Because Germany just had to have a shot through the heart, nothing, and no one, to blame because Hard Rock still has a good name. Yeah I thought about BON JOVI while writing this could be considered phrasing. Spanking just as similar to France’s BLACK RAIN, less heavy and with minus strong vocalic attribute, and slanting on top the previous successful ratings of old Glam / Hard Rock icons as MOTLEY CRUE, BON JOVI, DOKKEN, WARRANT and a bit of the rather new influenced Euro party hearties as HARDCORE SUPERSTAR or THE POODLES, Europe attained another rebellious group of Rock N’ Roll fanatics in the image of REBELLIOUS SPIRIT, Germany’s version of crude, rude and screwed American Hard Rock / Glam Metal calibration.
I have to hand it for these four young dudes from Germany’s south end, as their debut piercing bullet, “Gamble Shot”, seemed like a good bet for SPV / Steamhammer Records that inked a deal with the boys. Frankly, especially after listening to this ten track Rockin’ machine, I could understand why this staking was safe to hang on to, cheers for that and no mess around.
Listening to “Gamble Shot” will unravel the strong sensational vibe of old school Hard Rock. However, REBELLIOUS SPIRIT are still regarded as the new boys on the block, and their music isn't just a directed reprise to the old traditions of the genre, but also the fired up principles of the new age made by European hands other than once the dominated American power.
REBELLIOUS SPIRIT is the picture of adolescence, not yet ready for the high rated creativity of the music and its never ending options, but on the other hand, hedged to the guiding light of their gods, this pack of youngsters, playing it safe with this debut as it seemed to me, were able to emerge victorious with songs that will always be remembered as their powerhouse hits.
Who wouldn’t enjoy the sparkle of en enticing chorus sung by a boyish set of vocals, or a catchy rhythm guitar riffing even after being exploited endlessly, or the slick tempos, and classic arrangements and crunchy soloing? Well I can name more than a few, but I won’t shun the efforts of these guys.
Actually, while sounding a bit banal from here on end, REBELLIOUS SPIRIT performed with grace, composing and writing their material just as it was written by the book of Rock. Without nonsense, or extra crafty detailing, just partying, bluesing it up when called upon, but generally having a good time as simple as it can get.
I believe that trouble free would be the right pair of words to describe this release best. REBELLIOUS SPIRIT can ignite the old energies, along with their found fashion, and provide a Rockin’ party bash for their listeners.
“Don't Leave Me” is a touch soul collector, slick trip into hardship and inner heartache with a modest but so actual lead guitar lick. “Cry For You” is such a SCORPIONS song, sometimes reminding me of “Rock You Like A Hurricane” until the chorus hits the fan with a blaze the might resemble TOKIO HOTEL, in particular since the vocals have similar tone decorations. Nonetheless, though I can’t stand the Pop Rock prank that I mentioned, this song still rocks and big time with its crispy catchiness.
“Forever Young”, it is good to feel young and alive, yet I would have to divulge that the vocals are a bit less emotive that expected, but at the music chops with gritty riffing and cool melodies. I didn't expect a cover to be honest, and I am glad that this one could be counted as a hit in my bill.
So I will end this one up with a recommendation to head on and listen to those guys.
I know that a larger part of it would sound outdated, but damn feel the energies of the musicians behind the songs. And you really don’t have to be a fan of the new wave of youngsters' Hard Rock.
review by Steinmetal - thanks
01. Let's Bring Back
02. Sweet Access Right
03. Cry For You
04. Change The World
05. Lights Out
06. Gone Wild
07. Don't Leave Me
08. You're Not The Only One
09. Forever Young
10. Rock it
Jannik Fischer – Vocals / Guitar
Jens Fischer - Bass
Silvio Bizer - Drums
Corvin Domhardt - Guitar
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Saturday, June 29, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Since him left Rainbow in 1977, one of the more interesting side projects of TONY CAREY was the PLANET P PROJECT, a vehicle for some of his more progressive stuff yet quite commercial as well, even with some videos from the first two albums (1983-84) receiving moderate airplay on MTV when originally released.
Tony took up the project again during the 2000's with the trilogy Go Out Dancing, and now is back with a new effort entitled "Steeltown".
Carey decided - after 30 years the project started - to blend the 'Tony Carey solo artist sound' with Planet P progressive leans, so this time the moniker is 'Tony Carey's Planet P Project'.
So, "Steeltown" mix Carey's melodies known from his solo albums with the atmosphere of the last Planet P works, which to my ears, on many places is what Pink Floyd would sound like if Roger Waters were still in the band.
There's some uptempo numbers interspersed, however this is a relaxed, introspective work with Carey handling most the instruments. The additional performers are uncredited, but there's rumours that TNT guitarist Ronni Le Tekro has recorded on some tracks.
"Steeltown" it's quite different than what is been released in prog today, where it relies on lyrical composition rather than virtuosity and large instrumental passages. Here you find songs around the four minutes.
The music borders somewhere between rock and atmospheric prog, making it quite accessible for those that enjoy melodic song-based spacey music with interesting lyrics. It does take several listens before it really sinks in but when it does, you'll find an uplifting recording.
Check the videos below to get the idea (though these aren't the strongest songs).
Good, intriguing, different stuff.
01 - Onwards
02 - On The Side Of The Angels
03 - If There's a Way
04 - Steeltown
05 - The Lady Fair
06 - Heavy Water
07 - The Moon Is Down
08 - Daddy's Girl
09 - Sailor's Song
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Ronnie James DIO is one of the most iconic figures in Rock / Metal history. He did so much for the genre that without his input the music would not be the same. He is missed and continues to be honored and respected years after his untimely demise.
Niji Entertainment Group, the company run by his widow Wendy Dio, was set up before Ronnie’s death to take care of his legacy. They have done a wonderful job and are now back with a very special release: Ronnie’s concept effort "Magica", in a Deluxe Edition.
This is a very welcome 2CD set, as the original album, released in 2000, has been out of print for sometime. The album has sold over 100,000 copies, but is still sought after. Now, Ronnie’s fans will be thrilled to learn that they can get "Magica" once again… only improved and better than ever.
The album not only contains the original CD remastered, which features the DIO classics “Fever Dreams,” “Turn to Stone,” “Lord of the Last Day” and “Feed My Head,” they also get a very special second disc.
The bonus disc contains Ronnie narrating “The Magica Story” in its entirety with his incredible voice, but that’s not all. After listening to the rock icon tell the tale, there are six never before released live tracks from the 2000/2001 tour and two bonus tracks, “Annica”, which was only available as a Japanese bonus track along with “Electra” which was a song meant for the sequel to "Magica".
"Magica" marks the return of guitarist Craig Goldy, and also features Jimmy Bain on bass, Simon Wright on drums, and Scott Warren on keyboards.
I think this underrated concept album is a fantastic piece of work comparable to any DIO '80s releases, a lot of effort has been put into this creation. Ronnie's vocals on "Magica" often remind me of the early Rainbow albums, which is great.
At the end of the day, this is a double-disc that all of Ronnie’s fans will want in their collection, as it is a tribute to one of the truly great and important figures in Metal Rock history.
CD1 : "Magica" Remastered
2. Magica Theme
3. Lord Of The Last Day
4. Fever Dreams
5. Turn To Stone
6. Feed My Head
9. As Long As It's Not About Love
10. Losing My Insanity
12. Magica- Reprise
13. Lord Of The Last Day - Reprise
CD 2 : Deluxe Edition Bonus
1. The Magica Story (Narrated By Ronnie James Dio)
2. Annica (Japanese Only Bonus Track)
3. Electra (Recorded for Magica 2 & 3)
4. Feed My Head (Official Live Bootleg)
5. Fever Dreams (Official Live Bootleg)
6. Turn To Stone (Official live Bootleg)
7. Lord Of The Last Day (Official Live Bootleg)
8. As Long as It's Not about Love (Official live bootleg)
9. Losing My Insanity (Official live bootleg)
Ronnie James Dio – vocals, keyboards
Craig Goldy – guitars, keyboards
Jimmy Bain – bass
Simon Wright – drums
Scott Warren – keyboards
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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Since formed almost fifteen years ago, Swedes SISTER SIN caught the public's attention through their reckless, gritty attitude and their passionate hard rock sound. The band's last album (presented here) showed the evolution of this female fronted quartet in all its potential.
Backed up by their new record company, Sister Sin decided to re-release their first out-of-print album "Dance Of The Wicked" originally appeared ten years ago, in a remastered version and adding some extra goodies to it: 3 previously unreleased tracks, a cover of Motörhead’s "Rock 'N' Roll" featuring Doro (which I highly recommend because it's beyond catchy), all-new artwork, a poster and a bonus DVD with all 10 Sister Sin Official music videos.
Sister Sin loves classic American hard rock, a style the band have been polished all this time, but this, their introduction to the Rock world, showcases the group in its primal, chugging and razor sharp delivery. In fact, "Dance Of The Wicked" really sounds like it has been produced back in the '80s.
Fans of Sister Sin stay true to this act because these guys have a very interesting and unique element throughout their songs: Liv Jagrell's voice. It has that rugged touch to it that makes the whole thing sound incredibly sexy and empowering. Musically, the band rocks here in the old fashioned way; this is pure 'edgy' Female Fronted Hard Rock driven by killer riffs, some thunderous rhythm section and hot, incendiary solos.
“Kiss Of The Sky” opens the CD with raspy live vibe and a kick ass attitude, followed by contagious title track “Dance Of The Wicked” where the ghost of Girlschool emerges through Liv's powerful throat.
“Falling Into My Dreams” has a real built to last mean Motley Crue's 'Looks That Kill' crunch. “Love Lies” smashes the silence with some passion and verve, one of the more melodic tracks of the album. Then the menacing Skid Row-esque “Dirty Dam I” rocks hard again and in your face over melting guitars.
“Tragedy Love Company” is the ballad but in a mid-paced tempo where the distorted guitars remain in the background and Liv's way of sing reminds me Babys In Toyland.
The cover of “Paint It Black” is top notch and can be thought as good as that of W.A.S.P’s rendition. Jagrell’s voice leaves chills with a haunting hum over the well-known tune. “Rock 'N' Roll” is another great cover (a more recent recording) featuring Doro as guest and placed at the end of the album as bonus.
Talking about the bonus tracks, these previously unreleased demos are damn good too and come across as real songs with good production; “Minor You (Major Me)" features angry vocals and a catchy chorus, “Writings On The Wall” is an intense corker recalling Lita Ford, while in “Head Over Heels For Love” Twisted Sister is certainly a band that comes to mind with these familiar '80s sounds - but with female vocals.
I never heard the original release of "Dance Of The Wicked" but this re-mastered version is a sonic strike of lightning and thunder, a flick of the switch, a blazing epiphany of some kick ass Female Fronted Hard Rock inspired in the '80s.
The songwriting would have required a little polish (it's clear they found their inner strength later in this department), but each song is an anthem that smell spandex and bandanas, this is something new done to something that may never get old. The band rocks, and Liv put the fire ON with her tremendous vocals (quite accented yet doesn't bother at all).
"Dance Of The Wicked" CD/DVD (at a price of a standard CD, a great value for money) got released last Tuesday in North America and will be hitting the streets tomorrow in Europe.
01 - Kiss The Sky
02 - Dance Of The Wicked
03 - Fall Into My Dreams
04 - End Of The Beggining
05 - Love Lies
06 - Dirty Damn I
07 - Paint It Black
08 - Tragedy Loves Company
09 - Minor You (Major Me) [demo - bonus track]
10 - Writings On The Wall (Demo) [demo - bonus track]
11 - Head Over Heels For Love (Demo) [demo - bonus track]
12 - Rock N Roll (feat. Doro) [bonus track]
Liv Jagrell – Vocals
Johnny Sinn – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Chris Casey – Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Fonda – Drums, Backing Vocals
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TRACII GUNS is a rock & roll survivor. He's toured the world and left his signature with Guns & Roses and LA Guns. He manned up, wished them well and never looked back. Last year two versions of LA Guns were touring at the same time. Tracii did what he needed; walked away from the fray and fashioned a new vehicle for his creative juices to flow.
The League Of Gentlemen was born, and their debut CD "The First Record" is among us, a new venture for Tracii Guns' astonishing eclecticism.
When I read this new project would be leaning to late 60's and 70's rock with British and American blues based feel, I suspected the worst. I want Tracii playing those hot eighties licks he is known for.
Well, the man has produced a more than interesting recording which it isn't so retro after all. This is Classic Rock with some blues and psychedelic-flavored hard clearly inspired in the seventies, but it sounds quite organic and updated in terms of sound.
Tracii's guitar drive the proceedings, yet not in flashy way. Sure, there's a lot of six-string work to be found, including some cool solos, but I wouldn't call it a guitar-oriented album. Instead, the focus is on the songs, and the songs are pretty darn good.
The Gentlemen are competent musicians, like drummer Doni Gray (ex-Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds) and rather than try to recruit the next Vince Neil, Tracii has enlisted a ravishing vocalist in Scott Foster Harris, who not only sounds really great, he also writes good lyrics and music.
"The First Record" travels many paths of the las 40 years in rock music.
It's some combination of Yardbirds, Zeppelin, The Who, The Doors, Floyd, Cream, and of course, the Gentlemen's own style. There's even some '80s moments in the midtempo first single "The Sound" (check the video).
The CD kicks off with a very Doorsy/Creamy "Everything, Everything", a good opening with a nice groove. The album continues as such, while showing more eery and trippy portions during "The Witch" and the slow "Feathers In a Hurricane" (solid solo here). "Painted Lady" with its old fashioned organ and piano parts, would not be out of place on FM radio's heavy rotation forty years ago.
One of my favorites is "Jealous Of The Rain", the only track penned solely by Scott Foster Harris. His voice sounds phenomenally strong and passionate throughout. The album continues through with variation, as on the slightly proggy "One", the Hammond infused "Backside of the Moon", and the masterfully written "Saginsaw Blues" where all members find room to jam, especially Tracii, showcasing his tasteful playing and the fact he isn't just another '80s guitar hero.
Tracii Guns has definitively left behind L.A. Guns, and his new expressive vehicle is called The League Of Gentlemen.
"The First Record" is a classic rock affair with many, many influences, but truly personal and with its own identity.
Kudos to Mr. Guns for this brave move, as this new project opens new doors for his recognized fine tuned craft and let us know (and enjoy) another of his multiple facets.
The man this time has picked up an ol' good Telecaster instead of a tremolo-mounted modern guitar, and he does good.
01 - Everything, Everything
02 - The Witch
03 - Sugar Mama
04 - The Sound
05 - Jealous of the Rain
06 - Painted Lady
07 - Taste Your Fear
08 - Feathers In a Hurricane
09 - Long Way To Heaven
10 - One
11 - Saginaw Blues
12 - Backside of the Moon
13 - Without You
14 - Space and Time Collide
Tracii Guns - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Scott Foster Harris - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
John Bird - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Craig McCloskey - Bass, Backing Vocals
Doni Gray - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
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Jon Oliva’s first 'solo' album arrives with the release of "Raise The Curtain", and under his own moniker OLIVA. While some will argue that the ex- Savatage already went solo with his other band Jon Oliva’s Pain, others could say this is the first album on which Oliva plays almost all instruments.
But it's much, much more than that.
Oliva’s work in Savatage, Doctor Butcher and Jon Oliva’s Pain left us with ground-breaking music that pushed the envelope of progressive metal and rock opera compositions. Whether you agree or not, Jon Oliva’s Pain was more of an extension of Savatage to a certain extent.
So my initial thought with "Raise The Curtain" was honestly to question whether it would be that big of a difference from Jon's past releases. After listening to it, I now understand the BIG difference.
Jon dug into the last unexplored demo tapes of his brother Criss (RIP), and some of those riffs were his first inspiration to create these songs. The guitar on the artwork cover is a direct reference to Criss... But Jon knew that he needed the help of a few chosen ones in order to get a perfect result.
Dan 'Doc' Fasciano gave him a hand at songwriting and helping to push the keyboards (an instrument that Oliva has been studying for years) to a place never previously heard on a Jon Oliva disc. There's tons of keyboards on this recording. Howard Helm is responsible for the guitar solos, while old friend Christopher Kinder played drums and also was in charge of the production. Indeed, the production is part of the magic of this record.
And what about the music? Be prepared for a magical ride.
First of all, "Raise The Curtain" is NOT a metal album. There's several edgy hard rock tracks, but the concept is much more rich. This is a really 'solo' album finding Oliva revisiting his influences from ‘70s prog and theatrical rock. Melding those ideas with the sound he created with Savatage, Oliva has produced a fascinating, diverse sounding recording.
The CD opens with a theatrical '70s prog-rock number complete with foggy Doorish Hammond keyboards on steroids. I threw away all of my preconceived notions of what to expect on the rest of the disc after the first 60 seconds... It’s a compositional piece that fits right at a home as an opening track to an album with a storyline or theme. But as "Raise The Curtain" progresses, the explorative nature of the music and the lyrical themes are not particularly tied to one theme or storyline.
There is an emotional element at work here, as Oliva taps into his brother’s unheard music. His lyrics are poignant and heavy, and his voice carries the weight of his emotions. While the keyboards are an integral part to the music, as whole, there are some fairly heavy songs such as “Soul Chaser”, complete with Oliva’s infamous shotgun vocal delivery. The main bouncing Peter Gunnish theme keyboard riff intertwines nicely with the more complex guitar & key solos. And yes, the chorus is there raising hell in all their brief, two-word glory.
Other rocking numbers are the dark “Armageddon” which reminds you Alice Cooper when still rocked with class, and “Big Brother”, one of the heavier tunes and a few with a little Savatage sound. You will smile the moment you hear the keys hit. It brings back memories of Boston’s 'Foreplay'.
Then Oliva surprise us with the unexpected. “Ten Years” has a groove that is driven by a horn section. This is just one hell of a toe-tapper with a catchy chorus and crazy keys. Did I mention the horns? In fact, there are horns provided by the USF Musical Department on several of the tracks. It’s just that this is the first track where they jump out and smack you in the kisser.
"I Know" is Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. I’ll be damned if it doesn't pull you in. It starts with a duel between the sinister tone you would expect from Jon and a soaring heartbreak of a chorus. It then morphs into an acoustic-driven dreamy psych ballad with balls.
“Father Time” has an infectious hook with an extremely rhythmic guitar riff and a pushing melody again reminiscent of Alice Cooper yet much more proggy with lots of Hammond swirls. I love this one.
With a bit of a Middle Eastern motif in “Stalker” and the early Rush vibe of “The Witch”, Oliva brings to the table an enviable set of dynamic changes. “Can’t Get Away” is a bluesy number with a certain British retro influence, melodic, vintage and melodious.
“Soldier” is excellent. This ranks up there with the best ballads Jon has ever written. It honestly could have fit alongside the songs from Savatage 'Streets'. It’s both beautiful and gut-wrenching at the same time. His Lennon influence shines here more than anything. Btw, the USF folks contribute an almost ethereal flute. This is just a wonderful piece.
This Digipak edition offers the bonus “The Truth”, mixing some pastoral prog and blues-inspired motifs, with acoustic guitar rhythms and a soft vocal melody. You can't tell this is Jon Oliva who rocked your ears some years ago with Savatage.
“Raise The Curtain” is an amazing piece of art. Oliva takes us to a world in which his influences and inspirations have helped to build his musical talent.
Throw away preconceived notions as to how a Jon Oliva album is supposed to sound, and enjoy this as the album that he set out to record. While Oliva has created a particular style of music in Savatage, Pain or Doctor Butcher, on “Raise The Curtain” he allows himself to travel down musical roads listeners have yet to hear him explore, and that should be what fans want; not another rehash of music that he already has done before.
This is a creative singer/songwriter’s disc that speaks loudly of Jon’s musical inspirations and his current vision. I also like to believe it as a reflection on a legendary career intertwined with how he wants to ride off into the sunset on his own terms, not what some office in NYC tells him.
From theatrical rock to blues, from hard rock to metal, Oliva is everywhere to be heard and seen. I was so fortunate to listen to this piece of music; I suggest that you would find your time to do the same.
01 - Raise The Curtain
02 - Soul Chaser
03 - Ten Years
04 - Father Time
05 - I Know
06 - Big Brother
07 - Armageddon
08 - Soldier
09 - Stalker
10 - The Witch
11 - Can't Get Away
12 - The Truth (Digipak Bonus track)
Jon Oliva - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Drums on 3 tracks
Howard Helm - Guitar solos
Christopher Kinder - Drums
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
To put it upfront, the sheer energy of (London) THE QUIREBOYS much anticipated 7th studio recording "Beautiful Curse" simply nails you to the wall. You won't remain nailed for long though, as the band's instantly recognisable fare begs you to cut footloose.
With a new management, new album, a major tour coming up and a new spin on things in general, all is set to rocket sky-high for Spike & Co. (Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir).
Fans get a few surprises with the new album, but the biggest is perhaps the amazing artwork, something you'd not immediately associate with these much loved gypsy rock 'n' rollers. Themed around the Hispanic celebration 'Dia De Los Muertos' (Festival Of The Dead), the front sleeve, while it might looks a bit tad macabre, it makes perfect sense once you listen to some of the tracks.
It seemingly functions as a metaphor to connect with lost lovers, lost soul mates, and probably lamenting some lost years too, but although The Quireboys have taken five years to release new material, they sound better than ever.
In fact, in many ways, "Beautiful Curse" takes the listener back to the glorious days of the band's beginnings, and believe me when I say some songs here easily sit alongside the classic debut, if indeed it doesn't surpass it.
Opener "Too Much Of A Good Thing" with its choppy intro and Spike's 'alright, c'mon on now' growl, straight away steers towards well-known Quireboys' territory - a bit of woo-hoo-hoo in the chorus, clean hooks and guitar solos, and an altogether rollicking vibe prove that one can never have enough of a good thing.
"Chain Smokin´" is bursting with full-on swagger and attitude sounding as if it was composed during a ride in the fast lane, then again, I can't imagine the band taking a different route anyway. Cool keyboards, cool riffs, and a revving classic Quireboys style.
The brittle charm and well-crafted tune of "Talk Of The Town" is polished with rough 'round the edges, while the swooning "Mother Mary" although not exactly a sonic step forward as far as rock ballads go, is beautifully delivered. Spike uses his cheese-grater voice to maximum effect here, and the all-hold-hands-and-sing-together feel make this number another winner.
We're transported to The Quireboys' irresistible trademark bar room sound on "King Of Fools", though the jauntiness of it all belies Spike's confession that he sees himself as the anti-hero of the title.
"Homewreckers and Heartbreakers" is bluesy and intense, with Hammond all over, raspy (even more) vocals and a solid chorus, and then we get a rough-cut diamond indeed with "Diamonds And Dirty Stones", stirring deep in classic roots but adding layers of hard rock driven guitar solos.
Every title track worth its salt should have an instantly memorable chorus and melody, and that's precisely what we find in "Beautiful Curse"; 'I've been blessed, I've been cursed, it's you that I love first / For better or for worse, I've been blessed with this beautiful curse / For rich or for poor, for less or for more, it's you that I adore'. Bless! Real catchy tune, and both frontman and fellow band members play out a musical romance of their own. A tune deserving plenty of airplay for sure.
We get another fine Quireboys-trademark ballad with "Don't Fight It", with Spike dreamily crooning away while the more quietly tinged instrumentation sits neat and tight.
"For Crying Out Loud" explodes with a honky-tonk infused struttitude, and you want to believe that all the dead come back to live, if only to shake and rattle along to this number before their bones give up again.
Upon first listening "Twenty Seven Years" surprises by taking a slight detour from your typical Quireboys sound. And I like the surprise; the track bounces back to finest American classic rock, bearing slight Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks influences, before some spine-tingling wah-wah keyboards temporarily take over. Inspired is what you call it, and one of my favorites of the CD.
Closing number "I Died Laughing" rolls along nice and smooth like matured whisky, but the rather abrupt finish leaves the listeners calling for more.
The Quireboys are back in full form with a quality disc, on par with the best they've released in their entire career (read debut A Bit Of What You Fancy).
"Beautiful Curse" captures all the Quireboys charm via the band's classic songwriting, whiskey-soaked vocals and melodic riffs... in short, their trademark Gypsy Styled Rock. The band have taken all their old school Rock 'n Roll values and evolved it into a more mature approach, helped by the pristine production by Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore,) and with the legendary Simon Hanson (Squeeze) being added to the rhythm section.
01 - Too Much of a Good Thing
02 - Chain Smokin'
03 - Talk of the Town
04 - Mother Mary
05 - King of Fools
06 - Homewreckers and Heartbreakers
07 - Diamonds and Dirty Stones
08 - Beautiful Curse
09 - Don't Fight It
10 - For Crying Out Loud
11 - Twenty Seven Years
12 - I Died Laughing
Spike - Vocals
Guy Griffin - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Keith Weir - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Paul Guerin - Guitar
Simon Hanson - Drums
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After pushed back release dates and name changes (originally titled 'Get Your Rock On' and then 'Good Songs & Great Friends') the new solo album from Poison frontman BRET MICHAELS is finally released today as "Jammin' With Friends".
And indeed, the good ol' Bret brings together the friends that has made along the way with some of the songs that have shaped all of that success.
Featuring collaborations with artists from a variety of styles and generations, this album contains a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama" with Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Peter Keys from Lynyrd Skynyrd playing on the track, a live duet with Jimmy Buffett ("Margaritaville"), remixes from Bret's solo albums and new versions of some of Poison's biggest hits including a remake of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" with country-music singer Loretta Lynn (which isn't that far from the original).
"Jammin' With Friends" is a genre-bending album... but not so much. Some Classic Rock / Americana, Country and a very few modern elements (as the questionable "You Know You Want It") are added to Michaels' music here, but mostly this is a rock album, quite hard rockin' if you ask me.
Musical greats such as Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Michael Anthony of Van Halen / Chickenfoot, Eric Brittingham (Cinderella), Frank Hannon (Tesla), Hugh McDonald (Bon Jovi), ex- Kiss Ace Frehley, Bobby Capps (38 Special), Leslie West of Mountain, C.C. Deville (Poison) and many more rock stars appear on this record, so expect mostly guitar-to-the-amp oriented songs.
Bret Michaels may have lost his front-head hair (note he is using hats and bandana all the time) and flirting with Americana lately, but his penchant for party-rock is still intact.
Two new songs are included on the CD; the rocker "Get Your Rock On" featuring Phil Collen on guitars & backing vocals which indeed sounds like modern Def Lepp or Collen's side band Manraze, and the other is the ode to social media "The App Song". Additionally, the former has been re-worked and re-titled as "Get Your Ride On" for the US Supercross Championships and also included here.
The good thing about this cocktail named "Jammin' With Friends" is that the tracks rarely exceed the three minute mark avoiding boredom. Only the classics such as "Nothin' But A Good Time", "Something To Believe In" or "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" are longer, and the re-workings are well done.
It's up to you if this bunch of songs (old & new) will be of your interest... I have enjoyed most of it, well arranged, recorded and executed.
01. Nothin' But A Good Time
(feat. Michael Anthony, Lil Jon & Ace Frehley)
02. Sweet Home Alabama
(feat. Rickey Medlocke, Gary Rossington, Bobby Capps & Peter Keys)
03. Talk Dirty To Me
(feat. Mark McGrath & Scot Coogan)
04. Get Your Rock On
(feat. Phil Collen & Sal Costa)
05. Unskinny Bop
(feat. The Shields Brothers, Bobby Capps, Frank Hannon & Robert Mason)
06. The App Song
(feat. Brian Nutter, Jimmy Buffett & Bobby Capps)
07. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
(feat. Loretta Lynn, Bobby Capps, Joe Perry & Hugh McDonald)
(feat. Edwin McCain)
09. Driven [Rock Mix]
(feat. Leslie West, Jeffrey Steele & Eric Brittingham)
10. Nothing to Lose
(feat. Miley Cyrus)
11. What I Got
(feat. Jaret Reddick)
12. Go That Far [Hybrid Mix]
(feat. Jason Miller)
(feat. Jimmy McGorman)
14. Party Rock Band
(feat. C.C. DeVille & Randy Castillo)
15. You Know You Want It
(feat. Peter Keys)
16. Margaritaville [Live in Detroit]
(feat. Jimmy Buffett)
17. Every Rose Has Its Thorn [Country Version]
(feat. Mark Wills, Chris Cagle & Brad Arnold)
18. Something To Believe In
19. Nothin' But A Good Time [Classic Rock Version]
(feat. Ace Frehley, Michael Anthony & The Shields Brothers)
20. Get Your Ride On
(feat. Phil Collen & Sal Costa)
Bret Michaels - vocals, guitar
Pete Evick - backing vocals, guitar, drum programming
Bart Harris - backing vocals
Jamie Laritz - guitar, dobro, mandolin, keyboards, drums
Cliff Calabro - guitar, drums
Gary Smallwood - acoustic guitar, bass
Ian Lafferty - dobro, mandolin, bass, keyboards, percussion
Renee Truex - violin
Rob Jozwiak, Jeremy Rubolino - keyboards
Shawn Hughes, Chuck Fanslau, Dave Allen, Matt Green - drums
Ray Madonna - percussion
BUY IT !
Sunday, June 23, 2013
A cult Melodic Rock / AOR band during the nineties when their albums were really hard to find, Swedes AMAZE ME consisting of lead vocalist Conny Lind (ex-Great King Rat, Talk of the Town and Vision) and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Peter Broman put out three lovable CD's in the pure vein of the genre.
After the compilation Ultimate Collection two years ago the duo is band with a brand new recording entitled “Guilty As Sin” through the German label AOR Heaven.
“Guilty As Sin” is totally '80s Melodic Rock / AOR: pure and simple.
Some people (especially Rock critics) accuse Amaze Me of being too generic, writing AOR songs by numbers. Honestly, although some tracks aren't ground breaking, I don't care a damn because this is not the duo's purpose; they just want to walk in the footsteps of the good old, traditional Melodic Rock / AOR based on harmonies, tons of keyboards and catchy choruses... and that's what fans (like me) are looking for!
The album starts with a foot stomper of a song called "Everybody" with its REO Speedwagon meets Survivor vibe nicely setting the pace for the rest of the recording. Then "Lost In A Dream" is a terrific slice of classic AOR with swirling vintage keys and a classy refrain. I like this stuff, and I like it a lot.
Conny Lind sings with an occasionally Swedish accent which doesn't results annoying at all, on the contrary, it adds an even more special charm to these melodies with a wonderful Scandi touch.
Following this is "Can’t Stop Loving You", a mid paced number that got me throwing shapes all over the place (this is always a good sign), and the British sounding "Save Me" featuring punctuating keyboards, layered harmonies and a sharp guitar work.
Ballads are kind of expected on AOR releases and Amaze Me doesn't disappoint with the lush "Endless Love" and the more bluesy "Dying To Be Loved". On both the guys have come up trumps.
"With Or Without You" with its '80s robotic (think Styx) intro is a highlight, one of the most elaborated tracks of the entire disc. It is quite simply a staggering midtempo Melodic Rock song filled with a great guitar work and cleverly arranged vocals. This is how Swedish MR/AOR should sound!
There's other soaring cuts like title track "Guilty As Sin", "The Pain" or "On Fire", the latter electric based but adorned with acoustics and pianos.
Amaze Me have recorded two exclusive tracks for press promotion (not for sale) and of course you have 'em here at 0dayrox.
One is an acoustic guitar version of title track "Guilty As Sin" which takes the song to a whole new dimension, whipping your mind off into the world of dark, smokey Swedish nightclubs.
The other is a short - acoustic as well - of their classic "You Say You Never Cry" (I love this track) originally included on the album 'Wonderland' released in 1998.
As expected, “Guilty As Sin” is an album brimming with great harmonies and wonderful Melodic Rock tunes tempered with some quality classy AOR songs. It's a real pleasure listen to it.
Fans of genre, don't miss this! Highly Recommended.
01 - Everybody
02 - Lost In a Dream
03 - Can't Stop Loving You
04 - Save Me
05 - Endless Love
06 - With Or Without You
07 - The Pain
08 - Guilty As Sin
09 - On The Run
10 - Dying To Be Loved
11 - Love Is Blind
12 - On Fire
Exclusive Bonus Tracks:
13 - Guilty As Sin [Acoustic]
14 - You Say You Never Cry [Acoustic]
Peter Broman – all instruments
Conny Lind – all vocals
BUY IT !
Times in the music business are changing rapidly, so it's no surprise to see a metal specialized label as Nuclear Blast signing Austin, Texas based retro-rockers SCORPION CHILD. Seventies Classic Rock is definitely making a big comeback and a band like this basks in the glory of utilizing analog recording technology for their lofty efforts.
Better yet, the group evokes institutionalized acts like Led Zeppelin, Rainbow and Uriah Heep as inspiration for their hard driven style, so this should appease fans into the retro '70s hard rock craze. In fact, their self-titled debut disc goes for the gusto, filtering the vocal talents of Aryn Jonathan Black and the twin guitar attack of Chris Cowart and David Finner into a framework for a very classic hard rock sound.
The easiest comparison to make for Scorpion Child would definitely be Led Zeppelin. With their blues influenced heavy psych-rock and Aryn Jonathan Black’s Robert Plant-like vocals, they are an extension of their influences but not an imitation. They are accomplished songwriters and for a debut album, these guys have assembled a cornucopia of great rockin' songs.
Starting with "Kings Highway" one of the first sounds listeners will hear is the wail of lead singer Aryn Jonathan Black fading in. With a blues-based groove for the verses and some powerful energy on the chorus, the track offers Black plenty of opportunities to showcase his soulful and spirited sides.
While that was a great opening track for an album, you can't go past "Polygon Of Eyes" as an introduction to this band. Massive riffs, John Bonham-esque drumming and a giant chorus with the line 'I live on the mountain' showcasing this time a vocal approach like a harsher Ronnie James Dio, immediately Rainbow’s 'Man on the Silver Mountain' comes to mind, but the backing instrumentation is actually a lot more aggressive. With a memorable melody and huge riffs, it's no wonder why "Polygon Of Eyes" was named the album's first single.
Other album highlights include "The Secret Spot" and "Paradigm", two of the fastest paced selections on the entire record. The latter is easily one of my favs, with some meaty hard rock riffage and a middle part where the melody line follows the guitars in a way which sounds fantastic. As a part of the album, this track is perfectly placed as it is followed by "Red Blood (The River Flows)", a great psych-prog ballad opening with acoustic guitars and progressing into huge soaring melodies and a massive wall of sound.
The twin guitar attack are used to great effect throughout "Liquor" and Shawn Alvear provides a very solid drumming all over, helped by the earthy production allowing the rhythm section to sound crisp amongst the rest of the instruments.
Another remarkable moment arrives with "Salvation Slave" which coalesces into a satisfying moment of ultra heaviness and is one such number to display the brilliance of the band’s overall sound.
One impressive debut filled with heavy riffs, powerful bass lines and furious drumming, all led by a vocalist who is destined to become a major star. Scorpion Child strives to breathe new life into the lasting legacy of psych hard rock and there's nothing stopping them from carving out a musical legacy all their own.
This recording is a great example of a young band doing something new with such classic sounds. It's very easy to the ears and at the same time juicy and meaty allowing you to discover new sensations after repeated listens. Ah, of course, "Scorpion Child" is also available on vinyl, a format that truly deserves.
01. Kings Highway
02. Polygon Of Eyes
03. The Secret Spot
04. Salvation Slave
07. In The Arms Of Ecstasy
09. Red Blood (The River Flows)
10. Keep Goin' [Hidden Bonus Track]
Aryn Jonathan Black - Vocals
Shaun Diettrick Avants - Bass
Christopher Jay Cowart - Lead Guitar
Tom "The Mole" Frank - Rhythm Guitar
Shawn Paul Alvear - Drums, Percussion
BUY IT !
Saturday, June 22, 2013
"Synergy" is particular album in 7TH HEAVEN career, as it's their first CD including a regular 12 track running order instead the twenty +plus the band used to offer on previous releases.
It also marks the debut of new singer Anthony Fedorov, and if some fans were worried about the band's future let me tell you this guy is even better and melodic in his vocal delivery, equipping these new songs with a refreshed feel-good vibe.
One of the most prolific indie groups in the world, 7th Heaven have more than 700(!) songs recorded & published as most of the five members are accomplished songwriters. 7th Heaven manages themselves all the aspects of their art, so they always felt free to include a huge bunch of tracks (double Cd's) into every release.
In a wise move, this time the guys opted for a more digestible format for "Synergy" trimming a little of the fat and choosing the best songs from their fertile pen. After the too poppy last album Pop Media, 7th Heaven now has taken the best pumping elements from there and have blended it with their trademark modern melodic rock style of the past.
So you have here a bright, custom built album for summers, sunshine and beach parties with catchy melodies but much more consistent than before. Songs like "We Live Life Young", "Take My Heart (Do It All Again)", "I'll Be Waiting" or the midtempo "Rhianna" are extremely melodious, instant radio friendly rock&pop tunes.
But the guys haven't lost their melodic rock heart and that's heard in the Def Leppard circa 'X' riffs & beats of "Never Gonna Bring Me Down", "Live On" and "Pages", there's shades of Rick Springfield in "Light Up The World" and even in "Counting The Days" they remind me some acts from the new wave of the Swedish Melodic Rock scene. All ear candy stuff.
The only track I dislike here is the boy-band-like "Why Ya Gotta Be Like That", but fortunately it only runs less than three minutes and it's placed at the end of the disc, so you can push the stop button after track 11.
If you like 7th Heaven, "Synergy" won't disappoint you as the band keeps delivering what their fans really wanted and hoped. If you're new to them expect shaky rhythms and sticky choruses professionally written, played and produced.
Mixing light melodic rockers with easy to the ear solid rock&pop tunes, "Synergy" is a fun, feel-good summertime disc specially designed for the season which has just started yesterday...
01. We Live Life Young
03. Never Gonna Bring Me Down
04. Counting The Days
06. Power Of Love
07. Take My Heart (Do It All Again)
08. Live On
09. Light Up The World
10. I Begin Again
11. I'll Be Waiting
12. Why Ya Gotta Be Like That
Richard Hofherr - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Nick Cox - Guitar, Vocals
Mark Kennetz - Bass, Vocals
Michael Mooshey - Drums
Anthony Fedorov - Lead Vocals
BUY IT !
British Melodic Rockers LOST WEEKEND always have been a personal favorite. Through an impeccable 18-year career these criminally underrated and talented musicians released one great album after another.
It was around their third opus in 2002 that legendary Magnum singer Bob Catley invited the band to support him on his solo European tour for which the group again impressed from the start, this resulted in Lost Weekend being asked to write the songs for Catley's next solo album Spirit Of Man. Even guitarist David Thompson played on it.
Now, after a brief two year hiatus Lost Weekend are back with a brilliant brand new CD; "Evermore", again having once again teamed up with excellent Swedish producer Martin Kronlund and releasing it via the AOR Heaven label.
More AOR laden than never before, "Evermore" is an stylized Melodic Rock gem of the modern times.
You have it all here; multi layered vocals and harmonies, twin guitars delivering delicate and at the same time sharp riffs and solos, keyboards galore that are twinkly combined with a bass that feels like a heartbeat and drums that kick it all up and bring it to life.
From the marching opener "Reach For The Sky", followed by the heavenly synth-driven AOR of "Love Will Find You" (one of THE songs of the year) to the melodic rock bliss of awesome numbers like "The Real World", "Live For Tomorrow", "Ain't No Friend Of Mine" or "Do You Remember", this CD is a pure delight to the years.
The gorgeous midtempos "Got To Make It Through" or title track "Evermore" shows Lost Weekends's pure classy British lineage, while ballads "Falling By The Wayside" and "Angel Sublime" are really sublime indeed.
There's no need to add much more to describe Lost Weekend's "Evermore": it's a must.
Fans of pure, classic British Melodic Rock / AOR don't hesitate to purchase this fantastic album, already in my 'Best Of' list this year.
Lead Vocals - Paul Uttley
Lead Guitar - David Thompson
Rhythm Guitar - Paul Surrall
Bass - Robin Patchett
Keyboards - Irving Parratt
Drums - Jack Himsworth
BUY IT !
Canadian rockers FAMOUS UNDERGROUND and their debut CD marks the return of ex- Slik Toxik frontman Nick Walsh, a band soaked in the Sunset Strip hard rock essences with plenty of additional and varied metallic coaxing. The group even received a Juno Award (Canuck Grammy) in 1993 but due the suffocating grip of grunge they disbanded two years after.
Listening to their engaging and energy fuelled debut self-titled album, it is easy to imagine Famous Underground following suit. Consisting of thirteen inventive and accomplished slices of muscular hard rock, the album offers rebellion to its air and riotous enterprise to its body and though arguably it is not climbing over fences into new pastures of sound it is a constantly satisfying and incendiary encounter.
Three years ago Walsh and long-time bassist/musical partner Laurie-Anne Green began working on songs seeded in the breath of their original band, 2011 seeing the pair starting Famous Underground and recruiting like-minded but variously inspired musicians to realise their vision.
The album could be characterized as late Eighties / early Nineties hard rock still picking up on the late LA sleazy side of things with melody and edge, merging it with a modern sound plus a slightly dark vibe.
Opening track "Wasteland" instantly stands toe to toe with the listener, staring them down as attitude drenched riffs snarl and prey on the ear with contagious potency and craft. The vocals of Walsh scowl and prowl over the melodic flames and within the ensnaring web of riffs.
It is an impressive start soon matched by the following "Overdrive", another predatory snarl of a song with the bass of Green deliciously laying down a carnivorous temptation behind the groovy strikes of guitar and expression-fuelled vocals. There is a familiarity to both songs and a modern style but equally they hold their own individual presence.
However, apart from these modernized opening pair of tracks, Walsh / Co. doesn't stray far from their early roots for the most part.
You hear this in the midtempo '80s Californian anthem "On Broken Wings" and the super power ballad "Forever And A Day" (Poison-like) which reach for that large arena rock sound. Other rockers go for the same path like the speedy and catchy "Bullet Train", the heavy and bittersweet "Love Stands Still", and the LA Guns inspired "Hell To Pay".
Famous Underground flirts again with modernity on "Dead Weight" and "Necropolis", chosen as single/video with obvious radio intentions, but personally I think the band works better in their traditional style which fortunately dominates this recording.
The groovy, sleazy "Mommy Is A Junkie" and the sinister melody of "Wheel Of Misfortune" recalls Lynch Mob's darker side, the latter with a stirring, intensively riff-fuelled line, while the Skid Row-esque "Love Stands Still" is one of the most driving songs on the CD featuring a hot solo as well.
Throughout Walsh is steady, clearly still having the vocal chops to carry every song. The album also includes two bonus tracks: an unplugged version of "Dead Weight" which is actually better than the original, and an alternate version of "On Broken Wings" adorned with nice harmony vocals and some strings in the background.
"Famous Underground" is a well balanced album resurrecting the traditional Californian styled hard rock blended with some new school vibe: wicked chops, attitude-laden vocals and solid rhythms. It’s just plain good hard rock music from those who have ‘been there, done that’.
Walsh-produced and nicely mixed and mastered by Darius Szczepaniak (The Black Crowes), these songs allow everyone’s skills to shine. From Walsh’s gritty, dynamic, sandpaper-edge vocal to what sounds like a triple guitar attack (Walsh plus Rick Corvese and Darren Boyd on some tunes), through Desche Sparboom‘s rumbling drums to the emphatic bass guitar licks of Laurie-Anne Green, the band brings us their brand of heavy-hitting, rifftastic hard rock. To hammer home their theme that they aren't a one-trick hard rockin' pony, the acoustic renditions at the end of the album are well-arranged and delivered with an uncommon conviction.
It's not easy bring to the table the good ol' traditional Sunset Strip style without sounding repetitive, and "Famous Underground" succeeded for the most part infusing to their recipe a fresh modern edge.
01 - Wasteland
02 - Overdrive
03 - Dead Weight
04 - Love Stands Still
05 - Forever And A Day
06 - Necropolis
07 - Wheel Of Misfortune
08 - Mommy Is A Junkie
09 - On Broken Wings
10 - Bullet Train
11 - Hell To Pay
12 - Dead Weight (Raw and Unplugged) [Bonus Track]
13 - On Broken Wings (Alt. Version) [Bonus Track]
Nick Walsh – lead and backing vocals, guitar
Laurie-Anne Green – bass, backing vocals
Rick Corvese – guitars, backing vocals
Darren Boyd – guitars, backing vocals
Desche Sparboom – drums
BUY IT !
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
BLACK SABBATH recorded way more than the eight songs that appeared on the standard edition of their "13" album (presented HERE) and one of the ways that they are making sure that fans will get a chance to hear them is through several special editions.
The "Black Sabbath 13 Best Buy Exclusive" includes a bonus CD featuring the Deluxe Edition three new cuts "Methademic", "Peace Of Mind" and "Pariah", plus the Best Buy exclusive track "Naïveté In Black".
This version is also sold by some retailers in Europe including as a gift one more Extra: a long, guitar fueled take of "Dirty Women" which was recorded at one of the Australian shows earlier in 2013. A great taste of how Black Sabbath 2013 sounds alive.
02. Peace of Mind (3:41)
03. Pariah (5:35)
04. Naïveté In Black [Best Buy Exclusive track] (3:51)
05. Dirty Women [Live in Australia 2013 - European Digital Exclusive] (7:21)
Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals
Tony Iommi – guitar
Geezer Butler – bass
Brad Wilk – drums
BUY IT !
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Talented (and at this time quasi-legendary) singer, songwriter and lately producer MAT SINNER has been doin’ his thing since the early '80s from his own band Sinner to Voodoo Circle, Wolfpakk or Primal Fear. Surprisingly enough Mat only has released a solo album in his entire career, at the time when he momentarily left Sinner (the band). That was in 1990, and “Back To The Bullet” the title of the CD only released in Germany.
Next June 21, “Back To The Bullet” will be re-released with a world-wide distribution, completely re-designed cover artwork/booklet and with a great remastering job by Achim Köhler (Primal Fear) giving to every Melodic Hard Rock fan the opportunity to finally get this true gem which was out of print for many years.
“Back To The Bullet” is Mat Sinner's finest work (much, much better than any of his bands / projects), and one of my favorite Melodic Hard Rock albums ever. Period.
This is a real corker, a pure expression of the genre much taking inspiration from the best of late '80s US stadium polished MHR and Hair Metal garnished with an European punch.
Take note this recording was engineered & co-produced by Albert Boekhold (Treat, Magnum), responsible for Treat's 'Dreamhunter', another all time favorite. Precisely that album is what “Back To The Bullet” sound recalls: Treat and his mix of Euro / Scandi melodious hard aiming to the US market.
All track are killers; from catchy numbers with stratospheric choruses like the awesome "Every Second Counts", "In The Name Of Rock'n'Roll", the bliss of "Down Undercover" or the melodic heaven of bonus track "She's Got The Look", to crunchy hard rockers such as title track "Back To The Bullet", "Wildest Dreams" and the anthemic "Tear Down The Wall".
There's a terrific mid-tempo in "Face To Face" (a monster), a great ballad in the form of the Swedish sounding "Call My Name" and even a cover of the R&B / Soul family-band The Osmonds, a 1972 hit called "Crazy Horses" turned, indeed, into a crazy, catchy, funny hard rocker with a chugging guitar work.
Fans of pure, BIG, anthemic, polished, crisp-produced Melodic Hard Rock, do yourself an immense favor: get this superb remaster / re-release of “Back To The Bullet” pronto.
A MUST HAVE.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 - Back To The Bullet
02 - Tear Down The Wall
03 - Every Second Counts
04 - Call My Name
05 - Crazy Horses
06 - In The Name Of Rock'n'Roll
07 - Wildest Dreams
08 - Down Undercover
09 - Face To Face
10 - Crying In The Wires
11 - She's Got The Look (bonus track)
Mat Sinner - Vocals, Guitar
Alex Beyrodt - Guitar
Tom Naumann - Guitar
Frank Rössler - Keyboards
Tommy Geiger - Bass
Tommy Resch - Drums
thanks to Spencer
How long have QUEENSRYCHE fans been begging for a return to what made the band so special? How long have we been hoping for just the slightest bit of progressive metal swagger or even some classic dual guitar harmonies? How long have we held on to every scrap of nostalgia in order to not hate the last 15+ years of Queensrÿche releases?
We've made excuses, we've dropped our standards and, in the end, we simply learned to be happy with any release that wasn't totally embarrassing. Dedicated to Chaos pushed most of us beyond our levels of tolerance. It was easily a new low for the band, and worse, Geoff Tate seemed to be blaming the listener for the negative reactions. It finally seemed like it was time to end this abusive relationship and move on, but then the unexpected happened.
In a surprise move, the band dumped Geoff Tate and picked up ex-Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre. This change of personnel seemed to revitalize the remaining members, as it heard in the band’s twelfth album "Queensryche" to be released next June 25, 2013.
For long time fans, this album is most likely going to elicit memories of Empire with its strong songwriting and infectious choruses but there’s more to it than that. If anything, "Queensryche" is the sound of Empire with hints of the band’s earliest material, but built for the modern rocker fan. This is most noticeable in the fat riffs that dominate just about every song.
Even at their most ‘metal’ the band were never really known for writing heavy music, but that has changed on this new recording / line-up. There are places throughout this album where the bottom-end and percussion blend to create some positively crushing refrains (by Queensrÿche standards) - most notably within "Spore". There’s more to this album than an emphasis on heavy riffs, though.
Even at their lowest, Queensryche were never a one-trick pony and they haven’t become one now. Just about every track explores a different facet of the band’s sound while still maintaining a uniform listening experience.
There’s the album opener, "Where Dreams Go to Die" that alternates between heavy, militaristic sections and a mellow groove. Later, there’s the ‘Another Rainy Night’ / ‘Jet City Woman’ vibe of "In This Light" which is definitely an album highlight.
We find also a few power ballads that bring to mind the style found on ‘No Sanctuary’ and ‘London’. There are even a few bones for the Mindcrime crowd including "Vindication" with a chorus that actually kind of has a classic Helloween feel. Despite references to the band’s past, the songs on Queensryche never sound rehashed or stale. Queensryche have masterfully managed to return to the sound of their classic albums, but have done so while moving forward - as they have always done.
When the band dropped Geoff Tate in favor of Todd La Torre, most fans probably expected the worst. Yes, Geoff was driving the band into the dirt, but change is a hard thing to accept even when it is necessary. It turns out, however, that Todd La Torre was the perfect replacement. He is able to emulate Geoff Tate’s classic vocal style perfectly, and also brings his own gritty style to the songs. There are plenty of times over the course of "Queensryche" where I literally forgot that there even was a new vocalist.
Of course, there are a few issues that should be addressed. If there is one complaint that could be leveled against these songs, it’s that they lack the high level of classy, progressive elements that were so prevalent during the Chris DeGarmo era. The songs all seem to be lacking that layer of subtle flourishes and clean guitar melodies that were (apparently) DeGarmo’s influence. Of course, they’ve been missing since the late nineties but I was hoping that the remaining members input had simply been stifled in that area.
The other minor issue is the album’s runtime; at barely thirty-five minutes the length leaves me wanting more. This complaint is as much a testament to the high quality of each song as it is a gripe against the brevity of the album.
Dedicated to Chaos burned a lot of Queensryche’s remaining fans, and Geoff Tate’s increasingly hostile stance put off a lot more. It really seemed like the band were going to implode but it hasn’t happened.
Instead, Queensryche have ditched the bad karma and released their best album since the early nineties.New vocalist Todd La Torre is spot on with his interpretation of Geoff Tate’s signature vocal style, but also brings enough of his own personal flair to keep from being a clone. Musically the band have stepped things up by mixing their signature sound with a modern, riff-heavy style that turned out to be truly complimentary.
There’s absolutely no way Queensryche’s self-titled album will disappoint long-time fans that have been clamoring for a return to what initially made this band so special.
Welcome back Scott Rockenfield & Co. ~ Very, Very Good.
02. Where Dreams Go To Die
04. In This Light
07. Midnight Lullaby
08. A World Without
09. Don't Look Back
11. Open Road
Todd La Torre - vocals
Michael Wilton - guitars
Eddie Jackson - bass
Scott Rockenfield - drums, percussion and keyboards
Parker Lundgren - guitars
Pamela Moore - guest vocals (8)
Sunday, June 16, 2013
I am in ecstasy.
This is the trance-like state you'll be into after listening JONO's debut album "Requiem". These talented young guys from Island of Gotland, Sweden, have produced a wonderful, surprisingly mature piece of art here.
I am starting this review backwards, because I can't recommend to you this album enough.
Jono's music, vision and inspiration marry up the best of early Queen, Kansas and even Toto into a magical recipe that transcends any genre or classification.
But judging (and enjoying) their work limited to the aforementioned acts would be a tremendous injustice. This combo conducted by the impressive Johan Norrby takes the melodies, the gorgeous vocals arrangements and superbly clean musicianship of these classic bands and add to them their incredible good taste to build a unique blend into 'songs'.
Yes, we are talking about songs here, but not your typical ones; "Requiem" is a perfect concoction of melodic progressive rock, melodic rock and elaborated rock&pop delivered with a freshness and originality rarely seen in the music business of today.
This is not avant-garde or experimental, on the contrary, these are pure melodic, uplifting, highly listeneable songs that does not stop to surprise you all the time.
Opening with the catchy (in its own terms) "I Was The One" were the pace, the deep bass and guitar work recalls Toto - but then in the middle a piano / vocal passage transports you to Queen circa 'II' - you know this album will be something special. Next, the cheerful "Jugment Day" is driven by a perfect, melodic refrain and an enviable musicality that oozes quality through and through.
And now "Letting Go" follows... Oh my... Freddie Mercury would be proud. This is simply an outstanding composition keyboard and vocal dominated with superb vocal inflections, confident instrumentation and a truly emotive feeling.
In the same vein we have the slightly progressive "Symphony" (with a terrific guitar work) and title track "Requiem", all of them interspersed with uptempo and colourful numbers like the melodic rock of "Nothing" and the bouncing (and commercial) "Best Thing" which balance the album in a clever, intelligent form.
But Jono aren't conformists at all, and as said, they surprise you again and again; "Dead Or Alive" is some kind of a sympho-prog number with strong guitar riff and a blasting solo, but with a pop melody, a trepidant yet clean tempo and epic vocals but not in the 'grandiose' way, I dare to say the singing is inspired in Broadway musicals... looks like a pastiche on paper, but believe me, the result is awesome.
For the end, another gift to the ears: the slow, velvety, almost sad "Love Again" is supreme. Subtle, ethereal instrumentation and heavenly vocals very much in the style of 'My Melancholy Blues' (Queen's News Of The World).
Here's where you need to go above, at the beginning of this review, and read what I think about JONO's "Requiem".
Seriously, get this album at any price.
01 - I Was The One
02 - Judgement Day
03 - Letting Go
04 - Nothing
05 - Symphony
06 - Best Thing
07 - Requiem
08 - Dead Or Alive
09 - Love Again
Johan Norrby - vocals, keyboards
Stefan Helleblad - guitar
John Carlgren - keyboards
Janne Henriksson - bass
Nicka Hellenberg - drums
BUY IT !
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Swedish old-school European metalers MEAN STREAK already have two albums under their belt, but I never heard about them before.
Seems that for the band's just released third effort "Trial By Fire" they wanted to create an '80s inspired, equally heavy and melodic opus focused in the polished & commercial sound of that decade driven by sharp guitars, stabbing keys and thunderous rhythm section. And they hit the nail on the head for the most part.
Much of "Trial By Fire" success comes from how the band chose to record it. The band passed on the modernity of Pro Tools, used natural drums with without any sample replacements or artificial reverbs, and bumped up the breadth and depth of the vocal arrangements. Mean Streak writes songs with a good melody and rock groove to move the heaviness, and then loads them with twin guitar leads.
Of all these things, perhaps the most noticeable are the strong vocal arrangements, with a remarkable output in the layered harmonies obtained on the choruses & backing vocals.
Songs "Shine On" (watch video below), "Hangman's Daughter" and "Let Love Rain" are particularly impressive. The latter sounds like a Mutt Lange produced Def Leppard song, only heavier (which is probably what the band was seeking).
Otherwise, you have some terrific melodic metal cuts across the album. There's speedier numbers in "Trial By Fire" and the anthem "We Are One" featuring a fluid lead break recalling Accept's 'Metal Heart' more catchy yet powerful moments.
Then there's the toe-tapping, fist pumping, groove of "Bad Blood". At times guitarist David Andersson, bassist Peter Andersson, and drummer Jonas Kallsback align as a formidable militant charge - check out the Accept / 220 Volt oriented "Thunderbolt" and the subtle hard rock shuffling that occurs within the aforementioned "Let Love Rain" to understand the band's creative chemistry and intuition for some killer hooks and songwriting with this record.
Andy La Guerin as a singer has many facets to his voice that lend themselves very well to a versatile hard rock and metal palate. He can be playful and inject his personality at times in material that's more stripped down and bluesy such as "Tunnel Vision", restrained and tender for the acoustic ballad "Cast Away"(love the cello accents on this one), or all out balls to the wall metal and fierce for the title track.
Don't be afraid by the 'gritty metal' artwork cover; although "Trial By Fire" packs heavy music and thunderous moments all is delivered with an extremely polished sound, arrangements and melodies galore.
Mean Streak accomplished their goal of creating a proper melodic metal album in the best '80s tradition spiced with classic hard rock winks (I love "Let Love Rain" and "Shine On") really well produced in a crisp and clear time-honoured way for maximum effect.
01. We Are One
02. Shine On
04. A Heartbeat Away
05. Bad Blood
06. Cast Away
07. Hangmans Daughter
08. Into The Night
09. Let Love Rain
10. Tunnel Vision
11. Saints Are Falling
12. Trial By Fire
Andy La Guerin - Vocals
David Andersson - Guitar
Thomas “Plec” Johansson - Guitar
Peter Andersson - Bass
Jonas Källsbäck - Drums
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Friday, June 14, 2013
Perth, Western Australia based rockers RAGDOLL pleasantly surprised us last year with their first bunch of tunes featured HERE.
Now this young, eighties-influenced melodic hard rock band are presenting their new material "All I Want Is Everything", again self managed and distributed.
Ragdoll have jumped several steps in the evolutionary process as unit in this recording, showing the guys are ready for big arenas and indeed they 'want everything'. The musicianship has grown and the classic rock inspiration is still in the songwriting, but the band's sound developed into a distinctive modern delivery.
This is clear in opening track "All I Want" (you can see the video below), probably the most dynamic and moving track they have done to date, carefully crafted to appeal both old school listeners of the genre as younger audiences.
"Astray" is very American sounding where a thick riff and a melodious vocal line dominates the scene. Guitarist Le'on Todd songwriting just seems to have so much more depth this time around and it seems he's find the perfect balance between showing off his formidable fretboard skills and creating music that is both immediate and memorable.
"Irreplaceable" is the EP’s lighter moment, a wonderful tune that somehow recalls Harem Scarem and really showcases Ryan Dash Rafferty’s vocals. It’s a kind of song that sticks and makes you feel what only the best Rock Music can give you: that feeling of a summer night under the stars. I thought only Harry Hess could write like this!
Things return to a rocking territory with the sharp riff of "Break You". There's a stadium live vibe all over, a ‘broken’ chorus to rise your fist and a great Nuno Bettencourt-inspired guitar solo.
Closing track "Self Censored" has the kitchen sink, with a guitar refrain that steps foot in some British acts. It’s the most experimental track here accompanied by personal lyrics. But it's also lush and wonderfully melodic, so much so that it really matters little that it isn’t constructed upon a huge hook, it’s much more subtle a beast than that.
In "All I Want Is Everything" Ragdoll shows a constant, rock-solid evolution: the guys refined and polished songwriting & musicianship, took the best of what they’ve done before and not content to repeat it, they have built on it.
If you love your melodic rock inspired on tradition but sounding thoroughly modern, you should check Ragdoll pronto. This is a band with fresh ideas and a distinctive touch that really set them apart from the pack.
01 - All I Want
02 - Astray
03 - Irreplaceable
04 - Break You
05 - Self Censored
Ryan Dash Rafferty - Lead & Backing Vocals, Bass
Le'on Todd - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Cam Barrett - Drums, Backing Vocals
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Formed in 2002 by Roland Grapow (guitar) and Uli Kusch (drums) after their departure from Helloween, MASTERPLAN put out three killer melodic metal records with Norwegian monster shouter Jorn Lande at the mic.
In 2013, not only Jorn is no more - replaced by renowned singer Rick Altzi (At Vance) - but also the band has a new rhythm section in drummer Martin 'Marthus' Skaroupka and bassist Jari Kainulainen (ex- Evergrey). When Masterplan announced the new lineup in November of last year, Jorn apologists flooded the comment strings of various metal news outlets with comments like “another band is spoiled by a vocalist change” and “no Jorn…no Masterplan”.
Well, let me tell you that the brand new CD from Masterplan, "Novum Initium", is a killer one, and Rick Altzi proves to be a more than compatible replacement for Jorn… and dare I say – a wee bit better in spots.
Musically, this new album ranks as one of the band’s finest, recalling the best heard from the self-titled debut, 2005’s Aeronautics and the appropriately titled 2010 Time To Be King, but more melodious, mid-paced, almost commecial at places.
"Novum Initium" can be defined as 'what Whitesnake would sound like if they tipped a bit into melodic metal'. Altzi has added more dynamics to the proceedings shifting his vocals with a slab of grit while on the way up to the high range. Also the songs structures have been stylized around the four minute mark on most tracks.
Of course, there's some quite power numbers present as opener "The Game", an admirable driving melodic metal song with noticeably well-crafted double bass drumming and copious amounts of heaviness intertwined with trademark melody. Grapow proves here what amazing solos he can play.
But immediately, "Keep Your Dream Alive" throws a commercial, mid-paced winning melody showing the album's musicality and intention to reach a wide audience (check video below). It's the song where Altzi shines brightest, showing the breadth of his range – and for many moments you said: “Jorn who?”
Next, "Black Night Of Magic" has in irresistible catchiness (love the pre-chorus), while "Betrayal" is one of the most elaborated cuts on the CD with its Middle Eastern charm that falls into the heaviest riff on the recording drawn out like slamming shudders by Axel Mackenrott’s keyboards.
"Pray On My Soul" has a bouncing groove really Whitesnake influenced (one of my favs), same with the balladry of "Through Your Eyes" where there is also an awesome guitar work of rhythm and lead.
Other notables are the appealing riff in "Earth Going Down" which is dominated by the keyboards as the song progresses, "No Escape" blending great melodies of sheer Power Metal force yet features a very melodic chorus, the speedier "Return to Avalon" and the never dull ten minute title track "Novum Initium" (especially great at 6:13 to 7:15) and featuring a vocal duet of Altzi and Grapow. Epic composition but not pretentious, incorporating progressive elements and a few orchestral arrangements.
"Novum Initium" is a killer recording. This may be a new beginning for Masterplan in member changes, however the creation of high quality, catchy melodic metal perseveres.
Every song on this album is made solid and very enjoyable to listen, never too long and focused to appeal a wide array of listeners: metalheads, melodic hard rockers and why not classic rock fans. Production is awesome, BIG, brilliant and crisp.
A Very Recommended release.
01. Per Aspera Ad Astra
02. The Game
03. Keep Your Dream Alive
04. Black Night Of Magic
06. No Escape
07. Pray On My Soul
08. Earth Is Going Down
09. Return From Avalon
10. Through Your Eyes
11. Novum Initium
12. 1492 (digipack bonus track)
13. Fear The Silence (digipack bonus track)
Rick Altzi - vocals
Roland Grapow - guitars
Axel Mackenrott - keyboards
Jari Kainulainen - bass
Martin Marthus Skaroupka - drums
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Thursday, June 13, 2013
For Atlanta hard rockers MAD MARGRITT their clockwork seems to have been hit by a lightning someday in 1989, as since the band formed almost two decades ago never changed their style inspired by the Sunset Strip glory days.
Onto Mad Margritt's new CD "Show No Mercy" to be released next June 16, although the group still proudly waves the Hair Metal flag in 2013, this has a heavier feel and sound to it than their previous recordings.
In "Show No Mercy" the music stays true to its roots via catchy choruses and contagious melodies, but it's evident a more edgy approach with the addition of a heavier guitar sound. The background chants and over powering driving rock chords on some tracks almost gives them a Lynch Mob vibe, something never heard before.
Anyway, Mad Margritt's typical early Warrant / Skid Row melodious rockers are the essence here.
There isn't a single weak musician in the band (they have a new drummer in Brandon Faulkner) but the guy who definitely makes it all come together is singer / guitarist Eddie Smith. Simply put, Eddie has an astounding voice, and it's difficult to imagine anyone more perfectly suited to sing this kind of music. His vocals sound remarkably similar to ex- Warrant Jani Lane with a little bit of Sebastian Bach mixed in, which makes for a truly dazzling display of vocal prowess.
Numbers such as the Slave-To-The-Grind-like "The Way Your Loving Me" and "Breaking Down" is where the band sounds harden, but traditional Margritt arrives with "I Can't Get Enough" and "Touch Too Much", both textbook Hair Metal songs with killer choruses.
"Too Little, Too Late" is an infectious moving rocker as is "Down In Flames". Catchy stuff indeed, with smooth strong backing vocals.
On the softer moments, "Only In My Dreams" is a midtempo with a groovy riff and a cadence recalling the aforementioned Lynch Mob, while "Ever Since You've Been Gone" is the power ballad in a straight '89 mould but with a bit more punch than the typical cheese-ball slow tune in this genre.
If you're a late '80s American hard rock fan, you'll love "Show No Mercy". Mad Margritt is more than just a bunch of guys trying to capitalize on nostalgia for nostalgia's sake; it's genuinely well-written music.
It's sleazy, catchy and sweet all at once, and it's good to see a Hair Metal rooted band actually exploring some new harder approach rather than being a one-trick pony.
Eddie Smith’s vocals remain sharp, and the guitar playing is standing tall on this new recording driving the slight direction change while still managing the melodic sound that will keep fans of the genre happy. Perhaps production isn't crisp as before, but surely this was done with the intention to help the hardness arise.
Only available on CD for the moment, "Show No Mercy" is a kickin' American Hard Rock / Hair Metal that would have been right at home in the music scene of the late '80s.
Enjoy it today.
01 - The Way Your Loving Me
02 - I Can't Get Enough
03 - Ever Since You've Been Gone
04 - Touch Too Much
05 - Down In Flames
06 - Too Little, Too Late
07 - Indian Summer
08 - Only In My Dreams
09 - Breaking Down
Eddie Smith (vocals, guitar)
Carl Culpepper (guitar)
Skip Mullis (bass)
Brandon Faulkner (drums)
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Germans BONFIRE, one of my favorite Melodic Hard Rock bands (and one of the most influential in the genre) are recording a new studio album planned for the end of the year. In the meantime they surprise us with the thought-to-be-lost-forever recording of their performance at Wacken Open Air Festival in 1998.
This almost historical piece of music has been sonically updated with a proper mix and it's being released as "Live In Waken", but there's more to enjoy here, including previously unheard material.
Having gotten their start in the mind blowing distant 1972 as Cacumen, the band only cracked a massive success in Europe -especially in their homeland Germany- and some interest in the US when they changed their name in 1986 to Bonfire. Despite numerous line-up changes including the two remaining originals in Claus Lessman on vocals and Hans Ziller on guitar for some years, the band has released some of the most incredible and respected material of the Melodic Hard Rock genre.
On the heels of the soon to be released new studio CD, the band decided to put out this live nugget "Live At Wacken" to appease the masses until it's finished.
Even though Bonfire has released a couple live albums over the years what helps this one stand out from the others, besides being lost, is the fact that it's a true representation of what one would expect from the band live.
Clearly taken straight from the tapes, you can hear the rawness which strengthens the powerful performances. This is pure live, no overdubs, but with a contemporary mix. The band is obviously having a great time and feeding off the crowd.
What makes "Live In Waken" so special as well is the setlist.
Containing great performances of classic tracks from their catalogue, it also features really different versions of the band’s anthems like "Sweet Obsession", the groovy "SDI", "Champion", "Ready 4 Reaction", the FM-Rock hit "Sword And Stone" (from the cult movie soundtrack 'Shocker') and the rarely performed live "Wake Up", plus a unique cover of the Billy Squier classic "The Stroke".
Additionally, the CD offers 5 previously unreleased tracks as bonus, and these come in the shape of first time ever on CD live versions of "Bells Of Freedom", "Let Me Be Your Water" and "Black Night", all taken from Bonfire's acclaimed rock opera The Räuber which went sold out for several weeks in Germany after its theater premiere in 2008.
The others are the exclusive new studio track "Thank You" and a new, re-worked version of the ballad "Hold Me Now" in a beautiful semi-acoustic rendition which is worth the cost of this release alone.
"Live At Wacken" is a must have for fans of these criminally overlooked -outside Europe- Melodic Hard Rock titans.
Those unfamiliar with Bonfire's brilliance may wish to check out first their polished studio albums aside "Live At Wacken" for no other reason than this may be a bit too 'rough & live', as it is direct, without studio trickery, but shows how they actually sound onstage.
Personally I think it is a fantastic recording and will likely be the closest you get to experiencing Bonfire live.
This CD Rocks ~ Strongly Recommended ~
01. Intro / Wake Up
02. Never Mind
03. Sweet Obsession
04. In Zaire
05. The Stroke
06. Sword And Stone
08. Drum Solo
09. American Nights
10. Ready 4 Reaction
11. Obsessive Prelude
13. The Räuber / Bells Of Freedom (bonus track)
14. Let Me Be Your Water (bonus track)
15. Black Night (bonus track)
16. Thank You [New Studio Track 2013] (bonus track)
17. Hold Me Now [Extended Mix 2013] (bonus track)
Claus Lessmann – vocals, guitar
Hans Ziller – lead guitars
Chris Limburg – rhythm guitars
Uwe Köhler – bass
Harry Reischmann – drums
Chris Lausmann – rhythm guitars (tracks 1‐7, 9, 10, 12)
Jürgen Wiehler – drums (tracks 1‐10, 12‐16)
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