INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT is conceived, written and produced by young philanthropist and recently awarded European Citizen of the Year (2013) Dr. Milen Vrabevski. He is as well, a non-professional musician.
There was a part I composed in a sonata form following the classical model of the rock opera, but for this INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT II "My Kind O' Lovin", Milen's focus was put on Rock. For that matter, he called some serious cats.
"My Kind O' Lovin" delivers a colorful, multifarious and formidable listening experience with hints of melodic rock and early prog, featuring the fabulous Simon Phillips (Toto, Jeff Beck, The Who, Mike Oldfield, Protocol II etc.) on drums & percussion - brilliantly bringing out the chemistry of this unpredictable format of vintage vocals from John Lawton (ex- Uriah Heep) and Joseph Williams (Toto).
The album will present you a veritable flood of emotions coming across in a very melodic way featuring guitar licks and spacious orchestrated flourishes. The true magnitude of the supergroup is yet to be felt in the strong melodies with acoustic patterns and impressive vocals of undiminished power.
Lyrically, "My Kind O' Lovin" carries a positive message. Vrabevski translates his own experience and vision about everyday life topics in an easy manner, focusing on essential values – solid ground to step on to having a meaningful life.
Says Milen; “The message of the album is what I, as an author, would prefer to raise my kids with. Frustration, constant criticism, and judging people leads to nowhere. Therefore, we present essential things about love, friendship, our own environment we should invest in, getting into substantial initiatives, knowing happiness through serving the others, not limiting our minds with prejudice while seeking togetherness, understanding our life is in our hands, finishing off with the principle that it's good to wake up knowing what follows is a great day, in which fame does not matter, and ego's domination is retrograde, and you enjoy to live for the others, doing things not because of the result, but because you love to be that way.”
He adds; “I allowed myself to play acoustic guitar in just the title song this time. Nothing else. The team was just too good for my level. Happy they liked the pieces”.
Recording sessions for drums (Simon Phillips) and vocals (Joseph Williams) took place at Simon Phillips' Phantom Recordings studio. Vrabevski was provided full creative input by Simon Philips in developing the course of compositions and musical ideas.
Says Simon Phillips; “Working on this project with Milen Vrabevski was so much fun and I find his enthusiasm for music is so uplifting.” And Joseph Williams adds; “Milen was such a joy to work with .. Truly a warm and bright gentleman. It's rare thing these days to work with such happy, enthusiastic talented people ... I had a ball!!”.
As for John Lawton, who worked with Vrabevski on the project part I: “My Kind O' Lovin' was for me an absolute pleasure to sing, the melodies flowing out of Milen Vrabevski's head seem to be endless.
The album differs a lot from part I, not only in that there are guest artist's in the caliber of Joseph Williams and Simon Phillips both of Toto fame but some searing guitar work from a little known Bulgarian axe man known only to me as Sverry.
I spent 2 weeks laying down lead & backing vocals in Intelligent Music's new studio in Sofia / Bulgaria and believe me it wasn't hard work, not when the music is this good.”
Among the highlights, one of my favorites is "Get Into Real" - if there is a song from this side act that connects the dots with some of William's Toto-related cuts, this is it, but with hints of early Asia nuances.
"Happiness" is so cool it deserves a trip around the world, because the fun rhythm - including Spanish guitar - could appeal everyone.
On the rocking side, "No One Can Deny It" and "Time To Move Along are great classic rockers with a mature yet still powerful John Lawton on the leads, and a solid, varied drumming by Phillips.
Last track "Conclusion" is the ice on the cake; a 6-minute summary of the composer’s key approaches throughout the album and presenting together Phillips-Lawton-Williams. It combines rocking moments with ethereal passages including beautiful keyboards and guitar arrangements, while the vocal harmonies arrangements reminds me of Asia.
This track alone worth the disc.
We highly recommend "My Kind O' Lovin". It's very well composed, performed and produced, a real joy for the senses.
The idea of Milen Vrabevski for this project is to promote young musical talents in EU, which play here. Phillips / Lawton / Williams are impeccable of course, and the session musicians are top notch - just listen the various guitar solos and Hammond organ runs; second to none.
Very Good Release.
01 - My Kind Of Lovin' (feat. John Lawton)
02 - Friends (feat. Joseph Williams)
03 - No One Can Deny It (feat. John Lawton)
04 - Get Into Real (feat. Joseph Williams)
05 - Simple Game (feat. John Lawton)
06 - Happiness (feat. Joseph Williams)
07 - Things We Can't Do (feat. John Lawton)
08 - Time To Move Along (feat. John Lawton)
09 - Love Song (feat. John Lawton)
10 - People On Fire (feat. John Lawton)
11 - Step In Learnin' (feat. Joseph Williams)
12 - Understand The Morning (feat. John Lawton)
13 - Conclusion (feat. John Lawton)
John Lawton - Vocals, Bass
Joseph Williams - Vocals
Simon Phillips - Drums, Percussion
Milen Vrabevski - Acoustic Guitar
Sverry - Lead Guitar
Plamen Chepanov, Ogi Veskov - Guitar
Nelkro Kolarov - Keyboards, Piano
Ivo Stefanov - Piano
Yassen Dimitrov - Hammond B3, Synths
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Saturday, May 31, 2014
DEEP PURPLE’s monstrous power as a live act was solidified more than four decades ago with the release of their first live album, "Made In Japan". Universal Music are releasing a tidal wave of the record in many different formats, from remasters to expansions to box sets on CD, vinyl and Blu-Ray.
Deep Purple took their first tour in Japan seriously, and brought the Rolling Stones mobile with them to record it. No stranger to live recordings (or being bootlegged!) the MK II line-up was taped on all 3 dates at Osaka and Tokyo.
The result was a staggering success, and captured the band's stage show at it's electrifying best. Blistering harmony & unison interplay between Blackmore and Lord, a rhythm section containing the one of the world's best rock drummer in Ian Paice and the hugely underrated Roger Glover on bass was capped off by a storming performance of Ian Gillan's silver throated vocal.
Having just recorded 'Machine Head' the bulk of the set comes from that LP - but "Child in Time" (from In Rock) is an astonishing testament to how good DP were at the time. The best live rock band on the planet, by some considerable margin.
DP's instrumentals were well crafted, and had some huge cues. If you listen to any of their live stuff in any depth you'll see what I mean. The opener, "Highway Star", introduces you to the band and is followed by "Child in Time". Nuff said.
"Smoke on the Water" is considered to be the band's most memorable riff by the public (check out any music shop on a Saturday afternoon!) and "The Mule" is a Paice solo spot.
"Strange kind of Woman" is the standout track for me - Blackmore and Gillan (so often at odds with each other) united on stage with the question and answer phrasing and posturing. "Lazy" is Jon Lord's tour de force.
The LP is finished off with a rousing 20 minutes of "Space Truckin' - a bit of everything in this, really, and a very powerful set closer.
This 2014 reissue of "Made In Japan" comes in various formats; a Super Deluxe Edition including 4CD + DVD box set featuring the complete 1972 Japanese tour - that is the main album plus the three concerts complete as they were recorded in 1972, the same stuff but on 9 vinyl LP, a Blue-ray, and more.
You don't need those.
I mean, if you are a fan of Deep Purple or just like this mythical album, you already have a copy.
But the interesting thing about this reissue is the fresh remastering, and we recommend to buy this Deluxe Edition to hear it. It comes with a bonus CD including the complete encores from all three shows, which is nice.
But again, the meat & potato here is the original "Made In Japan" Remastered 2014.
The sound and clarity obtained is truly awesome. There's a subtle remix done from the original tapes to perfectly match the multi-track recording metrics, and now thanks to modern technology, everything fits into place.
Purists don't be scared; the recording has not been changed, the remix was done to fit the tapes as it should have been done originally but technological limitations prevented.
A great piece of Rock history - perhaps the greatest Hard Rock live album ever - now with an incredible sound.
CD 1: Made In Japan remastered 2014:
01 - Highway Star (2014 Remaster)
02 - Child in Time (2014 Remaster)
03 - Smoke On the Water (2014 Remaster)
04 - The Mule (2014 Remaster)
05 - Strange Kind of Woman (2014 Remaster)
06 - Lazy (2014 Remaster)
07 - Space Truckin' (2014 Remaster)
CD 2: Encores From All Three Nights:
01 - Black Night (Osaka, August 15)
02 - Speed King (Osaka, August 15)
03 - Black Night (Osaka, August 16)
04 - Lucille (Osaka, August 16)
05 - Black Night (Tokyo, August 17)
06 - Speed King (Tokyo, August 17)
Ian Gillan – lead vocals, harmonica
Ritchie Blackmore – guitar
Jon Lord – keyboards
Ian Paice – drums
Roger Glover – bass
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Friday, May 30, 2014
There’s always something slightly disingenuous about the term 'comeback album' – especially when an artist has never really left. Such was the case with Alice Cooper’s 1989 Epic Records release "Trash". But one certainly sees why the expression would be used to describe "Trash".
Alice Cooper’s eighteenth studio release "Trash" became his first Top 20 album in the U.S. since 1975’s epochal Welcome to My Nightmare, his biggest-ever U.K. success with a No. 2 peak, and contained his first U.S. Top 10 hit single since 1977.
Now, "Trash" is back on an a expanded and remastered version from Cherry Red / Hear No Evil label.
The early '80s saw Alice Cooper looking lost, his various addictions had left him in a state and his career was slowly going downhill, with lousy album after lousy album. So when Motley Crue and Quiet Riot were making a name for themselves with the formula that made Alice a big name, it seemed the 'if you can’t beat em, join em' approach became a good option.
If you listen to Welcome To My Nightmare and From The Inside, two of the most overlooked records in the Alice Cooper’s cannon, you see the seeds of glam metal being sown, the insane theatricality with the odd power balled stuffed in for effect. Even though '86 Constrictor saw Alice aiming towards a then contemporary sound, it wasn’t until 1989 with "Trash" that he became a commercial force once again.
Like Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation album, the album credits has a list as a who’s who of songwriters for hire, as well as a few famous faces thrown in.
Desmond Child is in the producer's chair and co-writes most of the album, while the golden pen of Diane Warren also makes a contribution. Then you get some of the artists who Alice influenced lending a helping hand, such as Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Joan Jett.
"Poison" – the album’s eventual smash hit single that revitalized Cooper’s career – was a Cooper/Child co-write with guitarist John McCurry, and the first song they completed together. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora also joined in on the songwriting sessions for "Hell Is Living without You", while Child brought in "House of Fire" which he had written with Joan Jett. Cooper finished the song, and it’s since become a live staple and one of my favorites from Alice.
"Trash" features star guest musicians as well, including Steven Tyler on the Bruce Roberts’ co-written "Only My Heart Talkin’", Joe Perry on "House of Fire", Jon Bon Jovi and Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer on the title track and Richie Sambora and Steve Lukather on "Hell is Living Without You".
This Cherry Red / Hear No Evil remaster (handled by Andy Pearce) of "Trash" is bright and crisp, adding as bonuses the rare Radio Edit of "Only My Heart Talkin’" as well as Alice Cooper’s cover of Spirit’s "I Got a Line On You" (produced by Richie Zito) from 1988’s Iron Eagle II soundtrack.
Great album by Alice - Highly Recommended
01 - Poison
02 - Spark In The Dark
03 - House Of Fire
04 - Why Trust You
05 - Only My Heart Talkin'
06 - Bed Of Nails
07 - This Maniac's In Love With You
08 - Trash
09 - Hell Is Living Without You
10 - I'm Your Gun
11 - Only My Heart Talkin' (Radio Edit) [bonus track]
12 - I Got A Line On You [bonus track]
Alice Cooper: Lead Vocals
John McCurry, Guy Mann-Dude, Joe Perry, Jack Johnson, Mark Frazier: Guitar
Richie Sambora, Steve Lukather, Kane Roberts: Guitar solos
Hugh McDonald, Tom Hamilton: Bass
Bobby Chouinard, Joey Kramer: Drums
Alan St. John: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Paul Chiten: Add. Keyboards
Steve Deutsch: Synthesizer, Programming
Gregg Mangiafico: Special FX and add. Keyboards
Background Vocals: Bernie Shanahan, Desmond Child, Diana Graselli, Hugh McDonald, Jamie Sever, Jango, Joe Turano, Louie Merlino, Maria Vidal, Michael Anthony, Myriam Valle, Stiv Bators, Tom Teeley, Steven Tyler
Produced by Desmond Child
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Hailing from Malmö, Sweden, DEVIL'S HEAVEN is a new sextet consisting of accomplished musicians from the Scandinavian scene; bassist Jonas Reingold is also a member of renowned Prog rockers The Flower Kings, and singer Marcus Nygren is the founder of the awesome AORsters State Of Salazar, presented here on this blog two years ago (and with a new album in the making).
After a couple of spins their debut CD “Heaven On Earth” not only has left a solid lasting impression on me, I assure you this recording doesn't sound like a first release at all.
Indeed, Devil’s Heaven sounds really tight on “Heaven On Earth”, showing the skills of all its members and benefited by a crisp production.
The style of these guys is a slick blend (accurately matching their own description) of '80s Melodic Rock, '90s Hard Rock (with a German vibe) and a touch of classic melodic metal on two tracks, all with a contemporary, updated sound.
Lengthy opener "Welcome II The Show" is a study in what Devil’s Heaven is. It’s an uptempo track with a great chorus, raging and clean vocals, heavy guitars and a wonderful keyboard part in the middle of the song. This song shows Marcus Nygren’s vocal versatility, going from raspy to groovy deep tones.
Then "Demerital Action" shows the band's melodic hard rock side, a track build for the arenas screaming to be played live. With a feeling recalling Bonfire and a touch of early Bon Jovi during the catchy chorus, all the fans (and not) will sing along the lyrics.
What follows is a bunch or really well crafted melodic hard rockers like "Devil Woman" (a highlight) recalling the greats Damned Nation, the catchy Gotthard sounding "Let It All Hang Out" or "Wine Me" akin Shakra, mixed with heavier numbers such as "Riders In The Sky", a solid melodic metal tune (early Pretty Maids style) with magical keys in the background.
We have two fine ballads in "Touched by An Angel" (ala Alfonzetti) with pianos plus organic instrumentation, and the solid "Cold", more in the traditional power ballad format, both really well arranged.
To sum up, “Heaven On Earth” is a more than a strong first work from this new Swedish combo Devil’s Heaven who have the skilled musicianship, compositional strength and sense of melody that characterizes their countrymen.
Here you will find beautifully crafted Melodic Hard Rock songs in the traditional style, not directly resembling something older, through a really clear, meticulous production where all instruments sound neat.
01 - Welcome II The Show
02 - Demerital Action
03 - Devil Woman
04 - Touched By An Angel
05 - Mean Street City
06 - Day Of Doom
07 - Riders In The Sky
08 - Let It All Hang Out
09 - Festung Europa
10 - Cold
11 - Stillborn
12 - Hot Sex
13 - Wine Me
Marcus Nygren - Vocals
Michael Månsson - Guitars
Jake Sandberg - Guitars
Richard Andersson - Keyboards
Jonas Reingold - Bass
Jaime Salazar - Drums
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Thursday, May 29, 2014
Canadian Hard Rock icons HELIX have just released their 13th brand new full length studio record entitled "Bastard Of The Blues" through Perris Records.The new material was written by singer Brian Vollmer and his long time collaborator composer Sean Kelly during the last year.
Helix 2014 includes original members Greg "Fritz" Hinz (drums) and Daryl Gray (bass), and filling out the lineup are guitarists Kaleb Duck (who has been with the band for six years) and newcomer Chris Julke. Original guitarist Paul Hackman died in a car accident in 1993 while returning from tour, and Brent Doerner retired last year. He is still involved with the band in a video making capacity.
It's now been six years since Kelly and Vollmer combined writing forces, and it shows on "Bastard Of The Blues". The new songs are focused and big sounding, the lyrics more concise and catchy.
The CD opens with the title track, a good midtempo rocker with a bluesy/classic rock feel. It's a solid composition, but I am not sure if it was the right choice to start the record. The song itself is long, running over 5 minutes, which will probably prevent it from getting airplay in some markets. However, it's Vollmer's favorite song from the disc, so in his own words; "I'm going with my heart and gut on this one. Guesting on background vocals is Cheryl Lescom, the best female blues singer in Canada."
Track 2 it's the one I have chosen as opener; "Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved in His Home Town)" is a kicking rocker with a marching rhythm and all the Helix trademark hooks. The lyrics describes how the band can play all over the world - this year they have dates in Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland & the U.S. and are already booked on 2015's Monsters Of Rock Boat Cruise with some of the biggest and brightest metal/hard rock stars of the '80s - but can't get a gig or any respect in their hometown of London, Ontario. Go figure!
Another potential single is track 3 "Winning Is the Best Revenge", a commercial classic rock song with some honky tonk in it.
But my favorite cuts from the album arrives with "Screaming At The Moon" and "Metal At Midnight", both true '80s Helix melodic hard rockers. The first features Nick Walsh of Slic Toxic (a platinum selling Canadian metal band) on back-up vocals, while the latter has that unmistakable Helix riff and backing vocals which made this band so big.
Yes, "Metal At Midnight" is the highlight of the album for me, and sits amongst the best songs the band has produced in their long career.
Track 6 "Hell Bound For A Heartbreak" is a very melodic tune (love the guitar work) which talks of an addicted gambler, something Brian should know about, having lived many years with a bookie.
Then the ballad arrives with "When All The Love Is Gone", sang and written by long-time bass player and member of the band Daryl Gray. It's a power ballad type of song yet with a more classic rock sense, with an '80s Gary Moore vibe.
"Axe to Grind" returns to hard rock with an angry Alice Cooper feel on the vocals and strong riffs, followed by "Skin In The Game" and "The Bitch is A Bullet", both from the EP released three years ago. Both fun rockers in the typical Helix style; crunchy melodious Hard Rock with some Blues and some Boogie influences, an overall feel-good atmosphere and the in-your-face attitude that we've all known Helix for for so long.
The last track on the CD, "Sticks & Stones" is reminiscent of early Aerosmith, and talks about those individuals who take dangerous chances thinking they are invincible and end up killing themselves or quadriplegic in a wheelchair.
"Bastard Of The Blues" is better than I expected.
Brian Vollmer's voice still has the edge to carry the songs and leave his stamp on them, the guitars are energetic but clean and melodic, while the rhythm section is solid as usual, specially the drum sound. With Gregory "Fritz" Hinz behind the drum kit you have a solid backbone assured.
More Melodic Hard Rock oriented with a Classic Rock feel on some tracks than rather simply 'Hard Rock', "Bastard Of The Blues" shows that these old gentlemen still have the grip and it has turned out to be a really good, fun listen.
01. Bastard of the Blues
02. Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved In His Hometown)
03. Winning is the Best Revenge
04. Screaming at the Moon
05. Metal at Midnight
06. Hellbound for a Heartbreak
07. When All the Love is Gone
08. Axe to Grind
09. Skin in the Game
10. The Bitch is a Bullet
11. Sticks & Stones
Brian Vollmer - lead vocals
Kaleb Duck - guitar, vocals
Chris Julke - guitar, vocals
Daryl Gray - bass, keyboards, lead vocals on 7
Gregory "Fritz" Hinz - drums
Nick Walsh (ex-Slik Toxik) - backing vocals
Jeff Stan Fountain (ex-Helix) - backing vocals
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Unfortunately, to some, MARTY FRIEDMAN is just 'that guy' who played guitar and contributed to several of Megadeth’s best records. But often his mind-blowing efforts in Cacophony go undermentioned or unknown by modern fans, as does his continually solid solo career — a career that has shifted toward Japan where he relocated some time ago, became a TV celebrity, and released many eclectic albums.
The man has an unreal discography behind him, and his new CD "Inferno" is not a showcase of solo showboating or an example of resting on past achievements and styles.
"Inferno" is more than a scorching storm of guitar pyrotechnics or a cliche title. Ultimately, its intensity serves as a reminder that Marty Friedman isn’t done blowing minds yet, and the beautifully emotive feeling in his playing is alive and well here.
This new record is somehow a back-to-basics offering, packed with trenchant, off-kilter melodic heavy riffs and virtuosic solos, yet with modern updates such as groovin' influences which find their way into a few tracks, but the leads and soloing over the top of those grooves put most all to shame.
The smart thing Friedman did on "Inferno" is to mix instrumental tunes and regular songs which include vocal parts; the best of both worlds.
The album starts furious; "Inferno" and "Resin" are two instrumental which are breathtaking fast and those songs prove why Friedman belongs still to the best shred guitar players in these days. It's the mix between neo-classical elements and some heavy riffs, which makes the compositions very exciting and energizing. These two anthems could be your acoustical caffeine shot in the morning.
The first songs with vocals are coming half way and they are placed at the right spot in the playlist. For "I Can't Relax" Friedman managed to gain Danko Jones for the job behind the mic. Jones' vocals are quite poppy and the song itself almost catchy.
Another song which track pretty well too is the thrashy "Sociopaths" with vocals from Revocation guitarist and singer David Davidson. The rough pipes and screams from Davidson are an excellent chosen contrast to Friedman's filigree way of playing guitar.
Danko Jones does a second appearance alongside Children Of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho on the energetic melodic stomper of "Lycanthrope". The guitar work here is sick.
Meanwhile, "SteroidHead" features Skyharbor's groove specialist Keshav Dha, with Friedman nimbly accompanying him with monster riffs. It’s a schizophrenically awesome song with two different identities that coalesce splendidly. "Inferno" absolutely rips, roars, and constantly redefines itself throughout.
Marty Friedman allows the record, like many of his prior works, considerable space within which experimental ideas flourish. This leads to things such as the extreme saxophone infusion courtesy of Jørgen Munkeby (which you might now from Shining) paired with Friedman’s wild shredding on the appropriately titled "Meat Hook", and the contrasting acoustic-shred nuttiness of "Wicked Panacea" with calming Latin contributions courtesy of superb guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela.
One of my favorites cuts is the melodic, quasi-anthemic "Undertow", one of the few moments of calm on the disc, featuring terrific performances by Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Steve Vai) on drums and Tony Franklin (Don Dokken, Blue Murder) on bass.
The last surprise pops up closer towards the end of the CD. Jason Becker, who has to suffer from the ALS-syndrom, was able to compose "Horrors" together with Marty Friedman. It's a grandiose, intricate maze of shadows and light, a veritable musical orgy of shred joy that Cacophony will love. It's great that those two companions got that chance to do write together again.
While Marty Friedman already has created numerous absurdly high-caliber albums, I can confidently say "Inferno" is right up there with his very best work. Friedman delivers ample evidence on this new record that he is still hungry and evolving, a trail-blazing guitar icon not content to confine or repeat himself.
He has created here his heaviest, shreddiest, and most experimental solo record yet. Clearly the man is still on fire — spin the flames of "Inferno" until headbanging severs your head from your neck.
03. Wicked Panacea (feat. Rodrigo y Gabriela)
04. Steroidhead (feat. Keshav Dhar)
05. I Can't Relax (feat. Danko Jones)
06. Meat Hook (feat. Jørgen Munkeby)
07. Hyper Doom
08. Sociopaths (feat. David Davidson)
09. Lycanthrope (feat. Alexi Laiho & Danko Jones)
10. Undertow (feat. Gregg Bissonette & Tony Franklin)
11. Horrors (co-written by Jason Becker)
12. Inferno -reprise-
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
To celebrate KISS incredible 40-year recording career and their upcoming, long-overdue induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Universal Music is releasing "Kiss 40", 2 CD compilation with one track from every major album release by the band, live selections, rare mixes / edit and an unreleased demo from 1977, all remastered.
Love or hate them they have been thrilling audiences worldwide now for 40 years. They were once the masters of disguise and rock‘n’roll legends and released an astounding 6 studio albums, 1 compilation, 2 live albums and 4 solo records all in the space of 5 years in the '70s.
Into the '80s the American market for them was soft, however they kept good fortune in other territories. The make-up came off, a heavier sound, a slew of line up changes until finally the fans dreams came true and the make-up went back on. Again they catapulted to fame and fortune, the drama raised its head, a farewell tour and the giant could still not be slayed.
Now in 2014 we have the mouth watering re-releases of the original albums on 180gm vinyl and this is where Kiss 40 comes into play – this is your suck it and see platter. Kiss have been accused of being all about image and no musical substance, let us get one thing straight; you do not have a consistently dedicated fanbase if the music you release has no merit.
As an introduction to Kiss the choices are somewhat of the beaten track compared to previous comps. For the collectors there is nothing really of note here to get you too excited apart from the Simmons demo of “Reputation” which is a moment in time and an oddity which will force their hand. “God of Thunder” demo with Stanley singing is also worth the entry price.
"Kiss 40" showcases all the faces of Kiss the hard rockin' 70s, the egos, the romance, the melodic rock and the metallic edge from the '80s / '90s. Try not and tap your foot to “Shout it Loud” and bang your head to “Unholy” and warble along with “Reason to Live”.
They have utilised here some tracks from the Alive series of cds which is a nice touch. The dedicated followers will buy this; the casual fan new and old will buy this and, it may just prick the interest of the uninitiated.
In short: it's a collection of pure hits, all remastered and put together on 2CD for just only 16 bucks.
"Kiss 40" is a great set which gives a fairly extensive overview of one of the greatest Rock bands of all time. Here is to the next 40 years!
CD 1 :
1. Nothin To Lose
2. Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll
3. C’mon and Love Me
4. Rock And Roll All Nite (Live)
5. God Of Thunder (Demo Paul Stanley lead vocals)
7. Hard Luck Woman
8. Reputation (Demo) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
9. Christine Sixteen
10. Shout It Out Loud (Live)
11. Strutter ‘78
12. You Matter To Me (Peter Criss)
13. Radioactive (Gene Simmons)
14. New York Groove (Ace Frehley)
15. Hold Me, Touch Me
16. I Was Made For Lovin’ You (Single Edit)
18. A World Without Heroes
19. I Love It Loud
20. Down On Your Knees
21. Lick It Up
22. Heaven’s On Fire
CD 2 :
1. Tears Are Falling
2. Reason To Live
3. Let’s Put The X In Sex
4. Forever (Remix)
5. God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II
6. Unholy (Live)
7. Do You Love Me? (MTV Unplugged)
8. Room Service (Live)
9. Jungle (Radio Edit)
10. Psycho Circus
11. Nothing Can Keep Me From You
12. Detroit Rock City (Live)
13. Deuce (Live 2004) – UNRELEASED COMMERCIALLY
14. Firehouse (Live – 1999/2000)
15. Modern Day Delilah
16. Cold Gin (Live 2009) – UNRELEASED COMMERCIALLY
17. Crazy Crazy Nights (Live 2010) – UNREL. COMMERCIALLY
18. Hell Or Hallelujah
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At the very end of 2013 and almost unnoticed, there was a box-set release from one of the essential bands from the first half of the '80s: Y&T, entitled "Earthquake: The A&M Years 1981-1985".
You will get 7 albums spread over 4 discs, a terrific collection with all the material Remastered for an exceptional value for money.
Yes, many would prefer every album in one single disc, but this way you have a glossy edition packaged in the old style 'fat' box, an extensive booklet in exceptional print quality with detailed info, and the most important; a superb sound remastered by Andy Pearce, all for less than 25 U$D it's a steal.
Additionally, there's a 'new' album entitled 'Live On The Friday Rock Show', a selection of live tracks from Donnington and Reading festivals including previously unreleased material.
From the the bunch, I have chosen Y&T's last recording for A&M, the criminally underrated "Down For The Count" (1986), a must have for any Melodic Rock / mid-'80s AOR fan.
The album features Y&T's biggest hit "Summertime Girls", a keyboard driven catchy AOR song to die for, which charted at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song had initially appeared as the lone studio track on the band's previous live album, Open Fire.
But all tracks into "Down For The Count" are great: the killer, scorching hard rock opener "In The Name Of Rock" about a young guitar player who broke through heck or high water, the AOR heaven of "Anytime At All" (with some Journey on it), the Melodic Rock gold of "Face Like An Angel", and one of my Y&T favorite songs ever: the bluesy and hot "Looks Like Trouble".
There's more ass kickers on the melting "Don't Tell Me What To Wear" and "Anything For Money", and the mid-tempo AOR ballad "Hands Of Time" has an intensity few times seen in this type of songs.
As said, "Down For The Count" is A-Must-Have. But also this awesome box "Earthquake: The A&M Years 1981-1985", including 7 albums for the price of two, with a monster remastering work and a fantastic packaging.
Go and buy it!
01 - In The Name Of Rock
02 - All American Boy
03 - Anytime At All
04 - Anything For Money
05 - Face Like An Angel
06 - Summertime Girls (Studio Version)
07 - Looks Like Trouble
08 - Your Mama Don't Dance
09 - Don't Tell Me What To Wear
10 - Hands Of Time
Dave Meniketti - vocals, guitar
Joey Alves - guitar, vocals
Phil Kennemore - bass, vocals
Leonard Haze - drums, percussion, cymbals
Randy Nichols, Claude Schnell - add. keyboards
John Nymann, Bill Costa - backing vocals
BUY IT !
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Completing the first 3 studio albums by FIONA 'Remastered & Reloaded' by Rock Candy Records, here's "Beyond The Pale", featuring 2 bonus tracks.
Fiona's self-titled debut album certainly introduced a sensational new talent to the world of femme fronted rock. Her striking looks and gilded vocals made for a fascinating combination, giving her an edge comparable to the anthemic styles of Pat Benatar, Patty Smyth and Heart.
The debut album made a sure footed impact, nicely setting up her next long playing foray.
For "Beyond The Pale", Atlantic Records teamed her up with fast rising production talent Beau Hill, a man who made waves producing hard rock act Ratt. It was Beau who recruited a top selection of gifted musicians including Nile Rodgers, Kip Winger and Reb Beach, as well as sourcing a number of key songwriters, including material from the pens of Billy Steinberg, Bob Halligan Jr. and Peter Wolf.
This is an '80s 'big sounding' record with a true mid-Eighties AOR feel, successfully combining clean cut hi-tech production chops with sizeable blasts of anthemic rock, allowing Fiona's distinctive vocals to punch home the choruses like a hot knife through butter.
Check out songs such as "Tragedy" (Kip Winger on backing vocals), "Thunder & Lightning" and the up-tempo "You Better Wait", my favorite, written by AOR master James House.
"Hopelessly Love You" is the commercial single destined for radio, "Running out of Night" is pure AOR with a 'soundtrack feel', "He's On My Side" is 'the' ballad with a Heart smell, and "Keeper of the Flame" rocks with great guitars.
As bonuses, Rock Candy has added two versions of "Hopelessly Love You" (only 12'' vinyl until now), being the extended "Vocal remix" much sought after for years by me (and collectors).
Very good remaster with 24 bit sound along with enhanced liner notes, essays and rare photographs.
01 - Tragedy
02 - Hopelessly Love You
03 - Living In A Boy's World
04 - Thunder & Lightning
05 - Tender Is The Heart
06 - Running Out Of Night
07 - In My Blood
08 - He's On My Side
09 - You Better Wait
10 - Keeper Of The Flame
11 - Hopelessly Love You (Vocal remix) [bonus track]
12 - Hopelessly Love You (Dub version) [bonus track]
Fiona – lead and backing vocals
Bobby Messano, Reb Beach, Nile Rodgers – guitar
Reb Beach – guitar
Benjy King – keyboards
David Rosenberg – drums, programming
Joe Franco – drums
Donnie Kisselbach – bass
Kip Winger – backing vocals
Beau Hill – production, backing vocals
BUY IT !
Saturday, May 24, 2014
British label Z Records continue their fine re-issue series of Melodic Hard Rock icon PAUL SABU’s back catalogue, all Remastered & Repackaged. Now it's time for Sabu's "Between The Light", featuring 3 bonus tracks.
During the '90s, although the AOR and melodic rock heyday of the previous decade had passed and grunge was king, a few artists still carried on with the Japanese market providing a lifeline. Paul Sabu was one of these and after the successful release of 'In Dreams' (featured HERE) in 1993, he signed with a German label.
Paul re-formed his band with Bonfire members, and changed the moniker to simply SABU, releasing a self-titled album in '96. Thanks to that energised CD, the blueprint was firmly in place and Sabu saw no reason to change it.
"Between The Light" arrived in 1998 and was even more solid, meaty an hard rockin' than the previous.
The opening couplet of "Spitfire" and "Let A Sleeping Dog Lie" were full of the usual bombast and self-belief that we had come to expect, whilst "Bring Us Love" is a synth heavy throwback to the 'Heartbreak' and Kidd Glove eras.
The glorious anthemic strains of "If I'd Never Asked You To Dance", a real lighters-in-the- air moment is one of his finest ballads, but next "Til Your Hearts Calm" is a pure rush of adrenaline that will make sure your heart is anything but calm.
"You Might Get Stuck" is pulsating rocker akin House Of Lords, while a curve ball in the shape of Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her" shows it to be a rocked-up homage to one of Motown's most famous sons.
With "Get It While It's Hot" finishing the album in great style, these are the finest minutes that the late nineties had to offer.
Not even the crystal ball adorned cover could have foretold that it would be almost a decade before the Paul Sabu would release another album, a decade bereft of one of the genre's essential contributors.
With strong songwriting, musicianship and production, "Between The Light" would prove over time to be one of the '90s lost treasures. When the depressive grunge had swept all before it, only a select few were carrying the flag for the true Melodic Hard Rock in 1998.
If anything, Sabu has proven to be one of rocks survivors. No matter how many sh#t Seattle had thrown at the world at the turn of the nineties, here was a musicians that was ready to buck the trend and stand or fall by what he believed in.
And "Between The Light" is one of Sabu's finest moments.
01 - Spitfire
02 - Let A Sleeping Dog Lie
03 - Mind Over Matter
04 - Bring Us Love
05 - If I'd Never Asked You To Dance
06 - Til Your Heart's Calm
07 - I Just Ain't
08 - You Might Get Stuck
09 - I Was Made To Love Her
10 - Get It While It's Hot
11 - Made Of Rock (bonus track)
12 - Hang Tough (bonus track)
13 - Rock And A Hard Place (bonus track)
Paul Sabu - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Angel Schleifer - guitar, backing vocals
Jörg Deisinger - bass, backing vocals
Derek Smith - drums
Tony Montana - add. drums
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21 OCTAYNE was founded by current Axxis guitarist Marco Wriedt to create a band that can straddle the traditional boundaries in hard rock / metal. The band is a union of German talent: Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody drummer Alex Landenburg, Joe Perry Project vocalist Hagen Grohe, and Paul Gilbert bassist Andrew Lauer.
21 Octayne is releasing their debut "Into The Open" through AFM Records, and it's a little different from the label usual output of Teutonic metal and the change is refreshing to these ears.
The album opens with "She’s Killing Me", and 21 Octayne immediately set out their stall. It’s no nonsense technical hard rock, with an extraordinary synchronicity of the three instrumentalists. The first thing musically that hits you are the powerful vocals, and then the polished arrangements. The hook is there in spades in the chorus and as an opener it is a good choice as it serves as a brief example of what they can all do individually and together.
"Dear Friend" is up next, which lulls the listener into a false sense of serenity, with its tenderly picked nylon string guitar intro, only to be pummelled with a riff as dirty as an overworked mechanic just when they’re getting comfortable.
But Wriedt wanted with 21 Octayne something different fron the usual hard rock, and on tracks to come the band pushes the genre's to a blend.
They add some power chords and classic rock to the proceedings on the terrific "Don’t Turn Away" sounding like recent wonders The Winery Dogs. Andrew 'The Bullet' Lauer provide fancy bass runs scattered around the whole album adding a heavy-funk groove to the hard rockin' song patterns.
At the same time, there's modern touches on some tracks such as "Your Life" but then veers off into Bon Jovi territory for the chorus.
21 Octayne also craft very good ballads; the mid-tempo melodic rocker "Turn The World" adds a sprinkle of Night Ranger’s '90s works, while the smoothly, wonderful "I Will Always Be Right There" it's pure soft acoustic guitar and once again Hagen Grohe’s vocal ever so rockingly delicate.
The album ends on an impressive high rocking-it-out style with the dynamic, ultra melodious and almost anthemic "Come Alive". And for once I can find something else to say other that 'buy this record'.
Seriously, 21 Octayne's "Into The Open" is truly impressive.
The band mixes classic / hard rock song structures with a modern approach, specially from production which is superb and extremely polished. There's hooks, groove, catchiness and a diversity of styles swinging around on each track, whilst all still under the “Rock” banner is wide ranging with some elements of psych, funk and metal. This is seriously impressive stuff for the genre, and really refreshing.
The musicianship is excellent, but that typical Euro vocal performance from Hagen Grohe steals the show and glistens in the musical sunshine. His rich vocals adding a much needed commercial element which needs to comes hand in hand with a release of this sort is faultlessly delivered.
You need to check 21 Octayne's "Into The Open", you will be impressed, pleasantly impressed.
01. She's Killing Me
02. Dear Friend
03. Turn the World
04. Don't Turn Away
05. My Teddy Bear
06. Into the Open
07. Me Myself and I
08. The Heart (Save Me)
09. Your Life
10. I Will Always Be Right There (ltd. ed. bonus track)
11. Leave My Head (ltd. ed. bonus track)
12. Come Alive (ltd. ed. bonus track)
Hagen Grohe (The Joe Perry Project) - Vocals
Marco Wriedt (Axxis) - Guitar
Alex Landenburg (Rhapsody) - Drums
Andrew Lauer (Paul Gilbert Band) - Bass
BUY IT !
Friday, May 23, 2014
Two years after their celebrated eponymous debut album German hard rock supergroup UNISONIC which includes Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Dennis Ward, Mandy Meyer and last but not least Kosta Zafiriou is back with a new record that will be released on July 25th.
As a foretaste of their eagerly awaited sophomore album the band is releasing the EP "For The Kingdom", which contains two new songs and four live tracks.
Hard Rock and metal fans had to wait many many years – 23 to be exact – before it finally happened: German metal icons Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske, who kicked off German Metal trailblazers Helloween's international triumph with the two 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys' records at the end of the '80s, got back together again.
Add to that the talent of producer / Pink Cream 69’s Dennis Ward, current Krokus and former Asia guitarist Mandy Meyer and drummer Kosta Zaifiriou (ex-Kymera, Place Vendome) and you have the real deal.
The new album’s title track opens this six song EP and it bodes well for the upcoming album, with a big chorus, pounding drums and those distinctive vocals of Michael Kiske.
Next up is "You Come Undone", a song exclusive to the EP and this does sound thunderous, heavy and in-your-face. Kiske shines and the riff will blow your head out of your body.
The rest of the maxi-CD is made up of four live songs recorded back in 2012 at the Masters Of Rock festival in the Czech Republic. Good to hear these songs played live and "Never Too Late" is a belter onstage.
Funnily enough despite having two prominent ex-members of Helloween in the band they don’t really sound like that band, bar the vocals which you can’t really get away from. If anything Unisonic plough a more hard rock / melodic metal furrow and are very good at what they do.
Nice little EP to tide the fans over until the new album arrives in July.
01. For The Kingdom (New Song)
02. You Come Undone (New Song; EP exclusive track)
03. Unisonic (live 2012; EP exclusive track)
04. Never Too Late (live 2012; EP exclusive track)
05. Star Rider (live 2012; EP exclusive track)
06. Souls Alive (live 2012; EP exclusive track)
Michael Kiske - Vocals
Kai Hansen - Guitars
Mandy Meyer - Guitars
Dennis Ward - Bass
Kosta Zafiriou - Drums
BUY IT !
MOTHER ROAD is a new band put together by Austin, TX singer Keith Slack (MSG / Steelhouse Lane) and famed German guitarist & producer Chris Lyne (Soul Doctor) which are releasing their debut "Drive" today through the AORHeaven label.
Rounding out the outfit are huge keyboard player Alessandro DelVecchio, drummer Jacky Tsoukas, and bassist Frank Binke. These guys obviously have studied their Bad Company, Deep Purple, WhiteSnake, Free, ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin albums really well, as "Drive" tips its hat to many of the legendary Classic (Hard) Rock bands of the last 40+ years.
Slack's voice easily merges traditional classic rock with earthy blues, maybe with a little more of gritty edge. Lyne's guitar mirrors his sound, with a sharp and brisk to soulful and stirring delivery. At times, on Mother Road he reminds me of John Sykes with a touch of Gary Moore.
Keith Slack's voice is perfectly suited to the genre, displaying a wide range in a variety of styles from all out rockers like the album opener "The Sun Will Shine Again", the foot stomping "Feather In Your Hat" and the bump & grind swagger of "Drive Me Crazy" to slow bluesy movers like "Out Of My Mind" or "These Shoes", a powerful song that has that Bad Company meets Whitesnake vibe.
There's a fantastic guitar / keyboard dueling between Lyne & DelVecchio on the killer "Still Rainin", a pure catchy muscular bluesy hard rock number with hooks and scorching lead guitar, and the Hammond organ provides the swirling waves behind Lyne's guitar in the latter half of "These Shoes".
"Dangerous Highway" is the road song the band’s name suggests, and the Jon Lord-like opening conjures up images of Deep Purple before the riff kicks in. It’s another mid-tempo song that Mother Road does so well.
"Poor Boy (Long Way Out)" channels Free; whilst "Dirty Little Secret" sees some of the best vocal and guitar work on the album (and that is saying something). "Blue Eyes" has a distinct vintage Cry of Love Southern warmth to it albeit with a vocal by Slack akin a rough Paul Rodgers.
Final track "On My Way" strips it back to subtle acoustic bones before bursting into life and finally taking it down again. It’s a powerful song, emotive and a great way to close a great album.
With melodies aplenty, powerful vocals and stellar musicianship, it's pretty easy to recommend "Drive", and I can safely say that there's a built in audience ready and waiting for stuff like this. It's honest, true, real bluesy Classic Rock fron the heart.
Slack' s ability to infuse genuine feeling into the music is one of the keys to its appeal. Chris Lyne gets a chance to put his talents on display and does an amazing job in the rhythm and lead guitar here. The guy rocks hard with his great tone and aggressive phrasing.
Mother Road is the type of band you'd go see and there would be no fancy clothes, no half-dressed chicks dancing on stage, just a bunch of guys in jeans and t-shirts with some Marshalls and their instruments. They'd plug in and they'd blow you away.
01 - The Sun Will Shine Again
02 - Feather In Your Hat
03 - Drive Me Crazy
04 - Out Of My Mind
05 - These Shoes
06 - Dangerous Highway
07 - Poor Boy (Long Way Out)
08 - Dirty Little Secret
09 - Blue Eyes
10 - Still Rainin'
11 - On My Way
Keith Slack (vocals)
Chris Lyne (guitars)
Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards)
Frank Binke (bass)
Athanasios Zacky Tsoukas (drums)
BUY IT !
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Greek rockers OUTLOUD already pleased us with their previous two great albums, and now, again fronted by superb US vocalist Chandler Mogel, the band delivers a new album, "Let's Get Serious", packed with 11 high octane originals plus a cover of OMD’s “Enola Gay”.
In short; the whole album is full of potential hits. It's that good.
It takes only to hear a straight-in-your-face, dynamic opening riff to the first track “Death Rock” to realize no one who loved the two previous Outloud releases would be disappointed by this one. “We’re gonna rock you, we’re gonna rock you to death!” is what the band promises in the hard-edged, punchy opener. And with brilliant Chandler Mogel delivering some really feisty vocals, you know you’re gonna believe them.
More catchy are the next two songs, “I Was So Blind” and “One More Time,” a well-crafted pieces of guitar driven melodic hard rock enriched with tinkling keyboards. The traces of what was best in previous Outloud releases resonate especially in the latter.
“Bury The Knife” is one of the highlights. The track starts as the stellar AOR-ish keyboard/guitar duel with a huge, irresistibly catchy chorus — and yet, in the interlude before the guitar solo the band gets unexpectedly heavy, with Chandler aggressively belting out the subsequent lines.
Another melodic gem is “Like A Dream”, which features some outstanding vocal harmonies, followed up by a mellow, acoustic ballad “It Really Doesn’t Matter.” Things get somber and reflective only for a little while, however, next are a big arena rocker “All In Vain” and a bit more feisty “A While To Go,” both tracks heavily guitar-laden and fast-paced.
There’s also a keyboard-driven mid-tempo “Another Kind Of Angel”, which certainly reminds one that Outloud is primarily about great hooks and catchy melodies. It precedes “Let’s Get Serious”, a speedy and dynamic instrumental duel — a real showcase of the band’s skill and prowess.
“Toy Soldier” is perhaps the heaviest song ever recorded by Outloud – based on modern rock riffs, aggressive and straightforward, with the guest contribution by Adrenaline Mob’s guitarist Mike Orlando.
And as for the icing on the cake, here’s OMD’s “Enola Gay” … with a twist! Outloud’s rendition of this vintage anti-war classic is no drastic alteration in comparison with 1980 original, but nevertheless remains fresh and powerful — and clearly affected by the band’s trademark style.
"Let’s Get Serious" portrays Outloud as the band cultivates and perfects their trademarked sound they've invented and continued throughout the two previous albums. There is no question of breaking new ground here, and no experiments music-wise; the Greek/American band returns with almost exactly what one could expect from them.
But what counts is that "Let’s Get Serious" is a perfectly crafted Melodic Hard Rock album — comprised of big hooks, bewitching melodies and brilliant songwriting, a showcase to the band’s outstanding musicianship and Chandler Mogel's excellent vocal performance.
For every Melodic Hard Rock / edgy AOR fan, this is a must-have.
01 - Death Rock
02 - I Was So Blind
03 - One More Time
04 - Bury The Knife
05 - Like A Dream
06 - It Really Doesn't Matter
07 - A While To Go
08 - All In Vain
09 - Another Kind Of Angel
10 - Let's Get Serious
11 - Toy Soldiers
12 - Enola Gay
Chandler Mogel – Vocals
Bob Katsionis – Guitars, Keyboards
Jim Scordilis – Guitars
Sverd – Bass
Kostas Milonas – Drums
George Kollias (Nile) – all Drums on album
Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob) – Guitar solo on “Toy Soldiers”
Norwegian TORE St. MOREN is one of the most respected Scandinavian guitarists having recorded with dozen of artists as session musician, but he's internationally known as main axeman in Jorn Lande's band. Tore was part of Jorn since the beginning, but now he left the group to pursue a solo career.
"My Way Or The Highway" is Tore St. Moren debut CD, and his band includes seasoned musicians in John Macaluso (Jorn, Yngwie, TNT) on drums, Nic Angileri (Jorn, Gotthard) on bass, and young second guitarist Espen Rogne.
As you can see, this is basically Jorn's backing band of few years ago, but if you're expecting the same metal edge of Lande's solo works, you're wrong. Tore St Moren's band plays traditional hard rock with an '80s / '90s feel, really melodic and on many places very classic rock sounding.
The band feels organic and tight as unit, and Tore, apart from his remarkable skills on the six-strings, it's a respectable lead singer. Anyway, he counts with a little help from friends to add variation to the album.
Renowned Rick Altzi (Masterplan, Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall) sings the really good late '80s Yngwie meets Rainbow "Bad Blood" and the galloping "Don’t Call Me", the heaviest cut here akin Axel Rudi Pell.
But also we have Åge Sten Nilsen (ex Wig Wam) on the juicy classic rocker "Tell Me What You Want" a midtempo track with some DIO in it yet more melodic and quite 'British'. (Tore St Moren will be playing on Nilsen's new band Ammunition, which debut is being produced by Erik Mårtensson).
If you like your classic rock played with hot blood (according to Tore, most the album was recorded live in the studio) "My Way Or The Highway" is for you.
It's quite varied, mostly melodic yet interspersed with a couple of heavy hard rockers, even a melodic hard rocker in between in the Ted Nugent-like "Kiss My Ass" - I would loved more songs in this vein, it really kick ass.
1 - The Day We Met
2 - Bad Blood
3 - Snortin' Whiskey
4 - Tell Me What You Want
5 - Don't Call Me
6 - Stand Up
7 - Kiss My Ass
8 - Slow Down
Tore St Moren (Jorn) - guitar, vocals
John Macaluso (Jorn, Yngwie, TNT) - drums
Nic Angileri (Jorn, Gotthard) - bass
Espen Rogne - guitar
Rick Altzi (Masterplan, Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall) - vocals
Åge Sten Nilsen (Wig Wam) - vocals
BUY IT !
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Perhaps the definitive arena Melodic Rock band ever, NIGHT RANGER will release their new album "High Road" next June 9th on Frontiers Records.
Two singles from the CD have surfaced for press promotion, and you have 'em here at 0dayrox.
Produced by the band itself, "High Road" promises to be a fantastic CD.
Seems Night Ranger has returned to their '83-'86 style, the one we all love. Not only the front cover of the album incorporates elements of the artwork from the band’s previous releases (take a deep look and you'll find them), but these songs are simply awesome, in the vein of their best era.
Title track "High Road" with lead vocals by Jack Blades, it's a wonderful anthemic, arena-ready tune with an Eighties Night Ranger seal. The guitar solo by Brad Gillis is to die for!
"I'm Coming Home" - sung by Kelly Keagy but Blades also does a part - is even better; a monster melodic hard rocker with lots of hot riffs, keyboards, harmony vocals and a pumping rhythm that sounds taken from '7 Wishes', one the band's most celebrated albums.
I love Night Ranger... I can't wait.
01 - High Road (3:55)
02 - I'm Coming Home (4.51)
Jack Blades: Lead Vocals, Bass
Kelly Keagy: Drums, Lead Vocals
Brad Gillis: Guitar, Vocals
Joel Hoekstra: Guitar, Vocals
Eric Levy: Keyboards
Last week we presented at 0dayrox Triump's guitarist / singer Rik Emmett album 'Then Again... Acoustic Selections from the Triumph Catalogue', now here's another disc with Rik involved, requested many times here: his project alongside guitarist Dave Dunlop THE TROUBS, and their album "reCOVERy Room 9".
Also known as Strung-Out Troubadours, 'The Troubs' Rik Emmett & Dave Dunlop have been playing together for almost ten years. "reCOVERy Room 9", as the title suggests, it's an album entirely of covers, recorded live in the studio Room 9 in Toronto, Canada. The two were kicking around ideas to help flesh out their set list and were considering what cover songs they'd like to perform.
One of the joys of recording an album of covers, said Emmett, is it's a way to break down people's conceptions of the style of musician he is.
"It became a bit of a game, making the list" said Emmett. "Then we looked at it as being a challenge to come up with some songs that would be unexpected (coming from us)". It let me step so far out of what people think is Rik Emmett's comfort zone" he said. "People didn't expect that, and I think that's very cool."
Emmett is one of the best musicians Canada has ever produced. The years have been kind to him, as he still retains his unique vocal styling, while his guitar skills are better now than ever.
Always a skilled acoustic player, Emmett shines on The Troubs rendition of the Police classic “Message in a Bottle” and the Don Henley's hit “The Boys of Summer”. These are two of the finest songs played as each retains much of the original but still works very well unplugged.
Also the Billy Joel song “Always a Woman” it's wonderfully done on guitar without the famed piano man’s input.
Bruce Springsteen's “Born to Run” features a heartrending vocal performance by Rik, and a very nice fingerpickin' fight between the both talented guitarists.
One of Emmett's favourite songs on the album is “The Galaxy Song”. It's written by Monty Python's Eric Idle and fans of the seminal comedy troupe will remember it from the movie Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. It's an irreverent and fun song, and Emmett pushed hard to have it included on the album.
"I had to sell Dave on it because he originally didn't want to do it at all," said Emmett. "I told him to just trust me and that it's going to be fun. It turned out great and the solo Dave plays on it is just brilliant".
Anything Rik Emmett is involved with will be done with finesse, class and professionalism. He is a consummate performer and Dunlop is the perfect person to play with Rik.
The duo obviously is having a great time paying homage to their peers on "reCOVERy Room 9". One would not necessarily know that from the album cover, as it appears both performers are nodding off into the darkness.
Don’t be fooled by the photo though, as these guys put on a great, albeit, mellow acoustic set that showcases another facet of the talented Rik Emmett.
01 - I Hear You Knockin'
02 - Message in a Bottle
03 - The Boys of Summer
04 - Superstition
05 - Always a Woman
06 - Born to Run
07 - I've Just Seen a Face
08 - Have a Little Faith in Me
09 - The Galaxy Song
10 - Light Of Day
11 - State Of Grace
12 - Faithful Stranger (Love Returns)
Rik Emmet - vocals, guitar
Dave Dunlop - guitar, backing vocals, percussion
BUY IT !
American Melodic Rockers WALTHAM born in the late '90s in the town of the same name located in Massachusetts. After some indie recordings, the group fronted by Frank Pino Jr. got the opportunity to record their full length debut on a major label, a high praised CD amongst fans of the genre.
Waltham continued playing all over the US East area, and after some singles appeared last year on iTunes, the band is releasing a new album; "Wicked Waltham".
Waltham's style leans to modern Melodic Rock based on intense riffs spiced with catchy rock&pop harmonies. Although their sound is updated to present time, there's an undeniable '80s influence in the songcraft.
Their classic song structures makes you think Tyketto meets Harem Scarem, and in the overall sonic approach very close to the underrated 7th Heaven. On places they remind me Blanc Faces and Swedes Bad Habit.
The good thing about Waltham's is the catchiness, fist-pumping anthem mould delivered in a 3-minute format song. Just check below the video for the extremely contagious "You're Everything That I Want".
One of my favorites is the '80s radio rock "The Highway" akin Night Ranger, one of these kind of tunes to enjoy this summer at the beach. "Stand N' Fight" turn things little harder like a modern Harem Scarem, while the main melody of "Still In Love" brings to mind Loverboy.
"Wicked Waltham" is in fact an EP, but the band is giving additional digital bonus tracks with the purchase: "The Fix" has an energetic punch, "Holiday" is a foot tapping melodic rocker with guitar licks where Waltham sounds like a modern Steelhouse Lane.
Even more melodic is "Where I Wanna Be" with a catchy chorus and a slow-down halfway the track, then it ends in an intense way. "Joanne" is an old Waltham song driven by a strong riff, revitalized here by a new mix.
Waltham are inspired in the Eighties, just check the bass pumped "Love N' Stuff" and its harmonized vocals.
"Wicked Waltham" is full of catchy, hooky, fun Melodic Rock songs specially designed for the summer. These guys have 'something' which made their songs instantly enjoyable and puts you in good mood in no time.
01 - You're Everything That I Want
02 - The Highway
03 - Drive Me Crazy
04 - Stand N' Fight
05 - Still In Love
06 - The Fix (purchase digital bonus)
07 - Holiday (purchase digital bonus)
08 - Where I Wanna Be (purchase digital bonus)
09 - Joanne [new vocal mix] (purchase digital bonus)
10 - Love N' Stuff (purchase digital bonus)
Frank Pino Jr. - Vocals
Tony Monaco - Guitar
Craig Small - Guitar
Peet Golan - Bass
Mikey Rorick - Drums
BUY IT !
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
* not the promo with noises
SPACE ELEVATOR is the new sensation from Britain that was put together by songwriter / guitarist David Young, who plays in the West End production of the Queen musical 'We Will Rock You'.
Alongside him, Young has pulled some of the best musicians in the business including Whitesnake / Black Sabbath legend Neil Murray on bass, Elliott Ware (The Who, Alice Cooper) on keyboards and in demand rock session drummer Brian Greene. The last piece of the Space Elevator line up is the female lead singer known only as 'The Duchess' who has a voice that really must be heard to be believed.
With little fanfare, the band have launched and recently released their self-titled album which is gaining momentum throughout the UK and Europe and if you take a listen to it yourself, I pretty much guarantee that if you're a fan of classic rock then this album will blow you away.
If you think that Space Elevator sounds alike a 'stage musical' judging David Young's pedigree, you're wrong.
This is a terrific, imaginative, bombastic rockin' combo inspired by big late seventies / eighties acts but with a vibrant 'real band' feeling.
Young makes his Stratocaster sing sweetly on one song before rocking out on the next with a valvular Les Paul, but all done in an understated way. He is the musical director, but the guitarist is not trying to out do the rest of the band, they come across as a tight professional unit.
We have a magical keyboard work from Elliot Ware (also of We Will Rock You fame) - and when I say magical believe me, the man goes from Grand Piano, Synths, Harpsichord to Hammond Organ and Moog. All his ivory arsenal sits happily next to the dynamic rhythm section handled by Murray and Greene.
And then 'The Duchess'; she not only is a gorgeous, eye-candy beautiful woman, her vocal work is simply outstanding on this record, full of emotion, from silky whispers to all out rock screams - you are left in no doubt she is good at what she does.
Space Elevator set out to create an album inspired by classic rock with a lot of early Queen, Thin Lizzy, '80s Kate Bush, Foreigner and more, much more. They will take your senses on an auditory journey of well crafted rock songs with great dynamics and powerful playing supporting lush vocal harmonies and instantly memorable melodies.
The journey begins with the opening, "Elevator" that sets the mood for the rest of the CD, and is actually one of the real highlights, as a groove laden riff from David Young complement the alluring vocal prowess of the Duchess. The chorus is instantly catchy, the guitar solo is tasty and punchy, and the overall vibe is like some majestic combination of Queen meets eighties Yes. "We Are The Losers" is a grandiose sympho-pop rocker, with emotional lyrics that the Duchess drives home with a potent delivery. She is a beast of a vocalist, one minute like Kate Bush fronting Queen on "I Will Find You (Gallifrey Dreams)" – a real pomp rock delight – then coming all over Fleetwood Mac on "We Can Fly".
"Ordinary Day" (somehow Heart meets ELO) and the melodic rocker "Little White Lies" (great guitar work) are little gems, while "Loneliness Of Love" is a stunning AOR rock song that has radio play written all over it.
More solid and catchy melodic rock can be heard on awesome Romeo Daughter's like "More Than Enough", and the bluesy midtempo "Really Don't Care", the latter plenty of musical layers.
I mean, Space Elevator do not produce ordinary songs, all are rich on varied types of keyborads, electric / acoustic guitars, different bass tones and drum patterns.
Listen to "Oils And Bubbles" and it sounds like nothing in today's music scene: great harmonies, Brian May approved guitar solos and a tongue in cheek lyric make this a winner. The last two tracks, "We Can Fly" and "Move On" are filled with amazing melodies, intriguing atmosphere and dramatic textures.
Expect to be bowled over by the majestic & powerful sounds that will come out of your speakers or through your headphones when you pop this CD in.
Space Elevator spreads excellent musicianship as you’d expect given the calibre of the musicians involved, and a fantastic set of songs plenty of musical ideas and gorgeous melodies. Not a single filler here, all served by a top notch production with lots of layering and texturing coming through giving a new spin on the traditional rock sound which is very refreshing.
It's recordings like this that should be the talked about in the music world. It's an amazing listening experience that gets better with every listen. Brilliant I'd say. Do yourself a favour and get a copy now (only available on CD, no digital downloads).
As we sometimes outburst: Foocking Awesome!
01 - Elevator
02 - We Are The Losers
03 - I Will Find You
04 - Ordinary Day
05 - Little White Lies
06 - Loneliness Of Love
07 - More Than Enough
08 - Really Don’t Care
09 - Oils And Bubbles
10 - We Can Fly
11 - Move On
The Duchess – Lead & Backing Vocals, Vocal Arrangements
David Young – Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Neil Murray – Bass
Brian Greene – Drums, Percussion
Elliot Ware – Grand Piano, Keyboards, Harpsichord, Hammond Organ, Moog Synths
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TAKIDA is a Swedish sextet that has been doing some major impact in the Scandinavian charts. The guys play Modern Rock but what turned interesting to me about their music is the inclusion of strong Melodic Rock sense into their compositional style.
tAKiDA's previous two albums were only available in Sweden, finally, their new CD "All Turns Red" is the first being released & distributed all over Europe by MusicBuyMail.
"All Turns Red" is a quite juicy album that will not stop tAKiDA from climbing the charts as well as Modern Rock radio. There's commercial choruses and some inspiration from American bands in this genre, yet Takida adds a personal sense of melody to their instant rockers.
I hear '90s hard rock overtones as well, and fortunately not grunge at all. No, tAKiDA is Modern Rock but catchy, riff-based and overall more guitar-focused than the bands of this ilk.
Just listen opener "I Am The World", this rock hard, bounces and has substance. "Fail" is another jumpin' track with a great groove and rhythm section.
Other cuts are more melodic, close to melodic rock such as "I'm Coming Home", "As We're Falling Down" and "It Saved Me".
Of course there's a ballad targeted to radio, "To Have And To Hold", but as said before, this is much better than the usual Modern Rock garbage, with a strong melody, steady instrumentation and nice vocals.
If you wanna listen Modern Rock well done, arranged, played and produced (everything sounds polished and crystal clear) give tAKiDA a chance.
In fact, "All Turns Red" will please many Melodic Rock listeners fans of the modern side from the genre, and Swedish Rock aficionados in general.
01 - I Am The World
02 - Brimstone
03 - One Lie
04 - Purgatory (Live And Let Die)
05 - As We're Falling Down
06 - It Saved Me
07 - I'm Coming Home
08 - To Have And To Hold
09 - Daylight
10 - Fail
Robert Pettersson - Vocals
Tomas Wallin - Guitar
Fredrik Pålsson - Bass
Kristoffer Söderström - Drums
Mattias Larsson - Guitar
Chris Rehn - Keyboards
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CIRCA ZERO is a new band formed by ex- The Police guitarist Andy Summers (who is now 71 years old yet looks just turned 60!) and vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Rob Giles (The Rescues) who have delivered a splendid debut album entitled "Circus Hero".
Interestingly Summers says writing with Giles has been the most natural thing since he worked with Sting and judging by the music on here they have had a fruitful time in the studio.
Turns out the real talent in The Police may not have been Sting after all. Their guitarist, Andy Summers, was responsible in more ways than one for the unforgettable sound of such classic albums as Regatta De Blanc and Synchronicity. Other than Sting’s distinctive voice (which has gone way too mellow in his solo career), Summers’ superb fret work on the Telecaster was the defining characteristic of every Police number: driving and controlled while simultaneously excitable and exciting.
But since The Police broke up, Andy has been involved into different projects including prog-rock, jazz, acoustic rock, none really easy to get into and none of which made a serious impact on the charts.
That is, until now.
Finally, at 71, Summers has formed a new band in Circa Zero, and gone back to writing real Rock songs. This new material is strongly reminiscent of classic Police, maybe with a hook-laden touch of The Cars thrown in; the album cries out to be turned up real real loud, to be felt as well as heard.
Make no mistake, though, with Summers behind the driving wheel this is rock with more than a touch of sophistication. It has all Andy's trademark atmospheric guitar sounds and fills, combined / amped up with layers of rock guitar sound that I wasn't expecting. Rob Giles' vocals and playing are excellent and every song is greatly done.
It is a rewarding listen from the opener and lead tune, the heavy pop rock of "Levitation" through to the closing song "Hot Camel", a slightly avant-garde tune. There are of course big hints of the Police, mainly in the guitar as you’d expect and none more so than on "Say Goodnight".
"Shoot Out The Stars" is one of best songs I've heard this year. A glorious rock&pop track that you won’t stop humming even after just one listen. "Underground" sticks out after a first listen too with a clever use of harmony vocals and again the melody is very radio friendly.
Not all songs are rockin' though, with "Summer Lies" being more of a ballad and "Whenever You Hear The Rain" a more gentle sounding song, with Summers’ unmistakeable guitar occasionally reminding you of ‘Every Breath You Take’. You can hardly blame him though, it’s been one of his signature riffs of his career.
After almost 27 years, Andy Summers has returned to Rock, and with a great, organic, living, breathing Rock album / band.
Summers lays it on really thick with his guitars and wisely leaves the singing to his new songwriting partner Rob Giles. Not only does Giles provide dynamite, powerhouse vocals, but he also does a standout job on bass and fierce, intense & rocked out drums, sometimes sounding like Sting and Stewart Copeland on those instruments on certain songs. Dan Epand also handles the sticks masterfully on three tracks.
The resulting sound is an exhilarating mix of musical styles (The Police, Yes, U2, '80s Rock, even Eric Johnson) that make up a compelling package, and Summers has the chords, licks, and riffs and Giles has the voice to really sell it.
Although I had considered The Police to be one of my favorite bands since 1983 yet presenting some filler material, I find that Circa Zero's debut album is tighter, more focused, more consistent, and ultimately more satisfying than anyone of The Police's records, because the whole "Circus Hero" is flawless from beginning to end.
Believe me, if you are a The Police or simply an '80s Rock fan, Circa Zero's "Circus Hero" (nice tongue twister) is a must.
01 - Levitation
02 - Underground
03 - The Story Ends Here
04 - Say Goodnight
05 - Gamma Ray
06 - Night Time Travelers
07 - Shoot Out The Stars
08 - Underwater
09 - Summer Lies
10 - No Highway
11 - Light The Fuse & Run
12 - Whenever You Hear The Rain
13 - Hot Camel
Andy Summers - Guitars
Rob Giles - Vocals, Bass, Drums, Keyboards
Dan Epand - Drums
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Monday, May 19, 2014
Several years back LOUD LION created a huge buzz in the Melodic Rock world with a bunch of original songs recorded in the Def Leppard Hysteria-era soundwise. There was some mystery about the band line up with rumours of well known names in business involved.
Some of these tracks were used in a couple of movie soundtracks, and a full album in the making promised. But it never happened... until now, because the guys re-recorded the entire material plus new songs and today, May 19, are being released on CD by MelodicRock.com Records under the title "Die Tough".
Loud Lion is the brain child of L.A. songwriter, session musician and producer Bleu McAuley who put together the project to pay homage to Mutt Lange and Def Leppard. Even the band's name is a tribute to Def Leppard.
The album includes 9 original songs 'in the style of' classic Def Leppard and features Bleu along with Taylor Locke (Bleu's co-creator & main partner in Loud Lion, most widely known as the lead guitarist for Rooney), Adam Ross (Rihanna's touring guitarist), Allison Robertson (The Donnas lead guitarist), Maclaine Diemer (Bang Camaro, on keyboards, guitar), John Fields (uber producer), Dylan Halacy (Bang Camaro, on drums) and other contributors.
Mind you, Bleu isn't even trying to sell this as anything else but a homage to Leppard/Lange: "Def Leppard hasn't put anything as good as Loud Lion out in at least a decade! If you like Pyromania and Hysteria (and f**k you if you don't) then you'll love this record - and that's not even taking into account the brain-liquidating shred-fests. An homage has never (ever) sounded so majestic!".
And to be honest, he's right. "Die Tough" sounds huge!
Despite the advances in recording technology, it's still quite impossible to emulate the larger-than-life sound of 'Hysteria'. But Loud Lion are pretty close: multi-layered harmony vocals, fine Clark / Collen-inspired guitar work, not to mention very Joe Elliott-like lead vocals.
Simply put, if you love '80s Def Leppard, "Die Tough" is a festival to your senses.
My absolute favourite is "The Hills Have Eyes" from the movie by the same name. It's as Leppard as the rest of the songs, yet with a Loud Lion personal touch.
Elsewhere you've got "Die Tuff" (akin 'Love Bites'), "Lion Eyes" ('Photograph' maybe?), "Lion's Den" ('Women'), "Love Will Break Your Heart" ('Pour Some Sugar On Me') and "Sunset Strip" ('Rocket').
Coser "None More Fast" is an anthemic arena number with crazy guitar solos and a 'Rock Of Ages' (the movie) feel. Fun stuff!
01. Love Will Break Your Heart
02. Lion’s Den
03. Lion Eyes
04. Die Tuff
05. Loud Lion Theme Song
06. Dawn Of The Dead
07. The Hills Have Eyes
08. Sunset Slip
09. None More Fast
Robbie Royce - Lead Vocals
Bleu McAuley - Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Taylor Locke, Allison Robertson - Guitar
Maclaine Diemer - Guitar, Keyboards
Adam Ross - Lead Guitar
John Fields - Bass
Dylan Halacy - Drums
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