Friday, October 31, 2014

MEGASONIC - Intense (2014)

MEGASONIC - Intense (2014) full


Long time friends from the Belgium scene, Lieven De Wolf, Jeroen De Bock and Dim Verhoeven founded MEGASONIC two years ago. All three have experience in the European rock and metal circus, and all three are talented multi-instrumentalists.
"Intense" is their just released debut album.

And both the band and the album live up to their names. Megasonic uses their impressive musical skills to create a rushing wall of sound to overwhelm your ears. From riffs to vocal arrangements, rhythm section to guitar leads, Megasonic puts the 'power' back into power trio.
Essentially, "Intense" is a huge ball of Hard Rock and '80s Metal with some interesting progressive twists that breaks from the gates with a rocking and harmonic intensity and, with a minor exception, doesn't really stop.
Their metal is of the classic melodic variety, but revved up as hard 'n heavy. "Bombs Away", "Crash and Burn", "Demon's Lust" are just a few of the speed racers that will run over your eardrums.
"Thunder" starts along with some progressive elements and a few seconds later melodic leads and muscular riffs kick in going into more of an '80s style as well as adding in clean singing vocals.

To conserve energy along the way, there are two slower songs; "Love Lost Love" and "Man in the Moon". The former does get jacked up with riffage as it moves along; the latter is the lighter of the two, and the obvious contrast to everything else here.
The band also does two covers, both more rockier versions of the originals. One is Paul Gilbert's "Down To Mexico" which, despite the rapid pace, kicks the guitar prominent. The other is Abba's "Does Your Mother Know", again, put in a '80s hard 'n heavy context without depriving of it's dance beat.

MEGASONIC - Intense (2014) inside

Megasonic's "Intense" is everything the band name and album title suggests: a bombastic rocking barrage that barrels along like a bullet train.
The guys combine a variety of many different types of hard rock and metal together to create an album that has a very melodic and old-school sound, while also being modern at the same time thanks to the polished, vibrant production & mix handled by themselves.
Very solid riff-tastic stuff.

01 - Sonic Tension
02 - Bombs Away
03 - Demon's Lust
04 - Witches Brew
05 - Future Shock
06 - Love Lost Love
07 - Crash and Burn
08 - Run for Cover
09 - Raging Heart
10 - Eye of the Storm
11 - Man in the Moon
12 - Down to Mexico
13 - Does Your Mother Know

Dim Verhoeven - Vocals, Keyboards, Drums
Jeroen De Bock - Guitars, Backing Vocals, Drums
Lieven De Wolf - Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals



Thursday, October 30, 2014

FISH ON FRIDAY - Godspeed (2014)

FISH ON FRIDAY - Godspeed (2014) full


FISH ON FRIDAY is a relatively new Belgian ensemble which are about to released their third album "Godspeed". The band already established themselves as an adventurous Rock&pop / Progressive act with their previous CD, but I have to say that "Godspeed" it is the culmination of a wonderful process where Fish On Friday have reached its prime.
Simply put, this album is beautiful.

Inspired by classic The Alan Parsons Project, Fish On Friday is a band that incorporates the best elements of pop and progressive rock, creating a sound both clever and catchy. "Godspeed" sees mastermind Frank Van Bogaert and his partners developing in full their experience and maturity.
Fish on Friday's sound is ultra melodic and maybe too light for prog standards, but the songwriting's smart and the musicianship is top notch.
Who could plausibly ask for more in a pop-prog crossover?

FISH ON FRIDAY - Godspeed (2014) inside

Justifiably, Fish On Friday have generated comparisons to The Alan Parsons Project, not only musically but also in terms of it being a producer / engineer-led project. And I love it.
The core here is multi-instrumentalist and producer Frank Van Bogaert together with keyboardist / orchestrator William Beckers both writing the songs, but they have a terrific bunch of musicians behind.
There's super talented Nick Beggs (of Steve Hackett, Steven Wilson, Rick Wakeman fame) on bass, Chapman stick and providing some awesome harmony / backing vocals, and the ever-busy Theo Travis providing great winds, among others.

On this new CD "Godspeed", The Alan Parsons Project trend continues most notably on compositions like "Radio" and "Stay", which recall the Parsons album Pyramid.
There's also a hint of '80s Yes that pops up during the album. Yet, it's not all about recreating the triumphs of these famous bands, and "Ghost Song" is almost Steven Wilson-esque in stature.
We have as well countless original twists on "Sanctuary" and "Tick-Tock" confirming that Fish On Friday possesses a readily identifiable sound.

"Godspeed" has a strong sense of diversity to it. Each song is generally different from the one that came before, yet always rich in melodies based around a concise structure, plenty of soulful guitar leads, ambient atmosphere and subtle vocal effects all tossed into the mix.

FISH ON FRIDAY - Godspeed (2014) back cover

If you miss (like me) your classic The Alan Parsons Project, there's something to quench your thirst: Fish On Friday.
I can't recommend you "Godspeed" enough: it's a wonderful record combining the best of the elaborated pop with light progressive arrangements to make it more interesting, all played and arranged to detail.
Fish On Friday have a solid depth to their sound, but as a rock&pop record, the key is in the immediate enjoyment, and this is something "Godspeed" succeeds in wholeheartedly.
Of course production is one of the stars here: pristine, crystal clear, multi-dimensional, crisp... yes, Alan Parsons would be proud of it.
On "Godspeed" Fish On Friday have managed to make something enjoyable and intelligent, an outstanding, articulate and impeccably presented album.

01 - Godspeed
02 - Just a Nightmare
03 - She Colours the Rainbow
04 - Callin' Planet Home
05 - Ghost Song
06 - Radio
07 - Sanctuary
08 - Stay
09 - Don't Love Me to Death
10 - Tick-Tock
11 - My Dog

William Beckers - keyboards, percussion
Frank Van Bogaert - keyboards, vocals, backing vocals, additional guitars
Nick Beggs - bass, Chapman stick, backing vocals
Marty Townsend - guitars
Theo Travis - saxophone, flute
Marcus Weymaere - drums, percussion



SPIDERS - Shake Electric (2014)

SPIDERS - Shake Electric (2014) full bonus


Hailing - of course - from Sweden (the land of the good Rock 'n Roll nowadays), the four piece band known as SPIDERS are set to unveil today, October 29, their sophomore CD, "Shake Electric".
I never heard this female fronted combo featuring Ann-Sofie Hoyles (vocals), John Hoyles (guitar), Olle Griphammar (bass) and Ricard Harryson (drums), but I am glad I did it, because they seriously Rock.

And Spiders rocks with authenticity, the first factor that sets them apart from the many 'plastic' revival acts appeared recently.
Yes, Spiders play old-fashioned, unironic, long haired, leather jacket wearing, in-your-face rock & roll, inspired by classic '70s hard rock, injected with a modern twist.
"Shake Electric" heavy licks and bold female vocals will draw immediate comparisons to early Heart and Joan Jett - but Spiders has an undefinable Scandinavian quality that made them sound so unique.

SPIDERS - Shake Electric (2014) inside

This is pretty infectious stuff, with crisp rockers like "Lonely Nights", "Mad Dog", and "Back on the Streets" sporting direct, valvular riffs and swaggerin' choruses.
Ann-Sofie's vocals are quite powerful, as she soars over the meaty guitar riffs of Hoyles on the catchy "Control" and delivers some dreamy, emotional lines on the bluesy "Hard Times".
Though most of the songs are fairly short, the 4+ minute "War of the World" lets the band stretch out a bit, as this blistering hard rocker grabs you by the throat with some killer '70s styled riffs, pounding rhythms, and dynamic vocals.
"Bleeding Heart" has some cool riffs and a hook laden chorus that reminds of early KISS, and the fun title track grooves and thumps with a retro feel but extremely cool.

"Shake Electric" is proof that Spiders are a band ready to take the world by storm, and have delivered here a really enjoyable set of classic styled hard rock songs that any lover of vintage sounds will certainly find plenty of appeal in.
A band to watch... closely.
Quite Recommended.

01 - Mad Dog
02 - Shake Electric
03 - Bleeding Heart
04 - Only Your Skin
05 - Lonely Nights
06 - Back On The Streets
07 - Control
08 - Give Up The Fight
09 - Hard Times
10 - War Of The World
11 - Loss & Trouble [free with purchase]
12 - Weekend Nights [free with purchase]
13 - Hard To Keep True [free with purchase]
14 - Rules Of The Game [free with purchase]

Ann-Sofie Hoyles – vocals
John Hoyles – guitar
Olle Griphammar – bass
Ricard Harryson – drums



LORDI - Scare Force One (2014)

LORDI - Scare Force One (2014) full


Who would you expect to meet if you were up in the cold far north above the Arctic Circle? Santa Claus? Well maybe. Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland is one such place and there you are far more likely to encounter a monster or two, rock 'n' roll monsters that is, as the chilly location is the home stomping grounds of kisch metal monster band LORDI.
And right now Lordi has something in common with St. Nick; they've given their fans a gift in the form of new album "Scare Force One", to be released, of course, tomorrow Oct 31, that is; Halloween.
Oh yeah. Lordi may come from Finland, but they have their minds focused in America.

I always thought about Lordi as a masquerade, as a fun act though I did not like their music.
Well, with "Scare Force One" they sound 'less metal' and 'less grunt' than never before.
As said, Lordi has its mind pointed to the US market: album title, day of release (Halloween), a paraphernalia of merchandising - the album will be released in various packages with toys, etc - and... the music.
Yes, Lordi's music has changed.

LORDI - Scare Force One (2014) inside

And that's why we are presenting "Scare Force One" on this blog.
Lordi's music now is inoffensive 'horror metal'. I would call it 'comic metal', as one package will feature an illustrated magazine with the lyrics.
This reminds you something? ... yeah, Kiss did it 35 years ago. Yes, Lordi is being handled and marketed to the American audience to be the 21st century Kiss.
Their excellent make-up does not scare nobody, on the contrary, it's the perfect product to sell in this Halloween.

And the music? Well, the title "How To Slice A Whore" may offense many, but musically this track is a commercial rock song with easy riffs, keyboards all over and a catchy chorus.
The carousel melody of "Hell Sent In The Clowns" is fun as hell, with a singable chorus by a 5-year kid. This has a potential (done intentionally) to reach a wide audience.
There's a couple of heavy numbers for the old fans, but this new Lordi is almost melodic rock... just listen "Cadaver Lover" and then tell me. Yes, this is late '80s Alice Cooper.

At this point, Lordi is some kind of fun stuff, a 'comic culture product'.
And now, their music on "Scare Force One" is highly digestable, even with melody and catchy choruses. The Kiss of the new century.
At your record store this Halloween. Trick or Treat.

01. SCG7: Arm Your Doors And Cross Check
02. Scare Force One
03. How To Slice A Whore
04. Hell Sent In The Clowns
05. House Of Ghosts
06. Monster Is My Name
07. Cadaver Lover
08. Amen’s Lament To Ra II
09. Nailed By The Hammer Of Frankenstein
10. The United Rocking Dead
11. She’s A Demon
12. Hella’s Kitchen
13. Sir, Mr. Presideath, Sir

Mr. Lordi – Lead Vocals
Amen – Guitar, Vocals
OX – Bass, Vocals
Hella – Keyboards, Vocals
Mana – Drums, Vocals



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

STRATTMAN - The Lie Of The Beholder (2014)

STRATTMAN - The Lie Of The Beholder (2014) full


Roy STRATTMAN is a multi-instrumentalist / composer from the US and this is his debut release entitled "The Lie Of The Beholder". I did think that I had come across the name before, and with a little searching, I realized that Roy is the guitarist and joint composer in the interesting Prog band Little Atlas.
The record label describes Roy’s music as 'a tour-de-force of cutting edge progressive rock, complex tense and shot through with dark and menacing textures alternating with unexpected stabs of beauty and organic calm'.
Well, let's see...

Although "The Lie Of The Beholder" is a solo album, Roy, who plays guitar, keyboards and sings, did have a little help along the way. The album also features awesome drummer Nick D’Virgilio from Big Big Train and lots more, Ricardo Bigai from Little Atlas on bass, together with a guest appearance from Steve Katsikas, also from Little Atlas.
Now Strattman is a full, stable band performing at various Prog festivals.

STRATTMAN - The Lie Of The Beholder (2014) booklet

Opening tracks on any album have a tremendous job to do, in that they pave the way for the rest of the record, so how does “A Better World” fare? The track starts with some Spanish style guitar, the atmosphere changes via a spacey section with 'astronaut' voices then the track explodes a la IQ before settling back into more delicate late '80s Floyd style areas. This is both a hard hitting track and a laid back track neatly packaged. Synths, mellotron and urgent/angry guitar slashes permeate around a very Gilmouresque vocal section.
“A Better World” is an opening track that that promises the listener that they are about to hear an amazing album.

“Caught Inside the Rain” is more psychedelically styled and contrasts the opening track beautifully. More mellotron and those urgent/menacing guitar riffs drive the third track, “A Candle in the Sun” which is a hugely atmospheric slab of a track effortlessly shifting from the gentler to the more urgent areas.
Two shorter, out and out rockier tracks follow in “Jaded” and “The Scene of the Crime” before another shift in direction raises its head in “Detonation”. A very gentle introduction belies the ruthless assault that is impending. Terrific guitar over keyboards suddenly ascends vertically into a heavy workout for the band. A beautiful vocal settles the proceedings down, but the darker side bubbles away in the background before reappearing. This is an imaginative track that sweeps in and out of the dark and light areas.
Almost right on cue, there is another diverse move in the music into the acoustic “Solace” which highlights nylon string guitar and flute / mellotron. This is a very melodic track which stands apart from the rest, simply because it is so different.

STRATTMAN - The Lie Of The Beholder (2014) inside

Next we have the title track “The Lie of the Beholder” and we have re-entered the more menacing side of Strattman, before a more gentle outro passage which seems to end very abruptly, but as the following song is “Connection Lost”, perhaps it is an attempt at some wry humor.
The penultimate track, “No Way Home” is accessed via a beautiful acoustic / electric guitar passage, great vocals, and just after the minute mark, an elevation of the sound before a return to the intro themes. Another step into the rougher side of Strattman, then slides back into the gentle phases and wheels back and forth. This track is another example of a powerful piece of writing and playing.
A very mellow, almost understated track, “The Fire Dies” sees the album out. Slower and certainly catchy, this is perhaps an unexpected ending to the record, but one which seems to work in all sorts of ways. This track seems to wrap the album up in such a way, that you want to reach out and press play again and settle back for another run-through.

STRATTMAN - The Lie Of The Beholder (2014) back cover

"The Lie of the Beholder", which seamlessly moves from light into shade and tranquil into heavy, shows the incredibly talents of Roy Strattman. The man is a terrific performer, composer and arranger, and as if this were not enough, he sings greatly.
It mixes progressive elements with sharp hard rock riffs, wonderful keyboards / mellotron with exquisite drumming, all wrapped in a 'Rock' context that will appeal everyone.
"The Lie Of The Beholder" is an album that gets inside your head within a few listens and certainly merits both the 'One to Buy' and 'The Experience will last Forever' stickers on the cover.
Don't be fooled by the odd cover artwork, the advice is to give the album a few listens and then smile happily as you part with some of your hard earned cash without any regrets.
Highly Recommended.

01 - A Better World
02 - Caught Inside The Rain
03 - A Candle In The Sun
04 - Jaded
05 - The Scene Of The Crime
06 - Detonation
07 - Solace
08 - The Lie Of The Beholder
09 - Connection Lost
10 - No Way Home
11 - The Fire Dies

Roy Strattman - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train, Spocks Beard) - drums
Ricardo Bigai (Little Atlas, Supersam) - bass
Steve Katsikas (Little Atlas) - piano, percussion
thanks to Jim Lawson



KISS - Revenge [remastered SHM-CD] (2013)

KISS - Revenge [remastered SHM-CD] (2013) full HQ

* HQ

With the recent release of KISS Love Gun Deluxe Edition, many of you have asked our impression about the Japanese, high-fidelity SHM-CD format remastered version of "Revenge" appeared last year.
Well, this remaster sounds million bucks. It's much, much deeper on the low frequencies, the mid-spectre is clearer and it posesses a great dynamic range.
Also, it's being sold pretty cheap.

KISS - Revenge [remastered SHM-CD] (2013) booklet

"Revenge" is one of my favorite KISS albums. The Bob Ezrin-produced record pulled the band out of the second creative slump of their career. In addition, Simmons & Co. also hired marketing consultants to find out what fans wanted from the group.
The result was probably the most mature album KISS ever did musically. Great guitar work, pounding drums, very good vocal arrangements and solid songs.

KISS - Revenge [remastered SHM-CD] (2013) back cover

Edgy, sharp, "Revenge" is the most pure Hard Rock album from KISS' career.
Very Recommended in your collection.

Universal Japan ~ UICY-25374

01 - Unholy
02 - Take It Off
03 - Tough Love
04 - Spit
05 - God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II
06 - Domino
07 - Heart Of Chrome
08 - Thou Shalt Not
09 - Every Time I Look At You
10 - Paralyzed
11 - I Just Wanna
12 - Carr Jam 1981

Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar, vocals
Gene Simmons - bass, vocals (rhythm guitar on "Domino")
Eric Carr - backing vocals, drums on "Carr Jam 1981"
Bruce Kulick - lead guitar, backing vocals
Eric Singer - drums, backing vocals
Additional personnel:
Dick Wagner - guitar solo on "Every Time I Look at You"
Kevin Valentine - drums on "Take It Off"
Tommy Thayer - backing vocals
Jesse Damon - backing vocals



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MOTT (The Hoople) - Shouting & Pointing [Rock Candy remaster] (2014)

MOTT (The Hoople) - Shouting & Pointing [Rock Candy remaster] (2014) full


There is no doubt that MOTT (The Hoople) were one of the most influential British rock bands of the '70s. Just to name one, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott has a cover band honoring Mott and his other project Down 'n' Outz is inspired in Mott The Hoople's sound.
Rock Candy Records has remastered a couple of MOTT albums, a grest opportunity to re-discover this influential band.

When Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson quit Mott The Hoople in late 1974, many thought that the band would become just another fondly remembered and well respected entry in the history of rock. Few would have gambled on the remaining band members rising up, dusting themselves down and getting back in the ring ready to fight another day.
Re-tooled under the newly abbreviated moniker of Mott, the band recruited guitarist Ray Major and super talented yet unknown vocalist Nigel Benjamin, releasing ‘Drive On’, one of the most impressive albums of from the mid-seventies.
Finding support at all levels, the band reconvened for the follow up album "Shouting & Pointing", a far more panoramic record which took the original Mott The Hoople blue-print, using it to their advantage, increasing the energy level and constructing songs that utilized ambitious arrangements.

Nigel Benjamin was a real find, a man seemingly without any vocal ceiling who was also a great frontman. Produced by studio legend Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) at the Manor studios in Oxfordshire and mixed by the equally esteemed Bill Price (Sex Pistols, Guns ‘N Roses) the material in "Shouting & Pointing" is both challenging and commercially addictive.
Songs such as ‘Collision Course’, ‘Storm’ and ‘Hold On You’re Crazy’ rock the house but its ‘Career (No Such Thing As Rock And Roll)’ and the title track that construct a vivid picture of the band’s grandiose ambitions.

MOTT (The Hoople) - Shouting & Pointing [Rock Candy remaster] (2014) back cover

It's very nice to see this - for many - forgotten band resurrected is a remastered form.
Rock Candy has reissued ‘Drive On’ as well, but this "Shouting & Pointing" is the one to keep in my opinion, always has been my favorite Mott The Hopple album.

01 - Shouting And Pointing
02 - Collision Course
03 - Storm
04 - Career (No Such Thing As Rock 'N' Roll)
05 - Hold On, You're Crazy
06 - See You Again
07 - Too Short Arms (I Don't Care)
08 - Broadside Outcasts
09 - Good Times
10 - Too Short Arms (I Don't Care) [Remix] (bonus track)

Lead Vocals – Nigel Benjamin
Guitar, Vocals – Ray Major
Keyboards, Vocals – Morgan Fisher
Bass, Vocals – Overend Watts
Drums – Dale Griffin ("Buffin")



THE GLORIOUS SONS - The Union (2014)

THE GLORIOUS SONS - The Union (2014) full


"The Union" is the first album from Canadian rockers THE GLORIOUS SONS, after gaining traction with a last year’s EP and intensively playing live the band got right back to writing for their debut CD.
Produced by John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews), the result is a really polished record that lets the songs speak for themselves, taking influences from the American Classic Rock scene and with some Hard Rock waves as well.

The Kingston, Ontario, quintet open the CD with "Man Made Man" driven by guitar chords reminiscent of the early Eighties, and it is tempting to write them off right away as unoriginal. But that would be a great mistake (in hindsight, the guiro backing should have been a giveaway that this wasn’t to be your average run of the mill rock record).
The 11 tracks that make up the album show a lot of different sensibilities, from the more poppish "Lightning" to the hard rock of "Heavy" to the southern rock tinted "The Union". The remainder of the album is about half uplifting radio-rock and half hard rock staples, with two ballads thrown in.

We have a softer, yet anthemic rocker in "Hard Times", but perhaps the highlight of the album is the title track, which beautifully fuses the aforementioned radio-rock&pop and hard rock elements found on "The Union".
Picking a highlight on this album is cruel though. I've had "The Union" on repeat since I got it, and if I didn't, I can’t think of a song I wouldn't regularly return to.

THE GLORIOUS SONS - The Union (2014) inside

"The Union" is catchy enough to be singable all the way through, with instantly likeable tunes throughout.
It fuses a varied spectre of what in this new century it's called Classic Rock, via a strong songwriting weaving in and out a long list of influences seamlessly without ever really sounding derivative.
The Glorious Sons are a solid bunch of musicians and have made a very entertaining record, impeccably performed and produced. They are the opening act for Airbourne in this fall tour, so this proves they shall have something good in their music.

01 - Man Made Man
02 - Heavy
03 - Hard Times
04 - Lightning
05 - White Noise
06 - The Contender
07 - Mama
08 - The Union
09 - Gordie
10 - Lover Under Fire
11 - Amigo

Brett Emmons (vocals)
Jay Emmons (guitar)
Andrew Young (guitar)
Chris Huot (bass)
Adam Paquette (drums)



SUPERSTITIOUS - Ride On The Stars (2014)

SUPERSTITIOUS - Ride On The Stars (2014) full


A couple of years ago we received the self-titled debut of a new AOR / Melodic Rock Brazilian band called SUPERSTITIOUS. The songs were pretty good but sadly production really amateur, in demo fashion. So as 70% of the material arriving to our desk, it was discarded to be featured here on the blog. We only select for you bands / albums that we consider, at least, worth to investigate.
Well, SUPERSTITIOUS returns, this time with second offer "Ride On The Stars", and now the guys really deserve a listen.

Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Superstitious were formed in 2007 when the local scene had very few acts playing this musical genre. The band performed at every club that gave to them opportunity to show their music. They recorded several demos and presented their debut, which were in fact, demos.
But now Superstitious has seriously evolved: not only the songwriting and performances are stronger, now they have properly recorded their music, with a pretty good sound & production for an indie.

SUPERSTITIOUS - Ride On The Stars (2014) inside

Superstitious loves classic '80s Melodic Rock / AOR, and this is what you get on "Ride On The Stars".
Lots of keyboards, sharp guitar riffs, steady rhythm section and a singer with a nice vocal register at the service of really melodic tunes.
There's a distinctive aspect in Superstitious, typical of new, indie groups: all are musicians playing from the heart. They love this genre and you can tell listening "Ride On The Stars".
And all have the 'feel' for this type of music, resulting in their songs coming out fresh and with passion.

AOR numbers like "Sometimes You Cry" (great chorus), "Goodbye", the midtempo "Phoenix" or the ultra-melodic "Freedom Cry" are mixed with melodic rockers such as "The End Of The Age", "Black Cat Heart" and the catchy "My Lady".
Other cuts are harder, like "War Memories" and "Have You Ever" providing a Melodic Hard Rock touch to the album.

"Ride On The Stars" is a giant step for Superstitious, a band with passion for classic '80s Melodic Rock / AOR.
As said, the guys compose pretty good, strong songs plenty of cool melodies and hooks. I think they need an opportunity in Europe, with a proper producer they could aim for bigger things.

01 - Ride On The Stars
02 - Sometimes You Cry
03 - The End Of The Age
04 - Goodbye
05 - Phoenix
06 - Naughty Dancing
07 - Black Cat Heart
08 - Freedom Cry
09 - Errors Of My Way
10 - Have You Ever
11 - My Lady
12 - Obsession
13 - War Memories

Luis Wasques (vocals)
Rodrigo Cordeiro (guitar)
Daniel Mattos (bass, vocals)
Flávio Gasperini (drums)
Lael Campos (keyboards)



KISS - Love Gun [Deluxe Edition remastered 2CD] (2014)

KISS - Love Gun [Deluxe Edition remastered 2CD] (2014) full


Universal Music are releasing today, Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the next stage of KISS' 40th anniversary celebrations, with the release of a Deluxe Edition of the 1977 U.S. platinum album "Love Gun", on 2CD.
The band's sixth studio recording, "Love Gun" was the first album to feature lead vocal performances from all four original band members, and the last studio album with the original KISS line-up.

The double package includes the complete original album remastered on the first disc, featuring such classics as the title track 'Plaster Caster', the song inspired by Cynthia Plaster Caster, the groupie famous for taking casts of rock star genitalia.
Of course the title track, one of may favorite Kiss songs ever, but also the crazy 'Shock Me', written about Ace Frehley suffering an electric shock during a concert in Lakeland, Florida; the sexy 'Christine Sixteen', and 'Then She Kissed Me', the band's cheeky, gender-switching cover of the Crystals' 1963 hit penned by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector.

The second disc is made up of rare, previously unreleased "Love Gun" demos of 'Plaster Caster', 'Then She Kissed Me', 'Tomorrow and Tonight' and 'Much Too Soon'.
Also, the first four lines of the demo 'I Know Who You Are' eventually evolved and became the song 'Living In Sin'. A glimpse into Paul Stanley's creative process is demonstrated in 'Love Gun (Teaching Demo)' with Stanley talking through the various chords of the song after writing the song with the next version ' 'Love Gun (Demo)' ' being the complete demo performance.
'Reputation', the only previously released demo, was originally included on this year's KISS 40 compilation.

KISS - Love Gun [Deluxe Edition remastered 2CD] (2014) back cover

Also included is a 1977 interview with Gene Simmons, as well as three never-before-available live tracks from the KISS show at the Capitol Centre, Landover in Maryland U.S.A. from December 20, 1977; 'Love Gun', 'Christine Sixteen' and 'Shock Me'.
The package also includes liner notes written by Def Leppard's Joe Elliott, currently on tour with KISS.
A must for the fans.

CD ONE - Original Album Remastered:
01. I Stole Your Love
02. Christine Sixteen
03. Got Love For Sale
04. Shock Me
05. Tomorrow And Tonight
06. Love Gun
07. Hooligan
08. Almost Human
09. Plaster Caster
10. Then She Kissed Me

CD TWO - Demos, Interview & Live:
01 - Much Too Soon (Demo)
02 - Plaster Caster (Demo)
03 - Reputation (Demo)
04 - Love Gun (Teaching Demo)
05 - Love Gun (Demo)*
06 - Gene Simmons Interview (1977)
07 - Tomorrow And Tonight (Demo)
08 - I Know Who You Are (Demo)*
09 - Love Gun (Live in Largo, MD 1977)
10 - Christine Sixteen (Live in Largo, MD 1977)
11 - Shock Me (Live in Largo, MD 1977)

Ace Frehley - Guitar, Vocals
Gene Simmons - Bass, Vocals
Paul Stanley - Guitar, Vocals
Peter Criss - Drums, Vocals



Monday, October 27, 2014

ROBBY VALENTINE - You're Tearing Me Down + extras (2014)

ROBBY VALENTINE - You're Tearing Me Down + extras (2014) Bizarro World


Multi-talented Dutch phenomenon ROBBY VALENTINE have ready his 10th studio album "Bizarro World" which has been made via an online direct-to-fan system similar to PledgeMusic. Those who have sponsored the release are receiving their CD today (at least, when you live in The Netherlands). The album will be available at regular retailers soon.
Meanwhile, Robby has released the single "You're Tearing Me Down" via iTunes presenting as b-side a piano version of the song not to be included into the album.

At 0dayrox not only we have the physical edition of the single (for promotion only) but also 3 tracks from "Bizarro World".
"You Are Tearing Me Down" is a classic Robby Valentine song with his trademark cadence, a beautiful orchestrated midtempo with a commercial melody and a radio approach. The alternate, b-side version is more piano focused, but not less compelling.

Title track "Bizarro World" is a pumping, epic and bombastic number. This anthem is exactly what can be expected when you buy a Robby Valentine album, who, by the way, has returned to the 'Robby Valentine' moniker as performing artist after almost 20 years of using just 'Valentine'.
"Close The Door" will delight fans of Robby first album, a terrific melodic rocker driven by an edgy riff and plenty of keys and harmony vocals.
Last advance track "Deadbeat Boy" has a lot of Robby's main influence; Queen. It's a quirky rocker with elaborated vocals / choruses as Brian May & Co used to create in the mid-seventies.

ROBBY VALENTINE - You're Tearing Me Down + extras (2014) Bizarro World CD back cover

Written, arranged, performed and produced by Robby Valentine himself (with additional harmony vocals only on three songs) "Bizarro World" will be one of the albums of the year.
Diverse, thrilling, amazing... that's how it is Robby Valentine's art. The fact that all instruments are played by only one person clearly shows the world how talented Robby Valentine is.
One of the most underestimated artists out there, and one of the most valuable.

01 - You're Tearing Me Down
02 - You're Tearing Me Down (piano version) [non-album track]
03 - Bizarro World
04 - Close The Door
05 - Deadbeat Boy



Saturday, October 25, 2014

BULLETRAIN - Start Talking (2014)

BULLETRAIN - Start Talking (2014) full


We already presented last year at 0dayrox the new Swedish Melodic Hard Rock act BULLETRAIN and their debut EP. An album deal with label AOR Heaven was almost sealed with the band but their former singer, Robet Lindell, chose to bow out from the band at the last minute just as the album was finished, and naturally, this caused a major setback for the band, making them lose their album deal.
But the guys recruited new singer Sebastian Sundberg and re-entered the studio in December 2013 to start from scratch and record their long awaited debut album “Start Talking”.
The album was produced by the duo RamPac (Crashdiet and Mick Mara) and mixed by Buster Odeholm, and after hearing the album in the summer of 2014, AOR Heaven decided to give the band a second chance and now the CD is out through this prestigious recording label.

“Start Talking”, which clocks in at roughly 47 minutes playtime over 12 tracks, is pretty much what Bulletrain promised with their EP; catchy songs plenty of hooks that could easily compete with any band of the Swedish new wave of Melodic Hard Rock.
So what do we have here from an album that has been in the making for a few years now? Well despite the issues and troubles, they have clearly taken their time with this, but then that can be a good thing, especially when you want to make sure that your debut CD is the best it can possibly be with the best musicians you can gather and the best producers and mixers you can find.

BULLETRAIN - Start Talking (2014) inside

I am glad to say it’s been time well spent. “Start Talking” is kick ass, energetic, rocking most the time and guaranteed to get your foot tapping, while you air guitar to the heavy riffs.
Usually bands have one guitarist that play both the lead and rhythm parts with the occasional acoustic or harmony melodies, but here there is both a lead and rhythm guitarist which it helps to lighten the load, so the lead guitarist can focus on the main riffs and the solo sections with the odd acoustic guitar here and there while the rhythm guitarist adds their own touch with melodies to accompany the lead parts.
The vocal performance of new frontman Sebastian Sundberg is exactly what you’d expect from a Swedish Hard Rock album, impressive, with excellent range and delivering really well arranged harmonies.

The album rocks from the start with the punchy "Nothing But Trouble", followed by the awesome melodic rocker "All For One". If you miss Danger Danger, this is for you.I don't know if "Take Me To The Sun" will drive you to our solar system star, but I assure you it easily can transport your body to the late '80s Sunset Strip. A hot melting melodious hard rocker blending Britny Fox and early Def Leppard on the chorus.
"Even With My Eyes Closed" is a clear example of Bulletrain's melodic abilities. This is a hot power ballad akin Skid Row driven by intense guitars with a monster sing-along chorus.
And that's some examples only, the entire disc Rocks.

BULLETRAIN - Start Talking (2014) cd photo

So what do we think of this long awaited debut album from Bulletrain? You know, the band may have had their fair share of hardships and problems since their formation eight years ago, but they have clearly moved on and not let their problems affect their music.
That statement is clear in their full length debut album “Start Talking”, as it sounds superb, rocking, with bite but brimming of killer melodies.
In the same league of H.E.A.T, Brother Firetribe, Crazy Lixx and alike, Bulletrain is here to rock your world.

01. Nothing But Trouble
02. All For One
03. Dark Days (Dark Nights)
04. From The Bottom Of My Heart
05. Even With My Eyes Closed
06. Start Talking
07. Out Of Control
08. Phantom Pain
09. Bad Blood (Out Of Love)
10. Dicing With Death
11. Take Me To The Sun
12. Joanna's Secret

Sebastian Sundberg - Vocals
Mattias Persson - Lead Guitar
Robin Bengtsson - Rhythm Guitar
Niklas Månsson - Bass
Jonas Tillheden - Drums



RED CIRCUIT - Haze Of Nemesis [special edition + bonus] (2014)

RED CIRCUIT - Haze Of Nemesis [special edition + bonus] (2014) full


Having a great respect for vocalist Chitral Somapala and his previous work in acts such as Civilization One, Firewind and specially Avalon, I was immediately intrigued to check the new album from his own project RED CIRCUIT, a CD entitled "Haze Of Nemesis".
Not to mention their keyboardist and programmer Markus Teske boasts work with such greats as Symphony X and Vanden Plas. A nice mix of a Power(ful) and Progressive backgrounds, as the album cover promises.

Well, the Melodic Prog Metal it really shows through in the material – but I was pleasantly surprised to discover even more accessible sounds here.
The overall drive of the album is definitely much more geared towards the hard rock / melodic metal oriented feel of Somapala’s better known former project Avalon, which was noted for musically catering to his '80s roots.
It’s a pretty heavy listen throughout, based largely around a chunky, groove-laden set of riffs and epic vocals, but all really, really melodic.

RED CIRCUIT - Haze Of Nemesis [special edition + bonus] (2014) cd photo

Red Circuit are quite the peculiar act; whilst none of their tracks are flat-out amazing, they're all very good and best of all they stay consistent throughout the entire album.
The guitars, the fantastic keyboard parts and of course, the awesome lead vocals are top notch, arranged to the minimum detail. Production is brilliant, potent and very modern, yet, Red Circuit leaves space for traditional Prog instruments like the Mellotron.
All players at work here are highly competent, yet also know the value of restraint. This is particularly the case of guitarist Christian Moser, who keeps the riffs solid and simple, and executes a solo with the flash of Zakk Wylde and the brevity of Ritchie Sambora.

The drumming and bass work is solidly linked together and straightforward, while the keyboard work takes on an occasional role and mostly fills in a few rest periods of mellowness amongst the heavier sections or to expand the dimensions of the overall sound.
All these sonics, when matched against the powerful reinterpretation of Ronnie Dio meets Peter Byford that Somapala has consistently exhibited amidst an array of different sounding bands, the result is very cohesive and fairly original.

RED CIRCUIT - Haze Of Nemesis [special edition + bonus] (2014) back cover

"Haze Of Nemesis" is a very good record with moments of brilliance, blending '80s melodic metal & hard rock with a sprinkling of progressive touches. More of the first indeed, and really melodic all time.
You have Amanda Somerville in a duet during the epic ballad "My World Collides", and this special edition features as bonus a fine cover of Deep Purple's classic "Soldier Of Fortune".
If you enjoyed the recent Allen-Lande record, this is for you.
Quite Recommended.

01. Oceans Apart
02. My Lonely Heaven
03. Believing A Lie
04. Digging In The Dirt
05. Worlds Will Collide (feat. Amanda Somerville)
06. Spear Of Fate
07. Serpents Smile
08. Silent Roaring
09. Haze Of Nemesis
10. My Serenade
11. Soldier Of Fortune [bonus track]

Chity Somapala - Vocals
Christian Moser - Guitars
Thomas Schmitt - Bass
Markus Teske - Keyboards, Programming
Michael Stein - Drums
Amanda Somerville - guest Vocals



Friday, October 24, 2014

SISTER SIN - Black Lotus (2014)

SISTER SIN - Black Lotus (2014) full


Scandinavian female fronted metal warriors SISTER SIN return this fall with their fifth studio effort, "Black Lotus", to be released next Monday. The new record finds the band churning up the same old-school metal / hard rock blood that pumped through its first albums, but continues its progression toward a heavier yet more melodic style.

The Swedish quartet, featuring vocalist Liv Jagrell, guitarist Jimmy Hiltula, bassist Strandh, and drummer Dave Sundberg, has recorded what is arguably their best and most cohesive effort to date. The follow-up to 2012’s highly successful, Now and Forever album, finds Sister Sin sharpening its collective songwriting chops.
There is nothing boldly new on "Black Lotus"; Sister Sin has just turned it all up a notch.
If you have a problem with F-bombs and confident attitudes, don’t look here, for Jagrell and company are not known for holding tongues or pulling punches.

SISTER SIN - Black Lotus (2014) inside

"Black Lotus" is in your face from the opening riffs of “Food for Worms”, a song that revs the engine and propels the album off to a quick and heavy start. The band’s disdain for government powers add bite to Jagrell’s usual snarling attack. Sundberg sneaks in some nice military drum fills to give the track added dimension. Hiltula and Strandh keep the song compelling with their assailing rhythms. A tasty bit of meat to kickstart the record.
The album’s first single “Chaos Royale” keeps the momentum moving as the band takes aim at the judgmental control freaks of the world. The song has a fantastic swing to it that blitzes the listener, and Hiltula’s riffs power the catchy melody line. One cannot help but love Jagrell’s vocal conviction.
“Desert Queen” offers up a bit of a mid-tempo Accept vibe, while “Count Me Out” lays raw aggression on top of a cinematic foundation.

“Au Revior” and “Stones Throw” are finely crafted headbangers that continue the tradition of the Sister Sin signature sound. The former is a little more commercial and instant.
“The Jinx” finds Jagrell showing off the beauty side of her beastly vocals, but her ferocity is never diminished. She owns every line she sings and makes no apologies. The song offers a nice sonic reprieve amidst the fury of the album’s other tracks.

One of of the stand out tracks is the final, “Sail North”. The band pulls out all the stops on this ballsy homage to the group’s heritage. Sundberg and Strandh rhythmically pummel on this riotous rocker while Jagrell and Hiltula trade vocals on the verses. In a Sebastian Bach / Skid Row vein the chorus adds a sense of the epic to the track, and it all makes for a brilliant closer to the record.

There are only nine tracks on "Black Lotus", which for those of us used to 11-14 tracks on most albums these days, might feel like a bit of a cheat. That said, Sister Sin offer up nine solid tunes with no filler, which most others bands do not have the balls to do: cut the filler and give us the meat.
The album is a non-stop sonic eargasm of traditional melodic metal and hard rock revelry. It showcases more variation than previous efforts, and while there are one or two moments in the latter half which lull a bit, the album’s overall momentum quickly dusts them away.
Kick ass record.

01 - Food For Worms
02 - Chaos Royale
03 - Au Revoir
04 - Desert Queen
05 - Count Me Out
06 - Stones Thrown
07 - The Jinx
08 - Ruled By None
09 - Sail North

Liv Jagrell - vocals
Jimmy Hiltula - guitars, vocals
Strandh - bass
Dave Sundberg - drums
thanks to Rustyn Rose



MAINSTREET - Second Chance (2014)

MAINSTREET - Second Chance (2014) full


Perhaps it's MAINSTREET first album title what best define their musical style: 'Back to the '80s'. I think you do not need too much more, these Italians play Melodic Hard Rock inspired by the golden decade.
But debut appeared five years ago, and now MainStreet are asking for a "Second Chance", their new CD.

Seems the guys like to be pretty descriptive with their album's titles... "Second Chance" is indeed a new hope for MainStreet to be more known in the international Melodic Hard Rock scene.
Their music is catchy: feel-good tunes with a foot firmly put in the late '80s, especially the American scene.
But the guys as well try a pinch of modernity in the updated production, and also adding some sophisticated orchestral textures on a couple of songs.

MAINSTREET - Second Chance (2014) inside

There's good rockers in the keyboard-infused "Short Steps" (a winner), "Mark & Johnny" (with some Danger Danger on it) and the quasi-epic "What to Believe In?".
However, the disc is dominated by Melodic Rock tunes mostly in a mid-tempo pace as the effective "No Way", the title track or the bass pumped, AORish "Last Day", another favorite of mine.
"Empty Eyes" is a slow number with a very nice orchestration (flirting with AOR again), while "Love Can Hurt You so Strong" is 'the' ballad of the album, embellished with nice pianos.

MainStreet are much better than I expected. Their strength is a solid songwriting and wise arrangements, always polished and faithful to the tradition of the genre.
That is classic Melodic Rock with a touch of AOR / hard here and there. Production is good for an indie and the guys are fine players.
For a taste of traditional Melodic Rock, "Second Chance" is a succulent dish. Well done guys.
Quite Recommended.

01 - Short Steps
02 - No Way
03 - Empty Eyes
04 - Mark & Johnny
05 - Love Can Hurt You so Strong
06 - Second Chance
07 - Its Name Is...
08 - Last Day
09 - What to Believe in?
10 - Prayer

Andrea Delsignore - Vocals
Ivan Garbuio - Guitars
Mauro Guarnieri - Guitars
Antonello Colamonaco - Bass
Ivan Belloni - Drums
Pietro Venezia - Keyboards, Orchestra Direction



SILVER (Michael Voss) - Idolizer (2014)

SILVER (Michael Voss) - Idolizer (2014) full


SILVER is another band from the multifaceted Michael Voss (Mad Max, Wolfpakk, Demon Drive, Casanova, Michael Schenker) who released 5 very good albums during the 2000's. After almost nine years of silence Voss has resurrected the moniker and presenting the new CD "Idolizer".

On the original incarnation of Silver there were the legendary vocals of Gary Barden and the collaboration of Swedish AOR guru Tommy Denander. This new "Idolizer" sees Michael Voss as an omnipresent figure, as he handles all the instruments and lead vocals.
Silver is the vehicle for Voss' more mature Melodic Rock vein in the European style, with delicate harmonies and elaborated melodies. There's contributions of female vocalists Lisa Middelhauve (ex-Xandria) and Michaela Schober, each on different songs to add even more nuances to the velvety vocals arrangements.

As said the material is Melodic Rock, rich in melodies and easy to the ears, mostly developed in midtempo structure, sometimes bordering AOR.
Opener "Sarah" is a good example of this, with an early '90s feel recalling Casanova, the great band leaded by Voss and one of my favorites from the German scene.
Also the pumping "Trust Me", the sweet "Drag Us Down", "You Gave It Away" and my favorite "Rooms" (a highlight) are rhythmically catchy and contagious. But there remain some straight ahead, out and out rockers on here, such as the urgent "Hope" or the more groovy "Wave".
On the feel-good midtempo "Counting" Voss adds acoustics to the mix to provide more variation, and it's another of my picks from the CD.

SILVER (Michael Voss) - Idolizer (2014) inside cover

If you already enjoyed Silver's previous offerings, this one will not be the exception. However, while in the other albums from the band there were some modern production tricks and effects, "Idolizer" is much more straight Melodic Rock.
This new version of Silver is basically Michael Voss' solo exploring his melodious side, akin his Melodic Rock days with Casanova. Everything is extremely polished and of course, production is crisp, shining I'd say.

Lovers of late '80s / early '90s Euro sounds from the genre in the vein of Casanova, Last Autumn's Dream, Khymera, etc. will embrace "Idolizer" with open arms.
Very Recommended.

01. Sarah
02. She Said
03. Trust Me
04. Hope
05. Drag Us Down
06. You Gave It Away
07. Wave
08. Rooms
09. Counting
10. And If You're Leaving

Michael Voss - vocals, all instruments
Andi Broon - additional keyboards
Special Guests:
Lisa Middelhauve (ex-Xandria) - vocals
Michaela Schober - vocals



LED ZEPPELIN - Houses Of The Holy [Deluxe Edition remastered] (2014)

LED ZEPPELIN - Houses Of The Holy [Deluxe Edition remastered] (2014) full


The second wave of reissues in LED ZEPPELIN's overhaul of their classic catalog pretty much follows the path set by the first: remastered versions of the original albums on one disc, and alternate takes and mixes on the other.
The chart-topping "Houses Of The Holy" has been remastered resulting a very warm, vinyl-like sounding CD.

This remastered reissue is a testament to the album original glistening production by Jimmy Page, who doesn’t get enough credit for his meticulous behind-the-boards work on those Led Zeppelin albums.
On the extra CD (featuring a newly created negative artwork) we get quite interesting versions, including a more keyboard rich mixes of "The Crunge" and "No Quarter", the latter warmer than the original.
Also the ‘Working Mix’ of "The Ocean" sounds slightly more thunderous and rocking.

LED ZEPPELIN - Houses Of The Holy [Deluxe Edition remastered] (2014) cd photo

These Led Zeppelin remastered Deluxe Editions shines in its pristine clarity.
A must have in any collection.

CD 1: Original Album Remastered 2014
1. The Song Remains The Same
2. The Rain Song
3. Over The Hills And Far Away
4. The Crunge
5. Dancing Days
6. D'Yer Mak'Er
7. No Quarter
8. The Ocean

CD 2: Previously Unreleased Studio material
1. The Song Remains The Same (Guitar Overdub Reference Mix)
2. The Rain Song (Mix Minus Piano)
3. Over The Hills And Far Away (Guitar Mix Backing Track)
4. The Crunge (Rough Mix - Keys Up)
5. Dancing Days (Rough Mix With Vocal)
6. No Quarter (Rough Mix With Jpj Keyboard Overdubs - No Vocal)
7. The Ocean (Working Mix)

John Bonham – drums
John Paul Jones – bass, keyboards, mellotron, guitar
Jimmy Page – guitars, mandolin
Robert Plant – lead and backing vocals



Thursday, October 23, 2014

HOUSE OF X - House Of X (2014)

HOUSE OF X - House Of X (2014) full


Three years of touring and recording as X-UFO led to the band finding their own identity and prompting a 're-branding' as HOUSE OF X. They completed a new, self-titled album to be released on Escape Records.
We're talking about the super classic Hard Rock combo including singer Danny Peyronel (ex UFO, Heavy Metal Kids), awesome guitarist Laurence Archer (Grand Slam, Phil Lynott Band) Clive Edwards (Wild Horses) on drums, and Lionheart / ex-MSG Rocky Newton on bass.

"House Of X" (the album) is an excellent example of classic, traditional British Hard Rock being made in the now and still sounding not only relevant but also incredibly kick ass. It's a tour de force through everything that makes the old classics... classic.
Consisting of entirely new songs - with the exception of a markedly heavier version of Danny Peyronel's classic UFO ballad "Martian Landscape", this record is plenty of terrific melodies, groove galore and lots, lots of fantastic guitars.

HOUSE OF X - House Of X (2014) inside

The album opens with "Do Me Wrong" and instantly you can tell what the next 45 minutes is going to hold. It's a solid song, however, it isn't the best of the bunch. And there's seriously awesome tracks here, believe me.
Danny Peyronel's vocals have 'that' British feel and the first of many guitar solos tears its way through the speakers and assaults your ears with raw sexual power. It's these kind of things that we need more of, big manly sexual guitars and vocalists that sound like they have balls the size of Florida oranges.
The aforementioned party element isn't far behind though and the second song is the aptly named "No More Tequila" and quite frankly, it made me want to go and dig out an old leather jacket and start a swinging my hair in the face of the sweet old lady next door.

Cuts like "No Way Home", the melting "Busted" or the catchy "The Road Less Troubled" will put a big smile in your face. This is classic stuff played from the heart, tight, energetic and fun, absolutely fun.
The band's overall sound reminds you many classic acts, but strangely there's very few UFO references. To my ears this is a mix of Michael Schenker Group with Doug Aldritch's Burning Rain and a touch of '80s Gary Moore.
And Rocks.
The album does switch it up a little and there are a few more ballad-esque songs in the latter sections. The transition between "Rage" (terrific guitar / keyboard duel) and the groovy slowburner "Alive” is a beautiful crossover and happens so organically that you barely notice it happening.
"Second Son" delivers some Melodic Rock in the vein of Streets (Mike Slammer) and it's a highlight. "House Of Lies" rocks hard again with muscular guitars, while musically, "Millions" is a homage to the '70/'80 British scene.

HOUSE OF X - House Of X (2014) back

"House Of X" is definitely an album that will resonate 5 stars with fans of the good old days, and if you are into more modern sounds, do yourself a favor and listen to it. You will love it.
Everything sounds so 'real' that is a pleasure. 'Real' means real classic Hard Rock, with blood, from the heart. The songwriting is excellent, as the performances, while production is first class.
A golden pot of Classic Hard Rock - Highly Recommended.

01. Do Me Wrong
02. No More Tequila
03. Long Arm Of The Law
04. No Way Home
05. The Road Less Troubled
06. Martian Landscape
07. Rage
08. Alive
09. Busted
10. Second Son
11. House Of Lies
12. Millions

Danny Peyronel – Lead Vocals, Keyboards (ex UFO)
Laurence Archer – Guitars, Backing Vocals (Phil Lynott Band)
Clive Edwards – Drums (Wild Horses)
Rocky Newton – Bass, Backing Vocals (Lionheart, ex MSG)



LED ZEPPELIN - IV [Deluxe Edition remastered 2CD] (2014)

LED ZEPPELIN - IV [Deluxe Edition remastered 2CD] (2014) full


The second wave of reissues in LED ZEPPELIN's overhaul of their classic catalog pretty much follows the path set by the first: remastered versions of the original albums on one disc, and alternate takes and mixes (along with the occasional rare cut) on the other.
The band’s self-titled 1969 debut included live tracks, but all of the others so far — including the new "IV" — have basically replicated the original LPs with different, interesting versions of these classic songs.

More often than not, this is a testament to the albums’ original glistening production by Jimmy Page, who doesn’t get enough credit for his meticulous behind-the-boards work on those Led Zeppelin albums.
On the extraa CD we get an instrumental version of the mandolin-strummed Tolkien fantasy ‘The Battle of Evermore’ and the good, alternate U.K. Mix of 'When the Levee Breaks', among other mixes.

‘IV’ remains Led Zeppelin’s defining work. This remastered Deluxe Edition shines in its pristine clarity.
A must have in any collection.

CD 1: Original Album Remastered 2014
1 - Black Dog
2 - Rock and Roll
3 - The Battle of Evermore
4 - Stairway to Heaven
5 - Misty Mountain Hop
6 - Four Sticks
7 - Going to California
8 - When the Levee Breaks

CD 2: Previously Unreleased Studio material
1 - Black Dog (Basic Track with Guitar Overdubs)
2 - Rock and Roll (Alternate Mix)
3 - The Battle of Evermore (Mandolin/Guitar Mix from Headley)
4 - Stairway to Heaven (Sunset Sound Mix)
5 - Misty Mountain Hop (Alternate Mix)
6 - Four Sticks (Alternate Mix)
7 - Going to Calfornia (Mandolin/Guitar Mix)
8 - When the Levee Breaks (Alternate U.K. Mix)

John Bonham – drums, percussion
John Paul Jones – bass, electric piano, mellotron, mandolin
Jimmy Page – guitars, mandolin
Robert Plant – lead and backing vocals, tambourine
Additional musicians
Sandy Denny – vocals on "The Battle of Evermore"
Ian Stewart – piano on "Rock and Roll"



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

RED RAVEN - Chapter One: The Principles (2014)

RED RAVEN - Chapter One: The Principles (2014) full


A fellow Austrian reader (thanks Gotto!) is introducing to us a new band from Germany, RED RAVEN, and their debut CD "Chapter One: The Principles" to be released all over Europe next week.
The Hard Rock quartet featured seasoned musicians from the local scene, but perhaps the most known is singer Frank Beck, who replaced Kai Hansen when he got sick during Gamma Ray's Empire of the Undead tour.

Red Raven delivers us in "Chapter One: The Principles" pure trademark German Hard Rock inspired in the '80s / '90s yet with a modern updated sound. A sound typically European - and quite related to the present Swedish wave - that means compact, clean, tight and crisp.
The star in Red Raven is Frank Beck. The man is able to reach impossible high notes and croon among the best during the slower tunes. He also is a clever arranger to fit his vocals skills to the nuance of the songs with ease.
The band instrumentalists are second to none, with Patrick Fey providing crunchy riffs and pristine solos, and the rhythm section is well oiled bringing to mind Treat or Accept dynamics.

RED RAVEN - Chapter One: The Principles (2014) cd photo

The material is impactful via the straight, always melodious hard rockers like opener "Too Late", "Silent World of Mine" or the anthemic "Famous", while Red Raven add groove to songs like "Everyday" (a highlight) and the more Americanized "Planet Fear".
They are not afraid to offer a couple of melodic hard rock tunes with the mid-tempo "Far Away From Me" and the highly harmonized "Another Little While".
If you need ballads, the ultra-melodic "I Don't Care" do not give up to its muscle. It's a solid midtempo with a terrific guitar work throughout, while on closer "Angel of Your Life" Red Raven shows their acoustic side and they are quite effective at it.

One of the highest points of this band, and one that sets them apart from other bands in the same division is the, as said, many, differentiated and intelligently use of the backing vocals / choruses.
Another thing that I liked is the way the songs are constructed: they go for the song from the start. Only a couple feature little intros, but not in the unnecessary and endless type.
Additionally, there's effective breaks on most of the songs providing a great dynamic to the flow, and all tracks have an end, as it should be. In my opinion, a song ending in a fade out is a lack of imagination.

RED RAVEN - Chapter One: The Principles (2014) back

Red Raven's "Chapter One: The Principles" is an impressive debut from these Germans. It's far from your ordinary Hard Rock affair, rich in entertaining arrangements and melodies.
This is the first part from the guys, there's 'Chapter Two' in the making, proving that Red Raven is not an 'on the fly' project, they are a serious, intelligent rocking combo with a lot of talent to offer in a future to come.

01 - Too Late
02 - Planet Fear
03 - Silent World of Mine
04 - Foolsland
05 - Famous
06 - Far Away From me
07 - If You Don't Know
08 - Walls Around My Chair
09 - Another Little While
10 - I Don't Care
11 - Everyday
12 - Angel of Your Life

Frank Beck (vocals)
Patrick Fey (guitars)
Martin Reichhart (bass)
Sascha Waack (drums)



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ARION - Last Of Us [Japanese Edition +4] (2014)

ARION - Last Of Us [Japanese Edition +4] (2014) full


Coming out of nowhere (in fact from Finland) ARION consists of 5 young (really young) fellows who have released one of the best, refreshing debuts of the year; "Last Of Us".
The talented quintet blends traditional hard rock and quality prog metal with commercial, catchy modern melodious rock for the masses. You’ve probably heard it all before, but I have to say that the actual outcome is exceptional.

Arion took shape two years ago, and in 2013 the group took part in the Finnish UMK contest and they also released an EP. Now the guys are releasing their debut album to the world… and what a debut I must say.
I can’t believe these guys are barely out of high-school. They sound like seasoned veterans, with the weight and wisdom that comes from a lifetime of experiences.
Vocalist Viljami Holopainen is very atypical for this genre. He is able to scream with the best with a great range and technique, but he maintains a Hard Rock soul, singing from the heart about profound subjects. Avoiding all the castles, swords, vikings, wizards and space goofiness, Arion's lyrics are interesting and varied.
In addition to Holopainen there’s guitar virtuoso Iivo Kaipainen, melody maestro keyboardist Arttu Vauhkonen, with phenomenal, tight rhythms from Gege Velinov on bass and Topias Kupiainen on drums.

The guys are talented – no doubt about it. They record, write and produce music like they are some kind of experienced veterans and have years and years of music on their backs.
What surprises the most is the musical maturity of those guys.
A maturity that’s hard to be found even at seasoned bands of our time. The songwriting, the melodies, the hooklines, the guitars, the song arrangements are all amazingly mature and complete. They have a great sense of melody and all the performances are stupendous too.
The production is also full and powerful.

ARION - Last Of Us [Japanese Edition +4] (2014) cd photo

After a stirring instrumental intro we storm into the power of “Out of the Ashes”, rapidly followed by the melodic “Seven” , a killer progressive Hard Rock track full of swirling keys, guitar virtuosity, soaring vocals and delicate haunting melodies.
Fully prog metal emerges on “Shadows” fueled by a pounding rhythm, heavy guitars, and aggressive full-range vocals. The light sympho touches of “I Am the Storm” incorporates bleeding fast double bass drumming, with great guitar and bass work fighting among the vocals.
One of my favorites is the soulful piano ballad “You’re My Melody”. An album highlight with a stripped-bare Holopainen and more killer guitar.

The grandiose “Burn Your Ship” has some Ten / Gary Hughes on it, while “Lost” and the more progressive “Last of Us” are full band, passionate Melodic Hard metallic songs.
Epic closer “Watching You Fall” overpowers with potent riffing and dynamic rhythm. It's modern Prog Metal complete with a quirky, volatile mid-section break.
The Japanese edition includes four bonus tracks: the regal power of “New Dawn”, an edited (and more catchy) version of “Shadows”, and beautiful acoustic versions of “Lost” and “Last of Us”. Really worth the scratch if you can afford it.

ARION - Last Of Us [Japanese Edition +4] (2014) back scan

“Last Of Us” is a more than an impressive debut. It's powerful and catchy at the same time, plenty of wonderful melodies, tight instrumentation and heavenly vocal arrangements.
Often this kind of 'grandiose soundig' albums wear thin with lots of blur and song-bleed. Amazingly, I didn’t notice any of that with this expertly produced record. Each song is distinct and potent while the diversity keeps things fresh.
Arion has the potential to make it big in every aspect. It takes nothing more than a dose of inspiration and imagination so as to come up with such result. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of a long and successful career.
Kick-ass and Highly Recommended.

01 - The Passage
02 - Out Of The Ashes
03 - Seven
04 - Shadows
05 - You're My Melody
06 - I Am The Storm
07 - Burn Your Ship
08 - Lost
09 - Last Of Us
10 - Watching You Fall
11 - New Dawn (Japanese Bonus Track)
12 - Shadows [Edit Version] (Japanese Bonus Track)
13 - Lost [Acoustic Version] (Japanese Bonus Track)
14 - Last Of Us [Acoustic Version] (Japanese Bonus Track)

Viljami Holopainen - Vocals
Iivo Kaipainen - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Arttu Vauhkonen, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Gege Velinov - Bass, Backing Vocals
Topias Kupiainen - Drums



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