Saturday, December 31, 2016

LOVERBOY - Wildside [Remastered / Sony Special Product]

LOVERBOY - Wildside [remastered] full

To complete the LOVERBOY remastered '80s albums series featured here on the blog, here's the requested pretty hard to find only remaster available of "Wildside", the band's last studio record from the decade.

For album number five "Wildside" the talented duo Bruce Fairbairn / Bob Rock are back to produce and provide a commercial, AOR / melodic rock according to times (1987).
Song-wise, the record should be the more 'mature' Loverboy album, yet plenty of catchiness. The songs are mostly written / co-writeen by Dean & Reno, but there's few outside contributors such as the vigorous lead off track 'Notorious' (co-penned by Jon Bon Jovi / Richie Sambora) and the cool 'Hometown Hero' (Bryan Adams).

In a true Loverboy fashion, throughout there is a nice combination of guitar and keyboard work from Dean and keyboardist Doug Johnson, especially remarkable on 'Walkin' On Fire' and 'Love Will Rise Again', both delicious 80s AOR tunes.
Scott Smith's bass guitar playing is also noticeable like never before creating a more 'pumping' output typical from the era. Just check 'Break It To Me Gently', a song also displaying a sprightly chorus.

The really strong 'Read My Lips' exhibits a gratifying intro, and I also enjoy how Dean's guitar solo starts off menacingly while at the song's conclusion you'll be impressed with the skillful, rapid-fire drumming from Matthew Frenette.

'Can't Get Much Better' is another highlight, a midtempo anthem with a true '80s AOR spirit, and I always loved album closer 'Don't Keep Me In The Dark', a fantastic power ballad in the way only Loverboy can make it. One of my favorites from the band ever.

"Wildside" is the more, pure AOR Loverboy album in history with a polished production, 'that' sound and some of the strongest tracks of their career. For many, especially rabid AOR fans, this is their best effort.
This is a Nineties remaster (the only as far I know) released via Sony Special Product series back in the day, and the sound is really, really good with a bright output.
A must in your '80s AOR collection.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Notorious
02 - Walkin' On Fire
03 - Break It To Me Gently
04 - Love Will Rise Again
05 - Can't Get Much Better
06 - Hometown Hero
07 - Wildside
08 - Don't Let Go
09 - That's Where My Money Goes
10 - Read My Lips
11 - Don't Keep Me In The Dark

Mike Reno - lead vocals
Paul Dean - guitar, backing vocals
Doug Johnson - keyboards
Scott Smith - bass
Matt Frenette - drums



TOMMY HEART (Fair Warning) - Spirit Of Time [Japanese Edition +2] (2016)

TOMMY HEART (Fair Warning) - Spirit Of Time [Japanese Edition +2] (2016) full

After many years in the music business, Fair Warning vocalist TOMMY HEART is releasing today in Europe his first solo album "Spirit Of Time". The album has appeared in Japan past week with 2 bonus tracks.

Technically, this is not Tommy's first solo album, as apart from his work with Fair Warning and Soul Doctor, he has recorded with other projects yet basically these were solo material.
"Spirit Of Time" is his first released under his own name, and of course, many friend musicians he collected all over the years are present here such as Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia, At Vance), Jonas Reingold (Karmakanik, Midnight Sun), Tommy Denander (Radioactive), Leif Sundin (Treat) and many more.
Fair Warning bandmates Andy Malecek & Helge Engelke provide guitar licks and solos as well.

On "Spirit Of Time", Heart feels free to thresh his varied influences, however, as expected, this is a Melodic Rock album in the pure European tradition.
There's catchy tunes in the title track, the very-Fair Warning 'Back For More', the commercial 'Do Not Leave This Way' or 'Best Times', the latter very much in the Last Autumn's Dream vein.

Heart's vocal shine on midtempo 'You And Me', and we have an elaborated rocker in 'In The Eye Of The Storm' with a Radioactive / Tommy Denander feel, a true highlight.
As said, the vocalist leaves room for his other influences on the pop affair 'Catch Me If I Fall' (still with a rocking blood inside) and his cover of The Beatles' 'Help!' arranged in a really original semi-ballad structure.
This Japan Edition adds a Special Version of the title track with some Japanese lyrics for his Asian fans (Heart is a star there), and a different, more smooth mix of 'Do Not Leave This Way'.

TOMMY HEART (Fair Warning) - Spirit Of Time [Japanese Edition +2] (2016) inside

As part of Fair Warning Tommy Heart already showed his amazing vocal talent delivering some of the greatest ever Melodic Rock albums for the genre.
His first solo record "Spirit Of Time" not only includes some memorable tunes but also continues showcasing the singer's exquisite vocals, in top form.
Polished, highly melodic, perfectly produced and mixed stuff to end this year with a great collection of melodic rock songs in your player.
Highly Recommended

01 - Spirit Of Time (Special Version) [Japan Bonus]
02 - Back For More
03 - Do Not Leave This Way
04 - Best Times
05 - You And Me
06 - In The Eye Of The Storm
07 - Lean On My Shoulder
08 - Born to Run
09 - Catch Me If I Fall
10 - Touch Of Heaven
11 - Help!
12 - Build Your Life On Me
13 - Spirit Of Time (Original Version)
14 - Do Not Leave This Way (Special Mix) [Japan Bonus]

Tommy Heart: vocals guitar, keyboards
guest musicians:
Torsten Luederwaldt (Fair Warning, Dreamtide)
Andy Malecek (Fair Warning, Last Autumn´s Dream)
Helge Engelke (Fair Warning, Dreamtide)
Alex Strauch (She´s China)
Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia, At Vance)
Jonas Reingold (Karmakanik, Midnight Sun)
Tommy Denander (Radioactive)
Leif Sundin (Treat)
and many more




MARILLION - F E A R [SACD / Super Audio CD Digibook] (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Progressive album of the Year is without a doubt MARILLION's F E A R, one of the best of their career as well.

"F.E.A.R.", the new great MARILLION album just has been released in a high quality Super Audio CD (SACD) that really worth the purchase.
F.E.A.R. (F*ck Everyone And Run) is the eighteenth Marillion album, and its title surprised many people but according to singer Steve Hogarth it's chosen not in anger or with any intention to shock. It is adopted and sung (in the song 'The New Kings') tenderly, in sadness and resignation inspired by an England, and a world, which increasingly functions on an “Every man for himself” philosophy.

"F.E.A.R." sees the band taking on the big themes but they do not see it as their place to preach to people. The gold cover artwork is likely to be a reference to El Dorado, who was a mythical tribal chief from what is now Colombia, and who supposedly covered himself in gold dust which he then washed off in a lake while his tribe threw gold trinkets into the water. Over time, the word has come to mean a lost city filled with gold.

Opener 'El Dorado', which is split over five segments and extending to over 16 minutes, possesses the sublime musical passages that Marillion have always been known for. Lyrically, examines the notions of political entitlement and the modern challenges for the UK
'Living in FEAR' come ostensibly as a song about peace, with archetypal sentiments of disarmament, it’s a polished, succinct track that also has a sublime earworm of a chorus.

Then 'The Leavers' is an expansive song that contains five distinct, seductive sections. With soaring Rothery guitar solos and opulent keyboards, it’s one of the finest tracks that the band have released over recent years.

MARILLION - F E A R [SACD / Super Audio CD Digibook] (2016)

'White Paper' is a shorter track, a 'format song'. There’s a distinct sadness to the lyrics that’s neatly equalled by the authoritative musical backdrop, while 'The New Kings' bring a powerful lyrical statement on the general state of the world, the track runs to almost 20 minutes of luscious progressive rock.

On "F.E.A.R." Marillion returns to the 'progressive rock' album format, but musically it's the same Marillion we all love; melodic, at places atmospheric, velvety crafted and with that sweet vocal melodies.
It's a really strong, palatable new offering from these great British musicians. In fact, it's a little masterpiece.
Highly Recommended

01. El Dorado (i) Long-Shadowed Sun
02. El Dorado (ii) The Gold
03. El Dorado (iii) Demolished Lives
04. El Dorado (iv) F E A R
05. El Dorado (v) The Grandchildren of Apes
06. Living In F E A R
07. The Leavers (i) Wake Up In Music
08. The Leavers (ii) The Remainers
09. The Leavers (iii) Vapour Trails In The Sky
10. The Leavers (iv) The Jumble Of Days
11. The Leavers (v) One Tonight
12. White Paper
13. The New Kings (i) F*ck Everyone and Run
14. The New Kings (ii) Russia's Locked Doors
15. The New Kings (iii) A Scary Sky
16. The New Kings (iv) Why Is Nothing Ever True?
17. Tomorrow's New Country

Steve Rothery – electric guitars, acoustic guitars
Mark Kelly – keyboards, backing vocals, programming
Pete Trewavas – bass, backing vocals, additional guitars
Ian Mosley – drums, percussion
Steve Hogarth – lead vocals, keyboards, guitars, percussion



Best Synthwave 80s album 2016, Honorable Mention : MAGIC DANCE - Haunting Me (2016)

MAGIC DANCE - Haunting Me (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, an Honorable Mention to Best Synthwave 80s Album of the Year goes to MAGIC DANCE, which alongside LeBROCK and THE MIDNIGHT have delivered some of the most lovable 80s inspired tunes of the year.

From time to time, as fans of '80s culture, this blog covers some of the finest synthwave releases which revive that decade sound & style. “Haunting Me” is the fourth release from MAGIC DANCE, the band / project commanded by New York musician Jon Siejka, a wonderful slice of pure Eighties radio-friendly, soundtrack-like songs.

In the last five years or so, there has been a constantly growing scene of this type of music all over the world, mostly due to technology advance which allow to reproduce those synthesized sounds by your own with proper equipment.
But you need to write 'songs', and good ones to make it work. Jon Siejka and his Magic Dance got 'em.

Additionally, Jon Siejka is not limited to programming to obtain that 'classic' '80s sounds, he play electric guitar, some bass and sings pretty well.
Some of his songs are impregnated with a 'Rock' spirit as well, think Miami Vice but also 'action movie' AOR soundtracks.

As opener we have the energetic instrumental ‘Last Light’, an uplifting mix of soaring synths and electric guitars. This track would be perfect in an '80s John Hughes-style film.
Title track ‘Still Haunting Me’ is the first vocal track and Jon’s voice is in fine form. His style perfectly suits the style of music he creates. There’s a passion required to give these songs the authenticity that is needed to pull them off, and there is plenty of that going on here. Guitars are pushed to the fore and there’s a great solo by Tim Mackey on this.

‘I Wanna Know’ is next up and is a highlight for me. With its big synths, rocking guitars and pumping AOR melody you’d expect to see this as a video on MTV, wedged in between Journey, Heart and Foreigner. Not only is this a great sounding song but Magic Dance manage to complete the whole package with the use of sublime breaks, builds and bridges — going the extra mile in overall songwriting craft.
‘Another Life, Another Time’ is a classic rock ballad wrapped by a 1984 sound with nice guitars, piano, a healthy dose of chiming synths and layered chorus vocals set the scene here. I can picture the music video for this now – a girl, a guy, rain. Longing looks, hands breaking apart in slow motion. May a little extra hairspray...

Jon Siejka's Magic Dance is much more than a synthwave artist creating his music behind a synthesizer. He blends all these stuff with real electric guitars / vocals, and composing true rock&pop, 80s radio-friendly AOR songs with substance
It’s great to see more artists embracing classic adult contemporary rock and exploring the Top 40 chart sounds of the '80s / movie soundtracks that are not solely synth-pop focused.

01 - Last Light
02 - Still Haunting Me
03 - I Wanna Know
04 - Another Life, Another Time
05 - 'Til You're All Mine
06 - Kiss Scene
07 - One Step Away (Is This For Real)
08 - Lay Me Down
09 - The Mirror of Dreams
10 - The Unknown Beyond

All songs, vocals & instruments: Jon Siejka
Guitar solo in "I Wanna Know" by Tim Mackey




CATS IN SPACE - Too Many Gods (2015) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Breakthrough Act this Year is CATS IN SPACE. Despite their album "Too Many Gods" was released at the end of past year, it grow up in sales this 2016 alongside the band's stupendous live shows. Can't wait the next CD.

I was waiting for this one for a while... British combo CATS IN SPACE have landed with their awesome debut "Too Many Gods" to be released tomorrow.
Created by the great (and underrated) guitarist Greg Hart from AORsters Moritz and featuring band members with a wealth if experience in the music business for over 30 years, both as writers and performers for bands like The Sweet, Asia, T’Pau, Ian Gillan Band, Mike Oldfield, Airrace, Arena to name a few, you can expect performances of the highest caliber.

First, I want to know how they came up with their name. Was the kitty lover of the band watching too many reruns of the original Muppet Show? Remember Pigs In Space? Second, Cats In Space and their debut "Too Many Gods" should get high marks simply for being totally against current musical conventions.
While AOR / Melodic Rock has been around for decades, this particular sound probably hasn't surfaced, as significantly as this, for more than thirty years.
So what do the Cats In Space sound like? I'm thinking Player (listen the early '80s AOR of 'Mr. Heartache'), 10cc, Cheap Trick, Electric Light Orchestra (without the synth symphonics), early Queen (check 'Stop' or the highly harmonized 'Last Man Standing'), some Chicago in the rich harmonies, and early Foreigner in the riff's muscle.

Back in that day, much of AOR / Melodic Rock was radio-friendly ear candy (also called FM Rock): smooth, with an abundance of melody, bounce and groove, big vocal harmonies, slick guitar solos and glimmering to flamboyant keyboards.
You could you bob your head, tap your toe, sing along, even dance if you dared (talking to the men here) and, if you played this stuff for the chicks, you probably got laid on a regular basis.
Cats In Space square this and, for a modern presentation, perhaps makes that classic sound heavier. Bigger riffs can be found within title track 'Too Many Gods' and 'Unfinished Symphony'. But these guitars joined with the keyboards make for a magical large sound, you know, the kind that filled arenas nearly everywhere.

CATS IN SPACE - Too Many Gods (2015) inside

But the largest feature, perhaps the motto of the genre, are the vocal harmonies. They are expansive and impressive, as large as any other element within the songs including the guitars and keyboards. Think the perfect storm of Chicago, REO Speedwagon and Foreigner.
I mentioned a few songs earlier, but there's no need for more descriptions. Suffice to say, everything song is terrific. What's that old saying, yeah, All killer, No filler.
A future classic - A MUST HAVE

01. Arrival
02. Too Many Gods
03. Stop
04. Last Man Standing
05. Mr. Heartache
06. Unfinished Symphony
07. Schoolyard Fantasy
08. The Greatest Story Never Told
09. Only In Vegas
10. Man In The Moon
11. Five Minute Celebrity
12. Velvet Horizon

Greg Hart - Guitars, Vocals, Synthesizer
Paul Manzi - Lead vocals
Steevi Bacon - Drums, Percussion
Dean Howard - Guitar
Jeff Brown - Bass, Vocals
Andy Stewart - Piano, Synths, Vocoder, Wurlitzer
Mick Wilson - Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Keys
Andy Scott - Guitar, Vocals
Janey Bombshell - Backing Vocals
Greg Camburn - Saxophone
Mike Moran - Orchestra arranger & performer, Piano, Organ



BEST LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR : KIX - Can't Stop The Show: The Return Of Kix (2016)

KIX - Can't Stop The Show: The Return Of Kix (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Live Album of the Year is KIX - Can't Stop The Show: The Return Of Kix. There has been some really good live releases this year, but we have chosen KIX for what it represents: the return of this great band (with a studio album in the making).

0dayrox is proud to present the exclusive world-wide premiere of "Can't Stop The Show: The Return Of KIX", the new two-disc DVD/CD set from platinum-selling Maryland hard rock icons KIX to be released on October 21 via Loud & Proud Records.

The release is an in-depth look into KIX's decision to record their first new album, 2014's 'Rock Your Face Off', in almost 20 years. The DVD also features the making of the album from bassist Mark Schenker's studio, interviews with the band as well as notable rock artists such as Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, Jeff LaBar of Cinderella, Share Ross of Vixen, key music industry veterans such as radio personality Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic as well as Luc Carl and Keith Roth of SiriusXM.

The CD, "Can't Stop The Show (Live)" offers never - before - released live KIX tracks recorded over the last three years. A bonus KIX logo sticker is inside the first manufacturing run, a special treat for KIX fans around the world, and each band member offers his own special contribution to the package's booklet including vocalist Steve Whiteman's rigorous exercise routine, cartoons by guitarist Brian "Damage" Forsythe, an essay by bassist Mark Schenker, a gear rundown by guitarist Ronnie "10/10" Younkins and a favorite recipe from drummer Jimmy Chalfant, a.k.a. "Chef Chocolate."

The album - mixed by guitarist since many years becoming record producer Brad Divens who was part of the very early Kix and recorded in their 'Cool Kids' album and later fronted Wrathchild America - has a vibrant punchy sound, with the band playing various tracks from the last album but also '80s classics such as 'Blow My Fuse', 'Midnite Dynamite' and one of my favorites, 'Cold Shower'.
Great rocking stuff

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Wheels In Motion (Live)
02 - Rock Your Face Off (Live)
03 - Cold Shower (Live)
04 - Mean Miss Adventure (Live)
05 - You're Gone (Live)
06 - Cold Blood (Live)
07 - Can't Stop The Show (Live)
08 - Girl Money (Live)
09 - Love Me With Your Top Down (Live)
10 - Blow My Fuse (Live)
11 - Love Pollution (Live at Sirius-XM)
12 - Midnite Dynamite (Live at Sirius-XM)

Steve Whiteman: lead vocals
Ronnie Younkins: guitars, backing vocals
Brian Forsythe: guitars
Mark Schenker: bass, backing vocals
Jimmy Chalfant: drums, vocals

Pre Order:


Friday, December 30, 2016

OUGHTON TANERA - Jasper's Warning (2016)

OUGHTON TANERA - Jasper's Warning (2016) full

"Jasper's Warning" is the just released new album by OUGHTON TANERA, a three-piece Melodic Rock band heralding from Germany. The project is the brainchild of the multi-talented musician Heiko 'Oughton' Arendt who wrote, mixed and produced the whole album; he handled every part in the early stages before passing the drums and percussion to Pedda Wohlgemuth and vocals to Michael Stegh.

There are many musicians out there with great talents, however, what is most remarkable about Oughton is the fact that, in February 2013, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This left him, at one stage, unable to move his fretting hand and thus he had to develop new techniques in order to be able to play again.
This, in turn, has lead to a beautiful, unique guitar tone that subsequently has given rise to an original Melodic Rock band / album.

Oughton wrote the title track 'Jasper's Warning' after his son came into the rehearsal room with a self made horn. He played the note A 440hz instantly. So they decided to record that instrument and the idea for the album was born.
But "Jasper's Warning" has a vast variety of themes. Oughton worked together with actors and created an audio drama for the trilogy-track 'The Inner Peace', a really interesting piece of work.

On the more commercial side of things, 'When You Cry' is a straight ahead melodic hard rocker with some kind of Lynch Mob smell driven by racing guitars, a punchy rhythm section and classy vocals.
There's more groove on 'Wrong World' where lead singer Stegh sounds very like Carsten 'The Lizzard' Shulz, as he does on many of the tracks, especially the moody 'Keep Your Love Alive' and the heavier 'Don't Be Afraid of the Night' plenty of strong harmony vocals.

"Jasper's Warning" has obviously been a therapeutic exercise for Oughton who has used it to showcase his quite unique songwriting and guitar talents in equal measures.
Oughton Tanera as band sounds truly tight with their interesting approach to elaborated Melodic Rock driven by an original guitar work, really good vocals and a versatile rhythm section.
Different and Good stuff. Strongly Recommended

01 - When You Cry
02 - Wrong World
03 - A New Beginning
04 - Keep Your Love Alive
05 - Don't Be Afraid of the Night
06 - The Dispute (Audio Drama)
07 - The Inner Peace, Pt. 1
08 - The Deed (Audio Drama)
09 - The Inner Peace, Pt. 2
10 - No Regret (Audio Drama)
11 - The Inner Peace, Pt. 3
12 - Jasper's Warning
13 - The Storm (Unplugged) [Bonus Track]

Heiko Arendt (Guitars)
Michael Stegh (Vocals, Bass)
Pedda Wohlgemuth (Drums)



HYDRA - Solar Empire (2016)

HYDRA - Solar Empire (2016) full

"Solar Empire" is the second album (released today) from Germans HYDRA, a female-fronted band which musically is as versatile as the mythological monster with many snakeheads they take their name from.

HYDRA are influenced by many different rock styles such as melodic metal, power metal and progressive metal with sympho touch.
As the opposite to the majority of bands from the current scene amalgamating these genres the focus here is not a classically trained voice. Instead, front lady Lisa Rieger integrates her clean pipes into the musical tapestry with a traditional metal feel, giving the band its characteristic enchanting melodies.
Musically, Hydra is driven by deliberate contrasts: strong heavy riffs meets soft, ethereal arrangements evocative of fairy tales recalling traditional metal.

There's a concept on "Solar Empire", a story about a loving couple. The female protagonist 'Lanya' is living in a world called 'Lunar', while the male protagonist 'Am'ran' is an inhabitant on 'Solys', but their love is not tolerated. Yes, "Solar Empire" tells the classic story of a forbidden love.
But you can enjoy each track individually, and there's a lot of variety to enjoy here.

You have from a symphonic / melodic metal stomp in ‘Towards The End’ coupled with choral backdrops, to an aerial soft number in 'Crystalline Cage', indeed adorned by crystal clear orchestrations, flutes, bagpipes and sweet vocals.
In the middle, we find more bouncy titles such as ‘Days Of Thunder’ with its catchy rhythm and some hard rock structures, then let’s not forget the symphonic 7+ minute epic ‘Horns Of Erakor’ featuring guest vocals by Henning Basse (Firewind / Epysode), a real belter.

HYDRA - Solar Empire (2016) inside

Everything in "Solar Empire" ticks the right boxes for a successful melodic metal + light power / progressive metal effort, blending classic with modern arrangements regarding these genres.
Lisa Rieger owns a powerful clean register turning quite sweet when needed, helped in duets by Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus In Musica) and Jule Dahs (Ex- Skadika) on a couple of tracks for even more variation.
Instrumentation is tight and arranged to detail, benefited by a pristine production.
Solid record from this very interesting German act.
Strongly Recommended

01 - Scarlet Occident
02 - Between Two Worlds
03 - Memorial
04 - Witness of Arbitrament (feat. Jule Dahs)
05 - Towards The End
06 - Crystalline Cage
07 - Days of Thunder
08 - Assassin's Scent
09 - Horns of Era'Kor (feat. Henning Basse)
10 - Doomed
11 - The Last Swan (feat. Zuberoa Aznarez)

Lisa Rieger - Vocals
Chris Diefenbach - Guitar
Clemens Birkenmaier - Bass
Jens Viertel - Drums
guest vocals by:
Henning Basse (Firewind / Epysode)
Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus In Musica)
Jule Dahs (Ex- Skadika)
Laurentius Singers - Choir
guest instrumental performances:
Ally Storch (Ally The Fiddle) - Violin / Viola
Nadine Mittmann (Conspiria) - Harp
Michele Gasparri (Vexillum) - Bagpipe
Dominik Unhold - Flutes




THE MIDNIGHT - Endless Summer (2016) (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Synthwave / 80s Album of the Year is THE MIDNIGHT - "Endless Summer", with LeBROCK's "Action & Romance" ranking pretty close.

From time to time we feature here some of the most interesting new releases from the flourishing Synthwave scene. "Endless Summer" is the second album by THE MIDNIGHT, a L.A. based duo comprising the talents of a songwriter from the Deep South and a producer from Denmark whom have created one of the most fascinating '80s inspired albums in this genre that I've heard recently.

The Midnight born four years ago created by producer Tim McEwan (of Danish origins) and singer/songwriter Tyler Lyle.
While the Synthwave stuff we prefer to present here are the kind of AORish oriented, The Midnight style is more poppy but they craft such wonderful melodies with so awesome production (above the average for this genre) that everyone need to check this album if you are a serious '80s fan.

Dreamy atmospheres but pumped full of perfectly executed rhythms, catchy choruses and clean melodious vocals are the core of The Midnight style.
"Endless Summer" is plenty of classy Eighties, yet with a contemporary feel. I mean, most of the new Synthwave movement is based in a retro 'tape / VHS sound', while these guys go for a polished, glossy production. And I love it.
In addition to the standard variance of synthesizers native to the genre, this album also features a backbone of highly compressed saxophone (which sound like a guitar at places), real drums / percussion and some punchy electric guitar licks as well, lending to an overall analog '80s feel.

THE MIDNIGHT - Endless Summer (2016) inside

You can't go wrong with this band; their name 'The Midnight', the album title "Endless Summer", the cover artwork, the song titles like 'Daytona', 'Jason' (Friday The 13th movies reference) 'The Equaliser', or 'Crockett's Revenge' (Miami Vice reference), all puts clear what this stuff is all about; Eighties music & feel.

Lots of artists these days are doing an excellent job of bringing back the feel of the '80s. The Midnight went a step further with "Endless Summer" and crafted an album that maintains the forward momentum of modern electronic, while at the same time evoking the zeitgeist of a time that lives only in our yearning for it.
Eighties suckers, don't miss this one.

01 - Endless Summer
02 - Sunset
03 - Daytona
04 - Jason (feat. Nikki Flores)
05 - Synthetic
06 - The Equaliser (Not Alone)
07 - The Comeback Kid
08 - Vampires
09 - Crockett's Revenge
10 - Nighthawks
11 - Lonely City
12 - Memories

All instruments, production: Tim McEwan
All instruments: Tyler Lyle
Saxophone: Thomas Edinger
Guitar on "Sunset": Johannes Jørgensen
Synth solo on "Daytona": Mads Storm
Vocals on "Jason": Nikki Flores



BEST REISSUE ALBUM OF THE YEAR : FURY - Fury [Lost US Jewels / Digitally Remastered] (2016)

FURY - Fury [Lost US Jewels / Digitally Remastered] (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Reissue album of the year is FURY - Fury [Lost US Jewels / Digitally Remastered] (2016)

Talented vocalist & composer Robbie LaBlanc recently delighted us with his awesome band Find Me and some years ago alongside his brother with Blanc Faces, but he already started his passion for high quality Melodic Rock / AOR back in 1985 with FURY and its self-titled album, a true gem from the genre now finally remastered 2016 and released via Adrenaline Music / Lost US Jewels series.
Yeah, a Must Have guys.

Originally released on vinyl LP in June 1985 on the independent record label (located in NYC) The New York Music Company, "Fury" started as a studio-project, put together by brothers Robbie and Brian LaBlanc, with the help of Felix Cavaliere (lead singer, songwriter and keyboard player in the multi-platinum band The Young Rascals) to produce the recording.

Back then the album got immediately great press reviews and the video for the first single "Keep on Dreamin" was really well received on both MTV and VH1.
But being in a small indie label reduced the chance to be exposed to major public, and "Fury" never received the attention it deserved, which was a crying shame, cause this album is on par with most of the AOR classics of this period.

"Fury" still stands the test of time to this day, and it's considered a classic '80s AOR record with great hooks, soaring melodies and an amazing production.
Think the pumping mid-Eighties AOR sounds in the vein of Aviator, Loverboy, Bricklin, Urgent, The Cauze, etc, plenty of bouncy melodies and terrific choruses.

The gorgeous opener 'Keep On Dreamin', the keyboard-driven 'Ready Or Not', the glorious 'Fast Girl' or the anthemic 'She Don't Know' are to die for.
Robbie's vocals shine on 'She Don't Know', Fury rocks on the cool 'Hey Darlenne' and 'Take What You Want', and if you need a top class ballad 'In Her Arms' is real pearl.

For the very first time officially released on CD and digitally remastered , "Fury" is a timeless AOR / Melodic Rock album.
Kudos to Powerplay Magazine's AOR Underground column who have been collecting true '80s gems via their Lost UK Jewels series - some of them featured here on the blog such as Strutz or Voyager UK - and now have started the 'Lost US Jewels' series with this "Fury" '85 album, with an excellent digital remastering treatment courtesy of Primo Bonali.

Strictly limited to 500 copies, "Fury - Lost US Jewels Vol.1" is a mandatory purchase to any true '80s AOR / Melodic Rock fans & collector.

01 - Keep On Dreamin'
02 - Look Out Now
03 - In Her Arms
04 - Hey Darlene
05 - She Don't Know
06 - Say What You Will
07 - Sorry To Say
08 - Ready Or Not
09 - Fast Girl
10 - Take What You Want

Robbie Le Blanc: lead vocals, guitar
Brian Le Blanc: bass, guitar, keyboards
Jeff Bova, Steve Gaspar: keyboards
Nick Mangini: drums, percussion
Bashiri Johnson: percussion
Frank Sims: backing vocals




SCOTTY BRATCHER - That Album (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best 'Rockng' Blues album of the year is SCOTTY BRATCHER's "That Album".

There's one little record you need to hear before this 2016 ends; "That Album", the new CD from SCOTTY BRATCHER. This American 27 year-old guitarist / vocalist has released one of the more 'hot' bluesy classic rock albums of the year.

Already turning eyebrows since his fourteen when he debuted in his native Ohio, Bratcher and his band has been touring for years the entire East Coast from Chicago to Tampa.
"That Album" it's Bratcher's fourth album, and I think has been properly titled as it will be remembered as 'that album, he's best'.

Being wrongly promoted as 'the next Joe Bonamassa', Bratcher is much more than a mere 'alike'. Yeah, I know, the management needs to sell the artist, but Bratcher's sound & style is much more visceral than Bonamassa.
In fact, at places, Bratcher rocks hard, pretty heavy.
His guitar style is quite aggressive more in common with Stevie Ray Vaughan, then you have a Jimmy Page-approved amp sound, and vocals bringing to mind the great Warren Haynes, yet more raspy. Add to that a punchy background band ala Gov't Mule and you have the Scotty Bratcher band.

Holy cow, Scotty Bratcher rocks great, with a strong bluesy background, but rocks like Hell.
Just chek the killer guitar tone of 'Ain't No Way I'm Coming Home' complete with that awesome B3 organ, the groovy 'Disappointing Ourselves' (in a Richie Kotzen style) or the monster heavy blues of 'Tables Turn And Bridges Burn'.

I have mentioned Richie Kotzen, and I think his solo works are a proper comparison as well to Scotty Bratcher's style and many portions of "That Album", as heard on the ridiculously catchy 'Hard To Feel'.
There's more killer tracks in 'Let Your Soul Give Way', the super classic rock ballad 'All And Nothing More' and the excellent cover of the classic 'As The Years Go Passing By'.

SCOTTY BRATCHER - That Album (2016) inside

Darn, Scotty Bratcher's "That Album" is the kind of CD's hard to put down after you start listening to it. Ever get chills flowing through your body as a song plays, and believe me, all are really good and with 'something' special.

This is self-released album and it's a shame Bratcher still is pretty unknown outside blues circles and the US East Coast. As always, 0dayrox nose is always attentive to new talents and brings to you some little gems like this.
I think it's time for Mr. Bratcher to spread his wings and travel outside of his home Middletown (Ohio) to share his remarkable musical skills with the entire world.
Easily, "That Album" may be the vehicle.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Ain't No Way I'm Coming Home
02 - Disappointing Ourselves
03 - Worry Me No More
04 - Tables Turn And Bridges Burn
05 - Hard To Feel
06 - Without Hope
07 - That's Alright Mama
08 - Let Your Soul Give Way
09 - Cold Blooded Killer
10 - All And Nothing More
11 - Rollin'
12 - As The Years Go Passing By
13 - Whipping Post



BEST MODERN HARD ALBUM OF THE YEAR : SIXX:A.M. - Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2 (2016)

SIXX:A.M. - Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2 (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Modern Hard Rock album of the year is SIXX:A.M. "Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2"

What time is it? On the clock of contemporary hard rock it is always SIXX: A.M. As bassist Nikki Sixx along with guitarist DJ Ashba and vocalist James Michael release the second half of their 2-part blazing hard rock albums... tomorrow November 18th number two will be “Vol. 2, Prayers For The Blessed”.

“Vol. 1, Prayers For The Damned” and “Vol. 2, Prayers For The Blessed” were both written and recorded at the same time, they are companion pieces carefully structured to kick the bands own sound print upstairs to its fullest tilt and it brings the demand to the fans of Nikki Sixx.
You can not ask for much more hard rock swagger from the heart and soul to the fans than this. Sixx et al deliver. Coming off their 2015 tour Nikki Sixx had stated that being onstage really influenced the way they connect and write. Evidently that focus was the spark into creating both salaciously trick volumes.

Right out of the depths of Sixx signature and the truism of what Ashba, and Michael bring “Vol. 2, Prayers For The Blessed” is the iconic half to 'Volume 1'.
This monster album kicks off with “Barbarians (Prayers for the Blessed)” a fist pumping anthemic track that sets the tone for the rest; big vocals and a blistering lead really make this track stand out. “We Will Not Go Quietly” is next up. There is more of a groove on this one. It hits hard, but the melody continues to be the focus.
Stepping into the grooving motion of “That's Gonna Leave A Scar” to the 'rockpertic' show of “Maybe It's Time” showcases the diversity that lives and breathes deep within the talents of Nikki Sixx.

This next 'volume' certainly hails the first and delivers the striking abilities of what the road can bring to songwriters... it develops a focused consciousness that connects with the fans.
“Wolf At My Door” has some dirt and grit breathed in, while the heartfelt ballad “Maybe It's Time” strikes the emotive. Guitarist Ashba really delivers his skills on “Catacombs” and the hardest rock sound to come from the album falls on track, “The Devils Coming.” Opening acoustically “Suffocate” leads to a hailing crunch when the chorus kicks in.

SIXX:A.M. - Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2 (2016) inside

“Vol. 2, Prayers For The Blessed” is darn fooking awesome. This is how hard rock should be done 2016.
What impresses me so much? First is the sound. The sound engineers here did a phenomenal job recording this album. The voices are clear and powerful, each instrument stands out on its own, yet melts perfectly into the song. Not sure what they did differently here, but this is how albums should be recorded.

Next is the songwriting; this is how a hard rock album is supposed to be composed (and performed): full of good swagger, melodies, riffs, crunch, anthems, rhythm, gritty, pumping, groove-driven, all fill the cup of excelling and smashingly hitting rock n roll.
These boys are at the top of their game in knowing what is current and this release will withstand the test of time.
Go and buy it now. A Must

01. Barbarians (Prayers For The Blessed)
02. We Will Not Go Quietly
03. Wolf At Your Door
04. Maybe It's Time
05. The Devil's Coming
06. Catacombs
07. That's Gonna Leave A Scar
08. Without You
09. Suffocate
10. Riot In My Head
11. Helicopters

Nikki Sixx – bass guitar, composer
DJ Ashba – lead guitar, composer
James Michael – lead vocals, keyboards
Melissa Harding, Amber Vanbuskirk – background vocals
Dustin Steinke – drums



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Best AOR album 2016, Honorable Mention : WILD ROSE - 4 [Hellenic Limited Edition +2] (2016)

WILD ROSE - Four [Hellenic Limited Edition +2] (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, an Honorable Mention among the best AOR albums of the year deservedly goes to WILD ROSE's "4".

After three celebrated records, WILD ROSE presented this year a brand new opus aptly titled "4", their best to date. This "4 / Hellenic Limited Edition" (Greek release) features different artwork, and it's a hand numbered, 300 copies Limited Edition including 2 exclusive bonus tracks.

Cementing a strong fan base during their 10 years of existence, when a new album from Greeks Wild Rose are coming you know what to expect; lovely melodies, beautiful harmonies, catchy choruses and a pure late '80s AOR vibe.

For this new release Wild Rose and their original singer George Bitzios joined forces 2016 and the result is, once again, a terrific piece of fluffy-melodious, keyboard-driven AOR / melodic rock in its purest form.
"Desperate Heart", the first single, is a true melodic rock bliss and for sure, one of the album's highlights. Smooth, melodious and with a catchy chorus line to sing-a-long all day.

Next "Love Can Change You" is a more straight forward rocker, another great sample of Wild Rose's ability to recreate the sound of the golden decade. Simple, sweet to the ears and always in an old-fashioned way that will please even the most demanding fan of this scene.

What can you expect from a song titled "Summer Girl"? Indeed a feel-good melodic tune with a catchy chorus to enjoy at the beach this upcoming summertime.
"Time After Time" is a super smooth number, while in "Love Games" we have a killer commercial AOR melody crowned by a punchy chorus, excellent arrangements and tasty guitar work.

In "Hot Wired" the boys turn things a bit more rockin' yet still plenty of contagious melodies, then in "Save The Night" Wild Rose delivers one of the best AOR ballads recently appeared.
The Strangeways-inspired "Broken Hearted", the sharp "Waiting For You" and the last one, "Don't Let Me Down" (another highlight) are as well really strong, very well structured and performed with gusto.

This "Four / Hellenic Limited Edition" includes 2 exclusive bonuses, the highly melodic midtempo "Sleepless Night" plenty of wonderful harmonies, and 'When It Comes To You', a punchy melodic rocker wrapped with, of course, a total '80s production feel.
Both extras worth the purchase, believe me.

WILD ROSE - Four [Hellenic Limited Edition +2] (2016) back

Wild Rose are back with a killer release in "4", their best record to date without a doubt.
First, songwriting is excellent if we speak about pure '80s AOR / Melodic Rock, second, the guys have incredibly grown as musicians, and third, finally the band has been able to obtain the true classic sound from the genre so hard to reproduce nowadays, with a glossy production and a punchy, vigorous output.
Fans of Strangeways, Shy, FM/Overland, in short, Classic AOR, you need Wild Rose's "4" in your collection.

01 - Desperate Heart
02 - Love Can Change You
03 - Summer Girl
04 - Time After Time
05 - Love Games
06 - Hot Wired
07 - Save the Night
08 - Broken Hearted
09 - Waiting for You
10. Don't Let Me Down
11. Sleepless Night
12. When It Comes To You

Andy Rock – Guitars, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
George Bitzios – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Dirty Haris – Keyboards
John Bitzios – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Dimos Thomaidis – Drums, Percussion
Panos Barkoutsos – Bass
Chris Siloma – Backing Vocals & Choirs




VIOLET JANINE - Between Red And Blue (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Debut Album of the year is "Between Red And Blue", by VIOLET JANINE.

We already posted here the advanced single from Swedish melodic rockers VIOLET JANINE featuring legendary former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin. "Between Red And Blue" is the debut CD from Violet Janine, based around lead singer Janine Nyman and lead guitarist / songwriter / producer Daniel Palmquist, a guy that sure has been around the block of melodic rock.

Palmquist have contributed to AOR bands such as Find Me, Norwegian singer Issa and melodic metal band The Murder Of My Sweet among others, so it’s an experienced musician. The rest of the band consists of lead guitarist Mano Lewys, bass player Basse Blyberg (House Of Shakira) and drummer Ian Brunnberg.
Apart of the guest appearance by Tony Martin (who also co-wrote the track where he duets with Janine), there's Pontus Snibb of Bonafide on the track 'Down On My Knees' as well.

'Heat Of The Highway' kicks off the album and the title really mirrors the music – yes, this is true American “on-the-road” music. It’s a melodic hard rock song with an '80s US vibe, guitar driven with a melodic but pretty kick-ass beat and both, verses & chorus are very catchy.
'Devil In Me' is a raunchy rocker, then in 'Tell Me' we get a more melodic oriented tune with a sticky chorus and a midtempo melody where Janine's lead vocal takes the central role.
'Everyday’s A Fight' is the kind of power ballad that writers like Desmond Child and Diane Warren would sell their mothers to write, a total hit in my book.

Returning to hard rockin' sounds, 'Shut Up' is in your face with a fistful of attitude and fits Janine’s raspy voice like a glove. A killer track that I bet will go down like a storm live.
Next there's 'So Much More' where Tony Martin guests and duets with Janine on this bluesy ballad. Martin and Nyman work together brilliantly and the song it's big on emotion and feel. Even though the melody isn’t the usual radio friendly “don’t bore us get to the chorus” thing, the whole tune is really solid where the verses / chorus works together at making the song a stand-out track.
'Better This Than Nothing' comes with a big groove, still with some major melodic rock '80s bound on top and great guitar work. Again, this is really damn good.

'Story Of Your Life' is a midtempo ballad with some Robin Beck on it. The groove makes it a mover and the melody is quite addictive.
Violet Janine close the album with 'Down On My Knees', a great Euro melodic rocker. Singer Pontus Snibb, originally with Swedish rockers Bonafide, duets with Janine on the track and the guy does a phenomenal job. It's a killer song, he chorus is really bulls-eye and the whole tune kicks up some dust and really rocks – what a great way to end this record.

VIOLET JANINE - Between Red And Blue (2016) back

The 9 tracks on Violet Janine's "Between Red And Blue" leaves you hungry for more. But I prefer quality over quantity, and all these are really solid melodic hard rock big on catchiness.
This band has attitude, heart, soul and a big love for the music they play and they do it with all the conviction in the world. Also, all musicians are top notch and Janine is such an amazing singer with a wide range, a brilliant vibrato and a sexy raspiness which makes her one of the best female rock vocalists recently appeared.
How to sum this album and it’s music is easy - one word easy - WOW!
Very, Highly Recommended.

01 - Heat Of The Highway
02 - Devil In Me
03 - Tell Me
04 - Everyday's A Fight
05 - Shut Up
06 - So Much More (feat. Tony Martin)
07 - Better This Than Nothing
08 - Story Of Your Life
09 - Down On My Knees (feat. Pontus Snibb)

Janine Nyman - Vocals
Daniel Palmqvist - Guitar
Tony Jonsson - Guitar
Basse Blyberg - Bass
Ian Brunnberg - Drums



GREATEST COMEBACK of 2016 : PUNKY MEADOWS - Fallen Angel [Special Edition +2] (2016)

PUNKY MEADOWS - Fallen Angel [Special Edition +2] (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Greatest Comeback of the year was talented PUNKY MEADOWS reappearance after a near 35 year-hiatus from the music industry. 
And he did it with a bang, the killer "Fallen Angel".

The name PUNKY MEADOWS may not ring a bell for some, but if you're a classic rock fan you probably has heard him playing; he was the guitarist of seminal Pomp-Rock giants Angel alongside Gregg Giuffria. Now, 2016, and after many many years Meadows is back into the scene with his new album 'cleverly' titled "Fallen Angel". This Special Edition includes 2 juicy bonus tracks

It’s been 35 years since Angel split and after all that time of hiatus from the music industry, Punky Meadows returns as solo artist. He and close friend Danny “The Farrow” Anniello (Lords Of Mercy) teamed up to write 15 new songs.
Punky’s new band also includes former Angel bandmate Felix Robinson on bass, Bobby Pantella (Monster Magnet) on drums, Charlie Calv (Shotgun Symphony) on keyboards and, on vocals, perhaps the winning card on the album; the terrific Chandler Mogel (Outloud).

Fallen Angel kicks off with "Descent", a GOD-like, spoken word introduction of the Angelic Guitar Virtuoso, Punky Meadows. If you ever seen Angel live in concert (or a video), this type of intro was done for each band member as they took stage. Pompous indeed.
This leads into the first proper track "The Price You Pay", and what a song... a very catchy tune with rich harmonics and a smooth guitar solo. "Straight Shooter" is another great number that has you singing along with the AORish chorus.
Now for one of my personal favorites: "Loaded Gun", a kicking hard rocker with a monster riff and great lead vocals by Mogel that will get your head banging and wanting to hear it over and over (no pun intended, Angel fans will know what I mean).

The next two songs, "Lost And Lonely" and "Home Wrecker" definitely sound like they would have (should have) been on Angel’s Sinful album. These songs are a wanted flashback that will get Punky fans excited.
"I Wanna Be Your Drug" adds a poppy vibe and the solo is one of the best on the album, plenty of melody. "Leavin' Tonight" is an acoustic love song that I can visualize being done live when Punky goes on tour. Get the spotlight ready for the electrified blazing solo.

More quality comes with the summer-ready melodic rocker "Searchin’", the anthemic "Shadow Man", the groovy "Something Strange", the AOR / keyboard driven "Shake Shake" and the feel-good "Summertime Love". With Summer just around the corner, these 5 songs will get you in the beach party mood.
Finishing off the regular release is the title track, "Fallen Angel", an instrumental rock anthem that showcases the legend that is Punky Meadows. This kick-ass piece will get you wanting to jump on your seat and start jamming on the air guitar and breaking out your lighters.

This Special Edition features 2 bonus tracks: 'They Don't Like My Ways' rocks with a sizzling guitar work of Punky and featuring rhythm guitarist Danny Anniello on lead vocals providing a more groovy vocal feel, and there's a second version of 'Summertime Love' with alternate guitar lines / solo by Punky.

PUNKY MEADOWS - Fallen Angel [Special Edition +2] (2016) back

"Fallen Angel" really surprised me: I didn't expect an album of this quality from Punky Meadows. You know, more than 30 years off the scene... but the man does not disappoints; Punky is playing better than ever and put together one hell of a band.
Felix Robinson is solid as granite and with the history between him and Punky, I couldn’t see anyone else on the bass. Bobby Pantella does a killer job with his thunderous drumming. And Chandler Mogel was the right choice; his range is spot on for Punky’s genre.

Once you listen to this album, you would never imagine that it’s been 35 years since Punky released any material.
As a die-hard Angel fan, I want to give a very heart-full 'Thank You' to Danny Anniello for teaming up with, and convincing Punky Meadows to release this solo album.

01 - Descent
02 - The Price You Pay
03 - Straight Shooter
04 - Breathless and Jaded
05 - Loaded Gun
06 - Lost And Lonely
07 - Home Wrecker
08 - I Wanna Be Your Drug
09 - Leaving Tonight
10 - Searchin
11 - Something Strange
12 - Shadow Man
13 - Shake Shake
14 - Summertime Love
15 - Fallen Angel
Special Edition Bonus Tracks;
16 - They Don't Like My Ways
17 - Summertime Love (Alt. Lead Guitar)

Chandler Mogel (Outloud) - Vocals
Punky Meadows (Angel) - Lead Guitar
Danny Anniello (Lords Of Mercy) - Rhythm Guitar
Felix Robinson (Angel) - Bass, Vocals
Bobby Pantella (Monster Magnet) - Drums
Charlie Calv (Shotgun Symphony) - Keyboards




IRON BRIDGE BAND - Against The Grain (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Classic Rock album of the year goes to the underrated IRON BRIDGE BAND new 2016 album "Against The Grain".

We already praised the debut of IRON BRIDGE BAND three years ago, and now 2016 this great band returns with a new CD, "Against The Grain", to be released tomorrow July 1, keeping the same values and classic rock influences intact.

In fact, this new album is even more melodic than the previous, with some kind of a Mitch Malloy meets Tyketto meets The Union sound on the acoustically based tracks, some good ol' Whitesnake - or better, Snakecharmer - on the more rocking.
Keeping the core personnel intact, including the exceptionally soulful lead vocals of singer Chandler Mogel (Outloud), Iron Bridge Band sound better than ever.

Uniquely distinctive and instantly recognizable, Iron Bridge Band has a sound that is both familiar and fresh. They bring together classic rock n’ roll, fused with heavy blues and hints of southern by way of thoughtfully crafted songs, four-part vocal harmonies and reflective lyrics.
For rockers, look at 'A Little Too High', the hooky 'Black Sheep's Son' and the groovy 'Mark Twain', then they deliver highly melodic moments in the sweet 'The Fall', midtempo 'Raleigh' (love the harmonies), the almost melodic rock 'Wilderness' and the soulful 'Day Gets Me Down', my favorites.

IRON BRIDGE BAND - Against The Grain (2016) inside

New Jersey’s Iron Bridge Band new album "Against The Grain" will appeal to anyone with a soft spot for some good-time roadhouse raunch’ n’ roll or lesser-known rocking gems like Company Of Wolves or John Kilzer.
It certainly brings the listener back to a time where rock music was still based on melody with a bluesy background. Their songcraft spans and connects generations and genres with the healing, celebratory qualities of the greatest classic rock music.
Highly Recommended

01 - A Little Too High
02 - Black Sheep's Son
03 - The Fall
04 - American Boss
05 - Raleigh
06 - Every
07 - Mark Twain
08 - Backwoods Charm (A Southern Gothic)
09 - Day Gets Me Down
10 - Faded
11 - Wilderness
12 - Light in August

Chandler Mogel - Lead & Backing Vocals
Steve Walsh - Guitars, Vocals
Lanie Suky - Bass, Vocals
Scott Suky - Drums
Amy Anderson - Vocals, Percussion




LIGHTNING STRIKES - Lightning Strikes (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Classic Metal album of the year is LIGHTNING STRIKES self-titled "Lightning Strikes". There's other really good albums in this category, but we have chosen "Lightning Strikes" because it's a lot of fun. Old-fashioned fun.

Coming from California and rocking like it's 1985 here we have LIGHTNING STRIKES and their self-titled debut. And if the cover artwork and band's logo looks a little outdated and truly '80s it's because both are how they dream it to be for their full length debut... thirty years ago.

That's when Lightning Strikes, created by drummer Karpis Maksudian, started and folded, releasing only one single on seven inch vinyl that preceded the band’s 1987 breakup. Some thirty years on, Mr Maksudian has picked up the pieces and fresurrected Lightning Strikes which includes another founding member Cat Tate (Snew, ex Red Again) on bass, Rob Math (Leatherwolf) on guitar and Nando Fernandes (Hanger) at the microphone.

Lightning Strikes sounds really '80s, some kind of Dio-meets-Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath. And they are darn good at it.
Not only that, they even brought Tony Martin onboard to provide lead vocals on two cuts; '301 A.D. (Sins of Our Father)' and 'Death Valley', two of the best cuts on the record.
Additionally, the band also recruited former Dream Theater (and current Joe Bonamassa) keyboardist Derek Sherinian to fill the gaps between soaring vocals, overdriven guitars, and ripping solos.

While the opener 'Victim' along with its successor 'Can't Cross the Rainbow' borrow from the perfections of DIO, 'Death Valley' (with the help of Tony Martin) reeks of late-’80s Sabbath. Martin’s contribution to the song works so well you might find yourself questioning the validity of time travel.
Martin shines as well on '301 A.D. (Sins of Our Father)', but also I have to mention Nando Fernandes' performance on the rest of the album, this guy really can sing.

But perhaps the highlight of the album is terrific guitarist Rob Math, one of the driving forces behind Lightning Strikes. He lays down some slick and soaring guitar lines and solos, definitely impressive.
Sherinian's keyboards pop in and out of songs with great finesse, dropping a keyboard solo on '301 A.D.', some ballady piano strokes on 'Fear', and organs a-plenty on 'Bermuda Triangle' and 'Kamikaze'.
Speaking of 'Kamikazi', there's another guest from Noah (Japanese band Avanchick) who provides his unique pipes to this album curveball. The song mixes his clean vox with gruff ones and unloads a bucketful of timeless riffs. A quite bizarre track, but the originality makes it really special.

Closer 'We Don’t Rock Alone' is another highlight, very much in the vein of Dokken & Queensryche early years. Not only does it add the perfect amount of energy and memorability to the album, but it also sports the disc’s best chorus. It’s the kind of track that reminds ancient metalheads everywhere that your best records live in the crates in the basement.

With a clever production by acclaimed producer Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson) re-capturing the magic sounds of the mid-Eighties, 'Lightning Strikes' is pretty killer, especially if you love guitar forward classic metal in the DIO / '80s Sabbath vein.
With some thirty years in making, my only hope is that this not just a "one-off" gig for Lightning Strikes.
Highly Recommended

01 - Victim
02 - Can't Cross the Rainbow
03 - 301 A.D. (Sins of Our Fathers)
04 - Fear
05 - Death Valley
06 - Bermuda Triangle
07 - Kamikaze
08 - Stay With Me
09 - We Don't Rock Alone

Nando Fernandes - lead vocals
Rob Math - guitar
Cat Tate - bass, vocals
Karpis Maksudian - drums
Derek Sherinian - keyboards
Noah - lead vocals on 7
Tony Martin - lead vocals on 3, 5



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

VEGA - Who We Are [Japan Edition +1] (2016)

VEGA - Who We Are [Japan Edition +1] (2016) full

BEST OF THE BEST Album of The Year 2016

With each new album, British melodic rock wonders VEGA hits the ball out of the park. Their latest and fourth album, "Who We Are" isn't an exception. As when we reviewed their previous, I can say at the start, without hesitation: Buy this album.
Yeah, it's all good.
And if you can afford this Japanese Edition, even better, as you have a bonus track an extra pearl titled 'Look The Other Way'.

"Who We Are" is equal parts musical manifesto, resume and definition; Vega is AOR / Melodic Hard Rock in the best and finest tradition, born in the Eighties, then transported to and revitalized for the 21st century.
These guys live and breath this stuff. Cut an artery and they bleed this music.
"We wear our love of '80s melodic rock music on our sleeve, but we also have injected our love of modern sounds to it. We aren't trying to rehash anything: the sound we have achieved is 100% VEGA. We didn't want to try and guess what people expect and get it wrong," says singer Nick Workman.

And with their fourth studio album, "Who We Are", once again for the Frontiers Music label, Vega manage again to create a magic formula with concise and riveting songs that rock from start to finish and will leave you wanting more.
I'm not sure which elements of the Vega sound I like best, because they're all good and vital. Perhaps are the lead vocals / vocal harmonies: lush, sweet, melodic. Nick Workman has an amazing voice.
Or maybe the twin guitar harmony that also helps to spin the melody. Then there's those big guitar solos that pepper each song like Cajun hot sauce.

Or maybe it's simply that Vega's natural knack for infectious melody in each arrangement. But then there's the abundance of groove which can hook these things together: Melody + Harmony + Groove = AOR accessibility and good times.
Every song seems built to rock and tear down an arena. Every song has the inherent ability to charm your ears and draw you in. Ear candy as it were.
All tracks on this CD are great, but my top picks are: 'If Not You', 'Explode', 'Every Little Monster', and the amazing twins 'Ignite' and 'Saving Grace'.

VEGA - Who We Are [Japan Edition +1] (2016) back

Vega are the real Melodic Rock / AOR deal. A band at the top of their game. Everybody else is either playing catch up or chasing their own tails.
Yeah, Vega and "Who Were Are" are that good. Yeah, BEST Album Of The Year.
Exceedingly Recommended

You've seen this Japanese Edition first here, at 0dayrox

King Records Japan ~ KICP-1771
V E G A  『フー・ウィ・アー』

01 - Explode
02 - We Got It All
03 - Every Little Monster
04 - Nothing Is Forever
05 - White Flag
06 - For Our Sins
07 - Generation Now
08 - Ignite
09 - Savin' Grace
10 - If Not You
11 - Hurts So Bad
12 - Look The Other Way (Japan Bonus track)

Nick Workman - Vocals
Tom Martin - Guitars
Marcus Thurston - Guitars
Daniel Chantrey - Drums
James Martin - Keyboards



BEST FEMALE FRONTED album 2016 : DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016)

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2016 releases, by category.
For 0dayrox, the Best Female Fronted album of the year goes to the highly melodic DANTE FOX's "Breathless".

Graceful Melodic Rockers DANTE FOX return 2016 with a new album titled "Breathless", not surprisingly released by AOR Heaven Records.
One thing that has always earned my love to Dante Fox from the moment I heard them for the first time more then twenty years ago it's the voice of Sue Willetts. Whoever is in the band, as long as her voice is there, it will always be Dante Fox.

Willetts, having been selected in the Top 20 in Classic Rock magazine's 50 Female Rock Vocalists Of All Time, should explain all you really need to know. Although you really need to listen to those velvet tones to get the full Fox!
"Breathless" then is up there with the best in the Melodic Rock world. With albums as great as this, the band should be headlining arenas across the globe. Although I am more than happy to have Dante Fox as one of Rock's best kept secrets.

Another ace in Dante Fox's hand is the guitar playing of Tim Manford, which when given a faultless production from Mark Stuart / Sheena Sheer, sounds like something out of the world. The rest of the band now consists of Andy Perfect on drums and Alan Mills on bass.
The songs have a rich, polished sound – not too clinical mind – and having ‘keyboard player to the stars’ Eric Ragno and Lee Small (Shy / Phenomena) on harmony vocals adds to the magical mix.

'Young Hearts' is the kind of rock song that many bands starting out now would sell their souls for. Couple that with 'All Eyes On You' and the title track, and you get an opening trio of songs that will not only leave you breathless, but gasping for more.
At this point 'Break These Chains' provides a welcome breather, but it’s still as powerful, if not more so, due to its subtleties.

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016) inside

This leads me to the album's calling card in the form of 'Broken Hearted Man' which is a song that Heart would no doubt have scored a worldwide hit back in their big hair heyday. The band no doubt believe this to be true too as there are two versions included here, the normal one and an acoustic / string arrangement at the end of the album. Both are fantastic.
There's also a stand out tune in 'Love Affair', but then again how can you pick your favourites when they are all so ruddy marvellous?

Dante Fox's "Breathless" is, simply put, one the best 'pure' melodic rock albums apperared in recent years. There's many bands (and good ones) out there trying to recapture the magical '80s sounds but few succeed like Dante Fox.
At the moment there is basically no real competitor to Dante Fox in terms of female-fronted Melodic Rock. High Quality Melodic Rock I should say. Heck, all songs here could rival Heart / Ann Wilson best work in their '80s prime.
"Breathless" is a mandatory purchase for all fans of the genre.

01 - Young Hearts
02 - All Eyes on You
03 - Breathless
04 - Break These Chains
05 - Broken Hearted Man
06 - I Can't Stop Tonight
07 - Dynamite (Your Love Is Like)
08 - A Love Affair
09 - How Will You Know (Where to Find Me)
10 - Creeps into My Mind
11 - Broken Hearted Man (Acoustic) [bonus track]

Sue Willetts (vocals)
Tim Manford (guitar)
Alan Mills (bass)
Andy Perfect (drums)
Erik Ragno (keyboards)
Lee Small (harmony vocals)



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