Sunday, November 29, 2015

TNT - Intuition [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered UICY-25143]

TNT - Intuition [Japanese SHM-CD Remastered UICY-25143] full

Without a doubt one of the greatest bands in Scandinavian Rock history, Norwegian TNT's most popular albums were recently reissued in remastered form on high quality SHM-CD in Japan, like this "Intuition", their more Melodic / AORish effort.

Coming off the extraordinary ‘Tell No Tales’ which mixed edgy hard rockers with melodious gems, "Intuition" is a pure Scandi AOR / pop metal Heaven. Pure 1989's I'd say.
Every track verses are trademark TNT awesomeness, everyone firing away nicely and with purpose, while every chorus is to die for.
Just like the last album, the guitar work is awesome. The solos are nothing short of amazing, and the riffs are pretty damn catchy. Tony Harnell's voice is once again incredibly as well with that huge range and emotion. There is also plenty of keyboard and synth parts in most of the songs which were typical in the era, but cleverly arranged.

All tracks in "Intuition" are melodic perfection, polished to the extreme, slick, gorgeous and wrapped by a crystal clear production.
"Tonight I'm Fallen", the top class of "Take Me Down (Fallen Angel)", "Learn to Love", "Caught Between The Tigers", the ballad "End of the Line", and of course the title track are almost perfect.

However, nothing on here even compares to the title track. This song is absolutely amazing. From the beginning when the riff kicks in, you are hooked to it instantly. This has to be one of the catchiest and feel-good song ever produced by a Scandi AOR / MR act.
In fact, this is my favorite TNT song, and probably one of my favorite '80s tunes regarding the genre.
Nope, they certainly don't make 'em like this anymore. This song shines of beauty, and it rocks too, which is what matters.

"Intuition" always sounded fantastic even in its original edition. However this Japanese SHM-CD remastered reissue provides an extra brilliance plus more bass presence and dynamic range.
At only $13.96 this is a mandatory purchase, A Must Have in your collection.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

フォーマット:SHM-CD; 品番:UICY-25143

01 - A Nation Free (Intro)
02 - Caught Between The Tigers
03 - Tonight I'm Falling
04 - End Of The Line
05 - Intuition
06 - Forever Shine On
07 - Learn To Love
08 - Ordinary Lover
09 - Take Me Down (Fallen Angel)
10 - Wisdom

Tony Harnell – lead, harmony and backing vocals
Ronni LeTekrø – guitars, 1/4 stepper guitar, lead vocals on 8
Morty Black – bass and pedal synthesizer
Kenneth Odiin – drums and percussion
Kjetil Bjerkestrand – keyboards, synths
Joe Lynn Turner – backing vocals



TNT - Tell No Tales [LTD Japan SHM-CD Remastered UICY-75603]

TNT - Tell No Tales [LTD Japan SHM-CD Remastered UICY-75603] full
HERE please read comments (updated)

TNT is one of the greatest melodic hard rock acts ever coming out from the Norwegian scene, and from the Scandinavian genre's history in general. Their most popular albums were recently reissued on high quality SHM-CD in Japan, like this "Tell No Tales", TNT's third effort.
Although "Tell No Tales" previously appeared on SHM-CD before, this Limited Release on Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP) version from 2013 is the first featuring the album remastered.

It took TNT three years to follow their previous ‘Knights of the New Thunder,’ and when they did, they clearly had some different aims in mind: the American market.
So what if it was more commercial? So what if it was even slicker? So what if it was even more melodic and melodic hard rock oriented?
Everything gelled, and it was the sound of authority. It was the same lineup from the previous record, and it was a band on a very serious mission, coming up with a gem every – single – song. Wow.

If you dig Dokken and Def Leppard, if you like the fiery histrionics of Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Trilogy’ and ‘Eclipse’ or the smoothness of Europe, if you ever liked anything about TNT – and what self-respecting hard rock fan can’t find something to love about vocalist Tony Harnell and guitarist Ronni Le Tekro – you must add this album to your collection and put it into rotation immediately.
This is a totally incredible, elite, killer slice of melodic hard rock mastery. No one has ever done it better. No, not even Dokken…

"Tell No Tales" kicks off on a pristine note, the one-two punch of “Everyone’s a Star” and “10,000 Lovers (in One)” showing a glistening, crystalline TNT emerging from and surpassing the myth-metal direction they could have gone in after the previous album. It’s all positive vibes and celestial cleanliness here.
Catchy as hell, too. There’s no denying how they totally own it on these two openers, as well as third track “As Far as the Eye Can See.”
Glory. Glory. And more Glory.

Then we get into the balladic side of TNT. “Child’s Play” is grandiose, and a rather excellent display of Harnell’s incomparable voice. The song stacks on the lush layers of sound the band were starting to slather on many of their compositions, and the Brian May-esque approach of guitarist Ronni Le Tekro is in keeping with the Queen-like studio approach that TNT display throughout this album.
Later ballad “Northern Lights” is the ethereal flipside of “Child’s Play,” a step into pure AOR territory, and it’s undeniably beautiful. Commercial, super-slick, squeaky clean authority comes back with “Listen to Your Heart,” a track of considerable emotional weight.

So is there anything resembling TNT's edgy, metallic past here? Absolutely. “Desperate Night” is dark and brooding, a mid-paced thing of epic stature. Textured and layered, “Desperate Night” may indeed be the ultimate TNT track if you’re looking for serious epic metal within an unapologetic melodic foundation.
Then there’s the title track: melodic metal amped up in precision and power. This song smokes. It has to be considered in any serious metal fan’s library of greatness. "Tell No Tales" decapitates with its sharp Le Tekro riffing and insane solo, topped by the incredible command Harnell has of his high pitched wail.

If I could compare how TNT sounds here, it would have to be Europe's Out Of This World era (only that "Tell No Tales" appeared earlier) mixed with all the American charm of the second half of the '80s. It has the emotional feel of Europe, yet also has the fun side of US melodic hard / glam which go together perfectly.

This Japanese SHM-CD Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP) version of "Tell No Tales" was requested by a reader of this blog, and I can see why: to check the remaster.
The original production of the album was - and still is - awesome, but this remastering blows out of the water any previous release: vibrant is the word.
A Must Have.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

フォーマット:SHM-CD; 品番:UICY-75603
【TNT】 Tell No Tales ~ [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)]

01 - Everyone's A Star
02 - 10.000 Lovers (In One)
03 - As Far As The Eye Can See
04 - Sapphire
05 - Child's Play
07 - Listen To Your Heart
08 - Desperate Night
09 - Northern Lights
10 - Incipits
11 - Tell No Tales

Tony Harnell – vocals
Ronni Le Tekrø – guitars, guitar synthesizer
Morty Black – bass guitar, pedal synthesizer
Diesel Dahl – drums, percussion
additional personnel:
Håkon Iversen – background vocals
Bård Svendsen – keyboards and programming
Bjørn Nessjø – keyboards and programming
Carlos Waadeland – keyboards and programming



Saturday, November 28, 2015

CHARLIE - Elysium (2015)

CHARLIE - Elysium (2015)

At this point of Rock history, British melodic rockers CHARLIE are a cult classic band with some great albums recorded during the Seventies / Eighties, until the band returned in 2009 for a solid comeback album. I am sure none was expecting a new Charlie album ever, but founder, singer & songwriter Terry Thomas has recruited original members Julian Colbeck and Martin Smith (along with guest drummer Steve Alexander) for the recording of this final album entitled "Elysium".
And I am glad he did it, as "Elysium" is a wonderful, delicious CD from start to finish.

During the Seventies Charlie blended melodious rocking songs (in the style of City Boy to name one reference) with some progressive elements. The band released five albums that went quite unnoticed in UK, however, in the USA things were decidedly different as their melodic style gained them significant traction on FM radio, which resulted in the band working almost exclusively for that market.
In the early '80s they moved to USA and embraced the AOR / melodic rock sound so popular in the first half of the decade, creating some memorable tunes into four 'American' albums.
Then Terry Thomas concentrated in producing other artists, until the mid-2000's when resurrected Charlie and released a celebrated comeback album in 2009, almost recorded all by himself.

Honestly, I was not expecting a new Charlie album, even less with original members at the helm. Well, Terry Thomas did it, and "Elysium" is one of the best albums you'll hear this year.
Call it what you want: melodic rock, progressive, hard rock (classic), all is here blended in this new CD.
The hook-filled melodies, the interesting arrangements, the biting, cynical lyrics are all in place on this 2015 Charlie release. Oh yeah, Charlie 2015 is more about thought-mind themes than girls & rock 'n roll lifestyle, but this is a plus, believe me.

CHARLIE - Elysium (2015) inside

You have melodic hard rockers like opener 'YouTube Girl', the groovy 'Make It Real' or the ridiculously catchy 'I Want A Maserati' (they haven't lost the sense of humor). There's also classic rockers with tons of groove and attitude like 'Clutching At Straws' including Hammond B3 and excellent atmospheres.
But my favorites are the intelligent melodic rockers such as 'Talking Heads', 'Call Me Dave', the cheerful 'Hey Dude', or the acoustically filled and poppy 'The Super Rich'. Thomas & Co. also add an elaborate touch of melodic progressive on songs like the captivating 'Virus', and especially the terrific 'Abandon Ship'.
There's as well elegant ballads in title track 'Elysium' (more a mid-tempo, slow melodic rocker indeed) and the heartfelt 'Thinking About You', both songs arranged and performed with class.

As said above, from my personal experience, "Elysium" is one of the best albums I heard this year.
It's expansive, rocking but far from ordinary, melodic but with essence, there's some beautifully crafted harmonies, fantastic guitar solos, catchy choruses and really, really good lyrics.
As happened with the new Dakota album, this new Charlie album is being silently released through a small London based label called Floating World Records.
It doesn't matter, we are here to bring you these little hidden gems... Charlie's "Elysium" deserve to be listened by all quality Rock music aficionados.
Awesome record : HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - YouTube Girl
02 - The Ballad of Kerry Katona
03 - Virus
04 - Make It Real
05 - Elysium
06 - I Want A Maserati
07 - Thinking About You
08 - Call Me Dave
09 - Clutching At Straws
10 - Hey Dude
11 - Abandon Ship
12 - The Super Rich
13 - Sad
14 - Talking Heads

Terry Thomas - lead vocals, guitar
Martin Smith - guitar, bass, backing vocals
Julian Colbeck - keyboards, backing vocals
Steve Alexander (Jeff Beck Band) - guest drummer



DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015)

DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015) full

DEF LEPPARD celebrated new self-titled album includes an exclusive bonus track in its Japanese release; bassist Rick Savage's own version of the track 'Last Dance' where he sings lead and backing vocals providing a special feel to the song.
Besides, in terms of overall sound, this Japan CD press seems to be a little more bright than the European release.

If you were thinking why the new Def Leppard album has been dubbed “Def Leppard” - a self titled at this stage of their career - it's simply because the record contents can only be described as sounding like... well, Def Leppard.
What we have here is an album that is classic Def Leppard without actually honing in on any one album or era. There’s parts of Hysteria, Adrenalize, Euphoria, Slang, X and even Sparkle on here. In other words, it's “Def Leppard”.

The first half of the album is true, traditional '80s - '90s Def Leppard, and I love it! Catchy songs, sharp riffs and 'that' melodic, layered choruses. The second is more varied, where they blend their recent modern sound with the band's eclectic influences, but all, in trademark Def Lep style.
Opener 'Let's Go' is an absolute classic Hysteria-era Leppard; big drums, big guitars, big harmonies – it may be a little structurally similar to Pour Some Sugar On Me, but who cares?
'Dangerous' that follows is an awesome ultra-melodic rocker, while the bass-driven 'Man Enough' somehow manages to sound classic rock with punch; there are elements of Queen circa 'The Game' here – great fun.

DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015) disc

The classy ballad 'We Belong' features all band members singing lead vocal lines for the first time, the excellent driving melodic rocker 'Invincible' is contagious, while the heavily-programmed 'Energized' adds modern waves.
There's happy rhythms on 'Sea Of Love', then 'Forever Young' continue the no-frills approach from the 'Songs From The Sparkle Lounge' album. The Hard Rocking, guitar-driven 'All Time High' and 'Broke 'N' Brokenhearted' nod back to the High 'N' Dry and Pyromania days, albeit with a more modern sheen.

Sounding quite unlike anything that Def Leppard have recorded before is the wonderful 'Battle Of My Own' that sees the band go all Led Zeppelin on us (Lep Zeppelin?), initially acoustic-led until the power-chords crash in, accompanied by string effects.
The beautiful, serene ballad 'Last Dance' has acoustic elements that harks back to some of the 'Retroactive' tracks.
On 'Blind Faith' Def Leppard mix blues licks with some Beatles-que Sgt. Pepper-era strings and woodwinds on the album's slow-building finale. It culminates with an anthemic coda where singer Joe Elliott briefly breaks out the piercing high register of his younger days.

DEF LEPPARD - Def Leppard [Japanese Edition +1] (2015) back

Def Leppard's new studio album is one of the biggest surprises in 2015. I hoped for such an album many, many years, but I never thought that it would see the light of day.
Joe Elliott & Co proved me wrong, so if you're a fan of the early, classic Def Leppard days, then you need to check out this record. You will love it.

『DEF LEPPARD』 / デフ・レパード
Ward Records ~ 【GQCS-90056 / CD】

01. Let's Go
02. Dangerous
03. Man Enough
04. We Belong
05. Invincible
06. Sea of Love
07. Energized
08. All Time High
09. Battle of My Own
10. Broke 'N' Brokenhearted
11. Forever Young
12. Last Dance
13. Wings of an Angel
14. Blind Faith
15. Last Dance (Sav's version) [Japan bonus track]

Joe Elliott - Vocals
Phil Collen - Guitars, Vocals
Vivian Campbell - Guitars, Vocals
Rick "Sav" Savage - Bass, Vocals
Rick Allen - Drums



Friday, November 27, 2015

MAJOR INSTINCT - Roots & Wings (2015)

MAJOR INSTINCT - Roots & Wings (2015) full

The other AOR Heaven Records release this month is "Roots & Wings" the debut album from MAJOR INSTINCT, the new band assembled by B.J. Laneby, bass player & songwriter from Swedish melodic hard rock veterans M.ILL.ION.

After 25 years, seven highly critically acclaimed albums, six figure sales and international touring, Laneby decided to put M.ILL.ION to rest and start something new. The decision was partly sparked after the bassist became very ill and nearly died at the end of their last UK tour (June / July 2014). Major Instinct became reality after several months of intensive care.
The line-up includes Laneby himself on bass, the very good Stefano Marchesini (ex-Human Race) lead vocals, Magnus Mild on guitar, Johan Hall (ex- M.ILL.ION) on drums and 22 year old newcomer Gabriel Glamheden on keyboards and Hammond organ.
In July 2015, the studio sessions took place in the real old-school fashion, with their very own guitarist Magnus Mild acting as the engineer, and with the precious help of Victor Olsson (Saffire) behind the mixing desk, and the ultra experienced guitarist / engineer Martin Kronlund (Love Undercover, Dogface, etc…) taking care of the mastering duties.

The album opens with title track 'Roots And Wings' starting off with mellow guitars and keys, gradually building up until the drums kicks in with a searing voice. The great grand organ whilst in the background continues throughout this track.
Next 'One In A Million' feels more classic hard rock starts, very classic Whitesnake and Deep Purple kind of sound, something evident throughout much of the album.
'High Five' begins with a melodic vocal outburst and settles into a classic sing-a-long anthem. The track features some hot riffs, which will have you picking up that air guitar and reaching for the stars as you belt out “Gimme High Five And Show The World We Can Do It Together”.

Tracks like 'Don’t Come To Me' or '316' will leave you humming with its riffage, while 'I Need A Drink' and 'Here And Now' have the feel of Whitesnake stadium anthems for the early 80s era. Especially the latter delivers great hooks and a sing-a-long chorus. Another great solo here too and there is even room for some ”shoo-whoop-dee-doo-whop”.
'Eyes From Above' is the ballad of the album with slower keys and guitars. The track is mixed with really smooth vocals creating a dazed atmosphere, boasting a great solo too. Last cut 'Mother Of All' is also slow yet more mid-tempo in a classic rock mould with a grand Hammond organ taking man role while the soulful vocals remind us of what a powerful singer Stefano is.

MAJOR INSTINCT - Roots & Wings (2015) inside

Very classy in the making, "Roots & Wings" blends classic hard rock roots indeed with modern sounds from the genre, mostly coming from the edgy guitar riffs / set-up.
Major Instinct may be a new band but they sound like as if they were together for years. The songwriting is good, well constructed & arranged, and production helps to provide a warm classic vibe.
You can't go wrong with "Roots & Wings", it's all classic hard rock stuff, and it's all good.
Strongly Recommended.

01 - Roots & Wings
02 - One in a Million
03 - High Five
04 - 316
05 - I Need a Drink
06 - Eyes From Above
07 - Don't Come to Me
08 - Here and Now
09 - Kicked to the Ground
10 - Follow the Trends
11 - Cold Wind Blows
12 - Mother of All

Stefano Marchesini - Lead Vocals
Magnus Mild - Guitar
Gabriel Glamheden - Keyboards
B.J. Laneby - Bass
Johan Hall - Drums



THE GLORIA STORY - Greetings From Electric Wasteland (2015)

THE GLORIA STORY - Greetings From Electric Wasteland (2015) full

One of the best things about Swedes THE GLORIA STORY is that you can taste the warmth of their music and musicianship from the very first time the 'play' button has been pressed. Already presented here on the blog with their previous albums, the band is releasing today November 27 the brand new album "Greetings From Electric Wasteland".
Or I should say 'brand old album' ? Because The Gloria Story are all about old-school Rock and Roll. And that's not necessary a bad thing, as consistency is laudable when you play fine as these Swedes do.

The Gloria Story have a chosen path and they stick to it on their third album "Greetings From Electric Wasteland". It's catchy, melodic retro rock rooted in a Seventies vibe with a hard rock edge.
Once more they hit the studio to do an analog recording of their righteous and rowdy rock n roll. I wouldn't be surprised if they recorded this album live.
As usual, The Gloria Story songs roar with bristling guitar riffs, razor sharp leads, grooving bass lines, rhythmic thumping drums, and Filip Rapp's pitched vocals. The energy is palatable as the pace is often up, the individual musical parts gelling with manic assertiveness.

Basically, The Gloria Story is about good times party rock n roll music. Sometimes they twist it up with some novelty as with 'White Man Blues' and it's iconic retro guitar riffs that would make Chubby Checker proud.
Then there's the uncomplicated pop groove tied to those sharp riffs in 'Down To The Liquor Store'. For the straight rush of fast forward classic rock, 'Beast Of A Northern Light' propels with anxiousness and speed.
Yet there are some calmer moments, at least one, with the lighter 'Hold Me Tonight' featuring piano with gang vocals and more of the spry guitar work.

THE GLORIA STORY - Greetings From Electric Wasteland (2015) back

So, is "Greetings From Electric Wasteland" is much different than what The Gloria Story has been doing for these many years? Nope. They just keep getting better at it.
All is more polished in the songwriting department, the songs are more focused, the choruses catchier. Yeah, The Gloria Story could be a new Scandi retro Classic Rock legend in the making.
But keep it simple; they just Rock. And Rock really good.

01 - Beast Of A Northern Light
02 - Bang Bang (Pull The Trigger)
03 - Look Left, Walk Right
04 - Whiteman Blues
05 - Cardinal Sin
06 - Roadtrip
07 - Electric Wasteland
08 - Crusty Pie
09 - Down To The Liquor Store
10 - Hold Me Tonight
11 - I Would Die (If You Wanted)
12 - Thunderchild

Filip Rapp - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
Carl Ahlander - Guitar
Jocke Rang - Guitar
Fredrik Axelsson - Bass, Backing Vocals
Henrik Siberg - Drums



Thursday, November 26, 2015

SAFFIRE - For The Greater Good (2015)

SAFFIRE - For The Greater Good (2015) full

Highly praised worldwide - and in this blog too - the first album from Swedes SAFFIRE combined melodic hard rock with AOR in equal parts. But for their second effort "For The Greater Good" the guys have gone even further; this is a fascinating melodic hard rock album exploring many territories and melodies through inventive arrangements and sounds.

"For The Greater Good" is a pumped up and fast flowing take on AOR with that sentiment at its heart, but with a strong injection of pace and a little bit of grit thrown in too. This new Saffire albums is being released by AOR Heaven Records, but believe me, this is rockier, heavier and has more depth than “simple” AOR. If you want clean and fresh melodic hard rock with brains, then this is in must have territory.
The first couple of tracks are really good rockers showing Saffire members prowess as musicians with soaring vocals, strong arrangements and an anthemic feel.

But then arrives title track "For The Greater Good"... wow ... this is killer, devastating, captivating melodic hard rock piece with truly original arrangements, variation and kick. The multi-part harmonies will blow you away, the riffs are to die for and the solo is a blast. Think Erik Martensson's Eclipse, Dynazty, Kymera... yes, this is that good.
Same with the haunting verses of follower "Heartless", a calmer AOR piece with clean guitars but then explodes into a fantastic pumping chorus. Again... WOW.

"Dandelion's Shame" is heavier, with a lot of bite, but catchy as hell, just listen that prime chorus. "Shadowland" turn thing even harder with a groovy classic riff, epic vocals and swirling keyboards.
One think I want to mention about this new Saffire albums are the keyboards: most are classic organ-like - not synth sounding - which adds a special aura to the album, and works greatly.

More quality arrives with the broken "Wake Up the World" (with some Coldspell on it!), "As Promises Burn" brings a delicate midtempo yet farrr from the common, elaborated and juicy.
"Blame It on the Rain" brings catchy, rapid AOR to the table with an irresistible riff / chorus combination, "Ghost Town" rips your ears with a monster groove - and then the guys surprise again with a peculiar chorus, before the superb "This Is Not the End" ends the CD on high note as well with a semi-ballad feel but plenty of magic.

SAFFIRE - For The Greater Good (2015) inside

Saffire's "For The Greater Good" will leave you with your jaw dropped and your melodic hard rock heart happy.
One of the greatest things of this album (among many) is that whilst the songs are vaguely scripted along expected lines, there is endless variety in them. There are plenty of changes of pace and attitude with some genuine diversions on the way.
I'd say there's a word which perfectly describes this album: "momentum". The guys in Saffire are masters in that, you know what I mean? That special moment in a song when you say; wow! There's a plenty in this terrific CD.

What a great year for the genre has been so far... add Saffire's "For The Greater Good" to the 'best of' list.
A Must Have.

01. The Great Escape
02. Casters of the First Stone
03. For the Greater Good
04. Heartless
05. Dandelion's Shame
06. Shadowland
07. Wake Up the World
08. As Promises Burn
09. Blame It on the Rain
10. Ghost Town
11. This Is Not the End

Tobias Jansson – Vocals
Victor Olsson – Guitars
Dino Zuzic – Keyboards
Magnus Carlsson – Bass
Anton Roos – Drums



VOODOO CIRCLE - Whisky Fingers [LTD Edition +1] (2015)

VOODOO CIRCLE - Whisky Fingers (2015) full

VOODOO CIRCLE, the super-group that consists of extraordinary Primal Fear guitarist Alex Beyrodt, the voice of Pink Cream 69 and many others David Readman, talented Mat Sinner plus the two newest members in the form of the 'mighty' Alessandro del Vecchio (Lionville) and drummer Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear, ex-U.D.O.) is finally back with album number four and probably the band's best record to date: "Whisky Fingers".

I’ll admit that while listening to Voodoo Circle, I sometimes forget it’s them and think I’m hearing the new Whitesnake album, and that’s not a bad thing in my book. Although Alex Beyrodt plays a guitar style that’s reminiscent of John Sykes and David Readman often sounds like a dead ringer for David Coverdale, what’s not to like about that?
If you like your classic ’80s style hard rock, you should really enjoy this new Voodoo Circle release. It certainly feels like it could have been released during that time frame.

My favorite tracks overall are “Trapped In Paradise” which is also the first single, where Alesandro Del Vecchio duet on vocals with Readman (and he owns a powerfil one), the catchy “Heartbreaking Woman,” the hard hitting “Medicine Man” (perhaps the absolute highlight) and the rolling “Devil Takes Me Down.”

But, honestly, I enjoy the whole album, there's not a weak track here. There’s a bluesy feel throughout "Whisky Fingers" and it should satisfy both the fans of great guitar playing and those who just like a nice mix of rockers and ballads.
Talking about ballads, track 5 “The Day The Walls Came Down” is awesome, with its piano and acoustic start soon joined by the unmistakable David Readman’s pipes, with a great solo midway through just like a blast from the past when hard ballads ruled the wave.

VOODOO CIRCLE - Whisky Fingers (2015) inside

Killer album, no doubt about that. The guys here nailed it and delivered their best record to date - and one of the best classic hard rock albums appeared in recent times.
Powerful rockers, groovy mid-tempos, superb guitar lines, strong vocal performances and a fan-damn-tastic production are the juicy ingredients of "Whiskey Fingers".
Highly Recommended.

01. Trapped In Paradise
02. Heartbreaking Woman
03. Watch And Wait (I Got My Eye On You)
04. Medicine Man
05. The Day The Walls Came Down
06. Heart Of Stone
07. Straight Shooter
08. The Rhythm Of My Heart
09. Devil Takes Me Down
10. 5 O’Clock
11. Been Said And Done
12. Coming Home To You (bonus track)

David Readman – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Mat Sinner – Bass
Alessandro del Vecchio – Keyboards, Vocals
Francesco Jovino – Drums



Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015)

Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015) full

"The Legend of Valley Doom Part 1" is the first installment of a planned fantasy concept by Norwegian vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Marius Danielsen (of the band Darkest Sins). As you can probably guess it's an all-star affair featuring vocalists & musicians from a wide variety of international acts from across the metal globe.
Notable names such as Timo Tolkki, Tim 'Ripper' Owens, Chris Caffery, Ross the Boss, Mark Boals, Edu Falaschi, Mike LePond, the legendary Robb Weir (Tygers of Pan Tang), and many other are featured throughout alongside leader & conductor Danielsen, as they deliver the storyline in grand, epic, power metal fashion.

If you love the sweeping, epic power metal of Avantasia, Rhapsody of Fire, Freedom Call, and Sonata Arctica, then without a doubt this album is going to be for you. However, there's also very melodic passages akin hard rock, particularly its groove, and nice progressive interludes which will intrigue listeners outside of the metal circle.

Danielsen's vocals are reminiscent of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson at times, and he literally soars with power and precision over these epic arrangements, especially impressive when paired up against former Judas Priest belter Owens on "The Prophecy of the Warrior King", the much traveled (and excellent) Boals on "The Battle of Bargor-Zun", and the leather lunged Mikael Holst on the speedy "Haunting My Dreams".

Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015) booklet

Anthems are aplenty here, and one of the best is the raging "Mirror of Truth", complete with some incredible vocals from Danielsen and hard driving arrangements. The title cut is about as epic as you can get, as symphonic keyboards, virtuoso guitar work and galloping rhythms form the framework for multiple vocalists to play their roles.

"Lost in a Dream of No Return" is quite catchy, as Danielsen & ex-Dark Moor & Fairyland singer Elisa Martin trade off amid sizzling guitar solos from Heavenly's Olivier Lapauze and ex-Manowar gun slinger Ross the Boss.
For those who want a slice of straight forward, pedal-to-the-metal melodic metal, look no further than "Raise Your Shields", a crisp barnburner with Boals taking the sole vocal and really running with it.

Marius Danielsen's Legend Of Valley Doom [Part 1] (2015) back

A project like this obviously takes a lot of time, effort, and love to put together, and Danielsen apparently worked on this first part for close to 10 years.
Not sure how long the second installment of 'The Legend of Valley Doom' will take to come to fruition, but I'm sure there's plenty left of the tale to tell, and in the meantime, there's enough epic & bombast here to hold us over for quite some time.

01 - Intro
02 - The Battle Of Bargor-Zun
03 - Prophecy Of The Warrior King
04 - Chamber Of Wisdom
05 - Mirror Of Truth
06 - Haunting My Dreams
07 - The Legend Of Valley Doom
08 - Lost In A Dream
09 - Raise Your Shields
10 - Free As The Wind
11 - Fallen Heroes Of Our Land
12 - Outro

Marius Danielsen - vocals, guitars
Peter Danielsen - keyboards, synths
Anniken Rassmusen - bass, vocals
Esa Ahonen - guitars
Ludvig Pedersen - drums

Edu Falaschi (ex-Angra, Almah)
Tim Ripper Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen)
Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Iron Mask, Royal Hunt)
Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland)
Elisa C. Martin (Hamka, ex-Dark Moor, ex-Fairyland)
Alessio Garavello (ex-Power Quest, A New Tomorrow)
Kai Somby (Intrigue)
Artur Almeida (Attick Demons)
George Tsalikis (Zandelle)
John Yelland (Disforia, Judicator)
Simon Byron (ex-Crystal Empire, Sunset)
Mikael Holst (Timeless Miracle)

Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius, Avalon)
Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Ross the Boss (ex-Manowar, DeathDealer)
Robb Weir (Tygers of Pan Tang)
Tobi Kersting (Orden Ogan)
Jimmy Hedlund (Falconer)
Marco Wriedt (Axxis, 21Octayne)
Olivier Lapauze (Heavenly)
Felipe (Twilight Force)
Alex TheKing Mele (Kaledon)
Kristian Tjelle (ex-Nocturnal Illusion)
Gard Austrheim (My Decending Ark, ex-Fatty Sunroad)
Marius Danielsen (Darkest Sins)
Sigurd Kårstad (Darkest Sins)

Keyboards, Synth:
Peter Danielsen (Eunomia, Darkest Sins)
Alessio Lucatti (Vision Divine, Etherna)

Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian)
Mike LePond (Symphony X)
Ignacio Lopez (Skiltron)
Giorgio Novarino (ex-Crystal Empire, ex-Bejelit)
Marius Danielsen (Darkest Sins)

Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire)
Ludvig Pedersen (Darkest Sins)



CHASE THE ACE - Hell Yeah! (2015)

CHASE THE ACE - Hell Yeah! (2015) full

On the blog years ago we recommended to keep an eye on CHASE THE ACE, as the band released a promising EP and first full length CD (both featured here). Well, the time for their definitive, most complete work to date is arriving in the form of "Hell Yeah!", Chase The Ace's brand new album.

Not in vain prestigious UK recording label Off Yer Rocka (The Quireboys, Screaming Eagles, Bonafide) has signed Chase The Ace for the release / distribution of "Hell Yeah!". The guys have matured in all aspects; skillful songwriting, excellent playing and a bright production.
Yeah, now Chase The Ace's love for classic late '80s American Hard Rock / Glam comes out of the speakers punchier, catchier than ever.

Based in London, the non-stop touring with the likes of LA Guns' Tracii Guns or Rudy Sarzo Band and soon joining Hardcore Superstar and Michael Monroe on their European Tour, has paid its dividends. Chase The Ace now feels confident, tight, and where there was some flaws in the previous recordings, now it has been polished via strong attention to detail.
Part of this success is the inclusion of new lead guitarist, British-born Dan Parsons. This axeman is on fire and his hot riffs / spiraling solos have provided to Chase The Ace's sound a new dimension. The guy seriously rocks.

CHASE THE ACE - Hell Yeah! (2015) booklet

Just check the incendiary hard rockers 'The Stalker', the melting 'Set You On Fire', the kicking title track 'Hell Yeah!' or the hair metal vibe of 'Fortunate Son'... these guys rock with 3-minute songs, straight to the point, with catchy choruses and lots of hooks.
'Desert Rose' gives you some rest with a midtempo bringing to mind Shotgun Messiah, but it still rocks, and pretty hard.

More hard rockin' fun is delivered in spades with 'Bad Seed', the groovy 'Full Throttle', the brisk of 'Dead Man Rocking', and the tongue-in-cheek 'Still Got It' (great guitar work). Chase The Ace also does a hot, sleazy version of ZZ Top's classic 'Sharp Dressed Man' which I liked a lot.
Flirting with AOR, although in an acoustic form is closer 'Running As Fast As I Can (With My Eyes Closed)', a cool number highlighting Roi Vito Peleg's vocals.

CHASE THE ACE - Hell Yeah! (2015) cd photo

"Hell Yeah!" is the perfect example of a band growth, as Chase The Ace sounds & feels great on this fresh effort. The songs are strong (all of them), rock like hell and are extremely catchy. Production is really good, bright, punchy, melodic but sharp.
"Hell Yeah!" is a complete, terrific late '80s influenced US hard rock album in the vein of Trixter, Kix, Warrant, Black 'N Blue, etc.. you know what I mean. This baby Rocks.
Highly Recommended.

01 - The Stalker
02 - Set You On Fire
03 - Hell Yeah!
04 - Fortunate Son
05 - Desert Rose
06 - Bad Seed
07 - Full Throttle
08 - Dead Man Rocking
09 - Out Of Reach
10 - Sharp Dressed Man
11 - Still Got It
12 - Prisoner In Paradise
13 - Running As Fast As I Can (With My Eyes Closed)

Roi Vito Peleg - Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Dan Parsons - Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Yair Gadon - Bass / Backing Vocals
Yam Artzy - Drums / Backing Vocals



TERAMAZE - Her Halo (2015)

TERAMAZE - Her Halo (2015) full

Formed in Australia all the way back in 1993, TERAMAZE have a long history with four albums under their belt (the last presented on the blog). "Her Halo" is the band’s fifth effort, a powerful and well-polished prog metal effort that sees the band drawing the appropriate balance between songwriting and technicality with the result that the eight-track, fifty-five-minute album passes in the merest blink of an eye.

Throughout "Her Halo" moments arise where you can marvel at the band’s instrumental prowess, but unlike, say, Dream Theater, who occasionally seem to revel in their instrumental excess a little too much, Teramaze take a much more nuanced approach, offering up a beautifully honed and emotive album in the process.

Sometimes there’s no better place to start than, well, the start. And the start of this CD is “An Ordinary Dream (Enla Memento)”. If you do nothing else in 2015 listen to the damn thing. You should do this because it’s incredible. And you should do this to see if you like Prog Metal at all.
If you don’t like this song then the chances are you won't enjoy the genre, because it’s ambitious, superbly well played and yes, ever so slightly grandiose and pompous – which means in the world of the most overblown section of metal that everything is as it should be.
“An Ordinary Dream (Enla Memento)” clocks in at over 12 minutes in length and, as you might expect, it morphs frequently during its life to create arguably the most complex composition on the record.
It begins quietly before exploding into a track with real power, in part due to the cracking work undertaken by talented Jacob Hansen, who has twiddled the knobs with panache yet again. The central riff and strong hook-laden chorus are deceptively catchy and infectious.

TERAMAZE - Her Halo (2015) booklet

The vocals are clean – indeed new singer Nathan Peachy does a brilliant job throughout – but the riffs are too modern for that fact not to be noticeable, “Out Of Subconscious” for example, is not the work of a retro type band who wants to plough the same furrow as others. Rather they’d quite like to make their own mark.
And, although the first song is the obvious pick of the bunch, work like the stunning “To Love A Tyrant” isn’t far behind, as Dean Wells (now the bands sole guitarist) really excels.

If much of the album has been heavy and all consuming affairs, then the third of this wonderful eight songs shows their lighter side – at least initially. Title track “Her Halo” starts as a suave, acoustic strum, a soaring chorus recalls Queensryche at their best.
This composition demonstrates the band’s ability to draw on the full-blooded power of metal and the addictive melodic nature of pop to deliver a piece that recalls latter-day Spock’s Beard with its multi-tracked vocals and adventurous riffs, all bombastically accessible.

Another personal favourite is the acoustic-led ballad "Broken", very commercial and almost poppy. It is another stunning track that benefits from more great vocals from Peachey as well as the introduction of an acoustic guitar that features pretty much from start to finish.
I love the chorus and the idea of introducing it initially in a form that’s just piano, acoustic guitar and vocals is inspired; it demonstrates how strong the melody is, without any of the more metallic fripperies. That said, when the chorus hits later, along with another emotional ad technically adept lead guitar solo, it sounds even better. This is possibly one of the stand-out songs from 2015 in my opinion.
The album ends with "Delusions of Grandeur", a track that sees the band range across the breadth of their influences in ten impressive minutes. With the synth orchestration cleverly arranged, the band maintain a lighter touch that sees the emphasis remain with the song, and, despite the length of the album, Teramaze do successfully leave the listener wanting more.

TERAMAZE - Her Halo (2015) back

Putting things clear that some of the best Prog Metal arrives from Australia, Teramaze have staked a very strong claim to feature within my end-of-year ‘best-of’ list. Any record that can deliver such satisfyingly crunchy metal and blend it with great poppy melodies without it sounding overblown or cheesy has to receive high praise.
And Teramaze deserve all the plaudits for "Her Halo" because it’s simply wonderful.

01 - An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)
02 - To Love, A Tyrant
03 - Her Halo
04 - Out of Subconscious
05 - For The Innocent
06 - Trapeze
07 - Broken
08 - Delusions Of Grandeur

Nathan Peachey - Vocals
Dean Wells - Guitars
Luis Enrique Eguren - Bass
Dean Kennedy - Drums



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

VAN HALEN - A Different Kind Of Truth [LTD Japan Deluxe Edition SHM-CD]

VAN HALEN - A Different Kind Of Truth [LTD Japan Deluxe Edition SHM-CD] (2015) full

"A Different Kind Of Truth" is VAN HALEN’s first album with David Lee Roth at the microphone in nearly 30 years marking a true return of the ’80s hard rock overlords, a screaming triumph for the feathered-hair dreamers who held on through a cinematically epic series of lineup changes, band implosions and shifting tides of musical fashion.
The album was released in Japan on a Limited SHM-CD Deluxe Edition including a bonus DVD with acoustic versions of new songs and old tunes, including "Beautiful Girls" and "Panama."

Yes, classic Van Halen is back, and we’re not faced with a group of veterans simply trying to make sounds that their old selves would respect.
Most of the "A Different Kind Of Truth" songs were written in the earlier years of the band, but 'fresh' is the operative word here. Many rock veterans are unable to recapture their signature sound, and while Van Halen may have cheated by raiding their vaults, who really cares when an idea first came to fruition as long as it kicks our asses?

However there's newly composed tracks as opener "Tattoo". The choice this cool song as the lead single may have more to do with its peacocking pop factor than anything else, because despite being the opener it isn't the standout track on this really good album.
Immediately, "She’s The Woman" taps into the ebullient ’80s spirit, a strong connection to a nostalgia-free strut and sexy, slick riffage – complete with a classic VH solo. A gem from the archives, the track appeared on a 1976 demo the band cut with Gene Simmons on production.
On "You And Your Blues" there’s a sick little changeup at the two-minute mark, a serpentine acceleration before another screaming solo. Truly, the six-string snobs will have their hands full here, as Eddie brings an airtight assault of fretwork that runs flush with the original glory days.

Van Halen’s legendary tapping channels Beethoven for just a flash to kick off a furiously sprinting "China Town," and the neckbreaker’s not alone in its frantic pace or celebratory energy.
The wicked ride back to their youth continues on "Bullethead", and anyone who thought Eddie and Dave wouldn't be able to deliver again can eat their words immediately after playing this scorcher, a fast-funk hard rocker with enough intensity to make the two-and-a-half minutes pass like a heartbeat.
This is the Van Halen I remember!
Eddie’s skittering riff carries us through the labyrinthian "As Is" with a tenacious confidence. When the full-speed ahead guitar riff kicked in together with a massive drumming, the band rocks. Roth even decided to yammer away in 'Hot For Teacher' fashion in a couple spots.
After going out with the 1984 influenced "The Trouble With Never", "Outta Space" continues the full-steam ahead onslaught while "Stay Frosty" comes across as 'Ice Cream Man' part two with its bar-brawl swagger jam.

The six classic late ’70s and early ’80s records from the first Roth-fronted lineup of the group set an imposing bar for any Van Halen reunion album.
After all the years of traveling separate paths through creative growth and member changes, and without original bassist Michael Anthony, it’s very impressive how well Eddie, Alex and David have re-connected with each other on "A Different Kind Of Truth".
This album is an evidence that a band can endure every cliche in the book and return with the right focus, obsessed dedication and mojo, to a sweet spot of rejuvenation – one that holds the hand of nostalgia but doesn’t go for the full embrace, leaning instead, wisely, toward evolution.

It has been said this Japanese SHM-CD sound much better (check the audiophile opinion here) but sadly this LTD Japan Deluxe Edition with bonus tracks seems out of print.
Highly Recommended.

Universal Japan ~ UICS-9131 【デラックス・エディション】

01 - Tattoo
02 - She's The Woman
03 - You and Your Blues
04 - China Town
05 - Blood and Fire
06 - Bullethead
07 - As Is
08 - Honeybabysweetiedoll
09 - The Trouble With Never
10 - Outta Space
11 - Stay Frosty
12 - Big River
13 - Beats Workin'
01 - Panama (acoustic) [bonus track]
02 - You And Your Blues Intro [bonus track]
03 - You And Your Blues (acoustic) [bonus track]
04 - Beautiful Girls (acoustic) [bonus track]

David Lee Roth - vocals
Eddie Van Halen - guitar, keyboards and backing vocals
Wolfgang Van Halen - bass and backing vocals
Alex Van Halen - drums, percussion

Try Here:


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

GARY SCHUTT - Under Sedation (2015)

GARY SCHUTT - Under Sedation (The Recollection of Jared Nichols) (2015) full

Jeff Scott Soto's guitarist GARY SCHUTT has been very busy lately, especially concentrated in his solo career / own band. Recently we enjoyed his E19 project with material akin '80s melodic rock, but now Gary Schutt is releasing his more ambitious piece of work; "Under Sedation (The Recollection of Jared Nichols)" a 2CD set with a concept story.

According to Schutt, "Under Sedation (The Recollection of Jared Nichols)" has been in the making since 1992 with ideas coming in / out all over these years.
The concept album - divided in two acts / CDs - tells a story in the vein on Queensryche's Operation:Mindcrime, but the musical surroundings are much more melodic rock / hard rock oriented.
At the same time, all these songs can be enjoyed separately, standing on their own as single songs ranging from furious hard rockers to elaborated melodic rock tunes, a bit of light progressive touches plus lots of sound effects and some 'digital dialog'.

As usual with Gary Schutt's works, all is really polished and well produced with attention to detail. He plays various instruments but his stable band also was part of the recordings, as well as a cast of pretty good vocalists.

There's many singers involved on the album (listed by Gray's himself using his own voice on a bonus track, some kind of 'end credits') all good delivering strong performances. One of the best is Todd Plant, who has been part of Gary's live band in the past.

Gary Schutt has been releasing quality material for some time now. Add to the list this "Under Sedation (The Recollection of Jared Nichols)", a strong double concept album carefully arranged and performed.
You need some talent to create such cohesive piece of work like this one, and undoubtedly Schutt skills are wider not only as a killer guitarist (there's some mind-blowing solos here) but also as composer and producer.
Strongly Recommended.

01 - Under Sedation (Overture)
02 - The Interrogation
03 - All I Recall
04 - Feed The Addiction
05 - Away From This Place
06 - Permanent Damage
07 - Heart On The Line
08 - The Edge Of Insanity
09 - ESP
10 - The Dark Side Of Love

01 - Entr'acte (Temporary Insanity)
02 - Eye Contact
03 - Apparition
04 - A Trace Of Love
05 - Under Sedation
06 - Inner Bedlam
07 - Night After Nightmare
08 - A Moment In Time
09 - Finale
- Under Sedation Digital Credits (bonus)

Gary Schutt - guitar, vocals
Dan Martin - drums, vocals
Tim Cronin - bass, vocals
and various guest lead vocalists



Monday, November 23, 2015

POISON - Flesh & Blood [LTD Japan SHM-CD Remastered] (2015)

POISON - Flesh & Blood [Japan SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) bonus tracks

A couple months ago we presented here the first batch of Universal Records Japan reissue campaign of various '80s Rock artists / albums from their back catalog on high quality SHM-CD, all remastered, with bonus tracks and with an affordable, reduced price.
Among these artists is POISON, and their multi-Platinum third album "Flesh & Blood" featuring 2 bonus tracks.

After the glammy, hair metal party of the band's two previous efforts, "Flesh & Blood" was Poison's 'get serious' album, and one of the strongest of their career.
The idea was to write and record more mature music and lyrics, something that guitarist C.C. DeVille was opposed to. He saw nothing wrong with the glam-slam-king-of-noize direction that they started on, and maintained that Look What the Cat Dragged In was their high point. He saw the introduction of more classic hard rock blues influences as diluting the Poison sound he liked.
However, "Flesh & Blood" is the best thing C.C. has done, and ultimately he was very happy with the result.

Take the opening track “Valley of Lost Souls” for example (preceded by intro called “Strange Days of Uncle Jack”). “Valley” rocks heavy with integrity and an edge that Poison hadn’t displayed before, and C.C. throws in a lot of tasty, toffee-like strings. His soloing will never be considered virtuoso and his tone has always been straight to the point, but never has C.C. generated such guitar thrills as he does on this album.
I'm sure that producer Bruce Fairbairn steered this ship with a firm hand. His stamp is all over "Flesh & Blood": from weird segues to rich backing vocals, this is a Fairbairn production through and through.

Fairbairn was known to be a taskmaster, and I’m sure he worked C.C. (and the whole band) to the bone. The title track, “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice” has his patented, perfectly arranged vocal stamp. The vocals are layered and almost Leppard-lush. This is the second excellent song in a row, so say what you like about Poison as performers, but they wrote some darn good songs too.
Then you have the smash hit "Unskinny Bop", the pop metal staple in any strip club around the world to this day.

“Let It Play” is simple but memorably melodic, then arrives another favorite of mine: the timeless sounding midtempo “Life Goes On”. I loved this bombastic electric semi power ballad then, and I still do now. A classic.

Then, the fun party side of Poison remained intact on the album with “Ride the Wind”, a no-brainer. This track sounds like its title, like a 'driving a car' song, a rock and roll ode to the thrills of the road. I’d rank this easily among Poison’s best hits — top five.
Another terrific cut is “Something to Believe In”, also a successful single / video. Bret Michaels wrote some pretty good lyrics here (about his best friend who died “in some Palm Springs hotel room”). Really heartfelt, and another Poison's best tunes ever.

We have a new highlight with “Life Loves a Tragedy”, this song shoulda woulda coulda been a hit. The soft intro fools you into thinking it’s a ballad. It’s not but a ballsy rocker with another Bret Michaels lyric that you’d call more mature:
“My vices have turned to habits, and my habits have turned to stone,” sings Bret. “I gotta stop living at a pace that kills, ‘fore I wake up dead.” Not poetry really, but really authentic. The chorus kills, as does the whole song.
Another top five Poison track in my book.

POISON - Flesh & Blood [Japan SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) back

This fresh Japanese edition on SHM-CD sounds excellent, and I think the remaster has given much more punch to "Flesh & Blood".
We have two bonus tracks; one is an acoustic version of “Something to Believe In” from the Life Goes On single B-side. It has new lyrics and C.C. adding nylon guitar melodies over the acoustic background. Nice version.
Lastly there’s “God Save the Queen”, an instrumental variation of the Sex Pistols song turned 'sleazy' with hard rocking riffs and smashing drumming. Cool.
Great album, great remaster, nice price.
Highly Recommended.

【SHM-CD / UICY-25535】

01 - Strange Days Of Uncle Jack
02 - Valley Of Lost Souls
03 - (Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice
04 - Swampjuice (Soul-O)
05 - Unskinny Bop
06 - Let It Play
07 - Life Goes On
08 - Come Hell Or High Water
09 - Ride The Wind
10 - Don't Give Up An Inch
11 - Something To Believe In
12 - Ball And Chain
13 - Life Loves A Tragedy
14 - Poor Boy Blues
15 - Something To Believe In (Acoustic Version)
16 - God Save The Queen (Demo)

Bret Michaels - vocals, guitars
C.C. DeVille - lead guitar
Bobby Dall - bass, piano on Something to Believe In
Rikki Rockett - drums
John Webster - keyboards
Paul Laine (Danger Danger), Marc LaFrance - backing vocals



SILENT - Land Of Lightning (2015)

SILENT - Land Of Lightning (2015) full
HERE No cuts ; own purchase

Brazilian rockers SILENT returned this year with a new single - already presented here on the blog alongside their highly praised debut - a pure AOR / Melodic Rock record originally appeared in 2001 in a time when the genre was pretty much considered 'underground'.
After fourteen years, Silent now are presenting their second full length "Land Of Lightning", featuring 13 tracks of lovely melodies in the vein of Foreigner, Hugo, Toto, Harem Scarem and modern Journey.

After their debut album Silent played at several festivals and own gigs, but suffered various line-up changes until they disbanded in 2005.
But around 2010, always with founding members Gustavo Andriewiski (vocals, guitar) and Luiz "Tilly" Alexandre (drums) carrying the flag, Silent returned into the scene when AOR / Melodic Rock started to become popular again.
With a refreshed line-up, Silent begin to compose new material and last year they selected the best, polished songs, and entered into the studio.

"Land Of Lightning" continues with Silent's love for classy AOR melodies, with smooth guitars, lots of keys, big harmony vocals and strong hooklines.
Straight from the Harem Scarem book of how to write a catchy tune, "Around the Sun" opens the new album with midtempo verses and a catchy chorus.

"Gone" sounds modern in a present Scandi style, same with "Hello Hello" delivering more rocking riffs, then "Bye Bye Superman" has a mid-pace AOR atmosphere bringing to mind the last Danger Danger.

"Numb" returns to pumping Melodic Rock, "One More Time" adds heavier guitars with a melodic hard edge, then the AOR of "Where Are You Going Now" balance things with a slightly Strangeways feel.
Title track "Land of Lightning" delivers a little twist as while it comes melodic and the skeleton is very classic, the sound and arrangements are quite modern. There's also one of the stronger guitar solos on the record
"Home" rocks hard in the early Nineties way, then Silent finishes the new album with another uptempo tune - I was expecting a ballad, but no complaints here, because "Dancing in the Morning" is a solid, meaty hard rocker with sharp riffs and cool backing vocals.

SILENT - Land Of Lightning (2015) inside

Silent may have modernized their sound a little - according to 2015 - but all their music is absolutely inspired by the Melodic Rock / AOR '80s glory days.
Andriewiski's vocals feel smoother and more mature, while the band's overall approach is solid and tight, influenced by both European and American styles.

01. Around the Sun
02. Gone
03. Hello Hello
04. Bye Bye Superman
05. Numb
06. Where Are You Going Now
07. Gravity
08. One More Time
09. The One Whithin
10. Land of Lightning
11. Scene
12. Home
13. Dancing in the Morning

Gustavo Andriewiski – Vocals, Guitars
Alex Cavalcanti – Guitars, Keyboards
Douglas Boiago – Bass
Luiz Tilly Alexandre – Drums



Sunday, November 22, 2015

POISON - Open Up And Say...Ahh! [Japan SHM-CD Remastered] (2015)

POISON - Open Up And Say...Ahh! [Japan SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) full

A couple months ago we presented here the first batch of Universal Records Japan reissue campaign of various '80s Rock artists / albums from their back catalog on high quality SHM-CD, all remastered, with bonus tracks and with an affordable, reduced price.
Among these artists is POISON, and their second smash hit album "Open Up And Say...Ahh!"

Poison's 1988 follow-up found the band a lot more polished and taking a better grasp of the genre they were slowly starting to command.
The production on the second album was cleaner and stood out more thanks to Tom Werman (Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe) expertise hands. Paul Stanley from Kiss (whose song Rock and Roll All Nite had been covered by Poison the year before) was originally selected to produce the record, but was unable to fulfill the role due to scheduling conflicts.

The band also took to having bombastic shows by the look of them they were clearly pulling a lot of tricks out of the hat worn by legends and influences Kiss. The sound was also Kiss-like when it came down to tracks like "Nothin' But A Good Time".
This second album also had a killer track in "Fallen Angel", whose companion video was just as memorable as it showed just how hard life in Hollywood could be for someone unprepared for what's out there in any big city.
The big chorus of that track made this a big radio hit but nothing would top "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", the soft ballad becoming one of the bands biggest hits in their entire career (#1).

MTV had a hand in "Open Up And Say...Ahh!" success as well, promoting the songs listed above as well as "Your Mama Don't Dance" (a Loggins & Messina cover) which was all over the place thanks to the video network.
Much of the premise of the band was the same here but overall they were a little more seasoned by now which made it sound a whole lot better.
The album peaked at #2 on the US Billboard 200, being denied the top spot by Bon Jovi's massively popular New Jersey album, Guns N' Roses' debut record, Appetite for Destruction and Def Leppard's most successful album, Hysteria.

This Japanese edition on SHM-CD sounds excellent with its bright remastering and strong bass presence. The bonus tracks on this release include the knock down rocking song "Living For The Minute", and "World Premiere Interview", a 10 minute interview segment.
It's nice to give people that but on a remastered CD it's more about showcasing unreleased music and demos more than discussions from the time. Anyway, it's pretty interesting.
Highly Recommended.

Universal Japan ~ 【SHM-CD】UICY-25534

01 - Love On The Rocks
02 - Nothin' But A Good Time
03 - Back To The Rocking Horse
04 - Good Love
05 - Tearin' Down The Walls
06 - Look But You Can't Touch
07 - Fallen Angel
08 - Every Rose Has Its Thorn
09 - Your Mama Don't Dance
10 - Bad To Be Good
11 - Livin' For The Minute
12 - World Premiere Interview

Bret Michaels – vocals, guitar, harmonica (track 4)
C.C. DeVille – lead guitar, background vocals, keyboards
Bobby Dall – bass, background vocals
Rikki Rockett – drums, background vocals
additional musician:
John Purdell – keyboards



POISON - Look What The Cat Dragged In [Japan SHM-CD Remastered] (2015)

POISON - Look What The Cat Dragged In [SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) full

A couple months ago we presented here the first batch of Universal Records Japan reissue campaign of various '80s Rock artists / albums from their back catalog on high quality SHM-CD, all remastered, with bonus tracks and with an affordable, reduced price.
Among these artists is POISON, and their rutilant major debut "Look What The Cat Dragged In".

When you look at the first Poison album you are immediately reminded of MTV at their peak and quickly remember just how flashy the Hard Rock genre had become.
The year was 1986 and bands like Poison gave rise to what became labeled the 'Hair Metal' decade. This aspect of big hair rock and roll would be par for the course for many of the bands from the Los Angeles area.
Poison was an MTV poster child and had five songs from this album in heavy rotation on the network. Their wild 'Glam' look and cartoon character antics made for some truly memorable videos.

Singer Bret Michaels, guitarist C.C. DeVille, drummer Rikki Rocket and bassist Bobby Dall surely seemed to have the world in their grasp and almost single handedly increased the level of female interest in the Hard Rock genre.
The formula on the album was simple and straight forward, it was about Rocking and it was about girls. Songs like "Talk Dirty To Me" and "I Want Action" played upon the bands not so subtle sexual innuendos and seemed to pave their way.
Ballads like "I Wont Forget You" would show the band had a softer side and while this number was really good (with some AOR in it) it would not have the impact on the charts like the forthcoming power ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn from their next album.

Like old KISS or AC/DC and at the time Journey or Survivor, early Poison had a catchiness to it that made the chorus parts very easy to remember. You could not go to a Rock crowd filled bar back in the day without hearing them blasting from every jukebox.
One of my personal favorites was always "Cry Tough" since it seemed to cite the necessary drive that made up every hard working musician of the day.

POISON - Look What The Cat Dragged In [SHM-CD Remastered] (2015) back

This Japanese edition on SHM-CD sounds excellent with its bright remastering and an increased bass deep end. You also 3 bonus tracks including the single remixes of "I Want Action" and "I Won't Forget You" (I was looking for the latter for many years) and the recording of "Don't Mess Around With Jim" where Poison did a nice job from the original Jim Croce song.

If you own the old vinyl or the flat original CD edition, then perhaps it's time you pass it along to some younger Rock fans to show them a particular point in time and then treat yourself to this remastered edition.
Now where did I put that hairspray…
Highly Recommended.

Universal Japan ~ 【SHM-CD】UICY-25533

01 - Cry Tough
02 - I Want Action
03 - I Won't Forget You
04 - Play Dirty
05 - Look What The Cat Dragged In
06 - Talk Dirty To Me
07 - Want Some, Need Some
08 - Blame It On You
09 - #1 Bad Boy
10 - Let Me Go To The Show
11 - I Want Action (7' Single Remix)
12 - I Won't Forget You (7' Single Remix)
13 - Don't Mess Around With Jim (Demo)

Bret Michaels – vocals, guitar, keyboards
C.C. DeVille – guitars
Rikki Rockett – drums
Bobby Dall – bass guitar



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