Saturday, February 28, 2015

DARE - Out Of The Silence [A&M / Universal / YesterRock Remaster]

DARE - Out Of The Silence [A&M / Universal / YesterRock Remaster] full


Hailing from Manchester, UK, Melodic Rock legends DARE first album “Out Of The Silence” without any doubt marks one of the most important milestones in British Rock history and is one of these day’s most sought after releases.
Thanks to the kind collaboration with Universal Music, “Out Of The Silence” was digitally remastered from the original tapes by YesterRock's resident engineer Tony Ubler.

Consisting of the exceptional musicians Darren Wharton (ex Thin Lizzy), guitarist Vinny Burns (ex TEN, Jailbait) and James Ross (ex Frontier), “Out Of The Silence” offers anything a fan of true Melodic Rock / AOR can dream of.

The tracklist includes classic tracks such as the awesome "Abandon" (a total AOR gem), the killer "Runaway", and the hymn "Into The Fire", one of the greatest songs ever produced from the MR / AOR genre.
Both "Nothing Is Stronger Than Love" and "Return The Heart" are prime examples of Darren Wharton's smooth and emotional vocal delivery, while numbers like "King Of Spades" and the ballad "Don't Let Go" showcases Vinnie Burns immense talent on the six-strings.
With this album, Dare, at the heydays of this sound in the late '80s, hit the charts in numerous countries and toured successfully with acts such as Europe, Jimmy Page Band or Gary Moore.

DARE - Out Of The Silence [A&M / Universal / YesterRock Remaster] back cover

This is it; “Out Of The Silence” is one of the all-time classic AOR / Melodic Rock albums that have you singing those superb harmonies and humming the brilliant guitar / keyboard riffs over and over again. A true Masterpiece for the genre.
This one was requested by a reader to be presented here, go ahead a request yours!
BTW, the sound of this remaster is excellent, has to be heard to be believed.

01 - Abandon
02 - Into the Fire
03 - Nothing Is Stronger Than Love
04 - Runaway
05 - Under the Sun
06 - The Raindance
07 - King of Spades
08 - Heartbreaker
09 - Return the Heart
10 - Don't Let Go

Darren Wharton (Vocals, Keyboards)
Vinny Burns (Guitars)
Brian Cox (Keyboards)
Shelley (Bass)
James Ross (Drums)



DAN REED NETWORK - DRN Anthology [2CD] (2014-15)

DAN REED NETWORK - DRN Anthology [2CD] full


As you may know, after the DAN REED NETWORK disbanded in the '90s talented singer / songwriter Dan Reed pursue a solo career, and he is ready to release his new CD 'Transmission' the next month. But the old-school fans wanted a Dan Reed Network reunion, something that has materialized two years ago and continued at the end on 2014 with several shows.
Celebrating the comeback and to honor the live shows, Reed released "DRN Anthology", a double CD including the group best songs chosen by different members of the band, plus a disc featuring lots of rarities.

Disc 1 is the first "Best Of" from the Dan Reed Network approved by Dan, and really gives you a clear picture of the best work of the DRN.
Disc 2 is a must have for the fans of the band and collectors in general, including no more no less than 15 rarities; several impossible to find B-sides, some new live recordings taped in Sweden, plus a couple of new remixes.

The three Dan Reed Network studio albums received positive reviews and sold pretty well, especially in Europe where the band still has a strong fan base.
They were some kind of pioneers blending heavy funk melodies with a gritty hard rock edge peppered with poppy hooks, pulled together in an '80s radio-friendly production.

But there's more great news for the Dan Reed Network fans around the globe: Dan Reed has confirmed few days ago that the 5 original members of DRN will enter the studio in 2015 to record their first album since 1991′s The Heat.

DAN REED NETWORK - DRN Anthology [2CD] back cover

"DRN Anthology" is fantastic release to revisit this very good band, and a gem for collectors.
The remaster is excellent, with a perfect dynamic range (DR 12).
Highly Recommended.

CD 1 - The Best:
01. Mix It Up
02. Resurrect
03. Tiger In A Dress
04. All My Lovin’
05. Take My Hand
06. Baby Don’t Fade
07. Chill Out
08. The Lonely Sun
09. Doin’ The Love Thing
10. Ritual
11. The Salt Of Joy
12. Wake Up
13. Halfway Around The World
14. Blame It On The Moon
15. World Has A Heart Too

CD 2 - Re-Mixes, B-Sides, Live:
01. Slam (Alt. Intro - Rough Mix)
02. Come Alive (B-Side)
03. Slavery (B-Side)
04. Rainbow Child (Live in Sweden 2013)
05. Money (B-Side)
06. Baby Now (Live in Sweden 2013)
07. Burning Love (B-Side)
08. Get To You (Live in Sweden 2013)
09. Come To Me (B-Side)
10. Under My Skin (Live in Sweden 2013)
11. You Can Leave Your Hat On (B-Side)
12. Living With A Stranger (Solo Acoustic)
13. Tatiana (B-Side)
14. Stronger Than Steel (Solo Acoustic)
15. Ritual (Dido Slam Re-Mix)

Dan Reed - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Brion James - Guitars, Vocals
Melvin Brannon II - Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Vocals
Blake Sakamoto - Keyboards, Programming, Vocals
Dan Pred - Drums, Percussion, Electronics



Friday, February 27, 2015

SHAFT OF STEEL - Shaft Of Steel EP (2014)

SHAFT OF STEEL - Shaft Of Steel EP (2014) full


This little CD arrived a bit late to our desk, but damn, well worth the wait! We're talking about the debut recording by SHAFT OF STEEL, a new UK Melodic Hard Rock act destined to be a sensation.
This four song EP gets a head start on other young bands out there as they have Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic, Place Vendrome, etc.) mastering it and adding backing vocals, so fear not the production is very good.

Not, as the band's dodgy name and artwork may suggest a power metal band, but a young band from London who play high quality Melodic Hard Rock. However, Shaft Of Steel are trying something different here.
While the traditional guitar hooks, keyboard runs, bouncy rhythm section and soaring vocals typical from the genre are present, the guys develop their songs in a multi-space range.
Three of the four tracks are around the seven minute mark, blending some kind of song-into-song on each. This is very interesting as you have two song ideas mash-up into one, always dynamic and entertaining.

SHAFT OF STEEL - Shaft Of Steel EP (2014) inside

Opening with the burning melody of "Drive" you are immediately reminded of greats like Harem Scarem: it’s a track with sumptuous production from guitarist Alex Markham who throughout does a damn fine job, playing and behind the desk.
"Spinning Vortex of Love" that sweeps in next is even better – the melody is simply irresistible and the song beautifully constructed with some glorious backing vocals that reach another level.

There’s a bit more meat to the riff-driven "Steel Avenger (Stand Your Ground)" which adds another dimension to the sound and another possibility for a future long-player.
Then "Release The Lion Within" is another soaring number, mainly as vocalist Robert Fenning shows his vocal range to good effect on this 'more instant' song.
The instrumental dynamics and timing from all members makes this one a song that many established bands would dream of writing.

SHAFT OF STEEL - Shaft Of Steel EP (2014) cd photo

Listening to "Shaft Of Steel" restores your faith that there are young bands out there with the right Melodic Hard Rock chops to blow you away despite not having the major backing behind them.
It’s few and far between that you hear a new independent band that has such an immediate impact, but on the strength of this debut EP we will be hearing a lot more from these guys in the near future. They already toured with Vega and Newman so expect big things for this sextet, and soon.
If you love a sound with huge guitars, impassioned vocals and sweeping keys - add to that an equally powerful backline - then "Shaft Of Steel" is a mandatory checkout.
Highly Recommended.

1 - Drive
2 - Spinning Vortex of Love
3 - Steel Avenger (Stand Your Ground)
4 - Release the Lion Within
enhanced content:
'Drive' official HD video

Robert Fenning - Lead vocals
Alex Markham - Guitar
Adam Carruthers - Guitar
Chris Smurthwaite - Keyboards
Andy Cooper - Bass, backing vocals
Garth Vickers - Drums
Dennis Ward - Backing Vocals, mastering



CATALANO - Never Enuff (2015)

CATALANO - Never Enuff (2015)


Former De La Cruz singer Roxxi Catalano has presented an advance of what will be his debut as solo artist under the name CATALANO.
De La Cruz first and only album Street Level was released in 2013 by Frontiers Records receiving very good reviews and acceptance by the fans. However, guitarist Casey Jones already left De La Cruz on or around the release date of the album, then the bass player.
So Catalano decided the end of De La Cruz last year.

Now Roxxi Catalano is back with fresh ideas, new songs and a record contract with Demon Doll Records. The debut will appear next Summer.
Kudos to Catalano for not using the De La Cruz name and capitalize the fan base. Of course, listening these new songs people will naturally draw the comparison with his former band, but that's logical, Catalano was one of the main composers.

"Never Enuff" has some Def Leppard vibe as we heard on many songs of De La Cruz, especially on the layered backing vocals and the middle section bridge before the guitar solo. It's a pretty anthemic rocker, with a touch of sleaze.
As you could imagine, the other song entitled "Rxckin' Barbie Doll" is much more glammy, '80s Sunset Strip oriented. The potent guitar riff and the way of singing reminds me Stephen Pearcy's post Ratt solo works.
Pretty cool advance.

01. Never Enuff (4:15)
02. Rxckin' Barbie Doll (4:01)

Roxxi Catalano: vocals, bass
Stevie Strange: guitar



RICK SPRINGFIELD - Stripped Down (2015)

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Stripped Down (2015) full


The great RICK SPRINGFIELD is releasing "Stripped Down", a new CD/DVD combo.
For the last two years, Springfield has been treating fans to a special ongoing series of intimate solo performances of his vast repertoire, telling stories, explaining lyrics and generally connecting with his always-loyal fan base.

This CD/DVD set features highlights from those performances as well as a new song, the clever "If Wishes Were Fishes”, plus well known Springfield songs including dynamic covers of the classics "Oh Well," "Rollin' & Tumblin'" and "Baby Blue”.
But for me, the real deal here are Rick's hits like "Jessie’s Girl", "Love Somebody", "Affair Of The Heart", etc., all done in a stripped yet lovable versions.

Springfield showed he's a capable guitarist, but his vocal kept standing out as his star quality. For example, he nailed the falsetto lines on "Inside Silvia" while upping the entertainment value by playing the guitar chords with his I-phone.
He shifts into high gear for the Sammy Hagar penned "I've Done Everything for You" and the popular "Love Somebody", both among the best performances here.
Of course the show could only properly end with the tune everyone came to hear; "Jessie's Girl".

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Stripped Down (2015) cd photo

"Stripped Down" shows why Rick Springfield continues to be as relevant today as ever.
The songs are memorable, the performances are compelling and the interaction between Rick and his fans throughout the show is truly genuine.
Note the audio CD tracks are not the same featured on the DVD, where Springfield tells stories of each song and you have some interview clips.
Nice to hear these old favorites made by the man and his guitar.
Quite Recommended.

01 - Affair Of The Heart
02 - Love Is Alright Tonite
03 - I’ve Done Everything For You
04 - Painted Girl
05 - Oh Well
06 - Love Somebody
07 - Baby Blue
08 - Rollin & Tumblin
09 - If Wishes Were Fishes (new song)
10 - Don’t Talk To Strangers
11 - April 24th, 1981 / My Father’s Chair
12 - Me & Johnny
13 - Human Touch
14 - Jessie’s Girl



Thursday, February 26, 2015

WOLFPAKK - Rise Of The Animal (2015)

WOLFPAKK - Rise Of The Animal (2015) full


For the third time the roaring wolves are back, the Hard Rock / Melodic Metal all-star pack known as WOLFPAKK. Led by the turbulent duo of vocalists Mark Sweeney (ex Crystal Ball) and the omnipresent Michael Voss, the band will release their new CD entitled “Rise Of The Animal“ on February 27th.

The duet of Alpha Wolves are still working as a strong creative team with the same focus, and the original spirit is still intact: high-class traditional heavy sound, yet this time pretty melodic hard rock oriented at places.
The cast list of guests reads like a veritable rock & metal who’s who. Based on the pedigree present, “Rise Of The Animal” promises great things. Happily, I can report, it delivers on those promises… in spades.
The talented binomial of Voss / Sweeney wrote all the songs together except for the lubricious hit-single "Sock It To Me" and the title track that was made with the helping hand of Axe player Martin Rauber (he’s also in charge of all the guitars in "High Roller").
They were also responsible for the production and the mixing duties, and of course they performed some ferocious lead vocals in duet or trio with the sublime collaboration of a famous bunch of Metal screamers.

From the outset they nail their colours firmly to the mast with the mighty "Rider Of The Storm". With its relentless bass drum rhythm courtesy of crazy hitter Mike Terrana driving this untamed beast of a song, howling and stalking it’s prey complete with that classic, semi-martial vocal arrangement we all know and love… add to that a razor sharp guitar and what we have is the set up for a great album.

However, you will note that the whole sound design for this new album is more tagged in the '80s sing-along orientation, maybe a little less Germanic than the early albums.
Of course some part of the tunes are especially crafted for the guest vocalists, like the chorus of the hard rock anthem "Monkey On Your Back", which is clearly designed for the Ted Poley vocal style. The 'hair metal' impression is even reinforced by the Guitar solo of Casablanca's leader Ryan Roxie. This song alone worth the CD.
One of the highlights is of course the epic "Highlands" even if I think that the voice of the almighty Joe Lynn Turner is underemployed, the song is clearly a winner in the Euro metal style.

"Sock It To Me" does exactly what it says on the tin with it’s classic '80s Sunset Strip glam vibe and sensibilities with a 21st century upgrade (call me nuts but this one sounds a lot like the new Skid Row).
"Black Wolf" is quite metallic but in a midtempo mode, featuring the hyper-talented Rick Altzi forming a trio of voices matching perfectly this piece that starts with an acoustic intro, and where the gang backing vocal chorus is particularly efficient.
Swedish champion John Norum is giving his six strings maximum for the very predictable yet enjoyable double kick driven cut "Somewhere Beyond", with also the ubiquitous David Reece on vocals.

The next track "Running Out of Time" contains some great performances by Don Dokken & Doug Aldrich and it's an instant favorite of mine. Clever arrangements, sharp riffs and fine vocals all over.
Then "Grizzly Man", ready for the hunt, makes his presence known with a classy metal feel, very Eighties, very melodic ala 220 Volt. Meanwhile, "High Roller" delivers more glam than a centrefolds convention in Las Vegas. Complete with it’s mid '80s guitar swagger and 'rent a crowd' chorus it cruises along effortlessly looking for and having a great time.

Another outstanding moment of the album arrives with the epic title track "Rise Of The Animal", with the impressive Mr. Kiske who provide his typical high flux of ultrasonic pitch yelling, embellished by a fast pace and a dramatic dimension.
At the final slot, the semi-sympho track "Universe" is somewhat ordinary. Even if the soprano vocals of Miss Michaela Schober are quite good, I can’t connect with the melodic stream and the shift of style.

WOLFPAKK - Rise Of The Animal (2015) inside

Wolfpakk's third offering “Rise Of The Animal“ is their best work to date, without a doubt.
There's something for everyone here; classic Euro metal, '80s hard rock, a bit of glam / hair metal, great guitar solos by stupendous guests, and very good production.
All is extremely polished and carefully arranged, and despite the mix of styles, tremendously effective in its cohesion.
A remarkable 3rd effort by Wolfpakk.

01. Rider Of The Storm
02. Sock It To Me
03. Monkey on Your Back
04. Highlands
05. Black Wolf
06. Somewhere Beyond
07. Running Out of Time
08. Grizzly Man
09. High Roller
10. Rise of the Animal
11. Universe

Mark Sweeney (ex-Crystal Ball) - Vocals
Michael Voss (Mad Max, Michael Schenker) - Vocals, Bass

Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic)
Andi Deris (Helloween)
Ted Poley (Danger Danger)
Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, Malmsteen)
Rick Altzi (Masterplan)
David Reece
Charlie Huhn (Ex-Gary Moore, Foghat)
Don Dokken
Marc Storace (Krokus)
Michaela Schober (Tanz der Vampire)
Jean-Marc Viller (Callaway)

Bob Daisley (Ex- Gary Moore, Black Sabbath, Ozzy)
Al Barrow (Magnum)
Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian)

Jeff Watson (Night Ranger)
Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper, Casablanca)
Bernie Torme (Ozzy Osbourne)
John Norum (Europe)
Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio, Foreigner)
Axel Rudi Pell
Martin Rauber (Top4Tea)

Chris Ivo (Ex- Jaded Heart)
Pablo Allen (Skiltron)

Mike Terrana (Tarja, Ex-Stratovarius, Yngwie)
Mark Schulman (Billy Idol)
Simon Philips (Ex- Toto)
Chris Slade (Ex- AC/DC)



EDDIE MONEY - No Control [Rock Candy remaster]

EDDIE MONEY - No Control [Rock Candy remaster] full


After the recent Rock Candy reissues of two EDDIE MONEY albums from the '80s, many asked for the previous remaster of Money's "No Control", already presented here on the blog as well when appeared two years ago.
This is a refresh for those who missed it... it's a wonderful US Melodic Rock / AOR album.

EDDIE MONEY's life was turned upside down by the runaway success of his self-titled debut album. The fast-talkin' New Yorker spent fifteen years chasing his dreams of Rock stardom, first in bands on his native East Coast, then right across the other side of the country following a move to Berkeley, California.
The two following LP's certainly set the scene: panoramic American Melodic Rock filled with memorable hooks supporting an instantly identifiable rasp.
It was a tailor made sound that perfectly fitted the American airwaves at the beginning of the Eighties sitting comfortably besides music from the likes of Boston, Foreigner and Journey.

Looking expand his success even further, Eddie switch to work with a new producer - the revered Tom Dowd (Chicago, Eric Clapton) - for his fourth album "No Control", to provide and even more organic and polished AOR sound.
Above all else, it was the quality of the songs that gave the record a golden hue and the glossy production made it shoe-in for saturation play on FM radio.
Chief amongst the best tracks were the two hit singles "Think I’m In Love" and "Shakin`" or the awesome AOR midtempo "Hard Life", but there were deeper songs to explore such as the John Bellushi tribute "Passing By The Graveyard (Song For John B)" and the melodic 'n bluesy "It Could Happen To You".

EDDIE MONEY - No Control [Rock Candy remaster] back

With the continued presence of guitar foil Jimmy Lyons, "No Control" shot Eddie into the spotlight, notching up sales in excess of 3 Million and establishing him as one of the era's most prolific stars.
This is another great remastering by Rock Candy specialists from the original source tapes @ 24-bit, well balanced on all frequencies.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Shakin'
02 - Runnin' Away
03 - Think I'm In Love
04 - Hard Life
05 - No Control
06 - Take A Little Bit
07 - Keep My Motor Runnin'
08 - My Friends, My Friends
09 - Drivin' Me Crazy
10 - Passing By The Graveyard (Song For John B)
11 - It Could Happen To You

Eddie Money: vocals, keyboards, harp
Jimmy Lyons: guitars, keyboards
Alan Pasqua: keyboards
Ralph Carter: bass
Gary Ferguson: drums
Marty Walsh, Chuck Kirkpatrick: add. guitar
Randy Nichols: organ, piano
Ed Calle: sax
Gary Mallaber, Art Wood, Tony Brock: add. drums



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

JAC DALTON - PowderKeg (2015)

JAC DALTON - PowderKeg (2015) full


We were already amazed by JAC DALTON's previous album (presented HERE) remastered / repackaged and reissued last year in the wait of the new CD. The day has come, and the JAC DALTON Band are releasing their new opus "PowderKeg" today, February 25.

"PowderKeg" makes justice to its title: it's an explosive collection of songs blending traditional Melodic Hard Rock sound with timeless Classic Rock riffs and hooks.
Born in the USA but established many years ago in Australia, Jac has conformed a terrific band of musicians which have been together for almost a decade. And you can tell this; "PowderKeg" sounds like a real band, powerful, tight, energetic.
Part of the success of the 10 tracks presented here should be credited to guitarist Graham Greene (leader of great rockers Ice Tiger) which riffs and solos shoot these songs to the stars.

There's ridiculously catchy tunes in the rollicking opener title track "PowderKeg", the arena-ready "Roll With the Punches" and "Just Enough to Believe" (think Night Ranger), the bouncy "Can't UnRock Me" and the midtempo heaven of "When I'm Alone With You".
One of the best things about this band is the perfect balance between musical diversity and cohesion. They mix Melodic Rock and Classic Rock with ease, and all sound natural.
Jac Dalton and the guys go for more classy sounds on "Blow Me Away" including vintage organs and female backing vocalists, "Let It Go" injects some '70s 'lively' vibe, while the semi-ballad "One Heart / One Land" comes out organic and from the heart. A rock n' roll heart I must say.

The Jac Dalton Band also does a cover of one of my favorite Aerosmith songs ever: "Sweet Emotion", and they indeed deliver an emotional, punchy, highly melodic version of this classic.

JAC DALTON - PowderKeg (2015) inside

If you listened to Jac Dalton Band previous album Icarus, you know what to expect from "PowderKeg", If you don't, what are you waiting for?
This is high quality American FM Radio Melodic Rock as they don't make it anymore.
As a serious fan of this genre you need to check both records, you won't regret it, believe me.
Highly Recommended.

01. PowderKeg
02. Blow Me Away
03. Roll With the Punches
04. Sweet Emotion
05. Just Enough to Believe
06. HardCore SuperStar
07. Can't UnRock Me
08. Let It Go
09. One Heart / One Land
10. When I’m Alone With You

Jac Dalton – lead vocals
Graham Greene – guitars, backing vocals
Annemieke Heijne – guitars, backing vocals
Jim Awram – bass
Troy Brazier – drums
Jason Dohrmann – keyboards, bass, backing vocals
Donna Greene – percussion, backing vocals



LOLA STONECRACKER - Doomsday Breakdown (2015)

LOLA STONECRACKER - Doomsday Breakdown (2015) full


LOLA STONECRACKER are a new Italian Melodic Hard Rock band founded by singer Alex Fabbri. In fact Lola Stonecracker born several years ago and recorded a self-released EP but Fabbri decided to reorganize things from the scratch recruiting new musicians.
With new songs and a contract signed with This Is Core Records, Lola Stonecracker are presenting their international debut "Doomsday Breakdown", produced by talented Roberto Priori (Michele Luppi, Vision Divine, Danger Zone, Wheels Of Fire, Perfect View).

Never judge an album from its cover, they say. I must confess being primarily attracted here by the excellent artwork done by digital artist Elton Fernandes, the band's logo, and Lola Stonecracker's cool name.
But then after first track "Jigsaw" it was Lola Stonecracker kicking, rocking music what hooked me. The quintet sounds tight, with aplomb. The song is a bit 'modern', but it's the only track on the record in this vein. Modern et all, still a very strong opener. The best is yet to come, believe me.
Despite the quite aggressive attack of the dual guitars on the opening song, following numbers such as the groovy "Witchy Lady", "Generation on Surface" and "Secret for a Universe" are much more Melodic Hard oriented, with some '90s Danger Danger feel here and there.

LOLA STONECRACKER - Doomsday Breakdown (2015) logo

You can note Priori's skillful hands behind the desk, obtaining a neat and crisp output from the guys. Also pay attention to the ton of multi-tracks used in this recording. I mean, there's various, different guitar tracks mixed as a whole, same with the vocals, resulting in a layered sound rich in melody.
Lola Stonecracker explores nice arrangements on "Jekyll and Hyde", a song pumped by a fat bass, adorned with keyboards / synths all over and an anthemic chorus. The middle part slow down creating a great atmosphere which reach its climax with a scorching guitar solo.
Title track "Doomsday Breakdown", "Space Cowboys" (akin Trixter), and the groovy "Using My Tricks" go for a little harder delivery, yet always melodic and with a ear put on the late '80s.

LOLA STONECRACKER - Doomsday Breakdown (2015) booklet

"Mc Kenny's Place" is nother killer melodic hard rocker with a lot of crunch and a clear '80s arena feel through a layered chorus. A song bringing to mind Wheels Of Fire or Johnny Lima, and a true highlight.
Lola Stonecracker does a rocking cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's classic "Relax", showing again their strong Eighties influences. It's a fresh version with a 'raise your fist' attitude, cool keys and elaborated guitar work.
We have solid ballads too, midtempo "All This Time" with a Tyketto feel, then the AORish "Secret for a Universe" is lush with pristine acoustics into the mix.

LOLA STONECRACKER - Doomsday Breakdown (2015) inside

Lola Stonecracker has surprised me. Their debut "Doomsday Breakdown" not only contains very well composed & arranged Melodic Hard Rock songs, but also great musicianship.
All this is accompanied by the other star on this recording: the stellar production. Roberto Priori has done a super job in the past producing Michele Luppi or Vision Divine, but this is his finest work.

Seriously, "Doomsday Breakdown" production & mix are awesome. There's terrific layers of guitars (kudos to the players too) the bass is massive, drums bombastic, the backing vocals highly harmonized and the leads of Alex Fabbri come out clear, potent.
"Doomsday Breakdown" is a disc that put 'major names' in the present Melodic Hard Rock field into shame. It's rocking, melodic, inspired by the classics yet modern and fresh.

01 - Jigsaw
02 - Witchy Lady
03 - Generation on Surface
04 - Secret for a Universe
05 - Perils of a Man from the Past
06 - Jekyll and Hyde
07 - Doomsday Breakdown
08 - Mc Kenny's Place
09 - All This Time
10 - Space Cowboys
11 - Psycho Speed Parade
12 - Mistery Soul Maverick
13 - Relax
14 - Shine
15 - Using My Tricks

Alex Fabbri: vocals
Lorenzo Zagni: guitar
Giovanni Taddia: guitar
Diego Quarantotto: bass
Christian Cesari: drums



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NIGHT RANGER - Big Life [Japan remaster SHM-CD] [Limited Release]

NIGHT RANGER - Big Life [Japan remaster SHM-CD] [Limited Release] full


Someone asked for the YesterRock remaster of "Big Life", the fourth studio album by NIGHT RANGER. Unfortunately, this reissue is out of print. But a couple years ago Universal Japan released their own remaster of the album and pressed it on a High Quality SHM-CD.

When speaking of the leading US Melodic Hard Rock bands from the '80s, San Fransisco based Night Ranger are on top of the list of many fans of this lovely musical genre.
Fronted by the mega-talented Jack Blades alongside the not less gifted Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy, Jeff Watson and Alan Fitzgerald, Night Ranger is the definition of the genre, producing one great album after another, with sales surpassing the 10 million mark only during the Eighties.

Sometimes the term 'underrated' means it's just a brilliant album but not heard by many, but it may also be a less popular album compared to the rest of a band's discography. A clear example could be Night Ranger's "Big Life".
Blades & Co. had already released 'Dawn Patrol', 'Midnight Madness' and 'Seven Wishes', which were all million sellers, before venturing into making hit-singles for soundtracks, of which "The Secret Of My Success" written for the 1987 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox it's included here in "Big Life".
The hardcore fans didn't liked much this move, and also due that year (1987) success of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Poison and then newcomers Guns N' Roses, "Big Life" didn't reach platinum (a million units sold) status.

When looking back it's obvious that the music buying audience was overly spoiled at the second half of the '80s, because this is one hell of a Melodic Rock album.
Rocking and catchy tunes like title-song "Big Life", "Carry On" or "'Color Of Your Smile" go hand in hand with lighter-swinging ballads as the sublime album closer "Hearts Away" and the atmospheric AOR of "Rain Comes Crashing Down" featuring a breathtaking guitar work.
"The Secret Of My Success" is great too, co-written by Blades together with David Foster, Tom Keane and guitar master Michael Landau, showing Night Ranger's more AOR / commercial side. I still remember this being one of the most played videos in the spring of 1987 on MTV.
Produced by the band with the help of expert Kevin Elson (Europe, Journey, Mr. Big), as you expect, the sound in "Big Life" is lush, glossy and polished.

NIGHT RANGER - Big Life [Japan remaster SHM-CD] [Limited Release] back cover

This Japanese remaster is fuller, well balanced and high on dynamics.
Night Ranger ranks among my favorite bands of all time, and "Big Life" is my second favorite of their entire discography. From a band with such great albums under their belt, this position in my fav list say something.
Sadly, this "Big Life" Japanese SHM-CD has become scarce too, so if you find it at a decent price buy it without hesitation.
A Must Have for any serious Melodic Hard Rock fan.

Universal Japan ~ UICY-94149

01 - Big Life
02 - Color Of Your Smile
03 - Love Is Standing Near
04 - Rain Comes Crashing Down
05 - The Secret Of My Success
06 - Carry On
07 - Better Let It Go
08 - I Know Tonight
09 - Hearts Away

Jack Blades - lead and backing vocals, bass
Brad Gillis - lead and rhythm guitars, vocals
Jeff Watson - lead and rhythm guitars
Alan Fitzgerald - keyboards, piano
Kelly Keagy - lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion
additional musicians:
David Foster - additional keyboards
Kevin Chalfant - additional backing vocals



Monday, February 23, 2015

CARE OF NIGHT - Connected [Japan Edition +1] (2015)

CARE OF NIGHT - Connected [Japan Edition +1] (2015) full


Two years ago at 0dayrox we proudly presented in exclusive the debut EP from CARE OF NIGHT, a new Swedish AOR bringing all the magic from the genre to the new Millennium.
After shedding more than seven tears over the split of Seven Tears back in 2009, three of that band’s members initially stuck together (bassist Fredrik Lager subsequently stepped aside) to form Care Of Night and here finally is their debut studio album "Connected", released in Europe by AOR Heaven Records, and this Japanese edition featuring a bonus track through Rubicon Music.

I for one am eternally thankful that these guys stayed together to bring us such fantastic AOR / Melodic Rock, and if you like the classic, keyboard-driven side of the street from the genre then you really do have to get "Connected".
Names as Da Vinci, Grand Illusion and Europe are mentioned as influences, alongside new acts like Work Of Art and Houston, so we know what to expect, we think, but what we get is a surprise.
"Connected" (produced by the Wigelius brothers) doesn't transcend genre clichés, it embraces them, then shapes them into something coherent and totally fresh.
Dynamic songwriting, sharp guitars, bouncy rhythm section, keyboards galore, a classy singer, tons of harmonies and top choruses are the motto of Care Of Night, and I love it.

All the songs in "Connected" indeed switch on you an emotional connection to the comforting warmth of '80s AOR, where it all began. But Care Of Night adds a contemporary feel turning things even more interesting and enjoyable.
The opening cut "Cassandra" is the perfect summary of what this album is all about, bright and bold with a sparkling factor in the catchy melodies in the key of love.
If the amazing vocalist Calle Schönberg takes the lead and shares with his superb voice and his positive energy, the other members are more than competent, notably Jonathan Carlemar who provides some first class lead guitar chops in the subtle tradition of Schon & Scholtz (check "Those Words" or "Unify").

CARE OF NIGHT - Connected [Japan Edition +1] (2015) booklet

The urgent "Contact" (another highlight) is driven by fluffy keyboard melodic line, but without resign muscle and power. A rocker that Loverboy would be proud of, and as with most albums of this much loved genre the themes are mainly about the trials and tribulations of love.
Add to these songs like "Heart Belongs" or the slick, awesome mid-tempo "Say A Prayer" and this album will no doubt be a regular listening partner for me for quite a while to come, it’s easily up there with FM and White Widdow's more recent releases.
"Dividing Lines" with it's beautiful piano led into and verse segues into a heart wrenching chorus complete with lovable harmonies, then on "Please Remember" the backing vocals swell and subside around while the guitars and keyboards race to crescendo, ready to underline an inviting killer hook.

With already 10 gems in the regular release, this Japanese Edition worth every penny just to get... another gem.
Bonus track "Parts Of Paradise" is an elegant, smooth tune with some Toto inspiration, where the vocal harmonies are carefully worked to provide a L.A. West Coast AOR ambiance.

CARE OF NIGHT - Connected [Japan Edition +1] (2015) back

Sweden seems to be an inexhaustible AOR / Melodic Rock hot bed... "Connected" by Care Of Night is another clear proof and a must have for any rocker with a heart.
Every song is pulled taut, stretched across deceptively simple arrangements, and Care Of Night never let the tension slacken, leavening the mix occasionally with an emotional yell or a suitably snarling guitar.
"Connected" is truly a triumph of passion, a work of genuine flair and accomplishment, rich in melodic detail. The aforementioned Work Of Art and Houston, as well as H.E.A.T, Brother Firetribe and others should take heed. There’s a new kid on the block.
And they are awesome. They are called Care Of Night.
A Must Have.

RUBICON Music Japan ~ RBNCD-1181

01 - Cassandra
02 - Hearts Belong
03 - Those Words
04 - Dividing Lines
05 - Say A Prayer
06 - Contact
07 - Please Remember
08 - Unify
09 - Give Me Strength
10 - Say You Will
11 - Parts Of Paradise (Japanese bonus track)

Calle Schönberg - Lead Vocals
Jonathan Carlemar - Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Kristofer von Wachenfeldt - Keyboards, Vocals
Jonas Rosengren - Bass
Linus Svensson - Drums, Vocals



THE DEVIL IN CALIFORNIA - Longer Ride Down (2015)

THE DEVIL IN CALIFORNIA - Longer Ride Down (2015) full


A new rocking quintet is making some noise around L.A. : THE DEVIL IN CALIFORNIA, with their debut album "Longer Ride Down". The record is the culmination of two years of hard work by 5 seasoned Bay Area musicians whom have been in different bands for the last twenty years.

Where else would the Devil be, really? California is paradise, and a black hole of evil and vice too, all mixed into one, and The Devil In California seems to understand that.
Their music is a combination of hard hitting, hooky, occasionally bluesy, and always kickin' hard rock, with a classic southern-fried touch, a biker look, and lots of attitude. You know exactly what you're going to get when you first see a pic these guys: uncompromised rock n'roll.
They've been playing shows for about a year now, as headliners in the California club circuit or supporting the likes of Skid Row, Black Star Riders or Jake E Lee's Red Dragon Cartel... they must have 'something', eh?

THE DEVIL IN CALIFORNIA - Longer Ride Down (2015) inside

And indeed The Devil In California rocks. "Longer Ride Down" rocks.
Judging how hot and energetic they sound on this recording, they should be a storm on stage. In the short time they have been together, these guys fronted by the classy vocals of Anthony Malson seems to have carefully crafted their fledgling music into a tight, hard, and heavy rock band.
The songs are strongly riff-driven, yet catchy and accessible as "Black Hand", "Personal Voodoo", the midtempo "Longer Ride Down" or the instant rocker "Gravel Road".
On some tracks, for instance, "Delta Sludge", although pretty bluesy infused, The Devil in California add a touch of modernity. "Numb from the Fall" is groovy and heavy, while "Sell Me a Reason" has some Red Dragon Cartel on it.

"Middle Man" aims for a more Classic Rock sound (American) as happens with the gentle, southern painted "YCMMHMB", then the broken "Just in Case" is not far from the recent Skid Row. The band does a nice cover of Mountain's classic "Mississippi Queen", with the guitar sound fixed a bit to a vintage output.

THE DEVIL IN CALIFORNIA - Longer Ride Down (2015) logo

"Longer Ride Down" is a solid presentation card by The Devil In California, a band looking for the classic rocking sounds that seem to have lost all the new acts coming from America.
The band compose really cool songs, they are very good players and the record is finely produced & mixed, so I'm sure we will be hearing a lot more from this Bay Area five-piece.
Very Recommended.

01 - Black Hand
02 - Delta Sludge
03 - Sell Me a Reason
04 - Numb from the Fall
05 - Personal Voodoo
06 - Longer Ride Down
07 - Empty Rooms
08 - Sweeet
09 - Gravel Road
10 - Middle Man
11 - Just in Case
12 - Mississippi Queen
14 - P.S.A. (Oh Yeah)

Anthony Malson - Vox
Jamie Cronander - Guitar
Snake - Guitar
Matt Stewart - Bass
Eddie Colmenares - Drums



Sunday, February 22, 2015

FURYON - Lost Salvation (2015)

FURYON - Lost Salvation (2015) full


Following the success of their debut CD which was released in three years ago and received a large amount of praise from fans and critics alike, FURYON headed back into the studio in 2014 to record their second album which is ready to be unleashed upon the world tomorrow, Feb. 23.
The new album entitled “Lost Salvation” show the evolution of the band blending Melodic Metal and Hard Rock with a very modern approach.

Recorded in two studios on two continents - in Atlanta USA and their home town of Brighton, UK - the new album from Furyon has 10 tracks and 44 minutes of effective, no-nonsense balls to the wall Rock and Metal music, and the opening track “All I Have” gives you a taster of what is to come. It gets this album off to a good start as all the ingredients are there and polished perfectly as everything sounds crisp and clear.
Matt Mitchell once again show us that his voice was built for this kind of music. He is indeed the archetypal rasping, driving, soaring, majestic frontman that all great Rock bands must have.

FURYON - Lost Salvation (2015) inside

To focus on Matt, stupendous though his voice is, would be doing the rest of the guys in the band a huge disservice. Lee Farmery and Alex Bowen have that solid foundation that allows the guitars to dance around effortlessly, pulling some chunky, dirty riffs (the title track and "Scapegoat" in particular show this to great effect) and some melodically ripping solos.

The flavour of this album maintains that gritty, metallic feel from Furyon debut mixed with a commercial hard rock hook that makes them instantly accessible and eternally likeable.
From the gripping drive of "What You Need", to the soaring "These Four Walls" that has a damn good epic chorus, to the majestic "Good Sky" that manages to throw a good bit of everything in together, Furyon seem to be able to turn their hand to any kind of style.
"Resurrect Me" spread lots of groove showcasing how tight this band really is, while "Left It With The Gods" delivers a highly addictive bridge & chorus.

FURYON - Lost Salvation (2015) back

"Lost Salvation" is one of those albums that has a little bit of everything to satisfy your rockin' ears.
It’s always difficult to follow up a debut record with a product that is just stronger, better written and arranged. Furyon have achieved this and a lot more on this second effort via crunching riffs, tighter than a duck's arse rhythm section, killer vocals with catchy choruses plus lots of shredding solos.
If you love yourself some gritty hard rock / melodic metal with epic vocals and brilliant solos then Furyon and their latest album is for you.

01. All That I Have
02. Lost Salvation
03. These Four Walls
04. Scapegoat
05. Resurrect Me
06. Left It With the Gods
07. Good Sky
08. Dematerialize
09. What You Need
10. Wiseman

Matt Mitchell - Vocals
Tiago Rosado - Guitars
Luca Faraone - Guitars
Alex Bowen - Bass
Lee Farmery - Drums



STEVEN WILSON - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (2015)

STEVEN WILSON - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (2015) full


STEVEN WILSON is becoming some kind of a legend. The mastermind behind progressive rock stalwarts Porcupine Tree, he has also recently forged himself a stellar career as a solo artist, writing three albums that are all hailed more or less as masterpieces. His new opus "Hand. Cannot. Erase." to be released at the end of the month might be his most challenging yet.

"Hand. Cannot. Erase." is musically more reflective to all of the different material in Wilson's back catalogue, featuring electronic music elements and straightforward pop songs alongside long progressive-oriented tracks.
It's a combination of shorter, art pop-type songs mixed with longer, despondent progressive rock pieces, there is almost an air of absence to this collection of songs, which is perhaps appropriate to the theme of the record.
A true concept album, it is based on the story of Joyce Vincent who was found after being dead in her apartment for 3 years. The story it's about a woman growing up, who goes to live in the city, very isolated, and she disappears one day and no one notices. There's more to it than that.
Now, what's really interesting about this is that your initial reaction when you hear a story like that is, 'Ah, little old bag lady that no one notices, no one cares about.' Joyce Vincent wasn't like that. She was young, she was popular, she was attractive, she had many friends, she had family, but for whatever reason, nobody missed her for 3 years.

This can make for some dark musical moments but Wilson finds a way of encapsulating the entire story of the young woman’s life, providing moments of endearment, love, remembrance, loss and intensity all within the flow of the album.
Musically, the album covers a lot of territory from parts sounding like Porcupine Tree and Opeth to Rock&pop and classic rock. Wilson has always ventured into other areas, but seems to be shying away from staying in one lane even more with this one.

STEVEN WILSON - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (2015) booklet

For any fans of Porcupine Tree, the 2 opening tracks will feel like a return to form. “First Regret” builds on a simple piano refrain and then moves to a string arrangement. The guitar intro for “3 Years Older” seems to be central instrument but quickly the syncopated drum and bass from Marco Minnemann and Nick Beggs draw you into the building excitement. The harmonies and background vocals are sublime and the explosion when the band kicks back in with force is captivating.

Title track “Hand.Cannot.Erase” is non-traditional for a Steven Wilson album as it is a simple 4 minute uptempo Rock&pop song and perhaps one of the most radio friendly songs he has ever produced, certainly from his solo albums.
“Perfect Life” follows and this is where the album begins to shift. Mostly over an electronic rhythm, Wilson starts to sing 'we have got the perfect life' towards the end of the song, making for one of the most interesting and beautiful moments on the album.
The centerpiece of the album is “Routine” introducing singer Ninet Tayeb as the lead character. The song is as much a musical theater track as it is a progressive rock track. It is an epic track that incorporates a boys choir which adds a particular depth to the track.

“Regret #9”, meanwhile, is a wandering proggy piece that has a much warmer feeling than other songs. Keyboardist Adam Holzman gives us a fantastic keyboard solo, topped by an utterly jaw-dropping guitar solo courtesy of Guthrie Govan. This should be a great live song.
The short “Transciense” provide some calm, but soon appears “Ancestral”, the big epic track on the album is also the heaviest track. It is similar to how Wilson used to write in the early days of PT where the first half of the song is subdued and dark before kicking into a metal riff explosion that continues until the song reaches is climax.
The closing linked tracks “Happy Returns / Ascendant Here On” are soft and in a ballad mould and a great way to end the album. Wilson chooses to try and leave the listener on a message of hope, even though we know the outcome is not good. Musically, this one is grand and builds before ending softly with some piano and strings.

STEVEN WILSON - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (2015) back

"Hand. Cannot. Erase." perhaps stands out among Steven Wilson’s work as having the most unique identity. It is an amalgamation of all his various styles from various points in his career condensed into a lovely haunting package that features excellent backing musicians.
It is layered and complex and once again Steven Wilson proves he is just in a different playing field when it comes to Prog and Rock music. He has created his own niche in both genres.
"Hand. Cannot. Erase." 't’s an immensely challenging listen – one that takes many listens to even get an inkling of what exactly Steven is trying to do – but gods above is it rewarding when it finally starts to click.
Steven Wilson has done it again. This will definitely be one of the top Prog / Rock albums of 2015.

01 - First Regret
02 - 3 Years Older
03 - Hand Cannot Erase
04 - Perfect Life
05 - Routine
06 - Home Invasion
07 - Regret #9
08 - Transience
09 - Ancestral
10 - Happy Returns
11 - Ascendant Here On...

Steven Wilson – vocals, mellotron, keyboards, guitars, bass
Guthrie Govan – guitar
Nick Beggs – bass, Chapman Stick
Adam Holzman – keyboards, piano
Marco Minnemann – drums, percussion
Theo Travis – flute, sax
Ninet Tayeb – vocals



LONELY ROBOT - Please Come Home (2015)

LONELY ROBOT - Please Come Home (2015) full


LONELY ROBOT is the new project from producer, guitarist and vocalist John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Arena, Kino) and the debut CD is the entitled "Please Come Home" to be released tomorrow.
Mitchell is backed by the storming rhythm section of Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett, Kajagoogoo) on bass and Craig Blundell (Pendragon) on drums, with plenty of guests including Marillion’s Steve Hogarth, '80s pop wonder Nik Kershaw, Jem Godfrey (Frost*), Kim Seviour (Touchstone)... and Go West’s Peter Cox, among others.

I must admit that what most picked my interest about "Please Come Home", for one reason and one reason only, track three "The Boy In The Radio" which features the vocals of one Peter Cox, singer with '80s poppy melodic rockers Go West.
That’s because these days it isn't very often that you get to hear Peter’s superb set of pipes being stretched outside of the nostalgia led circuit that his day job band currently resides in. For me though he is still one the best AOR vocalists to come out of the UK.

But after the first minute of opener "Airlock" I was 'in' with this record. It sets the scene nicely, as the album explores John Mitchell’s fascination with space and space travel. Atmospheric and big on the musical bombast, this is perfect for a movie soundtrack.
Track two "God vs Man" is where the album really gets underway though, and this is a thundering epic of a track, Mitchell handling the vocals for the first time and sounding somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Seal, something that for me makes the record’s more out and out progressive moments so much more palatable.

LONELY ROBOT - Please Come Home (2015) inside

The aforementioned "The Boy In The Radio" breezes in next and immediately I find myself wishing that Cox was singing on more tracks. I simply LOVE this song and worth the disc alone.
Cox's voice lifting the almost FM like spiralling opening guitar riff into the realms of much more contemporary pop/rock acts is exceptional.
I’m sorry I don’t want to talk down the rest of ‘Please Come Home’ because Mitchell along with Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) and Touchstone’s Kim Seviour all turn in excellent vocal shifts, it’s just that for me to hear Peter Cox singing original more Rock orientated material again is just something I thought I might never hear again, with his solo and most of the latter day Go West material sadly being a tad too MOR for my tastes.
So, have I gushed enough now? Okay let’s move on..

So what of the rest of ‘Please Come Home’ then? Well the appearance of Seviour on "Oubliette" is a fantastically grandiose highlight with Mitchell once again sounding mature and melodic.
Elsewhere Steve Hogarth turns in some fragile piano work on "Why Do We Stay", whilst vocally Findlay plays a Kate Bush-like performance on on the mournful "Why Do We Stay?"

There are also a trio of melodic progressive pop rock numbers (for fans of Mitchell’s day job band) in the shape of title track "Lonely Robot", a tour de force veering from quiet vocal passages through to heavy instrumental break outs, where actor Lee Ingleby (Harry Potter films) provides the narration on this and "A Godless Sea".
The other more proggy tracks are "We Are Copies" which makes me wonder if Queensryche fronted by Peter Gabriel would sound this good, and finally another highlight in "Construct / Obstruct" which has a bounding ‘Synchronicity’ feel about it.
And seemingly as big a fan of Eighties rock&pop as yours truly Mitchell also has Nik Kershaw guesting on guitar on the swaying power ballad "Humans Being"’ whilst Nick Beggs plays bass and his signature Chapman Stick on a few other songs.

LONELY ROBOT - Please Come Home (2015) back

You know I’m really glad Peter Cox is on this record because otherwise I would never have given "Please Come Home" the proper interest, when in reality it is a fantastically accomplished slice of Progressive Melodic rock&pop.
I’m not going to even try to start to unravel the concept largely because records like this demand the listener to form their own opinions, something that is sadly lost in our buy it yesterday consumerist landscape… Oh wait I think I may have just done a little spoiler there.
Either way, this is a hugely entertaining record that demands repeat listens, it’s intelligent, articulate and above all really fun and enjoyable…. Oh and did I mention the awesome Peter Cox is on it?
Highly Recommended.

01 - Airlock
02 - God vs Man
03 - The Boy In The Radio
04 - Why Do We Stay?
05 - Lonely Robot
06 - A Godless Sea
07 - Oubliette
08 - Construct / Obstruct
09 - Are We Copies?
10 - Humans Being
11 - The Red Balloon

John Mitchell (Kino, It Bites, Arena) - vocals, guitars
Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett, Kajagoogoo) - bass, Chapman stick
Craig Blundell (Pendragon) - drums
Peter Cox (Go West) - vocals
Steve Hogarth (Marillion) - vocals
Kim Seviour (Touchstone) - vocals
Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) - vocals
Jem Godfrey (Frost*) - keyboards
Nik Kershaw - guitar
Lee Ingleby (Harry Potter actor) - narration
Rebecca Neew-Menear (Anavae) - vocals
thanks to Johnny H



Saturday, February 21, 2015

H.E.A.T - Live In London (2015)

H.E.A.T - Live In London (2015) full

* Retail CD

After the success of their two studio albums with vocalist Erik Gronwall, Sweden’s mega-talented melodic rockers H.E.A.T are releasing a live show from their current tour captured in London May 2014, simply entitled "Live In London".
They really seem to have a special relationship with the UK audiences, so it seems appropriate that they maintain the momentum with this, H.E.A.T's first live release.

"Live In London" shows the band at their peak, with stupendous musicianship and performances.
H.E.A.T sounds energetic and the record captures that, with a more 'raw kick' than the usual polished output known from the band. And this allow us to re-discover these great songs in a rocking delivery.

There is a great mix of chest beating anthems such as the opening pair of ‘Point Of No Return’ and ‘A Shot At Redemption’, and more reflective moments like ‘In And Out of Trouble’ (where Dragonforce’s Herman Li joined them, though he is not announced) and ‘Downtown’.

You can pick out the crowd joining in the anthemic chorus on ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ while Erik’s exhortation to start headbanging at the start of ‘Mannequin Show’ reminds you that H.E.A.T. are a much heavier proposition than when they started out, and the aggression of ‘Inferno’ and ‘Enemy In Me’ bears this out.

They save the best to last with a two song encore from the previous Address The Nation album in ‘Breaking The Silence’ and ‘Living On The Run’. The latter is one of the best commercial rock songs this decade and as the memorable chorus gives way to Erik thanking everyone ‘for a fantastic night’ and a typically fluent guitar solo from Eric Rivers leading into a final refrain, memories come flooding back of how all seemed well with the world at that moment.
The album is the complete show from that night with the exception of the audience participation number ‘Beg Beg Beg’, presumably to make it fit a single CD, and ‘Danger Road’ which was ruined on the night by a malfunctioning keyboard.
That leaves the band’s earlier, more AOR period only represented by ‘1000 Miles’ and ‘Late Night Lady’, and hence the album is an accurate representation of where H.E.A.T are at present.

H.E.A.T - Live In London (2015) back cover

You don't like live albums? Make an exception here folks.
The setlist featured on "Live In London" reignites these killer songs once again for those of us that have played them 1000 times already, on what is undoubtedly one of the best live albums of recent years.
If you haven’t yet caught up with the future of melodic rock, which I strongly suggest you do, this is a good place to start, conveying the excitement and dynamism of the live show from one of the greatest bands in the genre.
KILLER : Highly Recommended

01 - Point Of No Return
02 - A Shot At Redemption
03 - Better Off Alone
04 - 1000 Miles
05 - It’s All About Tonight
06 - Inferno
07 - The Wreckoning / Tearing Down The Walls
08 - Mannequin Show
09 - Late Night Lady
10 - In And Out Of Trouble
11 - Downtown
12 - Enemy In Me
13 - Emergency
14 - Breaking The Silence
15 - Living On The Run

Erik Grönwall (vocals)
Eric Rivers (guitar)
Jona Tee (keyboards)
Jimmy Jay (bass)
Crash (drums)



Friday, February 20, 2015

REVOLUTION SAINTS - ST [Japan edition SHM-CD] (2015)

REVOLUTION SAINTS - ST [Japan edition SHM-CD] (2015) full


The fantastic debut by REVOLUTION SAINTS is about to be released in Europe, but in Japan has appeared on a superior SHM-CD format plus an exclusive Asian bonus track.
Supergroup? There's no other word that fit best REVOLUTION SAINTS, the new project put together by Frontiers Records featuring former Bad English and current Journey drummer Deen Castronovo, AOR legend Jack Blades of Night Ranger / Damn Yankees fame, and former Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich.
Add to this superstar trio, Frontiers ‘go to’ man for Melodic Rock projects Alessandro Del Vecchio, who provides the keys, songwriting and production, and you have the awesome self-titled debut to be released next February 23, 2015.

We’ve always known that Deen Castronovo is a freak drummer and an amazing vocalist, but this album propels him into the spotlight and he excels in both roles.
‘It is a musician's record,' states Castronovo of the project. Indeed it is. There are a plethora of examples of exquisite musicianship from all throughout the record, none more so than Castronovo himself, who delivers a masters clinic on how exactly to play on a Meloric Rock album with power, soul and finesse.
On "Revolution Saints" Castronovo handles most of the lead vocals, lending it a real Journey feel to the music at times, particularly on the ballads like "Don’t Walk Away". You can see why he does a lot of the live harmonies for Journey as he has a rich, melodic vocal.

Speaking of Journey, vocalist Arnel Pineda duets on the massive slab of melodic rock that is "You’re Not Alone"; both vocalists complement each other very well. It could easily have been lifted of the last couple of Journey albums.
Not to be outdone fellow Journey band mate Neal Schon guests on "Way To The Sun", maybe the nearest we have Schon playing on a Journey-like '80s sounding song for some time.
"Turn Back Time" is the lead song of the album and rightly so as it roars out of the blocks, with Doug Aldrich letting fly with some tasty riffs. If that wasn’t enough, there is a cracking vocal trade off between Castronovo and Jack Blades, the nearest to a Night Ranger song on here.
Another classy melodic hard rocker is "Back On My Tail", featuring some monster Aldrich riffs (he never goes too flash on the solos yet gives the songs that extra touch of class) and another chorus that won’t leave your head.

The Journey influence rears it’s head again on "Stranger To This Life", and continues on the brilliant "Better World". Alessandro Del Vecchio's swanky production and tasty ivory tickling on this tune are a particular highlight. But the stop start build up to the genius chorus will have you hooked immediately. Without doubt one of the strongest track on the album.

Judging by the quality of the songwriting on this album, I'm surprised the band included a cover: "How To Mend A Broken Heart". This track was originally recorded by Swedish monsters Eclipse. The pummeling energy of this version more than matches the original.
If you don't had enough, this "Revolution Saints Japan SHM-CD" features the 3 great bonus tracks to be featured on the Deluxe Euro edition, plus the exclusive acoustic version of "Don't Walk Away".

REVOLUTION SAINTS - ST [Japan edition SHM-CD] (2015) back cover

What a stonking album to kick off all things Melodic Rock in 2015!
Revolution Saints have set the bar very high, and if you like Journey, Night Ranger et al, this is a Must Have.

King Records Japan ~ KICP-1719

01. Back On My Trail
02. Turn Back Time
03. You're Not Alone (feat. Arnel Pineda)
04. Locked Out Of Paradise
05. Way To The Sun (feat. Neal Schon)
06. Dream On
07. Don't Walk Away
08. Here Forever
09. Strangers To This Life
10. Better World
11. How To Mend A Broken Heart
12. In The Name Of The Father (Fernando's Song)
13. Don't Walk Away (Acoustic Version) [exclusive Japan bonus]
14. You're Not Alone (Arnel Pineda version)
15. Way To The Sun (Doug Aldrich Version)
16. You're Not Alone (Deen Castronovo Version)

Deen Castronovo – Lead Vocals, Drums
Jack Blades – Bass, Vocals on 2, 5
Doug Aldrich – Guitars
Arnel Pineda – co-lead vocals on 3
Neal Schon – guitar solo on 5
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keyboards, backing vocals, vocals on 5
Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio



LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti [Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered] (2015)

LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti [Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered] (2015) full


The LED ZEPPELIN reissue campaign continues in 2015, turning the spotlight on perhaps their most famous album, the double "Physical Graffiti". The Deluxe Edition of the group’s sixth studio album will arrive exactly 40 years to the day after the original debuted on February 24, 1975.
As with the previous deluxe editions, Physical Graffiti has been newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and is accompanied by a disc of companion audio comprising previously unreleased music related to the original release, and both original and new artwork.

For an album wich half of the tracks are leftovers from earlier records, "Physical Graffiti" sure sounds cohesive. Led Zeppelin‘s 1975 double-LP behemoth — a rafters-shaking, foot-stomping assault that’s bigger and badder than their previous five albums — was made during a rocky period in the band’s career.
After staging a mammoth tour in support of Houses of the Holy, the group started work on their sixth album. But progress quickly stalled as fatigue set in. At one point, bassist John Paul Jones almost quit altogether. By the time they left a U.K. studio in early 1974, they had eight new songs to go along with seven outtakes stretching from 1970′s Led Zeppelin III through Houses of the Holy.
And by weaving the material over four sides — and opening and closing the album with a pair of the new cuts — Zeppelin formed one of their heaviest records.

LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti [Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered] (2015) inside

Besides a few tell-tale signs (the acoustic instrumental “Bron-Yr-Aur,” leftover from Led Zeppelin III, “Boogie With Stu,” a throwaway bluesy jam from more than four years earlier), most fans at the time had no idea that songs such as “The Rover” were shelved from older sessions.
Listening to it today, 40 years later, "Physical Graffiti" stands as one of Zeppelin’s greatest achievements, a powerhouse work that juggles monster tracks both new (“Trampled Under Foot”, “Ten Years Gone” or the immortal “Kashmir”) and old (“Houses of the Holy”).
And with a bonus disc of extra songs on the Deluxe Edition of the album’s latest remaster, we get a brief peek into the working stages of some of the record’s most eternal cuts.

There's an interesting rough orchestra mix of 'Kashmir' which is is called “Driving Through Kashmir”, an early mix of 'Trampled Under Foot' titled “Brandy & Coke” and a 'overdubs' version of “Houses of the Holy”.
Perhaps the most revealing track is the rough, almost-skeletal-at-times version of 'In the Light' titled “Everybody Makes It Through” presenting a real new light to this tune.
The rough mix of “Trampled Under Foot,” which puts more focus on Robert Plant‘s appealingly abrasive vocals, also gives the band a vicious and rugged edge that would be explored more deeply on Physical Graffiti‘s follow-up, the next year’s Presence.

LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti [Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered] (2015) cd photo

This "Physical Graffiti Deluxe Edition" remaster really sharpens the album’s awesome twists and turns (and the reproduced artwork is fantastic).
It's an essential revisit at one of the planet’s greatest Rock groups working at full throttle. Nobody could touch them when they were this big and this bad. Even their leftovers are gargantuan.
Essential in everyone's collection.

Disc: 1
1. Custard Pie
2. The Rover
3. In My Time Of Dying
4. Houses Of The Holy
5. Trampled Under Foot
6. Kashmir

Disc: 2
1. In The Light
2. Bron - Yr
3. Down By The Seaside
4. Ten Years Gone
5. Night Flight
6. The Wanton Song
7. Boogie With Stu
8. Black Country Woman
9. Sick Again

Disc: 3
1. Brandy & Coke (Trampled Under Foot - Initial Rough Mix)
2. Sick Again (Early Version)
3. In My Time Of Dying (Initial Rough Mix)
4. Houses Of The Holy (Rough Mix with Overdubs)
5. Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light early version / In Transit)
6. Boogie With Stu (Sunset Sound Mix)
7. Driving Through Kashmir (Kashmir Rough Orchestra Mix)

John Bonham – drums, percussion
Jimmy Page – electric, acoustic, lap steel and slide guitar, mandolin
Robert Plant – vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar on "Boogie with Stu"
John Paul Jones – bass, organ, piano, mellotron, mandolin, VCS3 synthesiser, Hohner clavinet, Hammond organ, string arrangement



URIAH HEEP - Live At Koko [Deluxe Edition] (2015)

URIAH HEEP - Live At Koko [Deluxe Edition] (2015) full


Frontiers Music Srl will release in few days URIAH HEEP's newest live album, titled "Live At Koko, London 2014". Four years ago the legendary Uriah Heep entered the studio to record Into The Wild and the band once again returned to the road for a worldwide tour. The group played in front of nearly 150,000 people in 58 different countries.
On March 4, 2014, Uriah Heep played in front of its 'home' audience in London and performed an amazing show which was recorded in HD for a release in double CD/DVD and, for the first time for the band, on Blu-ray.

Founder and guitarist Mick Box has kept Uriah Heep in the studio and on the road for over four and a half decades. Everyone gives Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple their respect for basically inventing the genre of Hard Rock.
Too often, though, one band is left off that list that deserves to be there with every note they made in those early days. That band is Uriah Heep.
The fact that the Heepsters are still on the road and still performing at this level and still adding strong, new material to their set is a testament to their talent and tenacity. This band has sold over forty million albums… that’s damn near a million a year since they began making albums.
They have a worldwide fan base that is rabid about all things Heep, and they can keep doing this as long as Mick Box pays the electricity bill to plug in his Les Paul.

This CD and DVD package was recorded at a special one-off show at London’s Koko last year, which I imagine was attended by many of Heep’s fanatics from the continent as well as the home crowd and even on the CD the atmosphere does seem to have a sense of occasion to it.
The other reason to welcome a live album is as a statement of where Heep are at this stage of their 45 plus year career. Trevor Bolder sadly passed away a few months prior to this recording but with a new younger rhythm section of Russell Gilbrook and Davey Rimmer in place, this recording suggests that Heep are moving forward with a vitality you might not expect from such a veteran band.
They certainly rock harder at this stage of their career than Deep Purple, who they were always likened to.

RICHIE KOTZEN - I'm Coming Out (2011)tracks

The band started the show with the opening tune “Against the Odds,” the first song of Sea Of Light album, a great opener with the battle between Mick Box’s guitar and Phil Lanzon’s organ introducing us to the trademark Heep sound. Following up was “Overload’’ from Wake the Sleeper and “Traveller in Time’’.
Other welcome tunes included “Sunrise,” possibly one of the best songs in Heep’s back catalog, if not one of the most powerful songs in the hard rock genre!
Then “Stealing,” another Heep classic tune from the album Sweet Freedom, and “Between Two Worlds,” which had the crowd on their feet and singing along early in the set.

Next up, we were presented with the two new Heep songs, “Can’t Take That Away” and “One Minute” from the band’s recent studio album Outsider.
The audience cheered on both songs, with as much enthusiasm and excitement as they did on classics such as “I’m Ready,” “Nail On the Head” and “Into The Wild.”
The rest of the set ended with some of the most loved and pure classic Uriah Heep tunes like “Gypsy,” “Look At Yourself,” and “July Morning” all which respect the originals yet come over both heavy yet enduringly fresh, and of course the band’s biggest epic of all “Lady in Black.”

After going off to thunderous applause, as you might have guessed, the band came back for their encores with three more songs. On the first encore to please the crowd, they took off with their new song “One Minute” (very catchy chorus that to my amazement most of the audience, sang along with Bernie.)
They followed up with “Free 'n' Easy,” a song which saw the band invite on the stage a group of female fans from the crowd, for some old school headbanging. And of course, they finished the night with “Easy Living,” one of the band’s highest charting singles.
Once again, giving the fans what they want; a great night of rock ‘n’ roll by any measure in Heep style.

RICHIE KOTZEN - I'm Coming Out (2011)tracks

Uriah Heep’s long career has been punctuated by regular live albums, so is another live album a relevant offering or just cash in?
The answer is an emphatic yes, there is a place for this album. The set on this night included plenty of classic material, but also mixed in many songs from their last three creatively and critically acclaimed studio efforts: Wake the Sleeper, Into the Wild and Outsider.
This album also features Russell Gilbrook on drums who is celebrating seven years with the band, in addition to the newest Heep member, bass player Dave Rimmer, who has replaced the dearly departed and fan favorite, Trevor Boulder.
One of the UK’s enduring hard rock pioneers should be cherished more than they are, and this mix of old and new songs delivered by old and new members show that they are as vibrant as ever.
Very Recommended.

CD 1:
01 - Against the Odds
02 - Overload
03 - Traveller in Time
04 - Sunrise
05 - Stealin'
06 - I'm Ready
07 - Between Two Worlds
08 - Can't Take That Away
09 - One Minute
10 - Nail on the Head

CD 2:
01 - Into the Wild
02 - Gypsy
03 - Look at Yourself
04 - Box Wah Box
05 - July Morning
06 - Lady in Black
07 - Free'n'easy
08 - Easy Livin'

Mick Box – Guitars
Phil Lanzon – Keyboards
Bernie Shaw – Lead Vocals
Russell Gilbrook – Drums, Percussion
Davey Rimmer – Bass



UFO - A Conspiracy Of Stars [Limited Edition Digipak] (2015)

UFO - A Conspiracy Of Stars [Limited Edition Digipak] (2015) full


Legendary British hard rockers UFO are ready to release their 22nd (!) studio effort entitled "A Conspiracy Of Stars" which precedes the band's extensive European tour.
There's an air of excitement over this album (that certainly overrides any surprise) and rightly so because, while the band have had their ups and downs, the last few albums have been excellent, well received and returned the band to the charts, despite the loss of bassist Pete Way.

Several thing keeps me interested in UFO; one is Phil Mogg, the famed singer since the band formed decades ago. Phil’s vocals are still solid, if slightly lacking in power since the heyday of UFO mania, mainly the awesome live album ‘Strangers In The Night’, though he more than makes up for it by his imitable stage presence.
A lot of members have passed through the UFO ranks, with Michael Schenker being the most famous, however this latest version of UFO has been around for nearly 10 years now, and the albums they are releasing just get better and better, ‘The Visitor’ (2009) was good, ‘Seven Deadly’ (2012) was great, so "A Conspiracy Of Stars" has a lot to live up to.

And here comes another reason for this to happen: awesome guitarist Vinnie Moore. Vinnie not only has provided his terrific chops to the band, but also, writes most the songs.
He has revitalized UFO to a kickin' hard rockin' act plenty of meaty riffs, distinctive hooks and melodic choruses. On "A Conspiracy Of Stars" Vinnie Moore wrote all the music, with lyrics by Mogg. The disc also features a song by talented keyboardist Paul Raymond, and a collaboration between Raymond and bass player Rob De Luca.

UFO - A Conspiracy Of Stars [Limited Edition Digipak] (2015) inside

From the opening bars of 'The Killing Kind' it's a very heavy but polished sound what we have here. A simple riff-driven song with an easy relaxed singing style from Mogg and a bright, clear and melodic great solo from Vinnie Moore. A solid start to the new album.
'Run Boy Run' typifies the band's current edginess; under the solos there's a dark heavy crunchy riff; the band have developed this new angle on the classic UFO sound that's prevented any sameness or predictability.
‘Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun’ has a bluesy acoustic intro, a gentle drum beat from returning drummer Andy Parker, and then Phil's voice really lifts this track, the guy just oozes class even after all the years.

‘Sugar Cane’ is the first track to feature keyboards, and a soft opening with them, allows another bluesy track to flourish, a great chorus leads into another melodic Vinnie Moore solo.
‘Devils In The Detail’ has a great rhythm guitar run ending the track, with Vinnie overlaying a fast and fluid solo. There's a searing edge to the guitar here, and while the solo shred nicely is not too overbearing. Vinnie is a virtuoso who knows when to temper.
What is evident so far on this opus is the high standard of songwriting, they know what works, and they should do, after nearly 45 years in the business.

The remaining tracks are all just as good, there are no lows on this album, and that makes it very hard to pick a favourite.
‘Precious Cargo’ is pretty much up there, sounding like a cross between ZZ Top and Great White sung by Mogg with a real passion, as is ‘Rolling Rolling’. Another favorite of mine is 'One And Only', a melodious and meaty hard rocker with a bright and breezy nod back to the '80s.
This Limited Edition Digipak (and also the vinyl) comes with the bonus track ‘King of the Hill’, which is as far from a throw away add-on, left over-found on the cutting room floor track as you can get. It is in fact a great number, sounding like UFO at their peak featuring a great guitar work underpinned by Paul Raymond's delicious keyboard flourishes.

UFO - A Conspiracy Of Stars [Limited Edition Digipak] (2015) cd photo

One of the long lasting bands from the British scene, UFO have made it to their 22nd studio recording, and they sound as good as ever.
Chris Tsangarides, who has produced heavyweights like Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest or Yngwie in the past, has cleverly utilised this band's natural instincts to the maximum, and you can hear it on "A Conspiracy Of Stars".
Call it traditional Hard Rock, call it Classic Rock, call it like you want, but it’s still heartening to know that great Rock music is still being created by great Rock bands.
Highly Recommended.

01. The Killing Kind
02. Run Boy Run
03. Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun
04. Sugar Cane
05. Devils In The Detail
06. Precious Cargo
07. The Real Deal
08. One And Only
09. Messiah Of Love
10. Rolling Rolling
11. King of the Hill (Bonus Track)

Phil Mogg (vocals)
Vinnie Moore (guitars)
Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitar)
Rob De Luca (bass)
Andy Parker (drums)



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