Monday, May 28, 2012

BONFIRE - Cry 4 Help (2012)

BONFIRE - Cry 4 Help (2012)


Pioneers of the Melodic Hard Rock scene BONFIRE are releasing a new EP; "Cry 4 Help".

At the beginning of 2012 the band went to Ukraine to play a headlining show and a festival. They also got to see for themselves the recent unbelievable mistreatment of street dogs in the country and to talk to the authorities and the people.

Preceding the Football European Championship in Ukraine and Poland later in the year, the Ukrainian government has allowed a 'cleanup' of the streets by killing hundreds of thousands of these innocent animals.

Singer Claus Lessmann says; "We are releasing this EP in cooperation with the animal protection organization PETA, this insane butchering must stop now".

The song "Cry For Help" was originally part of the band's 2006 album 'Double X', but now has been completely re-recorded in a more catchy 'Radio Version', plus an 'Acoustic Version' which really brings them to the forefront of the song.

Re-entitled "Cry 4 Help" the song lyrical content is still as relevant now as it was back then;

“Who sheds a tear for the crocodile

That you carry as a bag?

Does your mink coat still keep you warm

When you think about its fate?

It ain’t just another protest song

About laboratory crimes

It’s also a cry for help

For the cowards of our time.”

The EP itself contains three different versions of the track with its timeless lyrics, and also two cracking live recordings of the classic Bonfire hit songs "You Make Me Feel" and "Just Follow The Rainbow" which serve to remind you that after all the years that they have been together, Bonfire are still a powerful live unit.

German release only.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

01 - Cry 4 Help (Radio Version)

02 - Cry 4 Help (Long Version)

03 - Cry 4 Help (Acoustic Version)

04 - You Make Me Feel (Live at The Masters Of RockCZ)

05 - I Need You (Private Version)

06 - Just Follow The Rainbow (Live at The Masters Of RockCZ)

Claus Lessmann - Lead & backing vocals, guitar

Hans Ziller - Guitars and backing vocals

'Yps' Chris Limburg - Guitars

Uwe Köhler - Bass, backing vocals

Harry Reischmann - Drums and Percussion



SQUACKETT - Sea Of Smiles (2012)

SQUACKETT - Sea Of Smiles (2012)


Two prog-rock legends — bassist Chris Squire (Yes) and guitarist Steve Hackett (ex- Genesis, ex- GTR) — have gotten together to form a new band, SQUACKETT.

Their debut album, 'A Life Within A Day', will be released in June via Esoteric Antenna.

The pair got together about four years ago when Squire, the only Yes member to appear on every Yes album, was working on a solo album. Someone put him in touch with Hackett, who originally came to prominence as a member of Genesis and later worked with another member of Yes, Steve Howe, in the proggy AOR act GTR.

The recording is with Hackett regular Roger King (worked with Gerard Johnson; keys, engineer, producer) and Jeremy Stacey (ex-The Syn, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Sheryl Crow; drums), plus another Hackett regular Amanda Lehmann providing harmony vocals on some tracks.

A limited edition 7” single by Squackett was released for Record Store Day 2012 and now is available digitally.

This advance features an edited version of "Sea Of Smiles” which is exclusive to this release, plus "Perfect Love Song" taken from the main debut CD.

Hackett says; "A lot of the album is direct and accessible, but I have to admit that about 50% of it probably does cater to that idea of what it might sound like if Genesis joined Yes."

Both are good tracks with the usual elegant arrangements of Hackett / Squire classic former bands, pretty commercial indeed. In my humble opinion production could be better, more crispy, but it's just a matter of taste. Seems they were looking for an 'analog sound', which is not a bad thing at all.

01 - Sea Of Smiles (single edit)

02 - Perfect Love Song

Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals

Steve Hackett - Guitar, Vocals

Roger King - Keyboards

Jeremy Stacey - Drums



Friday, May 25, 2012

JADED HEART - Common Destiny (2012)

JADED HEART - Common Destiny (2012)


Germany and Sweden are recognized for their top class Melodic Hard Rock acts, and if you take musicians from both countries into one outfit you can expect a great musical delivery.

That's the case of hard rockers JADED HEART, whose ranks not only German's Mad Max drummer Axel Kruse but also Swedish singer Johan Fahlberg.

"Common Destiny" is the 11th album by this solid band celebratring their twentieth anniversary.

On this new album Jaded Heart is better than never, offering their trademark 'widescreen rock', stadium-ready Euro Hard Rock full of fat sounds, modern-inspired riffs, subtle keyboards and big choruses.

Although certainly more rooted in the Melodic Rock sector, "Common Destiny" beat your ears on many places with pretty metallic sounds - such as the stomping groovy "Saints Denied", filled with crunchy riffs and a stunnig lead guitar work by swedish chief guitarist Peter Östros.

On tracks like "Buried Alive", "Are We Mental" and "Life Is Beautiful", Jaded Heart excels in the '80s-style choruses with its Whitesnake feel, largely due to Johan Fahlberg's golden throat who has added to the band's sound a distinctive touch.

In "Run And Hide" for example, the singer has no problems to reach higher notes without losing control, nor his deep and rich vocal tone.

"Common Destiny" is another solid, consistent album by Jaded Heart, a band that lately has tightened their sound but never lost the catchiness factor.

There's no time for ballads on Jaded Heart 2012, just guitar driven Melodic Hard Rock delivered with power and class. The synths / keyboards are always present on the band's music, but now adding textures and enriching the melodies in the background.

The production of "Common Destiny" is similar in size to the songs included: big, massive, overwhelming. Handled by Michael Voss (Mad Max) and the band, these new songs sound truly crispy and striking, also helped by Chris Lausmann's (Bonfire) engineering and mixing.


1. With You

2. Saints Denied

3. Into Tears

4. Buried Alive

5. I Believe

6. Run and Hide

7. Are We Mental

8. My Destiny

9. No More Lies

10. Life Is Beautiful

11. Higher

12. Fire And Flames

Johan Fahlberg (Vocals)

Michael Mueller (Bass)

Peter Oestros (Guitars)

Henning Wanner (Keyboards)

Axel Kruse (Drums)



Thursday, May 24, 2012

KAISAS (ft. Tony Mills) - Unify (2011-12)

KAISAS  Tony Mills Unify (2011-2012)


"Unify" is the bebut release from KAISAS, a band that takes it's name from founding member Greek guitarist and basist Babis Kaisas, former member of Zandem, a project featuring ex- Shy drummer Alan Kelly.

This is an international project, as renowned UK vocalist Tony Mills (Shy, TNT, Siam) and Brazilian drummer Acacio Carvalho (Dark Avenger, Single Bullet Theory, Quester) complete the line-up.

"Unify" was released through a small UK label in 2011, but now has been pushed by Bertus distribution for a major worldwide reach.

Although production was handled by Babis Kaisas, post production activities have been undertaken by the redoubtable Sheena Sear (Magnum) at M2 studios in England, so you know that it is going to have a big sound – and it does.

Considering that Babis' previous band Zandem was already in the commercial side of the hard rock genre, and knowing the musical avenues usually traveled by Tony Mills, I think no one will be surprised to find Kaisas going in that same direction.

Kaisas plays Melodic Hard Rock with some US '80s metal influences, in a sound and style that evokes TNT, Alice Cooper (the 'Kane Roberts' era), MacAlpine (Eyes Of The World), Dokken, and of course, Shy.

In fact, most the songs seems to be written for the showcasing of Tony Mill's vocals abilities, and Babis Kaisas works as orchestrator, adding an occasional guitar solo.

There's some really good songs of offer here, as the melodic hard rock bliss of "Chemistry" where Mills steals the show, sporting one of the strongest choruses on the CD.

Strangely, the album opens with the midtempo, semi-ballad "Sins Of Mankind", an interesting song with an Euro feel ala Place Vendome.

"Mystery Man" is a dynamic melodic hard rocker with cool harmony vocals, followed by the Americanized "Innocent Cry", filled with good lyrics about the horrors of war.

"Somewhere Someplace" is one of the highlights, delivering a powerful '80s-like refrain resembling early Queensryche, again with Mills singing his heart out.

The balladesque moment arrives with "All Unite", but immediately the tempo rise-up with the hard rocker, riff-based "The Whole Picture".

In the digital version (surprisingly not present on the CD) we have a cover of Dokken's classic "In My Dreams", very well done and arranged with a rocking performance by Tony Mills, altough strangely Babis' solo is rather weak.

Not all are roses on this release. I don't understand the inclusion of the Christmas ditty "Jingle Bells", with Tony crooning his way through a call and response (slightly re-arranged and rewritten) version of a song that is just way too jolly for it's own good. The other track that does not work for me is "That's Me", a rocker apparently mainly sung by Babis' itself in an Alice Cooper-way.

"Unify" is an effective Melodic Hard Rock recording with both American and Euro influences is style & sound.

The songs are interesting and well crafted, with the inclussion of some effects and cool spoken intros / outros. Babis Kaisas is a good player, but as said, acts for the most part as orchestrator, leaving room for Tony Mill's oustanding vocals, he really shines as usual on the leads and the harmonic backings as well.

Really well produced, "Unify" is a good '80s-inspired recording that deserves to be listened by any MHR fan, specially Tony Mills / Shy aficionados.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

01 - Sins Of Mankind

02 - Chemistry

03 - Surrender

04 - Mystery Man

05 - Innocent Cry

06 - Jingle Bells

07 - Somewhere Someplace

08 - All Unite

09 - The Whole Picture

10 - Take Away Your Pain

11 - That's Me

12 - Rock You

13 - In My Dreams [Dokken cover] (Bonus Track)

Tony Mills - Vocals

Babis Kaisas - Guitars, Bass

Acacio Carvalho - Drums



BOMBAY BLACK - Bullets And Booze (2012)

BOMBAY BLACK - Bullets And Booze (2012)


Sooner or later, the listening world is going to have to realize that BOMBAY BLACK is simply one of the best bands on the planet making Hard Rock today.

Their prior releases — Mercy, Anger Management, Psycho Magnet and Love You to Death — all reveled in the band’s ability to write snarky, funny, heavy and extremely melodic anthems.

None of that has changed on the new studio album "Bullets And Booze", it’s just all better than anything they’ve recorded or written thus far.

One of Bombay Black’s biggest draws is the way that singer/guitarist Erik Johnson delivers his vocals and the powerful melodies emanating from the twin guitars.

On the opening track, "Queen Of Denial", it’s all there to wallow in. Drummer Rob McCauley also firmly plants his brand on this track, pummeling along at a fevered and deft pace. A kick-ass hard rockin' tune setting the tone of the rock and roll ride that awaits.

A ride that follows on a train, with "Rock 'n Roll Pain Train", a groovy melodic hard rocker full of Bombay Black's trademark harmony vocals.

"Helluva Time" is a funny rocker with a sticky riff which attempts to answer the age old question 'What happened last night?'. Really cool.

The album has a more 'modern' approach in places, as with the broken riff that kicks "All The Same In The Dark" into life.

This CD contains some utterly acerbic lyrics as well but still manages to capture a band that can spit out the hooks and hit with really great choruses. Lyrically, the songs revisit the X-rated underbelly of human existence time and time again: with a focus and ferocity that rarely strays from booze (as the album title indicates), ladies and having a good time.

"Bad Boy" is a good example of this band's catchiness. If you want to hear exactly how to write a hooky chorus, this is how you do it.

Talking about catchy tunes, Bombay is so varied that they're able to deliver an almost hair-metal track on "The One You Love", complete with cowbel and a scorching guitar solo.

Bombay Black can rock you even with the ballads, as "Let Me Be", depite its melodic and vocal layered chorus, exudes a R 'n R vibe all over.

This Arkansas quartet rocks like no-one with their unique Hard Rock style.

"Bullets And Booze" brings a fully loaded metal jacket of soul baring, kick-ass material to rock your socks off, that is proudly anchored in the foundations of traditional Hard Rock songwriting.

We have fifteen killer rockin' tunes with giant guitar driven monster riffs served up on a bed of nasty grooves, with soaring melodic vocals and big hooks.

If you already know Bombay Black, "Bullets And Booze" is everything you expect from the band, but it also has a few new tricks to let you know the band is still evolving.

If you never heard of 'em, wait no more.

Highly Recommended.

01 - Queen Of Denial

02 - Rock 'n Roll Pain Train

03 - Helluva Time

04 - All The Same In The Dark

05 - Bad Boy

06 - Honey Lemon Kisses

07 - No Room For Emotion

08 - Let Me Be

09 - Love Like This

10 - Dragon Tattoo

11 - Bullets And Booze

12 - Take Another Picture

13 - The One You Love

14 - That's The Way It Is (At A Rock 'n Roll Show)

15 - One Single Drop

Erik Johnson - Lead Vocals, Guitar

'Devil Jim' Perry - Lead Guitar, Vocals

Ty Sims - Bass, Vocals

Rob McCauley - Drums, Percussion, Vocals



RUSH - Headlong Flight +3 (2012)

RUSH - Headlong Flight +3 (2012)


RUSH has unveiled details of its highly anticipated, new album, “Clockwork Angels”. This is the first release of original material in over five years and their first studio release via Anthem / Roadrunner records.

“Clockwork Angels”, the band’s 20th studio album, will be released on June 12th.

The recording of “Clockwork Angels” began in April 2010 with Grammy Award winning producer Nick Raskulinecz, and the full band co-producing as well.

Rush will herald the release with a new single taken from the album; “Headlong Flight”. This is great 'new-classic' Rush song, a return to their '70s roots with a contemporary feel.

It is a headlong journey into an amazing 7 minutes and 21 seconds of pure, unadulterated Rush bliss, with Geddy Lee punishing that bass right before the guitar solo, Alex comes flying in with the wah pedal like the good old days and Neil is just tearing up his drum kit all the way through.

I don't remember the last time a 7:20 song went by so quickly and flawlessly.

"Caravan" and "BU2B" are from the initial 2010 recording sessions, and will be included into the album as well.

"Caravan" opens with an ominous descending synthesizer sequence then explodes into a catchy riff that will immediately get your head bobbing. A track with an upbeat chorus and several contrasting instrumental sections.

"BU2B" is heavier yet accessible. The lyrics are another Neil Peart diatribe against religion - Christianity seems singled out in particular. The song is unrelenting: thumping beat, buzzing guitar and Geddy's wailing with the only respite from the heavy grind in the bridge.

These guys could be relaxing in rocking chairs but they just keep on rock 'n rolling.

Can't wait for the rest of the "Clockwork Angels" album.

01. Headlong Flight [album version] (7:20)

02. Headlong Flight [radio edit] (5:08)

03. Caravan [album version] (5:41)

04. BU2B [single version] (4:23)

Geddy Lee – bass, keyboards, bass pedals, vocals

Alex Lifeson – guitars, keyboards

Neil Peart – drums, lyrics



DAYS OF JUPITER - Secrets Brought To Life (2012)

DAYS OF JUPITER - Secrets Brought To Life (2012)


DAYS OF JUPITER is a new, young Swedish modern Hard Rock combo founded only two years ago, and now they have their debut CD ready to go: "Secrets Brought To Life".

Founded by former Trace Of Lords singer Jan Hilli and ex- Consuela guitarist Jocke Grundström, after some line-up changes the band was completed with Jörgen Hellström as second guitarist, Janne Karlsson on bass and the experienced Magnus Larsson (Destynation, Eternia) on drums.

2010 was a year of hard work for Days Of Jupiter that resulted in a lot of live gigs in Sweden with a great response from the audience as well as a second place in Sweden's biggest competition for unsigned bands.

This took the attention of producer Patrik Frisk (Takida, Crash Diet) who managed to sign them to Pantherfarm Records / Universal Music, and immediately starting to work on the debut album songs.

Days Of Jupiter's style has influences from both sides of the Atlantic ocean as they combine sounds of the modern American Metal with classic Hard Rock from Europe, all molded with a melodic approach.

Often compared with modern rock bands such as Shinedown or Disturbed, to my ears they sound much more melodious than the aforementioned acts, with Euro Melodic Hard Rock hints like Coldspell, Human Zoo or Skansis.

The modernity on this CD is clear on tracks like "Fall", the dark "Bury Me Alive" or the breaks of "Let It Die", but the rest of the material is mostly composed and played with an eye on the classic hard rock structures.

Perhaps opening track "Breed" is the one which blends the modern trends with classic stuff, but songs such as "Superman" has the typically European Melodic Hard Rock skeleton and vibe, featurnig a catchy chorus and a strong melodic line.

"Crash" has a rapid-fire classy hard rock / metal tempo, "Now You've Killed Me" adds some keyboads and clean guitars to the mix, and "Beautiful Lie" reminds me Coldspell, specially during the verses.

"Secrets Brought To Life" is a more than interesting and competent debut by Days Of Jupiter, blending modern trends with classic Hard Rock sounds.

What I like about this band is their abiding attention to the melodies, present on all songs even on the heavier. But the overall sound of "Secrets Brought To Life" isn't metalized at all, they are polished and melodious, helped by the pristine production of Patrik Frisk.

"Secrets Brought To Life" is a surprisingly good, solid, professional debut by Days Of Jupiter, a band that, if well managed, has a brilliant future.

01 - Bleed

02 - Bury Me Alive

03 - Now You've Killed Me

04 - Silence

05 - Crash

06 - Still Feel You Breathe

07 - Beautiful Lie

08 - Let It Die

09 - Superman

10 - Fall

Jan Hilli - Vocals

Jörgen Hellström - Guitars

Jocke Grundström - Guitars

Janne Karlsson - Bass

Magnus Larsson - Drums



ESTRELLA - Come Out To Play (2012)

ESTRELLA - Come Out To Play (2012)


Aberdeen band ESTRELLA, right from the early days, always stood out from the rest of Scottish unsigned rock bands, in that they always gave the appearance and, to a degree, the sound, of a band who wanted to pursue a more AOR path rather than out and out metal.
The 2006 self-titled debut EP showed that they had the capability and potential but you wanted more. Then the band 'disappeared' for a long time but now they're back.
Not only back, but on fire and 'ready to take on the world', as their 14 track debut album "Come Out To Play" proclaims.

Formed by brothers Paul (vocals), Luke (guitar) and Nathan (bass) Gunn along with Leo McPherson (drums), "Come Out To Play" was produced by John T Sinclair (ex-keyboard player to Ozzy Osbourne and band member of Uriah Heep and The Cult) with Ashley Howe (Led Zeppelin, Queen) roped in as sound engineer.

Things kick off in high gear with "Chance Of A Lifetime", which starts with a clipped riffing like a hard rockin' intro to 'Jailhouse Rock' before the singer tears into view over this flowing river of huge guitar riffs, crunchy drumming, powerful bass and its headlong through searing heat verses and equally hot guitar breaks, into multi-harmony choruses that lift you up and fly you away to dramatic effect.

Next we have title track "Come Out To Play". It's pure late seventies Aerosmith and just sensational, a bluesy swagger with a heady rockin' chorus and vintage keyboards.
On "Party" they manage to cross Van Halen circa 1986 and Aerosmith in the first 30 seconds as the synth intro gives way to scything guitars, over crashing rhythms and Tyler-esque vocals. The guitar break is hot and the song fun and catchy.

Up next is "Mona Lisa Smile" and here we head off into a more early Bon Jovi territory, as what amounts to a hair metal love song sends shivers up your spine with a ringing, twanging guitar riff, absolutely solid rhythm section work and impassioned vocals that deliver verses with an almost orchestra restraint, verses that set the foundations for the band to lift off like a rocket into the huge, towering anthem of a chorus that's just awesome in its effect, exercising dynamics of songwriting that many a more famous rock band would do well to take notice, on a song that can truly be described as classic.

"Shout (I Wanna Hear You)" begins with swirling synths and orchestral backdrops that hit like daggers to the heart before the rhythm section drives home, stuttering bass pounds and shuddering guitar riffs come into play.
"Do It Til We Drop" has a ferocious bite and melting riffing, every bit the epitome of seventies, eighties and nineties Classic Hard Rock wrapped up into one rolling thunder of a track, with Joe Elliott's styled vocals providing a rock solid performance of another slice of molten rock intensity and one of the finest tracks on an already stunning album.

After this, "One Love" kicks us right into a world of classic American hard rock with a sizzling dual guitar intro as the rhythm section kicks in, the lead vocals take their gravelly stance upfront into a high-flying chorus worthy of the best Danger Danger or Night Ranger, and there's a huge sense of passion running through its delivery, with one of those anthemic choruses that epitomises the finest that '80s AOR had to offer.

"Rocker Lily" is a juddering slice of lurching time signatures which has fierce guitar riffs and verses that scream into huge hooks as the tale of 'dirty Lily' unfolds in all its sleazy glory, with massive guitars and a wide sound production.
"She's Got It" is like a pure Night Ranger tune, the hard rockin' ones of their first album with thick, beefy, meaty guitar riffs and leads, dynamics of arrangement and pounding rhythm section. A roaring slice of mighty melodious hard rock from an undeniable eighties stable.

"Last Mohican" offers a welcomed variation. The track begins on a stuttering cascade of bass before this mighty guitar riff, worthy of something out of Blue Murder or HSAS, bursts into view only to subside almost as suddenly as the singer kind of glides in rather than roars, providing more of an AOR power ballad approach with restraint as the drums crunch deliberate, the bass slides up the scale and this twisting, sinuous song weaves its spell. Gradually, the vocals intensify, the guitar riffs move upfront and it all starts to build as the song starts its climb to even greater heights, but never truly breaks out, to great dynamic effect, the presence of a killer guitar duel adding to the jaw-dropping tower of a track, a veritable anthem in a field of the things.

"Whatever It Is" has 'anthem' written all over it, with a huge harmonious chorus that's really magical as the verses keep things simple and a spirited guitar break burns holes in your soul, the presence of rippling piano set to the high-flying guitar and the general air of heady restraint mixed with highly charged vocals full of emotion, gives us something that a modern Def Leppard could only hope to achieve.
"I'd Give It All" has got a Heart styled arrangement to it and is the sort of anthemic hard rock track that you'd have been hard pushed to better on either one of the Wilson sisters two classic eighties albums, only here given the 'hair metal' treatment with massive choruses, mighty verses, powerful singing, textures of '80s synths and thick swathes of guitars.

The album ends with "Don't Forget Me", musically a very good rocking ballad but I don't like the vocals here at all, too much screamy for my tastes. A pity, as this Aerosmith-like tune has a very cool rising intensity infused with a Def Leppard sensibility to make it an anthem that spans two decades of Classic Rock but sounds completely contemporary at the same time.
Estrella and their debut "Come Out To Play" is one of those albums that puts a big smile on your face.

It's a truly celebration of the classic sounds from the commercial late '70s / '80s Melodic Hard Rock, of course, with an updated sound.
As a team of brothers, the band are - I have no doubt - very proud of this release and so they should be. Paul Gunn provides for the most part a great vocal with a gritty performance on top of the solid, well crafted musical backdrop where the killer melodic hot guitars of Luke are all over the place. Keyboards are prominent mixing vintage instruments and synths sounds, and the rhythm section is tight and really hard hitting in some places.

Production values are good and this shouldn't be a surprise when you consider that John T. Sinclair brought-in sound engineer Ashley Howe to assist.
There's many things to be polished by Estrella, but I'm sure these guys will go from strength to strength, and the Melodic Hard Rock community should celebrate this loveable disc.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Chance Of A Lifetime

02 - Come Out To Play

03 - Party

04 - Mona Lisa Smile

05 - Shout (I Wanna Hear You)

06 - Do It 'Til We Drop

07 - One Love

08 - Rocker Lily

09 - She's Got It

10 - Last Mohican

11 - Whatever It Is

12 - What You See

13 - I'd Give It All

14 - Don't Forget Me

Paul Gunn - Lead Vocals
Luke Gunn - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Nathan T Gunn - Bass, Backing Vocals
Leo J McPherson - Drums
John T Sinclair - Keyboards, Synths



DANIEL BAND - Running Out Of Time... (2012)

DANIEL BAND - Running Out Of Time... (2012)


Canadian hard rockers DANIEL BAND are undoubtedly one of the pioneering forces behind '80s American Christian Hard Rock.
They debuted in 1982 with 'On Rock', and subsequently recorded four albums. Despite its arena rock hooks and heat, surprisingly attracted limited attention largely due to bad management and promotion.

Daniel Band has never officially broken up, although a farewell concert was held in Toronto, Canada in 1988. The band has reformed for the occasional gig over the years, including the 2001 Cornerstone Festival appearance that was recorded and released on CD. The band members have also been involved with various side projects including vocalist McCabe's project Dreamer.
Their last album "Running Out Of Time..." is a very good and catchy Melodic Hard Rock album which finds the band turning their sound to a more commercial and radio oriented material, with the typical essence of the time when was recorded (1987).

Vocalist Dan McCabe is a top performer with his trademark clean and smooth high end style, which has often garnered Daniel Band comparison to countrymen Triumph and April Wine, and also Americans Y & T / Dokken. The stadium-rock muscle is provided by guitarist Tony Rossi, who delivers cruchy Dokken-esque rhythm guitars and incendiary solos.
If you aren't Christian don't worry about the lyrics, singer McCabe once confessed to Cornerstone Magazine; "We are not musicians who preach, just believers who happen to be musicians".

The driving hard rocker “Black Or White” gets things going. A track with walls of slugging guitars and perseverant mid-paced momentum playing the lead role. It's followed by the melodic hard rocker “Sins Of The Heart”, full of step forward backing vocals to sustain its memorable chorus while McCabe’s pristine vocals help accent the ardent scene. Again, Rossi is all over the place with his licks and chops.
“Hold On” trends towards melodic hard rock / AOR territory highlighting a strong keyboard line and upbeat impetus. The song evenly flows its distance to a radio friendly emphasis and layers of underpinning guitars in just the right amounts (enhancing but not dominating).
“Long Time” is one of the best tracks of the album. The song takes a resonant semi-ballad heading, slowly maneuvering its verses to gently done guitars only to abruptly pick up in pace as a stalwart guitar steps forward to join with its imposing chorus. Each Daniel Band album has one or two songs that cannot help but make you say: 'Man, this is good as it gets' and such is the case with one. Pure '80s magic.

“Party In Heaven” proves another mid-paced hard rock but reinforced by a bluesy focus (in terms of darker guitar tones) and vigorous rhythm section.
Returning to melodic hard rock is “We Need Love”, a track with a great hook and a hair metal scent, while “Greedy Little Hands” showcases an equal joining of catchy commerciality and heaviness.
Then the title track is an '80s little gem. A pristine melodic hard rock tune with a golden riff and a killer melody. Love it.

For years, "Running Out Of Time" was nearly impossible to score on CD, outside of poor bootlegs. Originally when released, the album was horribly mixed and mastered. That, however, has dramatically changed in 2012, as finally "Running Out Of Time" has been re-mastered and re-issued by Retroactive Records.
The remastering provides a much needed facelift in that the highs now come across better defined and low-end that much more thicker and weightier. In listening to the two versions side by side, this Retroactive CD almost sounds as if Daniel Band returned to the studio and re-recorded the album from scratch (yes, the difference is that pronounced).
This reissue (first time officially on CD) also includes a bonus track titled "One". The sound quality of this new, more modern recording is a bit different than the '80s material. However, the style of the song fits in perfectly with the classic Daniel Band sound; melodic, edgy hard rock with McCabe's signature vocals and some smokin' guitar licks from Rossi.
If you never heard about Daniel Band, start with this one, you won't be disappointed,
Very Recommended.

01 - Black Or White

02 - Sins Of The Heart

03 - Hold On

04 - Long Time

05 - Party In Heaven

06 - We Need Love

07 - Greedy Little Hands

08 - Things Are Changing

09 - Running Out Of Time

10 - One (2012 bonus track)

Dan McCabe - Lead Vocals, Bass & Keyboards

Toni Rossi - Guitars, Vocals

Bill Findlay - Guitars, Synthesizers

Matt Delduca - Drums, Backing Vocals



LITTLE CAESAR - American Dream (2012)

LITTLE CAESAR - American Dream (2012)


LITTLE CAESAR released a Bob Rock-produced, self-titled debut through the Geffen Records subsidiary DGC in May 1990. The was a different breed in the hair metal movement fusing a driving hard rock with bluesy and soul elements.

Little Caesar always represented 'substance over style', which probably led to their commercial failure (and null label support) in the hair-spray fog of the late '80s.

An endless stream of middle-aged musicians have returned in the last few years with dreams of recapturing the magic that they once (or never did) possessed, but few have managed to do it as well as Little Caesar.

Of course few bands have a vocalist with the talent of Ron Young, whose bluesy and soulful voice always set this band at the top of the hard rock heap.

After the good comeback with 2009's 'Redemption', with their brand new CD "American Dream" Little Caesar sounds as if time has stood still over all these years.

The only things missing from the current version of Little Caesar are original guitarist Apache and the long flowing hair. The sound is practically identical to what they sounded like ages ago.

They were never the heaviest band in town, and they still aren't. What they are, and always have been, is a bluesy hard rock band that writes quality songs.

The album kicks off with "Holly Roller", indeed a rolling rocker full of swagger, valvular amp guitars and feel-good vibe.

From there we get taken through a course of Classic (hard) Rock songs, short, catchy and effective, as the title track "American Dream", which is driven by a simple but contagious American-trademark riff.

"Hard Rock Hell" is great hard rocker featuring very a classy vocaliztion by Ron Young, a fun chorus and a direct-to-amp hot six-tring solo. You just can't love this tune. It reminds me the super-group Manic Eden (featuring James Christian, Adrian Vandenberg, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge) who, incidentally, Ron Young went on to sing for.

"Prisoner Of Love" offers a more bluesy rock in a midtempo form. The main melody is strong and intense, builded over a tight instrumentation.

"In My Mirror" keeps things going with a steady and groovy guitar riff throughout before Ron Young shows how a ballad should be properly handled with "Only A Memory Away", a song that has, again, a Manic Eden feel to it. Fantastic tune.

"Own Worst Enemy" is another good twinkling classic rocker, followed by the sweaty "Drama Queen", before ending the disc with the catchy, southern tingled "Dirty Water".

Little Caesar have always managed to set themselves apart from the crowd, and continue to do it today.

Since the previous album the band decided to release their music on their own, apart from the pressures and influence of record companies.

It is no longer about fame and fortune for the members of Little Caesar, it is simply about releasing quality music to the fans of the classy, eternal Classic Rock.

In times when most mainstream music is poluted with crappy sounds, we should be thanking Little Caesar for the release of an album like this, and every other musician that once had teased-hair and tight pants should use "American Dream" as the blueprint for how a band should stage their comeback to the new millenium.

Really Good.

01 - Holly Roller

02 - American Dream

03 - Hard Rock Hell

04 - Prisoner Of Love

05 - In My Mirror

06 - Only A Memory Away

07 - The Girl's Rockin'

08 - Is Your Crazy, Gettin' Lazy

09 - Own Worst Enemy

10 - Drama Queen

11 - Dirty Water

Ron Young: Vocals

Loren Molinare: Guitar

Joey Brasler: Guitar

Fidel Paniagua, Bass, Vocals

Tom Morris: Drums



THE CULT - Choice Of Weapon [2CD Deluxe Edition] (2012)

THE CULT - Choice Of Weapon [2CD Deluxe Edition] (2012)


I'm surprised that great rockers THE CULT finally has released a full-length CD since singer Ian Astbury vowed years ago that they wouldn't do this again, rambling 'the format is dead' or something to that affect, and that they'd just release 'capsules' (single songs) from here forward.

However in 2012 Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, together since 1983 (with a couple of sabbaticals in between), have just released their 9th studio album entitled "Choice Of Weapon".

The Cult have come full-circle with "Choice Of Weapon", as it is their most consistent effort in the last twenty years and combines sounds of the past, present and future.

I must say that this is the strongest Cult line-up to date -- featuring Astbury, Duffy, drummer John Tempesta (of Testament, Exodus, and White Zombie fame) and bassist Chris Wyse.

Tempesta and Wyse shine on this recording as one of the most pretentious rockin' rhythm sections I have heard in a while -- this is no doubt due in part to The Cult reuniting with producer Bob Rock, who is known for cranking out some 'big' sounding albums.

Ian Astbury is in top form as he's stepped it up not only as a singer but also as a lyricist. Given the politically heady themes so pertinent to the current 'take-over' movement, the album refuses to abandon its hard rock likability for the sake of indulgence.

It crawls with idealistic philosophy on the verge of intolerance, yet foremost it remains an engaging listen with a driving beat and blistering guitar work. Billy Duffy unleashes a series of blazing solos and tremendous riffs of which the songs are based around.

The Cult is alive and well -- they are revitalized, fusing their classic style with a modern and updated sound.

Right out of the blocks The Cult sets the tone with the opening "Honey From A Knife", which is a hard rockin' track in the band's best tradition. That song, and the first single "For The Animals", scream 'play me live' -- and both will have you burying the gas pedal to the floor.

In addition, the aforementioned could be placed side by side with classic cuts from 'Electric' and you'd mistake them for bonus cuts -- not filler.

"The Wolf" has a vintage Cult sound that's reminiscent of something from the 'Love' sessions -- clearly it isn't, but that's just how strong Choice Of Weapon is.

The ballad "Love > Death" is among one of the best The Cult has ever recorded, bar none, while "Lucifer" is a refreshing take on psychedelic rock and another in the line of the standouts on the album.

This 'Deluxe Edition' comes with an extra CD featuring 4 excellent bonus tracks, previously released in 2010/11 as 'capsules' (singles including 2 tracks each) in extremely limited editions. Really good songs with the same feel & production quality of the main album.

"Choice Of Weapon" is a class act brimming with confident musicianship, luscious but never too rough hard rock, and crisp She Sells Sanctuary-ish guitar riffs.

Original members Billy Duffy - an ace at memorable guitar passages - and frontman Ian Astbury whose distinctive wailing voice has settled pleasantly into a rich deeper register, have created a rocking album full of vitality, boasting a topical integrity that addresses the current state of our information overloaded society by confronting political oppression.

You can add "Choice Of Weapon" to the list of fine works by The Cult alongside Love, Electric and Sonic Temple.

Highly Recommended.

01. Honey from a Knife

02. Elemental Light

03. The Wolf

04. Life > Death

05. For the Animals

06. Amnesia

07. Wilderness Now

08. Lucifer

09. A Pale Horse

10. This Night In the City Forever


01. Every Man and Woman Is a Star

02. Embers

03. Until the Light Takes Us

04. Siberia

Ian Astbury - Vocals

Billy Duffy - Guitars

Chris Wyse - Bass

John Tempesta - Drums



FATAL SMILE - 21st Century Freaks (2012)

FATAL SMILE - 21st Century Freaks (2012)


FATAL SMILE is a Swedish band from Stockholm, who are already working on their way to stardom from 1995 onwards.

Known by their gun & barrel Hard Rock / Melodic Glam music, 'freak' image and intense live shows, they're releasing “21st Century Freaks”, the band's 4th and heaviest work to date.

Fatal Smile wear they black belt sleaze attitude in their make up as much as their excellent musicianship. The band was started by guitar player Mr. Y, who after 2007 completely changed the entire line up and introduced us to a whole new breed of 'freaks'.

I say it worked out pretty well for Fatal Smile. After some critical appraise from the music scene on their last release 'World Domination', they landed on touring spots all over the globe and had a chance to tour with legends like Dio, Queensryche, Wasp and many more.

And if you ask any of these bands about the freaks, they won’t shy away about their bleeping crazy live shows, full on intensity with an emphasis on kicking your ass. Who wouldn’t love a band like this?

Ohh yeah and they’re from Sweden which translates to the best kept rockin' bands that you probably need to check out.

They spent 2011 recording "21st Century Freaks", and with this devilish offering they bring us the careful production that is evident, the stylistic imagery on their first video single "Welcome to the Freakshow" as well as their bombs away rhythm section.

And that’s not even counting their charismatic guitar player and band leader, you have quite a top notch heavy Hard Rock record from top to bottom that should make waves.

Opener "Welcome to the Freakshow" is an explosive slab of stabbing glam / aggressive Hard, where lead singer Blade’s voice is evil & brooding and the thick guitars of Mr. Y are delusional and dark as hell.

"Raising Hell in Heaven" is an instant kick starter featuring some sick guitar thumping ala old school Wasp, not a surprise some people in the media circles have compared the band to them before.

Fatal Smile adds diversity to the CD with a sharp sounding power ballad titled "Broken Heart", featuring some rising vocals brought to you by Blade once more. It isn't sugar coated at all, the razor guitars are all over and the melody is powerful.

The ball keeps rolling with ball and chain on the anthem laden "My Private Hell". First thing that comes to mind on this tune is that it could of made a hell of soundtrack song for a horror movie.

The final track on the album, “For The Last In Line" is the only 'real' ballad, but after a slow piano and vocal introduction the rest of the band kick-in and the pace picks up to a rocking finale.

Don't be frightened of Fatal Smile's brooding, shocking, balls-out sleaze monster look, just put your guard down and these guys will blown you away musically.

Let be carried by the intensity, the kick-ass hard rockin' attitude, the blend of powerful ballads, the soaring gutted vocals of Blade, the razor yet melodic guitars and the power implosion of the rhythm section and you'll love this CD.

The production is crisp and strong, with a menacing attack but polished.

"21st Century Freaks" is a hard-hitting recording, full of muscle and with the wild attitude of Glam rock's hardest side.

Well done.

01 - Welcome To The Freakshow

02 - Nailed To The Wall

03 - Raising Hell In Heaven

04 - Judgement Day

05 - Broken Heart

06 - My Private Hell

07 - Scarecrow

08 - Innocent

09 - Break These Chains

10 - Take It To The Limit

11 - For The Last In Line

Blade – Vocals

Mr. Y – Guitars

Alx – Bass

Philty – Drums



Thursday, May 17, 2012

SAL PIAMONTE - Lives In Devil City (2012)

SAL PIAMONTE - Lives In Devil City (2012)


Canada's rocker SAL PIAMONTE first broke into the music scene with the his EP 'Rouge' in 2008, followed by the self-produced LP 'Free Money' in 2010.

Determined to release his music as independent artist, he is releasing by his own a new CD; "Lives In Devil City". The album was published as promotion at the end of 2011 accompanied by two singles/videos, and now is being officially distributed worldwide.

"Lives In Devil City" is a fictional place created by Sal with the overall theme centered around the classic tale of good vs. evil.

The album title may be a fictitious city but the concepts and ideas behind it are very real, highlighting his personal dealings with these shady characters from so-called ‘friends’ to lovers, to acquaintances, and how their selfishness and short-sightedness helped him to discover what truly had to offer, sending a message that he will never let anyone break or bring him down, no matter the odds.

Aside from the interesting lyrics, musically Piamonte has a true rockin' spirit which is spreaded through this 12-track recording.

The journey starts with "Big Sleazy Intro," which is nothing more than a fictional character setting the tone: 'Evil ways lead to darker days' says this radio ham.

That intro leads your head into the first single "Take Me Home", a dynamic guitar driven modern rocker that serves up steady rock rhythm against catchy vocal melodies, sizzling solos and hooky chorus from Piamonte.

Track 3 "Devil Woman" keeps things moving with its pumping American Hard Rock rhythm, thought provoking lyrical content against a grand slam chorus and impressive vocal passion.

"Get Up, Get Up" is a hypnotic ditty with rock steady groove painted against an envolving musical ambiance, well placed harmonies against a heartfelt vocal delivery.

The melodic, slow-tempo "Just A Little Bit" provides listeners with a decidedly different side of Piamonte. This ballad ratchets up the storytelling aspect of Lives in Devil City, and gives to Piamonte a possible path for his next album.

"Tonight" is a more modern oriented tune with a linear melody, and although the musicianship is very good, personally I prefer Piamonte when rocks hard. Some tracks like "Nasty Girl" and "Shining Star" mixes some electronics to the rocking background, in a style of, let's say, Kid Rock. Cool, nothing more.

But "High Road" is a really good one. This slow burning rocker has excellent harmony vocals and a classic rock structure, with Piamonte delivering great vocal parts.

The album ends in full rock motion with the party-like atmosphere of "Go All Night", a fine modern hard rocker with tons of wah-wah and cowbell, and the sarcastic "Big Sleazy Outro".

"Lives In Devil City" makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures and ambience overflowing everywhere, full of warmth, variety and strong melodic structure.

I would classify Piamonte's music as catchy modern hard rock, with some mainstream elements. Make no bones about it – this guy is a rocker but the songs themselves are pretty commercial and radio oriented.

Piamonte brings alot of vocal passion to the table with powerful messages and no holds barred lyrical content. The music is consistent and varied, sometimes visiting places I don't like much but the overall delivering is truly solid, with walls of guitars for the most part and a thick as a brick rhythm section, plus well placed vocal harmonies layered everywhere.

Production is first class, at charge of Piamonte itself. He has managed to assemble a million dollar record on an indie budget.

Good One.

01 - Big Sleazy Intro

02 - Take Me Home

03 - Devil Woman

04 - Get Up, Get Up

05 - Just A Little Bit

06 - Tonight

07 - Shining Star

08 - Nasty Girl

09 - Whatcha Say

10 - High Road

11 - Go All Night

12 - Big Sleazy Outro

13 - Take Me Home (Radio Edit) [bonus]

Sal Piamonte - Lead Vocals/Guitar

Eric Disero - Keyboards & Bk Vox

Mike Goyette - Lead Guitar & Bk Vox

Dan Joseph - Bass & Bk Vox

Matt Babineau - Drums/Percussion & Bk Vox



JOHN SCHLITT - The Greater Cause (2012)

JOHN SCHLITT - The Greater Cause (2012)


Nine years ago, Petra, the most famous Christian Melodic Hard Rock band, released what would be their final studio album with JOHN SCHLITT as the band's lead vocalist.

While Petra has since reunited once again, Schlitt isn't part of that grouping and has continued on his own solo. In 2008, John had released his first solo album in twelve years, titled The Grafting.

We didn't have to wait nearly as long for John Schlitt to get back in the saddle as he has just released an new CD; "The Greater Cause".

While his previous solo recording was a mellow affair, "The Greater Cause" is a return to the hard rock sounds of Schlitt's '90s own works and Petra. In fact, much of "The Greater Cause" feels like a new Petra CD.

Schlitt's signature vocals soar on this new recording, while driving guitars and thundering drums create an explosive sonic atmosphere packed with punch and intensity.

For the songwriting, John has teamed with Dan Needham, who has worked on more than 40 Dove and Grammy Award-winning projects with the likes of Michael McDonald, Amy Grant and Chris Tomlin.

The lyrics aren't specifically Christian oriented, delivering a message but not preaching at all. This is a rockin' CD, and it's focused on the music.

"Live It Loud" kicks things off raucously, with just a hint of modernism in the chorus counter-vocals, which come at you like staccato bullets.

"Take Me Home" plays out like a rock radio single with a huge riff and lead breaks, while "Love Won't Leave Me Alone" is a groovy throwback arena rocker that is tough not to move to.

Follower "Love Won’t Leave Me Alone" has all the hard rock sound we’ve grown to love from Schlitt but he also throws in some bluesy guitar sounds here, and the song has a beat and rhythm that makes you wanna just move to the music.

"One of These Days" is delicious ear candy, a mid-tempo tune that evolves into a full-throttle rocker loaded with urgent energy and sharp hooks. "Faith & Freedom" feels like a nineties Petra, while in contrast, the midtempo and acoutic filled "End of Fear" delivers more contemporary sounds.

And then there is "Hope That Saves the World", which is exactly the kind of song you hope to hear when picking up a John Schlitt album, an arena melodic hard rocker featuring a catchy start-stop rhythm, melodic guitar leads, and a soaring chorus. A winner.

The album begins to wind down with "Run," a classic rock track with good harmonic vocals, followed by the acoustic ballad "The Gift" -- a love song to John's wife Dorla, and closes with "The Cross Remains," a melodic rock ballad with some '80s rock accents, especially noticeable on the vocal and guitar arrangements.

On "The Greater Cause" John Schlitt returns to the classic arena rock style that made him famous.

Schlitt's vocals are still strong and powerful, performed & recorded to perfection. John can rock with fire but when needed he sings with delicate nuance to make any vocal coach proud.

Songwriting is really solid, without Biblically grounded lyrics, and musically varied in instrumentation with a soulful grit and rockin' attitude.

The production caters to this strength, the engineering warm and organic and rightfully focused on Schlitt’s vocals. Same goes for the musicians hired to bring this album to life; all are competent and skilled.

"The Greater Cause" is a really good comeback for John Schlitt to the classic sounds of his solo & Petra nineties albums.

The man still rocks, and Rocks Good.

01 - Live It Loud

02 - Take Me Home

03 - Love Won't Leave Me Alone

04 - One of These Days

05 - Faith & Freedom

06 - End of Fear

07 - Where I Want to Be

08 - Hope That Saves the World

09 - Run

10 - The Gift (Dorla's Song)

11 - The Cross Remains

John Schlitt - Vocals

Jerry McPherson - Guitars

Andrew Ramsey - Guitars

Chris Rodriguez - Guitars

Gary Burnette - Guitars

Tony Lucido - Bass

Matt Campbell - Bass

Matt Pierson - Bass

Joeie Canaday - Bass

Tim Acres - Hammond B3 organ

Peter King - Keyboards, Synths

Dan Needham - Drums & Percussion, Keyboards

Matt Butler, John Catchings - Strings



ROBERT LAMM - Living Proof (2012)

ROBERT LAMM - Living Proof (2012)


While West Coast / AORsters CHICAGO continues to be a solid 'day job' playing the hits on the concert trail, it has allowed ROBERT LAMM to explore exciting and experimental new collaborations as a solo artist that might surprise you.

After three diverse recordings during the past decade, he emerges again in 2012 with a new CD; "Living Proof".

On this album, Lamm is a revelation. At the age of 67, he continues to get better and sound more vibrant with each solo release, and even better than in Chicago.

The album starts off with a contemporary, pulsating, smooth West Coast sound on “Out Of The Blue” and segues into an incredible rockin' jam at the bridge -- the transition is so courageous and seamless, featuring outstanding background vocals from Jason Scheff. Also features on bass and drums no other than the great Robert Berry (Ambrosia, Alliance).

The song was developed over the internet with musician and producer Trent Gardner (Magellan, James LaBrie) who’d connected with Lamm and they started exchanging musical ideas. That's why I define this fabulous track as 'smooth/progressive West Coast'. Strange, but real.

Next track, “Arise (Storm)” is a jumpin' melodious anthem that features another internet collaborator, female vocalist & keyboardist Zosia Karbowiak who lives in the city of Unieście, Poland. Her songwriting and background contributions blend nicely with Lamm’s. Zosia's vocals are in the best L.A. session tradition. (Zosia recently released the album S.I.N.G. produced by Lamm & Jason Scheff).

“4 Bells” is a relaxing song Lamm had started in 1981 and pulled out again in 2010 while on hiatus from Chicago and during a period of reflection and motivation for his life and music beyond the band. Expect classic West Coast here with a modern sound.

“On The Equinox” is a song that had, in an earlier version, been submitted for inclusion on the 'Chicago 16' (1982) album. On “Those Crazy Things” Lamm again duets with Zosia on a track that has R&B modern elements but a classy mould as it was written in 1980.

There's a fascinating musical fusion in “Keep The Faith”, which blends modern percussions, synths and rocking guitars.

Title track “Living Proof” is another Trent Gardner collaboration and a truly original composition. It's a melodious progressive midtempo with a breezy melody including vintage keyboards, horns, more Jason Scheff harmonies and great drumming, again by Robert Berry.

Originally submitted for 'Chicago XXX', “I Confess” is a terrific tune, almost melodic rock in its great chorus. It's cleverly arranged and played with class.

The main album ends there. Only 8 tracks but delicious for sure.

Listed as bonuses, “Liquid Sky” features Zosia’s outstanding lead vocals in this cool soul / R&B song written by Lamm, and “On the Equinox (JVE Remix)” remixed in an acid jazz style, that I think it wasn't necessary.

At a period when it would be very easy for Robert Lamm to find a comfortable spot in a soft sofa, he continues to pursue his artistry and explore new territory.

"Living Proof" is definitely worth searching by any serious West Coast AOR listener, it has all the classic stylings of the genre blended with modern elements.

But also is a more than interesting musical journey for anyone who appreciate good music, clever, originally arranged and played.

Tired of the same musical recipe over and over again? "Living Proof" is your antidote.

Awesome music. Highly Recommended.

01 - Out of the Blue

02 - Arise (Storm)

03 - 4 Bells

04 - On the Equinox

05 - Those Crazy Things (Duet with Zosia)

06 - Keep the Faith

07 - Living Proof

08 - I Confess

09 - Liquid Sky (feat. Zosia) [bonus track]

10 - On the Equinox (JVE Remix) [bonus track]

Robert Lamm: Vocals, keyboards, drums, bass, orchestral arrangements & production

Hank Linderman: Guitars, backing vocals, mixing

Zosia: Vocals

Trent Gardner: Keyboards, horns, backing vocals, production

Robert Berry: Bass, Drums

Jason Scheff: Backing Vocals

Drew Hester: Drums

John Van Eps: All instruments on 10



MOLLY HATCHET - Regrinding The Axes (2012)

MOLLY HATCHET - Regrinding The Axes (2012)


Formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1975, MOLLY HATCHET took their name from the famous 17th century axe murderess, a prostitute who allegedly mutilated and decapitated her clients.

Their self-titled debut album, recorded in 1978, quickly went platinum; the follow-up, Flirtin' With Disaster, was even a bigger success, ultimately selling well over two million copies.

After more than 35 years, Molly Hatchet is still alive 'n kicking.

Bobby Ingram was handed the Hatchet torch back in the mid-'90s and both he and lead singerPhil McCormack have been keeping the band rockin' the World.

After asking original guitarist Dave Hlubek to rejoin the band a few years back, Molly Hatchet once again has at least one founding member in its lineup.

John Galvin is still playing keyboards, having joined the group back in 1984, while Tim Lindsey, best known for his playing in the Rossington band and fill-in work with Lynyrd Skynyrd, is on bass and Shawn Beamer rocks the drums.

Now, these Southern Hard Rock legends are releasing "Regrinding The Axes", where they revisit with the band's unique flavor some of their favourite songs originally made famous by other iconic rock bands, covering well-known anthems from the repertoire of Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Eagles and many more.

Hatchet has always done a great job with covers. Their version of 'Dreams I'll Never See' from their first album is a classic. They've been doing Mountain's 'Mississippi Queen' live for decades.

On "Regrinding The Axes", however, it's really surprising to hear the band doing songs from artists with a completely different root than Hatchet.

Any classic rock fan is familiar with The Eagles' "Deperado". Molly Hatchet does a commendable job here with Phil McCormick giving an exceptional vocal performance.

He also does a phenomenal job on the Stones "Wild Horses" and the Allman Brothers "Melissa".

I am a huge Thin Lizzy fan, so any band doing a cover of one of my favourite bands is awesome. Unlike a song like 'Dreams I'll Never See' in which Molly Hatchet just owns, with "The Boys Are Back in Town" they seem to be trying too hard to stay faithful to the original recording and don't give it a full blown Molly Hatchet treatment.

"Bad To The Bone" is a song that I always thought written for Molly Hatchet, and they do a great job here, even adding an original sax section. There's terrific slide-guitar solos and unrestrained boogie playing all over.

"Tumbling Dice" is another killer cover, featuring a pumping rhythm section and an '80s feel and sound.

The band also success with ZZ Top's classic "Sharp Dressed Man", in a version driven by a monster bass line, with McCormack's vocals fitting the song perfectly and Ingram soloing like a Devil.

The last three tracks are lengthy live recordings showing Molly Hatchet's craziness on stage, including "Layla" featuring a long guitar solo. Raw recordings without overdubs.

If you are a Classic Rock 'desperado', you will enjoy "Regrinding The Axes" all the way through.

Molly Hatchet has the fire intact, playing tight and solid. All these songs are truly classics, and truly good. Molly Hatchet just has added their touch.

The sound quality of this recording is due in part to the tracks being recorded on an analog mixing board. The warmth of analog cannot be beat.

"Regrinding The Axes" offers 79 min. of good, timeless Classic Rock.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

01 - Bad To The Bone

02 - Mississippi Queen

03 - Free Bird

04 - Back In The U.S.S.R.

05 - Sharp Dressed Man

06 - The Boys Are Back In Town

07 - Tumbling Dice

08 - Dreams I'll Never See

09 - Melissa

10 - Wild Horses

11 - Tequila Sunrise

12 - Yesterday

13 - Get In The Game [Live] (bonus track)

14 - Layla / Guitar Solo [Live] (bonus track)

15 - Dreams I'll Never See [Live] (bonus track)

Phil McCormack - Lead Vocals

Bobby Ingram - Electric, Acoustic & Slide Guitar, Backing Vocals

Dave Hlubek - Guitar

John Galvin - Hammond B-3 organ, Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Shawn Beamer - Drums, Percussion

Tim Lindsey - Bass, Backing Vocals



Monday, May 14, 2012

JETTBLACK - Raining Rock / Feel The Love (2012)

JETTBLACK - Raining Rock / Feel The Love (2012)


At the beginning of June, melodic hard rockers JETTBLACK are due to release their second album "Raining Rock". Before then we have the first single chosen; the title track "Raining Rock" plus an exclusive song not to be included in the full length CD.

I'll say one thing, if the title track is any indication of how good the album will be then I suggest you don't waste any time and order the album now.

This is one hell of a good track - well written and with a pumping catchy chorus. Delivering great vocals, tasty guitar work and pounding drums, this is probably one of the best songs Jettblack have released so far.

As 'B side' we have "Feel The Tove", which features a guest appearance from Ian Paice (Deep Purple, ex- Whitesnake) on drums. Another killer rockin' tune that opens with a monster 20-sec. drum solo by legend Ian Paice, and then goes for an adrenalinic ride.

I can't believe the band will leave this track off the album, it's exclusive to this single.

This four-strong UK outfit have continued to hone and polish their skills when it comes to delivering material set to linger in the mind.

Seems Jettblack have added an extra dose of tiger to their tank, as their melodic hard rockin’ style sounds much more commercial than before.

Really Good stuff, waiting for the full CD coming out in June.

01 - Raining Rock (3:43)

02 - Feel The Love (feat. Ian Paice) [Non Album track] (5:05)

Will Stapleton - vocals, guitar

Jon Dow - vocals, guitar

Matt Oliver - drums

Tom Wright - bass

Ian Paice - guest drums



SLASH - Apocalyptic Love [Deluxe Edition] (2012)

SLASH - Apocalyptic Love [Deluxe Edition] (2012)


2010's release of SLASH's first ever debut solo album was a worldwide success, garnered both critical and fan acclaim around the globe.

Since then the ex- Guns 'N Roses made 7 tours around the globe, got sell out shows, a Super Bowl appearance and countless media airplay that setthe tone for Slash to be recognized as the true rock icon for today.

Now Slash is back in full throttle with his 2nd CD "Apocalyptic Love", to be released on May, 21.

When comparing Slash’s self-titled debut solo album to "Apocalyptic Love", it would easily be considered Slash’s rock&pop record of sorts. This new album leaves the pop behind and propels head first into leather clad rock’n’roll.

Slash chooses to leave the session musicians behind and instead utilises The Conspirators - his live band - on this recording, the end result being a straightforward hard rock album that features trademark tasty guitar hooks and kick-ass vocal melodies.

Myles Kennedy (ex- Alter Bridge), drafted to handle frontman duties for his live gigs, impressed ‘the man in the top hat’ enough to be the only vocalist on this album, and it works.

All the songs on "Apocalyptic Love" were written together by Slash and Kennedy, as Slash explains: “Myles and I basically collaborated on the new material. The main thing is we wrote these songs together, which is a big difference from the last album, where I wrote each song with all of the different collaborators.

The whole creative nucleus now is between Myles and me.’’

Opening with the album’s title track, which launches straight into a detailed guitar riff (sounding more like a solo), the track briskly winds its way to a melodic bridge before launching into our first guitar solo of the album.

Part of Slash’s success lies in his ability to appeal to guitar nerds through blistering solos and guitar technique. However, he understands what the guitarist’s role is in a band, which is to compliment the singer and the melody of the song, and it is that which appeals to the non guitar nerd; the new songs are just darn good hard rocking tunes.

Highlights include the riff heavy "Halo", the anthemic "No More Heroes", the vocally-rich "We Will Roam" and the epic "Not For Me".

"Apocalyptic Love" sounds hot and classic, delivering the kind of music that American Hard Rock fans want to hear.

Now 'Slash - the band' has an entity as group, sounding tight and oiled.

Whilst this new recording doesn’t have the entourage of famous singers, clearly proves they aren’t needed, as Slash’s intricate guitar riffs combine mercilessly with Kennedy’s bluesy melodic vocal style and, simply put, the end result is a solid rock 'n roll album.

"Apocalyptic Love" is a straight forward, balls to the wall Hard Rock CD that Slash fans have known him for throughout his career, and promises to further solidify Slash's place atop the Rock world throne.

01 - Apocalyptic Love

02 - One Last Thrill

03 - Standing In The Sun

04 - You're a Lie

05 - No More Heroes

06 - Halo

07 - We Will Roam

08 - Anastasia

09 - Not For Me

10 - Bad Rain

11 - Hard & Fast

12 - Far and Away

13 - Shots Fired

14 - Carolina (Deluxe Ed. Bonus Track)

15 - Crazy Life (Deluxe Ed. Bonus Track)

Slash - Guitars

Myles Kennedy - Vocals

Todd Kerns - Bass

Brent Fitz - Drums



SANTANA - Shape Shifter (2012)

SANTANA - Shape Shifter (2012)


SANTANA is the musical maverick that crafted classic albums like 'Abraxas'; he sonically shaped chart-topping hits like 'Black Magic Woman' along with 'Oye Como Va', and influenced three generations of musicians around the globe.

After selling over 100 million albums, winning ten Grammy’s, and scoring a top ten single every decade since the 60’s, Carlos Santana remains respected as one of the most renowned guitarists in the world.

“Shape Shifter” is the first album to be released on his new record label Starfaith Records as he continues to blaze a musical trail that’s entirely his own.

“Shape Shifter” is Carlos Santana's 36th album, a 13-song tour de force featuring tracks composed since 1990’s to the present, that have been stashed away for such an instrumental project.

The CD draws many influences and musical routes, placing a large focus on atmosphere, ambience and exploring sonic landscapes rather than chasing after hit singles, which provides ample opportunity to let Santana’s musical abilities shine.

Once again Santana teams up with all-star drum prodigy Dennis Chambers, who continues to understand the constantly shifting dynamics within each track to lend its own individual audio personality.

This a 'truly Santana' album. In example, the avalanche of sound-waves on “Nomad” serves the title of the tune appropriately and contains all the signature elements of a Santana song, including melodious guitar solos, barreling percussive beats and tender keyboard passages.

Overall, the album proves to be one of Santana’s most ambitious efforts among his modern albums since the release of his hit record 'Supernatural'.

Whenever Santana releases a new album, regardless of how defiantly unique it may be in the garden of sounds contained within his catalogue, it’s continually impressive to hear him bloom as a musician.

“Shape Shifter” also provides Santana with the opportunity to place a strong focus on the band itself since a long time. With each track selected and sequenced by Carlos, this is a journey through soaring Santana leads and driving beats to the beautifully crafted melodies that have made Santana a household name.

Consistent throughout the project is the world-class musicianship of his bandmates, who bring vitality and heart to every note. Band members include Benny Rietveld, Dennis Chambers, Raul Rekow, Karl Perazzo, Tony Lindsay, Andy Vargas along with Chester Thompson and special guest Salvador Santana.

After hearing the sonic diversity of the tracks on his latest release, the tour for “Shape Shifter” should be no exception to his previous efforts.

Great stuff.

01 - Shape Shifter

02 - Dom

03 - Nomad

04 - Metatron

05 - Angelica Faith

06 - Never the Same Again

07 - In the Light of a New Day

08 - Spark of the Divine

09 - Macumba in Budapest

10 - Mr. Szabo

11 - Eres La Luz

12 - Canela

13 - Ah, Sweet Dancer

Carlos Santana - Guitars

Benny Rietveld

Dennis Chambers - Drums

Raul Rekow, Karl Perazzo - Percussion

Tony Lindsay - Vocals

Andy Vargas - Vocals

Chester Thompson - Keyboards



PLAYER - Spies Of Life [Korean LP replica remaster] (2012)

PLAYER - Spies Of Life [Korean LP replica remaster] (2012)


Founded by Peter Beckett and bassist Ronn Moss, PLAYER are known to be one of the essential AOR West Coast bands along with Toto, Ambrosia or Pages.

While their debut was pure West Coast, their 2nd 'Danger Zone' elevated the band into powerful AOR territory, followed by 'Room With A View' (which seemed a combination of both).

Despite the departure of longtime bassist Ron Moss (he would later find fame as actor in the soap Bold & The Beautiful), Beckett continued with a revised line-up and Player recorded what many consider their finest record; "Spies Of Life".

In fact, for me, this is like a Peter Beckett's solo album, as the man dominates completely the recording with his incredible soaring vocals and pure AOR songwriting.

"If Looks Could Kill" sets up a metronomic midtempo, and Player then weave some special hooks and melodies around it for a hypnotic Toto-like experience, especially at chorus time.

A trio of west coast ballads follows : "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" is a smooth midtempo, while the midsong bridge adds some welcome power.

"Thank You For The Use Of Your Love" slows things down to a crawl, and the requisite West Coast syrup is poured on generously, while "It Only Hurts When I Breathe" expose Player's vaunted harmonising to good effect.

"My Mind's Made Up" changes gears back into rock territory. A great choppy riff carries the verses into a catchy chorus which closes out well. Great song.

"I'd Rather Be Gone" is a level above the trio of ballads on side one. Hypnotic and unhurried, the chorus (carried by Beckett alone) is real class, even adding some powerful guitar into the mix.

"Take Me Back" invades barnstorming AOR territory with some serious riffage and vocal power, something like Toto in a blender with Triumph. Great stuff.

"My Survival" is a genuine power ballad in the Journey / 707 tradition with brilliant instrumentation and a superb climax. All out AOR is delivered in the form of "Born To Be With You", a wonderful '80s melodious tune full of magic.

The album ends with a diddy type of song called "In Like Flynn", poking at Errol Flynn, an old movie star many might not remember. Great lyrics and catchy rhythm.

"Spies Of Life" is a classic AOR album in my book, the best Player, and one of the best Beckett's works ever.

It has all the unrepeatable elements that made '80s AOR unique and magic.

This Korean reissue features - along with a remastered sound from the original tapes - a fantastic LP replica of the original artwork / format.

It's cheaper than the regular Asian editions, so you don't have excuses to not own this truly Classic in a high quality CD.

Essential in your AOR collection.

01 - If Looks Could Kill

02 - Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

03 - Thank You for the Use of Your Love

04 - It Only Hurts When I Breathe

05 - My Mind's Made Up

06 - I'd Rather Be Gone

07 - Take Me Back

08 - My Survival

09 - Born to Be With You

10 - In Like Flynn

Peter Beckett - lead vocals, guitars

Miles Joseph - guitars, vocals

Rusty Buchanan - bass, vocals

John Friesen - drums



Friday, May 11, 2012

WILD FRONTIER - 2012 (2012)

WILD FRONTIER - 2012 (2012)


Half a decade has passed since Germans WILD FRONTIER released their last CD. Many things changed in the world, but what has not changed in those five years is the sound of Wild Frontier.

Catchy Melodic Hard Rock is what they were playing back then… catchy melodic hard rock is what they’re playing today on their new album "2012".

Wild Frontier’s style is in the Bonfire vein, with some Def Leppard (mainly in the layered harmonies) and Scorpions sprinkled into the mix. They are a pure blood Melodic Hard Rock band in the classic style. They have zero tolerance for current fads, no interest in crossbreeding with other genres.

Their guitars are just edgy enough to earn them the 'hard' tag, the keys are subtle but effective, and the cool hooks and slicker choruses elevate this new album from a solid effort into a very good one.

Someone could argue the songwriting is simplistic at times, but this is exactly the focus of this band; fun and easy listeneable rockers with addictive melodies and alluring refrains, not on impressing anyone with complexity. There are thousands of prog-rock and metal bands out there more than willing to wow you with technical wizardry; Wild Frontier just want you to tap your foot, bang your head, and sing along.

The album is engineered exactly as it needs to be, each element allowed room to breathe; everything sounds open and airy. Wild Frontier are aiming for crisp and clean, not crushing and crunchy.

But that hardly means these guys are lightweights. For proof, look no further than “Stay Tough”, an '80s-style anthem that sports the kind of fist-pumping power you expected from a band like Keel or Black ‘N Blue back in the day.

More evidence can be found in “Long Gone,” a full-throttle rocker punched up with gang vocal 'whoas', ripping guitars and a chopping, rapid-fire rhythm.

When they get going, such as on the blistering “It’s All Over Now” or the extremely melodic “Another Lonely Day Without You”, Wild Frontier can hold their own with the best Melodic Hard Rock acts in Europe.

Heck, the band even pulls off a miracle by making ABBA sound hard with a rocking cover of “Gimme Gimme Gimme”.

On "2012", Wild Frontier certainly deliver the goods if you like fun and catchy European Melodic Hard Rock. Take bits of classic Bonfire and Scorpions and mix liberally with the likes of Shylock, Khymera or Human Zoo and you get the picture.

Produced by themselves but supervised by guru Bob Jensen, the album sounds vital and energetic, with some synth / electronics added to the sound, specially in the intro of each song.

This year has already been a banner in Melodic Hard Rock and it just keeps getting better. In one song of this CD, Wild Frontier pose the plaintive question; “Why are the good things too hard to find?”

Well, if the 'good thing' they are referring to is a simple, catchy, high-quality Melodic Hard Rock album, then it’s not too hard to find: it’s right here.

1. 2012

2. To the End of the World

3. It’s All Over Now

4. Another Lonely Day Without You

5. Why Don’t You Save Me

6. Stay Tough

7. Favorite

8. It’s All Up To You

9. Tonight Tonight Tonight

10. Can’t You Hear Me Calling

11. Long Gone

12. Why are the Good Things Too Hard to Find

13. Gimme Gimme Gimme (ABBA cover) [bonus]

Jens Walkenhorst– Lead Vocals / Guitar

Mario Erdmann – Bass / BackingVocals

Thomas Ellenberger – Keyboards / Backing Vocals

Sascha Fahrenbach– Drums / Guitar

Nico Fahrenbach – Drums

Produced by Bob Jensen



WILDSTREET - Easy Does It (2012)

WILDSTREET - Easy Does It (2012)


“Easy Does It” is the new single from US hard rockers WILDSTREET. Though a Wildstreet III album is a ways off, the band wanted to give the people a taste of what’s in store once that third release does arrive.

Wildstreet debuted in 2009 (but recorded years before) with their self-titled cracking album very much inspired by the slick Def Leppard style. Their second 'Wildstreet II ...Faster ...Louder!' was a bit of a departure that went for a more rockin' & raw sound.

“Easy Does It” continues Wildstreet’s path down the road of straight up no-frills rock ‘n’ roll. It’s easier to compare the song to Wildstreet II but as much as I liked that EP, I think “Easy Does It” is even better and it gets me excited for the third release as the band continues to find their own rock ‘n roll identity.

If you’ve missed out on this band, track down their first two releases and enjoy this rockin' new track, featured in two versions.

You won’t be disappointed.

01 - Easy Does It [Explicit] (3:25)

02 - Easy Does It [Censored] (3:26)

Eric Jayk – Lead Vocals, Guitar

Ian MacPherson – Lead Guitar, Vocals

Aaron Joos – Guitar, Vocals

Ali Hassan – Bass, Vocals

Brian Beck – Drums



Thursday, May 10, 2012

TREVOR RABIN (ex YES) - Jacaranda (2012)

VANGOUGH - Kingdom Of Ruin (2011)


It's been said that writing about music is a bit like dancing about architecture. When you're talking about one of the most accomplished musicians and composers working today, this observation is something of an understatement.

When discussing an artistic and challenging achievement like TREVOR RABIN's "Jacaranda" (released on May 8), a writer really has to strain for on-target adjectives and terms to describe this richly varied and multi-dimensional musical soundscape.

To begin, South African-born Trevor Rabin has worked with the likes of Paul Rodgers, Michael Jackson, Manfred Mann, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan.

He's best known for his award-winning tenure with YES during the '80s as guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He's composed film scores for Armageddon, Remember the Titans, National Treasure, Get Smart, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

For "Jacaranda", Rabin composed all 12 songs, arranged and produced the entire album, and with a few exceptions played all the multi-layered instruments himself.

While Rabin's world-class guitar work is the driving force of the album - his first studio release since 1989's 'Can't Look Away' - he shows off his considerable keyboard chops as well.

He does turn to some accomplished players to give him versatile rhythmic support, notably drummers Lou Molino III, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Rabin's son Ryan Rabin (on the appropriately titled "Me and My Boy").

Now for some architecture dancing, that is, attempting to describe the music of "Jacaranda".

For those listeners that after more than 20 years were waiting the sequel of the AORish 'Can't Look Away', let me tell you, "Jacaranda" is far from that style.

But don't be disappointed, this album is marvelous in its own right.

It has his signature rock top class playing & sound in places, but also some elements of Trevors's accomplished film score work plus exquesite new sonic territories.

There is also an eclecticism in "Jacaranda". The short "Spider Boogie" opener does blues mixing dobro with his trademark electric guitar playing.

"Market Street" is an intrincate guitar festival that reminds you the most proggy moments of YES' 90125. Monster drummer Vinnie Colaiuta shines here together with Rabin.

There are slower tempo numbers as well, for example, penultimate track "Zoo Lake" is like an old-time jazzy ballad, while album finisher "Gazania" is typical of the album's variety: a classical guitar skeleton, with bluegrass interludes and fabulous piano sections.

The album completely changes direction with track 6, the cinematic "Rescue", based on his work for the film 'The Guardian', an ethereal, in-the-air melody.

The next track, "Killarney 1 & 2", brings us back towards the style of the rest of the album in its arrangement, yet not in its instrumentation as this is a terrific, enchanting solo piano piece. It is worth noting that the keyboards throughout the album are strong.

Tracks like "Storks Bill Geranium Waltz" or "Anerley Road" may appeal to fans of the Steve Howe Trio or his solo album 'Time', while admirers of the late Kevin Gilbert will love the velvety "Freethought".

The rocking side is present as well, with the unbelieveable breaks of "Through the Tunnel" (awesome tune) and the aforemetioned "Me and My Boy", where a heavier rock sound echoes pieces of YES album 'Talk'.

"Jacaranda" may not be the album that late '80s Trevor Rabin fans were expecting, but let me tell you, this is a supreme piece of music.

There is a restless energy to the music, with arrangements and instrumentation rarely staying still for more than a few bars. Pieces that are four or five minutes long feel epic in terms of the ground they've covered.

The playing here is out of this World, but no only in terms of virtuosism, as Rabin adds to every note his unique touch of extremely refined class. He varies the instrumentation and arrangements all the time as he explores the core theme of each piece, producing some of the best work of his career.

"Jacaranda" is a superlative CD, delivered with finesse and class by one of the most consummate contemporary musicians out there; the incomparable Trevor Rabin.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

01. Spider Boogie

02. Market Street [feat. Vinnie Colaiuta]

03. Anerley Road [feat. Tal Wilkenfeld]

04. Through the Tunnel [feat. Vinnie Colaiuta]

05. The Branch Office [feat. Ryan Rabin]

06. Rescue [wordless vocals by Liz Constintine]

07. Killarney 1 & 2

08. Storks Bill Geranium Waltz

09. Me and My Boy [feat. Ryan Rabin]

10. Freethought

11. Zoo Lake

12. Gazania

Trevor Rabin - guitars, bass and keyboards

Lou Molino III (ex-Yoso, Kim Mitchell) - drums

Vinnie Colaiuta (ex-Asia, Jeff Beck) - drums

Ryan Rabin - drums

Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck) - bass

Liz Constintine - vocals



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