Friday, September 30, 2016

MAYDAY - Revenge [Rock Candy remastered / First Time on CD] (2016)

MAYDAY - Revenge [Rock Candy remastered / First Time on CD] (2016) full

Alongside MAYDAY's self-titled debut, Rock Candy Records is also releasing the second album from the band titled "Revenge", remastered and for the first time on CD.

New York City has, over the years, been home to a number of great Rock acts, but during the early '80s it was fast losing ground to its west coast geographical rival, Los Angeles. NYC, for all its bravado, was actually more in love with the burgeoning alternative and power pop scene, scratch below the surface though and you could find several hard rock acts storming through, sticking bravely to a diet of tough-guy guitar work and well written melodic songs.
Step forward Mayday, one such example of the city’s hard rock counter movement.

Mayday’s debut album released via the well respected A&M label certainly put the band on the map, helping to earmark them as an outfit to watch.
The label’s belief carried forward to the recording of their second album, albeit with a slightly revised line up but still retaining key member’s; vocalist Steve Johnstad and guitarist Randy Fredrix – the dynamic duo’s creativity reaching a new level of confidence.

Appeared in 1982, "Revenge" showcases the band sharpening their approach and toughening up their chops, but without sacrificing a well honed sense of melody and execution. It’s all credit to the band that some of the songs showcase quirky twists that help to elevate them beyond the competition and lend a contemporary sheen to their sound.

This resulted in a varied album, ranging from Pompy AOR numbers such as title track 'Revenge' (easily sporting the most catchy chorus on the album with a Journey / Aldo Nova feel) to bruising hard rockers like 'Crusin'
'First Impressions' has a melodic rock heart with a radio-ready melody, 'Middle Of The Night' adds a classic rock touch, 'Mystery' bring to mind Journey midtempo songs, then 'This Girl's On Fire' has an early Loverboy-like rhythm yet more edgy.
Randy Fredrix takes the mic for lead vocals on a couple of songs providing additional variation, although his style in an Ace Frehley vein is exactly not my cup of tea.

If Mayday's first album was a rarity, this second effort "Revenge" became even more hard to find. Kudos to Rock Candy for not only remaster / reissue major bands and albums, but also rarities and obscurities like this Mayday album.

01 - Revenge
02 - First Impressions
03 - Middle of the Night
04 - Cherry
05 - Ready or Not
06 - Mystery
07 - Identity
08 - Crusin'
09 - This Girl's on Fire

Steve Johnstad: vocals
Randy Fredrix: guitars, lead vocals on 4/5
Charles Mass: bass, backing vocals
Danny Shmitt: drums



MAYDAY - Mayday [Rock Candy remastered / First Time on CD] (2016)

MAYDAY - Mayday [Rock Candy remastered / First Time on CD] (2016) full

MAYDAY self-titled debut "Mayday" was for years an almost impossible to find LP. Now, thanks to Rock Candy headquarters the album is being remastered and released on CD for the first time, a must for American AOR fans eager to own a long out of print album that appears to have obtained legend status in the genre.

Initially called Sun, and formed in the late Seventies with their roots in Chicago but based in New York City, Mayday plugged themselves into Manhattan’s burgeoning club scene playing underground clubs such as CBGB’s or Great Gildersleeves.
It was this live circuit that helped to toughen the band up, winning them the attention of an independent production company who bank rolled the start of their debut album and helped them to sign to industry leaders A&M records.

Issued in 1981, the album was received with glowing reviews and set in motion a dedicated following amongst fans of perfectly executed melodic hard rock blessed with interesting twists and turns. The album boasts a number of superbly written and performed tracks, highlighting Steve Johnstad’s captivating voice (compared on occasion with Steve Perry) and the biting guitar work of Randy Fredrix.

And indeed the Journey comparison doesn't end there.
The excellent opener 'Chicago Nights' is a Melodic Rock / AOR anthem where the similarities to Journey are unavoidable to ignore, both in melody and Johnstad's vocal delivery, a match for Steve Perry at his best. Similar or not, this rivals 'Escape' for classic AOR.
This attitude is continued with 'Loco Love', which again is close to Journey reminding me of 'Dead Or Alive', but realistically it sounds like anything recorded prior to 'Escape' as both albums were recorded in 1981.

However, despite the solid solidly AOR spirit, Mayday had a hard rock origin as well, and some of the songs here display metallic riffs and relatively upbeat speed throughout like the fierce rockers 'Chicago Nights' and 'Getaway', with more emphasis on riffs and attitude than sleek harmonies.
Mayday also surprise with an inspired and indeed rousing version of the Starz classic ‘So Young So Bad’.
'Love Affair' isn't a ballad, instead a catchy three minute rock workout that had 'hit' written all over it. As was so common in the period there's some new wave keyboard work during 'Innocent Bystander', while 'Once Upon A Time' end the album with this closest to a ballad on the album, although it's emotional and melodically burning.

Kudos to Rock Candy for not only remaster / reissue major bands and albums, but also rarities and obscurities like this Mayday album. This was a truly outstanding unit that offered a refreshing and compelling alternative to the mega selling acts of the day yet, for whatever reason, were criminally overlooked at the time.
There's some great tunes here - Steve Johnstad co-wrote later House Of Lords hit 'Wanna Be Loved' plus songs for Joe Lynn Turner, Loudness and more - so take for sure songwriting is strong.
Highly Recommended

01 - Chicago Nights
02 - So Young So Bad
03 - New York City
04 - Loco Love
05 - Life In Space
06 - Love Affair
07 - Innocent Bystander
08 - Getaway
09 - Familiar Faces
10 - Once Upon A Time

Steve Johnstad: Vocals
Randy Fredrix: Guitar
Charles Mas: Bass
David Beck: Keyboards
Gregg Gerson, Mark Kaufman: Drums



THE RADIO SUN - Outside Looking In (2016)

THE RADIO SUN - Outside Looking In (2016) full

Aussie Melodic Rockers THE RADIO SUN return today September 30 with album number three titled "Outside Looking In", and again Paul Laine (ex-Danger Danger) handles production duties and sings co-lead vocal on ‘Wink & Smile’ (one of the album’s stand out songs).
There is as well a guest appearance with John Farnham / Nelson guitarist Brett Garsed appearing on ‘Falling For You’.

The band have lost none of their knack for penning instant melodic rock delights on the listener’s ears and they have amazing vocal harmonies. Songs like the lead single ‘Switch Off The World Tonight’ and the title track are chock full of vocal harmonies, big choruses and classy guitar riffs.
Bands like Firehouse, Trixter and Winger at their '80s oomph come to mind.

One thing that I was slightly concerned about with the band in their previous two albums is that they had a lot of similar paced songs and a little variety would be good. They must have read by mind as the slower ‘Baby Blue’ hits the spot nicely and sees the band trying a midtempo which works greatly.
Same with the smooth 'Broken', another very well crafted tune.

‘Falling For You’ goes to the other end of the melodic rock scale, possibly the heaviest song they have recorded (fear not they are not turning into Slayer!), doubtless helped by having Brett Garsed guesting delivering a great solo.
‘Someone Tell Me Why All My Heroes Are Dying’ is a poignant tribute to the many musical heroes we have lost recently - one of the album highlights.

"Outside Looking In" is another highly enjoyable melodic rock album by The Radio Sun, their best to date with as there's a fine balance of uptempo songs with some superb midtempo / ballads.
The sound is spot on as Paul Laine gets that polished sound that melodic rock songs like these need, but never too clinical and with a rocking punch.
The Radio Sun make music to put a smile on your face and upbeat melodies into your mind, long may they continue doing what they do.
Highly Recommended

01 - Can't Get You Out of My Head
02 - Standing on the Edge of Love
03 - You'll Never Know
04 - Switch Off the World Tonight
05 - Broken
06 - Fall to Pieces
07 - Wink & Smile (feat. Paul Laine)
08 - Outside Looking In
09 - My Heart Is on Fire
10 - Baby Blue
11 - Falling for You (feat. Brett Garsed)
12 - Bulletproof

Jase Old (Vocals & Guitars)
Stevie Janevski (Guitar & Vocals)
Robbie Erdmanis (Bass & Vocals)
Ben Wignall (Drums, Keyboards & Vocals)



HIGH SPIRITS - Motivator (2016) Full retail

HIGH SPIRITS - Motivator (2016) Full retail

"Motivator" is the new album from Chicago-based HIGH SPIRITS, the own project of Chris 'The Professor' Black known for being part of several bands like Pharaoh, including several former bandmates and friends. High Spirits sounds more like they hail from Newcastle, England, than the Windy City...

The High Spirits sound captures the magic of the classic '80s NWOBHM style but also elements of other seminal hard rock bands like Thin Lizzy, Riot and UFO. At the heart of his songwriting is the unapologetic simplicity of catchy melodies, muscular riffs and unaffected vocals.
"Motivator" hits hard and fast with big hooks and memorable melody lines, but it also ends quickly, lasting just under 30 minutes. There is no wasted effort here.

The album opens, after the brief intro “Up and Overture”, with the driving rhythms of “Flying High”. Charging drums and crisp riffage blend with Black’s straight forward vocals and perfectly placed nuances to make the song shine.
This is followed by “Into the Night” with its galloping bass line and spiraling fretwork.

HIGH SPIRITS - Motivator (2016) Full retail disc

“Reach for the Glory” is one of the album’s many highlights, with its Maiden-esque guitar harmonies, infectious chorus, and beefy rhythms. Conversely, “Do You Wanna Be Famous?” with its spiky bass line and optimistic bounce, takes a look at those bands who want all the fame without the effort.
The pace slows for the shuffling roll of “Haunted by Love” and its almost melodic rock feel. The tempo picks back up on “Down the Endless Road” which has some of the album’s most tasty guitar moments.

“Take Me Home” cops a bit of Maiden’s Running Free swagger on the verses, but the chorus owes more to classic Saxon. The album closes out with the chug and rumbler, “Thank You”, an ode to the fans and supporters that keep High Spirits soaring.

"Motivator" is created with all the elements from the classic metal signature / classic hard rock with High Spirits recreating the magic from the very late Seventies / first half of the Eighties.
The music it is at once addictive and accessible. The band has even created a logo that recalls this gloried past.

HIGH SPIRITS - Motivator (2016) Full retail - back

In an age when even EPs are running close to 40 minutes, Chris Black arrives with his High Spirits project and drops a glorious 30 minute slab of hard rocking, gob-stopping joy.
Yeah, sometimes less is more and "Motivator" works greatly.
Killer stuff / Strongly Recommended

1 - Up and Overture
2 - Flying High
3 - This Is the Night
4 - Reach for the Glory
5 - Do You Wanna Be Famous
6 - Haunted by Love
7 - Down the Endless Road
8 - Take Me Home
9 - Thank You

Chris Black - Vocals, All instruments
Bob Scott - Bass
Ian Sugierski - Drums
Scott Hoffman - Guitars
Mike Bushur - Guitars



Thursday, September 29, 2016

TIM CASHION - Find Us On The Dial [Japan only] (2015-2016)

TIM CASHION - Find Us On The Dial [Japan only] full

Released at the very end of past year only in Japan, TIM CASHION's "Find Us On The Dial" is the very definition of a "diamond in the rough." Originally recorded throughout various periods in 2005 and 2006, this endeavor was on its way to nowhere for a variety of reasons.
But these tracks, which had been internally shared amongst a carefully select network of people over the years, finally made it into CD thanks to P-Vine Records, an independent Japanese record label.

The influence of West Coast AOR runs deep in the souls of many career musicians. Ask any studio or touring musician about their inspirations and you’re bound to hear an answer that would include the talented players who laced the liner notes of the great albums from the '70s and '80s.
Tim Cashion is no exception.

For the past 15 years, Tim has provided keyboard and vocal support to the legendary band Grand Funk Railroad. Prior to that, he has toured with the likes of Takanaka, Robert Palmer, Jon Secada and Bob Seger.
Yet deep in his musical soul there lied a passion for West Coast AOR.
In 2005, Tim began to explore this musical path and created the tracks that became his personal Sargent Pepper’s titled “Find Us On The Dial.” The album sat in silence – until now...

After the first track, “Find Us On The Dial” instantaneously blew my mind.
Checking the album title gives you a clear innuendo about this CD; the radio-ready, FM music that ruled the airwaves in the late Seventies / Eighties.
This is the kind of music that made Eagles, Toto, Airplay, Steely Dan, Chicago, Keane and countless more ambassadors of the finest, delicious melodies created during those magic years.

Also, check the song titles; 'Deep In The Groove', 'East Coast Sun' or 'Lullaby' as example, all providing you the right idea about the music spread through its amazing melodies.
Despite of being recorded at various sessions, the album feel homogeneous and with a terrific, pristine production quality. Tim Cashion's vocals are smooth in the classy vein of the genre, and the musicians alongside him, top notch.

TIM CASHION - Find Us On The Dial [Japan only] back

"Find Us On The Dial" is a wonderful slice of timeless West Coast AOR melodies, a little masterpiece of where new details, layers and delicate arrangements are discovered with every listen.
For Tim Cashion, this music is not an example of him trying to pay tribute to a specific genre - this is how his music organically comes through him. It was this deeply passionate reaction to the music that led to this project now being available for the very first time thanks to P-Vine Records in Japan.

"Find Us On The Dial" is the kind of album you can not miss 'cos soon will become a rarity. Is as essential as it gets, and is by far one of the very best true West Coast AOR albums from the last twenty years.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Deep In The Groove
02 - Good And Good For You
03 - Take A Try
04 - It Follows You Around
05 - East Coast Sun
06 - Find Us On The Dial
07 - Interlude 1
08 - Lullaby
09 - Interlude 2
10 - None Of A Kind
11 - Keys In Da Trees
12 - When Is The Next Time
13 - Shower Me With All Your Love
14 - Love Again (bonus track)

Tim Cashion: vocals, keyboards, drums
Brian Monroney, Dustin Hofsess: guitar
Kenny Long: bass, backing vocals
Tim Smith: bass
John Alexander, Marc Henderson: sax
Billy Lewis: backing vocals



EPICA - The Holographic Principle [2CD Limited Edition Digipak] (2016)

EPICA - The Holographic Principle [2CD Limited Edition Digipak] (2016) full

EPICA is ready to release its latest evolutionary effort entitled "The Holographic Principle". Die-hard fans of the band will certainly not be disappointed, and Epica weaves enough conventional elements into its sonic tapestry that their seventh studio release will garner a large number of new supporters.
Full of traditional bombast and fire, "The Holographic Principle" will stand as one of Epica’s strongest symphonic outings, yet there are countless passages that will appeal to fans of all Rock genres.

Fronted by the ever powerful voice of Simone Simons, Epica continues to mix sci-fi & gothic themes into its lyrics and music. In the case of "The Holographic Principle", the band’s tone has shifted to the positive. Simons does her usual very capable job with her expansive vocals but spends more time singing in a crisp and clean conventional fashion than on previous releases.
In the band’s own words "The Holographic Principle" explores “the very fibre of our reality” in a Matrix-inspired way. The album opens with the powerful mood piece “Eidola” – a track with lush keyboards and strong choral vocals that build in power as it progresses.
The decidedly bouncy and upbeat (and catchy btw) “Edge of the Blade” features a wandering vocal pathway that goes from Simone’s soft and near-whispered clean singing to her full on power, while Jansen’s guttural growls and fabulous choral vocals from the rest of the band provide a strong melodic counterpoint.

EPICA - The Holographic Principle [2CD Limited Edition Digipak] (2016) booklet

The Terminator/ kynet inspired “Universal Death Squad” is a full-on symphonic attack build on manic drums, razor guitars and booming bass with plenty of over-the-top choral vocals mixed in.
By this point the overall warmth and depth of Epica’s effort become truly apparent – they have moved away from synthesized instruments and toward “real” physical strings, brass, and winds – a noticeable sonic difference.

“Beyond The Matrix” is arguably the best track on the CD – a rolling, theatrical, triumphant tune that snaps from orchestral madness to vocal/bass Hard Rock and back – the essence of Epica.
The band softens to violin and strings during the sweeping “Once Upon A Nightmare,” a track that allows the passion in Simone’s voice to shine – but quickly cranks the intensity back up while searching for answers to “The Cosmic Algorithm.”
Middle Eastern and Asian overtones (thanks to some well done exotic instruments) make “Dancing in a Hurricane” unique – almost a folk metal tune, while “Tear Down Your Walls” rolls in some soft atmospheric touches before becoming an intense Progressive heavy rocker.
The eleven minute plus epic “The Holographic Principle – A Profound Understanding Of Reality” sums up the album – running that gamut from choral chant to soft piano to bluesy guitars to … well, you get it.

This Limited Edition Digipak includes the bonus CD "The Acoustic Principle", featuring really well crafted tunes like the joyful "Beyond the Good, The Bad and the Ugly", and the acoustic version of "Immortal Melancholy", the Japanese bonus track

EPICA - The Holographic Principle [2CD Limited Edition Digipak] (2016) back

As always, Epica seems to take the approach that bigger is better, and they thrive on throwing in everything into their music – including the proverbial kitchen sink. This at times sense of reckless abandon is what makes Epica what they are today – a fearless and unapologetic act that pulls no punches and always seems to be having fun as they perform.

While retaining the trademark bombast intrinsic to the symphonic metal scene, Epica remain much more rooted around the riff than their peers with innovative and, more importantly, catchy guitar work peppered all over the album.
If you like this genre with a more 'rocking approach', this is a winner.

CD 1 : The Holographic Principle
01 - Eidola
02 - Edge of the Blade
03 - A Phantasmic Parade
04 - Universal Death Squad
05 - Divide and Conquer
06 - Beyond the Matrix
07 - Once Upon a Nightmare
08 - The Cosmic Algorithm
09 - Ascension - Dream State Armageddon
10 - Dancing in a Hurricane
11 - Tear Down Your Walls
12 - The Holographic Principle
(A Profound Understanding of Reality)

CD 2 : The Acoustic Principle
01 - Beyond the Good, The Bad and the Ugly
02 - Dancing in a Gypsy Camp
03 - Immortal Melancholy (Acoustic Version)
04 - The Funky Algorithm
05 - Universal Love Squad

Simone Simons (vocals)
Mark Jansen (guitars, vocals)
Coen Janssen (keyboards)
Isaac Delahaye (guitar)
Rob Van Der Loo (bass)
Arien Van Weesenbeek (drums, vocals)



HARTMANN - Shadows & Silhouettes (2016)

HARTMANN - Shadows & Silhouettes (2016) full

Recently mostly known as being part of Avantasia, talented singer and guitarist Oliver Hartmann also has a solo career having released one of the best Melodic Hard Rock / AOR debut albums from the past decade. "Shadows & Silhouettes" it's his new release under the HARTMANN banner in four years to be released tomorrow. The album has been co-produced again by Avantasia's mastermind Sascha Paeth.

As in the previous Hartmann album, the German continues to deliver his well-crafted melodic hard rock stuff with driven guitars, some memorable choruses and a 'modern' melodic rock sound that will please all the band's earlier fans but also every fan of the 'softer' melodic rock scene.
The strength of "Shadows & Silhouettes" is also its weakness, namely that the album is frontloaded with all the best stuff.

HARTMANN - Shadows & Silhouettes (2016) booklet

For instance, "Irresistible" begins with in a similar way to Joey Tempest's solo effort Forgiven and is not dissimilar in the laid back vibe. This is followed by "High on You" which isn't a Survivor cover but is an equally upbeat, classy piece of melodic rock – again with a pretty laid back atmosphere.

One of the vital parts of the mix is Hartmann's voice which is never less than commanding as on the first single "When Your Mama Was a Hippie" which is very poppy indeed.
The album falls away sharply after the ballad "Jaded Heart" and the excellent "Amazing" but there is definitely enough quality in the first half of the album to warrant attention.
That doesn't mean the rest is bad, not at all, just more simple. We have two very nice acoustic, mid-tempo tunes (Oliver is an specialist in this matter) on "Still The Same" and "The Letting Go" which show the emotional side of Hartmann.

HARTMANN - Shadows & Silhouettes (2016) back

Oliver Hartmann is a talented, complete musician and never fails to deliver. His new album "Shadows And Silhouettes" is a very enjoyable record with some superb tunes mixed with a more laid-back side.
His band feels very tight, strong, and Sascha Paeth provides a pristine sound via his technical expertise production.
Very Recommended

01 - Irresistible
02 - High on You
03 - Glow
04 - When Your Mama Was a Hippie
05 - Jaded Heart
06 - Amazing
07 - Still the Same
08 - I Would Murder for You
09 - The Letting Go
10 - Too Good to Be True
11 - Shadow in My Eyes
12 - Last Goodbye
13 - Shadows (Hidden Track)

Oliver Hartmann (guitar, vocals)
Mario Reck (guitar)
Armin Donderer (bass)
Markus Kullmann (drums)
Jimmy Kresic (keyboards)
Irena Morisáková, Adéla Pecková (strings)

Pre Order;


BAM BAM BOYS (Matti Alfonzetti) - Bam Bam Boys [remastered reissue] out of print

BAM BAM BOYS (Matti Alfonzetti) - Bam Bam Boys [remastered reissue] full

Another request to fulfill it's this digital remaster of BAM BAM BOYS self-titled album. fronted by superb shouter Matti Alfonzetti, Bam Bam Boys were potentially one of Sweden's best Melodic Hard Rock exports around the time that Swedish colleagues such as Europe, Treat and Alien starting making inroads into the scene during the second half of '80s.

How these guys never make it big defies logic. Label troubles and internal affairs resulted in a broke-up, and their self-titled debut remained unreleased until 1999. But soon become a collectors piece.
Long time out of print, "Bam Bam Boys" was reissued some time ago in this great digital remastering, but in a very limited edition of 500 copies, and again, out of print.

One of the strengths of the band are Matti Alfonzetti's awesome vocals, one of the best singers in the Melodic Hard Rock genre with long and varied career fronting Jagged Edge, Talisman, SkinTrade and with a great solo career right now.

audio not remastered:

"Bam Bam Boys" is a magical '80s sounding album with a punchy yet pristine production, including superb Melodic (Hard) Rock tunes such as "I Believe In Rock 'N' Roll", "Dancing On Top Of The World" and "Stay Alive" which reminds me Strangeways.
We have more cheerful '80s Euro-AOR rockers in "Prisoner", "Angel" and the Heartland sounding "Heart To Heart".

"Let Me Touch Your Skin" was the only single released back in its day, a killer midtempo AOR with a glossy atmosphere, while closing track "Take My Soul" is a nice semi AOR ballad in the Talk Of The Town vein.

BAM BAM BOYS (Matti Alfonzetti) - Bam Bam Boys [remastered reissue] back

"Bam Bam Boys" is one of the best slices of pure Melodic Rock / AOR ever emerged from Sweden with all the magic of the genre. And this album still remain unknown for many. Do not lose your chance now.
HIGHLY Recommended

Only at 0dayrox

01 - I Believe In Rock 'N' Roll
02 - Prisoner
03 - Let Me Touch Your Skin
04 - Susanne
05 - Dancing On Top Of The World
06 - Angel
07 - In Motion
08 - Stay Alive
09 - Heart To Heart
10 - White Lies
11 - Someday
12 - Take My Soul

Lead Vocals – Matti Alfonzetti
Guitar – Göran Elmquist
Keyboards – Mats Olausson
Bass – Gunnar Hallin
Drums – Fredrik Von Gerber
Backing Vocals – Vivian Cardinal

Out Of Print, try here:


DREAM THEATER - Images And Words [Limited Release SHM-CD] Out Of Print

DREAM THEATER - Images And Words [Limited Release SHM-CD] Out Of Print - full

One of you asked for DREAM THEATER's "Images And Words" in its Japanese SHM-CD version. Appeared some years ago, this was the only press on this format, a Limited Edition, and of course, Out Of Print now.
Dream Theater’s first album When Dream And Day Unite showed potential of this amazing band, and it appeared in its fullest with this album featuring Canadian vocalist James LaBrie and the glossy production by master David Prater.

Simply put, "Images And Words" is a truly magnificent album, putting the virtuoso abilities of its members to good use without once sacrificing melody and songwriting quality. It deserves the praise it gets.
Opening the album is one of Dream Theater’s most popular songs, 'Pull Me Under'. It’s a killer track and not a throwaway single in the least. The progression from the opening clean riff to the quicker distorted is terrific, and LaBrie shows from the off his elastic pipes. Overall, the song is pretty straight-forward for a heavier Dream Theater track.
Despite of being quite long, the track is catchy and accessible, it was definitely a good single choice and a good song to introduce people to the band.

There is simply not a bad track on the album.
Speaking about the most 'progressive' compositions, 'Metropolis Pt. 1' is a real delight, truly capturing the epic feel that the band was going for, from the building intro to the excellent ever-changing instrumental section in the middle. John Myung, whose bass work in Dream Theater is often unappreciated, gets a rare moment in the spotlight with a short but excellent bass solo.
It is followed up by 'Under A Glass Moon', which is equally impressive. It features LaBrie’s strongest vocals on the album, and also one of Petrucci’s finest solos, which is the centerpiece that holds the track together.

The shorter, softer and melodic tracks are a great complement to the more expansive material. 'Another Day' is a superb ballad, incorporating a saxophone that adds an 'extra' element to the track. 'Surrounded' is another gem more in a midtempo pace, slowly building but eventually cooling down at the end.
'Wait For Sleep' is an excellent emotionally-driven piano track that lets LaBrie deliver a more restrained performance for once. It works well on its own, but even better as an intro to 'Learning To Live'.

LaBrie’s vocals do take getting used to for the uninitiated, particularly his occasional high-pitched wailing, but he proves himself to be a powerful vocalist, and despite not being praised as a metal vocalist, his vocals actually fit the music Dream Theater plays quite well, especially on this album. He is just as essential to Dream Theater as any of his virtuoso band mates.
He is particularly effective given that this was his first album with the band. While the guitar of Petrucci typically gets the most spotlight, the rest of the band performs just as excellently as he does.
Kevin Moore’s keyboard work is awesome, adding an extra level of depth. He also has a few solos ('Take the Time', 'Under A Glass Moon'). Mike Portnoy’s acclaimed drumming is in full force here as well, as is John Myung’s underappreciated bass work.

DREAM THEATER - Images And Words [Limited Release SHM-CD] Out Of Print back

"Images And Words" is a true classic. Musically it is constantly engaging, and the songwriting is consistently outstanding. Dream Theater would be accused later in their career of being complex for complexity’s sake, overusing odd time signatures and letting their instrumental wanderings replace actual songwriting.
It may be true at places, but none of those criticisms apply to "Images and Words".
While each member gets to show off his virtuosity, each song feels connected and not a moment is out of place. The instrumental sections that exist are there for the purpose of adding to the song, making the technicality that is displayed all the more enjoyable.

Many 'radical-prog' fans hate this album especially due the triggered drums and the polished, huge David Prater (Diving For Pearls, Firehouse) '80s AORish' production. But there's precisely where lies its charm.
Dream Theater / Prater were able to create one of the most accessible progressive albums in history, and of course, as an '80s sucker, I LOVE this sound.
"Images And Words" is a treat for both the prog fan and the casual music listener alike. This Japanese SHM-CD has a terrific dynamic balance and not, it's not remastered. In fact, "Images And Words" never has been remastered. It does not need it. It is fantastic like it is.

Warner Music Japan ~ WPCR-13484
【LTD SHM-CD】 イメージズ・アンド・ワーズ

01 - Pull Me Under
02 - Another Day
03 - Take The Time
04 - Surrounded
05 - Metropolis - Part I 'The Miracle And The Sleeper'
06 - Under A Glass Moon
07 - Wait For Sleep
08 - Learning To Live

James LaBrie – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitar, background vocals
Kevin Moore – keyboards
John Myung – bass
Mike Portnoy – drums, percussion, background vocals
Jay Beckenstein – soprano saxophone on "Another Day"

Out Of Print


DREAM THEATER - When Dream And Day Unite [Japan Remastered SHM-CD miniLP]

DREAM THEATER - When Dream And Day Unite [Japan Remastered SHM-CD miniLP] full

This Japanese edition of DREAM THEATER's debut "When Dream And Day Unite" was recently released on high-fidelity SHM-CD / Cardboard sleeve format and presenting the latest remastering.
This was the album that started all for the band; originally baptized "Majesty" and later switched to Dream Theater, and featuring vocalist Charlie Dominici at the mic.

Each Dream Theater album doesn't sound like the ones before and after it, yet they still maintain the signature style DT is known for. The same applies to "When Dream And Day Unite".
It certainly doesn't have the clean and polished sound that the next Images And Words (1992), Awake(1994), or any of their later albums. Its low budget production quality may be to blame for the lack of a top-end treble and bass, but this remastering job does help this.
There is a real rawness and a sense of urgency in the debut's sound that hasn't been prevalent since then, and for this you can tell that Dream Theater at the beginning just wanted to rock out.

At the time when "When Dream And Day Unite" was recorded, Dream Theater carried influences and an overall sound which resembled a mid-80s Rush mixed with Queensryche's metallic edge.
The fact that Dominici sings much in a Geddy Lee style makes the band lean into this quality even more. James LaBrie hasn't come along yet and his range definitely outclasses Dominici's, but he certainly has authority and personality.

So, taken for what it is, this sound is definitely a good thing in my book because I dig every era of Rush, and I love elaborated keyboards. Kevin Moore not only knows how to write outstanding songs and melodies, but his atmoshperic keyboard flourishes and solos are quite unique.
And everyone knows about the excellent musicianship interplay between Moore, Petrucci, Portnoy, & Myung, and their chemistry.

"When Dream And Day Unite" has its own unique feel generating from it and you can't really say that about a lot of music. Not only that, but the song compositions combining Rush and Quensryche here were ahead of their time.
Before their breakthrough Images And Words and Awake albums came along and spawned hundred of clone bands (not all good I'm afraid), there was hardly anyone doing this kind of stuff in the late '80s.

'A Fortune In Lies' starts the debut off well, which is still a concert favorite to this day. By the end of the track, you have a clear picture on what Dream Theater is all about. 'Status Seeker' comes next and it's actually a personal favorite of mine, despite being underrated.
Everyone who's seen DT live has heard the concert staple 'Ytse Jam' (that's "Majesty" backwards), which sports some stellar instrumental musicianship, and it never comes across as wankery which sadly the band is often accused of doing by non-fans.

DREAM THEATER - When Dream And Day Unite [Japan Remastered SHM-CD miniLP] back

The best song on here has to be 'The Killing Hand', containing incredible buildup throughout its 8-minutes and is probably the closest thing to their songwriting mastery on the following albums.
There's some other overlooked material on here, such as the ever-changing 'Light Fuse And Get Away', the melodic 'Afterlife', and the dark and mystical sounding 'The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun'. 'Only A Matter Of Time' finishes on a strong note.

"When Dream And Day Unite" marks as a solid entry in the Dream Theater catalogue. It certainly doesn't have the instant appeal that I&W, Awake, or 6 Degrees Of Inner Turbulence have. However, like a lot of DT's albums, its charm and genius opens up over time.
The remastering was certainly necessary, and now everything sound more compact, fuller, with a best bass definition. Do make sure to check this quite rocking album. No Dream Theater collection is complete without this one.

01 - A Fortune In Lies
02 - Status Seeker
03 - Ytse Jam (Instrumental)
04 - The Killing Hand
05 - Light Fuse And Get Away
06 - Afterlife
07 - The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun
08 - Only A Matter Of Time

Charlie Dominici – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitars
Kevin Moore – keyboards
John Myung – bass
Mike Portnoy – drums



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LAVA - Fire [digitally remastered +1 / First Time on CD] (2015)

LAVA - Fire [digitally remastered +1 / First Time on CD] (2015) full

Requested many times, here's the Preservation Records exclusive remastered version of "Fire", the most celebrated album for Norwegians AORsters LAVA. For many years out of print, the album originally appeared in 1984 finally has been digitally remastered from the master tapes, and reissued for the first time on CD with a previously unreleased, alternate version of Lava's hit "Sophie", plus a booklet including never seen photos and the story of the recording.

In 1983 Lava became Randy Crawford's regular backing band and toured extensively for a period of 10 years around the world. Japan, Australia, UK, etc was visited in addition to several European and Scandinavian tours.
This lead to Lava with much more promotion outside their native Oslo, and the recording of their next album, this "Fire", become their best-selling record ever and it was awarded Spellemannsprisen (Norwegian Grammy) 1984 in the class Rock&Pop.

LAVA - Fire [digitally remastered +1 / First Time on CD] (2015) booklet

Yes, Lava's music here has many Rock&Pop foundations, but the overall sound & style is a unique mixture of Scandi west coast and hi-tech AOR.
Indeed, "Fire" showcases Lava's members superb musicianship - often named as the "Scandinavian TOTO" - and the band's classy arrangements & choruses, totally mid-80s.

Simply put, this is breezy, smooth collection of songs with some exquisite playing and wonderful melodies. Tracks like "I'm In Love" or "Sophie" became all time faves, both among the finest cuts in the genre coming from an European band.
"You" is a superb ballad where lead vocalist Egil Eldøen shine, "Fake" is one of the catchiest tunes on the record, while "The Woman I Want" is another fine example of why Lava is compared with TOTO.

LAVA - Fire [digitally remastered +1 / First Time on CD] (2015) back

Lava is an incredibly talented and proficient group of musicians, and this "Fire" is among their finest moments. This digitally remastered reissue includes and alternate, quite different version of their hit "Sophie" and a a superb, perfectly balanced sound.
Kudos to Preservation Records for rescuing this, until now, impossible to find Scandi west coast / hi-tech AOR little gem and put it for the first time ever on CD (another remastered Lava album can be found here).
If you like TOTO, Alan Gorrie, David Pack, Richard Page (Mr. Mister) and alike, this is a must. Strictly limited to 500 copies.
Highly Recommended

01 - Sophie
02 - Fake
03 - Something
04 - Streetgirl
05 - Loosing You
06 - You
07 - The Woman I Want
08 - Wait For Me
09 - I’m In Love
10 - Indian Summer
11 - Sophie (Alt. Version Previously Unreleased)

Egil Eldøen: vocals
Svein Dan Hauge: guitars
Rolf Graf: bass, vocals
Per Kolstad, Geir Langslet: keyboards
Sigurd Køn: saxophone
Per Hillestad: drums, percussion



BLOODGOOD - Rock In A Hard Place [Legends Remastered Series] (2016)

BLOODGOOD - Rock In A Hard Place [Legends Remastered Series] (2016) full

As part of their 'Legends Remastered' series, highly respected reissue label Retroactive Records has released the 2 more celebrated albums by BLOODGOOD. The band's "Rock In A Hard Place" is one of my favorite albums from the second half of the '80s American Hard Rock indie scene, and now sounds better than ever.

BLOODGOOD was one of the most underrated American Hard Rock from the glorious '80s, perhaps due their Christian origins. But they were the real deal, a high quality band in the genre.
After two pretty heavy albums, they changed the musical approach to the dominating glossy-sounding Hard Rock around 1988, and the result was this "Rock In A Hard Place".
It's commercial record yet defiant, melodic, with catchy songs and a bombast production; razor compressed guitars courtesy of the great David Zaffiro, shouting vocals, huge drums and even some keyboards into the mix.

Talking about the mix, there's was a big problem with the original release of "Rock In A Hard Place": the bass lines were almost completely missing.
It turns out the recording studio had a ton of false low-end and they wasn't aware of when album was mixed, which is why there was such a lack of bass in "Rock In A Hard Place". And no one seemed to catch it when it was mastered, either. Quite strange, as this sounds as a big budget production.

BLOODGOOD - Rock In A Hard Place [Legends Remastered Series] (2016) back

Fortunately, BloodGood's "Rock In A Hard Place" is now finally reissued with its crisp sound in full glory.
There was a previous remastering job pretty well done by Frontline Records in 2012 - and of course featured here on 0dayrox - but this Retroactive Records is a completely new remastering from the master tapes and sounds million bucks.
This reissue was factory-pressed at the end of last year (check the prints saying 2015) but due to logistic problems it was finally available since March 2016.

Remember back in the day when bands could get away with nine good quality songs on an album? Nowadays this is absolutely unacceptable for any greedy record company and you're forced to have twelve or more, and many of those are fillers.
Well, this is not the case with "Rock In A Hard Place". Just killer-no-fillers 9 tracks plenty of '80s US melodic hard rock magic.
Highly Recommended.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

1 - Shakin' It
2 - Never Be the Same
3 - The Presence
4 - What Have I Done
5 - Heaven on Earth
6 - Do or Die
7 - She's Gone
8 - The World (Keeps Movin' Around)
9 - Seven

Les Carlsen - lead vocals
David Zaffiro - guitars, backing vocals
Michael Bloodgood - bass, backing vocals
Mark Welling - drums



GUNS N' ROSES - The Spaghetti Incident [Japan SHM-CD LTD miniLP] (2016)

GUNS N' ROSES - The Spaghetti Incident [Japan SHM-CD LTD miniLP] (2016) full

Universal Japan has just reissued the entire GUNS N' ROSES catalog on SHM-CD Cardboard Sleeve / mini LP format in a Limited Edition faithfully replicating the original US LP design with an inner sleeve. All Guns N' Roses albums are widely known, but "The Spaghetti Incident?" is an often overlooked record that worth a place in your collection.

Many of the tracks were recorded with original Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin during the Use Your Illusion I & II sessions. Those tracks were previously intended to be included in a combined Use Your Illusion album, consisting of three (or possibly even four) discs - instead of the two separate discs they ended up being.

"The Spaghetti Incident?" features song covers from the late Seventies / Eighties which influenced Axl Rose & Co., re-done in a typical Guns N' Roses fashion but with the aggressive attitude the band had at their origins.
This record is so underrated by critics and some fans as well as it doesn't contain any original material. If you put this album's logic as an actual GN'R new material record, "The Spaghetti Incident?" is very good and it still is even when it just include tracks that cover other band's songs.

There is definitely great music here where GN'R show so much talent and their constructive side is deeply shown by doing each song by their rules, and they sound better or totally different to the original.
Among the best there's Axl’s raging “I Don’t Care About You” and Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” where he really nails it, or Duff’s “Attitude”, and “Down On The Farm” which had been played live way back when Izzy was still in the band.

GUNS N' ROSES - The Spaghetti Incident [Japan SHM-CD LTD miniLP] (2016) back

The New York Dolls’ “Human Being” is a great Guns cover. “Ain’t It Fun” is also an angry standout featuring Michael Monroe on co-lead vocals.
Another curious track is Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory”. This is actually a Duff McKagan solo track, an outtake recorded for his first solo album, Believe In Me.

"The Spaghetti Incident?” will go down in history as the last music of the Illusions sessions to be released, and also is the only album of the Rose / Slash / McKagan / Sorum / Clarke / Reed lineup.
This Japanese SHM-CD reissue is being sold at a reasonable price, so if you want a copy hurry up as it's a Limited Release.

01 - Since I Don't Have You
02 - New Rose
03 - Down On The Farm
04 - Human Being
05 - Raw Power
06 - Ain't It Fun
07 - Buick Makane
08 - Hair Of The Dog
09 - Attitude
10 - Black Leather
11 - You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory
12 - I Don't Care About You / Look At Your Game, Girl

W. Axl Rose – lead vocals, keyboards, kazoo
Slash – guitar, vocals, talkbox
Duff McKagan – bass, vocals, drums
Matt Sorum – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Dizzy Reed – keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
Gilby Clarke – rhythm guitar
Michael Monroe – co-lead vocals on "Ain't It Fun"



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

OPETH - Sorceress [2CD Limited Edition] (2016)

OPETH - Sorceress [2CD Limited Edition] (2016) full

Swedish quintet OPETH certainly have changed over the past several albums. Originally starting as a progressive metal group, they’ve dropped the metal aspect and have since turned into a more prog rock group, trading distortion for fuzz and adding a lot more keys. And this is clear more than ever on their new album "Sorceress" to be released soon, also featured in this Limited Edition 2-CD.

"Sorceress" marks a third and definitive Opeth attempt in the metamorphosis of the band’s sound initiated with ‘Heritage’ and further developed with ‘Pale Communion’. The new album comes full circle with their foray into a drastically different musical territory, where straight ahead 1970’s-influenced prog-rock marries analog synth driven soundscapes sprinkled with psychedelic guitars and medieval-folk melodies.

The music is nuanced and unpredictable taking you from classic guitar-tinged passages to dark and melancholy keyboard riffs, traveling through a cathartic range of 70s-prog vibes, folksy acoustic strings and catchy vocal melodies; heavy, twisting and complex prog-metal interludes of guitars and keyboards; Middle Eastern-themed and wonderfully colored instrumentals, and proverbially well-executed shredding adorning the scarce metallic parts.
The record has a conceived flow, where the soft and lovely songs work with the vibes of the ones around them, for a diverse kaleidoscope of moods and mysterious harmonies, oozing a rather mystical nature perfectly portrayed by the visually daring cover.

Among my favorites there's the title track, which opens with a odd-time organ groove before hitting some old-school metal chunk. 'Chrysalis' is one of the heavier tracks displaying more rocking spirit than other more mellow tracks. 'A Fleeting Glance' is perhaps the album’s most diverse track, incorporating harpsichord in the verses and closing with a soaring powerful, melodic ending.

This Limited Edition includes 2 studio bonus tracks bein 'Spring MCMLXXIV' and excellent melodic proggy tune but commercial at the same time. It's one of the best tracks here and should have been included into the regular version.
Additionally, there's 3 live tracks well recorded & performed.

OPETH - Sorceress [2CD Limited Edition] (2016) inside

The new Opeth opus "Sorceress" is not one of those albums you fall in love with at the first spin, and it’s even less if you are familiar with the band’s former sound, however, some perseverance turns it into a poignant listening experience.
It's not quite any other album I’ve listened to recently, it bears the imprint of a band broadening its influences rather than transcending them, while inviting the listener to follow them throughout a truly defiant and bold musical journey.
Very Recommended.

CD 1:
01 - Persephone
02 - Sorceress
03 - The Wilde Flowers
04 - Will O The Wisp
05 - Chrysalis
06 - Sorceress 2
07 - The Seventh Sojourn
08 - Strange Brew
09 - A Fleeting Glance
10 - Era
11 - Persephone (Slight Return)

01 - The Ward
02 - Spring MCMLXXIV
03 - Cusp Of Eternity (Live)
04 - The Drapery Falls (Live)
05 - Voice Of Treason (Live)

Mikael Åkerfeldt – guitars, vocals
Martín Méndez – bass guitar, upright bass
Martin “Axe” Axenrot – drums, percussion
Fredrik Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals
Joakim Svalberg – keyboards, synths, mellotron, backing vocals




GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA - Broken Lines (2016) full

As overused as the term is, there’s no denying that GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA are a supergroup, counting members of Alice In Chains, Mastodon, The Mars Volta and The Dillinger Escape Plan among their ranks, and the band which started as a side-project now have a touring schedule plus their first album in the market titled "Broken Lines".

All member's bands are not exactly my cup of tea, but I give it a try to the album and let me tell you that musically this has very few points in common with these, and it's a very interesting creation.
"Broken Lines" is a clever hybrid of progressive rock, hard rock and even a disco-soul touch; there’s even a full-blown pop ballad that’s part The Tubes, part Kate Bush atmospherics.

While the album opener “Adapt Or Die” is a peppy, groovy hard-rock anthem, the follow up track “All We Have Is Now” is the aforementioned soulful poppy ballad. Alice In Chains' singer William DuVall is very impressive throughout the record tackling the edgy raw parts and belting out the softer, melodic clean vocal sections with equal ease.
The first indication of the supergroup coming together sonically is evident on the third track of the album “Back To The Light”. This is when one can hear the progressive origins of these musicians, and while I do not dig much their own bands, the mash-up here works.

The band mixes the compositions really well on the album alternating between the simpler, groove-laden rock anthems with epic progressive compositions. For example, soon after “Back To The Light”, you are hit with the uptempo rocker “Blood Moon” before being propelled again towards the maze of the title track “Broken Lines”.
Similarly, after being awestruck by the epicness of “Crucifixion”, the band hits you with the groovy disco/dance-rock beats of “Everyone Gets Everything They Want”. Such change in the direction on the album often left a smile on my face and also made me check whether I was indeed listening to the same album or not.

Things get a bit serious at the end with the last three tracks trading away the simplistic and straightforward character in the compositions for a more technical and progressive contrast, yet firmly holding on the groove thanks to the amazing Thomas Pridgen behind the drum kit.
Pridgen’s performance is one of the key factors throughout the album bringing the dynamics to the fore-front especially on the odd-time signature parts. I particularly loved his performance on the penultimate track of the album “No-One Is Innocent”. It is also one of my favourites.

GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA - Broken Lines (2016) inside

"Broken Lines" leans heavily towards the Progressive Rock spectrum and barely has any Metal character to it. Listeners who were expecting a modern Heavy Metal record especially with Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Dethklok's bassist Pete Griffin and The Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman (which is a confessed White Lion fan, btw) in the band, may feel let down.
This is an album for open minds, forget the musicians' origins and enjoy the music, which by the way, it's very easy to the ears.

The production is really good successfully capturing all the elements of the compositions, which is not an easy task considering the myriad textures it possesses. The album is precise with 10 songs in total extending a little over 40 minutes.
True to the quirky band-name, the compositions are eccentric, fun and full of groove. This supergroup has a unique identity of their own which will only get strengthened further in the future, promising us exciting times ahead.

01 - Adapt Or Die
02 - Crucifixion
03 - No-One Is Innocent
04 - Blood Moon
05 - Fragments & Ashes
06 - Back To The Light
07 - All We Have Is Now
08 - Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want
09 - Thieves And Whores
10 - Broken Lines

William DuVall - vocals
Brent Hinds - guitar
Ben Weinman - guitar
Pete Griffin - bass
Thomas Prigden - drums



Monday, September 26, 2016

KAI HANSEN - XXX Three Decades In Metal [Japan LTD Ed. bonus disc Only Kai on Vocals) (2016)

KAI HANSEN - XXX Three Decades In Metal [Japan LTD Ed. bonus disc Only Kai on Vocals) (2016) full

The great, new KAI HANSEN album "XXX Three Decades In Metal" (posted here) features some impressive guest vocalists doing duets with him, but there's also a Deluxe 2-CD version featuring only Hansen vocals on all tracks, something that at places work better and we are able to truly appreciate his incredible pipes.
This Japanese limited release of "XXX Three Decades In Metal" includes as well a couple of exclusive bonus tracks, two songs from the album in its instrumental versions (but with the vocal choruses into the mix) which are also really good, showcasing how finely these songs have been composed / arranged.

Kai Hansen first made his name with the ground-breaking band Hellowen (of which he is one of the founding members) and later with Gamma Ray, one of the bands that contributed to define the genre melodic power metal, bringing it to generation of devoted fans worldwide since its first album.
"XXX" is, in pure Hansen tongue-in-cheek style, a reference to over 30 years of involvement in the world of heavy rock, as explained with the album's sub-title, "Three Decades In Metal".

"XXX - Three Decades In Metal" is a magical journey. It is the story of how powerful dreams can be. Dreams and passions big enough to bring a teenager from Hamburg who is in love with rock music, glam rock and the first heavy metal sounds from the practicing space in his bedroom and rehearsal rooms to the biggest stages in the world practicing, and ending up influencing and sharing the stage with the very same bands he admired in the first place.

Not strictly autobiographical, "XXX - Three Decades In Metal" is without doubt the story of Kai Hansen but it could very well represent the story of anybody who is not afraid to believe in dreams, with passion and dedication. It is the story of the ups and downs that everybody faces at some point during the journey of life: the lost-and-found-again friends, the glory, the tragedies and the joys.

The result is a unique portfolio of metal tracks that are all 100% Hansen, but all with a slightly different touch. "Born Free" is a dirty metallic hard rocker, followed by a Judas Priest inspired "Contract Sun", here solely performed by Hansen and gaining a more dynamic vocal flow than the original duet.
But also modern metal sounds aren't a 'no go' for this album. "Fire and Ice" starts with a dark riff before it turns into a more traditional direction.

"Left Behind" sound more 'light' in the original version featuring Clementine Delauney female vocals. Here, with Hansen only at the mic the track turns more punchy, powerful. It's impressive how guitarist Eike Freese combines the progressive expression of the song with a Hansen-typical chorus that is highly melodic.

KAI HANSEN - XXX Three Decades In Metal [Japan LTD Ed. bonus disc Only Kai on Vocals) (2016) back

You'll find many styles mixed in "XXX - Three Decades in Metal" ranging from classic melodic metal to hard rock, all of which have influenced Kai Hansen all over the years. And despite the variety it sound cohesive, dynamic and entertaining.
This bonus disc version only with Kai on vocals feels more like true "Kai Hansen record", something that many will prefer over the original duets release.
It's a great collection of songs to drift away in memories for the older ones of you and it's a well-done starters package for youngsters.
Terrific stuff.

01 - Born Free
02 - Enemies Of Fun
03 - Contract Song
04 - Making Headlines
05 - Stranger In Time
06 - Fire And Ice
07 - Left Behind
08 - All Or Nothing
09 - Burning Bridges
10 - Follow The Sun
11 - Born Free (Karaoke Version)
12 - Burning Bridges (Karaoke Version)

Kai Hansen - vocals, guitar
Alex Dietz - bass
Eike Freese - guitar
Daniel Wilding - drums



Saturday, September 24, 2016

i-TEN - Taking A Cold Look [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]

i-TEN - Taking A Cold Look [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] full

Now this is pleasure of a request to fulfill; "Taking A Cold Look", the one and only album by the wonder boys Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly under the moniker i-TEN, remastered in all its glory by Rock Candy Records.

Let's put it simple; "Taking A Cold Look" it's an AOR masterpiece.
The Kelly/Steinberg songwriting team were involved into the greatest albums from the genre recorded during the '80s in one way or another; writing hits for others, arranging or providing terrific backing vocals, but it was not until the 1990's when they got Top 10 hits charting at Billboard.

Anyway, they got the chance to record their own album, this "Taking A Cold Look", in the first half of the '80s. The LP may not have made much of an impact when first released but its arrival signalled a seismic shift in the Rock&pop world.
A record that came and went in the blink of an eye but containing some of the most impressive songs and musical arrangements of all time.
Produced to pin-point perfection by Keith Olsen (Foreigner) together with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, the tracks display a healthy appetite for the kind of super glossy sound employed by Toto, Steely Dan and Journey; high grade AOR of the finest variety.

The personnel, of course, is top notch; most of the Toto band members like David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Steve Lukather itself, plus all the best studio performers of L.A. at the time such as Alan Pasqua (Van Stephenson, Giant, Eddie Money, Sammy Hagar, Starship), Mike Baird (Stan Bush, Tim Feehan, Rick Springfield) and more.

i-TEN - Taking A Cold Look [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] booklet

However, it’s Steinberg and Kelly’s songs that provide the bulk of the cake - songs later covered by the likes of REO Speedwagon ('I Don't Want To Lose You') , Honeymoon Suite (title track 'Taking A Cold Look') and Heart (‘Alone’ was a #1 hit US single).

But all are true gems; 'The Easy Way Out' akin Stan Bush & Barrage, 'Pressing My Luck' with its superb chorus and midtempo AOR greatness, the velvety ballad 'Lonely In Each Other's Arms' or the fantastic 'Quicksand' featuring a marvelous guitar / keyboard interplay and magnificent harmony vocals, which, by the way, are stupendous all over the record and set the style to follow in the upcoming best AOR albums from the rest of the '80s.

As said, Tom and Billy would go on from the i-Ten project to pen hits for a huge array of artists, including Madonna ('Like A Virgin'), Cyndi Lauper ('True Colours') and The Pretenders ('I'll Stand By You') but "Taking A Cold Look", the starting point, is recognised by those in the know as one of the most complete works of the era and one deserving full reappraisal.

i-TEN - Taking A Cold Look [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded] back

i-Ten's "Taking A Cold Look" is a milestone in the American AOR genre, and although it was originally released on CD (1983) it went out of print soon becoming one of the most sought-after, rarest CD releases from the era.
This Rock Candy Special Collector's Edition it's the definitive version of this gem, perfectly remastered from the master tapes with the sound digitally shaped via POW-r technology and comes with a 12 page full color booklet including original and enhanced artwork with new photos and full involvement from the band. There is also a 4,000 Word essay on the making of the album by Dave Reynolds.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Taking A Cold Look
02 - Quicksand
03 - Alone
04 - Workin' For A Lovin'
05 - Lonely In Each Other's Arms
06 - I Don't Want To Lose You
07 - Time To Say Goodbye
08 - The Easy Way Out
09 - I've Been Crying
10 - Pressing My Luck

Vocals, Guitar – Billy Steinberg
Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards – Tom Kelly
Guitars – Steve Lukather
Rhythm Guitar – Chas Sandford
Keyboards – Alan Pasqua, David Paich, Steve Porcaro
Bass – Dennis Belfield
Drums – Mike Baird
Percussion – Lenny Castro
Backing Vocals – Richard Page
Produced by Keith Olsen & Steve Lukather



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