Saturday, April 30, 2016

V.A. - 0dayrox Advanced Releases May 2016

V.A. - 0dayrox Advanced Releases May 2016

There's highly expected new AOR / Melodic Hard Rock releases next May, 2016. Let's check the most relevant advances...

To be released by Frontiers Music, we already presented here on the blog the first singles from TED POLEY and super-group PHANTHOM 5. Now 2 new tracks from each have surfaced.
Poley's 'Hands Of Love' for sure will delight fans of Danger Danger's first classic album, a pure melodic rock / AOR tune with all the magic from the golden era. More contemporary but anthemic, 'Stars' is another winner and a future live favorite.

THE PHANTOM 5 is a new group formed by some German Hard Rock luminaries, including former Bonfire singer Claus Lessmann, former Frontline guitarist Robby Boebel, former Scorpions bassist Francis Buchholz and former Jaded Heart drummer Axel Kruse - along with Michael Voss (Casanova).
This will be a great album, as both new cuts, the awesome groovy melodic rocker 'They Won't Come Back' and the bright ballad 'Since You're Gone' are truly superb.

There's more great news from the Frontiers camp, as they will be releasing in June a new FIRST SIGNAL / HARRY HESS album. The first advance 'Love Gets Through' is a true melodic bliss in the best early Harem Scarem vein.
Also in June, and after many years of waiting, we will enjoy a new DAN REED NETWORK brand new record. Judging the terrific catchiness of first single 'Divided', on the contrary this album will find us united in joyfulness.

More from Frontiers Music will be thew CD from JORN. 'I Know There's Something Going On' is the advance from the album to be released in June, and it's more hard rock oriented than the last work from the Norwegian, at the same time catchy as Hell.
WITHEM is an upcoming progressive melodic metal band hailing from Norway inspired by the likes of Dream Theater and Circus Maximus. Their debut with Frontiers will see the light also in June, but the band already presented 2 tracks as advance; the highly melodious 'Arrhythmia' and the intense 'The Pain I Collected'. I really like what I hear.

"We Got It All" is the second single from melodic rock wonders VEGA (these guys know how to write a catchy tune), 'Wheels Keep Turning' the new single from ESTRELLA, perhaps the best tune the band ever composed.
Also check the new track ('Memory Lane') from Swedes SHADY TOWN, a new promising band working on their debut album.

01 - Ted Poley - Hands Of Love
02 - Ted Poley - Stars
03 - Dan Reed Network - Divided
04 - First Signal - Love Gets Through
05 - Vega - We Got It All
06 - Phanthom 5 - They Won't Come Back
07 - Phanthom 5 - Since You're Gone
08 - Estrella - Wheels Keep Turning
09 - Jorn - I Know There's Something Going On
10 - Withem - Arrhythmia
11 - Withem - The Pain I Collected
12 - Shady Town - Memory Lane

Only at 0dayrox


SURVIVOR - Too Hot To Sleep [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]

SURVIVOR - Too Hot To Sleep [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] full

Seventh album from SURVIVOR and their last in the '80s, "Too Hot To Sleep", one of the many albums from the band briefly taken out of print in 2009. However, it was 'Remastered & Reloaded' in all its glory by Rock Candy Records.

"Too Hot To Sleep" was the last Survivor album to be issued during their Eighties heyday, a record that took the band back to basics with an urgency fuelled by punchy hi-end production values and razor sharp guitar riffs.
It was also an album comprised of instantly catchy tunes, big hooks and heavenly vocals courtesy of the great Jimi Jamison.
By then the band was reduced to a trio, consisting of Jamison, guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboarder Jim Peterik, but in the studio they were joined by additional musicians Bill Syniar on bass and Mickey Curry (from the Bryan Adams Band) on drums.

Produced to impressive effect by Frank Filipetti (John Waite, Foreigner, etc), Survivor's three core members recorded the album primarily in New York City, utilising a new rhythm section that included well known drummer Mickey Curry from the Bryan Adams band.
The results were spectacular; big, bold and dynamic, with the emphasis on harder rock, yet still retaining their trademark melodic AOR sheen.

Some of the band's best tracks are to be found here, such as the immense ballad 'Desperate Dreams', the single 'Didn't Know It Was Love', the rather long (6:45) but excellent 'Here Comes Desire' and the up-tempo 'Can?t Give It Up', the latter a killer rocker full of keys and '80s rolling feel.
The top class ballad 'Across The Miles' features and awesome Jimi Jamison performance, and was one of Survivor's biggest AC chart hits.

SURVIVOR - Too Hot To Sleep [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] booklet

If you look at it from an accountants perspective, in purely commercial terms "Too Hot To Sleep" was less successful than its predecessor 'When Seconds Count' (in truth it barely dented the Billboard Top 200), but along with the aforementioned, 'Premonition' and the truly awesome 'Vital Signs', to these ears at least it represents the best thing the band ever recorded.
First of all Sullivan's guitars were pushed much more into the foreground, this time used to define the songs with Peterik's keyboards offering splashes of colour instead of the other way around.

This more punchy sound in turn seemed much more suited to Jamison's grittier vocal style, as had been amply demonstrated on the Cobra album 'First Strike' some five years earlier, which if we're honest was probably what landed him the gig in the first place.
Fortunately, this revamped approach didn't affect the quality of the songwriting one iota; the hooks, the melodies and the emotional investment remained as strong and vibrant as ever before.

SURVIVOR - Too Hot To Sleep [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] back

Criminally underrated, Survivor's "Too Hot To Sleep" should be considered another Melodic Rock / AOR lover's wet dream.
This 24-bit remastering from original source tapes by Rock Candy comes fuller, dynamic and rich in tonality. There's a really interesting 4,000+ word essay about the making of the album and interview with Jim Peterik, plus additional photos spread out over a 16 page full colour booklet.
A Must Have.

01 - She's A Star
02 - Desparate Dreams
03 - Too Hot To Sleep
04 - Didn't Know It Was Love
05 - Rhythm Of The City
06 - Here Comes Desire
07 - Across The Miles
08 - Tell Me I'm The One
09 - Can't Give It Up
10 - Burning Bridges

Jimi Jamison - lead vocals
Frankie Sullivan - guitar, backing vocals
Jim Peterik - guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Bill Syniar - bass
Mickey Curry - drums



SURVIVOR - Caught In The Game [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]

SURVIVOR - Caught In The Game [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] full

"Caught In The Game" is the fourth album by American Melodic Rock Gods SURVIVOR, one of the many albums from the band briefly taken out of print in 2009. However, it was 'Remastered & Reloaded' by Rock Candy Records.

"Caught In The Game" it's the Survivors's last album to-date to feature lead vocalist Dave Bickler, who left due to vocal surgery; despite the fact that he rejoined the band between 1993 and 2000, and again in 2013.
From pretty much out of nowhere Survivor scored one of the biggest ever selling hit singles in 1982 with the classic ‘Eye Of The Tiger’, a song written for the blockbuster movie ‘Rocky III’ featuring Sylvester Stallone.
Buoyed by that success, the band took stock and regrouped to record their fourth album, the much overlooked "Caught In The Game".

SURVIVOR - Caught In The Game [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] booklet

Mostly written and rehearsed in a Carpet Warehouse in their native Chicago, then recorded in Los Angeles and produced by guitarist Frankie Sullivan (engineered by future Guns N’ Roses producer Mike Clink), the album is a pithy coalescence of Survivor’s trademark sound and style.

Featuring guest appearances by the great Tom Kelly (I-Ten), Mr. Mister's Richard Page and REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin, the album feels arresting but smoothly produced, the songs ring with crystal clear clarity, refusing to out stay their welcome with title track ‘Caught In The Game’, ‘What Do You Really Think?’, ‘I Never Stopped Loving You’ and the epic ‘Santa Ana Winds’ standing out from the pack.
Amazingly, the album (originally released in 1983) failed to repeat the massive achievement of the ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ record, delivering no hit singles and making only a fleeting appearance on the album charts.
It was a shocking development especially when you consider that "Caught In The Game" harbours some of the band’s best songs.

SURVIVOR - Caught In The Game [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] back

Great 24-bit remastering from original source tapes by Rock Candy, including a 4,000 word essay about the making of the album, interview with band leader Jim Peterik, memorabilia and new photos spread out over a 12 page full colour booklet.
Highly Recommended

01 - Caught In The Game
02 - Jackie Don't Go
03 - I Never Stopped Loving You
04 - It Doesn't Have To Be This Way
05 - Ready For The Real Thing
06 - Half-Life
07 - What Do You Really Think
08 - Slander
09 - Santa Ana Winds

Dave Bickler - lead vocals
Frankie Sullivan - guitar
Jim Peterik - keyboards
Stephan Ellis - bass
Marc Droubay - drums
additional musicians:
Daryl Dragon - additional keyboards
Dave Arellano - additional synthesizers
Tom Kelly - backing vocals
Richard Page - backing vocals
Kevin Cronin - backing vocals



TRILLION - III : Ray Of Light

TRILLION - III : Ray Of Light full

This is a very special post; one of my favorite bands of all time, classic AORsters TRILLION, are working on new material and this "TRILLION - III : Ray Of Light" is the first fruit on this new venture.
After signing with a major label in 1978 the band released two acclaimed albums, the first self-titled with Fergie Frederiksen (RIP) on vocals, being produced by Gary Lyons (Foreigner, Grateful Dead), and the second, 'Clear Approach' produced by John Boylan (Boston).
How on Earth they come to an end after that fantastic 2nd album is beyond me.

For 'Clear Approach' the band recruited excellent vocalist Thom Griffin who after the band's broke-up disappeared from the mainstream business only working as session singer (providing background vocals for Dennis DeYoung, Steve Walsh, Jimi Jamison, Night Ranger, etc) and as songwriter... Until 2005 when he was called to lay down his unmistakable golden throat on the 'Ambition' album / project, conducted by Tommy Denander.

Four years year ago, Trillion founder members Frank Barbalace (guitar) and Bill Wilkins (drums) called Griffin again for a new incarnation of the band: Trillion III, and started working on new material with the help of famed master session-man CJ Vanston (Steve Lukather, Jeff Beck) to provide keyboards and began recording.
Added to Trillion III as well is bassist Dave LaRue from the Dixie Dregs, while original Trillion keyboardist Patrick Leonard has also played on one track ("Golden Sun Beyond") which has made the project much more special.

TRILLION - III : Ray Of Light  inside

Some tracks surfaced months time ago on iTunes and other retailers, like "Golden Sun Beyond" and "In My Blood", both retaining that characteristic magic of classic Trillion with the right AOR-prog dash throwing in.
The just recorded "Ray Of Light" and "She Hates Sunday" have a different, more updated commercial Melodic Rock feel - like the Ambition project or Mecca - excellent as well.

I've been waiting more than 30 years for something new from Trillion, and I just can't believe its finally happening. Thom Griffin's terrific pipes are intact, and the whole band is in top form.
These talented musicians are back with superb material that evolved within the recording studio retaining the originality of Trillion's sound and style with an updated approach and execution.
All I can say is WOW! ... Not only the group has been resurrected, they have recapured timeless elements of many great bands from the genre, with the unique touch of the class musicians they are.
Amazing comeback - Highly Recommended stuff.

01 - Ray Of Light
02 - Golden Sun Beyond
03 - She Hates Sunday
04 - In My Blood

Thom Griffin - Lead Vocals
Frank Barbalace - Guitars, Vocals
Bill Wilkins - Drums
CJ Vanston - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Patrick Leonard - Keyboards on 'Golden Sun Beyond'
Dave La Rue - Bass



Friday, April 29, 2016

MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK - On A Mission: Live In Madrid (2016)

MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK - On A Mission: Live In Madrid (2016) full

Available today in Germany, but worldwide on May 6, MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK will release "On A Mission : Live In Madrid", a document of their Nov. 19, 2015 concert at the Joy Eslava in the Spanish capital city.
Undoubtedly, one of the most intriguing tours of recent times for fans of classic rock / hard rock was when legendary guitarist Michael Schenker reunited with his former Scorpions bandmates, bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell, for a worldwide jaunt.

Also featuring great singer Doogie White and guitarist / keyboardist Wayne Findlay, Michael Schenker and his crew chose Madrid’s Joy Eslava Theatre as the location for the recording of the concert. The historical 3-story theatre created an intimate relationship between the band and audience.
On the evening of November 19th, 2015, this sold-out gig captured the power and excitement of Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock in full flight.
The band sounds tight and relaxed, but plenty of fire.

All phases of Schenker’s long and winding career are touched upon, including UFO (“Lights Out”), Scorpions (“Coast to Coast”), MSG (“Victim of Illusion”), and Temple of Rock (“Live and Let Die”), including several special surprises, such as a reading of the Scorpions’ biggest hit, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
During this concert, Schenker played various guitars, including the premiere of his new double-neck Flying-M with 2 necks, each with 6 strings, with each neck tuned differently.

What kind of a band would the Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock be without a singer who sets his own standards? They found just such a vocalist in Doogie White (formerly lead singer of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) and he is now part of a permanent line-up of Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, and has also mastered the vast majority of Schenker’s repertoire.

MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK - On A Mission: Live In Madrid (2016) back

"On A Mission : Live In Madrid" is a very good album, perfectly performed and executed, and recorded with a clear sound. An open invitation for the fans of the Mad Axeman to see him in his guitar element, and for all hard rock aficionados to enjoy these classic songs performed by classic musicians from the genre.

01 - Ocean Odyssey – Intro
02 - Doctor Doctor
03 - Live and Let Live
04 - Lights Out
05 - Where the Wind Blows
06 - Natural Thing
07 - Before The Devil Knows Your Dead
08 - Victim of Illusion
09 - Lovedrive
10 - Coast To Coast
11 - Vigilante Man
12 - Rock My Nights Away
13 - Saviour Machine
14 - Too Hot To Handle
15 - Only You Can Rock Me
16 - Lord Of The Lost And Lonely
17 - Rock You Like A Hurricane
18 - Rock Bottom
19 - Horizons
20 - Attack Of The Mad Axeman
21 - Communion
22 - Blackout

Michael Schenker - Guitars
Doogie White - Vocals
Herman Rarebell - Drums, Vocals
Francis Buchholz - Bass
Wayne Findlay - Guitars, Keyboards



MASSIVE WAGONS - Welcome To The World (2016)

MASSIVE WAGONS - Welcome To The World (2016) full

British Hard Rockers MASSIVE WAGONS are releasing today April 29 their third studio album titled "Welcome To The World", a hot 10-track rocker plenty of energy.
This is a group of lads who have managed to develop their sound to a whole new level over the past few years, and managed to grow into one serious Rock ‘n’ Roll band who are a true testament to the old school Hard Rock acts they’ve been influenced by.

Additionally, the band have always been surrounded by like-minded musicians, namely those who are also signed to Off Yer Rocka Recordings, which I expect had a great impact on their progression.
"Welcome To The World" offers a real variety and distinctive sounds, which makes it so refreshing to listen to, rather than being bombarded with a list of defined tracks from a one trick pony.

The album opens with 'Nails', which throws the listener straight into the deep end of full steam ahead fast-paced Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s an awesome track which doesn’t wait around for you to get comfortable, and instead demonstrates pure unadulterated attitude.
Title track 'Welcome To The World 'is a really intriguing song, and really well-written. ‘Rock won’t die, as long as we’re alright’ is a line from the catchy chorus, which is met with a mix of up-beat verses alongside bludgeoning riffs and mixed signal lyrics.
This progresses into the echoing drum beat and bass line opening for 'Ratio', which sounds very similar to the intro to Primal Scream by Motley Crue, and evolves into what I can only describe as an Arena track. It’s such a huge song that comes across supremely powerful, with a kickass chorus.

Then we have a track gracefully titled 'Shit Sweat Death' laced with different stylings, the Bluesy slide guitar intro soon takes a massive stride into what I’d describe as jager-fuelled fast-paced hard rocker ready to blow your socks off through your shoes.
'The Day We Fell' was a really unexpected addition to the album, simply based on its incorporation of Pirate Metal (not too heavy, mind you) into their already unique style. Ordinarily this is a style I wouldn’t expect to give the time of day, but it was incredibly well executed, yet again packing it with fast-paced riffs and centre-stage solos which rounded the track off awesomely.

MASSIVE WAGONS - Welcome To The World (2016) inside

All are strong, but if I had to pick a favourite track, it would have to be Fighting Jack, based on all the nostalgic elements it manages to incorporate with such ease. From the squealing guitar intro to the progressive guitar sequences, and finally the vocals, which followed the same arrangement as Still Of The Night by Whitesnake, how could I ask for more?

I think what makes Massive Wagons stand out from the crowd is the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously – they take the music for what it is, which is an awesome list of tracks to rock out too, and it’s about enjoying what you do and having a good time while you do it.
"Welcome To The World", based on all the nostalgic elements it manages to incorporate with such ease, it’s clear that this is the music brought forward by a group of '80s kids who have been heavily influenced by the Classic Hard Rock / Hair Metal generation, and I’m glad they have.
Two thumbs up.

01 - Nails
02 - Tokyo
03 - Welcome To The World
04 - Ratio
05 - Shit, Sweat Death,
06 - The Day We Fell
07 - Fighting Jack
08 - Jodie
09 - Aeroplane
10 - Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum

Baz Mills - Vocals
Adam Thistlethwaite - Guitar
Carl 'Flash' Cochrane - Guitar
Bowz Bouskill - Bass
Alex Thistlethwaite - Drums



Thursday, April 28, 2016

PEO - Welcome To The Party (2016)

PEO - Welcome To The Party (2016) full

Released by AOR Heaven Records "Welcome To The Party", the ninth solo record of Swedish artist PEO Pettersson (ex Leviticus, Axia) is by far his best in a long time. PEO released in the Nineties one of the most celebrated Melodic Rock / AOR albums of the decade, but lately he has developed his love for classic rock.

"Welcome To The Party" pretty well connects classic AOR with Classic Rock influences, resulting in the best of both worlds. Surrounded by new musicians of which guitarist Roger Ljunggren (ex- T'Bell, another celebrated Swedish AOR act) plays the biggest part in terms of songwriting and production, Peo has been putting a lot of passion into the new material which can be heard right away.

Inspired by a lot of the classic melodic rock heroes of the past, a song like "You've Got It Going On" for instance has that Survivor / Rocky-theme feel in terms of hooks and larger than life chorus.
Bright keyboards and smooth AOR harmonies make "Coming Out" another standout, Roger injecting a wonderful shred-oriented lead at first before settling into something restrained and tasteful at the break's end.

PEO - Welcome To The Party (2016) full

"Save A Woman" comes closest to the sound of Eighties AOR but also "Eilene" and "The Promise" as well as the title track make up remarkable highlights.
More classic rock melodies can be heard on "Sweet Dreams" which contains a sultry bluesy streak on both musical and vocal fronts, while true organ sounds warmly fill the semi-ballad "It's All Coming Back to Me".

Much of this material would easily sit on American Rock radio during 1984-1987, but PEO brings it back to 2016 with pristine production values.
Let's hope PEO continue in this vein blending classic rock with AOR as the songwriting and playing typify high caliber knowledge and idea execution, and most would be glad to savor "Welcome to the Party" again and again.
Highly Recommended

01 - Welcome To The Party
02 - The Promise
03 - You've Got It Going On
04 - Coming Out
05 - Break Another Heart
06 - Sweet Dreams
07 - Eilene
08 - It's All Coming Back To Me
09 - Love A Woman
10 - The Apple Of Temptation
11 - Dangerous

Peo Pettersson (vocals, bass, keyboards)
Roger Ljunggren (guitar)
Tony Morra (drums)




BILLY SATELLITE - II (2016) full

Finally after decades of waiting, the second album from American AOR band BILLY SATELLITE is released by AOR Heaven Records. Titled "II", the album was recorded in 1985 after the band's successful self-titled debut but shelved... until now.

After a tour together with the legends Night Ranger, the production work on Billy Satellite's album #2 begun. The plan was to start production on the record together with top class producer Keith Olsen (Foreigner) at his Good Night L.A. studios in Summer 1985.
Unfortunately, like with so many other bands of the time, their A&R at Capitol Records was replaced, the second Billy Satellite album was quietly shelved and the band was dropped. There was never any working title for the second album and, to singer Monty Byrom’s knowledge, none of the songs were utilised anywhere else.

Featuring a great array of tunes, with a noticeably heavier direction in places than the first album that would’ve garnered rave reviews had it actually been released in 1985 or 86, Monty is really pleased that this record is finally - after twenty years, seeing official release.

Of course, after Billy Satellite split Monty put together New Frontier with keyboardist David Neuhauser, drummer Marc Nelson and ex-Gamma bassist Glenn Letsch, releasing an album in 1987 through Polydor’s MIKA Records imprint.
Monty then gravitated more towards production and songwriting work with Eddie Money (who had scored a chart hit in 1986 with a cover of Billy Satellite’s ‘I Wanna Go Back’) and Grateful Dead’s Brent Mydlands, in addition to writing credits on records by David Lee Roth, the Stray Cats and Rita Coolidge.

BILLY SATELLITE - II (2016) inside

At times reminiscent of John Waite in his heydays, in Billy Satellite II you get hot rockers as well as radio-friendly poppy ballads. "Secrets In Her Heart" perfectly fits Rick Springfield circa 1984 or Mr. Mister.
"You Got Nothing On Me" is a wonderful midtempo, while the pure '80s AOR of 'You and Me and the Night' is my personal favorite.

Billy Satellite’s “II” was remastered by Chris Lyne (ex Soul Doctor, Mother Road) who did his best to obtain the greatest quality. These were pre-production demos, but quality is more than decent.
A true '80s AOR lost gem, Highly Recommended.

01 - You and Me and the Night
02 - Sorry
03 - Honesty
04 - You Got Nothing On Me
05 - Girls Like You
06 - Fantasy Girl
07 - Secrets in Her Heart
08 - Slippin Away
09 - Turning Pages
10 - Final Stand

Monty Byrom (vocals, guitar)
Danny Chauncey (guitar, backing vocals)
Ira Walker (bass, backing vocals)
Thomas "Fee" Falletti (drums)
Bill Coumo (keyboards)



FOREIGNER - In Concert ; Unplugged (2016)

FOREIGNER - In Concert ; Unplugged (2016) full

Legendary melodic rockers FOREIGNER are presenting their first-ever live acoustic album, "In Concert; Unplugged". The CD it's only being released in the USA and available exclusively via Amazon.

Foreigner recorded this unique acoustic album at a concert hosted by Edsel B. Ford II on August 24, 2015 at the Ford Motor Company Conference & Event Center in Detroit, MI, immediately following the band’s record-breaking 10-show stand with Kid Rock at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.
The sold-out trek with Kid Rock introduced well over half a million new fans to Foreigner’s nine Top 10 hits during each tour stellar performance.
The band is on a major roll right now with streams and downloads soaring after their worldwide #1 hit “I Want To Know What Love Is” was featured as the 2015 season finale end title of 'Orange Is The New Black'. Mick Jones & Co. are preparing a massive US tour right now.

On "In Concert; Unplugged", Foreigner got right down to performing ‘the big ones’ right out of the box, as “Double Vision” opens the set followed by one of their most well-known (and best) songs, “Say You Will.” The monster AOR ballad “Waiting for a Girl Like You” follows.
The band reaches deep into their catalog with “Fool For You Anyway” before ending the night with the super hits “Dirty White Boy,” “Cold As Ice,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Juke Box Hero,” and “I Want to Know What Live Is”.

FOREIGNER - In Concert ; Unplugged (2016) inside

The rockers sound pretty good for the most part, though the overall energy of some of the tracks are kind of missing that spark at times. For example, “Feels Like the First Time” opens with that well-known riff, but electricity is missing... but … c'mon, it’s an acoustic show!
The band comes warm and all sounds natural, it isn't a mashed sounding recording like far too many of today's CDs.

Special mention goes for Kelly Hansen as his vocal delivery is spot on as the singing round is really in one’s face with no outboard studio effects getting in the way. Additionally there's a studio recording of “Hot Blooded”, of course, unplugged as well.
Strong album and one for the collector's, as it's only available in the USA.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Double Vision
02 - Say You Will
03 - Waiting For A Girl Like You
04 - When It Comes To Love
05 - Fool For You Anyway
06 - Dirty White Boy
07 - Cold As Ice
08 - Feels Like The First Time
09 - Juke Box Hero
10 - I Want To Know What Love Is
11 - Hot Blooded (Studio Acoustic Recording)

Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals)
Kelly Hansen (lead vocals)
Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals)
Tom Gimbel (rhythm guitar, sax, flute, vocals)
Michael Bluestein (keyboards, vocals)
Bruce Watson (guitar, vocals)
Chris Frazier (drums)



AMBOAJE - All About Living (2016)

AMBOAJE - All About Living (2016) full

Blessed with a name that’s rather hard to pronounce, AMBOAJE is the vehicle for vocalist / songwriter Toni Amboaje, an award winning Spanish songwriter and a finalist in the 2012 edition of The Voice. His debut album "All About Living" was released some time ago by Melodic Rock Records but hasn’t gotten that much attention and I don’t understand why, because what we have here is a so-called ”complete package”.
Great, catchy songs, up-to-date production… and when it comes to marketing, it doesn’t hurt that the vocalist is good-looking bloke. Not so sure about the band name though.
Anyway, now it's being distributed in the USA by Global Music Group, and really worth to ckeck this very melodic 12-track CD.

Let’s take a look at the songs on "All About Living": 'Over And Over Again' starts the album and does it very well. It’s a very catchy song, with a Daughtry feel in their more melodic rock side, or the kind of stuff Bon Jovi should be writing these days, instead of whiny ballads. Great hook and a the kind of a groove that’ll make you want to tap your feet.
The title track follows with a modern sound and an instant (running time 2:50) contagious chorus and driven guitars.
The mid tempo 'Rise & Fall With You' is another potential hit single and the Y2K Bon Jovi comparisons come up again. They just rarely release songs as good as this one these days.

Fourth cut 'Able' adding acoustics to the mix could be the band’s hit ballad and it kind of reminds me of Gotthard. The party is kickstarted again with 'Gotta Be A Good Girl', a bouncy melodic rocker with a big hook and a big beat.
And then it’s time for slow-dancing again with 'Something To Say', a very traditional rock ballad. I like it but I prefer the uptempo stuff, the next song 'Five Years Gone' for example. Someone like Nickelback or Sunrise Avenue could turn this into a monster hit.

The biggest surprise of the album is 'Give Me The Real Thing', a very country-flavoured uptempo track in the vein of the last Rick Springfield, with a power pop heart. 'It’s Always You' is another ballad, a nice, gentle duet with female singer Paula Rojo.
'Feels Like Saturday Night' has some 2000's Def Leppard touch especially on the huge choruses and the breaks dome by the guitar riff, and I like this a lot.
The last two songs are both balladic ones, being 'My Heart is Strong' a midtempo with a Bryan Adams seal on it, the for 'Once' Amboaje pick up the acoustic guitar for an acoustic slow piece.

AMBOAJE - All About Living (2016) back

Toni Amboaje sings very well and it's a consummate songwriter - he was part of Sauze and melodic hard rockers Hard Spirit which released a quite good CD years ago - and this debut with his own band Amboaje is really solid on every aspect.
This is a very nice collection of uptempo melodic rock, heavenly rock ballads and pop-tinged AOR sprinkled along the way with a few modern influences as well, all packed with strong production values and a great sound.
Quite Recommended.

01 - Over and Over Again
02 - All About Living
03 - Rise & Fall with You
04 - Able
05 - Five Years Gone
06 - Gotta Be A Good Girl
07 - Something to Say
08 - Give Me The Real Thing
09 - It’s Always You (with Paula Rojo)
10 - Feels Like Saturday Night
11 - My Heart is Strong
12 - Once

Toni Amboaje (vocals, guitar)
Ruben Alvarez (guitar)
Luis Melero (bass)
Alejandro Banco (drums)
Santi Novoa (keyboards)
Ruth Suarez, Alvaro Barcena (backing vocals)
Paula Rojo (duet lead vocals on 9)



Mr. BIG - ...The Stories We Could Tell / Bonus CD 25th Anniversary Re-Recorded Hits [Japan Ltd. K2HD]

Mr. BIG - ...The Stories We Could Tell / Bonus CD 25th Anniversary Re-Recorded Hits [Japan Ltd. K2HD] front

Last MR. BIG album "The Stories We Could Tell" was chosen as 'best of the year' by this blog, and one of the best in the band's career. This Japanese Deluxe Edition not only is manufactured with the high quality K2HD technology, but also comes boxed including a bonus disc with Mr. Big's best songs re-recorded in 2014 plus a DVD with interviews.

This bonus disc "25th Anniversary Re-Recorded Hits" includes re-imaginated versions of monster numbers such as "Addicted To That Rush", "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy", "Just Take My Heart" or the chart-buster "To Be With You", all faithful to the originals yet with a modern punchy production.

Mr. BIG - ...The Stories We Could Tell / Bonus CD 25th Anniversary Re-Recorded Hits [Japan Ltd. K2HD] digipak

Mr. BIG - ...The Stories We Could Tell / Bonus CD 25th Anniversary Re-Recorded Hits [Japan Ltd. K2HD] back cover

You don't need a "The Stories We Could Tell" review here, just go and buy it with your eyes closed (an your ears wide open) and if you can afford it, go for this Japanese Deluxe Edition K2HD. It was a Limited Edition, but due to the high demand has been recently re-printed.
It worth every penny, with the main CD including an exclusive bonus track, plus this terrific "25th Anniversary Re-Recorded Hits" disc.

MR.BIG ~ …ザ・ストーリーズ・ウイ・クッド・テル ~ K2HD

01 - Addicted To That Rush [re-recorded 2014]
02 - Rock & Roll Over [re-recorded 2014]
03 - Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy [re-recorded 2014]
04 - Green-Tinted Sixties Mind [re-recorded 2014]
05 - Just Take My Heart [re-recorded 2014]
06 - To Be With You [re-recorded 2014]
07 - Colorado Bulldog [re-recorded 2014]
08 - The Whole World's Gonna Know [re-recorded 2014]
09 - Take Cover [re-recorded 2014]
10 - Out Of The Underground [re-recorded 2014]

Eric Martin – vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitars
Billy Sheehan – bass
Pat Torpey – drums



Mr. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell [Japan LTD. Edition K2HD]

Mr. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell [2CD Japan LTD. K2HD] full

Last MR. BIG album "The Stories We Could Tell" was chosen as 'best of the year' by this blog, and one of the best in the band's career. The album also marks the 25th Anniversary of Mr. Big, and this Japanese Edition of "The Stories We Could Tell" is pure gold, manufactured with the high quality K2HD technology, also boxed including a bonus disc.

There has been outstanding Melodic Hard Rock releases in the last five, six years, but with this The Stories We Could Tell" Mr. BIG easily sits among the Top20 as the record encompass all the ingredients of what should be a Rock (melodic) record.

Mr. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell [2CD Japan LTD. K2HD] cd photo

You don't need a "The Stories We Could Tell" review here, just go and buy it with your eyes closed (an your ears wide open).
This Japanese Edition worth every penny, with the main CD including an exclusive bonus track, plus the terrific "25th Anniversary Re-Recorded" bonus disc.

…The Stories We Could Tell

01 - Gotta Love The Ride
02 - I Forget To Breathe
03 - Fragile
04 - Satisfied
05 - The Man Who Has Everything
06 - The Monster In Me
07 - What If We Were New?
08 - East / West
09 - The Light Of Day
10 - Just Let Your Heart Decide
11 - It's Always About That Girl
12 - Cinderella Smile
13 - The Stories We Could Tell
14 - 30 Days In The Hole (Japanese Bonus track)

Eric Martin – vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitars
Billy Sheehan – bass
Pat Torpey – drums



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SIXX A.M. - Prayers For The Damned Vol.1 (2016)

SIXX A.M. - Prayers For The Damned Vol.1 (2016) full)

The three rock ‘n roll musketeers, Nikki Sixx (bass), Dj Ashba (guitar), James Michael (lead vocals) known as SIXX:A.M. are about to release their new opus "Prayers For The Damned Vol.1" next April 29 via Eleven Seven Music.
With Nikki having time away from the Motley Crue commitments and Dj Ashba’s decision to leave Guns N' Roses, this band is now fully-fledged and ready to fly.

Eight years down the line and here comes a fourth album which represents the band most complete and ambitious work. They have been together for seven years and the sound gets tighter and tighter.
"Prayers For The Damned Vol.1" includes some of the heavier songs this band ever released, musically and lyrically, but also darn catchy rocking melodies.
Not that this record can compensate for 'loosing' Mötley Crüe. Quite different are the musical approaches. But the new album of this trio provides us with excellent modern hard rock music that is highly entertaining and covers a wide range of sounds.

Each of the eleven tracks shows a bit of another angle of view on Sixx:A.M., with one song that sticks out. The opener "Rise", also chosen to be the first single, is an ultra cool rocker with a heavy guitar riff and a murderous groove. Together with catchy vocal lines this number is an 'all done right track'. This track stick to your mind as a wet spaghetti sticks to the wall. Next to these qualities the song also describes the power of standing together, for, like Sixx said, "rising up against some oppressive forces". A song with a message that is very well done.

The other ten chapters on the tracklist are good ones too. The title song is a mid pace one, a tune with a kind of a sad vibe, but on the other side also kept highly melodic. The more silent sounds are represented on "Prayers of the Damned (Vol.1)" as well.
"Better Man" isn't really the ballad you might expect. But Sixx:A.M. builds this number on acoustic guitars, with a structure that grow up towards the chorus to just fall back into a reflecting verse afterwards.

"Belly of the Beast" has nothing to do with the Anthrax song, having the same title. Instead of, Sixx:A.M. did a song that belongs to the craziest ones on this longplayer. It is a more creepy number, that creates pure joy the first time you listen to it. But it also needs a few more rounds in your player to explore the real pleasure of this song. It's build on a dominant beat and it's the rhythm section that pushes especially this track to its best.

For keeping the flow exciting, the band placed with "Everything Went to Hell" a mighty riff rocker as the next song on the tracklist. This tone has the right punch and is a 4 minutes energizer with the kind of guitar riff which compel you to get up and stomp a mudhole in the ground with incessant foot tapping, hips swinging and fists pumping.
The final song on the album "The Rise of the Melancholy Empire" is an anthem of defiance, of overcoming adversity, saying ‘fuck you’ and with a promise to return.

SIXX A.M. - Prayers For The Damned Vol.1 (2016) back

Sixx:A.M. releases with "Prayers for the Damned (Vol.1)" their strongest album since they started almost a decade ago. This record has the potential to bring the guys even more on the agenda of rock fans since it combines a true heaviness, demanded by metal heads, with a melodic and dark rock expression, that is strong enough to get some radio airplay.
The trio have produced the kind of record which burrows deep down into your ear, makes itself at home and refuses to leave. Infesting your head with poisoned hooks, built around sugary sweet melodies and enough guitar solos to woo even the coldest musical soul.
Highly Recommended

01 - Rise
02 - You Have Come To The Right Place
03 - I'm Sick
04 - Prayers For The Damned
05 - Better Man
06 - Can't Stop
07 - When We Were Gods
08 - Belly Of The Beast
09 - Everything Went To Hell
10 - The Last Time (My Heart Will Hit The Ground)
11 - Rise Of The Melancholy Empire

James Michael (lead vocals)
Nikki Sixx (bass)
Dj Ashba (guitar)



KANE ROBERTS - Saints And Sinners [YesterRock Ltd. Edition remastered +4]

KANE ROBERTS - Saints And Sinners [YesterRock Ltd. Edition remastered +4] full

When KANE ROBERSTS, the muscle-bound guitarist best known for slinging the axe for Alice Cooper (on the legendary Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell albums) released this solo effort "Saints And Sinners" back in ‘91, he created one of the greatest Melodic Hard Rock albums the genre has ever seen, and sadly, few listened.
Even to this day, "Saints And Sinners" has rarely been rivaled and remains a near-flawless example of how to craft a hook-drenched ear candy.
Now years later, this classic album sounds just as good as it did back then. Actually, it sounds better. Because reissue specialists YesterRock Records have gotten their mitts on it, given it a spiffy remastering, and released it back onto the market in a limited edition version (only 500 copies) that includes 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks on an extra disc.

"Saints & Sinners" is an over the top commercial Melodic Hard Rock album plenty of catchiness and hooks. Someone told Roberts and company that bigger is better and they decided that if bigger is better, than massive and huge were the only way to go, and go that way they did.
The hooks are not merely big, they are humongous, and they are legion. The choruses are monstrous sing-along anthems that soar so high they bump their heads on Heaven’s basement and every one of them is slathered in wall-of-sound harmony vocals that provide the knockout punch, the coup de grace.
Take all that and toss in the terrific guitar playing of Roberts and you have the sort of stuff melodic hard rock wet dreams are made of.

The album opens with "Wild Nights" and with its call to arms chorus and amazing melodies you just know this album will not let you down.
This is quickly followed by the killer "Twisted" and then by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Diane Warren and Desmond Child written track "Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?" which has also been recorded by Cher and demoed by Bon Jovi for possible inclusion on the 'New Jersey' album. This song still sends shivers down my spine to this day.
The rest of the tracks maintain the high quality, as the masterclass in MR/AOR which is "Rebel Heart", the rowdy "You Always Want It", the kick ass "Fighter" (title says all) or the melodic bliss in the mid-tempo "It's Only Over For You".

KANE ROBERTS - Saints And Sinners [YesterRock Ltd. Edition remastered +4] booklet

Now onto the main selling point of this reissue for me, which are the bonus tracks on the extra CD.
First up is "House Burning Down" and this is a mid paced melodic rocker with great vibe. It doesn't hold a candle to the main album tracks, but the chorus has a good hook plenty of big '80-style backing vocals and Roberts absolutely rips it up on the solo.
Second bonus track is the rocker with a poppy feel "Waiting For You", which while being cool has some differences in sound and a demo smell.
"Dirty Blonde" on the other hand happens to be the best of the bonuses, a vintage commercial rockin' tune with catchy hooks and a sing-along chorus spiced up with smooth harmonies and gang backups.
Last bonus "White Trash" is a cool rocker with some eighties Alice Cooper hints and a kind of Van Halen's 'Finish What Ya Started' swagger to it and a fine chorus.

KANE ROBERTS - Saints And Sinners [YesterRock Ltd. Edition remastered +4] back

Given how great "Saints & Sinners" sounded back then, the remastering doesn’t significantly improve the quality. But even a diamond benefits from a little polish once in a while, and on this new version the sound gain is better and more dynamic than the '91 CD. And now you have the previously unreleased tracks.
The solid songwriting talent combined with Roberts’ stellar guitar skills and the impeccable production from Sir Arthur Payson created something magical in this album, as said, a true Melodic Hard rock gem.
If you have ignored this masterpiece in the genre for all these years, then this is an absolutely essential purchase. For those who already own and love this album this is like an upgrade and therefore the one to own.

01 - Wild Nights
02 - Twisted
03 - Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?
04 - Dance Little Sister
05 - Rebel Heart
06 - You Always Want It
07 - Fighter
08 - I'm Not Lookin' For An Angel
09 - Too Far Gone
10 - It's Only Over For You
01 - House Burning Down (prev. unreleased)
02 - Waiting For You (prev. unreleased)
03 - Dirty Blonde (prev. unreleased)
04 - White Trash (prev. unreleased)

Kane Roberts: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Steve Steele: Bass, Vocals
Victor Ruzzo: Drums, Vocals



THE MAGNIFICENT - The Magnificent [Japanese Edition]

THE MAGNIFICENT - The Magnificent [Japanese Edition] full

Requested by many, here's one album that claims for a salient place in your collection: THE MAGNIFICENT self-titled debut, and this Japanese Edition with a great bonus tracks is the choice.
Definitely seems Scandinavia is the promised land for quality Melodic Rock bands. The Magnificent is a Finnish-Norwegian combined effort of vocalist Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) and guitarist/producer Torsti Spoof (Leverage).
What we have on their self titled debut "The Magnificent" is a massive platter of arena-size AOR in a melodic hard rock wrapper. Every song has an immense layered arrangement with emphasis, of course, on Eriksen's vocals and Spoof's fret work.

Since the first track you will hear many references to the golden age of AOR, with a punchy modern sound. Opener "Holding On To Your Love" and specially follower "Cheated By Love" with its magical keyboards and superb melodic guitars have all to be killer, instant winners.
Other arena rockers as "Memories" and "Satin & Lace" are blistering tracks full or energy as well, driven by cracking riffs.

THE MAGNIFICENT - The Magnificent [Japanese Edition] booklet

Some songs like the aforementioned "Satin & Lace" and "Bullets" offer a notable synthesizer layer while deepening the groove. For more straight melodic rock, "Smoke & Fire" and "Tired Of Dreaming" delivers a steady groove and pace, with the former featuring a hot melodic guitar solo.

Ballads are obligatory of course, and The Magnificent deliver the goods.
"Angel" is a bombastic and breathless song which soars thanks to the vocal arrangement and a pace that rises to a bristling crescendo.
Later "If It Takes All Night" may fit the more lighter traditional ballad vein, but it still rises to finish with a soaring guitar solo. Even lighter is the closing "Harvest Moon" with its fine mixture of acoustic guitar and synths to support the vocals.
Japanese bonus "Drive" is a soaring melodic rocker rich in harmony vocals with a pumping rhythm section plus great guitars, a track that clearly should have been into the regular edition.

THE MAGNIFICENT - The Magnificent [Japanese Edition] back

"The Magnificent" offers tasty, clean and streamlined melodic hard rock which is so rich in melody and catchiness that, even if you actually do not like much this genre, you are bound to remember at least one chorus line.
The musicianship is top notch, and guitar fans can look forward to many impressive guitar solos, many of which are truly virtuosic. The vocals are also terrific, Michael Eriksen definitely gives the album yet another point of attraction. Songwriting is incredibly consistent. On an album with 13 tracks is hard not to find at least a filler, but here, all are killers.

"The Magnificent" is a memorable slice of '80s-style Melodic Hard Rock / AOR with modern sound and excellent production. Definitely, one of the highlights of the decade for the genre.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Holding On To Your Love
02 - Cheated By Love
03 - Memories
04 - Angel
05 - Satin & Lace
06 - Love`s On The Line
07 - Bullets
08 - Smoke & Fire
09 - Tired Of Dreaming
10 - If It Takes All Night
11 - Lost
12 - Harvest Moon
13 - Drive (Japanese bonus track)

Lead and Background Vocals: Michael Eriksen
Lead Guitars, Keyboards and Background Vocals: Torsti Spoof
Drums: Rolf Pilve
Bass: Sami Norbacka
Keyboards: Jukka Karinen
Backing Vocals: Antony Parviainen
Guitar, Bass, Keyboards : Mats Haugen (Memories)
Drums : Tommy Jacksonville (Memories)
Guitars: Tuomas Heikkinen (Satin & Lace, Bullets, Harvest Moon)
Bass: Torsti Spoof (Tired Of Dreaming)



KROKUS - Hardware [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]

KROKUS - Hardware [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]

'Remastered & Reloaded' by Rock Candy Records, "Hardware" by KROKUS was part of the first three '80s records from the band reissue campaign of the label. Something the fans have been demanding for some time.

It's fair to say that the Swiss music scene at the beginning of the '80s hadn't exactly set the world on fire, but with Krokus that situation was rapidly reversed. The band’s album ‘Metal Rendez-vous’ became a surprise success, not only in their home country (sales rocketing to three times Platinum) but also globally where they secured a strong foothold in the charts and on the live front.
Krokus' no-nonsense brand of tough-guy hard rock found favour in a market that was wide open for that revolution.

"Hardware", therefore, was released into the arms of an eager fan base feeding off the energy of their previous album and it didn’t disappoint them.
The record picks up where the band left off, laying down some serious riffage on songs that display a cheeky lyrical charm; an unexpected side-effect of their Swiss/Maltese heritage.
Engineered by British studio master Mark Dearnley (Def Leppard) and recorded in London, the album makes full use of their powerful armoury, led by the ripping two guitar attack of Fernando von Arb and Tommy Keefer.

Heavy but memorably catchy, "Hardware" contains a superb selection of tracks, including the in-concert favourites "Easy Rocker", "Mr. 69", "Smelly Nellie" and "Mad Racket", songs blessed with a swish and swagger that made it clear the Scorpions weren't the only band in Europe with big potential.

KROKUS - Hardware [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] back cover

The early Krokus albums really needed a modern sound treatment, and this Rock Candy remaster does justice to this fun, hard rockin' band.
Much Recommended.

01 - Celebration
02 - Easy Rocker
03 - Smelly Nelly
04 - Mr. 69
05 - She's Got Everything
06 - Burning Bones
07 - Rock City
08 - Winning Man
09 - Mad Racket

Marc Storace - lead vocals
Tommy Kiefer - guitar, backing vocals
Fernando Von Arb - guitar, backing vocals
Chris Von Rohr - bass, backing vocals
Freddy Steady - drums, backing vocals



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