"Believe" is the second album by JADED PAST, the creation of New Jersey-based lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter George Becker. The album, to be released by Melodic Rock Records tomorrow, was produced by Trixter's guitarist Steve Brown who also contributes some guitars and backing vocals.
Steve Brown also was involved in Jaded Past's first, self-titled album, in fact, the last 4 tracks on this new album "Believe" are take from the debut, rem-mixed & re-mastered for the occasion.
Style-wise, Jaded Past has a down-to-earth melodic hard rock sound with a touch of American Midwestern and bluesy overtones.
On the vocal department, Bret Michaels of Poison (especially in his solo career) must be one of Becker’s main influences, as he’s adopted his singing style to some of the songs. Particularly the ballads are pure Poison…
However, for the most part "Believe" rocks out and it's where Becker / Jaded Past lets his own sound shine through. The album’s highlights for me are among the more uptempo tracks, namely 'Tattered', 'Taken', 'Don’t Judge' and 'Hurt', all delivered with energy and passion where the melodies and the playing are spot on.
Finely produced, "Believe" will appeal fans of Poison, Bret Michaels, White Lion’s Mike Tramp solo works, even some Tyketto last period.
I think most instruments are handled by Steve Brown for the recording (except drums by Dennis Zimmer) so expect good musicianship and of course, some Trixter vibe as well.
Really cool stuff
02. Don't Judge
04. Good Bad Innocent
05. Whiskey Dreams
06. Be My Lady
07. Dashboard Jesus
08. Hurt (Remastered)
09. Taken (Remastered)
10. Scratch the Itch (Remastered)
11. Traces (Remastered)
George Becker - Lead Vocals
Jason Cornwell - Bass / Backing Vocals
Scott LaFlamme - Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Rob LaFlamme - Drums / Backing Vocals
Steve Brown: Guitars / Backing Vocals / Production
Dennis Zimmer: Drums
Ed Masterson: Harmonica
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Swedish melodic hard rockers MISS BEHAVIOUR complete their first quartet of albums with their new offering "Ghost Play" to be released via AOR Heaven Records in few days.
After listening this fresh 12-track collection you can tell the band has reached a solid maturity both in terms of songwriting and sound.
Together with producer Patrik Magnusson (Crashdiet, Mick Mars among others), Miss Behaviour spent the entire 2015 writing and recording. "Ghost Play" is classic melodic hard rock, with a great production and a great variety of songs, at places bordering AOR. Everything is presented in a way that always been the essence of Miss Behaviour; songs based on elaborated melodies as focus and catchy choruses.
From the outset, as the opening notes of 'Friendly Fire' hit the speakers, there’s no doubting who it is your listening to. Sebastian Roos' vocal sound and style are so distinctive, together with the all encompassing sound of the band.
This new record is more akin to their second album Last Woman Standing as opposed to their last release Double Agent. This meaning a little edgy in the the melodic hard rock side of things.
Second track 'The Magician' is one of my favorites and a highlight; a punchy AOR anthem to die for. AOR, but the kind that invites you to 'fight', plenty of adrenaline.
A more rocking approach can be heard in the next song 'Pain And Passion', while in 'Savage Heart' we are dealing with one of the album's top tracks. Powerful but at the same time smooth with a modern melodic rock direction and a terrific chorus.
The commercial and catchy 'Never Say Never' is another winner and the edgy & classy 'Night Moves' is another track among my favorites here.
While Miss Behaviour have already released three very good albums, this new "Ghost Play" is without a doubt their finest release. Wait, it's one of the finest Melodic Hard Rock releases of the year!
All songs are really well composed & arranged, the band feels tight like never before and production is bright and clear with a wide soundscape, no muddiness or lack of punch.
I am sure Miss Behaviour will gain more popularity (largely deserved) with "Ghost Play", and who knows maybe it will be one of the leaders in this scene in the near future. They have the songs and they have the chops.
01 - Friendly Fire
02 - The Magician
03 - Pain And Passion
04 - The War Inside
05 - Savage Heart
06 - Brothers Of War
07 - Never Say Never
08 - Ghost Play
09 - Night Moves
10 - Walking In Shadows
11 - All Eyes On You
12 - Save The World
Sebastian Roos – Vocals
Erik Heikne – Guitars
Henrik Sproge – Keyboards
Niclas Lindblom – Bass
Magnus Jacobson – Drums
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TARGET was the first band bringing the great Jimi Jamison to major attention releasing a pair of albums for A&M never officially appeared on CD before now with the special remastered treatment by Rock Candy Records. Target second and final album "Captured" includes 6 bonus tracks in this reissue.
During the Seventies, Memphis was a hot bed of musical talent. Sure, its blues and r ‘n’ b roots had always been proudly on display, but with the explosion of FM radio, bigger live venues, and the establishment of a renown studio (Ardent), the city seemed to be providing its home grown musicians with an opportunity to set the world on fire.
None of these possibilities were lost on Target, a cabal of tough rockers keen to stamp their identity on the local scene and beyond.
Riding a wave of creativity and seeking to maximise their already solid reputation as a band to watch, Target took the recording of this, their second album, with an impressive sense of purpose.
Their debut album had been well received, but "Captured" showcased a band looking to maximise not only their sound but also their image, profile and appeal.
Retaining their South bluesy roots, the album was recorded by producer Paul Hornsby (the Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker Band) at the famed Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia.
Tougher than the debut, the album oozes a decidedly British influence, bringing to mind the likes of Humble Pie, Bad Company and Trapeze, with vocalist Jimi Jamison developing his unique, velvety rasp, which would later serve him well as the frontman of Survivor.
Sadly, swamped by insurmountable business and managerial problems, Target eventually dissolved, leaving behind two fine but now little known albums.
Fortunately Rock Candy come to the rescue with this stupendous remastering, plus the only Target live recordings (Jamison rocks) available as bonus.
01 - It's Only Love
02 - Shine The Light
03 - Runaway
04 - Just For You
05 - Maybe In Time
06 - Make Our Dreams Come True
07 - Holdin' On
08 - Rock And Roll Laureate
09 - Holdin' On (Live 1978)
10 - Runaway (Live 1978)
11 - Make Our Dreams Come True (Live 1978)
12 - Just For You (Live 1978)
13 - Maybe In Time (Live 1978)
14 - It's Only Love (Live 1978)
Jimi Jamison - lead vocals
Buddy Davis - lead guitar, keyboards, vocals
Paul Cannon - lead guitar
Tommy Cathey - bass, vocals
David Spain - drums, percussion
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Tuesday, August 30, 2016
TARGET, out of Memphis, Tennessee, was the first band to bring the great Jimi Jamison to a major label release (pre- Cobra). Target put out a pair of albums for A&M never officially released on CD before now, with the special remastered treatment by Rock Candy Records.
Targe first album "Target" includes two bonus tracks.
Arguably the British rock scene was hugely influenced by the massive commercial impact of American melodic rock bands that emerged during the late '70s. However there was a time, earlier in the decade, when British rock cast a huge impact on American music.
Acts such as Bad Company, Trapeze and Deep Purple were the hot ticket items of the time and their influence was staggeringly persuasive… not least on Target.
Memphis based Target were keen students of the British sound and forged their style and identity with exacting accuracy.
It was a style that showcased vocalist Jimi Jamison’s vocals perfectly, a wonderful combination of rough-hewn growls delivered with velvet smoothness, sitting proudly atop songs that packed a decidedly bluesy hard rock punch. The combination was hugely compelling.
Discovered by Black Oak Arkansas frontman Jim Dandy and his manager in a Memphis Club, the five piece band were soon signed to A&M records and put in to the legendary Ardent Studios, with producer John Ryan, to cut this, their debut album.
It is a work of sublime proficiency, digging deep into soulful grooves and muscular rock. Despite a concerted effort, including a thirty date US tour opening for Black Sabbath, and also Boston and Kiss, the record failed to resonate commercially with the public at the time but did it provide a healthy platform from which to launch their follow up album.
Considering Jamison's reputation as an arena rock frontman, "Target" comes as quite a surprise. With a bluesy hard rock sound, the album comes closer to Blackfoot than it does anything related to his work with Survivor.
Though the hooks are subtle for the most part, this is an excellent batch of classic hard rock with great musicianship, and Jimi - well, you could already tell he was something special...
Excellent remastered sound by Rock Candy Records.
01 - Love Just Won't Quit
02 - Bad Boy
03 - Let Me Live
04 - Just A Little Too Much
05 - Can't Fake It
06 - 99 1/2
07 - You Need A Woman
08 - Let Me Down Easy
09 - Walkin' Song
10 - Are You Ready
11 - You Need A Woman (Live 1978)
12 - Let Me Live (Live 1978)
Jimi Jamison - lead vocals
Buddy Davis - lead guitar, keyboards, vocals
Paul Cannon - lead guitar
Tommy Cathey - bass, vocals
David Spain - drums, percussion
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F.E.A.R. (F*ck Everyone And Run) is the eighteenth MARILLION album to be released next September 23, 2016, but it's already available to who supported the recording through PledgeMusic.
The album's title surprised many people, but according to singer Steve Hogarth it's adopted 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.
'White Paper' is a shorter track, a 'format song'. There’s a distinct sadness to the lyrics that’s neatly equaled 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 strong, palatable new offering from these great British musicians.
1 - El Dorado
(i) Long-Shadowed Sun
(ii) The Gold
(iii) Demolished Lives
(iv) F E A R
(v) The Grandchildren of Apes
2 - Living In FEAR
3 - The Leavers
(i) Wake Up in Music
(ii) The Remainers
(iii) Vapour Trails in the Sky
(iv) The Jumble of Days
(v) One Tonight
4 - White Paper
5 - The New Kings
(i) F*ck Everyone and Run
(ii) Russia’s Locked Doors
(iii) A Scary Sky
(iv) Why Is Nothing Ever True?
(vi) 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
Another album from the Frontiers Music reissue series of some of their early releases now deleted is SHADOWS FADE's self-titled debut, the really good Melodic Hard Rock / AOR project fronted by stupendous vocalist Kevin Chalfant (The Storm, Two Fires).
Shadows Fade was another 'studio project release' from Frontiers Records this time putting together Kevin Chalfant singing a collection of tracks selected with his voice in mind, and multi-instrumentalist Alex De Rosso, one-time Dokken guitarist and general session man .
Shadows Fade will be of instant appeal to Chalfant fans and lovers of smooth, midtempo-dominated AOR. Style wise it's very much in line with Kevin's Two Fires couple of albums, with a strong Journey influence.
Kevin's vocals are clean & clear and fit this material beautifully. In describing the vocals though, I would have to say that they are fairly laid back and within Kevin's vast abilities.
There are some powerful passages on "Shadows Fade", such as the chorus lines of 'Sooner Or Later' and 'Run To Me' (co-written by Desmond Child), with the remaining tracks, as said above, being very smooth, flawless and pure AOR like 'Twisted Again', 'My Ocean', 'Without You', 'Now That You're Gone)', with a selection of emotional ballads in 'Run To Me' (semi-ballad in fact) and 'I Won't Look Back, Speak') and moody mid-tempo rockers ('Sooner Or Later', 'First Love Song', 'Give It In').
De Rosso occasionally sounds like a recent era Eddie Van Halen with his guitar riffs, and elsewhere has a touch of Def Leppard in his arrangement / production techniques. But generally speaking, he lets Kevin do the work and merely accompanies the song's path.
These project releases have seen some pretty amazing results so far, as the quality has generally been excellent. They are a good idea and have seen some vocalists make records when they might not otherwise have done so.
Kevin Chalfant has been responsible for some of the AOR genre finest moments. While Shadows Fade doesn't match the power and emotion of The Storm, it does provide fans with another taste of his much loved vocals and is a very easy listening collection of AOR / Melodic Rock tracks.
01. Twisted Again
02. Sooner Or Later
03. Run To Me
04. My Ocean
05. First Love Song
06. Without You
07. Give It In
09. I Won't Look Back
10. Now That You're Gone
Kevin Chalfant (vocals)
Alex De Rosso (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, backing vocals)
Nick Savio (guitar)
Chiara Barro (keyboards)
Michael Gardner, Michael Higgins (backing vocals)
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There's a new promising AOR / Melodic Rock beast coming from Sweden; THE GRAND MASQUERADE, a 4-piece band is based in Stockholm presenting their debut ep "MMXVI" (2016 in Roman numerals).
Do not be pushed-off byt the band's chosen image combining '80s rock culture with the Venetian opera and masquerade scene from the late 19th century. Their music is a great mix of classic AOR with a twist.
The Grand Masquerade started out as a studio project by guitarist John Sebastian seemingly as it was just another project, but he had much bigger plans for it. He pulled a band together by contacting his childhood friend Freddy Claye, whom he had played with before, and also his friend and classmate Ivve Danelli (vocalist in Pretty Wild). The trio was in need of a drummer and Ivve knew about a guy called Martin Rhyder (ex drummer in Chains) whom he had met some years ago and had just started studying music production with.
John had an idea about a name for the group, a name which Ivve had used with another project but never got launched, The Grand Masquerade. Everyone thought it was a solid and good name and agreed on it.
The first time the quartet stepped into the rehearsal studio there was instant magic, everything just fell into place.
The band was almost complete; the only thing left to do was making an image, something exciting and different. Ideas had been forming in John's head about bringing the Venetian opera and masquerade theme into the band to further enhance their name and image and so, The Grand Masquerade was complete and ready to take on the world.
The Grand Masquerade mention as influence bands like Kiss, Queen, Def Leppard among others, and you can hear some of it here. But all the awesome songs are very personal, with a classic Scandinavian AOR sound.
Damn, you can't believe the quality of the 5 songs on offer here. Trust me, this is awesome material.
"By My Side" has a Brother Firetribe feeling blended with the great Jono, crowned by a terrific chorus. We have two lead vocalists in the band and all members contribute harmony vocals, resulting in delicious layers of melody.
"I Get This Feeling" has that pumping drive akin H.E.A.T (what a song!), the extremely melodic rocker 'Those Days Are Gone' brings to mind Casanova with a pinch of early Robby Valentine, 'Say You're Mine' is a midtempo with a fantastic melody like a cross between Stage Dolls / Nelson, while 'Live It Up' ends the EP with an edge: the uptempo, catchy and highly commercial 'Live It Up'.
Do yourself a favor and get this "MMXVI" from The Grand Masquerade immediately. This is one of the best things from a novel band I heard in the last ten years or so.
You'll be surprised by the mature songwriting, the polished arrangements, the stupendous musicianship and the top notch - yes, read this again; TOP NOTCH - production.
1 - By My Side
2 - I Get This Feeling
3 - Those Days Are Gone
4 - Say You're Mine
5 - Live It Up
Freddy Claye - Lead Vocals & Bass
Ivve Danelli - Lead Vocals & Guitar
Martin Rhyder - Backing Vocals & Drums
John Sebastian - Backing Vocals & Guitar
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There have been some great power metal bands over the last decade, but no fresh faces that have managed to provide the genre's classic epic thrills. For their new album "Heroes Of Mighty Magic" Swedish contingent of TWILIGHT FORCE are receiving a hefty investment from prestigious label Nuclear Blast… there could be something there.
Let's check this "Heroes Of Mighty Magic 2CD Limited Edition Digibook".
We were pleasantly surprised with Twilight Force first album presented here on the blog some time ago. Now, with the backing of new home Nuclear Blast, the Swedes have fashioned a mighty follow-up to cement their place as the rising stars of classical power metal.
"Heroes Of Mighty Magic" offers everything craved by the genre’s disciples: impressive guest singers in the form of Joakim Brodén of Sabaton and Rhapsody Of Fire’s Fabio Lione, broadsword-friendly, keyboard-loaded anthems, shrill vocals, technoflash musicianship and not only all the cheese that you can eat, but enough for your friends and families, too.
From the greeting card-style image of a dragon adorning its cover to the Harry Potter-esque tales of what the biography calls “myths, adventures and heroic sagas” (they prefer the term ‘adventure metal’), this album deserves a neon-lit sign: ‘Approach with caution, loonies ahead.’
Yeah, dragons, swords, mythological references etc, were cool in the Seventies / Eighties, but 2016? Some may laugh at it... bur you know? Twilight Force deliver things in a so fun way that it's truly enjoyable.
I think the key is the feel-good factor; where this album excelled in particular is how seamlessly puts me in a joyful mood – almost sickeningly so – and I loved every moment of it. Additionally, it's catchy and melodic, a real plus.
From the opening moments of “Battle of Arcane Might”, is well defined the overall tone to where this album is headed. It’s especially in songs such as the trinity of tracks “Flight of the Sapphire Dragon”, “There and Back Again” (a song not at all connected to The Hobbit, just to be clear) and “Rise of a Hero” that demonstrate the (almost, romantic) desire to create light-hearted and heroic songs that conjure the notion of swigging ales and singing tavern songs alongside dwarfish and elvish company in some far-off land.
There is great consistency with this album, and the way in which it has been mixed and mastered is admirable; serving to maintain an airiness and flair to it that is undeniable.
One of the better and more unexpected moments comes with the title track of the album, wherein thereabout the midway mark Sabaton‘s Joakim Brodén lends his vocals for a welcomed cameo. A song already wonderfully composed and arranged, Brodén’s appearance adds that extra piece to it that brings it home; complementing well the fine vocals of Chrileon (who reminds me a lot of Avantasia's Tobias Sammet in his vocal approach).
"Heroes of Mighty Magic" is an album that is multi-layered and quite musically complex the deeper you delve into it. Songs such as “To the Stars” – with its fast tempos and quick use of instruments and orchestral arrangements – conjure the notion of something more grand that what merely lies on the surface.
This "Heroes Of Mighty Magic 2CD Limited Edition Digibook" include a bounus disc featuring some really interesting 'orchestral versions' and alternate mixes of some tracks, even a 'chip version' of one of them, you know, the new musical culture making music based on 8-bit arcade video games. Another proof of thi band's sense of fun and '80s vibe.
Power metal not necessarily has to be dark or overtly heavy, and Twilight Force's new album "Heroes Of Mighty Magic" is a clear example. If you dig the imaginary and fantasy from their lyrics - or even not - you still can enjoy their musicality anyway. It's all very melodic, very well arranged & produced, catchy.
That's why I recommend fans of other genres to check this album; production is multi-layered with lots of harmonies, melodic and sounds with a precision like a Swiss clock.
Plus, there's an overall 'happiness factor'. I like this a lot.
01 - Battle of Arcane Might
02 - Powerwind
03 - Guardian of the Seas
04 - Flight of the Sapphire Dragon
05 - There and Back Again
06 - Riders of the Dawn
07 - Keepers of Fate
08 - Rise of a Hero
09 - To the Stars
10 - Heroes of Mighty Magic
11 - Epilogue
12 - Knights of Twilight's Might
01 - Rise of a Hero (orchestral version)
02 - Flight of the Sapphire Dragon (orchestral version)
03 - Heroes of Mighty Magic (orchestral version)
04 - Battle of Arcane Might (karaoke version)
05 - There and Back Again (short version)
06 - Powerwind (chip version)
Chrileon - Lead vocals
Lynd - Electric and acoustic guitars, Lute
Born - Bass
Blackwald - Keyboards, Piano, Violin, Cembalo
De'Azsh - Drums
Aerendir - Guitar
Joakim Brodén - guest Vocals
Fabio Lione - guest Vocals
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Monday, August 29, 2016
Continuing with the extensive reissue campaign drawn across Graham Bonnet’s career, Cherry Red / Hear No Evil are releasing ALCATRAZZ's "Dangerous Games Deluxe Edition", the band's third and final studio album (both previous presented here) fully digitally remastered and including a very rare and previously unreleased live recording from Long Island, captured in November 1986 on the Dangerous Games tour.
After achieving worldwide recognition fronting Rainbow in 1980, Graham Bonnet returned to his solo career for 1981’s “Line-Up” (also available on this blog) followed by a very brief stint with The Michael Schenker Group for 1982’s Assault Attack, before forming Alcatrazz in 1983 with Swedish guitar maestro Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
Alcatrazz released a total of three studio albums; No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll in 1983, Disturbing The Peace in 1985 where Malmsteen was replaced by former Frank Zappa alumni Steve Vai before he in turn left to join David Lee Roth, and be replaced by ex-Alice Cooper and Rick Derringer guitarist Danny Johnson for this 1986’s “Dangerous Games”.
Capitol Records wanted Bonnet and Co. to incorporate outside songwriters for what would go on to become "Dangerous Games", but the band resisted and instead agreed to include, for the first time, a couple of covers.
Therefore the album opens with a good, if unspectacular, version of The Animals "It's My Life", while also seeing the band beef up (a little anyway) "Only One Woman", a UK hit Bonnet had with The Marbles many years before. In truth neither really set the heather on fire, still leaving Johnson with the pressure of providing the bulk of the material.
The title track, which the guitarist wrote single handedly, is undoubtedly a highlight, while his co-writes with Bonnet and keyboard player Jimmy Waldo on "Undercover" and the moody "The Witchwood" don't let the side down.
Overall, the album moves in a more commercial direction than the two previous, without the flashy guitar pyrotechnics and focused in Johnson's deeper, bluesier melodic six-string style.
This Deluxe Edition features a very rare and previously unreleased live recording from Long Island, one of the few shows Alcatrazz did before split.
Included are unique, if rough and ready versions of Alcatrazz classics "Island In The Sun" and "God Blessed Video", as well as Rainbow hits "Since You Been Gone" and "All Night Long".
If you've never heard Alcatrazz before, then start with the also recently reissued Vai infused Disturbing The Peace or the more Rainbow-esque Malmsteen led No Parole From Rock 'n Roll to really hear what all the fuss was about.
However, "Dangerous Games" is better than many would have you believe, a good melodic hard rock album and does stand the test of time reasonably well.
01 - It's My Life
02 - Undercover
03 - That Ain't Nothin'
04 - No Imagination
05 - Ohayo Tokyo
06 - Dangerous Games
07 - Blue Boar
08 - Only One Woman
09 - The Witchwood
10 - Double Man
11 - Night of the Shooting Star
12 - Island in the Sun [Live]
13 - It's My Life [Live]
14 - Undercover [Live]
15 - God Blessed Video [Live]
16 - Double Man [Live]
17 - Wire and Wood [Live]
18 - Since You Been Gone [Live]
19 - All Night Long [Live]
Bonus Tracks: Live at Long Island, NY, USA, 29th November 1986
Graham Bonnet - lead vocals
Danny Johnson - guitar, backing vocals
Gary Shea - bass
Jan Uvena - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Jimmy Waldo - keyboards, backing vocals
Jay Davis - vocals
Jimmy Haslip - bass
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Sunday, August 28, 2016
Perhaps British rockers GIRL are best remembered by many for including future Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen or L.A. Guns frontman Phil Lewis, but this was a band which influenced many acts to come, in many ways. Rock Candy Records has finely remastered their best effort, the rocking "Sheer Greed" including 2 bonus tracks.
Girl exploded into the UK scene in the early '80s, a scene that was almost exclusively primed for down and dirty hard rock, but these guys were a completely different beast.
Hard rock bands during the very early '80s complied with a strict in-vogue youth uniform of denim, leather and greasy long hair. The NWOBHM, as it was labelled, may have been a force for good but it certainly wasn’t tolerant of aesthetic deviation… something that Girl found to be a major stumbling block.
Dressed to kill, they resembled a car-crash combination of Duran Duran, David Bowie and the New York Dolls. Musically, however, their riff-tastic style was more in tune with Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Kiss.
The band’s somewhat androgynous, glammy look, penchant for eye makeup and cocky pouts, set them apart and there was no getting away from the fact that visually these guys were totally out of step with the scene. But this is pure rock n' roll: go against the rules.
Therefore, they suffered some ridicule; despite the fact that they were actually trailblazing a style that was later successfully utilised by acts such as Hanoi Rocks, Mötley Crüe and Ratt.
Yes, Girl visuals were the core for the US Californian hard rock during all the decade.
They couldn’t have been more different; five musical rouges from London who had, almost by accident, joined a NWOBHM street party and found themselves sticking out like dandies in bare knuckle cage fight.
That these guys were unique was the least of their worries. Fortunately, they made amends by tooling up with razor sharp riffs, knock out hooks and raw production.
They were also fronted by a charismatic lead vocalist that taunted the crowd by blowing kisses to bikers. Wow, that's attitude.
Signed to Jet Records (owned and operated by the Mr Big of rock, Don Arden), this, the band’s debut album, co-produced by Chris Tsangarides (Y&T, Thin Lizzy) and Nick Tauber (Def Leppard, UFO), made the critics swoon and gained fans at both sides of the ocean.
"Sheer Greed" crackles with the riotous swagger you'd expect from glam metal merchants on the make: Girl dedicated itself to equal opportunity plundering from the New York Dolls and UFO, as opener 'Hollywood Tease' buzzing guitars and leering Phil Lewis vocal make plain ("When I've broken your heart/I'll quickly depart").
These guys knew what they had and weren't afraid to let everyone know it (as Lewis did when he recut the song after joining L.A. Guns). Judging by the creamy vocal backups spicing "Little Miss Ann," the Faces' rooster-topped mops loom large as an influence, too (along with their penchant for archly humorous cock rock).
"Do You Love Me" is one of the earliest Kiss covers, which brims with Paul Stanley's near-statutory trademark: a chorus that's shouted into infinity. The song became an encore, though serendipity likely had little bearing on its inclusion (since Girl also supported some of Kiss' May 1980 U.K. tour dates).
"Passing Clouds" and "The Things You Say" add a poppy touch to the band's glam glitter, which few bands of the era - hard-rocking or not - touched.
"Heartbreak America" closes on the same strongly confident note on which the album started, with explosive riffs and swagger galore.
Mentioned as influence by many bands and musicians like Axl Rose or Stephen Pearcy, Girl rocks really good with a glammy attitude on "Sheer Greed". Chris Tsangarides' crisp, coherent production style kept Girl poised toward mainstream success without watering down the group's personality quotient.
Excellent remastering by Rock Candy including a pretty hard to find single and b-side as bonus tracks. (Thanks Fred for this one!)
01 - Hollywood Tease
02 - The Things You Say
03 - Lovely Lorraine
04 - Strawberries
05 - Little Miss Ann
06 - Doctor Doctor
07 - Do You Love Me
08 - Take Me Dancing
09 - What's Up
10 - Passing Clouds
11 - My Number
12 - Heartbreak America
13 - You Really Got Me
14 - Love Is A Game
15 - You Really Got Me (demo version - hidden track)
Phil Lewis - lead vocals
Phil Collen - lead guitar, backing vocals
Gerry Laffy - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Simon Laffy - bass guitar, backing vocals
Dave Gaynor - drums, backing vocals
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The HENRY PAUL BAND is considered the first group to mix American Rock from the South with Californian West Coast harmonies, and their debut album "Grey Ghost" its faithful exponent, remastered by Rock Candy Records with a crystal clear sound.
Guitarist / Vocalist was part of The Outlaws, a fiery guitar driven ensemble from Tampa, Florida which took the same blue print of Lynyrd Skynyrd & the Allman Brothers Band and in the second half of the Seventies blazed their way from the clubs and bars to headline status in some of the largest venues in the US.
Paul was an integral member of the band as a songwriter and vocalist, until he struck out on his own. Enlisting the help of several gifted friends he formed his own band and signed an impressive contract with Atlantic Records, going on to craft a record that has continued to garner a dedicated following and much critical acclaim.
Titled "Grey Ghost", the band's debut is drenched in Southern Rock influences as well as those of '70s West Coast bands such as the Eagles. The opening cut, 'So Long' combines Americana, Blues, Classic Rock and the over the top guitar punch of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, while 'Crossfire' rocks sounding like the Joe Walsh-era Eagles jamming with the Pure Prairie League.
But to say that Paul and his band merely copied what was out there wouldn't be fair. "Grey Ghost" is a fine album; the songcraft is tight and crisp, the lead and harmony vocals are crystalline, and the production is unobtrusive.
Crammed full of well written and arranged songs, including 'Foolin' and the beautifully multi-part harmony of 'All I Need', the album’s unquestionable highlight is the title track itself, a poignant epic written very much as a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd and in particular frontman Ronnie Van Zant who had perished two years earlier in a plane crash.
It's a track that has it all; heart wrenching lyrics, a brilliant arrangement and a lengthy guitar solo in the finest southern rock tradition. Truly a milestone in the genre’s long and proud history.
Despite the close harmonies and softer edges of the first half of the disc, the second half entrenches itself more in the raw Southern boogie and hard honky tonk rock that defines the genre, from 'I Don't Need You No More' to 'Lonely Dreamer' and the crunchy 'You Really Know (What I Mean)', and the even close to hard rock 'One Night Stands'.
"Grey Ghost" is a pretty unique record blending styles like few, plenty of wonderful melodies but a rockin' spirit as well. The Henry Paul Band recorded a couple of albums more then disbanded in 1983 with Paul reunited with Hughie Thomasson of the Outlaws again. He remained with the band until 1989 when he left again to start the group BlackHawk alongside the great Van Stephenson.
But the 'must have' Henry Paul Band album is this "Grey Ghost", very well remastered by Rock Candy with a warm sound.
Lovely music for the ears.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 - So Long
02 - Crossfire
03 - Foolin'
04 - Wood Wind
05 - Grey Ghost
06 - I Don't Need You No More
07 - Lonely Dreamer
08 - One Night Stands
09 - You Really Know (What I Mean)
10 - All I Need
Henry Paul - Vocals, Guitar
Billy Crain - Guitar
David Fiester - Guitar, Vocals
Jim Fish - Guitar, Vocals
Wally Dentz - Bass, Harmonica, Vocals
Barry Rapp - Composer, Keyboards, Vocals
Bill Hoffman, Monte Yoho - Drums
Eddie Green - Keyboards
Joe Lala - Percussion, Percussion Programming
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"Love, Hate And Deception" is the new album by hard rockers MAD MARGRITT, their 4th studio release on Perris Records. Always fronted by vocalist, guitarist and composer Eddie Smith, the rest of personnel has changed since Mad Margritt's last effort (featured on this blog) but their classic musical approach to the genre remain intact.
For these Atlanta, Georgia hard rockers Mad Margritt their clockwork seems to have been hit by a lightning someday in the late '80s, as since the band formed almost three decades ago never changed their style inspired by the Sunset Strip glory days.
Although the group still proudly waves the hair metal flag in 2016, this new record has a heavier feel / sound to it than their previous recordings, modernized but always catchy and melodic.
There's only 9 tracks on "Love, Hate And Deception", but all are strong and avoid the filler syndrome.
Among my favorite cuts there's the pumping rocker 'Never Enough', 'Take Your Best Shot', the kick ass 'Liar' and midtempo 'It's Time I Told You Goodbye'.
Also we have a pretty killer power ballad in 'I'm Over You', still intense in its delivery.
If you're a late '80s American hard rock fan you'll love "Love, Hate And Deception". Mad Margritt is more than just a bunch of guys trying to capitalize on nostalgia for nostalgia's sake; it's genuinely well-written music influenced by the glory days of the genre but with a modern, updated sound.
Eddie Smith’s vocals remain sharp, and the guitar playing is standing tall on this new recording driving the proceedings still managing the melodic sound that will keep fans of the genre happy.
01 - Liar
02 - The One You Love To Hate
03 - Take Your Best Shot
04 - Broken
05 - Never Enough
06 - I'm Over You
07 - Into The Light
08 - It's Time I Told You Goodbye
09 - Bad Obsession
Eddie Smith - Vocals, Guitar
Mark Cook - Guitar
Matt Aebi - Bass
Tod Williford - Drums
Saturday, August 27, 2016
MITCH MALLOY has just released his new solo record "Making Noise", which marks the first time he has undertaken an album solely by himself from start to finish – songwriting, producing, instruments, mixing and mastering.
“I have always brought in a few musicians or songwriters to work with me on projects in the past and have really enjoyed what they brought to the table. But this time, I was in a different place and really needed to work through everything musically by myself…thus, My Therapy!” said Malloy tongue-in-cheek.
And 'My Therapy' it's one of the best tracks on the album with an '80s feel, after the rollin' n' thunderin' opener 'Rock-n-Roll' where Malloy proclaim his love for this timeless genre.
There's more uptempo rockers in the groovy 'Shook' (love those keyboards), the melodic rock heaven of 'Alone' and the organic title track 'Making Noise', another highlight.
Of course Mitch Malloy has an AOR heart and there's plenty in this vein on the new CD as on the sweet ballad 'It's Just a Word', or midtempo 'I Was Wrong' akin Nelson which twenty-five years ago would have been a chart hit.
Then there's the terrific 'Life Has Just Begun' - the brightest track on the album - and one of the best melodic rock songs I heard this year. Just listen that pure AOR guitar riff, its cadence, the rich harmony vocals, and Malloy's incredible lead vocals. This track alone worth the disc.
Mitch Malloy continues delivering quality Melodic Rock / AOR now in 2016 with a more 'organic' wrapper but with his trademark, awesome melodies better than never.
This talented man not only is producing some really good bands like Kaato or Jett Black, but also writing excellent new stuff himself. There's some outstanding tunes here, believe me.
Malloy plays all instruments with ease in a very well arranged & produced record, perhaps the best of his career. Yes, it's that good.
01 - Rock-n-Roll
02 - My Therapy
03 - One Way
04 - Speak of the Devil
05 - Shook
06 - It's Just a Word
07 - Alone
08 - I Was Wrong
09 - Life Has Just Begun
10 - Making Noise
Mitch Malloy - all vocals & instruments
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Now this is curious stuff; ROBERT HAGLUND's solo debut album "I Wanna Be Somebody". Haglund is a Swedish vocalist better known as one of the The Fantastic Four, a popular Swedish vocal quartet which revisit soul, blues, jazz standards and where he plays bass also.
But for his debut Haglund has chosen to cover some hard rock classics in a jazzy mood helped by some well known Rock musicians.
You have Coverdale / Whitesnake staple 'Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City' done in a very slow mood by Haglund crooner vocals helped by Sweden's most famous jazz singer Svante Thuresson in harmony vocals, obtaining an atmosphere proper from a New York intimate jazz club.
Then there's an almost unrecognizable cover of Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' where Bruce Kulick (KISS) provides a great acoustic guitar solo.
Next it's time for a groovy version of 'Don't Believe a Word' (Thin Lizzy) and it's a highlight because Tony Harnell (ex TNT / Skid Row) sings various verses and his vocals are a-we-some. Additionally Kulick delivers another fantastic solo, this time full electric.
It's fun to hear Twisted Sister's 'The Price' done in a ballad form with the presence of Kee Marcello (ex Europe) on guitar, or DIO's 'Holy Diver' going acoustic (!) but it works, believe me.
Other tune which I liked alot is 'You Give Love a Bad Name' (Bon Jovi) as its big-band arrangement fits greatly with the song.
Kulick again and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot et all) appear for a very melodic, bluesy take on Kiss' classic 'Love Gun', and for the end Cinderella's drummer Fred Coury collaborate with a rockin' (in this album terms) version of 'Ice Cream Man' (made popular by Van Halen).
It's a lot of fun, and most of these re-arranged classics really work on this format. I'll pass on Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades', but even with its big-band feeling WASP's 'I Wanna Be Somebody' results enjoyable.
This record turns more and more addictive the more you listen to it... I am in the second spin in a row in this rainy morning...
Really Cool - Very Recommended
01 - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City - Whitesnake cover
02 - Enter Sandman - Metallica cover
03 - Don't Believe a Word - Thin Lizzy cover
04 - The Price - Twisted Sister cover
05 - Holy Diver - DIO cover
06 - Ace Of Spades - Motorhead cover
07 - You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi cover
08 - I Wanna Be Somebody - WASP cover
09 - Love Gun - KISS cover
10 - Ice Cream Man - Van Halen cover
Robert Haglund - vocals, bass
Tony Harnell - vocals
Kee Marcello - guitar
Bruce Kulick - guitar
Rudy Sarzo - bass
Fred Coury - drums
and many more
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KINGDOM COME's founder Lenny Wolf announced this week the official end of the band. It's a great opportunity to revisit the band's more successful - and best - albums in its Japanese remastered editions and pressed on a great sounding SHM-CD.
"Kingdom Come", the band's self-titled debut, was a hit.
"Kingdom Come" released their well-received, self-titled debut album appeared in early 1988. Led by German born frontman Lenny Wolf who co-wrote most of the album’s material with the group’s manager Marty Wolff, the band scored their most popular and best-selling album right out of the gate.
After the band’s lead single generated tremendous buzz well ahead of the album release, Kingdom Come went gold on the same day it was put on sale, and eventually went Platinum status in the United States, Germany and Canada and peaked at #12 on the U.S. Album charts.
Part of the initial attraction (and later critique) of the band was their audio likeness to classic-era Led Zeppelin.
Most of that comparison is predicated on Wolf's vocal resemblance to Robert Plant. In fact his timbre is often remarkably similar. He also shares Plant's ability to shift his tone suddenly from teasingly sultry to pyrotechnic.
However, outside the vocals, the Kingdom Come-Led Zep comparison crumbles.
Sure, there's a couple of tracks with a Zeppelin-esque vibe, but which band has not been influenced by these Rock 'n Roll legends?
Lenny Wolf & Co. have said: "Led Zeppelin was not any of the band members favorite band". And listening the entire disc proves it.
Wolf comes from an European AOR background with his band Stone Fury (two really good records), and the same can be said from the rest of the guys. Just listen "Now Forever After" below.
The album was co-produced by Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) who forged a crisp and solid rock sound at Little Mountain studio in Vancouver and mixed it at the famous Electric Lady studios in New York City.
This fresh Japanese remaster is simply wonderful, with a punchy yet warm balanced sound. As usual, the quality is excellent, reproducing the entire original album artwork (Mini LP).
Out of print I'm afraid...
Universal Japan ~ UICY-76002
01 - Living Out Of Touch
02 - Pushin' Hard
03 - What Love Can Be
04 - 17
05 - The Shuffle
06 - Get It On
07 - Now Forever After
08 - Hideaway
09 - Loving You
10 - Shout It Out
Lenny Wolf – lead vocals
Danny Stag – lead guitar
Rick Steier – rhythm guitar
Johnny B. Frank – bass
James Kottak – drums
Out Of Print
KINGDOM COME's founder Lenny Wolf announced this week the official end of the band. It's a great opportunity to revisit the band's more successful - and best - albums in its Japanese remastered edition and pressed on a great sounding SHM-CD.
"In Your Face" was Kingdom Come's second, catchy album.
After the platinum seller self-titled debut, Polygram put big effort for Kingdom Come's second album "In Your Face". Top class producer Keith Olsen (Whitesnake, Heart, Foreigner, Journey) was hired to provide a glossy, catchy, commercial approach to band's profile.
There's straight-ahead melodic hard rockers as lead cut and flagship song "Do You Like It" with a bombastic sound and arrangements mixed with killer mid-tempo AOR anthems like "Gotta Go (Can't Wage a War)", "Just Like a Wild Rose" or "Who Do You Love" which displays a charming section of stately guitar work and smooth keyboard playing.
This fresh Japanese remaster is simply wonderful, rich in dynamics. As usual, the quality is excellent, reproducing the entire original album artwork (Mini LP).
There's few copies remaining of this Limited Edition, and are being sold at a very reasonable price. Get yours pronto.
Highly Recommended in your collection.
Universal Japan ~ UICY-76003
01 - Do You Like It
02 - Who Do You Love
03 - The Wind
04 - Gotta Go (Can't Wage A War)
05 - Highway 6
06 - Perfect O
07 - Just Like A Wild Rose
08 - Overrated
09 - Mean Dirty Joe
10 - Stargazer
Lenny Wolf – lead vocals
Danny Stag – lead guitar
Rick Steier – rhythm guitar
Johnny B. Frank – bass
James Kottak – drums
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Friday, August 26, 2016
"Still On Fire" is the new album by Germans HAMMERSCHMITT released today. I never heard about them until now although the band has been around since 1997, and the musicians had made music together for 10 years before under the name Pierrot. Maybe the reason is that their albums were recorded in German language, and this limited the band world-wide.
So the guys had the bright idea to regroup and then rebound. They released two five song EP's in English both independently produced and self-released, and seems the quality attracted Massacre Records who are releasing this "Still On Fire", Hammerschmitt's first 'international' album.
At first glance the band's name, the cover artwork and their recording label made think of a heavy metal band. Fortunately, Hammerschmitt's "Still On Fire" is all about classic hard rock, with a slight melodic metal touch here and there, but basically, classy melodic hard with an '80s feel.
With 'Rock Steady' the Bavarians kick off from the beginning. Banging double-guitars, powerful double bass. A neckbreaker par excellence. 'Sanctuary' is partly affected by vocal harmonies that should animate the listener to sing along, plus there are guitar melodies which go directly into the ear. The title track is a bit quieter but no less powerful, with a catchy chorus like an hymn.
Despite its title, 'Metalheadz' is not a sleaze tune but a fine slice of arena-ready hard rock driven by a melting riff and contagious harmony vocals. 'Shout' adds a lot of groove to the proceedings, then arrives a surprise; 'Zombie', a Cranberries cover. In the metal version I like this song almost better than the original. Close to the original but significantly harder played. Very cool.
Hammerschmitt are able to create good ballads too, 'Crazy World', which not only shares the name with some Scorpions work but musically as well. It sure will provide burning lighters and glowing cell phones at concerts. Melodic clean guitars, punchy drums and impressive choruses ensure sufficient goosebumps.
Then 'Whoohoo' bring back hard rocking riffs and a festive rhythm with a little Seventies influences. The album concludes with the quiet ballad-like 'Killed By Death', the type of slow tunes the likes of Praying Mantis used to create in the early Eighties crowned by a brilliant melodic guitar solo.
Several decades of stage experience and skills to write solid classic hard rock songs it's what you got clear about Hammerschmitt after "Still On Fire" first listen.
With the really well crafted & produced eleven songs they clearly show where the rubber meets the road. Here are musicians at work who are still far from the scrap heap, guys who nailed the genre from its roots.
01 - Rock Steady
02 - Sanctuary
03 - Still on Fire
04 - Metalheadz
05 - Shout
06 - Zombie
07 - One Helluva Night
08 - Mean Streak
09 - Crazy World
10 - Whoohoo
11 - Killed by Death
Benjamin Kroiss – Vocals
Gernot Kroiss - Guitar
Andreas Summer - Guitar
Stefan Kroiss – Drums
Armin Zelzer - Bass
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