albums.
Evergrey is a more than interesting band, often overlooked by rockers not much into this genre, so "A Decade and a Half" is as good a place as any to investigate them for the first time.
Good, powerful and intense stuff.
You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock
CD 1 :
01. The Masterplan
02. Blackened Dawn (live)
03. Rulers Of The Mind
04. A Touch Of Blessing
06. For Every Tear That Falls (live)
07. More Than Ever
09. Faith Restored
10. These Scars
11. Broken Wings
12. Words Mean Nothing
13. Wrong (live) (unplugged; previously unreleased)
CD 2 :
01. The Great Deceiver
02. Monday Morning Apocalypse
04. Waking Up Blind (live)
05. Solitude Within
06. Recreation Day
07. Still In The Water
08. Leave It Behind Us
10. When The Walls Go Down (live)
11. Frozen (live) (unplugged; previously unreleased)
Tom Englund - Vocals, Guitar
Rikard Zander- Keyboards
Marcus Jidell - Guitar
Johan Niemann- Bass
Hannes Van Dahl - Drums
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Thursday, March 15, 2012
thanks to Snakeyes for the review
One more time BANGALORE CHOIR, a band that sealed the '90s with its rockin’ songs comes to strike with the album “Metaphor”, to be on the streets at 27th April 2012.
David Reece and his company are here with their 3rd studio album, more matured than ever to deliver the goodies of Melodic Hard Rock straight to you.
Bangalore Choir is getting better and better with each new CD.
“Metaphor” is a devastating album featuring catchy hard (melodic) rockin’ tunes and unbelievable performances. It’s a hailstorm of hot riffs and vocals for award, the whole album bursts from uplifting notes and tracks that will definitely surprise you!
The opening track is called “All The Damage Done” and it just gives you the taste of a dynamic song with skilful guitars, boosting mood, ready to shake you the right way.
“Trojan Horse” coming up next and trust me this track will conquer you. This music battle rises on a melodic 'battlefield' for your ears only. Its rhythm is surprising, and the lyrics fit perfectly to the feeling that these notes bring to you.
A definitive highlight is the kick ass “Silhouettes Of The Shade”, including a terrific chorus and it’s the 'hard' taste leaving upon your speakers that makes you play your air guitar and sway to its unstoppable rhythm.
“Metaphor” jams upon the frets of the guitar bringing to you a sweet squeal, a different track, a unique music situation.
Listening to this album needs only passion for neat music, these eleven tracks will show you the way and escort you to the nest of Melodic Hard Rock.
“Metaphor” is an album really well produced with a concept that is flawless from the mix and mastering to the staff that contains. The tracks one by one are more than enough attributed with high vocal and instrumental standards.
The songs I commented before are just a small sample to what you are going to listen inside this album but trust me that the rest of them are Kick Ass as well.
In my opinion, “Metaphor” is the best album of Bangalore Choir's career so far.
So turn up the volume, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a rockin’ satisfaction that will echo in your ears for a long time!
01 - All The Damage Done
02 - Trojan Horse
03 - Silhouettes On The Shade
04 - Metaphor
05 - Don't Act Surprised
06 - Never Fave Ole Joe Alone
07 - Scandinavian Rose
08 - Catch An Angel Fallin'
09 - Civilized Evil
10 - Fools Gold
11 - Always Be My Angel
David Reece: Vocals
Andy Susemihl: Guitars
Curtis Mitchell: Guitars
Danny Greenberg: Bass
Rene Letters: Drums
BUY IT !
AOR connoisseurs & collectors already know (and own) CHAS SANDFORD's 1982 debut 'Parallax View'.
But for the major audience, the name of this Georgia native is a total mystery.
Well, let me tell you; Chas Sandford is a treasure of a songwriter behind such hits as 'Missing You' (John Waite), 'What Kind Of Man Would I Be' (Chicago) or 'Talk To Me' (Stevie Nicks), just to name a few.
The saying goes that most artists have an entire lifetime to make their first album, and six months to come up with the second.
For veteran artist / songwriter / producer / engineer /guitarist Chas Sandford, it took 30 years for his sophomore album, "Wag More, Bark Less", the long-awaited follow up to his debut which came out on Elektra/Asylum.
Sandford -- no kinship with me ;-) -- has enlisted an all star line-up of session musicians, including bassist Davis Santos [Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, John Fogerty, Billy Joel] , keyboard player James Matchack [Chicago] and drummer Nick Buda [Taylor Swift, Jewel, Edwin McCain], with special appearances by friends and colleagues including Chicago’s Bill Champlin, Survivor’s Jim Peterik, recording artist/slide guitarist Lee Roy Parnell and singer/songwriter Nicole Witt on background vocals.
"Wag More, Bark Less" is delicious from start to finish.
From the opening notes of "Let Love Back In This House" all the way through to the end of the album, Sandford proves himself to be a singer worthy of any song that might come from his pen.
He also comes across as very versatile, with a style that ranges from adult Rock & Pop to classy smooth AOR with a little bit of Americana sprinkled in.
Rather than single out a few cuts here, and tell you that they are highlights, I will tell you up front that each track could be a highlight. There are no clunkers here.
Some of my favorite cuts are "The Best Of Times", "Broken" and the ballad showcase "I Believed", a clear statement of his wonderful vocal performance and ability to craft memorable melodies.
While each cut is impressive on its own merits, I wouldn't rule out his getting some attention for the biting "Love Can Really Mess You Up". It’s one of those type performances that can really send an artist into the stratosphere - a place where he Chas Sandford truly deserves to be.
On "Wag More, Bark Less", Sandford weaves strong words into masterful lyrics about love, loss, hurt and pain and the emotional expression along with his strong, raspy, sexy voice, brings every song on the album to life. Besides, I love the varied instrumentation on the different songs - no two alike on this album.
We're talking about talent here; Chas can sing, play, write, perform, and produce… he is the total package. Honestly, I can’t find a cut on the album that I don’t like. There are no filler tracks here.
Exquisitely recorded & produced by himself, "Wag More, Bark Less" was silently released independently last year. Wait no more and get your copy before it gets out of print.
You've seen it first here, at zerodayrock
01 - Let Love Back In This House
02 - The Best Of Times
03 - Someday Susan
04 - I Believed
05 - Broken
06 - My Favorite Regret
07 - I'll Be There
08 - Whenever I See Your Smile
09 - Waiting For The Sun
10 - Love Can Really Mess You Up
11 - Because Of You
12 - It's Changing
Chas Sandford: Lead & Backing Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Piano & Keyboards
Davis Santos, Tim Marks, Dave Pomeroy: Bass
Nick Buda: Drums, Percussion
James Matchack: Keyboards & Programming
Bill Champlin: Organ, Backing Vocals
Jim Peterik: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Kenny Greenberg: Guitar
Steve Hornbeak: Piano & Backing vocals
Kevin McKendree: Piano
Lee Roy Parnell: Slide Guitar
John Catching, David Angell: Strings
Nicole Witt: Harmony Vocals
Tiffany Goss & Greg Barnhill: Backing vocals
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Germans CROW7, formed in 2005, have released two albums to date and did successful shows in center Europe, still, the band is relatively unknown for the masses.
Now they're back with a new effort; "Symphony Of Souls".
Musically, the quartet combines different styles into one pot, as they like to call it: ProMeRo (Progressive-Metal-Rock), which gives a good general idea about the band's sound, but they add several other elements as old school Hard Rock, Sympho, Epic and a dash of atmospheric Metal.
On paper, this mix looks a bit odd and not easy to digest, yet more than interesting.
I have heard their previous albums in the past, more modern Hard Rock oriented (specially the first). On "Symphony Of Souls" the guys expand all the boundaries.
The musical mash-up Crow 7 attempted is laudable, even if sometimes not completely successful, perhaps due to the album's length: fifteen songs and almost 80 min. of music seems too much.
Anyway, there's many good moments to enjoy here.
The title track “Symphony of Souls” opens in a good way, remembering a commercial Savatage with a modern sound and a sympho touch. “Street Of Slaver” and “The Guide” both sport solid enough chorus hooks to make them stand out.
“Dirty Lies” is a really good rocking mid-tempo number that avoids slavish commercialism by adding a progressive touch to the chorus as well as some growled backing vocals that works well and original.
One of my favorite tracks is the semi-midtempo and pretty commercial “Great Spirit”, which has a verse much in the vein of Valensia/Valentine with a pulsating rhythm section and a rousing melody.
“Breed of the Crime” brings some appreciable metal credibility to its sonic output with nice symphonic keys and violins accentuating the back of the mix, while “The Final Ride” brings a burst of double-kick adrenalin.
“Where Do We Go Now” ends the the CD in a form of some kind of ballad, but this band does not write things in the traditional way, so this slow tune has its interesting tempo changes and abundance of keyboards and harmony vocals.
Crow7 offers in "Symphony Of Souls" a musical ride that blends many genres.
To give you a proper idea, basically this is intense progressive rock slathered with the slick, beefy production so popular today, peppered with sympho and metal punch to increase the intensity.
Stylistically, as said before, in parts the music has many points in common with Valensia/Valentine (Robby) works, or Valensia's project Metal Majesty. Hard Rock and power chops also come out to play once in awhile, with the addition of some modern electronic effects as well.
All the band members are skilled musicians and the production & sound are impeccable.
So many artists are content to cower in the comfort zone and crank out exactly the same thing as a thousand bands before them, so kudos to Crow 7 for having the guts to go against the grain and attempt something adventurous.
01 - Symphony of Souls
02 - Street of Slaver
03 - Shiva Sigh
04 - The Guide
05 - Kingdom of Calm
06 - Spawn of Evil
07 - Dirty Lies
08 - Virtual Reality
09 - Great Spirit
10 - Winter Breeze
11 - Breed of Crime
12 - Ocean of Fire
13 - Winner of the Quest
14 - The Final Ride
15 - Where Do We Go Now
Corbin Eved (vocals, guitar)
Seth Aban (guitars, backing vocals)
Gideon Vanth (bass, backing vocals)
Janus Mantus (drums)
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Sweden is single-handedly carrying the torch of '80s Hard & Melodic Rock, and DYNAZTY are no exception as they return with "Sultans Of Sin", the band's third consecutive album and the first to feature new guitarist Mike Laver.
Right from the beginning chugging riff of "Come Alive", you know what kind of album this will shape out to be; a true Hard Rock outing, paying dear homage to the flawless 1980's.
The bumping verses and energetic chorus of the opening track get things moving in a fine manner and are followed by "Raise Your Hands", which may be the weakest song on the disc because the main riff has been used to death over the past decade. That is not to say "Raise Your Hands" is bad by any means, but it is just not a worthy follow-up to the powerful knock-out punch of the opening track.
The first single, "Land Of Broken Dreams", picks up the ground lost and I could tell from the first note that this was defiantly the right choice for a single. The song has great hooks, a driving chorus and gang vocals which would play great in a live setting for sure.
A power ballad in the form of "Falling" follows and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. This superb midtempo tune is like the lost gem of a track Whitesnake wish they could still write.
It should be noted that thus far into Sultans Of Sin the band has been performing flawlessly in a true '80s fashion, but Nils Molin should receive most of the credit due to his fantastic delivery on lead vocals. He truly sounds like David Coverdale's long lost son, and that is a big compliment.
The next three tracks, "More Than A Man", "Love Junkie" and "The One To Blame" are all perfect examples of hard driving rock songs played with a definitive amount of catchiness to please all rockers out there.
And it is at this point in the album that we come upon the first real acoustic ballad. Even though electric guitars do eventually rip through the track mid-way, "Back Again" is undeniably the romantic ballad that all the bands in this genre worth their salt crave.
"Bastards Of Rock & Roll" and the title track wrap the album up in a great way. Perhaps the strongest songs of the disc, they exemplify Dynazty's ability to bring on the table the classic eighties with a modern and updated sound. The title track "Sultans Of Sin" is, in fact, a highlight, with its extremely heavy main riff and Molin's screeching vocals.
With "Sultans Of Sin", I can safely say that Dynazty can now be mentioned alongside other major Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock acts such as H.E.A.T, Crazy Lixx or Treat.
It's a meaty, rockin' and melodic CD, full of power and catchiness, with solid song structures, hot guitar licks and massive eighties-like choruses. Don't worry about vocals because you have a very capable and charismatic lead vocalist in Nils Molin, one of the best singers of the new Swedish generation.
"Sultans Of Sin" may easily rank as one of the greatest 2012 Melodic Hard Rock albums. Definitely a highly recommended listening.
01 - Come Alive
02 - Raise Your Hands
03 - Land Of Broken Dreams
04 - Falling
05 - More Than A Man
06 - Love Junkie
07 - The One To Blame
08 - Back Again
09 - Bastards Of Rock 'N' Roll
10 - Sultans Of Sin
Nils Molin - vocals
Rob Love Magnusson - guitar
Mike Laver - guitar
Joel Fox Apelgren - bass
George Egg - drums
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Donnie Vie, the power and voice behind the rock band Enuff Z'nuff, makes a new solo release called "Wrapped Around My Middle Finger".
Donnie is a consummate songwriter of classic rock melodies that endure. On this CD, Vie dishes up some memorably addictive songs that tend to get stuck in your head for days at a time.
"Wrapped Around My Middle Finger" proves that Vie can still write tunes with incredible melody and strong hooks. He can still sing to; fusing his own sound with that Beatlesque influence that has been the signature of his style since his moment in the sun in 1989.
There's some great feel-good and instantly likeable songs on this album -- like "Lisa", an uptempo melodic rocker penned to Donnie's girlfriend who has to be given some credit for keeping him on the straight and narrow, "Rattle On", which has such a catchy chorus and harmonies that will stay with you all day, and "Smokin Hot Lollipop", which has been released before but gets its official place as the last foot tapper.
The title track is undoubtedly the heaviest song on the album, but in true Vie style it's got a melodic verse before saving the onslaught for a heavy chorus loaded with harmonies.
Follower "Wunderland" is more mellow, with Donnie's delicious vocal performance taking the track to somewhere else that only he can achieve.
I guarantee you that "Lil' Wonder" will capture you from the time Donnie sings 'Open your heart' with that very familiar raspy and haunting vocal that diehard Enuff Z'Nuff fans love him for. It's an incredibly deep ballad with quite an operatic feel.
There's also a surprise guest appearance from Kip Winger on the massively harmonious "Now Ya Know", and his vocal style actually works really well switching between him and Donnie to handle the pre-chorus before once again launching into a huge chorus. Great track that would fit perfectly onto any Enuff Z'Nuff release.
For me, the stand out song on this album is once again a ballad, "Daddy's Girl". I've always been in awe of Donnie and his ability to write ballads, he consistently produces these, and there are no throwaways... they're all killers.
An endearing introduction brings in "It Won't Let You Down" that evolves into what could imaginably become a live classic, before the opus ends on yet another high with the aforementioned "Smokin Hot Lollipop", a song that has that foot tapping and head bopping element to it and is the perfect way to close this album.
"Wrapped Around My Middle Finger" is the best Donnie Vie solo album to date, and as good as any of the goodies he has recorded with Enuff Z'Nuff.
In fact, there are many occasions on this CD where the music can be compared with the first (and best) Enuff Z'Nuff albums.
The strongest points of "Wrapped Around My Middle Finger" is the solid songwriting, with much more depth than previous Vie's solo albums, and the very good production.
In the past, Donnie's releases haven't had the big production, in fact they've been let down slightly, not by the songs themselves but by the lack of complete instrumentation (in example; drum machines). That problem doesn't exist here, as his band is tight and organic, with a warm live feel.
"Wrapped Around My Middle Finger" is good, very good. It has so many catchy numbers, yet it saves room for a couple of really huge songs.
If Donnie Vie had the proper marketing push, there would be 11 potential hits here. As it stands, this will likely be a low-key release, but a more than satisfying listen to any Melodic Rock fan.
01 - Wrapped around my middle finger
02 - Wunderland
03 - Lisa
04 - Daddy's girl
05 - Now ya know
06 - No escape
07 - Lil wonder
08 - Flames of love
09 - Rattle on
10 - I won't let you down
11 - Smokin' hot lollipop
Donnie Vie - vocals and guitar
Jimmy Maguire - guitar
Patrick Pulver - bass
Randi Scott - drums
Kip Winger - vocals, bass (5)
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
LA PAZ was formed in Scotland in the summer of 1984 by guitarist Chic McSherry, vocalist Doogie White and bass player Alex Carmichael. All three had been playing in the local music scene for some years and when the time was ripe to finally work together, they hit it off immediately.
The guys listened to the same music and shared an admiration for bands like Deep Purple and Rainbow. Soon they wanted to do some gigs and therefore they recruited keyboard player Andy Mason. Finding the right drummer took some serious doing, but in the end they stumbled upon Paul McManus.
The band played live regularly, sometimes reaching the total number of 100 gigs a year. Of course that caught the attention from a number of UK and US record companies and a three album deal was signed with one of them.
But, for reasons that were never explained, the deal fell through at the very last minute. A hard blow for the band that had been plodding along for about five to six years. La Paz played their last gig on October 15, 1988 and Doogie White moved on to Midnight Blue, followed by Rainbow, Cornerstone, Yngwie Malmsteen and (now) Tank.
A Rock Radio DJ called Doogie to ask him if he would do an acoustic set at The Garage in Glasgow for Rock Radio’s Birthday Bash in January 2008. Doogie agreed and asked Chic to join in on flamenco guitar.
That was so much fun for both that it was decided to give the band another go for Chic’s 50th birthday. Rehearsals started and the chemistry was there from the very first minute. Three gigs followed and were a terrific success.
No wonder the guys wanted to re-record some of the classics from the set and give them a proper production.
Recordings started early last year and culminated in the "Granite" album, the first official album from La Paz after 28 years.
Among the 9 tracks on offer are six of the band’s live favourites from the '80s and three brand-new songs, but you can’t hear any difference between them; this is Classic Hard Rock at its finest.
Album opener "Too Good To Lose" busts to life with a flurry of atmospherics before settling in to a hook laden, damned catchy, chunk of classic rock. Reminiscent of White’s Rainbow roots with a little Brit AOR rock thrown in for good measure the track fairly romps along and wouldn’t be out of place on any number of American road trip movie soundtrack.
"This Boy" sounds more like Foreigner than Foreigner do these days – not the crumpled old revivalist version, but the platinum coated version which gave us ‘Feels Like The First Time.’ Another feel-good, radio friendly, chorus will have you singing along in no time, if you can put your air guitar down long enough as guitarist, Chic McSherry fires out lick after slick lick. I dare you not to tap your feet.
"Lesson In Love" talks much tougher with its opening guitar bombast and chunky chord progression. White dons the cloak of Dio and it fits like a glove as he soars and swoops over the music like our dearly departed Lord of Metal.
The tear soaked ballad "Amy" threatens to bring the party to a grinding halt and seems to veer off into a cul-de-sac with it’s slightly ponderous melody, however it provides only a brief respite as "Just for Today" lifts the mood again with McSherry’s deft fretwork and a rollicking chorus.
"What Do You Say" continues the momentum and gives White a platform to show off his formidable vocal range and "Still in Love" is as good as anything produced by AOR masters FM before "Young and Restless" bears it’s teeth and ups the tempo showing La Paz have a grittier side as well.
"Shame the Devil" brings the album to a close, with La Paz perhaps saving the best for last. As crickets shrill and thunder rolls over beautifully picked Spanish guitar we are transported into the highlands of the Andes. The eerie chants of hooded monks and the lonesome calls of unseen birds are shattered as White once again enters the world of Dio. The song builds into a seething shred fest and the album truly hits its peak during the finale.
La Paz may not have hit the jackpot in the eighties, but today they’ve built an album on solid foundations of "Granite".
With a quality songwriting rooted in the eighties but the dynamics of playing and production of the present, La Paz pack a mighty punch to back up Doogie White's soaring Classic Rock voice.
When you listen the enthusiasm and professionalism delivered on "Granite", you will agree that this is an album that was worth being released.
01 - Too good too loose
02 - This boy
03 - Lesson in love
04 - Amy
05 - Just for today
06 - What do you say
07 - Still in love
08 - Young and restless
09 - Shame the Devil
Doogie White - Vocals
Chic McSherry - Guitars
Andy Mason - Keyboards
Alex Carmichael - Bass
Paul McManus - Drums
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ROMEO'S DAUGHTER are back after almost 20 years with their 3rd album "Rapture".
The sophomore album 'Delectable' was as strong as the self-titled debut, but it just never worked out. This was ‘93 and Grunge had taken a hold of the music industry. They were highly thought of by their peers, with songs of theirs covered by Heart, Eddie Money and many more.
So fast forward almost 20 years and it turns out Romeo’s Daughter never broke up. They made a successful return at Firefest a couple of years ago and decided to give it another shot. And am I thankful that they did!
The great UK Melodic Rock / AOR band retains the original line-up; fronted by female vocalist Leigh Matty and expertly backed by guitarist Craig Joiner, Tony Mitman on keyboards, Ed Poole on bass and drummer Andy Wells.
Songwriter-in-chief Craig Joiner has delivered a set of songs planted firmly in the classic Romeo’s Daughter mould. "Rapture" sounds and feels as the immediate successor to ‘Delectable’.
Opening track "Tripping Out" contains all the Romeo’s Daughter hallmarks – catchy chorus, great riffs, and the excitable vocals of Leigh Matty.
Follower "Bittersweet" is another track that just rolls out of the Joiner song factory and is the kind of song I’d hear all day long on the radio. Really commercial and accessible.
"Cannot Be The One" is firmly set at mid paced, a sweet melody perfectly driven by Matty soaring vocals. It's a classy early nineties AOR tune full of magic.
"Keep Walking" falls into the rock-socks bracket that made this band famous and is one of the best songs on ‘Rapture’ by a country mile.
"Lightning" is a track that would be welcomed on radio airwaves all day long. A cleverly composed ballad to appeal old school fans and new listeners.
"Alive" is a song I’d imagine Robin Beck singing all those years ago, and it’s a pure AOR sing a long/foot tappin’ track for driving or jogging. My favorite song on the album.
"Fly Away" makes for one solid first half of an album. It's lightweight, but in a good way, and it doesn’t have to shout from the rooftops to be a good song.
"Talking Love" is another highlight. This band really knows how pen a glorious melody, and it's clearly represented here, a superb midtempo Melodic Rock track to die for.
"He's Mine" is again as catchy as a baseball glove covered in molasses, while on the last track "Will Be" Romeo's Daughter goes acoustic with taste and emotion.
Romeo's Daughter - and guitarist / songwriter Craig Joiner in particular - have something to be proud of here. "Rapture" stands on par with any of the previous albums.
Craig’s songwriting is in pure form, and together with Leigh Matty’s (still) sumptuous vocals they have come up with an album that shows they’ve returned with a class and hopefully a (headlining) tour will follow.
Released by themselves, "Rapture" is full of marvelous melodies and sounds a million bucks, perfectly recorded and produced.
01 - Trippin' Out
02 - Bittersweet
03 - Cannot Be The One
04 - Keep Walking
05 - Lightning
06 - Alive
07 - Fly Away
08 - Make My Dreams Come True
09 - Precious Thing
10 - Talking Love
11 - He's Mine
12 - Will Be
Leigh Matty - Lead & Backing Vocals
Craig Joiner - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Tony Mitman - Keyboards
Ed Poole - Bass
Andy Wells - Drums
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George Gakis is a well known singer/musician in Greece, fronting the hard rock band "The Troublemakers" since the early nineties, releasing three albums.
Lately he has become the most important rock festival promoter in his homeland, meeting big names such as Kip Winger, members of Whitesnake, Scorpions, Bon Jovi, etc.
Besides, Gakis was working on his solo debut CD, "Too Much Ain't Ever Enough", just internationally released via Perris Records.
The pre-production of the songs started some time ago together with his musical right hand and friend guitarist Nikos Zouros, from the Troublemakers.
Thanks to his connections as promoter, Gakis recruited an impressive list of guest star appearances including Joe Lynn Turner, drummers Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow), James Kottak (Scorpions), Mark Cross (Outloud), and many more musicians.
But the most important contribution comes from no-other than Kip Winger co-producing, mixing & mastering, who has given to "Too Much Ain't Ever Enough" a polished and crisp sound.
The style of the album is traditional Hard Rock strongly influenced by Whitesnake with a melodic approach.
This is clear on opener "I Married Trouble", the catchy "License For Love" and the driving "Rebellious Son". Also on one of the best tracks on offer here, "When Opposites Attract", this time with a Rainbowesque feel as well, complete with a cleverly arranged string section.
"Fame" reminds you nineties Kingdom Come, and the enchanting "It Ain't Over Till It's Over" is a power ballad in the British style.
We have American influences too, heard on the melodic rocker "Street Of Broken Dreams", the climatic midtempo in the vein of Slaughter "Under My Skin", or the Ken Tamplin sounding title track "Too Much Ain't Never Enough".
"Days Of Rock 'N' Roll" is a rockin' tribute to the eighties glory days, featuring a classic riff & chorus and a melodic solo.
"Too Much Ain't Ever Enough" is a surprisingly good traditional Hard Rock album with a Melodic Rock approach in terms of sound.
Don't expect raw guitars or screams here, all is really melodic, polished and crispy. The songwriting is more than solid, influenced by the masters of the genre but with a personal touch.
The unknown to me Nick Zouros is a complete guitar player which riffs, melodic solos and occasional keyboards orchestrates the music where the deep and well defined vocals of Gakis - a mix between '80s Coverdale and Ken Tamplin - flows easily.
I am really delighted by the excellent production, which enhances the tight performances of all the musicians involved. Remarkable is the drum work (and the sound obtained) by Mark Cross and the guest legends Bobby Rondinelli and James Kottak.
You will be truly pleased by the classic sounds of "Too Much Ain't Ever Enough", believe me.
01 - I Married Trouble (feat. Mark Cross)
02 - Fame (feat. Mark Cross)
03 - Street of Broken Dreams (feat. Joe Lynn Turner)
04 - Days Of Rock 'N' Roll (feat. Mark Cross)
05 - When Opposites Attract (feat. Bobby Rondinelli & Greg Smith)
06 - Too Much Ain't Never Enough (feat. James Kottak)
07 - License For Love (feat. Mark Cross)
08 - Under My Skin (feat. Mark Cross)
09 - Rebellious Son (feat. Mark Cross)
10 - It Ain't Over Till It's Over (feat. Mark Cross)
11 - Mi Me Koitas (feat. Yiannis Spathas) [bonus track]
George Gakis - vocals, guitar
Nick Zouros - guitars, keyboards
Kostas "J" Tzounis - bass
Diamandis Karagiannakidis - keyboards
Mark Cross (Firewind, Outloud) - drums
Joe Lynn Turner - vocals
Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath) - drums
James Kottak (Scorpions, Kingdom Come) - drums
Greg Smith (Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent) - bass
Yiannis Spathas (Socrates) - guitar
Babis Saganas - guitar
Byron Tsourapis - mandolin
Panayiotis Voulgaris - string quartet arrangements
Produced by George Gakis & Kip Winger
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