Monday, August 31, 2015

GREAT WHITE - Shot In The Dark [SHM-CD Remastered] (2015)

GREAT WHITE - Shot In The Dark [SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) full


Few weeks ago, Universal Japan started a reissue campaign of various '80s Rock artists / albums from their back catalog on SHM-CD, all remastered and with reduced price. We have ordered many of these, several already featured here.
Among the artists in the reissue campaign there's GREAT WHITE most relevant works.
Let's start with "Shot In The Dark", the band's second full length but the first for Capitol Records.

While many consider Great White's self-titled debut as their best because it was a pure US Hard Rock album in the same league of Ratt, Dokken, Quiet Riot, in my opinion "Shot In The Dark" is amongst their finest moments.
Originally released in 1986, "Shot In The Dark" shows the transition from the style of the first album to a more bluesy-influenced classic rock that made the band famous and platinum seller.
So you have here the best of both worlds.

The reason I love "Shot In The Dark" is its catchiness: Great White blends here commercial and radio friendly tunes with mature material, they are not afraid to use very nice keyboard arrangements, and the overall sound is polished in a true mid-Eighties fashion.

Songs like the energetic opener 'She Shakes Me', 'Gimme Some Lovin' or the excellent 'Face The Day' (Angel City cover) rock hard, while the keyboard drenched 'What Do You Do', the atmospheric 'Is Anybody There' and 'Run Away' (where singer Jack Russell steals the show) offer the band's more melodic rock side.
Of course there's the terrific power ballad 'Waiting For Love' propelled by a great guitar work, emotive vocals and clever keys, one of the highlights on the album.

But my absoulte favorite is the awesome title track 'Shot In The Dark', combining that unique guitar / keyboard interplay, bombastic rhythm section and glossy vocals that only in the '80s could have been created. This track is a must.

This Japanese Great White's "Shot In The Dark" edition on SHM-CD is terrific. I think the remaster is the same appeared in 2005, taking as source the original issue of the album with only 8 tracks, which is the best in my opinion (some different parts / mix).
But on this SHM-CD seems to sound even better, with greater low end dynamics, clearer vocals and an overall crisp output.
This is a great opportunity to get these classic, must have albums in HD quality for a regular price. Order now, all are limited edition.

Universal Japan ~ UICY-25525

01 - She Shakes Me
02 - What Do You Do
03 - Face The Day
04 - Gimme Some Lovin'
05 - Shot In The Dark
06 - Is Anybody There?
07 - Run Away
08 - Waiting For Love

Jack Russell - lead vocals
Mark Kendall - guitars, backing vocals
Lorne Black - bass
Audie Desbrow - drums
additional musicians:
Michael Lardie - keyboards, backing vocals
Jim Lang - keyboards



Sunday, August 30, 2015

HEART - Bad Animals [Japanese SHM-CD remastered] (2015)

HEART - Bad Animals [Japanese SHM-CD remastered] (2015) full


Another essential HEART album just reissued on SHM-CD / remastered by Universal Japan is the great "Bad Animals". The album continues the mainstream melodic hard rock style from the band's 1985 self-titled release, all while enjoying similar success, three times platinum.

"Bad Animals" contains the number 1 hit single "Alone", while "Who Will You Run To" reached No. 7, "There's the Girl" reached No. 12, and "I Want You So Bad" reached No. 49. All are terrific songs.
While the album is notable for containing only a few tracks with writing contributions from lead members Ann and Nancy Wilson, I have no problem at all with it.
And that's because we have the songwriting talents of monsters such as Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg, Holly Knight, Steve Kipner, Peter Beckett... wow.

HEART - Bad Animals [Japanese SHM-CD remastered] (2015) back

Yes, again produced, engineered & mixed by Ron Nevison (the best from '80s in my opinion), "Bad Animals" sounds huge. And this remaster on SHM-CD enhance even more the deep bass groove and crisp vocals.
This is a great opportunity to get these classic, must have albums on SHM-CD in HD quality for a regular price. Order now, all are limited edition.


01 - Who Will You Run To
02 - Alone
03 - There's The Girl
04 - I Want You So Bad
05 - Wait For An Answer
06 - Bad Animals
07 - You Ain't So Tough
08 - Strangers Of The Heart
09 - Easy Target
10 - RSVP

Ann Wilson – lead and backing vocals
Nancy Wilson – guitar, keyboards, backing and lead vocals
Howard Leese – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Mark Andes – bass
Denny Carmassi – drums
additional musicians:
Mike Moran, Holly Knight, Duane Hitchings - keyboards
Tom Kelly – backing vocals
Efrain Toro - percussion
Tom Salisbury - strings arrangements



HEART - Heart [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered] (2015)

HEART - Heart [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) front


Few weeks ago, Universal Japan started a reissue campaign of various '80s Rock artists / albums from their back catalog on SHM-CD, all remastered and with reduced price. We have ordered many of these, and the first batch just arrived to our mailbox.
Among the artists in the reissue campaign there's HEART, and their essential self-titled from 1985.

In 1985, Heart made a dramatic comeback, fueled by an equally dramatic alteration to their traditional sound. A successful hard rock band in the late '70s, the group had nearly fallen off the face of popular music in the early '80s before deciding to make a transition towards more mainstream pop&rock.
The result was their self-titled record, "Heart", which brought the Wilson sisters group its greatest commercial success, reaching quintuple platinum status and becoming their first and only chart topper.

Mid-Eighties... let's go radio-friendly, melodic and with lots of AOR melodies, keyboards and a glossy, huge production.
There's no need to talk more about it, songs like the killer melodic rock opener "If Looks Could Kill", the wonderful 'Never', 'Nothin' at All', "All Eyes", are all must haves for fans of the '80s.
Of course we have the exquisite 'What About Love', Heart's greatest hit 'These Dreams', and the underrated 'Nobody Home'.
The latter is the closest to a power ballad on the album, driven by an electric piano which leads the way under Ann Wilson’s melodic vocals, the song gives the album that added dimension as a sweet but sad song complete with a soaring lead guitar by guest Frankie Sullivan (Survivor).

HEART - Heart [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) back

"Heart" already sounds terrific with the excellent production by master Ron Nevison, but this Japanese remaster on this SHM-CD will blow you away.
This is a great opportunity to get these classic, must have albums in HD quality for a regular price. Order now, all are limited edition.


01 - If Looks Could Kill
02 - What About Love
03 - Never
04 - These Dreams
05 - The Wolf
06 - All Eyes
07 - Nobody Home
08 - Nothin' at All
09 - What He Don't Know
10 - Shell Shock

Ann Wilson – lead and backing vocals
Nancy Wilson – vocals, guitars, mandolin
Howard Leese – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Mark Andes – bass
Denny Carmassi – drums
additional musicians:
Peter Wolf – piano, synthesizer
Mickey Thomas (Starship) – backing vocals
Grace Slick – backing vocals
Johnny Colla – backing vocals
Lynn Wilson Keagle – backing vocals
Holly Knight (Device) – keyboards
Frankie Sullivan (Survivor) – solo guitar on 7



Saturday, August 29, 2015

LAVA - Crusin' [remastered first time on CD] (2015)

LAVA - Crusin' [remastered first time on CD] (2015) full


Now this is a true pearl; new Norwegian label Preservation Records has gotten access to the original master tapes of "Cruisin", one of the most sought after albums by LAVA, releasing it exclusively on CD for the first time.

Norwegian AOR / West Coast combo LAVA is some kind of institution of these genres in Scandinavia, but it was not until the inclusion of awesome lead singer Egil Eldøen in 1982 that they become known all over Europe and Japan.
But the combo started as band two years before, first with a funky-jazz inspired debut, and later, in 1981, with his "Cruisin", clearly inspired by the LA scene with a more classic West Coast sound next to Airplay / Maxus.

Simply put, this is breezy, smooth collection of songs with some exquisite playing and wonderful melodies.
Just check lead single "Take Your Time" (which became Norway and Europe little hit), the groovy "Easy Come Easy Go", the dynamic "The Ratter" (with some Toto on it) or the cool ballad title track "Crusin".
A Must for West Coast AOR fans.

LAVA - Crusin' [remastered first time on CD] (2015) back

01 - Take Your Time
02 - Give It Up
03 - Sunday Morning
04 - Hideaway
05 - The Ratter
06 - Crusin'
07 - Easy Come Easy Go
08 - Sky Rocket
09 - Tears In You Eyes

Rolf Graf (bass, vocals)
Per Hillestad, Bruce Rasmussen (drums)
Marius Müller (guitar)
Svein Dag Hauge (guitar, backing vocals)
Geir Langslet (keyboards, backing vocals)
Per Kolstad (keyboards)
Sigurd Køhn (saxophone)
Jan Erik Aasland, Nina Askeland, Sidsel Endresen, Terje Bakke, Tor Vister (vocals)



BACKYARD BABIES - Four By Four (2015)

BACKYARD BABIES - Four By Four (2015) full


Swedes BACKYARD BABIES are back with a new studio album, the first in five years, entitled "Four By Four". The fresh recording gives an edge to their signature sound, with bits and pieces that clearly show that those five years have been used to hone their craft.

Formed in 1989, and with half a dozen studio albums to their name, the line-up of the band has never changed, and neither has the collective desire to claim a key and colorful chapter in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll.
So that’s what the PR blurb is telling me, but what are the songs saying? After a substantial time out are the Backyard Babies still relevant in 2015 or have they had their day?
The album explodes into my ears with the recently-released single “Th1rt3en Or Nothing”, which has a funky start and then sort of slides into a slow and groovy wall of sleazy swagger. The vocals are sneering, the guitars are wailing and I love the drum sound. It reminds me in places of some of the stuff that Slash has produced recently.

Second track “I’m On My Way To Save Your Rock & Roll” is an instant personal favourite. Its dirty riff has attitude, kind of like a modern-day Hanoi Rocks. This is what I would call the classic Backyard Babies sound, a bouncy singalong chorus with those low-down sleazy vocals and the twin guitars weaving in and out of it all.

BACKYARD BABIES - Four By Four (2015) inside

“White Light District” continues in the same vein, keeping up the energy and swaggering into a potential live classic I think.
There’s a total change of pace for “Bloody Tears”, which starts slowly with acoustics then morphs into a massive power ballad. Get your lighters ready for this one.

Back to the classic Backyard Babies sound for “Piracy” which is fast and fun, featuring some excellent harmony vocals. “Never Finish Anything” is a potential single too, with a more modern sound with Nicke and Dregen throwing some two-way vocals at each other in the catchy chorus.
“Mirrors (Shall be Broken)” is another nice ballad with a more bluesy groove. In places there is a hint of 2YK Bon Jovi.
Final track “Walls” is another interesting cut, slow, but there’s no ballad here. Instead a strong and dominant bass line gives it a feel all of its own, and it then becomes an instrumental ending that wouldn’t be out of place as the theme for a Hammer House Of Horror film. There’s creaking doors, doomy guitars and even an evil cackle or two.

BACKYARD BABIES - Four By Four (2015) back

It seems that those years doing their other projects have enabled the Backyard Babies to come back with a sound that is stronger than ever.
"Four By Four" is close enough in style to satisfy their die-hard long-term fans but there’s also some interesting new directions to attract a new audience. Give them a listen, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

01 - Th1rt3en Or Nothing
02 - I'm On My Way To Save Your Rock 'N' Roll
03 - White Light District
04 - Bloody Tears
05 - Piracy
06 - Never Finish Anythi
07 - Mirrors (Shall Be Broken)
08 - Wasted Years
09 - Walls

Nicke Borg – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Dregen – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Johan Blomquist – Bass
Peder Carlsson – Drums



Friday, August 28, 2015

MIKE TRAMP - Nomad (2015)

MIKE TRAMP - Nomad (2015) full


After the acoustically based affair from last year, White Lion frontman MIKE TRAMP returns to full band sound on his new album "Nomad", released today.
Although "Nomad" is billed as a 'rock album', it mixes electric melodic rockers with slower, mellower tunes, and I think this blend works wonderfully for Tramp.

As on his previous 4 albums, co-producer and engineer, guitar player Soren Andersen, is once again Tramp's partner in crime, joined by drummer Morten Hellborn who played with Tramp and Andersen in the Rock n Roll Circus, and bass grooving is being handled by fellow Dane Jesper Haugaard. Keyboards / Hammond B-3 organ are handled by another Tramp family member, Morten Buchholz.

MIKE TRAMP - Nomad (2015) inside

The ten-track "Nomad" is Mike Tramp’s ninth studio solo outing emerging hot on the heels of 2014’s Museum, and it’s testament to the prolific songwriting prowess of this Danish composer who has made a career – unlike so many musicians from the '80s metal era – of actually writing songs fueled by emotion and personal experiences.
It’s no different with "Nomad"; the Copenhagen-born rocker completing a trilogy of sorts in regards to his journey through life beginning with the 2013 opus Cobblestone Street.

Mike hasn’t lost one iota of his range, but prefers to explore more of his lower and middle register on "Nomad" – his best melodies and choruses coming up on opener 'Give It All You Got', 'Stay' and 'Who Can You Believe', another favorite, a nice groovy rocker with a lively feel.
'Wait Till Forever' provides an extra edge; a killer organ buzzes along with another instant lick. Of course, due to Tramp’s moving tones the track is brought down to a comfortable level as the drum plods amidst the airy trickles of the guitar.
Other cuts are more mellow, like the wonderful 'High Like A Mountain' with warm vocals by Tramp, the poppy 'No More' and its infectious chorus, or the reflective 'Live To Tell'.

MIKE TRAMP - Nomad (2015) back

What sets "Nomad" apart is simply Tramp‘s voice. If you like Mike Tramp melodic raspy vocals and his songwriting, go and get it now.
I think that most of the songs on album would fit well alongside slowed down versions of the White Lion classics that Tramp has been playing live and that is really a compliment and a testament to the quality of the songs on "Nomad" that they match up in that regard.
White Lion is in the rear view memory to treasure forever – so let’s appreciate Mike Tramp and his craft as long as the songs deliver and entertain – and for my money, he's achieved the balance very well.

01 - Give It All You Got
02 - Wait Till Forever
03 - Counting the Hours
04 - Bow and Obey
05 - High Like a Mountain
06 - No More
07 - Stay
08 - Who Can You Believe
09 - Live to Tell
10 - Moving On

Mike Tramp: vocals, guitar
Soren Andersen: guitars, vocals
Morten Hellborn: drums
Jesper Haugaard: bass
Morten Buchholz: keyboard, Hammond B-3



Thursday, August 27, 2015

ART NATION - Revolution (2015)

ART NATION - Revolution (2015) full


That were sad news when Swedes melodic rockers Diamond Dawn decided to split after their great, only album. But frontman Alexander Strandell pick up the flag and formed ART NATION, which debut CD "Revolution" is about to appear in a few days via AOR Heaven Records.

When Diamond Dawn disbanded, Strandell soon joined guitarist Christoffer Borg from Swedish AOR band Taste to create a new project, and in late 2013 ART NATION born. Christoffer is a John Norum kind of guitarist with both feel energy in his playing.
After several shows and a couple of singles, in early 2015, ART NATION signed a deal with German label AOR Heaven for their full-length debut album, which was produced and recorded by Jakob Herrmann (Hardcore Superstar) at Top Floor Studios, together with Christoffer Borg.

"Revolution" could best be described as a Melodic Rock album that presents equal doses of Scandianvian AOR and classic hard rock.
First song 'Need You To Understand' delivers an energetic start with a blistering solo before making room for the meaty verse. A great opener that shows what ART NATION are all about.

Second track '3000 Beats' is harder, and reminds me very much of Eclipse, where Alex really shows all of his vocal capacity and the song itself is one of my favorites on the CD. But I must tell you to pick favorites from this one is really hard, as the entire album is plenty of memorable moments.

'I Want Out' is pretty much Diamond Dawn, so if tou loved their brand of punchy melodic rock you'll embrace this with open arms. Drummer Carl Tudèn gets to show his skills here with his imaginative way of playing building up for a neat keyboard solo by Hedström.
'Don’t Wait For Salvation' is another personal favorite where AOR meets powerful Hard with a stadium feel and a sing along chorus. The guitar solo makes you think John Norum's solo album Total Control.
'Start A Fire' has that lovable Scandi keyboards all over and very melodious vocals, pumped as well by a fat bass line.

ART NATION - Revolution (2015) inside

Those are just a few highlights in a brilliant album full of them. ART NATION has recorded a great debut in "Revolution", with all the ingredients to make the fans of the genre rejoice.
The guys easily blend Melodic Rock, AOR and Hard Rock (all with a typical Scandinavian sound) into really well crafted songs.
Immaculately produced, "Revolution" is a really good contender to any 2015 best of list.

01 - Need You To Understand
02 - 3000 Beats
03 - I want Out
04 - Number One
05 - Don t Wait For Salvation
06 - All The Way
07 - Start A Fire
08 - Moving On
09 - Here I Am
10 - Look To The Sky
11 - Wage War Against The World
12 - All In

Alexander Strandell - Vocals
Christoffer Borg - Guitars
Johan Gustafsson - Guitars
Simon Gudmundsson - Bass
Theodor Hedström - Keyboards
Carl Tudén - Drums



NEWMAN - The Elegance Machine (2015)

NEWMAN - The Elegance Machine (2015) full


Fronted by Steve Newman since 1997, NEWMAN are ready to release their new album "The Elegance Machine" next September 11 through AOR Heaven Records.
A hard working regular of the Melodic Hard Rock, Newman consistently delivered quality music year after year and is at it once again with this new 2015 effort.

After the successful European tour (UK leg with Vega) presenting their very good previous album, Steve Newman focused on writing a new set of songs and with a fresh sound approach in mind.
A natural follow up to Siren, "The Elegance Machine" delivers a harder edge than its predecessor, but without losing the emphasis on strong hooks. The material encompasses what Newman stand for; powerful guitars, solid rhythm section, catchy choruses and huge vocal melodies / harmonies.
But this time it also brings in modern influences such as on the title track 'The Elegance Machine' and 'Halo' giving the recognizable and reliable Newman sound a more contemporary edge.

Steve has always been known for his thought-provoking lyrics, and "The Elegance Machine" is no exception with subject matter ranging from corporate business greed (the uptempo rocker 'The Suit'), through domestic violence ('She Walks In Silence'), and even onto the space themed ('Prayer For Apollo').

NEWMAN - The Elegance Machine (2015) inside

Once again Steve has teamed up with Rob McEwen (drummer for the last 8 Newman albums), and has also brought in the talents of Geoff Wootton and Mark Thompson-Smith (Praying Mantis, Big Life) providing backing / harmony vocals resulting in really good layers of melodies.

You can hear this on the aforementioned 'Prayer For Apollo', featuring some stunning vocal arrangements coupled with the solid riff of keys/guitar backing that Newman albums are known for.
'One Good Reason' is one of those upbeat hard rock songs that bands like FM do so well, another album stand out. 'Scars' closes the album with Steve backed just by a piano and a guitar solo midway through. Something a little different and it works well.

One of the most consistent and enjoyable bands in the Melodic Hard Rock field, Newman deliver another top quality album in "The Elegance Machine", full of memorable and enjoyable songs.

01. The Suit (Skyscraper)
02. The Elegance Machine
03. Don t Stay Lonely
04. Illuminate
05. Confess
06. Halo
07. Prayer For Apollo
08. She Walks In Silence
09. One Good Reason
10. Pretender Surrender
11. Send Us Salvation
12. Scars

Steve Newman - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Rob McEwen - Drums, Percussion
Geoff Wootton - Backing Vocals
Mark Thompson-Smith (Praying Mantis, Big Life) - Backing Vocals



SPACE ELEVATOR - Space Elevator 1 (2015)

SPACE ELEVATOR - Space Elevator 1 (2015) full


Last year we featured here in exclusive the self-titled debut of SPACE ELEVATOR, the new sensation from Britain that was put together by songwriter / guitarist David Young, who plays in the West End production of the Queen musical 'We Will Rock You'.
While preparing the new album, the band has re-launched the album re-entitled "Space Elevator 1", featuring as bonus track a cover of Queen's 'Who Wants To Live Forever' (read comments), plus some tracks re-mixed and new artwork.

David Young has pulled into the project some of the best musicians in the business including Whitesnake / Black Sabbath legend Neil Murray on bass, Elliott Ware (The Who, Alice Cooper) on keyboards and in demand rock session drummer Brian Greene.
The last piece of the Space Elevator line up is the female lead singer known only as 'The Duchess' who has a voice that really must be heard to be believed (and a gorgeous look).
I pretty much guarantee that if you're a fan of classic rock then this album will blow you away.

SPACE ELEVATOR - ST (2014) inside

If you think that Space Elevator sounds alike a 'stage musical' judging David Young's pedigree, you're wrong.
This is a terrific, imaginative, bombastic rockin' combo inspired by big late seventies / eighties acts but with a vibrant 'real band' feeling.
Young makes his Stratocaster sing sweetly on one song before rocking out on the next with a valvular Les Paul, but all done in an understated way. He is the musical director, but the guitarist is not trying to out do the rest of the band, they come across as a tight professional unit.
We have a magical keyboard work from Elliot Ware (also of We Will Rock You fame) - and when I say magical believe me, the man goes from Grand Piano, Synths, Harpsichord to Hammond Organ and Moog. All his ivory arsenal sits happily next to the dynamic rhythm section handled by Murray and Greene.

And then 'The Duchess'; she not only is a gorgeous, eye-candy beautiful woman, her vocal work is simply outstanding on this record, full of emotion, from silky whispers to all out rock screams - you are left in no doubt she is good at what she does.
Space Elevator set out to create an album inspired by classic rock with a lot of early Queen, Thin Lizzy, '80s Kate Bush, Foreigner and more, much more. They will take your senses on an auditory journey of well crafted rock songs with great dynamics and powerful playing supporting lush vocal harmonies and instantly memorable melodies.

The journey begins with the opening, "Elevator" that sets the mood for the rest of the CD, and is actually one of the real highlights, as a groove laden riff from David Young complement the alluring vocal prowess of the Duchess. The chorus is instantly catchy, the guitar solo is tasty and punchy, and the overall vibe is like some majestic combination of Queen meets eighties Yes. "We Are The Losers" is a grandiose sympho-pop rocker, with emotional lyrics that the Duchess drives home with a potent delivery. She is a beast of a vocalist, one minute like Kate Bush fronting Queen on "I Will Find You (Gallifrey Dreams)" – a real pomp rock delight – then coming all over Fleetwood Mac on "We Can Fly".

"Ordinary Day" (somehow Heart meets ELO) and the melodic rocker "Little White Lies" (great guitar work) are little gems, while "Loneliness Of Love" is a stunning AOR rock song that has radio play written all over it.
More solid and catchy melodic rock can be heard on awesome Romeo Daughter's like "More Than Enough", and the bluesy midtempo "Really Don't Care", the latter plenty of musical layers.
I mean, Space Elevator do not produce ordinary songs, all are rich on varied types of keyborads, electric / acoustic guitars, different bass tones and drum patterns.
Listen to "Oils And Bubbles" and it sounds like nothing in today's music scene: great harmonies, Brian May approved guitar solos and a tongue in cheek lyric make this a winner. The last two tracks, "We Can Fly" and "Move On" are filled with amazing melodies, intriguing atmosphere and dramatic textures.

SPACE ELEVATOR - Space Elevator 1 (2015) photo

Expect to be bowled over by the majestic & powerful sounds that will come out of your speakers or through your headphones when you pop this CD in.
Space Elevator spreads excellent musicianship as you’d expect given the calibre of the musicians involved, and a fantastic set of songs plenty of musical ideas and gorgeous melodies. Not a single filler here, all served by a top notch production with lots of layering and texturing coming through giving a new spin on the traditional rock sound which is very refreshing.

It's recordings like this that should be the talked about in the music world. It's an amazing listening experience that gets better with every listen. Brilliant I'd say. Do yourself a favour and get a copy now.
Foocking Awesome.

01 - Elevator
02 - We Are The Losers
03 - I Will Find You (Gallifrey Dreams)
04 - Ordinary Day
05 - Little White Lies
06 - Loneliness Of Love
07 - More Than Enough
08 - Oils And Bubbles
09 - Really Don't Care
10 - We Can Fly
11 - Move On
12 - Who Wants To Live Forever (Queen cover)

The Duchess – Lead & Backing Vocals, Vocal Arrangements
David Young – Electric, Classical and Acoustic Guitar
Neil Murray – Bass
Brian Greene – Drums, Percussion
Elliot Ware – Grand Piano, Keyboards, Harpsichord, Hammond Organ, Moog Synths



MAD MAX - Thunder, Storm And Passion [2 CD] (2015)

MAD MAX - Thunder, Storm And Passion [2 CD] (2015) full


Germans MAD MAX are into some kind of celebration with their new release "Thunder, Storm And Passion", a double CD to be out tomorrow. This is essentially a re-recorded collection which documents 'classics' from their 1984-87 album releases Rollin’ Thunder, Stormchild and Night of Passion – you see what they did with the title. Plus, you have a bonus disc with recording at Bang Your Head Festival last year.

Mad Max have been around the metal block for better than three decades. But their first best success came at the start, in the heyday when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was inspiring and spawning new bands all around the world. Here Mad Max looks back to those glory days to release a 'best of' re-recorded with modern technology and showing how the quartet sound today.
So, technically this is not a 'new' album and some may say 'why didn't they cut some new material?'. Well, the albums from where these songs are taken are out of print or on hard to find reissues.
And obviously, Michael Voss & Co. wanted fresh versions.

What Mad Max has done is re-recorded 12 songs, call them band & fan favorites, and they did this with the original line up. There is some pedigree here in terms of the more-or-less peripheral associations of Mad Max members Michael Voss (lead guitar and vocals), Axel Kruse (drummer) and guitarist Jurgen Breforth (bass player Roland Bergmann left the band in early 2015).
Read ‘em; Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, Axel Rudi Pell, Casanova, Jaded Heart, Doro, King Kobra, Gary Barden… Admittedly, most of these relate to Voss’ various roles as guest guitarist, engineer, mixer, producer, vocalist, etc.

Nevertheless, "Thunder Storm & Passion" is a snapshot of not only classic Mad Max, but the music of that great era. This is what we were listening to back in the day and, dammit, it never gets old.
It's melodic hard rock with a metal edge (or hard 'n heavy) with twin guitar harmony, soaring leads, a driving steady rhythm section, clean harmonious vocals, and tons of catchy phrasing in arrangements and lyrics.
That basically defines classic rock and heavy metal. And Mad Max was proficient at it, still are.
Those heavy melodic rockers come with 'Rollin' Thunder', 'Burning The Stage', and the rushing 'Wait For The Night'.

MAD MAX - Thunder, Storm And Passion [2 CD] (2015) cd photo

Anthems arrive with 'Heroes Die Lonely' and its generous bass line, 'Lonely Is The Hunter', and the AOR friendly 'Hearts On Fire'. Then there's metal ballad, 'Thoughts Of A Dying Man' to complete the package.
You can hear Voss' and the guys experience in this game all over the songs. The on stage recording content in "Live at Bang Your Head Festival 2014" as second bonus disc is a strong evidence of this statement. Another proof is the excellent cover of 'Fox On The Run' (The Sweet classic) played live with a lot of fire.

"Thunder, Storm And Passion" is classic '80s stuff updated to 2015, classic melodic hard rock and traditional metal skillfully performed. If you haven't heard Mad Max's early material you need to check this, especially fans of Bonfire, Jaded Heart, Pink Cream 69, Frontline, etc.
And if you liked the band's recent material you won't be disappointed.
Strongly Recommended.

CD1 (Re-Recorded Classics 2015)
01 - Fly Fly Away
02 - Losing You
03 - Rollin' Thunder
04 - Thoughts Of A Dying Man
05 - Never Say Never
06 - Lonely Is The Hunter
07 - Stormchild
08 - Heroes Die Lonely
09 - Burning The Stage
10 - Wait For The Night
11 - Night Of Passion
12 - Hearts On Fire

CD2 (Live at Bang Your Head Festival 2014)
01 - Burning The Stage
02 - Night Of Passion
03 - Rolling Thunder
04 - Wait For The Night
05 - Lonely Is The Hunter
06 - Never Say Never
07 - Thoughts Of A Dying Man
08 - Fox On The Run

Michael Voss - Vocals, Guitars
Jürgen Breforth (ex-Tanner) - Guitars
Axel Kruse (ex-Jaded Heart) - Drums
Roland Bergmann (ex- Mad Max) - Bass
Thomas Bauer (Evidence One, ex-Frontline) - Bass



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

7th HEAVEN - Next (2015)

7th HEAVEN - Next (2015) full


Chicago melodic rockers 7th HEAVEN are back with a new shining collection of songs, their brand new CD "Next". And we have to celebrate, because I doubt if there's other band capable to deliver such feel-good, simple, instantly enjoyable tunes like this guys.

7th HEAVEN is one of the most prolific bands in the world. With a rigorous touring schedule averaging 250 shows per year and performing alongside acts like Bon Jovi and Kid Rock, they have no problem to release a set of new songs every year. And quality songs.
The band alternate long (sometimes double) CD's with regular ones, like in the case of the fresh "Next". We have here 10 polished tracks of pure, feel-good poppy melodic rock.

Also, 7th HEAVEN has the habit to change the lead singer almost for every new release. You know, for most bands this is some kind of disaster, but for 7th HEAVEN seems to work flawlessly.
"Next" features new vocalist Adam Heisler (ex- The Fabulous Janes, Dot Dot Dot, both seen nationwide on USA TV) and he is even better than the previous!

Anyway, the key factor in 7th HEAVEN is founder Richard Hofherr (guitar, keys, backing vocals) and his songwriting skills. The man has been blessed with a midas touch to create the most infectious hooks you'll hear this Summer.

7th HEAVEN - Next (2015) inside

As usual, 7th HEAVEN deliver first class power poppy melodic rock gems influenced by the best era but with a modern sound and pristine production.
All around the 3-minute mark, anthems like "Time Of Our Lives", "Young And Bulletproof" or "She Could Use A Little Sunshine" and its irresistible chorus are instant ear-candy.
We have some Rick Springfield on "Don't Wanna Be In Love", a bit of Def Leppard in "Diamonds", some Waltham in the moving "Standing On Top Of The World", all influences that transcend generations and the guys made their own.

Never heard 7th HEAVEN? They are regulars to this blog (check HERE) and never fail to deliver quality melodic stuff.
It's all very poppy and inoffensive but... I love it!
Highly Recommended.

01 - Time Of Our Lives
02 - Diamonds
03 - She's On Fire
04 - Young And Bulletproof
05 - You And I
06 - She Could Use A Little Sunshine
07 - Don't Wanna Be In Love
08 - Something That You Want
09 - Standing On Top Of The World
10 - Take Me With You

Adam Heisler - Lead Vocals
Richard Hofherr - Lead Guitar, Keys, Vocals
Nick Cox - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Mark Kennetz - Bass, Vocals
Michael Mooshey - Drums



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BUCKCHERRY - Rock N Roll [SHM-CD Japanese Ltd. Edition + Best Buy bonus] (2015)

BUCKCHERRY - Rock N Roll [SHM-CD Japanese Ltd. Edition + Best Buy bonus] (2015) full


Two days ago, Los Angeles’ multi-platinum-selling rockers BUCKCHERRY released their 7th studio album, "Rock N Roll". This Japanese Edition on SHM-CD features 2 bonus tracks and a DVD with some clips. Additionally, a Deluxe Edition appeared with an exclusive bonus track.

To call an album "Rock N Roll" means something. It needs a lot of self-confidence to give a record such a significant title. Furthermore you have to be sure that you can deliver since you want to live up to those expectations.
Buchcherry has the potential to do this - no doubt. But are they are also able to convert this potential into cool songs for a "Rock N Roll" album?
After having listened to the sixth longplayer I have to say: yes, they can.

Buckcherry doesn't re-invent the Rock business, but the 10 songs on the album are grooving pretty well. The guys find, again, the right mix of crunchy riffs and catchy melodies that makes the album to an interesting one for a wider target group.
From the start, with 'Bring It On Back', you get classic American hard rock that hearken back to Eighties glory days. While rather enticing, it's not the best song here.
The following 'Tight Pants', a typical Buckcherry lusty ode to chicks, is a rockin' groove monster complete with a horn section. Sex and sax. Can't beat that.

BUCKCHERRY - Rock N Roll [SHM-CD Japanese Ltd. Edition + Best Buy bonus] (2015) disc photo

Another lascivious rock behemoth is 'Sex Appeal', where the rhythm section, bass and drums, lay down this infectious beat and groove for this fast paced song. After this other rockers include the raucous 'Get With It', speedy riff heavy 'The Madness', and 'Wood', with some solid gang vocals in a dense arrangement.
Alternatively, there some additional variety. 'Wish To Carry On', while definitely hard rock, puts the melody and harmony more forward, notably in the chorus, giving the song a bit more of an Melodic Rock feel.

You can take a break from the adrenaline ride and listen to the soothing tracks, 'The Feeling Never Dies' and 'Rain’s Falling'. Those two tracks are the kind of songs you could just set back in your easy chair and reflect on your life to. They also demonstrate Josh Todd’s wonderfully diverse writing style, and Keith Nelson's skills on the guitar delivering a smooth bluesy job.

BUCKCHERRY - Rock N Roll [SHM-CD Japanese Ltd. Edition + Best Buy bonus] (2015) back

Fundamentally, as a whole, I think Buckcherry hit the target they were aiming for: this is a rock n roll album. Certainly, and unfortunately, it's also something that probably won't make a ripple in the American mainstream music industry or listening audience. Too many youngsters listening auto-tuned pop and rap crap. But I'll bet Europe and the rest of the World will dig it.
Honestly, since 1999 when they released self-titled debut album, I did not followed Buckcherry's evolution too much. And if you haven't either, now's a good time cwith Buckcherry.
"Rock N Roll" is a feel-good rockin' album that is an excellent summertime soundtrack.

Universal Japan ~ UICN-9029 [SHM-CD+DVD] [初回限定盤]

01 - Bring It On Back
02 - Tight Pants
03 - Wish To Carry On
04 - The Feeling Never Dies
05 - Cradle
06 - The Madness
07 - Wood
08 - Rain's Falling
09 - Sex Appeal
10 - Get With It
11 - I've Done Everything For You [Japan Bonus Track]
12 - Mama Kin [Japanese Bonus Track]
13 - Cannonball [Best Buy only Bonus Track]

Josh Todd – Lead Vocals
Stevie D – Guitars
Keith Nelson – Guitars
Kelly Lemieux – Bass
Xavier Muriel – Drums



Monday, August 24, 2015

BAI BANG - Cop To Con +1 [AOR Heaven Classix remaster]

BAI BANG - Cop To Con +1 [AOR Heaven Classix remaster] full


Born in the second half of the '80s, BAI BANG still is one of the best Melodic Hard Rock bands coming out of Sweden. Arguably, their best record is their second effort appeared in 1991, the irresistible "Cop To Con" now being remastered and reissued by AOR Heaven on their 'AOR Heaven Classix' series with a bonus track.

Despite the band's quality, Bai Bang aren't usually mentioned alongside their Swedish contemporaries Treat, Dalton, Bad Habit and others. Maybe it's because their first album 'Enemy Lines' was a rather hideous and poppy one, and it took them a few years to come up with a stong follow-up in the form of "Cop To Con".
Including 10 Melodic Hard Rock catchy bombs inspired by the sound & style of Jani Lane's Warrant and Poison but with an unmistakable Scandi flavor, "Cop To Con" rocks.

There's hook-laden gems like title track "Cop To Con", "Answer", the very Warrant-like "Arrow" and the highly harmonized "Run To The End", all adorned with sparkling keyboards.
The AORish "Hearts On Fire" is one of my favorites, together with the mid-tempo semi-ballad "Love Is Strong" where the band recall their countrymen Talk Of The Town.

BAI BANG - Cop To Con +1 [AOR Heaven Classix remaster] back

AOR Heaven Classix has respected the original artwork - the album was first published by German label Jaguar - later modified for the American version and again for the Japanese.
Digitally remastered by Chris Lyne, "Cop To Con AOR Heaven Classix" was released strictly limited to 500 copies. Already featured on the blog when released about two years ago, one of you requested a re-look of this one, sadly now out of print.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Cop To Con
02 - Answer
03 - Arrow
04 - Neat Time
05 - Run To The End
06 - Adrenalin
07 - Hearts On Fire
08 - Strange Request
09 - Code To Your Heart
10 - Love Is Strong
11 - Hot Love (bonus track)

Diddi Kastenholt / vocal
Eric Kalle Mansson / guitar
Claas Wallin / bass
Martyn Karlsson / keyboards
Mille Wendel / drums

Try Here;


ROYAL HUNT - Devil's Dozen [Japan Edition SHM-CD] (2015)

ROYAL HUNT - Devil's Dozen [Japan Edition SHM-CD] (2015) full


ROYAL HUNT returned with a triumphant new album in "Devil's Dozen", which has the privilege to be released on high quality SHM-CD in Japan, featuring an exclusive bonus track and a bonus DVD.

There are few Rock acts with more than 25 years career that have been as consistent in their sound and output as Denmark's Royal Hunt. Since their first two (now classic) albums appeared in the '90s, the band founded by ivory tickler Andre Andersen never stopped to increase success via stupendous records and live performances.
Sure, they've had their share of personnel changes, significantly in the vocalist position, however excellent singer Pennsylvania native D.C. Cooper returned in 2011 recording two successful albums, and now is still present in "Devil's Dozen".

Royal Hunt's music is heavy on dramatics and bulging with symphonic mayhem. Opening tracks 'So Right, So Wrong' and 'May You Never (Walk Alone)' are rich on both departments, with all the classic RH elements to the fore: majestic choruses, powerful vocals, strong riffs and keyboards galore.

ROYAL HUNT - Devil's Dozen [Japan Edition SHM-CD] (2015) booklet

Although Andersen’s larger than life keyboards dominate most of the songs, Jonas Larsen’s killer guitar solo on 'Heart On A Platter' more than holds it’s own, and on the bluesy midtempo 'Until The Day' he simply smokes.
There can be no doubting that the re­recruitment of vocalist DC Cooper has been nothing short of a masterstroke. He'll always be 'the voice' of Royal Hunt. His leads on the epic 'A Tear In The Rain' are to die for.

Only Royal Hunt can seemingly connect the lounge piano with a darker more dramatic mood on 'Heart on a Platter'. The melodies are easy to pick out, on the surface, but it is the arrangements that make them rich and enjoyable.
'Riches To Rags' offers some Celtic vibes to the mix, while in 'Way Too Late' the band is showing its modern approach without loosing its originality. It's a great melodic hard rocker (some H.E.A.T on it... yes, I am not drunk) with a catchy as hell hook, terrific chorus line and the 'big sound' in front row. Once again D.C. Cooper's vocals are superb here.
The Japanese Edition features the track "Monochrome", a melodious piece that I am sure will delight first-time fans of the band.

ROYAL HUNT - Devil's Dozen [Japan Edition SHM-CD] (2015) back

Royal Hunt is back with a fantastic album, in many aspects, the best of their fruitful career.
Seriously, "Devil's Dozen" is on par with their excellent first albums, and even it's more complete, varied and better recorded. We have here all of the band's celebrated elements plus a fresh modern rockin' approach and the result is brilliant.
Powerful and melodic with a larger than life sound (top notch production), excellent musicianship and the amazing vocals of D.C. Cooper are some of the ingredients of this new gem that can't be missed by any fan of this band and, and of course, of the metal / melodic hard rock scene in general.
Contender for Album Of The Year for sure.

Victor Entertainment ~ MIZP-30012 デヴィルズ・ダズン [SHM-CD+DVD]

01 - So Right, So Wrong
02 - May You Never (Walk Alone)
03 - Heart On A Platter
04 - A Tear In The Rain
05 - Until The Day
06 - Riches To Rags
07 - Way Too Late
08 - Monochrome (Japanese Bonus Track)

DC Cooper: vocals
Andre Andersen: keyboards
Andreas Passmark: bass
Jonas Larsen: guitars
Andreas Habo Johansson: drums



WILD HORSES - Dead Ahead [reissue 2015]

VANGOUGH - Kingdom Of Ruin (2011)


Among the reissues done by Z Records last week there's "Dead Ahead" by WILD HORSES, easily one of the best hard rock albums appeared in 2003. The group released a very good hair metal album in the early Nineties but soon split up.
Then more than ten years after, the Wild Horses returned with this "Dead Ahead", a more mature hard rocking oriented effort.

Wild Horses was some kind of a 'supergroup'. The band (then and now) consisted of vocalist John Levesque (Shout), guitarist Rick Steier (Kingdom Come, Warrant), and drummer James Kottak (Kingdom Come, Scorpions, Warrant). The line-up for this record was completed with none other than Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) at the bass guitar.
So expect high quality playing, but there's more than that: crystal clear production and some memorable tunes.

On "Dead Ahead", Wild Horses delivers a set of polished hard rock numbers with a strong bluesy foundation and lots of melody. All it's pretty much like Cinderella minus Keifer's raspy vocals, some '80s Aerosmith and of course, Kingdom Come.
With opener "Can't Get By" the band feels like Steven Tyler & Co circa Get A Grip era, plenty of swagger and hooks. "Ride On" continues in the same tradition only with Tesla influences this time.

Another quality cut is the Bad Company inspired "Vancouver Mover" with its groovy guitar work and wicked beat. "Rebel Road" is a really fine power ballad and for sure a winner in my book.
"What's This Thing", "California Freedom" and "Asphalt Ribbon Fever" are also stadium-ready hot rockers, most of them with a sing-a-long chorus at hand.

Yes, Wild Horses' "Dead Ahead" is very good hard rock album which remains unheard by many fans of the genre.
Strong songs, great performances and crisp production, all very melodic & polished.
Kudos to Z Records for the reissue and make it available again.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Can't Get By
02 - Ride On
03 - Live It And Give It
04 - Vancouver Mover
05 - What's This Thing
06 - California Freedom
07 - Rebel Road
08 - When Will It End
09 - Never Goin' Home
10 - Asphalt Ribbon Fever
11 - Cradle To The Grave

John Levesque (Shout) - vocals
Rick Steier (Kingdom Come, Warrant) - guitars
James Kottak (Kingdom Come, Scorpions, Warrant) - drums
Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) - bass



Sunday, August 23, 2015

LED ZEPPELIN - Coda (Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered 2015)

LED ZEPPELIN - Coda (Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered 2015) full


Following the successful recent reissues of the first six LED ZEPPELIN albums, Deluxe Editions of the band's final three studio albums: Presence, In Through The Out Door, and Coda were just released. As with the previous, all albums have been newly remastered by guitarist & producer Jimmy Page and feature a companion CD audio comprised of previously unreleased music related to the original release selected and compiled by Page.
"Coda" is the last of this Deluxe Edition campaign.

The appropriately titled "Coda" was Led Zeppelin’s final album of studio recordings. Released in 1982, it was comprised of eight unreleased tracks recorded between 1970 and 1978. It peaked at #6 on the album charts and has been certified platinum in the U.S.

LED ZEPPELIN - Coda (Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered 2015) inside

This reissue campaign ends with a double-barrel blast of Led.
"Coda" it's the only Led Zeppelin deluxe edition to include two companion discs, featuring 15 tracks recorded between 1968 and 1974.
The oldest song in the collection is also perhaps the most interesting. The frenetic blues jam “Sugar Mama” was recorded in 1968 at Olympic Studios during sessions for the band’s eponymous debut. The song was completed but never officially released until now.
“Baby Come On Home” from the same session is also included in the set. Also included is the previously unreleased “St. Tristan’s Sword,” a rollicking instrumental recorded during the Led Zeppelin III sessions in 1970.

In 1972, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page took a fabled trip to India to perform with the Bombay Orchestra and now, for the first time, recordings from these sessions will be officially released with dynamic takes on “Friends” and “Four Hands” (“Four Sticks” from Led Zeppelin IV).
Among the many other highlights featured here is an early version of “When The Levee Breaks” from 1970 titled “If It Keeps On Raining”; rough mixes of “The Wanton Song” and “In The Light,” from the Physical Graffiti sessions at Headley Grange, the latter a different alternate version than the one included in the Physical Graffiti deluxe edition; and an instrumental mix of “Poor Tom” from 1970.

LED ZEPPELIN - Coda (Deluxe Edition 3CD Remastered 2015) cd photo

Jimmy Page has done a really great job on the remastering process of these Led Zeppelin classics.
The sound is pristine and clear, balanced with a proper dynamic range.
A Must.

CD 1 : Coda Remastered 2015
01 - We're Gonna Groove
02 - Poor Tom
03 - I Can't Quit You Baby
04 - Walter's Walk
05 - Ozone Baby
06 - Darlene
07 - Bonzo's Montreux
08 - Wearing And Tearing

CD 2 : The Companion Disc A [prev. unreleased]
01 - We're Gonna Groove (Alternate Mix)
02 - If It Keeps On Raining (Rough Mix)
03 - Bonzo's Montreux (Mix Construction In Progress)
04 - Baby Come On Home
05 - Sugar Mama (Mix)
06 - Poor Tom (Instrumental Mix)
07 - Travelling Riverside Blues (BBC Session)
08 - Hey, Hey, What Can I Do

CD 3 : The Companion Disc B [prev. unreleased]
01 - Four Hands (Four Sticks) (Bombay Orchestra)
02 - Friends (Bombay Orchestra)
03 - St. Tristan's Sword (Rough Mix)
04 - Desire (The Wanton Song) (Rough Mix)
05 - Bring It On Home (Rough Mix)
06 - Walter's Walk (Rough Mix)
07 - Everybody Makes It Through (Rough Mix)

John Bonham – drums, percussion
John Paul Jones – bass guitar, piano, keyboards
Jimmy Page – guitars, electronic treatments, production
Robert Plant – lead vocals



MOTORHEAD - Bad Magic (2015)

MOTORHEAD - Bad Magic (2015) full


Despite this band's music is not exactly the cup of tea of this blog, I think we have to feature here the new album by British legends MOTORHEAD, to be released next August 28 which it's entitled "Bad Magic".
And that's because few people bet a dime for the band's future due to Lemmy Kilmister's ongoing health issues. But the man though has stuck two fingers up at his illness and has proved many wrong by returning both to the stage and studio. Status Quo once said ‘Rock ‘Til You Drop’, Lemmy’s philosophy in one.
For that attitude only, Motorhead's new album deserve a listen.

Honestly, I never liked Motorhead too much. Their brand of square, no-frills heavy rock 'n roll is ok with me, it's fun, but too much noisy for my melodious ears. Anyway, a couple of tracks of them in a hard rock playlist are always welcomed. As said, Motorhead are funny.
So I did not followed the band since the last 20 years, at least.
And you know what? "Bad Magic" is not 'bad' at all. I would not say that is 'magical', but it's darn effective.

MOTORHEAD - Bad Magic (2015) inside

Rampant and old school, Motorhead screams out at you from the very first track 'Victory Or Die' ; a typically feisty Motorhead number with Lemmy barking out the vocals. This then leads into 'Thunder & Lightening' which finds the guys in full flight with a huge riff from the Welsh wizard, Phil Campbell, a classic Motorhead track.
These two cuts set the theme of the album well, listening to it you get the feeling that they wanted to prove a point and show that they are still firing on all cylinders.
One song that enforces this message is the blistering 'Shoot Out All Your Lights'. Drummer Mikkey Dee is on steroids during this song and provides a massive driving rhythm whilst Campbell and Lemmy beat their instruments into submission, live this song will be an absolute monster.

Well, the rest is typically Motorhead: a wall of sound to make your ears bleed.
It’s not all fast and furious though as 'Till The End' slows things down a bit and finds Lemmy in good voice. You can hear that vocally things are not quite as strong as they once were but that is understandable. The song it's a half-ballad, but still classic Motorhead.
They deliver something different as well with the very good 'The Devil', where Queen's Brian May makes a guest appearance adding a scintillating solo on this sleazy bluesy rocker.

MOTORHEAD - Bad Magic (2015) back

If brushes with mortality are meant to slow you down, it's clear Lemmy, 70 next birthday, didn’t get the memo. An album of reflective piano ballads this is not.
Indeed, "Bad Magic" will make all-time fans rejoice. It's heavy, rocking, bruising as all Motorhead stuff. The songs are short, to the point, and this benefits the album to its flowing.
As said, not my favorite band, but if you dig them get "Bad Magic" with eyes closed, it will not disappoint you.

01. Victory or Die
02. Thunder & Lightning
03. Fire Storm Hotel
04. Shoot Out all of Your Lights
05. The Devil (feat. Brian May)
06. Electricity
07. Evil Eye
08. Teach Them How to Bleed
09. Till the End
10. Tell Me Who to Kill
11. Choking on Your Screams
12.When the Sky Comes Looking For You
13. Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones Cover)

Lemmy Kilmister – Bass, Vocals
Philip Campbell – Guitars
Mikkey Dee – Drums
Brian May – guest Guitar



Saturday, August 22, 2015

DELLACOMA - South Of Everything (2015)

DELLACOMA - South Of Everything (2015) full


Founded by vocalist Dellacoma Rio after the dissolution of Australian based rockers Sunset Riot, DELLACOMA are presenting their debut "South Of Everything". After listening the album from this Aussie / American combo, I'm convinced it ought to come with a warning label, because this is one devastatingly hot collection of tunes.
The band is simply on fire from start to finish, with a raw and rowdy vibe that brings to mind the best of old-school rock’n’roll.

Around three years ago, Dellacoma Rio summoned forth a new band of musical pals to assault the world anew. Gathering fellow Australian Rick Reynolds on bass, from Dallas, Texas Matt Cook on drums, and Art Stuck on guitars, Dellacoma was complete.
They then went to ground and began recording the record that was to become "South Of Everything". If you have ever felt music in the past and can remember how it made you feel you will welcome this album.
One can hear the many influences this band has soaked up, yet it remains distinctly unique and modern.

Dell's vocals are a big part of the appeal on "South Of Everything". His classy hard rock voice has a smoky, dirty edge – and he sure knows how to work those pipes for maximum effect.
And the band is golden, tight, brash and rippling with musical muscle, capable of unleashing an unholy amount of rock and roll power. There’s some stellar guitar-work throughout and the rhythm section gives the music exactly the kind of heavy, solid backbone it needs.

DELLACOMA - South Of Everything (2015) inside

It's definitely a bonus that instead of over-producing the tracks, "South Of Everything" captures a dynamic, straight-from-the-stage feel that gives the tunes real life and makes your pulse race.
All songs are good, but two are absolute stunners. One is ‘Under My Skin’, a tune that rips into you with a terrific guitar riff that just sends chills up and down your spine, while Dell’s vocals make it the kind of sexy, sweaty track that defines good-time rock and roll.
The other knockout is ‘Time Falls Away’, fueled by a busy instrumentation with a heady and dark, rather Led Zepp-ish vibe.
Other standouts include the hard-rocking and fiery showpiece ‘My Kinda Woman’; ‘Bloodsucker’ with a gritty, rugged and totally awesome guitar sound; and the stripper-pole swing of ‘Walk The Plank’, capturing a kind of early Aerosmith strut and swagger.

Then the catchy, hooky ‘Movin On To Something New’; the smashing ‘Lesson Learned’; and the rip-roaring ‘Change’ are also impressive.
Numbers like the heavy and hard ‘FJH (Get Me Out)’ amps things up with vocals that growl and scream; while ‘Fame/Slaves/Gold’ just kicks massive rock ’n’ roll tail, burning up the speakers from the first note to the last.

DELLACOMA - South Of Everything (2015) back

Having been recorded in just nine days you might expect an album to have a few weak points but it doesn't dip for a second. In fact there's no lack of top moments spread throughout the whole of "South Of Everything".
That 'instant' capture to tape is part of the charm here, a hard charging recording straight from the gate. It's strong and ambitious and proves that any bands who stay in the studio for months on end fiddling around really are taking the piss. Dellacoma however play it straight down the middle, no bullshit just plenty of fire.
Loud guitars, punchy bass, powerful drums, and vocals reminiscent of Rock Stars past, it’s all here. Crank it up!
Highly Recommended.

01 - My Kinda Woman
02 - Bloodsucker
03 - Under My Skin
04 - Movin' On To Something New
05 - Walk The Plank
06 - Lesson Learned
07 - Time Falls Away
08 - Change
09 - FJH (Get Me Out)
10 - Fame/Slaves/Gold
11 - Dead Will Rise [bonus track]

Dellacoma Rio - vocals
Rick Reynolds - bass
Art Struck - guitars
Matt Cook - drums



LED ZEPPELIN - In Through The Out Door (Deluxe Edition Remastered 2015)

LED ZEPPELIN - In Through The Out Door (Deluxe Edition Remastered 2015) full


Following the successful recent reissues of the first six LED ZEPPELIN albums, Deluxe Editions of the band's final three studio albums: Presence, In Through The Out Door, and Coda were just released. As with the previous, all albums have been newly remastered by guitarist & producer Jimmy Page and feature a companion CD audio comprised of previously unreleased music related to the original release selected and compiled by Page.
Let's take a look to "In Through The Out Door".

On its release in the summer of 1979, "In Through The Out Door" topped the US and UK album charts and has since been certified six-times platinum. Sadly, it would be the last album that Led Zeppelin recorded prior to drummer John Bonham’s passing the following year.

LED ZEPPELIN - In Through The Out Door (Deluxe Edition Remastered 2015) cds

Among the seven album tracks are “Fool In The Rain” and the awesome “All My Love” (in my opinion, among the best Zepp melodies ever), two songs that remain classic rock radio staples to this day.

The album’s companion audio disc features an unreleased rough mix of every track from the original album, including early versions with working titles such as “The Hook” (“All My Love”), “The Epic” (“Carouselambra”), and “Blot” (“I’m Gonna Crawl”).

LED ZEPPELIN - In Through The Out Door (Deluxe Edition Remastered 2015) booklet

Jimmy Page has done a really great job on the remastering process of these Led Zeppelin classics.
The sound is pristine and clear, balanced with a proper dynamic range.
A Must.

CD 1 : Remaster 2015
01 - In The Evening
02 - South Bound Saurez
03 - Fool In The Rain
04 - Hot Dog
05 - Carouselambra
06 - All My Love
07 - I'm Gonna Crawl

CD 2 : The Companion Disc [prev. unreleased]
01 - In The Evening (Rough Mix)
02 - Southbound Piano (South Bound Saurez) [Rough Mix]
03 - Fool In The Rain (Rough Mix)
04 - Hot Dog (Rough Mix)
05 - The Epic (Carouselambra) (Rough Mix)
06 - The Hook (All My Love) (Rough Mix)
07 - Blot (I'm Gonna Crawl) (Rough Mix)

John Bonham – drums
John Paul Jones – bass, mandolin, keyboards, synthesizer, piano
Jimmy Page – electric & acoustic guitars, Gizmotron, production
Robert Plant – lead vocals



CRAIG ERICKSON - Sky Train Galaxy (2015)

CRAIG ERICKSON - Sky Train Galaxy (2015) full


Of Scandinavian origins but born-n-raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, guitarist / singer CRAIG ERICKSON have been releasing a succession of great albums over the last two decades. It's time for this talented musician o get the attention / credit he largely deserves.
And I think his fresh new CD "Sky Train Galaxy" is the proper vehicle for that.

Erickson plays classic rock fueled by pure bluesy chops, dynamic riffs, and soul-powered vocals. His six-string style is pretty old-school but loaded with an enviable emotion and fire. His rockin' approach is like a cross of Gary Moore, Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower.
Another influence I hear in Erickson is cult legend Tommy Bolin, so it's not rare to see him paying homage to Bolin here with an awesome version of "Gettin' Tighter", from the classic Deep Purple 'Come Taste The Band' album.

CRAIG ERICKSON - Sky Train Galaxy (2015) inside digipak

"Sky Train Galaxy" a album that is loaded with quality songs matching the quality of the playing. Erickson has all the technique you could wish for, or need, but at the root of his playing there is great melody, phrasing, feel and soul.
One of the best characteristics of the album is the way the blistering riffs are executed, in that you can get almost as much pleasure from listening to Erickson's little improvisations as you do from the solo. There's a decent mix of styles, slower burning blues and rockers as well, so it's not a one-dimensional collection of songs.
There are too many choice cuts here to really pick out highlights, although, if pushed, my personal favourites are "The Comeback", "Time (Never Enough)" and "Morning Glory". Absolutely outstanding stuff.

CRAIG ERICKSON - Sky Train Galaxy (2015) back

Craig Erickson is a singular talent, the strength of his songwriting, playing and sheer power of delivery combine to create a very special listening experience. He's not the greatest singer in the world, but perfectly matches the songs as another driving instrument.
"Sky Galaxy Train" is highly recommended for fans of classic rock, rocking-blues power music, delivered with passion from a musician who richly deserves major exposure, something that is rising among the music press and specialized magazines.

01 - The Comeback
02 - Blinded By Love
03 - Getting Tighter / Ode To T
04 - Time (Never Enough)
05 - Illusions Of The World
06 - Mojo In Memphis
07 - Mercy
08 - Boogie For Love
09 - Sky Train
10 - Morning Glory
11 - Mojo In Memphis (Acoustic Version)

Craig Erickson: vocals, guitars, bass
John Hal: bass
Alicia Strong: backing vocals
Troy Harper, Tim King, Jon Wilson, Rob Haskett: drums



Thursday, August 20, 2015

SPOCK'S BEARD - The Oblivion Particle (2015)

SPOCK'S BEARD - The Oblivion Particle (2015) full


Today August 21 finds progressive heroes SPOCK'S BEARD returning with "The Oblivion Particle", the band’s twelfth studio album which sees them drawing from their core essence while stretching out into some exciting new territory.

If until now 2015 was already a strong year for progressive rock music, it is just about to get even stronger, thanks to this little beauty of an album. Over the years, despite one or two alterations to the line-up, Spock’s Beard have consistently released music of the highest caliber. Rightly so, this has ultimately led to theirs becoming a name synonymous with ‘quality’ within the genre.
Spock’s Beard 2015 is comprised of Alan Morse (vocals, guitar), Dave Meros (bass, vocals), Ryo Okumoto (keyboards, vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums, vocals) and Ted Leonard (vocals, guitar).
And, with "The Oblivion Particle", the quintet may just have delivered their best album yet.

SPOCK'S BEARD - The Oblivion Particle (2015) inside

The CD opens with arguably the most ‘normal’ and traditional of Spock’s Beard compositions, ‘Tides Of Time’. The track is full of complexity but never at the expense of the song. It is a cut that contains a really nice tempo and flow, strong melodies and some rich keyboard tones that give the whole thing an almost theatrical pomp as it develops, ebbing and flowing dextrously from one idea to the next. In addition, the vocals of newish recruit Ted Leonard (Enchant, Thought Chamber), who joined on the previous record, fit the music like a glove. Note perfect, emotive, strong and with an impressive range, Mr Leonard and Spock’s Beard are a match made in heaven.
Aside from all this, the track also immediately flags up one of the principle tweaks in the Spock’s Beard sound this time around, namely a slightly heavier veneer.

The increased (and welcomed) heaviness is once again in evidence within the opening riff to ‘Minion’ that takes over from an a capella melody and which is accompanied by a prominent and rumbling bass. The excellently expressive bass work is a key component of a track that contains a hugely addictive chorus and which works the full gamut between creating some of the most powerful material and also some of the most subtle and beautiful sections where there’s little else other than a tinkling piano melody and emotive vocals.
As if that wasn’t enough, the song also introduces the first of many intriguing and ‘new’ keyboard sounds courtesy of Ryo Okumoto that litter ‘The Oblivion Particle’.

SPOCK'S BEARD - The Oblivion Particle (2015) cd photo

Speaking of experimentation, it doesn’t cease with the keyboards. Not content with being masters of their own instruments, ‘The Oblivion Particle’ sees Alan Morse introduce the autoharp, banjolele, electric sitar and mandolin to his repertoire and drummer Jimmy Keegan takes up lead vocal duties for the first time on ‘Bennett Builds A Time Machine’ meaning that every member of the quintet now contributes vocals to the music, another huge string to the Spock’s Beard metaphorical bow.

The highlight of ‘Hell’s Not Enough’ is flamboyant drumming from Keegan that drives the closing crescendo with real power thus completing the transformation within the composition, which steadily builds from a quiet, understated acoustic opening to an entirely different beast altogether.
One of my personal highlights on the album is the aforementioned ‘Bennett Builds A Time Machine’. It can only be described as a bright and breezy composition with an extended, slightly darker instrumental work-out in the mid-section. The whole song is fantastic, with a properly uplifting, feel-good factor to it.

More highlights can be found within each and every one of the tracks on ‘The Oblivion Particle’ but to name a few, there’s the more straight-up hard rock attitude of ‘Get Out While You Can’, or the utterly stunning and majestic ‘The Centre Line’ which is driven by a galloping tempo and which contains yet more delicious melodic hooks as well as some peerless musicianship.
‘To Be Free Again’ is arguably the most epic track on the record. It offers a groovy, chunky riff that’s simply brilliant before changing styles almost entirely, straying into territory that’s the most cinematic and atmospheric anywhere on the record.

The record is then closed out by ‘Disappear’. The chorus is sublime, containing possibly the most immediate hooks on the album as well as interesting violin embellishments from guest and Kansas maestro David Ragsdale. It conveys more in the way of positivity too, ending the album on a note of genuine hope and you left feeling happy, content and somehow enriched by the whole experience.

SPOCK'S BEARD - The Oblivion Particle (2015) back

As you might expect from Spock’s Beard, every piece of music contains within it a myriad of sounds, styles and influences from across the musical spectrum, but it is the way in which all the ideas are fused together into a cohesive and digestible whole which sets this group of musicians apart from others.
The entire record feels well thought-out, smooth and sufficiently accessible despite their willingness to play around with everything from pop to hard rock, from fusion to classical. It should sound messy and disjointed but it never does.

‘The Oblivion Particle’ is the sound of Spock’s Beard at the very top of their game. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure that ‘classic’ melodic progressive rock can get much better than this. All is truly superb.
An album that proves Spock’s Beard to be an amazingly compelling band some 20+ years after their formation, and one that continues to be a leader in the prog rock field, just as they have always been.
Very, Highly Recommended.

01 - Tides Of Time
02 - Minion
03 - Hell's Not Enough
04 - Bennett Built a Time Machine
05 - Get Out While You Can
06 - A Better Way To Fly
07 - The Center Line
08 - To Be Free Again
09 - Disappear

Ted Leonard - lead vocals
Alan Morse - guitar, vocals, autoharp, mandolin
Dave Meros - bass, vocals
Ryo Okumoto - keyboards, synths, vocals
Jimmy Keegan - drums, lead vocal (4)
David Ragsdale (Kansas) - violin (9)
Matt Spall - words



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