Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RICHIE SAMBORA - Aftermath Of The Lowdown (2012)

RICHIE SAMBORA - Aftermath Of The Lowdown (2012)


RICHIE SAMBORA, best known for his brilliant work with the Bon Jovi has announced that his third solo album "Aftermath Of The Lowdown" will be hitting store shelves on September 4.

The latest solo album from the popular Bon Jovi guitarist, vocalist and writer will be released on the indie label Dangerbird Records.

"Aftermath of the Lowdown" is Richie's third solo album, produced together with old friend Luke Ebbin. Ebbin and Richie have worked together before on Bon Jovi's hit albums 'Crush' and 'Bounce'.

Bon Jovi and Sambora fans see Richie Sambora as more than just a guitarist, true fans know that Richie is one of the key pieces of Bon Jovi, the songs, the music and energy that has kept Bon Jovi one of the most successful bands for nearly three decades.

While currently on break between albums and tours, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan and Tico Torres have all kept busy working on their solo projects.

This complete advanced copy (this isn't the definitive artwork) shows Richie's music in a musical style & sound similar to his latest excellent CD 'Undiscovered Soul', blended with some Bon Jovi's past albums.

Fans of his solo career won't be disappointed with this new material, full of classic sounds and good guitar playing as usual. Sambora's singing is spot on and easy on the ears.

"Aftermath Of The Lowdown" and is due out September 4 worldwide via Dangerbird Records.

01 - Every Road Leads Home to You

02 - Sugar Daddy

03 - Weathering The Storm

04 - Burn the Candle Down

05 - Takin A Chance on The Wind

06 - Nowadays

07 - Learning How to Fly (Broken Wing)

08 - Forgiveness Street

09 - Walk Beside You

10 - Walk Besides You

11 - Seven Years Gone

12 - You Can Only Get So High

13 - World



ELEKTRADRIVE - Big City XX Anniversary (2012)

ELEKTRADRIVE - Big City XX Anniversary (2012)


ELEKTRADRIVE is one of the most significant Melodic Rock / AOR bands to emerge from Italy, perhaps the first to develop both genres in their homeland.

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the album "Big City", the group is re-releasing the CD with some extras.

At the very start in the early eighties the name of the band was Overdrive and they were a four-piece basically playing NWOBHM.

After being included in a couple of compilations and a debut single, they added keyboards to their sound and became Elektradrive, recording the debut in 1986.

But the band become widely appreciated (and toured internationally) with 1989's 'Due', settling into a style that saw a combination of British AOR with Euro Melodic Rock, plenty of synths and driving guitars in the best Shy, Rescue or Zinatra tradition.

Elektradrive's third album "Big City" was released by Italian label Dracma Records in 1993, the following year in Japan, and the mythical Long Island Records published it through Europe in 1995. All featured different artwork by the way.

Still retaining the Euro AOR / MR lineage, "Big City" adds some American sounds to the recipe, influenced by bands such as Extreme and the stylized Dokken in less degree.

We have very melodic numbers as "Rocking On The Bad Side", "Still Remember", "The Riot Of The Young Guns" or the commercial "Hear It On The Radio", together with more edgy tunes in the title track "Big City", the Dokken-esque "Escape From The Rock" and the syncopated "Latin Lover".

For "Big City XX Anniversary" we have a track originally left off from the original release, "Fly High (Hero)", previously only appeared in their Italian label compilation 'Nightpieces vol. 5'. A good keyboard driven tune, although the production quality differs from the rest of the material.

Also featured as bonus is "Snake '92", a fine semi-midtempo melodic rocker which is a re-arranged song from their '86 debut.

Long time out of print, this is your opportunity to get a very good Melodic Rock / AOR CD at reasonable price.


01 - Rocking On The Bad Side

02 - Big City

03 - Still Remember

04 - Latin Lover

05 - Fast As An Arrow

06 - Escape From The Rock

07 - The Riot Of The Young Guns

08 - Lucille

09 - She Will Be Hanging Over

10 - Hear It On The Radio

11 - Hitman Boogie

12 - Fly High (Hero) [Bonus Track]

13 - Snake '92 [Bonus Track]

Elio Maugeri - Vocals

Simone Falovo - Guitars

Stefano Turolla - Bass

Eugenio Manassero - Keyboards

Alex Jorio - Drums & Percussion



HERMAN FRANK - Right In The Guts (2012)

VANGOUGH - Kingdom Of Ruin (2011)


German axe slinger HERMAN FRANK has without a doubt an impressive career. He founded hard rock wonders Victory back in the eighties, played in Sinner and performed on the classic Accept effort 'Balls To The Wall'.

But Frank also has his own band, and now is releasing the solo effort number two, "Right In The Guts".

Recently Herman has been an integral part of Accept's return to form, contributing not only with his fret-burner riffs but also in the songwriting. Accept is a great band, but too heavy for my tastes.

Although "Right In The Guts" has a pretty heavy style as well, what I like about this album is the combination of heaviness with high doses of melody and hooks, and that's why it's presented here on this blog.

Frank delivers thirteen blasting tracks full of energy, brimming over with killer riffs and pummelling drums, but also enough melodious cadence to please any classic hard rocker out there.

Choosing Swedish singer Rick Altzi (Thunderstone, At Vance, Epysode) as frontman is maybe the main factor of success in this recording. The sheer power and vigour with which he attacks each and every song grabs you immediately, adding to a huge barrage of guitars and throbbing bass and drums.

Whether it is the foot to the floor riff-fest of "Starlight", the almost speed metal rampage of "Waiting", the stomping Whitesnake-like (Altzi does a mighty fine Coverdale impression actually) "Falling To Pieces", or the vintage '80s assault of "Ivory Gates", the vocals match the threatening, intense riffs and atmospheres, both in terms of aggressive power and pin-point precision.

The catchy gallop of "Vengeance" or the groove of "Hell Isn't Far" are perfect examples of how to execute bristling metalized hard rock with an eye for a meaty hook.

Backed by the expert work of bassist for hire Peter Pichl (Running Wild & UFO to name a couple) drummer Michael Wolpers (Soul Doctor) and second guitarist Mamalitsidis Cristos, Herman is given the room to make his guitar work sear and sting, safe in the knowledge that the songs already have a rock solid foundation.

I can't imagine a more aptly title than "Right In The Guts" for this recording.

But don't be fooled, this material is not raw or nonsense metal, it's really melodic and polished, plenty of intelligent breathtaking riffs, melodies and good songwriting.

"Right In The Guts" isn't a ground-breaking album and it doesn't push the boundaries of heavy-rock, but it's extremely effective and rocks your socks off. It takes all the best parts of the genre and cranks it up to 11.

Production is excellent for this kind of music, crisp and dynamic.

Do you wanna rock? Herman's Frank "Right In The Guts" delivers in large quantities.

Really Good.

01 - Roaring Thunder

02 - Right In Your Guts

03 - Ivory Gate

04 - Vengeance

05 - Starlight

06 - Falling To Pieces

07 - Raise Your Hand

08 - Waiting

09 - Hell Isn't Far

10 - Kings Call

11 - Lights Are Out

12 - Black Star

13 - So They Run

Rick Altzi - Vocals

Herman Frank - Guitars

Mamalitsidis Cristos - Guitars

Peter Pichl - Bass

Michael Wolpers - Drums & Persussion



THE BOYSCOUT - Blood Red Rose [A Rock Fantasy] (2012)

THE BOYSCOUT - Blood Red Rose [A Rock Fantasy] (2012)


Manuel "The Boyscout" Mijalkovski is a German guitarist & vocalist with an immeasurable love for motorcycles, but also for rock 'n' roll music.
This biker-rocker has been developing his musical passion from twenty years, occasionally recording and releasing by his own several singles.
Now The Boyscout is ready to bring out his full length debut "Blood Red Rose; A Rock Fantasy".
The mastermind behind "The Boyscout" is no other than Michael Voss (Michael Schenker, Casanova, Mad Max), who has played, produced and given musical direction to Manuel "The Boyscout" Mijalkovski ambition to rock the world.
The CD "Blood Red Rose; A Rock Fantasy" is available in Germany but will see its international release in August, 24th.
This promotional material includes some tracks from the album, featuring impressive guest stars such as Robin Beck and Amanda Somerville.

Manuel's declared influences are Bon Jovi, Gotthard, Casanova, and indeed we can hear these band's styles in his music.
Title track "Blood Red Rose; A Rock Fantasy" is a very good polished melodius rock tune including real orchestration, and a truly good duet with Somerville. The 'single edit' version, apart from being shorter, seems a bit re-mixed.
"Look At Me Now" has a catchy Casanova melodic rock style, while "Bikers Feeling" is a cool hard rocking ode to the 'biker' lifestile.
"Hey… I Love You!!!" is presented in two versions; one with The Boyscout on main vocals, and the other, much more interesting, in a duet with the always lovable Robin Beck.
The music is really well produced by Michael Voss, who also adds his touch with many instrumentation, and although Manuel The Boyscout isn't the best singer in the world, his hoarse vocals work for these tunes.
And we have Robin Beck and Amanda Somerville!
A future release to keep an eye on.

As a curious and innovative method of promotion, Manuel "The Boyscout" Mijalkovski is offering this deal; if you pre-order the CD and send him the receipt, as soon as 25.000 copies of the album "Blood Red Rose; A Rock Fantasy" are sold worldwide, two lucky winners will be drawn by a notary.
Prizes: a Harley Davidson bike and money.
The Boyscout says: "This is not a lottery or gambling, this is my way of saying Thank You to help me live my dream and I will give you the gift of 1 x Harley Davidson 'Fat Boy' and 1 x 10.000 € cash".
More info in his website:

01 - Blood Red Rose (A Rock Fantasy) [feat. Amanda Somerville]

02 - Look At Me Now

03 - Blood Red Rose (single edit)

04 - Hey… I Love You!!! [feat. Robin Beck]

05 - Bikers Feeling

06 - Hey… I Love You!!! [Boyscout Edit]

Manuel "The Boyscout" Mijalkovski: lead vocals, guitar
Michael Voss: guitar, bass, production
Heiko Strings: guitar, bass, keys
Ben Hatten: drums, percussion
Stefan Heinz: keys
Robin Beck: lead vocals on 4
Amanda Somerville: lead vocals on 1, 3


EMPIRE (Tony Martin) - Trading Souls (2012)

EMPIRE (Tony Martin) - Trading Souls (2012)


“Trading Souls” was the sophomore release from EMPIRE, the super-group project from guitarist Rolf Munkes.

Alongside the German axe slingers skills we have the formidable vocal talents of Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath), the keyboard wizardry of Don Airey (Deep Purple / ex Rainbow), whilst bass legend Neil Murray (ex Whitesnake) forms a tight rhythmic unit with drummer Gerald Kloos (Winterlong / Condition Red).

There's even a special guest in drummer Anders Johansson (ex Yngwie Malmsteen) who plays on two tracks.

It's always a supreme pleasure to hear Tony Martin.

His performance on the catchy opener "One In A Million" clearly shows why the man is one of the best singers of his generation. A great melodic hard rock track in the tradition of classic Whitesnake.

The same can be said for "Teenage Deadhead", a mellow tune that hints of perhaps Riverdogs, with sweeping melodies and tuneful acoustic guitar work from Mokes.

Fans of heavier music will love "Big World, Little Man", the catchy riff-o-rama of "You" , or the guitar crunch of "Wherever You Go." Munkes proves to be a capable guitarist, not one to overplay, but injects plenty of meaty riffs and wah-wah tinged solos throughout.

His thick chords and harmonic fills are highlighted on the upbeat closer "Back in the Light", a song whose lyrics tells of the desire for this type of music to once again top the charts.

These 10 tracks perfectly showcase the combined decades of experience and talent from this super group. The end result is a melodic hard rock record brimming with catchy anthems and great ensemble playing.

Originally released in 2003, “Trading Souls” saw Empire return after their 2001 debut 'Hypnotica' with an album full of killer songs in a classic late '80s melodious rockin' setting.

Now after a number of years being out of print and almost a decade on from original release, Lion Music presents a new limited edition digipak version of the CD which sees the album sounding as fresh in 2012 as it did in 2003.

Really Recommended.

01. One In A Million

02. Pay Back Time

03. Teenage Deadhead*

04. Big World, Little Man

05. You

06. Perfect Singularity

07. Wherever You Go*

08. Did You Ever Love Me

09. Comin' Home

10. Back In The Light

Tony Martin - Vocals

Rolf Munkes - Guitars

Neil Murray - Bass

Gerald Kloos - Drums

Don Airey - Keyboards

Anders Johansson - Drums *



MARYANN COTTON - Free Falling Angels (2012)

MARYANN COTTON - Free Falling Angels (2012)


"Free Falling Angels" is the debut CD of MARYANN COTTON, a new rock act from Denmark combining former members of King Diamond's band with a young and promising Scandinavian singer.
I am talking about Jackie Patino, also known as the shocking Maryann Cotton.
Jackie wanted a classic rock character (like Alice Cooper) to develop his love for '70s and '80s shock rock, and took his name from a disturbed British woman who killed over 20 people in London back in the 1850. Mary Ann Cotton was found guilty of poisoning many people including various lovers and husbands. She was convicted and hung in 1873 at the age of 40. Creepy!

Jackie Patino is the son of Hal Patino, the fairly famous bassist from who has been in King Diamond, Force Of Evil and Pretty Maids.
The cool side of this project is that Jackie's father is part of his backing band, which includes well known names of the Danish metal scene; Snowy Shaw (drums), Pete Blakk (guitar) Andy LaRocque (guitar) and Sebastain Sly (guitar).
But Maryann Cotton (the band, the character) isn't metal at all.
This is a Rock album with hints of Hard Rock and a huge retro vibe. The style deriving from their performance is vintage, flirting with the '70s and '80s but with a 2012 updated sound.
Maryann / Jackie sings like a young Alice Cooper, both in the phrasing and timbre, while the music and arrangements are close to Alice as well, peppered with some eighties smell on some tracks, specially the ballads.

The songs have an underlying current of malice related to shock rock but also play so well with melodious hard rock conventions like cowbells, lots of sound-effects, fake cheering added in the background, and more.
Among the interesting tracks on this CD we have the first single "Shock Me", a punchy Hard Rock number with nice orchestration and rhythm.
"Night Train To Paris" is heavier than the average rock yet also commercial and catchy at the same time. Easily delivered, this song puts a smile on you face.
I can say nearly the same on "Get It On", which is more snappy and energetic, and "Miss Misery" that took a bluesy turn and patched it up together with little shards of Metal and Rock.
Anyone who even heard an Alice Cooper album from late seventies will instantly recognize many of the musical components, but that is really awesome because no one is doing that these days, not even Alice himself.
If you listen carefully you can find as well bits of Kiss, Queen and Meatloaf scattered in the album.

With "Free Falling Angels" Maryann Cotton is trying to revive the lost days of theatrical, shocking rock, and success for the most part.
Jackie Patino graces his 'Maryann Cotton' character with multi-facted and multi-dimensional vocals - not in the sense of wide range or power - just in the way this kind of material needs; sometimes sings, sometimes whispers, sometimes croons, always in a precise retro fashion.
The musicians backing Cotton are also doing a fine work on this recording, and altough all come from a metal background they are experienced and play this style with ease.
Production is very good, there is a lot going on in this music, it's very polished and crafted to create the spooky atmosphere.
"Free Falling Angels" is a very interesting release framed into the almost disappeared shock rock, with a 2012 updated sound but containing all the roots from the famous '70s and '80s bands in this genre.
Pleasing and fun to listen, really well done.

01 - Heaven Send For Me

02 - Never Waste Land

03 - Crazy

04 - Get It On

05 - Free Falling Angels

06 - Night Train To Paris

07 - Die In Britain

08 - Miss Misery

09 - Shock Me

10 - The One

11 - "Maryann"

Maryann Cotton (Jackie Patino) - Vocals
Hal Patino - Bass
Pete Blakk - Guitars
Sebastian Sly - Guitars
Snowy Shaw - Drums
Andy LaRocque - guest Guitars



RICHARD MARX - A Night Out With Friends (2012)

RICHARD MARX - A Night Out With Friends (2012)


For more than two decades, RICHARD MARX has made an indelible mark on the music community with more than 30 million records sold and 13 #1 singles.
He remains a radio fixture as an artist and producer, working with some of the biggest names in the music business.
"A Night Out With Friends" is a live recording of a PBS series Front Row Center, set to air this US Summer.

The CD features 12 tracks (10 live + 2 brand new studio tracks) accompanied by a DVD of the concert.
In this show, Marx takes us through his legendary career and brings along a few friends including Hugh Jackman, Kevin Marks, Matt Scannell, J.C. Chasez, Sara Niemietz and more.
We have acoustic, intimate versions of "Endless Summer Nights", "Hazard" and "Through My Veins", and full rocking electric of "Should've Known Better" and "Satisfied" to name a few. Also included are two new studio tracks recently recorded.

As special gift, the live version of "Take This Heart" is exclusive to his Fan Club, and is not available in audio format in the CD/DVD package of "A Night Out With Friends".
This is a US release, in Europe and the rest of the World only will be available as import.
Really Good, vibrant show.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Endless Summer Nights (Live)

02 - One Thing Left (Live)

03 - Hazard (Live)

04 - Through My Veins (Live)

05 - When You Loved Me (Live)

06 - This I Promise You (Live)

07 - The Letter (Live)

08 - Satisfied (Live)

09 - Should've Known Better (Live)

10 - Right Here Waiting (Live)

11 - Over My Head (new track 2012)

12 - Wouldn't Let Me Love You (new track 2012)


Take This Heart (Live) [Fan Club exclusive] *

*not available in audio format in the CD/DVD package of "A Night Out With Friends"



TIMES UP - Snow Queen (2012)

TIMES UP - Snow Queen (2012)


TIMES UP - Snow Queen (2012) review

TIMES UP - Snow Queen (2012) tracklist



TALISMAN - I'll Be Waiting [Deluxe Edition 2012] (2012)

TALISMAN - I'll Be Waiting [Deluxe Edition 2012] (2012)


TALISMAN was one of the most representative Melodic Hard Rock acts from Sweden.

Brainchild of talented Marcel Jacob (RIP), it was as well the vehicle for powerhouse vocalist Jeff Scott Soto to be definitively accepted all over Europe.

Talisman's self-titled debut was a collection of wonderful melodic tunes, a hit after hit, but the final production / sound was not the expected by Jacob.

His family and Talisman's former members in conjunction with A Sun Hill Production Ab Sweden are planning to re-issue the band's entire catalog, remastered and with a slight remix job.

"I'll Be Waiting [Deluxe Edition 2012]" seems to be the first maxi-single of the bunch, and indeed it sounds fantastic.

There's a noticeable improvement in the sound, full of dynamics and ambiance.

Melodic rockers; this is a must from a band that, in my opinion, still ranks among the best the genre has given birth.

Superb stuff.

01 - I'll Be Waiting

02 - Standin' On Fire

03 - Dangerous

04 - I'll Be Waiting (Live at Sweden Rock Festival)

Jeff Scott Soto - vocals

Marcel Jacob - bass, rhythm guitar, drums & keyboards

Christopher Stahl - guitars

Fredrik Akesson - guitars

Jamie Borger - drums



KNIGHT FURY - Time To Rock (2012)

KNIGHT FURY - Time To Rock (2012)


KNIGHT FURY was put together by none other that guitarist Chris Sanders from Lizzy Borden about two years ago. The remaining line-up is top notch, featuring Megadeth's bass player Dave Ellefson, drummer Ken Mary of Alice Cooper / House of Lords / Robin Beck fame and vocalist William King.
Their first album "Time To Rock" was released privately last year, but now they have made a deal with AOR / Metal Heaven to be published on CD. The whole thing has been mastered again for this official release.

Knight Fury comprises a very juicy line-up indeed and the perfect combination of experience, skill and raw hunger. The band don't try and take their music to a new level or anything like that, instead they opt for a very dedicated hard rock / metal hybrid that takes a little from the melodic side of things for good measure.
The experience of the members involved in this band shines through in every aspect of "Time To Rock", and as musician you don't just get a great feel like this unless you really know what you're doing.

There's an interesting element here in the fact that vocalist William King is probably not the typical sort of guy you would usually expect to front this sort of outfit.
He has an almost Vince Neil quality about him at times and occasionally even brings out a voice that would usually be more associated with AOR or melodic rock music, but he can still reach true power when he wants to. In fact, this slightly different vocal approach really adds an interesting and different color to this style of music.
The rhythm section is as good as you would expect when you get two guys of the caliber of Ellefson and Mary together.

Anyway, where the album truly shines though is in the outstanding guitar work of Chris Sanders, who is quickly becoming one of today's most exciting metal stringers. Sanders tone and guitar phrasing really does remind you of the late Randy Rhoads, and as a hard rock guitarist that would have to be one of the biggest compliments you could receive.
The riffs all have that sharp mid-eighties metal feel to them and the lead breaks are virtuoistic at every turn.
Songs like the opener “Nothing Left”, “Endless” and the title track “Time to Rock” are straight to the point, old school, '80s US catchy melodic metal cuts that should satisfy just about any fan of guitar heroes, vibrato based vocals and pounding rhythm section.
“Forbidden” and “Out On Your Own” goes for a more hard rock orientation, while “Believe” is even melodic rock, with a harmonious delivery.

"Time To Rock" is a killer rockin' CD as its title promises.
Musically Knight Fury is commercial '80s melodic metal which often extends to neighboring territories such as traditional melodic hard rock. It is a fairly versatile record and it is key to note that "Time To Rock" never gets too heavy - on the contrary - it is all melody driven, up tempo rock music featuring catchy hooks, harmonious riffs and as few keyboard parts as possible.
If you yearn for the days when six-string technical ability ala Randy Rhoads, great songwriting and skillful vocals were just as important as image, then this new Knight Fury project certainly offers up more than a tasty platter.
I listened a copy (digital only) of their last year self release, and let me tell you this new mastering sounds much, much better. The album will be pressed on vinyl as well by the specialized German label Pure Steel Records.
Quite Recommended.

01 - Nothing Left

02 - Attack

03 - Forbidden

04 - Battle For The Castle

05 - Awaken

06 - The Message

07 - Endless Night

08 - Out On Your Own

09 - Believe

10 - Time To Rock

William King - Vocals

Chris Sanders - Guitars

Dave Ellefson - Bass

Ken Mary - Drums

Adam Emmons - Keyboards



BLINDSTONE - Greetings From The Karma Factory (2012)

BLINDSTONE - Greetings From The Karma Factory (2012)


BLINDSTONE is Danish power trio formed around 2002 in Thisted, DK, but they are signed by an American label who has released all their recorded music to date.
"Greetings From The Karma Factory" is the band's fourth album of original material featuring 11 amazing tracks of powerful, hard-hitting blues based guitar rock that will blow your musical mind and rock n' roll your soul.

“The Blindstone groove is here to stay”, sings main man Martin J. Andersen, and damn it he's right.
The band has such and incredible swagger and groove it's totally infectious. From the first riff to the last, this power trio bursts out one hook after another, one groovy beat after another and one fat riff after another.

The first thing people need to know about this fine band from Denmark is that they have a great guitar player, Martin Andersen. A power riff monster who also plays terrific leads, complemented by a perfect vocal capacity for this style.
Jesper Bunk on bass and Anders Hvidtfeldt on drums provide a very tight rhythm section that makes this band one of the very best power rock trios out there these days.
From the killer opening riff-beast "Rock Your Mojo" to the phenomenal last tour de force track "Ocean Of Time" (an epic 10 minute instrumental of monumental heavy rock proportions), this album will rock your socks off.

It is difficult to point standout tracks as all are solid, rockin' and groovy.
You have uptempo guitar driven songs as the aforementioned "Rock Your Mojo", "Free", the awesome Hendrix-esque "Catch Me If You Can" or the melodic "Trying", perhaps the most complete track on the whole CD.
There's more relaxed, whisky-soaked tunes in "Struck Down By The Blues", "Karma" (which is an old Journey tune, pre-Steve Perry, and the only cover tune on the album), and also space for a great ballad in "What Your Lovin' Can Do".

"Greetings From The Karma Factory" is a great Classic Rock, Hard Blues infused recording full of fire.
This album bursts on like an old steady locomotive, breaking down any barrier, kicking out the jams and mows all over any modern silly pop garbage. This is the blues meets hard rock in it's purest form and shape, guitar driven Classic Rock as it should be. One would hardly believe that only three men can make such amount of vibrant music.
Production is really good, crispy and brilliant, with all the instruments coming out of the speakers fat and sweaty.

Blindstone is a great band that has successfully captured the essence of true Rock. If you like Hendrix, Black Country Communion, Molly Hatchet, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc, don't miss these guys.
Very Recommended.

BLINDSTONE - Greetings From The Karma Factory (2012) back cover

Martin J. Andersen - Vocals, Guitars
Jesper Bunk - Bass
Anders Hvidtfeldt - Drums, Percussion



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

THE STRAND - ST [Rock Candy reissue] (2011)

THE STRAND - ST [Rock Candy reissue]


Today we have here one that criminally has slipped under our radar.
Rock Candy has turned the spotlight on an obscure Los Angeles based five piece named, rather curiously, THE STRAND.
Although the name may not be recognisable, some of the band members will be very familiar to fans of sophisticated melodic rock.

The Strand’s origins can be found in a group called Rural Still Life, the very same group that spawned hugely successful multi Grammy winning West Coast AOR stars Toto.
In common with Toto the band were also extremely talented players, some having backed Boz Scaggs both live and in the studio. Just like the session players that birthed Toto, they too hatched plans for their own group, quickly securing a deal with Island Records.

Signed personally by Island founder Chris Blackwell (and named by him), the band’s one and only album originally released in 1980, was produced, not unsurprisingly, by long time friend and colleague, Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro.
The results, as you might reasonably expect, are spectacular, boasting killer songs, jaw dropping musicianship and superb arrangements, all bathed in a stellar production.
Listen out too for vocalist Rick ‘Moon’ Calhoun, one of the greatest, yet largely overlooked, vocalists of the genre.

Oustanding re-issue for the first time on CD, a superb 24-bit remastering from original source tapes.
A Must Have.

THE STRAND - ST [Rock Candy reissue] tracklist

THE STRAND - ST [Rock Candy reissue] back cover



HEADSPACE - I Am Anonymous [ltd. edition] (2012)

HEADSPACE - I Am Anonymous [ltd. edition] (2012)


Although the title of this debut album from HEADSPACE is "I Am Anonymous", the various members that make up this band won't be anonymous to many rock fans.

Formed by Adam Wakeman, son of legend Rick and current keyboard player for Ozzy's band, Headspace also features Threshold vocalist Damian Wilson and bassist Lee Pomeroy who plays with It Bites and has also played with Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman and even Take That!

Guitarist Pete Rinaldi spent some time with Justin Hawkins in Hot Leg and drummer Richard Brook has played with Adam's dad Rick too.

So there's a bit of a prog pedigree going on here for starters.

"I Am Anonymous" is a fusion of modern progressive metal and more traditional progressive rock, sitting somewhere in the middle of the two with fantastic results.

It has a '90s sound, resembling many works such as Dream Theater's “Scenes from A Memory” or Queensryche's “Operation: Mindcrime”, but also Rush, Yes and more edged / metal bands.

Lyrically the album is intense and masterfully crafted, dealing with humanity, wars, inner battles, religion and all the things that ultimately affect us on a day to day basis.

We find very long tracks here, but they have enough changes and melodies to keep the listener always interested.

Indeed Headspace seems to pay homage to the classical and modern prog bands, a musical mix of old and new.

This is impressively illustrated on the sprawling and complex "Daddy Fucking Loves You", which at fifteen minutes is the album's longest track, and for me the most brilliant moment. Not boring at all, constantly surprises you.

Other highlights include "In Hell's Name", where Wakeman is let loose on the church organ for an almost hymnal opening section, and the epic full on prog metal attack of "Fall Of America".

"Soldier" is a beautiful redemption ode to the madness of war with only Wilson and Wakeman on piano. A superb track.

Another incedible composition close to perfection is "Die With A Bullet", a masterpiece which can easily be considered a classic in the years to come.

"I Am Anonymous" is one of the surprises of the year.

There is a maturity to this release that you would not expect from the first full album of a band, with no one member of the band taking the spotlight but each playing his part in creating a lush compendium of beautiful sounds and melodies.

Adam Wakeman's keyboard work is particularly impressive and inventive throughout. Damian Wilson puts in an extremely assured performance on vocals and lyrically it's pretty intense and serious. Pete Rinaldi also impresses on guitar duties, while the dynamic rhythm section of Pomeroy and Brook provide a terrific foundation.

A very ambitious, inventive and astonishing debut album, "I Am Anonymous" will certainly win this band an audience, not only in the traditional & metal prog genres, but also in any rock listener eager for high quality music.

Don't miss this excellent CD.

Highly Recommended.

01 - Stalled Armageddon

02 - Fall Of America

03 - Soldier

04 - Die With A Bullet

05 - In Hell's Name

06 - Daddy Fucking Loves You

07 - Invasion

08 - The Big Day

Damian Wilson – vocals

Adam Wakeman – keyboards

Pete Rinaldi – guitars

Lee Pomeroy – bass

Richard Brook – drums, percussion

HEADSPACE - I Am Anonymous [ltd. edition] (2012) back cover



Monday, June 18, 2012

GUN - Break The Silence (2012)

GUN - Break The Silence (2012)


Scottish rockers GUN released a triad of very good albums between 1989-92, delivering a commercial blend of rock with some pop sensibilities, but all featuring cracking guitar riffs, strong lyrics and fine melodies.
Critically acclaimed albums which achieved multiple successful singles, appearances and guest slots with acts such as The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams or Def Leppard.

But Gun ruined they career with the awful cheap-pop fourth disc '0141 632 6326'. Soon after the band decided to call it a day in 1998.
Fast forward ten years into 2008, Gun returned with 'Popkiller', a poor pop-rock EP which did not much favor to their legacy.
Now Gun is back with the first LP in 15 years... I can't understand what has happened to these guys.
"Break The Silence" was produced by Dave Eringa, mastermind behind artists such as The Manic Street Preachers, so this give you an idea how they try to sound these days.

Some hints of their original fire is present on few tracks, but this is not more Gun.
Founder member bass player Dante Gizzi has taken the lead vocal role... not the best move in our humble opinion. The name of the last two tracks seems premonitory about the future of this band.
If you're a longtime Gun fan, give it a try, maybe you're able to find something interesting in this release.
Honestly, we don't.

01 - Butcher Man

02 - 14 Stations

03 - Lost & Found

04 - Caught In The Middle

05 - Break The Silence

06 - How Many Roads

07 - No Substitute

08 - Bad Things

09 - Innocent Thieves

10 - Running Out Of Time

11 - Last Train

Dante Gizzi - vocals
Jools Gizzi - guitar
Derek Brown - bass
Paul McManus - drums



GOWAN - Great Dirty World [Special Edition] (2012)

GOWAN - Great Dirty World [Special Edition] (2012)

Remastered + Bonus


These days Lawrence GOWAN is a stable member of Styx, but long before that, had had a solo career started in the eighties.

Released a couple years after 'Strange Animal' — the album that really launched Gowan's career, at least in his native Canada –, "Great Dirty World" establishes a transition: from light poppy AOR to rock, from a predominantly synthesized sound to something more visceral, from teen years to maturity.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Gowan is releasing a *Special Edition* of "Great Dirty World", remastered, including new versions recorded in 2012 as bonus and completely new artwork.

Originally "Great Dirty World" did well on the Canadian charts back in the day. There are some big name players on this album, such as Tony Levin, Nigel Olsson or Brandon Fields.

This recording proves how good a melodist Gowan can be. It also also gave him his biggest taste of international attention, thanks to the opening track and first single "Moonlight Desires", featuring Yes’ Jon Anderson as guest vocalist.

The latter’s contribution is more than that of a usual back-up singer, his angelic voice, entering two-thirds into this pop anthem, makes it literally soar (on a side note, this album has another connection to progressive rock through the presence of King Crimson bassist Tony Levin).

Other highlights include the ballads "Great Dirty World" and "Dedication", one of the finest songs Gowan has written, thanks to a memorable melody in the verse and a bombastic chorus.

"Awake The Giant" and "Human Drama" are fine uptempo numbers combining mid-'80s rock with commercial prog in the vein of Asia or Rush, including synths.

This "Great Dirty World [Special Edition]" has a terrific sound, and includes as bonuses freshly recorded versions of "Fovever One", "One Brief Shining Moment" and "Great Dirty World", showing Gowan's sensibility to re-arrange his compositions with class.

One of Canada's finest musicians, and a disc to enjoy in plenitude.


01 - Moonlight Desires

02 - Awake The Giant

03 - Living In The Golden Age

04 - Dedication

05 - Human Drama

06 - Forever One

07 - One Brief Shining Moment

08 - 60 Second Nightmare

09 - Great Dirty World

10 - Fovever One [2012 Version] (Bonus Track)

11 - One Brief Shining Moment [2012 Version] (Bonus Track)

12 - Great Dirty World [2012 Version] (Bonus Track)

Lawrence Gowan - vocals, piano, keyboards

Gene Black - guitar

J. Peter Robinson - keyboards, bass synth

Tony Levin, Will Lee - bass

Terry Gowan - stick

Rob Brill - drums, percussion

Nigel Olsson - drums

Brandon Fields - sax

Deborah Silver, Kaz Silver Lee - backing vocals

Jon Anderson - special guest lead vocal on 'Moonlight Desires'

The San Fernando Valley Mens Choir and Choral Singers arranged & conducted by Bob Ezrin



KNOCK OUT KAINE - House Of Sins (2012)

KNOCK OUT KAINE - House Of Sins (2012)


The young Hard Rock four piece KNOCK OUT KAINE are from the Midlands region of the UK. Voted best unsigned act of 2008 by Kerrang! and after two good EP's, the band got signed and now are releasing their full length debut "House Of Sins".

Over the last few years Knock Out Kaine have forged a chemistry way beyond their years, which only truly great bands are able to accomplish. By no means X-Factor style 'overnight successes', they have been working their craft hard since their conception in 2005, building to the point where Knock Out Kaine are ready to explode onto 2012 in a very big way.

Indeed, "House Of Sins" is an explosive album.

Here Knock Out Kaine combines all the hard rock sleazy of Motley Crue, Guns or the first LA Guns and the awesomeness of Cinderella, Slaughter and White Lion with some melodic rock overtones in a punchy package.

Dean Foxx has one of those voices coming out straight-off Sunset Blvd, rough but by no means cheap. The guy has an obviously educated throat, as he clearly display a wide range of modulations, always in perfect pitch.

The rhythm section has the exact cadency for this kind of rock, but who really shines is guitarist Jimmy Bohemian, a complete six-string axeman both on electrics or acoustics. His guitar style / tone is awesomely '80s, reminding you Cinderella's Jeff LaBar and Vitto Bratta of White Lion.

The first thing that impress you is the stupendous musiciansip delivered by the band, were all the instrumentation sound tight and shiny.

Although the material is mostly sweaty late '80s American hard rock oriented, the sound is polished and melodic, but with all the necessary sharpness to rock you hard.

Honestly, I can't find a weak track on "House Of Sins".

You can't resist to the thunderous drum beat of "Set The Night On Fire", a genuine rocker with crankin’ guitars and head bangin’ rhythm. Couple that with a great hook and you got the kind of track that makes you sit up and take notice.

Title track "House Of Sins" is a thrilling hard rocker with a fantastic riff in the style of Motley's 'Kickstart My Heart', a kickin' track complete with cowbel.

The riff of the catchy "Liquor Up" is absolutely early eighties Van Halen, same in the tongue-in-cheek "Skinstar" wich features a very melodic chorus.

"Little Crystal" is the band's at its sleaziest. A chugging riff and an unsteady drum beat are the main ingredients while lyrically it tells the tale of a little girl who went off the tracks.

All songs are catchy and instant, but "Goin’ Down” (She Goes)" is the highlight amongst all these catchiness. A track whose foot tapping rhythm and infectious chorus make it tailor made to be played live. A winner.

Cinderella come to mind in the uptempo but acoustically layered "Backstreet Romeo", a track that 25 years ago have been a MTV hit.

Knock Out Kaine also has a melodic rock side. The midtempo "Moving On" has melodius line with some kind of angelic background vocals and nice atmosphere.

On the sensual "Time", the foursome explore their bluesy roots. The vocals of mister Foxx on this particular track hold the middle between actual singing and talking and this works just perfect.

And then we have another tune predestined to be a hit. The emotionally charged "Coming Home" is a lighters in the air power ballad like we used to have plenty of back in the '80s. It's presented in a long 6:21 album version and a shorten Radio Edit take.

Knock Out Kaine are a welcome curveball to what has been tipped for 2012, unfashionably cool with their middle digit firmly raised to the trend setters and followers alike.

This CD easily could be titled Time Machine, as the music encapsulated in these twelve tunes are a fantastic rendition to '80s American Hard Rock, both in sound and attitude.

"House Of Sins" sounds as is the members of Knock Out Kaine have melted all their parents' vinyls, liquefied them and diluted with a plenty dose of Jack Daniels.

The songs move relentlessly forward, with catchiness and bite, very well produced and executed. Each member puts in a flashy performance on this recording and I think the band can be proud of their efforts in this debut.

"House Of Sins" is an excellent release from an up and coming UK band and, hopefully, we'll be hearing a lot more from Knock Out Kaine in the future.

Highly Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

01 - The Welcome

02 - House Of Sins

03 - Liquor Up

04 - Little Crystal

05 - Set The Night On Fire

06 - Backstreet Romeo

07 - Skinstar

08 - Coming Home

09 - Going Down (She Goes)

10 - Time

11 - Save Me

12 - Moving On

13 - Coming Home (Radio Edit)

Dean Foxx (vocals)

Jimmy Bohemian (guitar, backing vocals)

Lee Byrne (bass, backing vocals)

Danny Krash (drums, backing vocals)



MARK SPIRO - Care Of My Soul Vol.2 [promo sampler] (2012)

MARK SPIRO - Care Of My Soul Vol.2 [promo sampler] (2012)


MARK SPIRO is perhaps one of the most gifted songwriters and performers on the AOR / Melodic Rock circuit from the last 30 years. His name is often named in the same breath as the likes of Desmond Child or Diane Warren.

A majority have known him only has a songwriter, a talented such.

Heart, Bad English, Lita Ford and Giant, where he actually where meant to be lead vocalist, are just some of the artists that has been blessed with his compositions.

Despite the fact that he has had success as a songwriter, and still do, he doesn't come near as solo artist.

His first 'American' album (Mark recorded his debut in Germany in the mid-eighties) "Care Of My Soul", was a beautiful compendium of his sensibility writing fabulous melodies.

Now, Spiro will re-release "Care Of My Soul" remastered and with a couple of bonus tracks.

More than that, he will release together "Care Of My Soul Vol.2", the sequel, including all new compositions.

At the moment, Mark is working in Julian Lennon's new album, writing and playing, so the date of release of both discs is uncertain.

But as appetizer, here we have an exclusive promotional CD (not for sale), not only including some of the new tracks from "Care Of My Soul Vol.2", but also many unreleased songs from his vaults that probably never will be released.

Also present is one of the bonuses to be featured in the reissue of the 1996 album.

A must have for Mark Spiro and Melodic Rock / AOR fans in general.

You've seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

01 - Encinitas (Care Of My Soul 2012 reissue bonus track)

02 - Love Don't Come Around Here (Care Of My Soul Vol.2)

03 - Man In The House On The Hill [New track not to be released]

04 - Say Your Prayers (Care Of My Soul Vol.2)

05 - That's What He Does [New track not to be released]

06 - Everything Is On It's Way (Care Of My Soul Vol.2)

07 - Paper Dragons (Care Of My Soul Vol.2)

08 - Had A Big Brother In Vietnam [New track not to be released]

09 - Wheels May Rust [New track not to be released]

Mark Spiro: Vocals, guitar, keyboards, songwriting

Personnel: unlisted


PAUL SABU - Bangkok Rules (2012)

PAUL SABU - Bangkok Rules (2012)


PAUL SABU came on the scene in 1984 with Kidd Glove and in addition to being an Emmy Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and guitarist, his list of credits is stunning.

"Bangkok Rules" is the title of Sabu's latest solo album, his first on Z Records and after 5 years of recording hiatus.

Part of the material in this new effort was written with Vince O'Regan (Bob Catley), while Paul's support band in the studio is more than capable.

The album opens with title track "Bangkok Rules", a stompin' hard rocker with a modern Whitesnake vibe. Sabu puts forth a good array of vocal ranges and screams that highlights the track plus the guitar work here is killer.

It's followed by the CD stand out track "Rock Don't Run", featuring Frankie Banali (ex- Quiet Riot) stepping in to handle drumming duties. This one should be a crowd pleaser. Love the keys in the middle section which gives a heavier sound to the overall effect.

Although there's plenty of other impressive tracks ("Live Or Die Trying" has an awesome chorus) are these two first songs that stick in the mind the most.

It's hard not to enjoy a song called "Rocked & Loaded", especially when Sabu is singing it. A pure power rock to the fullest with tantalizing melodies and strong chords.

"Race To Nowhere" is another good kickin' track. Paul really turns it up a notch on this one, in his way of singing and on the heavy tone of this piece.

I also liked a lot the ballad "Read My Eyes", a midtempo in the classic Paul Sabu style, with nice guitars and orchestration in the background.

So yes, there's plenty of good stuff here for Sabu and melodic hard rock fans, but it's not all plain sailing, as there's some weak moments. "Black Star" is pretty boring, while "Back The Jacks" is dreadful in its growls.

"Bangkok Rules" isn't going to shatter anyone's preconceptions of Paul Sabu, and stays true to the brand with big choruses, skyscraper riffs and the man himself's throaty vocals.

Talking about his vocals, 'em have turned more raspy with the years, not powerful as used to be. The songwriting is solid for the most part, and so the musicianship. But I don't like production. To my ears it's muddy and confusing, and the mix does not help as well.

Out of the ten tracks, only three don't do much to move me, with the rest more than making up for it with their energy and fun.

I can't see Sabu fans being disappointed with the overall product, but would have preferred a few more bouncy anthems.

01 - Bangkok Rules

02 - Rock Don't Run

03 - Race To Nowhere

04 - Live Or Die Tryin'

05 - Love's Got a Mind Of Her Own

06 - Read My Eyes

07 - Rocked & Loaded

08 - Black Star

09 - Code Blue

10 - Back The Jacks

Paul Sabu - Vocals, Guitars

Linkan Andersson - Guitars

Martin Karlsson - Bass

Lee Morris - Drums

Special Guest;

Frankie Banali - Drums on "Rock Don't Run"



LIBERTY N' JUSTICE - Forever 'Till The End (2012)

LIBERTY N' JUSTICE - Forever 'Till The End (2012)


The mastermind of LIBERTY N' JUSTICE project Justin Murr has been busy at work trying to complete there yet to be released double CD, “The Cigar Chronicles”.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday June 12th, Liberty n’ Justice just released a new single, and also is re-issuing there 1996 release “Forever Till The End” via digital outlets.

The album was remastered and new artwork was added for this special release. “Forever Till The End” shows a earlier poppier sound of LN'J, and features the vocals of ex-CBS recording artist Gregg Clemons.
Liberty n' Justice was founded in 1991 by Justin Murr and Patrick Marchand. Between some line-up changes, the band recorded two albums ('92 & '94) while toured the States to support them.
Murr and Marchand thought they were building momentum and decided to go back into the studio in 1996. By this time, the music scene was already changed, every major label passed on Liberty n' Justice, and the band was drawing very few people to its shows.

Just as Murr was about to trash the project, former CBS recording artist Gregg Clemons (a long-time recording buddy and co-writer of most of LnJ's songs) said he would sing leads on the new album.
Clemons took the recording of “Forever Till The End” to the next level.
At this time Liberty n' Justice was just a studio group, but the songs caught the attention of a publishing company in Nashville. At dinner they offered a very 'bad deal' which Murr turned down. He gave up on music and the album remained officially unreleased.
After four years out of the music scenario, in 2000 Marchand called Murr and the two got together. After talking, they decided to record a fourth album, 'Bargain Bin', for Innate Records.
The tour presenting the disc was successful, but after that Liberty n' Justice disbanded again.

Liberty n' Justice had two lives, the band which ended in 2000 and the All-Star projects that started in 2004, more hard rock oriented and only with Murr at the helm.
“Forever Till The End” is part of the lesser known incarnation of the band; the nineties era. It was finally released in 2006 by Murr, but in limited quantities.
Now with this proper re-issue we have the opportunity to listen it.
The style and sound on “Forever Till The End” is not the hard 'n heavy we all know from this project developed during the past decade and continues to these days. This is more radio rock oriented, featuring songs with a rock 'n roll structure but in a more accessible, light sound.
Nothing outstanding, just a pleasant listen, a way to appreciate how this project has evolved with the years.

01 - A Fool Says

02 - Forever Till The End

03 - More Than A Pretty Face

04 - Free Will

05 - Lost Soul Cafe

06 - Come Back To Me

07 - Find Your Way Back Home

08 - Shout 96

09 - Love Me Real

10 - My First Love

11 - Christian Man

12 - Little Boy Brave

13 - Yesterdays News

14 - In Good Faith

Gregg Clemons - Vocals
Justin Murr - Guitar, Keyboards, programming
Patrick Marchand - Bass
Various unlisted musicians



KEN HENSLEY - Love & Other Mysteries (2012)

KEN HENSLEY - Love & Other Mysteries (2012)


For those who do not know, specially the youngs, English born KEN HENSLEY joined the mystical group Uriah Heep in 1969 and left in 1980.

Keyboard player (especially Hammond organ), guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, Ken was part of rockers Blackfoot before starting a solo career during which he participated in many musical projects.

After his autobiographical CD 'Blood On The Highway' five years ago, this veteran musician is back with "Love & Other Mysteries".

"Love & Other Mysteries" is a laid back album, plenty of acoustics and sweet, soft melodies.

He explains; "No-one is free from emotion and its effects. No one. I am a poet and songwriter with the dreams and ambitions of an 11-year-old boy still running rampant in my heart.

The songs on this CD came to me as naturally as breathing, from the source I have always believed in and in which I now believe more strongly than ever. I think this CD represents a very positive shift in my musical focus and for me it is exciting to travel new and unexplored territory.

It must be every songwriter's dream to be able to make a record in this way. I know it was mine. The lyrics are the single most important thing on this album and it is these words that were permitted to produce and guide the direction of the album”.

"Love and Other Mysteries" sees Ken joined by guest vocalists from different origins, including Glenn Hughes, Santra Salkova, Sarah Rope, Irene Forniciari & Roberto Tiranti.

Perhaps Hensley should not worry about his voice: for all its current limitations, only Ken himself is able to truly inhabit these songs like he does, softly, like in "Eyes (The Girl In The Purple Dress)" or in the melodic opener "(This) Bleeding Heart".

Anyway, the guests add variation and refinements to the songs.

"(Please) Tell Me When", well delivered by Sarah Rope, comes only with a Hammond line and slide guitar.

Glenn Hughes and Santra Salkova bring sterling emotions to the dramatic ballad "Romance", but "No Matter" performed by Irene Fornaciari & Roberto Tiranti fail to convey the feelings inherent to this author's work.

The slide-oiled lift of "Come To Me" is classic Hensley, though - when in romantic mood, at the piano and organ, like here and in "(This) Bleeding Heart", Ken drives his MOR message home.

Roberto Titanti's honeyed pipes render "Respiro Tu Amor" quite well, and on the strings-drenched "Little Guy" and "No Matter", his soulful duets with Irene Fornaciari are a somehow operatic.

But if in "This House" it's the instrumental wrapping - rather than Ken's singing - that holds melodic focus, the acoustic vivacity makes the countrified "Walk Away" an irresistible offer.

Hensley never has followed any trends or a specific genre since he went solo 30 years ago. With this new recording he will surprise many of his fans, for good or wrong.

"Love & Other Mysteries" is a laid back album full of calm moments and breezy melodies. The prog elements are sparingly and the hard rock edge of previous works is gone.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing, this is the kind of album he wanted to do, and it's a good one regarding the styles.


01 - (This) Bleeding Heart

02 - Romance

03 - (Please) Tell Me When

04 - No Matter

05 - Come To Me

06 - This House

07 - Walk Away

08 - Eyes (The Girl In The Purple Dress)

09 - Respiro Tu Amor

10 - Little Guy

Ken Hensley / Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion

Guest vocalists:

- Glenn Hughes & Santra Salkova / lead vocals (2)

- Sarah Rope / lead vocals (3), backing vocals

- Irenere Fornaciari / lead vocals (4, 10), backing vocals

- Roberto Tiranti / lead vocals (4, 9, 10), backing vocals

- Claudia Flores / backing vocals


- Pau Schafer / pianos & accordion

- Juan Carlos Garcia / drums

- Antonio Fidel / bass guitars

- Ovido Lopez / principal guitars

- Dani Saiz / guitar, backing vocals

- Matt Dela Pola / string arrangements

- Paco Garcia / classical guitar

- Angel Diaz / percussion

- Armando Garcia, Herbert Perez Jones, Lesste Meija Ercia, Romany Cana Flores, Patxi Urchegui / strings



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OZ KNOZZ - True Believer (2012)

OZ KNOZZ - True Believer (2012)<br />


There's few bands in the rock scene that has been active for more than forty years. One of them is Houston based OZZ KNOZZ, which came together around a core of Westbury High alumni — Duane Massey, his brother Bill and Marty Naul.
The group has survived periods of inactivity, innumerable lineup changes (even the band doesn't know how many) and shows with up to 25 people onstage at once to arrive at new album "True Believer".

Their first recording came out in the mid seventies, and plenty of touring followed. It wasn't until 2008 that the follow-up emerged, and that makes new album "True Believer" only the 3rd album in 42 years.
The Oz Knozz sound definitely nods to the past. The production is mostly modern, but the vibe is firmly rooted in the '70s and '80s keyboard-driven pomp and arena rock with some slightly proggy moments here and there.
The promotional information that accompanies the CD describes the album as more progressive than before, but in my opinion the grandiose closing track "Kings And Treasures" is the only true Prog piece contained within.
I wouldn't say that the majority of this album was anything more than the Pomp previously mentioned, but with a healthy dose of good ol’ Rock 'n' Roll at its heart.
The glorious "Goodbye Again" is reminiscent of prime time Styx, the awesome mega pompy Kansas-like "Far Away" and the catchy, weirdly contagious title track "True Believer", all have that classic elements we love, both in sound and instrumentation.
In amongst all the Pomp and circumstance there are some wonderful moments that lean towards a more commercial U.S. '80s / '70s Rock sound.

The sublime opener "Empty Room" is a moody, rocking melodic gem that is straight out of the Foreigner book of hits, the semi-ballad "Always There" hints at a little of Journey’s ‘Who’s Crying Now’, and "Here Comes The Night" reminds me of early Reo Speedwagon, and even has some vintage Whitesnake in the guitar parts (see if you can spot it!).
"What The…?" is a rocking blues number replete with an almighty extended guitar solo from the talented Robert Guinea, and has it's tongue planted firmly in its cheek.
"Visitor" leans to Classic Rock territory, driven by a dry riff and a persistent cowbel percussion, including a hot guitar solo.
Really interesting is the uncommon six and a half minute track "Fox Paws", which bursts forth with a chugging riff, and has a quite wonderful long instrumental section, with keyboards, guitars and trumpet (yes you read well, trumpet, and works wonderfully) all getting their chance in the spotlight.

"True Believer" offers a lovable collection of '70s and '80s keyboard-driven Pomp and arena rock songs with some slightly proggy moments.
As fan of those genres, I really enjoyed this album from start to finish, arranged, played and delivered in the way that none do these days. It has the modern production standards, but with the magical essence of the glorious era.

Milton De Coronado has an immensely powerful voice, the rhythm section of bassist Bill Massey and drummer Marty Naul is as tight as they come, and Robert Guinea's riffs are solid as his soloing.
The keyboards of songwriter Duane Massey are fantastic, mixing an arsenal of Moogs, Hammonds, Prophet synths, Wurlitzer electric pianos all over the place without swamping it. And as good as the musicians are, they're nothing without the songs, and here you have the perfect combination.
"True Believer" is an awesome retro-biased album that should bring a big smile to anyone with an ear (and his heart) to the '70s and '80s good, classic Pomp.

01 - Empty Room

02 - Goodbye Again

03 - Far Away

04 - Fox Paws

05 - Always There

06 - Here Come The Night

07 - Visitor

08 - What The...

09 - True Believer

10 - Kings And Treasures

Milton Coronado: Lead Vocals, Keyboards
Duane Massey: Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Winds
Robert Guinea: Guitars
Bill Massey: Bass, Sax
Marty Naul: Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals



HOTEL DIABLO - The Return To Psycho, California (2012)

HOTEL DIABLO - The Return To Psycho, California (2012)


HOTEL DIABLO — the new Hard Rock supergroup featuring vocalist Rick Stitch (LadyJack, ex-Adler’s Appetite), guitarist Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot), bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke (both of W.A.S.P.) — are releasing their full-length debut “The Return To Psycho, California”.

The CD was produced by Gilby Clarke (ex- Guns 'N Roses), with additional production by Matt Starr (Ace Frehley).
Every once in a blue moon a band comes along and makes you take notice.
This newly formed California based act is comprised of veteran musicians that know exactly what they want.
And what they want, their mission, is simply Rock You hard.

You may remember vocalist Rick Stitch from his stint with Adler's Appetite. Rick reminds me in attitude of a young Steven Tyler or Axl Rose, although not in his way of sing or tone. He handles a set of pipes that have a huge vocal range and draws you right in with his electrifying melodic timbre.
Guitarist Alex Grossi delivers a compact bunch of impressive guitar riffs on this recording, finding much more room to articulate his six-string abilities than in the previous bands in which has been involved.
And a remarkable pillar in this band is the rhythm section of Mike Duda and Mike Dupke holding down the pulverizing beat.

“'The Return To Psycho, California' is a collection of stories, true stories, experienced during a time when our lives were filled with mind-altering shots of wretched adrenaline,” says singer Stitch.
“Strings got bent, knobs were turned and an uncontrolled visceral energy screamed life” into what has become “Psycho, California”.

And indeed Hotel Diablo cranks out some serious infectious riffs here, accompanied by catchy lyrics, the kind written from the heart that makes you stop and Listen.
Since the first track "Taken", you know Hotel Diablo have what it takes for super stardom. Their music is powerful updated hard rock but also has the exact doses of melody and swagger to rock your socks off.
Other highlights in the CD are the melodic hard rocker "Set It Off" with its tap footing rhythm, the heartfelt semi-ballad "What You Do To Me" that reminds me Slaughter, and the stomping "Psycho, California", driven by an irresistible killer riff and dirty lyrics [explicit].
But all tracks, more or less, are appealing.

On "Bury You", the first single, the band explores a different territory, adding keyboards to the mix and some acoustics. The cut has an obvious radio-rock intention, but works very well in conjunction with the rest of the material on offer here.

Over the last few years there has been a dilution of real rock to a more modern version which many people refer to as the 'Nickelback' sound.
Hotel Diablo turn back the clock to the days of real rock, great songwriting, killer tone and amazing vocals, all backed up by great musicianship.
With the history and pedigree of the band members Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot & Adler's Appetite), Rick Stitch (LadyJack & Adler's Appetite) and Mike Duda & Mike Dupke of W.A.S.P., you should expect, at least, solid rock music.

Let me tell you, "The Return To Psycho, California" is more than solid. It's vital, hot and melodic. It is refreshing to hear lyrics that make you feel and guitar melodies tangled in a web of emotion.
If you like real down to earth guitar driven Hard Rock with an edgy feel but full of melody, don't miss Hotel Diablo.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Taken

02 - Set It Off

03 - What You Do To Me

04 - Psycho, California

05 - Bury You

06 - Wicked Lines

07 - All These Years

08 - Wonderwall (OASIS cover)

09 - Trigger

10 - Bury You (alternate version)

11 - What You Do To Me (alternate version)

Rick Stitch (LADYJACK, ex-ADLER’S APPETITE) - Vocals

Alex Grossi (QUIET RIOT) - Guitars

Mike Duda (W.A.S.P.) - Bass

Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.) - Drums & Percussion



THE TREATMENT - Then & Again + bonus (2012)

THE TREATMENT - Then & Again (2012)


THE TREATMENT, the Cambridge five-piece hard rock band who recently completed a full European tour with Steel Panther, are releasing new material.
Originally recorded as a special EP for Record Store Day in April, "Then & Again" was limited to 300 copies and only made available to buy from an actual record shop (not online) on the day itself, each copy signed by the band.
Now his label have announced that the EP will be widely available again for those who missed out the first time and for international fans.

Before getting to the music, let's start with the packaging. There's a nice Star Wars style cover, and inside it doesn't just tell you what the songs are that are on the EP, it tells you why they chose to do each of the songs (all are cover versions).
That for me was a really nice touch - there are thousands of great songs out there, so to get some insight into why a band has chosen a particular song to cover is unusual and interesting.

The songs are covers are from the seventies which in itself is a surprise given that none of the band was actually born 'till after the seventies ended.
Five iconic rock songs, so you have to be foolish or just young and talented to tackle them. Songs like this have weight, gravitas, a life of their own. Like swimming with sharks, if you can't keep up, they'll drag you under.
Fortunately, The Treatment have the talent, the chops and an instinctive way with a rock song, and all versions success.
"Evil Woman" is a surprise choice - ELO have a very different sound / style to The Treatment, so it's definitely not an obvious choice of band or song to cover (whereas the others are more guitar led and are a more natural fit). Matt Jones brings more of a rocky edge to the track while the the strings are replaced by cranked up guitars with great results.

"Run, Run, Run" (Jo Jo Gunne) is just brimming over with youthful abandon. The joy is almost palpable. You can almost sense the band’s incredulity that they are actually recording this all time great rock song.
Although the collection is book ended by the tracks apparently most favoured by the band – a reverential version of Chris Spedding’s "Motor Bikin" and a full blooded take on Slade's "Take Me Back ‘Ome" – the standout cover is that of Canned Heat's classic "Let's Work Together". The song’s relentless groove and the universal appeal of the lyrics, simply drawn and almost introspective, combine to edge the band toward a fuller, more mature sound.

Although a covers album, The Treatment have made these songs own in "Then & Again".
Wisely, producer Laurie Mansworth (Airrace) keeps things simple and soundly structured, giving the songs a rawer, edgier feel. Like he wants it to sound deliberately dated, but yet there is no way you would mistake these versions for karaoke copies.
For The Treatment, it is evidence of their influences. What they listened to during the formative years. The spirit that infuses and informs their music…culminating in last year's 'This Might Hurt'.
Big guitars, big melodies and big, indeed huge hooks, the aurally adhesive kind, the type that resonate, strike a chord, sink in fast and stay in your consciousness forever.
Great Stuff.

01 - Motor Bikin’ (Chris Spedding cover)
02 - Let's Work Together (Canned Heat cover)
03 - Evil Woman (Electric Light Orchestra cover)
04 - Run Run Run (Jo Jo Gunne cover)
05 - Take Me Bak 'Ome (Slade cover)

Matt Jones : Vocals
Ben Brookland : Guitars
Tagore Grey : Guitars
Rick 'Swoggle' Newman : Bass
Dhani Mansworth : Drums



Monday, June 11, 2012

DALLAS - Over The Edge (2012)

DALLAS - Over The Edge (2012)


DALLAS is the brainchild of Bryan Dallas, a 26 years old musician from Castro Valley, CA, whom composes all of the music and performs the vocals and all the instruments in his debut EP "Over The Edge".

Freshly formed in the beginning of 2012, Dallas recruited 4 local musicians to help spread on stage his gold old fashioned good time rock and roll. But the songs of this recording were written some years ago by Bryan alone, and recorded in different studios totally produced by himself.
Bryan explains, "I think the ‘Over The Edge’ EP is a culmination of several yearsof development and disciplined chaos."

What we have on this EP?
Five tracks of bombastic anthemic stadium rock choruses that bound to be a big summer hit, blaring out of cars everywhere.
Just in time for summer, Dallas is bringing back glammy, hooky pop metal. If the mega-overdubbed choruses of Def Leppard's Hysteria still do it for ya, you're gonna dig this dude.
Bryan Dallas resurrects here the super-slick, catchy anthems of the late '80s when a zillion Def Leppard clones emerged trying to cop Mutt Lange's songwriting and production techniques.
And indeed the first thing that impress you is the excellent production / sound.
Musically, Dallas isn't a Def Lepp clone, but on the extremely catchy "Open Your Heart" (check the video-track below) the influence, both in sound & style are undoubtable. What a great song.

"Bring The Light" and the awesome "I Close My Eyes" have the same vibe, with a hint of Bryan Adams Lange-produced era as well. Both also reminds you 7th Heaven with its more modern arrangements approach, but with much better engineering.
"Devil Is Rock 'N' Roll" is a bit different, a simple track towards a crunchy attack.

On "Over The Edge" Bryan Dallas has nailed the '80s commercial super-produced pop metal sound with incredible results.
Considering he is the only responsible of the production duties, this young musician is more than a great promise for the Melodic Rock genre in years to come. He has the skills, not only behind the desk but also the ability to write catchy tunes.
Give it a listen, you'll love this.
Highly Recommended.

01 - This Love

02 - The Devil is Rock 'n' Roll

03 - Bring The Light

04 - Open Your Heart

05 - I Close My Eyes

Bryan Dallas : everything



FREAK KITCHEN - Land Of The Freaks (2012)

FREAK KITCHEN - Land Of The Freaks (2012)


Let me introduce you, specially to US listeners; FREAK KITCHEN.

This Swedish power rock trio - the brainchild of guitarist / lead vocalist Mattias “IA” Eklundh - has been in existence since the early '90s. Their debut album 'Appetizer' came out in 1994.

After three additional albums the original formation disbanded, leaving Mr. Eklundh the task of finding two new bandmates. Shortly thereafter a new trio was formed with the addition of bassist Christer Ortefors and drummer Bjorn Fryklundh.

"Land Of The Freaks" is the group's seventh overall album, and the third for version 2.0 of the band. It was published in 2009 in Europe, but as many Scandi releases, hard to find in the rest of the world.

The US label Lasers Edge is announcing a release campaign of the entire Freak Kitchen back catalog, beginning with "Land Of The Freaks". Access to Freak Kitchen's music in North America has previously been limited to expensive imports through specialist dealers.

But enough of the history, let's talk about what's most important…the music!

Freak Kitchen is typically classified as a progressive metal band. I am not going to argue with that. What I am going to do is flesh out a couple of intricacies that make this particular progressive metal band unique.

First of all it is critical to note that the songs contain as many rock & pop / hard rock elements as progressive ones. What does that mean? When you break down one of their songs you will find wacky time signatures, ridiculous playing, grand thematic changes, etc.

But here is the catch. If you don't concentrate on uncovering these elements, you won’t notice they exist thanks to the band's commercial-pop / catchy-rock sensibilities. Nothing, no matter how flashy, disrupts the flow of a song. That means unlike some other progressive metal bands I can name, there is never a moment of mid-song headbanging recalibration.

Second; also stemming from the rock&pop sensibilities, the songs themselves never outstay their welcome. The longest track on "Land of the Freaks" is five minutes and forty two seconds. All of the others end before the five minute mark, most before four minutes.

I'm not trying to imply that epic-length songs are bad (I love them), but I am saying that I like knowing I don't have to specifically set aside a half hour to fully enjoy one Freak Kitchen song.

Third; the contributions of Mattias Eklundh, both vocally and on guitar are spectacular, plain and simple. To say that he is a gifted guitarist is an immeasurable understatement.

His tonality, technicality, timing, and musical IQ are second to none. The fact that he is also a fantastic vocalist is icing on the cake. His clean vocals are able to perfectly match the mood of the song whether it calls for all out aggression or heartfelt tenderness.

So what about the album?

"Land Of The Freaks" is insane, mind-blowing in all aspects.

You can't resist to this band and this CD since the opening track "God Save the Spleen", a killer groovy pop/metal tune with a monstrous guitar tone, devastating main riff, and the bottomless groove cast a magic spell upon you at first listen.

But the thrill does not stop there. Other top-shelf rockin' compositions on this album include the amazing musical skills in the South-Asian flavored "Teargas Jazz", the deceptive "Murder Groupie", and the phenomenally amusing anti-fascist "Honey, You’re a Nazi".

But this band never stop to add variation to their fantastic blend on music. The transformative "OK" begins like a ballad before morphing into a rocker, or the straight up acoustic ditty "Do Not Disturb" is marvelous.

Not good enough? Fine. How about "Hip Hip Hoorah", a danceable metal song. That’s right; danceable (you'll be surprised).

What I'm trying to get across is that there is a chasm-wide variety of material on offer here. No matter what you're looking for, "Land Of The Freaks" will fulfill your order with loads of originality.

Freak Kitchen are a trio of amazing musicians from Sweden that play a style of progressive metal that is full of virtuoso musical technique combined with catchiness, filled with quirky lyrics.

They fuse styles such as metal, rock&pop, hard rock and jazz-rock into brilliant compositions that will boggle your mind. Mattias “IA” Eklundh is a musician with a vision out of this World.

I've been fan of Eklundh since his early days, collecting all his hard to find projects CD's, and although he always has been an incledible guitar player, in "Land Of The Freaks" the man has expanded even further his infinite creativeness.

If you're looking for something original, different, captivating, and at the same time highly entertaining, don't miss this stunning band.

Highly, Highly Recommended.

01 - God Save The Spleen

02 - Hip Hip Hoorah

03 - Teargas Jazz

04 - Sick Death By Hypochondria

05 - OK

06 - Honey You're A Nazi

07 - The Only Way

08 - Murder Groupie

09 - The Smell Of Time

10 - One Last Dance

11 - Do Not Disturb

12 - Clean It Up

Mattias “IA” Eklundh : Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards

Christer Ortefors : Bass

Bjorn Fryklundh : Drums



STREETHEART - Best Of Streetheart (2012)

STREETHEART - Best Of Streetheart (2012)


STREETHEART was one of the seminal bands of the Canadian Melodic Rock / AOR movement. Formed by keyboard player Daryl Gutheil and bassist Spider (Ken Sinnaeve), the band gained considerable success at the beginning of the eighties in North America with their albums achieving platinum status.

Streetheart's career was a 5-year rush, sharing stages with Chilliwack, Styx, Kansas, Aldo Nova, April Wine, Rush and more.

Since the beginning, the motto of the band was wrote commercial catchy tunes with abundance of keyboards, sizzling guitars and the appealing raspy vocals of Kenny Shields.

For starters, Streetheart's style is similar to Loverboy, not strange as guitarist Paul Dean was part of the band in the earlier days, composing and recording on the 1st disc, and later went solo to found Loverboy.

Several Streetheart singles became an instant FM radio hits, and later many major acts recorded some of the band's songs, such as Frehley's Comet and Neal Schon's '92 Hardline.

The group is also recognized for their ability to re-arrange and versioning with class other artists tunes, as their unique interpretations of Van Morrison's "Here Comes the Night" and the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb."

Strangely, Streetheart's catalog hasn't been properly re-issued on CD. There's a mid-nineties German-only release of their albums, but with a poor sound. In this century there have been a couple of compilations, but mostly covering their first two recordings.

Now, the European label Rdeg / Believe Digital is publishing this "Best Of" covering Streetheart entire career. A treat for the fans, and if you are new to Streetheart surely you'll enjoy this representative compendium of their fine Melodic Rock music.

01 - Drugstore Dancer

02 - Trouble

03 - Just For You

04 - Under My Thumb

05 - Teenage Rage

06 - Hollywood

07 - Miss Plaza Suite

08 - Tin Soldier

09 - What Kind Of Love Is This

10 - Look In Your Eyes

11 - Action

12 - Snow White

13 - One More Time

14 - Have It Your Way

15 - Without Your Love

16 - Comin' True

Kenny Shields (lead vocals)

Paul Dean (guitars, vocals)

Matthew Frenette (drums)

Ken "Spider" Sinnaeve (bass, vocals)

Daryl Gutheil (keyboards)

John Hannah (guitar; replaced Dean 1978)

Bob "Herb" Ego (drums; replaced Frenette 1980)

Jeff Neill (guitar; replaced Hannah 1982)

Billy Carmassi (drums; replaced Herb Ego 1983)



PHOBOS CORP. - Felicity (2012)

VANGOUGH - Kingdom Of Ruin (2011)

* fixed

The mastermind behind PHOBOS CORP. is Greek keyboard player and arranger Spyros Papadakis.

With a handful of collaborators from the USA (Chris Sutherland has played in Saga), and a female lead vocalist, Papadakis delivers his first EP "Felicity".

Put this short disc in the category of symphonic, melodic, and progressive metal akin to a blend between Ayreon and Shadow Gallery. Papadakis draws heavily from traditional metal and film scores, citing Hans Zimmer as a major influence.

Basically, this material is epic, extravagant and often bombastic. But it's not necessarily a synthesizer festival. No, Phobos Corp's compositions offer well-rounded depth from the stunning vocals from Tara to the orchestral arrangements to the stirring guitar solos.

Spyros is equally principal composer and player in the band. Every song here is bounty material, being the intriguing prog nuances of "Conceived Fate" and the majestic "Angels In Despair" the cream.

The arrangements and musical input in "Felicity" are aurally sublime; orchestral passages not commonly heard in the Sympho / Prog Metal genres.

The music has as a well a cinematic motion, with a drip of darkness here and there but mostly catchy. The production is solid and dynamic, with an ascetic, 'cold feel' that - in my opinion - makes the guitars and drums sound truly good for this kind of material.

Papadakis is working on a second Phobos Corp. EP for late 2012. Frankly, I say let's have an LP full of his fine creations.

Very Good and quite original.

01 - One Eternal (Felicity's Song)

02 - Conceived Fate

03 - This Divine Tragedy

04 - Angels In Despair

Spyros Papadakis: Keyboards, Synths

Tara Louise: Vocals

Mark Jones: Guitars & Bass

Chris Sutherland: Drums

Jon Ong, Zach Lemmon: Orchestral Arrangements

Shoi Sen: guest Lead Guitar on "This Divine Tragedy"



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