"Road Not Taken" is the debut of New Jersey-based outfit IRON BRIDGE BAND, founded by very good guitarist and songwriter Stephen Walsh. But the main selling point of this release are the exceptionally soulful lead vocals of singer Chandler Mogel.
Having shined recently on hard melodic rockers Outloud's latest album, Mogel is like a chamaleon (check our exclusive post about him HERE).
He is part of dark modern rockers Khaos (Mogel has also completed the debut full-length album to be released soon) and if that isn't enough, the versatile singer has recorded lead vocals for the upcoming release of Staten Island based progressive metal band Theater Of The Absurd's second album which is expected for release around November of this year, and has also signed on with the New York band Porphyra to record all lead vocals for their upcoming album.
But getting back to Iron Bridge Band's "Road Not Taken", this album breaks an even new ground for Chandler Mogel, where it of course contains his signature vocals throughout, but musically it draws influence from the greats such as The Eagles, Little River Band, Bad Company, and a bit of more new acts like Tyketto or Mitch Malloy.
The man is able to sing anything and he has the rarely seen ability and class to do it all superbly. It's like the American counterpart of Goran Edman.
However, in the Iron Bridge Band he is not alone as Stephen Walsh not only is a delicious guitar player, he also composes some damn fine songs. the band is completed by the husband & wife grooving rhythm section of drummer Scott Suky and bassist Lanie Suky, which forge a solid and earthy foundation for the quartet's music.
And the music here on "Road Not Taken" is a great slice of classic rock with touches from varied sub-genres.
The original 12-song set blasts off with the heart pounding “Thunder In A Sacred Place.” Mogel rocks the hypnotically poetic chorus conjuring multiple images both 'sacred' and 'profane'. Walsh pushes hard with his clanging rhythm guitar and a flaming solo, while backup singer Jessie Wagner could give Robin Beck a run for her money.
“Best Wine” chugs suggestively with barely restrained lust, Mogel waxing poetic about the woman of his desires before rising to the occasion in the anthem-like chorus with Walsh accompanying with sensuous tone in complete harmony with the lyric content.
The enticingly smooth, southern-tingled melody of “Wildflower” has Mogel wisely advising 'So dive into your soul and tell yourself that the day is mine' as the antidote for escaping the dark, while painting a dream picture of serenity with lush, evocative metaphors.
“Petticoat Road” continues with the rocking ride through a clean riff, before the piercing ballad “All Our Yesterdays” adds some wonderful acoustics to Mogel's awesome pipes. What a great song.
The album continues with a highlight, the dynamic, melodic rocker “Bittersweet” with some Tyketto smell. Take notice how the rhythm guitars are expertly handled. It seems a pretty simple at first glance, but the the guitar work is terrific.
“Smokin’ Gun” is soulful southern classic rocker in a traditional American mould (love the chorus) kicked forward
relentlessly by the rock steady Sukys couple. The ready for prime time “Once Beautiful (Love Like Rain)” keeps the blood pumping in an almost poppy melody. Again Mogel drives the tune with class and style. In a perfect world this should be a hit in classic rock radio.
The acoustic-powered “The Most Benevolent Wind” is sweet and charming, while next Walsh contributes the solace of an instrumental exploration with “Before I Sleep”, his acoustic guitar overlaid with golden celestial electric lines. The guy has taste, and a really good one for sure.
The album closes intimately with just the guitarist and the lead singer revisiting “All Our Yesterdays” in an unplugged format that serves to heighten the emotional 'head slap' of the lyrics.
The Iron Bridge Band spans and connects generations and genres with the healing, celebratory qualities of the greatest classic rock music.
"Road Not Taken" tick all the right boxes; great, emotional-filled songs (there's not a single weak lyric here), a distinctive guitar player, a more than solid rhythm section and a top class vocalist, all wrapped by a very good production. Do yo need more?
Iron Bridge Band's debut is one of the surprises of the year for me.
01 - Thunder In A Sacred Place
02 - Best Wine
03 - Wildflower
04 - Petticoat Road
05 - All Our Yesterdays
06 - Bittersweet
07 - Smokin' Gun
08 - Once Beautiful (Love Like Rain)
09 - Miles To Go
10 - The Most Benevolent Wind
11 - Before I Sleep
12 - All Our Yesterdays (Acoustic)
Steve Walsh - Guitars
Chandler Mogel - Vocals
Lanie Suky - Bass Guitar
Scott Suky - Drums
Jessie Wagner - Backing Vocals
BUY IT !
Monday, September 30, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Northern Ireland classic hard rockers THE ANSWER have been around since 2000 but it took them until 2006 for their first album to be released. Better late than ever, since they've gone from strength to strength with each new recording.
And now with wax number four "New Horizon" to be released on September 30th, these guys really have set the bar high.
My ears were pleasantly delighted with the material from the previous albums, but somehow there was something missing in the final delivery of their songs. Now listening "New Horizon" I know what it was: sonic spark. And it wasn't The Answer's fault.
Although all the tech aspects (production engineering, mix, etc.) were first class and the output earthy and classy, what these guys needed was someone capable to capture on tape these attributes plus the mislaid factor: the 'live' feeling.
Toby Jepson (Fastway, Saxon's 'Call To Arms') is the magician, as his superb job behind the desk has armed The Answer's music with a vivacious crisp and clear sound.
Big riffs hit you straight in the face as title track "New Horizon" opens up the proceedings. Guitarist Paul Mahon is on fire delivering a short blistering solo in between all the razor sharp riffs while Micky Waters and James Heatley keep the bulldozer rolling on bass and drums respectively. And this is before Cormac Neeson has entered the fray with his awesome raspy, classic bluesy voice.
Now we're talking, and you know from the start that "New Horizon" will be 'the album' (possibly the definitive) from The Answer.
An almost funky beginning to "Leave With Nothin´" suddenly explodes in the chorus as the band decidedly tears it up. Heavy and directly to your bones, it gives way to the first single "Spectacular". I just love this song.
A thick nice bass line permeates throughout this punchy track with Mahon keeping the guitar soaring when he is not shredding it to bits. The swirling lyrical refrain 'We Could Be Spectacular' rotates like helicopter blades in the head and does not stop to thrill.
"Speak Now"' slows things down initially by letting us hear their tender side before cranking the guitars briefly for the chorus where Cormac shines brilliantly with some astonishing singing. It beats me that he and this band aren't bigger than they are.
The ride continues until we are confronted by a stammering rock n' roll style riff that launches "Somebody Else" which evolves into The Quireboys territory mixed with Thunder at their very best and Marc Bolan & T. Rex. In other words; a truly great song.
An earth-shattering bass, led-heavy drumming and a riff-fest galore is what kickstarts "Concrete". Add Cormac on top of that and you have one of the best classic hardrockers of 2013.
With a tone of melancholy reflection "Call Yourself A Friend" builds and proves to be a triumphant moment within their output. Listen out for that change in tempo as they head out of the gates; sublime.
Tasty, groovy and full of glam "Baby Kill Me" is a great party starter and this is then topped by the following "Burn You Down", a stomping anthemic rocker if there ever was one. You can't beat a sing-a-long chorus, can you?
The regular CD edition ends on a real high note with "Scream A Louder Love", and definitely showcase what The Answer is all about. This is British classic hard rock of the highest order brought to life in a modern take.
But we have more juicy tracks to enjoy as bonuses; the swaggering come-n-go of "Road Less Travelled", the kick ass "Feel The Fear" (what a groove!) and the bruising "Real As It Gets".
We have as well the iTunes exclusive "White Flag" (it's also included in the double vinyl edition), another groovy monster driven by a pumping rhythm.
Like I said at the beginning, The Answer have only gotten better by each album. "New Horizon" definitely brings to the table how much talented these guys are.
There's not a single weak song here, containing a familiar swagger and treads on a path that is predictable and trusted, but it is done with a sense of confidence truly enviable. The Answer are by no means a throwback band but they know how to blend their influences with their own inspiration to create some foocking bad ass hard rock music in the process.
01 - New Horizon
02 - Leave With Nothin'
03 - Spectacular
04 - Speak Now
05 - Somebody Else
06 - Concrete
07 - Call Yourself a Friend
08 - Baby Kill Me
09 - Burn You Down
10 - Scream a Louder Love
11 - Road Less Travelled (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
12 - Feel the Fear (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
13 - Real as It Gets (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
14 - White Flag (iTunes exclusive Bonus Track)
Cormac Neeson - Vocals
Paul Mahon - Guitar
Michael Waters - Bass
James Heatley - Drums
Friday, September 27, 2013
I will start this review a bit biased; I love FATES WARNING. They began as a heavy act during the eighties releasing solid material, but after a few albums, their progressive tendencies started to emerge. While retaining elements of their metal heritage, Fates Warning's music grew increasingly complex, with much explorative longer tracks and interesting interwoven melodic elements added.
Fates Warning has been largely responsible for the infusion of progressive thinking into heavy metal music, as its co-founding compatriots of progressive metal, Dream Theater.
To put it plainly, their brand new album "Darkness In A Different Light" to be released next September 30 is everything older Fates Warning fans would want in a record without repeating themselves or getting too 'friendly', as many progressive music enthusiasts are wont to accuse.
"Darkness In A Different Light" is intelligent Prog Metal, and a really good one.
Every previous Fates Warning recordings seemed like the band picked a theme and a sound, and filtered every song through the blueprint. This has resulted in some great releases, but there were very few surprises after the first few songs. "Darkness In A Different Light" breaks from that mold and ends up being the most diverse, mature Fates Warning album to date.
The CD opens with the one-two punch of "One Thousand Fires" and "Firefly" where the band mean business between the sick riffing of Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti, the strengths of Ray Alder's voice and the unbelievably tight-and-massive rhythm section of drummer Bobby Jarzombek and bassist Frank Aresti. Monolithic, killer stuff in terms of writing and playing.
But things quickly change. "Desire" adds modernism to the strong arrangements "Lighthouse" and "O Chloroform" go for amazing explorations while "Into the Black" even throws in some stylized movements.
It's a solid kind of heavy though, in that there's no one trying to out-play the other for the sake of a harder tone, nor are there needless solos strewn all over the place because 'it's progressive, man'. No. What Fates Warning have done is compose a heavy album in the name of really, really solid progressive music that never oversteps its boundaries or tries to be flashy beyond the point of enjoyability.
Even the fantastic fourteen-minute closer "And Yet It Moves" is filled with nothing but composure and musicianship, which is… well, awesome, in the way it builds off of different movements and moods throughout its duration (none of which consists of needless solos).
So where does "Darkness In A Different Light" fit into the canon of Fates Warning and the progressive metal genre? To be blunt, right at the top of their game.
They've been on the uptrend since the really good A Pleasant Shade of Gray in 1997 (which might seem like long ago, but there's only two other albums in between) and "Darkness In A Different Light" only showcases a band that has gotten better with time. It's heavy, it's progressive, it's melodic, and yes, it's catchy as hell.
If "Darkness In A Different Light" isn't in your 'best of the year' list in 2013, there may be something fundamentally wrong with you.
01. One Thousand Fires
05. I Am
07. Into The Black
08. Kneel And Obey
09. O Chloroform
10. And Yet It Moves
Ray Alder - vocals
Jim Matheos - guitar, production
Frank Aresti - guitar
Joey Vera - bass
Bobby Jarzombek - drums
A new type or Rock is here to stay, or is it new after all? Spawning in Sweden, Stockholm area, one of the reinvented Glam Rock / Metal’s strongholds of late, this cranky Rock fever is no less tasty than any of the Glam ventures going on. Walking the plank, quite a thin floorboard actually, there is an impressive journey through the outskirts of Glam Metal in a bowl of classic youthful Hard Rock driven by late '70s and early '80s attributes. Modern or vintage, this is a piece of honesty and a cause for admiration.
There you have CASABLANCA, featuring one of Alice Cooper’s stained guitar flames, Ryan Roxie, and their sophomore release "Riding A Black Swan".
Following their successful debut Apocalyptic Youth, the rockin’ endeavor continues on a fiercer note with sharper fangs on the wings of a blackened swan with this new recording. Rock is on a roll, and there is no place to hide, darkness has arrived, and it is ready to engulf you with its favored color.
I have been banging my head in order to find some comparisons for you in order to let you capture a least a bit of the essence of Casablanca but I only came up with fragments. Along with features of Kiss, Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, The Poodles and of course Alice Cooper, there is the crunchiness of the Hard Rock buzz of vintage times pervaded with elements of nowadays Glammy Rock.
Fortunately, Casablanca seemed to be generally enthused by the classics rather than newer perspectives; it is quite apparent by their chosen crispy sound which was cleverly engineered & mixed, and of course their material seems to be playing the good, older game.
The songwriting on this new album is rather straight to the point, courses oriented songs, catchy and easy, earthy rhythm section that showcases a tight backbone, riffs take it down to the Blues at times, but mostly freewheeling frenzy of tasty straight up Rock in a top notch form, grazing at will with melodic leaks and swaggering soloing.
It might appear to be just like any album / band in this genre, yet I beg to differ. "Riding A Black Swan" also gives the impression that is placing its fate on the raspy soaring vocals of Anders Ljung, sounding like a true veteran Glam frontman with just enough boyish and sexiness in his tones of voice with a slight Joe Elliot flavor.
Ljung’s center role, inspired performance through these songs, has really pushed Casablanca's impact to a new dimension.
With a free spirited youthful madness, Casablanca slaps with “Hail The Liberation” and “Dead End Street Revisited”, classy ripping rockers, filled with spunk, true grit and blazes of the past, surging with nifty riffing and world class choruses staining with a dappled atmosphere.
“Barriers” and “Just For The Nite” are probably two of the coolest Hard Rock extensions of this number, persevering rockin’ tunes harbouring some nice melodies and ample harmonies while “No Devil In Me” takes on the late seventies by storm with a hymn-attack sharing a crispy taste, conjuring both modern and past forms.
As you can probably notice, there isn't that much to comment about the actual tracks as largely they reveal the same qualities and ingredients for the forging of catchy Rock 'n Roll.
In overall, "Riding A Black Swan" hit all the right spots as a hard rockin' classic to be should, slick performance of an incredible talented group blending both vintage and new musical rock directions closer to perfection.
No doubt that Casanova's second offering will immerse the listener with the hunger to return to it again and again.
01. The Giant Dreamless Sleep
02. Hail The Liberation
03. Dead End Street Revisited
04. It's Alright
06. Riding A Black Swan
07. Some Misty Morning
08. Heartbreak City
09. No Devil In Me
10. Just For The Nite
Anders Ljung - Vocals
Ryan Roxie - Guitar
Erik Stenemo - Guitar
Mats Rubarth - Bass
Josephine Forsman - Drums
thanks to Steinmetal
BUY IT !
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
* re-posted by popular demand
One of the most unknown (and underrated) Melodic Rock releases from the European scene of the second half of the '80s should be MYDRA's self-titled debut, originally only released in Germany and few countries more.
Hard to find on CD for years, luckily it was rescued from oblivion last year by Yesterrock Records in a pristine remastered form directly from the master tapes and featuring a previously unreleased track.
Mydra emerged from the ashes of Hamburg based band called Charon who released a couple of quite good hard rock albums. Then founder member Andreas Feldhahn (drums) decided to change the musical direction and a new line-up (including new singer André Martelli) was set for the third recording.
The tracks were recorded between October 87-March 88 and when the material was nearly ready it was put out to some record companies. Phonogram took the bait although with one condition: ‘You have to change the name'. Midas Touch was chosen, but the label rejected it. Okay, then Hydra, Phonogram again 'nope'.
Alright, this is the last try: MYDRA. They finally said yes and everything took its course.
Coming out of Hamburg, Germany, you'd be forgiven for presuming that Mydra would have a touch of Scorpions or Accept about them, but instead this self titled effort feels more like a Scandi / Germanic album, with a Melodic Hard Rock mixture of biting guitars and sumptuous AOR keyboards landing somewhere between Treat, Stranger and other German counterparts like Bonfire and Roko.
So expect a wonderful bunch of driving tunes here full of hooks and catchy choruses.
All kicks off impressively with the huge dual guitar/keyboard riff of "I've Got The Power" where the very big and powerful production suits the somewhat pompous arrangement, and lead singer Andre Martelli shows his strong, slightly raspy singing style which he applies to the majority of the remaining songs effectively.
"She's No Lover" is a highlight, one of my favorite Mydra songs and in my opinion a cult classic tune in the Melodic Rock genre. Then "California" is based around a simple but catchy as hell riff, and I quite like the raw energy of this track where Martelli's full fledged screamy chorus vocals top off the tune rather well.
Then arrives another of my picks; "Love Killer", indeed a killer rockin' AOR track plenty of '80s magic where the stabbing synths elevates your ears to a Scandinavian sky.
"Light Up The Sky" is a winner too, combining the energy of the band with a more sophisticated song structure, finding the guitars and keyboard interplaying elegantly with each other throughout. I love this stuff.
As title indicates, "Cold Blooded" features a more upfront guitar turning things quite hard rocking for good effect, followed by the good instrumental "Fireball" featuring some interesting licks and fills.
The bar is set really high (again) with the wonderful "Double Dealer", straight out of the Scandinavian AOR songbook plenty of chunky guitar chords, keyboards galore and a huge chorus.
"Mydra" ends in top form with the gem that is "Gone With The Wind", a first class Melodic Rock song which starts quietly, just to segue into a harder, guitar driven pre-chorus, and finally an ambitiously arranged chorus, all keyboard flurries and grandiose vocals. This track worth the disc alone, another cult classic from the genre if you ask me.
Eighties Melodic Rock / AOR connoisseurs already have Mydra among their favorite bands / releases from the era. If you never heard about them it's time get in gear and find a copy of this truly great reissue remastered by Yesterrock.
Not only the sound obtained is superb, it also features a very good bonus in the lovable mid-tempo melodic rocker "You're The Only One" and refreshed artwork.
Fans of true '80s Scandinavian & Teutonic styled Melodic Hard Rock / AOR with big choruses, tons of keys and 'that magic' needs to own "Mydra" in a mandatory form.
A Must Have.
01 - I've Got The Power
02 - Freeway Blues
03 - She's No Lover
04 - California
05 - Love Killer
06 - Light Up The Sky
07 - Cold Blooded
08 - Fireball
09 - Double Dealer
10 - Gone With The Wind
11 - You're The Only One (bonus track)
André Martelli - vocals
Alic Stephens - guitar
Bernie Fintzen - keyboards, backing vocals
Jan S. Eckert - bass, backing vocals
Andreas Feldhahn - drums
BUY IT !
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Finnish melodic rockers RECKLESS LOVE have their European headquarters based in Great Britain, and the band's label subsidiary in the islands - Spinefarm Records - has released their brand new album "Spirit" with an extra track plus a bonus to all the loyal UK fans.
To the 11-track of the regular release, the UK CD adds the exclusive extra track "Die Hard", a bombastic rocker with a contagious riff, gang backing vocals and a sharp solo recalling the early Reckless Love style (and mid-eighties Motley Crue).
As bonus for the purchase, fans receive as gift the digital download of the first single "Night On Fire" in a 'bombastic edit' version.
With this new album, Reckless Love succeed for the most part to recapture the '80s "Spirit", with some really catchy tunes, the right attitude and excellent production. A solid, fun and enjoyable recording that finally should establish Reckless Love as a worldwide entertainment.
01 - Night On Fire (album version)
02 - Bad Lovin'
03 - I Love Heavy Metal
04 - Favorite Flavor
05 - Edge Of Our Dreams
06 - Sex, Drugs & Reckless Love
07 - Dying To Live
08 - Metal Ass
09 - Runaway Love
10 - So Happy I Could Die
11 - Hot Rain
12 - Die Hard (UK edition exclusive Bonus Track)
13 - Night On Fire [bombastic edit] (purchase digital Bonus Track)
Olli Herman - Vocals
Pepe Salohalme - Guitar
Jalle Verne - Bass
Hessu Maxx - Drums
BUY IT !
We at 0dayrox already presented Norwegian melodic rockers FAITH CIRCUS here, on occasion when they re-released their debut re-mixed and a live EP.
Now Faith Circus is finally back with album #2 “Turn Up The Band”, featuring a bonus CD including the first self-titled album remixed plus some bonus tracks.
You'd expect a band as polished as Faith Circus and playing this kind of Melodic Hard Rock to come from Sweden, but instead, Faith Circus is a Norwegian band that draws on the influences from classic Euro acts but also big names from America.
One more time the band delivers a full dose of Arena ready catchy tracks in the vein of Firehouse, late eighties TNT, Damn Yankees or Stage Dolls.
Guitar-driven and stormy rockers like “Restless Heart”, “Turn Up The Band” or “Born With The Power”, bouncy melodic cuts such as “Inside the Circus” and “Sunshine Radio” (love this one) catapult your right back to the '80s when a ballad like “Tears You've Never Cried” would have been a sure hit.
On this new album, founder members singer Marc Farrano (who reminds me Jamie Rowe a lot) and drummer Baard Nordvik are presenting their new bandmates; guitarist H.K. Rein and bass player Christer Ottesen (ex-Popium/Flare).
As bonus, we have the band's self titled debut re-mixed and featuring two additional bonus tracks (13 songs total). The songs are "Heroes" and a remake of the 1981 classic James Bond tune "For Your Eyes Only" - this time sung as a duet with the talented Robin Beck.
Being a Norwegian band has its perks, because two of the guest musicians on the recording are none other than Morty Black and Tony Harnell, both of Norway's greatest rock band; TNT. Drummer Steinar Krokstad from the should-be legendary Stage Dolls also guests along with a few others.
Packed with cool melodies and hooks, “Turn Up The Band” sounds unmistakably Scandinavian, but where Faith Circus lends their American influences as well.
Well produced by the band with the help of Thomas "tomtom" Haugland engineering, the mastering was left in the more than capable hands of Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, House Of Lords, Tesla) resulting in a crisp, catchy sounding material.
CD 1: Turn Up The Band (new album 2013)
01. Restless Heart
02. Turn Up The Band
03. Inside The Circus
04. Born With The Power
05. Tears You've Never Cried
06. Love Me Dry
07. Sunshine Radio
09. Into Your Heart
10. Follow My Voice
CD 2: 1st album Remixed
01. Temporary High
02. Back on Love
03. Tried n True
04. Half the Man
05. Alive & Kickin
06. Without Me
07. Can You Feel It
08. Rain on You
09. Hold On
10. Pushing up Daisies
11. Wasted Rainbow
12. Heroes (New track)
13. For Your Eyes Only [duet with Robin Beck] (New track)
Engineered by Thomas Haugland / Mastered by Dennis Ward
Marc Farrano - lead and backing vocals
H.K. Rein - guitars, backing vocals
Christer Ottesen - bass
Baard Nordvik - drums, backing vocals
Robin Beck - vocals
Morty Black (ex- TNT, Jorn) - bass
Tony Harnell (ex- TNT) - backing vocals
Steinar Krokstad (Stage Dolls) - drums
BUY IT !
Monday, September 23, 2013
Founded by Greek guitarist Alex Garoufalidis (Graham Bonnet), KING'S CALL is a Melodic Hard Rock band featuring an international line-up with Azerbaijan-born Asec Bergemann on drums and German native Andreas Kramer on bass, recently completed by British vocalist Mike Freeland (ex- Praying Mantis).
"Lion's Den" is their third release, produced by the famed Grammy-nominated Chris Tsangarides (Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen) and mastered in Germany by no-other than talented Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69).
King's Call blend of Melodic Hard Rock is quite European (the group is German based) guitar driven focused on Garoufalidis' clean and creative fret work which goes from bluesy scales to some shred solos plenty of fire but at the service of the songs. Freeland is a fine and well trained singer with an emotional, sometimes bluesy croon style, all accompanied by a tight rhythm section.
"Lion's Den" starts with the impressive hard hitting "Mother Nature". This is a classic hard rock track that features a heavy riffing, a stunning guitar solo and Freeland's powerful vocal performances.
The same approach is shown on follower "Riding The Storm" and the edgy "Dig It", while "Shy Love" offers more elaborated harmonies and a sticky chorus line.
It's in "Is This The Life" where King's Call definitely turn things Melodic Rock with a bluesier AOR touch and lots of attitude, a track among my personal favorites from this album. The guitar lines of Alex are flowing to perfection with a sustained sound full of breathe.
"Avalon" is a groovy semi-midtempo, perhaps the more British oriented here, while "Red Lights" slows down the proceedings a notch for a good balance.
"Get Up" is an ass-kickin' rocker (Burning Rain alike) with a feel-good vibe perfect for a hot summer party. "Avalon Rising" is a good, atmospheric instrumental with some Rainbow inspiration yet nothing memorable.
The CD ends with two compositions listed as bonus tracks and I can see why: both are longer than the rest of the material and showcases King's Call more 'classic rock' side with a songwriting inspired in the late seventies / eighties, a quite vintage sound and where Garoufaldis finds room to fly on the six-strings.
"Waiting For You" rocks akin UFO, Fastway and yes, Praying Mantis, and it's a really well rounded tune with a thunderous playing yet very melodious. I really like the way Mike Freeland dose the vocal intensity throughout in a quite dynamic output.
The other is the very, very nice melodic rocker "Love Will Find A Way" crafted around a melody recalling The Storm (Kevin Chalfant) embellished with keys, acoustic guitars and precious harmonies.
These final, additional tracks differ from the main album 'sonically modern' stylings and production, but really glue into the whole package and are two of the best.
"Lion's Den" offers a bunch of very well crafted old-fashioned hard rock songs delivered with a modern sound thanks to Tsangarides / Ward work behind the desk.
Alex Garoufaldis knows how to write a solid tune in this style based around his guitar riffs and hot solos but always focused on the song and the main melodies. Ultimately that's what makes this album work: strong balanced arrangements with enough room for Garoufalidis to fly.
Add to this a very classy, passionate vocal performance (there's some really compelling moments here), a jammed bass & drums foundation and a good production / mix and you have a strong product here, truly enjoyable.
01 - Mother Nature
02 - Riding The Storm
03 - Dig It
04 - Shy Love
05 - Is This The Life
06 - Avalon
07 - Red Lights
08 - Get Up
09 - Holy Ground
10 - Avalon Rising
11 - Waiting For You (bonus track)
12 - Love Will Find A Way (bonus track)
Mike Freeland: Vocals
Alex Garoufalidis: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Andreas Kramer: Bass
Asec Bergemann: Drums
Rick Chase: add. Vocals
Sunday, September 22, 2013
* thanx to Brian Rademacher
It’s been almost thirteen years since former Guardian vocalist Jamie Rowe hooked up with partner Vic Rivera to release the ADRIANGALE debut in 2000. The band gained a huge following in the Melodic Rock world and they haven’t looked back since.
During that time there was periods of short silence as the band became CRUNCH but now they have returned better than ever as the spotlight is back on ADRIANGALE with their new release “Sucker Punch” to be out on Kivel Records at the end of the month.
The disc starts off with the title track “Sucker Punch” and it begins with the sounds of the boxing ring which runs into some tantalizing dual guitar work by Eddie Campbell and Vic Rivera. Jamie Rowe is masterful with his suave style that caresses each lyric. The strong background vocals and great harmonies are sure to set fire to the disc.
“Black and Blue” is another explosive track with subtle vocals that accelerates into a classic sounding gem. One thing that really stands tall on this new effort is the great production.
Just listening, you can hear every drum note by Vic Rivera and the lead guitar work by Eddie Campbell shines in a reminiscent sound of Joe Satriani.
“When I Said You'd Be The One” has that flair that will have crowds singing along. It has that great melodic poppy style that brings fans to their feet with an arena feel.
“All About Money” picks up the tempo as drummer Vic Rivera and bass groovin' Matt Mahoney hold the key to this one. The rhythm guitar pulsates and the tasty solos by Campbell slice the chords. Once again the background vocals standout in a major way that gives the song full body.
Jumping to “Give Me a Sign”, it just happens to be my favorite track. Rivera does a great incantation of Eddie Van Halen and has massive appeal with riveting masterful leads. The song flows so well it seems I wanted more.
Another melodic highlight arrives with “What Would You Do”, a song with a hit-chart label stamped all over it. Jamie Rowe has those vocals that calm the senses and the smooth approach which makes you melt with each song. I love the soaring guitar work and the mainstay harmonies set the mood.
Adding an instrumental like “Temporis Intermisso” just shows class in the members of Adriangale. You would think what can a melodic rock band explore with an instrumental like this one. Well boys and girls sit back, turn the lights low and delve into the talents of these guys. Excellent stuff.
If I had to pick a single myself it would be “The World We Knew” as Rowe explodes with delight. The song itself truly is a Melodic Rock gem. I feel radio airplay - but there is no airplay anymore - so be sure to pick the disc up to listen to all the songs, but this one in particular is worth every dime in your pocket.
Then “Could've Been Me”, what more can I say but that it is an excellent song!
Ending the CD is a sweet ballad called “You”. It’s a sentimental song that shows Rivera taking on piano duties but the key is Rowe sending chills down your back with his delivery of the tune. Sure has that great sound of vintage Tesla that Adriangale owns these days. This could be one of 'the' power ballad for 2013.
“Sucker Punch” is a total modern-day Melodic Rock gem by Adriangale, with so many outstanding songs, great playing and superb production that deserves to be listened by all fans of this beloved genre.
01 - Suckerpunch!
02 - The Black and Blue
03 - When I Said You'd Be the One
04 - All About the Money
05 - Believe
06 - Give Me a Sign
07 - What Would You Do
08 - Temporis Intermisson
09 - The World We Knew
10 - Could of Been Me
11 - You
Jamie Rowe – Vocals
Vic Rivera – Guitar, Drums
Eddie Campbell - Guitar
Matt Mahoney - Bass
Friday, September 20, 2013
GARRISON was one of the most promising AORish Melodic Rock bands to come out of Scotland at the end of the '80s, touring UK extensively with the likes of Thunder, Dare and Ian Gillan. Between 1988 and 1991 Garrison recorded a bunch of great demos which attracted Atlantic Records to offer them a deal, but the upcoming Grunge wave put everything to rest.
These demos were one of the most sought after songs ever requested by Melodic Rock / AOR aficionados, and now are officially released for the first time on CD as "The Demo Recordings" by Street Legacy Records in conjunction with the Garrison members, whom have recently reformed and are back gigging.
Originally recorded between 1987 and 1992, this is a great slice of British Melodic Rock / AOR plenty of massive keyboard lines, big choruses and tasty guitar work in the same league as Tobruk, Shy, Bronz, Moritz and Heavy Pettin's more melodious side.
Seriously, it's a shame this talented band never got the chance, because their songwriting and musicianship are on par with any of the aforementioned acts.
Just check out hooky rockin' numbers such as "Are You Ready", "Give Me Love" and "I Will Be There", bouncy mid-tempo melodic rockers like "Lies" or the catchy "Too Far Gone", and the more straightforward "Rock It" with its Heavy Pettin-esque chorus.
Then us, rockin' AOR suckers, will fall in love with the superb "Hold Back The Night" (check the video-track), the exquisite "Stay With Me (Tonight)" and the harmony-filled "Never Let It Go".
"The Demo Recordings" is a long lost gem from Garrison, a band that should have been huge.
These tapes have been remastered & cleaned, and the sound quality is far better than the demos circulating for years from hand to hand (which I own a copy on CD-R).
This is a very Limited Edition of 500 copies, silver pressed and professionally packaged with an eight page booklet containing pics of the band plus complete bio. So pick it up pronto, this is already a collectors item.
01 - Are You Ready
02 - Oh Mamma
03 - I Will Be There
04 - Rock It
05 - Give Me Love
06 - Stay With Me (Tonight)
07 - Hold Back The Night
08 - Lies
09 - Too Far Gone
10 - Never Let It Go
11 - Here I Am
12 - Out Of Luck
13 - Strange Kind Of Love
Tony Mitchell - vocals
Kevin Wilson - guitars
Mike Bruce - keyboards, guitars
Alec Burrell - bass
Derek Lindsay - drums
BUY IT !
* thanx to Alan J.
CRYSTAL PALACE are a German progressive band from Berlin who have been around for some time honing their chops and advancing their songwriting skills which has led to this little gem: their sixth studio album "The System Of Events", to be released next October 4th.
Sounding to these ears very similar to label stablemates RPWL (no bad thing, RPWL are one of the finest progressive rock bands around) with a smattering of Hogarth-era Marillion, Pendragon, Arena and, ubiquitously, Porcupine Tree, "The System Of Events" is an eight-track Progressive Rock refined tour-de-force.
Very much set in the present, the band are not only unafraid to tackle the big issues of the day such as the Breivik killings in Norway, the school shootings in America and the Fukushima disaster but are also able to get up-close and personal with people’s everyday trials and tribulations of love and loss.
But what makes "The System Of Events" so great is its musicality.
The history of rock music is peppered with great albums – but the ones that truly sit in the Pantheon of iconic albums are those which have that one defining track, that spark of genius that makes it better than just great.
Obvious examples are ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (Led Zeppelin 'IV'), ‘Firth Of Fifth’ (Genesis 'Selling England By The Pound'), ‘Child In Time’ (Deep Purple 'In Rock'), ‘All Right Now’ (Free's 'Fire and Water') and so on. You get my drift.
Now I'm not saying that "The System Of Events" falls into the ‘iconic album’ category, not yet anyway, but it has got that one track that takes this album into the ‘must-listen’ classification.
The highlight of what is an exceptional piece of work is both the closing and title track of the album; "The System Of Events". This one would be a standout track on any progressive rock album – and I am not talking about the genre. It’s that good.
The band knew what they had as well, roping in Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and Yogi Lang and Kalle Wallner (RPWL) to add their talents to the thirteen-minute majestic composition.
Giving the band’s take on the Fukushima disaster, the track builds in intensity to the anthemic chorus with some incredible guitar work then cuts unexpectedly to a series of news reports detailing the tsunami and its aftermath layered over acoustic guitar and keyboards before cranking up for the big finish. Staggering stuff.
But there's much more to enjoy. We have a great reflection put in the arrangements with the use of atmospheric and electronic elements especially on the arty and neo-proggy "As Heaven Dies", which also features atypically sounding acoustic guitars on par with electrics.
Be ready for some haunting Marillion / IQ melodies on "Beautiful Nightmare", where the Ibanez Jam of Nils Conrad gets loose for great effect and near the end the whole thing turns a bit Dream Theater-esque.
As we go in the middle of the album, the songs take a more harder trend as on the prog-metal overtones in the second section of "Breathe" for example, adding variation and different textures to this complete recording.
The whole "The System Of Events" is a top-notch effort – much thought has gone into both the subject matter and the music to produce a magnum opus of colossal proportions with exceptional musicianship throughout – taken still further by that monumental title track.
This is that type of records that distinguishes itself through courageous songwriting, intelligent arrangements and a compelling storyline that takes the listener on a thrilling journey of eight brilliantly crafted songs.
Already in my 'best of the year' list, Crystal Palace has created an album which exceeds the genres, so no matter which one you prefer, this is pure, high quality music you simply cannot miss.
01. Chasing Better Days
02. As Heaven Dies
03. Beautiful Nightmare
04. Green Way
06. Stunned By The Silence
08. The System Of Events
Yenz - vocals, bass
Nils Conrad - guitars
Frank Kohler - keys
Frank Brennekam - drums
Yogi Lang (RPWL) - keys
Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) - bass
Kalle Walner (RPWL, Blind Ego) - guitar
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Melodic Hard Rock fans may remember British band KICK, who were signed to Sanctuary in 1998 and released their great debut ‘Consider This...’ that same year with their sophomore effort ‘Sweet Lick Of Fire’ following some 3 years later.
Much to everyone's surprise - as tours with the likes of Thunder, Magnum, TNT and record sales were going considerably well - they were dropped soon after. They put out their third effort ‘New Horizon’ through Majestic Rock in 2004 but it didn't exactly 'kick up' much of a storm and they broke up shortly after it hit the streets.
Bass player, second vocalist and the band's main songwriter Mikey Jones didn't sit still for long however. He released a solo album, later with his brother Chris and Nick Workman (Kick's guitarist and lead singer respectively) founded Wildkard, another solid Melodic Rock outfit.
The idea of the three to reform Kick aroused in 2011, but with Workman now busy finding success with Vega (What The Hell! album), the Jones bothers decided to record this new KICK album "Memoirs" with Mikey on lead vocals.
Memoirs" combines the Melodic Hard Rock bliss of Kick's debut with some modernity of the band's third recording, but also I hear some hints of Jones' previous bands XL (late '80s Def Leppard style) and Freefall, with some Harem Scarem touches.
Mostly uptempo, these melodic rockers have a strong Def Lepp, Stun Leer, Gun (Scottish band) and Harem Sacrem influences indeed, as heard on "Doesn't Take Much", "Round & Round", the Thunder-esque "Come Back" and the harmony-filled "Highway To The Sun" & "Never Lost That Feeling".
We have AORish oriented numbers in the keyboard infused "Radio" and the Wildkard-like "The Futures Ours", while the calmer "Words Of Advice" recalls the XL years. "Thrill Seeking Junkie" and "Urban Refugee" sports some modern-hard touches like say, Degreed, and 2000's Harem Scarem.
This new Kick incarnation is strongly guitar dominated with occasional and well placed synths, but what rule here is the profuse use of harmony vocals.
As Mikey Jones' leads aren't that clean as former singer Nick Workman, now they have cleverly arranged the vocal parts reinforcing the main lines with tons of background vocals which results in a multi-layered, and at places, 'overproduced' delivery. I don't know you, but I really like this.
"Memoirs" sounds typically nineties British Melodic Hard Rock - in short, typically Kick. If you like all, I mean all, the bands mentioned above, there's something of them in this recording, an enjoyable collection of songs with nice melodies and hooks.
01 - Doesn't Take Much
02 - Thrill Seeking Junkie
03 - Radio
04 - Come Back
05 - Urban Refugee
06 - Round & Round
07 - Words Of Advice
08 - Highway To The Sun
09 - The Futures Ours
10 - Never Lost That Feeling
11 - Nothing More To Say
12 - The Miracle (Bonus Track)
13 - Devoted (Bonus Track)
14 - From This Day On (Bonus Track)
BUY IT !
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
British rockers THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT's raising popularity seems to have taken even hardened promoters by surprise, as their UK tour sold out so quickly that they've already added a second leg at bigger venues and were booked by some major festivals. That's not bad going for a band with just one EP to their name silently released last year.
Praised as the English answer to Rival Sons or being the new Black Crowes, the truth is that The Temperance Movement, in their self-titled full length debut released today, take their own spin on classic bluesy '70s rock with a very personal temperament.
This back-to-basics outfit are made up of Glasgow-born vocalist Phil Campbell, guitarists Paul Sayer and Luke Potashnick, bassist Nick Fyffe and drummer from Down Under, Damon Wilson. Together they’re a class act that represent what rock 'n roll used to be about; right from the off warming the soul with the rich and classic sound of "Only Friend" and "Pride".
The first is a sexy, groovy bluesy number with a dirty strut that immediately brought to mind British legends Free spiced with some very early David Coverdale's Whitesnake. Campbell proves he is an absolute natural with his croaky, southern-like drawl adding heaps of character to the track.
The latter is a contrasting ballad of sorts with a beautifully laid-back structure of mellow guitars, soft rhythms and swirly melodies.
These two tracks are the best representation of what The Temperance Movement is all about: Classic Rock with an excellent feeling, delivered with confidence and maturity.
Their songs have lots of space in them that creates that timeless feel, they channel that vibe of classic artists from another era with plenty of heart and soul and bundles of energy. They have it all off to a tee, even their look, the facial hair, hats and retro gear everything about them seems authentic. Both guitarists make their Telecasters sing together in harmony, whether it's rhythm, slide guitar or solo.
What makes "The Temperance Movement" so strong is each track’s ability to stand simply as a song in its own right. If you were to strip every song down to nothing but a vocalist and an acoustic guitar, very little would actually be lost. Listening to this record is not simply listening to a collection of guitar jams – although there’s plenty of that, too.
"Be Lucky" shines with its simplistic and traditional blues form with the frontman sporting a Rod Stewart swagger in the cool, carefree choruses. This stripped, easy style is something they evidently know inside and out and they continue to impress as the album progresses into a more Lynyrd Skynyrd sound with "Chinese Lanterns", "Know for Sure" and "Morning Riders".
The former is a ballad led by a beautiful slide guitar performance which tugs at the heart-strings, whilst the other two drip with a testosterone-filled sweaty, southern coating. The ballsy rhythm section of Fyffe and Wilson in particular are on top form on "Morning Riders".
"Midnight Black" invites to a party with its racy, distorted riffs, bubbling bass and fervent raspy vocals. The same can be said for the fiery atmosphere created in "Take It Back" with its big, catchy sing-along refrain.
The aptly-titled closing duo of "Smouldering" and "Serenity" are among the highlights. The first indeed burns with a measured and effortless charm; its dreamy acoustic guitar melody in absolute harmony with Campbell’s wistful words are truly precious.
And the final track’s subtle beauty is lovely. Sayer and Potashnick's guitars take cues from the vocals in a call-and-response type scenario at first, with their notes echoing his tormented recital before it eventually grows bigger and more elevated as drum fills erupt and the band all chant over Campbell’s heated wails.
A stunning end to a stunning collection of tracks.
"The Temperance Movement" is one of the more uplifting, lustrous Classic Rock albums I heard recently. Sure, they are retro (the album is being released as well on vinyl and cassette!) with may evident influences from the off, but these guys have some 'special' touch which set them apart from the crowd.
The band as a unit sounds impressive, but the secret weapon here is gangly vocalist Phil Campbell. Put Rod Stewart, Steve Marriott, Paul Rodgers and Chris Robinson in a blender and garnish with a soupcon of Don Henley and you'll get some idea of what this mightily awe-inspiring alumnus of the classic school of rock songcraft sounds like. Combined with a Mick Taylor / Free styled guitar work, The Temperance Movement has an utterly explosive sound, a sound that demands attention even in its quieter moments.
The Temperance Movement are a genuine rock 'n roll band that make genuine seventies inspired rock 'n roll music. They're a revelation and ironically a breath of fresh air, bringing the heart and soul back into the genre with a solid and grounded debut album that's gritty, mature and faithful.
01 - Only Friend
02 - Ain't No Telling
03 - Pride
04 - Be Lucky
05 - Midnight Black
06 - Chinese Lanterns
07 - Know For Sure
08 - Morning Riders
09 - Lovers And Fighters
10 - Take It Back
11 - Smouldering
12 - Serenity
Phil Campbell — vocals
Luke Potashnick — guitars
Paul Sayer — guitars
Nick Fyffe — bass
Damon Wilson — drums
BUY IT !
Founder member of Southern / Classic Rock giants GOV'T MULE and Grammy winner Warren Haynes is one of my favorite rock guitar players from outside the Melodic Hard scene.
To be released next week, "Shout!" is Gov’t Mule’s first studio set in four years, and the band is trying something different for this, their 10th record: it's a double album - one CD collecting 11 new tracks, and the other featuring an all-star line-up of artists interpreting most of those songs.
The main "Shout!" Gov’t Mule-only CD is one of band's most accessible releases so far.
There’s plenty of deep grooves, sparkling riffs, complex time changes and intricate band interplay, but also a welcome sense of melody, space and time. The music shifts from pulsating, riff-driven classic rock, to melodic slow blues, funk, slide-led roots rock, soul and uptempo catchy Rock&pop.
With the exception of three songs written with specific artists in mind, "Shout!" is an album of brand new material that was recorded before the guests were chosen to perform the new material on the second disc.
The bonus disc is fraught with potential difficulties, not least the possibility that it might fail to measure up to the band’s own recording. But while Warren lays down a marker with some trademark vocals, and the band play superbly, the specially invited guests make sure that the best laid plans are never in danger of failing.
As example, the Voice of Rock Glenn Hughes performs an extravagant intro and some trademark phrasing on the haunting vintage rocker "No Reward", one of 11 bonus tracks that showcase the joys of interpretative singing.
Warren incorporates a suitably tougher vocal on "Bring On The Music" a tribute to Free which could just as easily be Bad Company. Cult singer Ty Taylor stamps his own mark on the piece with clarity of diction, expansive leads and real presence.
Elvis Costello’s adds an enjoyable and welcomed new wave urgency on "Funny Little Tragedy", while the album’s coolest groove "When The World Gets Small" features both Warren and Steve Winwood at their best respectively. It sounds like the song Traffic never wrote back in a day.
"Shout!" deserves all the plaudits that will surely come its way. Few bands have a reputation for making music as consistently honest, organic and daring as Gov’t Mule. This is Classic Rock, pure and traditional but a the same time adventurous and with a strong sense of vitality; this music has flesh and bones.
As plus, it’s an album that restores your faith in guest projects, where all the artists featured really add a new dimension to the songs.
Classic Rock is alive in Gov’t Mule's hands.
CD 1 : "Shout"
01. World Boss
02. No Reward
03. Whisper In Your Soul
05. Scared to Live
06. Stoop So Low
07. Forsaken Savior
08. Done Got Wise
09. When The World Gets Small
10. Funny Little Tragedy
11. Bring On The Music
CD 2 : "Shout" bonus CD Guests
01 - World Boss (With Ben Harper)
02 - Funny Little Tragedy (With Elvis Costello)
03 - Stoop So Low (With Dr. John)
04 - Captured (With Jim James)
05 - Whisper In Your Soul (With Grace Potter)
06 - Scared To Live (With Toots Hibbert)
07 - No Reward (With Glenn Hughes)
08 - Bring On The Music (With Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble)
09 - Forsaken Savior (With Dave Matthews)
10 - Done Got Wise (With Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge)
11 - When The World Gets Small (With Steve Winwood)
Warren Haynes (guitars, vocals)
Danny Louis (keyboards, vocals)
Jorgen Carlsson (bass)
Matt Abts (drums)