Sunday, December 31, 2017

PINK CREAM 69 - Games People Play {2017 Reissue}

PINK CREAM 69 - Games People Play {2017 Reissue} full

Dutch label Music On CD in association with Sony Music are doing a great job making available again some very good, long time out of print of albums such as this 2017 reissue of PINK CREAM 69 "Games People Play", the band's third studio album and the final with talented Andi Deris on vocals.
If you ask me, a criminally underrated, pretty killer melodic hard rock record.

"Games People Play" was some kind of an end to the early PINK CREAM 69 sound & style, which slightly changed with the following album featuring replacement David Readman on lead vocals.
I remember reading Kerrang! Magazine back in the day making this comparison (more of less) with "Games People Play": "it sounds like a German version of Van Halen, and you'll have a damn good time while listening to it".
And that is quite accurate, although PINK CREAM 69 are unmistakable European.

PINK CREAM 69 - Games People Play {2017 Reissue} disc

"Games People Play" is a more mature album than the two previous works.
While there are the typical PC 69 party-ready catchy songs like 'Till You're Mine', and power ballads like 'Don't Let it All Come Down', you have as well elaborated songs in 'Face in the Mirror' (interesting drug abuse lyrics) and the wonderful 'Somedays I Sail' about friendship and enjoying life to its fullest.

The punchy 'Shattered' and the above mentioned 'Till You're Mine' are two of the best cuts from this album. Both songs are meant to be played LOUD.
I also always liked a lot the bass-pumped melodic hard rocker 'Keep Your Eye On the Twisted' (still played live by the band today), and the riff driven 'Down On Your Luck'.

PINK CREAM 69 - Games People Play {2017 Reissue} back

While not remastered, on this fresh reissue of "Games People Play" the sound quality has been clearly beef-up thanks to modern mastering transfer technology. It sounds huge, believe me.
This is a classy European rocking album plenty of well played melodies, catchy songs, and the totally unique voice of Andi Deris that all come together to form a fine platter of Melodic Hard Rock.
Highly Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Face In The Mirror
02 - Way Down
03 - Keep Your Eye On The Twisted
04 - Somedays I Sail
05 - Shattered
06 - Monday Again
07 - Dyin' Century
08 - Till You´re Mine
09 - Still Alive
10 - Down On Your Luck
11 - Backflash
12 - Condemnation
13 - Don´t Let It All Come Down

Andi Deris – vocals
Alfred Koffler – guitar
Dennis Ward – bass guitar
Kosta Zafiriou – drums



Best Debut album 2017, #2 : VIANA - Viana (2017)

VIANA - Viana (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
We suspect VIANA's first CD won't be on most 'Best Of' lists this year, but for 0dayrox it ranks among the most relevant 2017 debuts.

Co-written / produced by talented Alessandro Del Vecchio, (who also does the lead vocals) VIANA is the new awesome Melodic Rock project by Italian guitarist Stefano Viana. The self-titled debut CD features excellent session musicians such as Alessandro Mori on drums (well-known for their collaboration with artists such as Hardline, Tarja or Ted Poley) and Gabriele Gozzi (Skill In Veins, Killer Klown) among others.

Amazed by guitar hero Randy Rhoads, Stefano Viana takes up the guitar at age of 16, when the glorious '80s Hard Rock was at its highest splendor. Influenced by artists like Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne and Y&T, Stefano starts recording his first songs in 1996.
He self-produced two unreleased albums and, during the works on the second he met Alessandro Del Vecchio, asking him to get involved in the production of his first official solo album.

Now 2017 Viana's dream became a reality, and let me tell you he can be extremely proud as "Viana" will be - already is - one of the best Melodic Rock debuts of the year.
We have here 10 tracks of beautifully crafted melodies, superb musicianship, killer choruses and top notch production.
Del Vecchio at the mic confirms another of his infinite abilities, while Stefano Viana showcases his skills on the six-trings and good taste.

Just the opening track "Straight Between Our Hearts" worth the disc purchase. Think the best Terra Nova moments mixed with Bad Habit, some Lionville, a pinch of Houston and you got it. Melodic Rock / AOR of the highest order.
Yeah, the remaining tracks are equally captivating; the punchy 'Bad Signs', the AOR little gem 'Feel Your Love Tonight', the exquisite ballad of 'Follow The Dawn', the killer chorus of 'Living A Lie'... and so on.

"Viana" is one of the surprises of the year, and believe me, if you love your Melodic Rock / AOR delivered with that late '80s magic (but with an updated, vibrant sound) you simply can't miss Viana's debut.

01 - Straight Between Our Hearts
02 - Bad Signs
03 - Feel Your Love Tonight
04 - Night of Fire
05 - Follow the Dawn
06 - A New Love
07 - Living a Lie
08 - Just to Sing
09 - Open Road
10 - That Place Is You

Alessandro Del Vecchio - Vocals
Stefano Viana - Guitars
Francesco Marras - Guitars
Anna Portalupi - Bass
Alessandro Mori - Drums
Pasquale India - Keyboards
Gabriele Gozzi - Backing Vocals
Written & Produced by Stefano Viana & Alessandro Del Vecchio



Best Reissue album 2017, #3 : MILLENIUM (Jorn) - Hourglass: The Complete Sessions [remastered +6] (2017)

MILLENIUM (Jorn) - Hourglass: The Complete Sessions [remastered +6] (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
Perhaps Jorn Lande's career defining work, MILLENIUM's Hourglass: The Complete Sessions Remastered +6 is one of the best reissues this year. And it was a 0dayrox exclusive feature.

Regarded as one of the best Jorn Lande recordings, Hourglass is the only album he has made as front man for MILLENIUM, the USA band created by guitar virtuoso Ralph Santolla. Long time out of print, now has been digitally remastered by Divebomb Records under the title "Hourglass: The Complete Sessions" including 6 bonus tracks and new artwork, presented in exclusive at 0dayrox.

Also featuring contributions from legendary keyboardist Don Airey (RAINBOW, OZZY, WHITESNAKE) and talented Howard Helm (ex REFUGEE and recently featured here on the blog in ALDENFIED), Hourglass exposed to a wider audience the then up-and-coming Norwegian vocalist Jorn Lande.
Mixing melodic hard rock melodies and melodic metal riffs, this is one of those rare albums that’s practically flawless from start to finish with an equal dose of power and catchiness.

You can tell as soon as album opener “Power To Love” kicks in that Hourglass has a totally classic hard rock feel, only with a heavier edge and plenty of soul. Comparisons to Rainbow and Whitesnake are inevitable given Don Airey’s presence and the fact that Jorn sometimes sounds more like David Coverdale than David Coverdale does.
Lande is one of the most dynamic and powerful vocalists in the genre, and his presence alone takes the band to a higher level. Comparison’s to Jorn’s solo albums are appropriate as well.
In fact, Ralph Santolla played guitar on JORN’s 'Starfire' album. Santolla’s melodies and solos further lock in that classic hard rock / melodic metal sound.

There isn't a weak track on the entire record, but if I have to mention standouts title track “Hourglass” and “Masquerade” are absolutely killer songs, and the soulful bluesy ballad “I Will Follow” has that classic Whitesnake feel in a big way.
Lande vocals on some of the other cuts such as “Superstar” and “I Still Believe” call to mind Jeff Scott Soto and his Takara project, but overall Millenium has a quite distinctive sound thanks to Santolla’s unique guitar playing.

MILLENIUM (Jorn) - Hourglass: The Complete Sessions [remastered +6] (2017) disc

The grand piano passages supplied by Dag Stokke (TNT) on “No More Miracles” are beautifully performed and quite refreshing to hear alongside the synthesiser. The upbeat ”Rocket Ride” has a very catchy chorus with the feeling of an radio single, a song with a strong second half of the '80s vibe.
Then “Chasing Time” sounds like it would have been right at home on the debut Phenomena release, very classic, punchy hard rock with an edge.

It's well known JORN love for '80s music, no matter the genre, so it's not strange the band recorded some classic tunes during the same sessions, not included into the original release but featured here as bonus tracks, plus two other songs that didn't make it into the final tracklist.

There's a very melodious take on JEFFERSON STARSHIP classic "Jane", an impressive cover of RAINBOW's "I Surrender", a killer updated re-work of MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP's staple "On And On", and an extended, fabulous version of SWEET's "Love Is Like Oxygen".

MILLENIUM (Jorn) - Hourglass: The Complete Sessions [remastered +6] (2017) back

Hourglass always has been one of my absolute favorite albums which JORN's voice has graced (and he has done quite a few). This "Hourglass: The Complete Sessions" remastered reissue is the defintive version of this killer album, also featuring a new, much better cover artwork.
Fully remastered by Jamie King at The Basement Recording, this 16-track collection finds the 10-song original album and 6 bonus cuts from the era compiled onto a single 76-minute CD for the first time.
A monster rocking album.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Power To Love
02 - Wheels Are Turning
03 - Hourglass
04 - No More Miracles
05 - Superstar
06 - Rocket Ride
07 - I Will Follow
08 - I Still Believe
09 - Masquerade
10 - Chasing Time
11 - Rain
12 - Anybody
13 - On And On (Michael Schenker Group cover)
14 - I Surrender (Rainbow cover)
15 - Jane (Jefferson Starship cover)
16 - Love Is Like Oxygen (Sweet cover)

Jorn Lande - lead & backing vocals
Ralph Santolla - lead guitar, keyboards
Shane French - lead & rhythm guitar
Manfred Binder - bass
Oliver Hanson - drums, percussion
Don Airey (Rainbow, Ozzy, Whitesnake) - keyboards
Dag Stokke (TNT) - keyboards, grand piano
Howard Helm (Aldenfield, Refugee) - keyboards
Tracy Labarbera - additional vocals, keyboards



Best Melodic Rock Album 2017, #4 : REVOLUTION SAINTS - Light In The Dark [Japanese Edition] (2017)

REVOLUTION SAINTS - Light In The Dark [Japanese Edition] (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
REVOLUTION SAINTS' second effort easily fits into the top 20 best - overall - of the year.

The awesome melodic rock combo REVOLUTION SAINTS, the band featuring Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English), Doug Aldrich (Dead Daisies, Whitesnake), and Jack Blades (Night Ranger), released its second album this 2017, "Light In The Dark", via Frontiers Music Srl.
We can taste now the fresh Japanese version, and let me tell you from the start that this is one of the 'albums of the year'.

The album opens with the hugely uplifting title track “Light In The Dark” – a fast paced rocker with Aldrich’s superb guitar playing taking center stage. Possibly even more impressive is Castronovo’s singing – with all the melodic sense of Journey’s very best work, his voice is simply brilliant.
“Freedom”, the second track, is heavier but it doesn’t miss of melody and class, on the contrary, with the addition of keyboards, this is another very good song to listen to. It’s also the second single from this album.

“Ride On”, the third track, is another virtuous melodious rock shot for Revolution Saints, how could one not simply love this band? Great guitars, respectable rhythms and a formidable voice.
“I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” is an excellent ballad, a passionate piece of music performed in such grandiose fashion that it successfully touches your heart with great emotions. This isn’t a common ballad, this is a huge song.
Time to rock again with the fifth track “Don’t Surrender”, so good, so brilliant, outstanding music in this ensemble.

Who says true rock n' roll is dead? “Take You Down”, the sixth track, another bright solid piece of melodious guitars and harmonies.
Another love song comes via “Can’t Run Away From Love”, a lovely number which brings to mind '80s Night Ranger. “Running On The Edge” features a pretty cool kick and a catchy hook; one in which the guitars fascinate with smooth action.

We have an amazing penultimate track, “Another Chance”, such a great song with solid and imperturbable Melodic Hard Rock feel.
The record comes to an end with “Falling Apart”, an enjoyable cut with echoes of the Eighties, rounding up an album with a wide range of captivating tunes to wet your appetite.
This Japanese release includes as bonus "Can't Run Away From Love (Acoustic Version): if the electric was pretty much Night Ranger, this version even more.

REVOLUTION SAINTS - Light In The Dark [Japanese Edition] (2017) back

"Light In The Dark" is a great new sophomore release for Revolution Saints, I’m sure it will land on most top lists of the year. These guys ARE Melodic Hard Rock, the know the tricks, they know the hooks, they were part of the creation of the genre.
I want personally to thank the band for keeping true Melodic and Hard Rock alive and kicking.

01 - Light in the Dark
02 - Freedom
03 - Ride On
04 - I Wouldn't Change a Thing
05 - Don't Surrender
06 - Take You Down
07 - The Storm Inside
08 - Can't Run Away from Love
09 - Running on the Edge
10 - Another Chance
11 - Falling Apart
Japan Bonus Track:
12 - Can't Run Away From Love (Acoustic Version)

Deen Castronovo – vocals, drums
Jack Blades – bass, vocals
Doug Aldrich – guitar
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keyboards, background vocals



Best 'Comeback album' 2017, #3 : DA VINCI - Ambition Rocks (2017)

DA VINCI - Ambition Rocks (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
DA VINCI returned in full form with a really good CD, 'Ambition Rocks', melodic and rocking at the same time.

Another all time favorite bands from the '80s is back: Norwegians DA VINCI, with their brand new album "Ambition Rocks" released via AOR Heaven. As part of that decade Scandinavian Melodic Rock / AOR explosion, Da Vinci recorded two stupendous albums and conquered UK and beyond.

Da Vinci lasted until 1992 before breaking up. Over the following years to the present, original members and friends guitarist Gunnar Westlie and keyboard player Dag Selboskar continued to play and write songs together. The result is, around 25 years later, a new Da Vinci incarnation and a new album, "Ambition Rocks".

With a single spin of "Ambition Rocks", you'll be transported back to 1986 for classic melodic hard rock in an AOR wrapper and that classic Scandi sound.
This 2017 Da Vinci version stands upon two pillars: Westlie's guitar lines and Selboskar's keyboard textures. Most songs begin with one or the other, often together.
In short, this is pure keyboard-driven stuff with sharp guitars.
New singer Erling Ellingsen sings clean, melodic and strong, while the rhythm section arrangements & style are faithful to the traditional style for the genre.

'The Return (Intro)' brings to mind Aldo Nova with lots of effects and helicopter whirring, but then the synths take the command on 'Vicious Circle': Da Vinci are back!

Dou you need more AOR-keyboard madness? Check out 'Curious Sensation' and 'I've Come All This Way'. Love these.
Alternatively, a song like 'Little Lonely' moderates the pace with a steady groove, and you may sense a subtle bluesy feeling. Better for that rocking groove is 'Painted Lady', driven by thick riffs accompanied by a prevalent bass line.

'Soul Survivor' is winnner, a pure Melodic Rock tune in a classy '80s fashion, and there's great arrangements in 'Rocket Of Fame' and 'Storm On The Horizon' , two of the more elaborated tracks on the CD.
If you need ballads 'See You' will put a big smile in the face (even a tear) of all '80s fans, being 'You're Mine' the other with a little midtempo pace.
Closer 'Touch Of Humanity' is another highlight with class all over mixing some Toto, Street Talk and Houston to great effect.

Da Vinci are back in full form, and the current Melodic Rock / AOR scene has recovered a legendary band to make it better and better.
"Ambition Rocks" sounds modern and with an updated production, but in essence and focus, this is pure '80s stuff full of magic.
Alongside LionHeart, Da Vinci are one of THE comebacks of 2017, and "Ambition Rocks" will a find a place on many Best Of lists of the year.

01 - The Return (Intro)
02 - Vicious Circle
03 - Curious Sensation
04 - I've Come All This Way
05 - See U When I See U
06 - Rocket of Fame
07 - Angel
08 - Storm on the Horizon
09 - Little Lonely
10 - Sole Survivor
11 - Painted Lady
12 - Your Mine
13 - Touch of Humanity

Gunnar Westlie (guitar)
Dag Selboskar (keyboards)
Erling Ellingsen (vocals)
Roy Funner (bass)
Bjørn Olav Lauvdal (drums)



Best Progressive album 2017 : SONS OF APOLLO - Psychotic Symphony [Limited Edition 2CD] (2017)

SONS OF APOLLO - Psychotic Symphony [Limited Edition 2CD] (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
Wonderful musicianship, great fusion stylings, killer melodies, and the voice of Jeff Scott Soto, SONS OF APOLLO's Psychotic Symphony is simply awesome.

SONS OF APOLLO is the mega super group featuring former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian alongside Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex- Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs / Mr. Big) and the mighty Jeff Scott Soto on lead vocals. Their debut album, "Psychotic Symphony", also appeared on this luxury Ltd Ed. MediaBook 2-CD.
The disc was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as 'The Del Fuvio Brothers' which is the nickname given to them over twenty years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

I’ve heard a lot of 'super groups'. It very rarely really works; too many cooks, too many egos etc. When I first heard that these five monster musicians were making a band my first thought was; there’s not enough room for all these individuals to fit into one song, much less a full album...
Boy oh boy was I wrong… and I’m so glad I was.

"Psychotic Symphony" is as close to a perfect Rock album as you can get. You have it all here, from progressive inventiveness to hard rock swagger to ridiculously catchiness.
From Bumblefoot’s first riff on 'God of the Sun' to Sherinian’s fade out on 'Opus Maximus', I was mesmerized.

SONS OF APOLLO - Psychotic Symphony [Limited Edition 2CD] (2017) retail back

Maybe I’m wrong, but the point of reviewing an album is to let people know whether they should dole out their hard earned cash for a product.
The answer here is a resounding YES!

I’m not going to do a song by song write-up. Discover it by yourself; it's a fantastic musical journey.
Each member of Sons Of Apollo is at the top of their game on "Psychotic Symphony", which is funny since I thought they no room for improvement from their already stellar catalogs. The sum of these parts is truly breathtaking to listen to.

Apart from its high quality presentation, this Limited Edition MediaBook includes a bonus CD: the 'Instrumental Mix' of the album, a truly amazing version where you discover more and more layers of sounds from this terrific recording.

SONS OF APOLLO - Psychotic Symphony [Limited Edition 2CD] (2017) discs

Bumblefoot and Sheehan made me want to smash my guitar. Those riffs!!! And I mean bass riffs too, an instrument used here as a true 'bass guitar'
Portnoy is a BEAST. I always liked his playing, but he owns this album. Sherinian compliments every single song perfectly, and what can I say about the incredible Jeff Scott Soto... this is one of the best works of his impressive career, and that’s saying a lot.
I can only pray to the Rock Gods that they continue this SUPER group for many more albums.

CD 1: Psychotic Symphony
01 - God Of The Sun
02 - Coming Home
03 - Signs Of The Time
04 - Labyrinth
05 - Alive
06 - Lost In Oblivion
07 - Figaros Whore
08 - Divine Addiction
09 - Opus Maximus

CD 2: The Instrumental Mix
01 - God Of The Sun
02 - Coming Home
03 - Signs Of The Time
04 - Labyrinth
05 - Alive
06 - Lost In Oblivion
07 - Figaros Whore
08 - Divine Addiction
09 - Opus Maximus

Jeff Scott Soto (vocals, W.E.T. / ex-Talisman / ex-Journey)
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar, ex-Guns N’ Roses)
Billy Sheehan (bass, The Winery Dogs / Mr. Big)
Mike Portnoy (drums, The Winery Dogs / ex-Dream Theater)
Derek Sherinian (keyboards, Black Country Communion)



Best Classic Rock album 2017 #1 : BLACK STAR RIDERS - Heavy Fire [LTD. Embossed Digibook CD +1] (2017)

BLACK STAR RIDERS - Heavy Fire [LTD. Embossed Digibook CD +1] (2017) full

End of the year / beginning of 2018, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
"Heavy Fire" is BLACK STAR RIDERS album number three, and Black Star Riders are finally emerging from the long shadow of Thin Lizzy. With the band now pulling away from the Phil Lynott legacy, this third album is their best to date.

"Heavy Fire" is the long-awaited third studio album by BLACK STAR RIDERS, this Limited Embossed Digibook version including a bonus track.
Created in 2012 by members of the most recent line-up of Thin Lizzy, the band delivered widely acclaimed music in their first two records ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ and ‘The Killer Instinct’ which established Black Star Riders as one of the finest present-day rock ‘n’ roll bands.

One of the most outstanding elements on the album is the well-planned sequencing of the songs which render it a wonderful musical odyssey.
The title track 'Heavy Fire' jumps out of the speakers from the very first second you hit the play button. It punches the air out of you as it declares there is no room for complacent listening here. Crank it up and succumb!
A mid-tempo yet power-packed track which does justice to the signature Black Star Riders sound - crisp and raw.

This essence is carried into 'When the Night Comes In' which is one of the catchier songs on the album with awe-inspiring vocals, cool lyrics and an infectious chorus. The song shows the new approach the band adopts while still upholding its heritage in spirit.
Remarkable musical ingenuity is showcased in 'Dancing with the Wrong Girl' which has a heavy classic spirit while 'Who Rides the Tiger' delivers a monster groove.
There’s been no compromising with the band’s distinct quality and the record upholds the appeal of heavy rock through and through as evident in the compact and powerful rocker 'Ticket to Rise' also featuring soulful backing vocals.

There is a nice shift in thought process from the laid back 'Cold War Love' to the heavier 'Testify or Say Goodbye' which is one of the finest songs on the album. The latter bears the magnificence of classic rock in elements like its traditionally composed chorus.
'Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed' starts with an epic bass line and is rhythm-wise wonderful. 'True Blue Kid' further demonstrates versatility within the magnitude of heavy rock while 'Letting Go of Me' provides a perfect finish to the album by leaving a hard-hitting impact.

This Limited Edition includes the atmospheric 'Fade', another great piece of finest melodic hard rock with a feel that brings to mind guitarist Gorham days with 21 Guns.

BLACK STAR RIDERS - Heavy Fire [LTD. Embossed Digibook CD +1] (2017) inside

In a nutshell, the album showcases a good deal of diversity laced around the essence of heavy rock. It is a wonderful sequential demonstration of a fresh musical approach as well as the good-old legacy of Black Star Riders.
Just like Lizzy of old, Black Star Riders rely heavily on the glorious power of their twin guitar attack, but play with a greater sense of sustained urgency than their former incarnation tended to do.
As a result they have produced an album that is certain to prove fervently popular when they hit the stage this year – every song is designed to get you out of your seat and have you leaping around in an ecstatic rock and roll reverie.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Heavy Fire
02 - When The Night Comes In
03 - Dancing With The Wrong Girl
04 - Who Rides The Tiger
05 - Cold War Love
06 - Testify Or Say Goodbye
07 - Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
08 - True Blue Kid
09 - Ticket To Rise
10 - Letting Go Of Me
11 - Fade (Bonus Track)

Ricky Warwick - vocals
Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson - guitars
Robbie Crane - bass
Jimmy DeGrasso - drums



Best AOR album 2017, #3 : PRIDE OF LIONS - Fearless [Japanese Edition] (2017)

PRIDE OF LIONS - Fearless [Japanese Edition] (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
PRIDE OF LIONS' new effort is just another stupendous collection of classy AOR tunes to die for.

Probably 'the #1 album of the year' for many, PRIDE OF LIONS' "Fearless" appeared in Japan, as usual,  including an exclusive bonus track. It's record number five for Jim Peterik and Toby Hitchcock and there's a real "if it ain't broke" vibe throughout as "Fearless" basically says to people "Hey! You Like Survivor? Cool – buy this!"

Opener and lead single 'All I See Is You' sets the tone nicely with a fair burst of rhythm, some soaring vocals and a nifty guitar solo coupled with the instant hum-ability that Peterik writes so well. It really takes the listener back to the days of 'Vital Signs' and the like, with Hitchcock really belting out the words with passion and a sweet control of pitch.

PRIDE OF LIONS - Fearless [Japanese Edition] (2017) disc

Second track 'The Tell' features some excellent guitar work, but it's with third track, 'Caricature', that the album really comes alive. This song is pure classic Survivor in every sense, beautifully played and sung. I love the bounce of the keyboards, the range of Hitchcock's vocals and the sheer joy of the song.
I'm sure that favorite tracks will differ greatly among people who buy this, but it's great to hear a tune that just burrows into your brain like this one.

As with previous releases, Peterik shows that he's lost none of his mojo in the songwriting department. The album is predominantly upbeat and rocking but even the slower tracks have a lot to come back to, especially closing track 'Unmasking The Mystery' which has a true epic scope to it.
Special mention must go to 'Freedom Of The Night', co-written with Jimi Jamison's keyboard player Hal Butler. Although Hitchcock nails it (of course), you really can imagine Jamison having a ball with this one.

PRIDE OF LIONS - Fearless [Japanese Edition] (2017) back

'Fearless' is a recording that deserves to be heard by anyone who has ever owned and loved a Survivor album as Pride Of Lions take the legacy and run with it.
Twelve tracks of AOR loveliness; this will be an album that will carry you through the whole of 2017 with a smile on your face. For sure, one of the best albums of the year.
Mandatory Purchase

Victor Entertainment ~ MICP-11331

01 - All I See Is You!
02 - The Tell
03 - In Caricature
04 - Silent Music
05 - Fearless
06 - Everlasting Love
07 - Freedom of the Night
08 - The Light in Your Eyes
09 - Rising Up
10 - The Silence Says It All
11 - Faster Than a Prayer
12 - Unmasking the Mystery
13 - Everlasting Love (acoustic version) [Japan bonus]

Jim Peterik - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Toby Hitchcock - vocals
Ed Breckenfeld - drums
Klem Hayes - bass
Mike Aquino - guitar
Christian Cullen - keyboards



Best Classic Rock album 2017, #2 : CATS IN SPACE - Scarecrow (2017)

CATS IN SPACE - Scarecrow (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
CATS IN SPACE debut was pretty damn fine, so there were high expectations for album number two, and they delivered. A marvellous mix of '70s rock, pomp, pop and more melodies than you can shake a stick at.

A couple years ago CATS IN SPACE landed with their critically acclaimed debut album with their total disregard for current musical trends, and creative, somewhat retro, approach to AOR / melodic rock / FM rock. Now they are set to unleash that difficult second album… no, not for these cats as they have musical ideas and tunes many bands would kill to have.
Yeah, "Scarecrow" is another fantastic CD from these talented musicians.

On this new effort, Cats In Space carry on where they left off on their debut with songs bursting full of melodies, harmony vocals, pomp-tastic keys and some seriously groovy guitar solos courtesy of Greg Hart and Dean Howard.
Opener ‘Jupiter Calling’ is an immediate hit with your ears – big chorus and the wonderful singing of Paul Manzi.
They love the good Seventies and what’s not to love on ‘September Rain’ which recalls Queen and ELO – a fantastic tune, again you marvel at the harmony vocals the band create between them. The mid section will blow you away and quite possibly any loose furnishings and ornaments that maybe near you as you listen to the song.

‘Two Fifty Nine’ is so darn catchy and a clever little ditty recalling how DJ’s always cut songs off in their prime, hence if under three minutes you may get all of the song played. The rhythm section of Jeff Brown and Steevi Bacon give the song a watertight beat – this band have some serious talent and work seamlessly together.
‘Felix & the Golden Sun’ has the Cats dip a musical toe for a little Beach Boys styling and the one song that really reminds me of ELO (and Brian May on that guitar solo!).

CATS IN SPACE - Scarecrow (2017) inside

Like the debut there is a seven minute epic, this time it is the title track and the Cats do prog! Well, more like the musical treats bands like Styx, Queen, Supertramp did at their prime, plenty of melodic passages and harmonies.

An top album among the best of the year with ease, Cats In Space have done it again with 'Scarecrow' and the only way for them is onwards and upwards.
A lovely, sweet ear candy.

01. Jupiter Calling
02. Mad Hatter's Tea Party
03. Clown in Your Nightmare
04. Scars
05. September Rain
06. Broken Wing
07. Two Fifty Nine
08. Felix & the Golden Sun
09. Timebomb
10. Scarecrow

Paul Manzi - Lead Vocals (Arena)
Dean Howard - Guitar (Airrace)
Jeff Brown - Bass (The Sweet)
Andy Stewart - Keyboards
Greg Hart - Guitars / Vocals
Steevi Bacon - Drums



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best AOR album 2017, #4 : JIM JIDHED - Push On Through (2017)

JIM JIDHED - Push On Through (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
This is one of my favorites, deserving a place in the top 5.

JIM JIDHED, the singer of AOR Gods ALIEN during their glorious days, released his 6th solo album "Push On Through" via AOR Heaven Records.
"Push On Through" is a more rocking, punchy AOR album than Jim previous ones, helped by excellent musicians such as Michael Palace (guitar) and famed producer Daniel Flores, who had the right vision for this album and really nails it sound wise.
Jim’s voice is stronger than ever at 53, and here all his experience, feeling, heart and soul come together in a very powerful way.

Jim Jidhed is a well known name in the Swedish Melodic Rock / AOR genre, the singer from Alien and, in my opinion, the best AOR voice Scandinavia has ever had.
Jim’s vocals are even better now almost 30 years after Alien’s debut, the man’s voice is simply incredible, maybe one of the best in the Rock world.

"Push On Through" is Jim’s 3rd solo record where he sings in English, he has released a couple in Swedish language. The first one (1990) simply called Jim. The second, Full Circle, appeared in 2003 and it was a highlight of that year, a truly wonderful record.
But I think it's safe to say that "Push On Through" is Jidhed's best album ever...

This time Jim got hooked up with producer Daniel Flores, and started to shape the album's sound last year. Together with outside songwriters (one of them being talented Philip Lindstrand wh collaborated with Find Me) they wrote these 11 songs, most of them true gems in the AOR / MR field.
'Glorious' is the first song, and makes justice to its title. It's the heaviest song Jim has ever sung on, and rocks with emotion driven by crunchy guitars. The title tracks is up next, a more traditional AOR song featuring superb vocals.

'If We Call It Love' follows, and now we’re talking... a phenomenal song in every sense, my favourite track on the record, and for sure, one of the best of the year!
The midtempo 'Waiting For Summer' is simply marvellous, while 'The First Time' is a terrific ballad where Jim’s vocals are just stunning.

JIM JIDHED - Push On Through (2017) back

The remaining six tracks are all really good as well, but I have to mention two highlights; 'Too Many Words' and 'One Breath Away'.
The first one is a fantastic smooth ballad, with great lyrics and vocals of the highest order performed in a way that only the great Jim Jidhed can do. The latter is a more uptempo song with brilliant guitar playing, dynamic verses and a chorus to die for.

'The Swedish AOR Voice' has returned in full form with "Push On Through".
Jim Jidhed needed an album like this, and we needed an album like this from him; full of nerve, melodic rock punch, superb AOR moments and emotional vocals (perhaps the best of his career) from this gifted, talented singer.

01 - Glorious
02 - Push on Through
03 - If We Call It Love
04 - Waiting for Summer
05 - First Time
06 - One Breathe
07 - Too Many Words
08 - Next in Line
09 - Drowning
10 - Love Was Waiting
11 - It Is What It Is

Jim Jidhed (vocals)
Michael Palace (guitar)
Philip Lindstrand (guitar)
Ken Sandin (bass)
Daniel Flores (drums, keyboards)



Best Classic Rock Album 2017, #3 : RONNIE MONTROSE feat. Ricky Phillips & Eric Singer - 10x10 (2017)

RONNIE MONTROSE feat. Ricky Phillips & Eric Singer - 10x10 (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
Fortunately, this excellent album was finally released.

Before his untimely death in 2012, renowned American rock guitarist RONNIE MONTROSE began recording an ambitious passion project with bassist Ricky Phillips (Styx, Bad English) and drummer Eric Singer (Kiss, Alice Cooper). The idea was to record 10 songs with 10 different singers and call the album "10x10".
Sadly, Montrose was unable to see the album through during his lifetime. Instead, Phillips made it his mission to finish the songs by enlisting a small army of Ronnie’s musician friends to record the vocals and the guitar solos for each track, resulting in a terrific CD to be released tomorrow.

Phillips says the songs represent some of Montrose’s best work. “His songs still have the fire and angst of a young rebel, but with some added wisdom and foresight voiced in his own unique language of ‘guitar-speak.’ On 10x10, we hear Ronnie at the top of his game, from the opening crunch guitar of ‘Heavy Traffic,’ all the way to the closing song, ‘I’m Not Lying,’ which was Ronnie’s tip of the hat to his friend Robin Trower.”

This project dates back to 2003, when Montrose called in bassist Ricky Phillips and drummer Eric Singer to tackle a power-trio project that would rock harder than anything he had done in years.
The idea was to record ten songs with ten different singers and call the album "10x10". He brought Phillips and Singer to Doug Messenger's studio in North Hollywood, and the three musicians set up to record live — no pre-production rehearsals and no overdubs — and knocked out ten basic tracks in two or three days.

Sadly, Montrose was unable to see the album through during his lifetime and it quite possibly may never have been heard beyond a few Montrose-family friends. Montrose did manage to record some of his chosen vocalists — such as Sammy Hagar and Edgar Winter — but finances, schedules, and a frightening illness conspired to slow and eventually stop progress.
We can all thank Phillips, Singer, Leighsa Montrose and Rhino Records now, because the album that appeared destined to be lost to time is now available for pre-order.

Phillips made it his mission to finish the songs by enlisting a small army of Ronnie's musician friends to record the vocals and the guitar solos for each song, completing the album over the course of recent years.
And the cast is nothing short than stellar.

"10x10" features really inspired pairings, like ex Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes with Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen (“Still Singin’ With The Band”) and shouter Sammy Hagar (ex Van Halen, Montrose) with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather (“Color Blind”) in a rocker to die for.
Legendary blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa also showcases his guitar talents on the track “The Kingdom’s Come Undone” with Ricky Phillips on vocals.
A few artists both sing and play, like Edgar Winter (“Love Is An Art”) and Tommy Shaw (Styx) on “Strong Enough”, another album highlight.

RONNIE MONTROSE feat. Ricky Phillips & Eric Singer - 10x10 (2017) back

I love to hear on record again Y&T's Dave Meniketti delivering a scorching solo on the opener 'Heavy Traffic', a track showing as well a fantastic Eric Martin (Mr. Big) in this classic rock role.
You can't miss for sure the wonderful 'One Good Reason' featuring the underrated Bruce Turgon (ex Foreigner) and his killer bluesy vocal performance accompanied by Aerosmith's guitar Brad Whitford.
An for the end we have in 'I'm Not Lying' no other than Gregg Rolie (ex Journey, Santana), Tom Gimbel (Foreigner, Jon Butcher) & Lawrence Gowan (Styx) for a magnificent finale.

Hey folks, we are facing one of the best albums of the year here, at least in the Classic Rock field.
This is pure rock n' roll, made with blood and soul by the 'who's who' in this genre's contemporary history.

01. "Heavy Traffic"
featuring Eric Martin & Dave Meniketti

02. "Love Is An Art"
featuring Edgar Winter & Rick Derringer

03. "Color Blind"
featuring Sammy Hagar & Steve Lukather

04. "Still Singin' With The Band"
featuring Glenn Hughes, Phil Collen & Jimmy "Z" Zavala

05. "Strong Enough"
featuring Tommy Shaw

06. "Any Minute"
featuring Mark Farner & Ricky Phillips

07. "The Kingdom's Come Undone"
featuring Ricky Phillips & Joe Bonamassa

08. "One Good Reason"
featuring Bruce Turgon & Brad Whitford

09. "Head On Straight"
featuring Davey Pattison & Marc Bonilla

10. "I'm Not Lying"
featuring Gregg Rolie, Tom Gimbel & Lawrence Gowan

Ronnie Montrose (Montrose, Gamma) - guitars
Ricky Phillips (Styx, Bad English) - bass, vocals
Eric Singer (KISS, Alice Cooper) - drums

Pre Order:


Best Melodic Hard Rock Album 2017, #2 : ECLIPSE - Monumentum [Japanese Edition] (2017)

ECLIPSE - Monumentum [Japanese Edition] (2017) full

Near the end of the year, it's time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
With this new album, Swedes ECLIPSE take their consistent recent excellence to a new level with a more direct approach of would be stadium-filling anthems.

March the 24th sees the release of Swedish melodic hard rockers ECLIPSE new CD "Monumentum" out on Frontiers Records, just released in Japan with a bonus track. "Monumentum" had so much to live up to as the band's last 2 albums have been bordering on perfection both producing all killer / no filler, with track after track of melodic rock full of huge choruses.
Well, let me tell you that Erik Mårtensson & Co doesn't disappoint, delivering melodies from every pore, big guitars and pounding drums all wrapped in a production to die for.

Simply put, every single track in "Monumentum" stands alone and that is so rare. You can put the CD on at any point and the track is full of everything Melodic Hard Rock music should be about.
Drums crack, bass rumbles and the guitar riffs explode with electricity whle the solos are full of technique, tone and melody and all with a production that breathes and let's you hear it all and you must play it loud.

Results very hard to pick out highlights as I tend to when it's all so strong. This is a CD that could be like Hysteria with 7 or 8 singles. I normally say it starts with a 1-2 off well this one starts 1-11.
'Vertigo' was the first track released and has all of Eclipse's trademark rocking punchiness and huge chorus with a hook to catch a blue whale.

'Never Look Back' was the second track we heard with woah woah's from the off and Erik's vocal delivery exquisite with an added extra touch of harshness on a couple of occasions. Then onto the chorus his voice is golden as the backing vocals harmonies on 'woah woahs' alongside the guitar crunch. The drumming is just relentless with a mid-song slowing off pace so when it all kicks back in it is even more powerful. Going to be massive in the live setting.

'Killing Me' sees a slight slowing of pace in the verse before it all kicks in with Erik again owning the chorus. 'The Downfall Of Eden' sees an electric picked intro before the band hit hard but dip for the first chorus with Erik's vocal to the fore and a lengthy chorus melody.
'Hurt' is the ballad with Erik showing off his vocal range in a haunting power ballad of the highest order with a guitar solo to match.

'Jaded' shows the quality of the album that 3 songs have been released and all are stellar yet when I hit play on this one with Erik's vocal alongside the ballsy riff it went even higher. Pure Eclipse melody, balls, attitude and a chorus that will have tonsils exploding. You will want to press play again.

'Born To Lead' has another huge guitar riff and chorus and is 100% Eclipse and love the rollocking guitar riff and pounding drums after the chorus that then dips as the verse starts again. Henriksen attacks with his fiery solo, always concise and effective.
'For Better Or Worse' is a melodic rocker tour de force with a pre-chorus slow off pace and yet another chorus begging to be sang back at the band by baying crowds.

'No Way Back' sees Henriksen's fast fingered guitar solo in the intro that continues throughout as a melody line alongside the main guitar riff that is epic. Maybe the heaviest guitar riff Eclipse have ever done but playing it with a hugely melodic chorus it is fantastic.

'Night Comes Crawling' sees more woah woahs and a stop start guitar riff with Crusner's drumming prowess always evident and another hugely melodic chorus with backing vocals to the fore. Erik's writing just gets better and better as every track reveals itself to melodic rock heaven.

'Black Rain' has a slightly slower pace but that makes it's guitar riff even heavier and just listen to that wonderful bass line as the verse unfolds too. Big big chorus with Erik's vocal going a little darker.
Then there's a great acoustic version of 'The Downfall Of Eden' exclusive to this Japanese Edition.

"Monumentum" will be at the top of most 'Best Of' lists of the year and sees Eclipse showcasing that they are at the top of their game, and today, they are one of the defining Melodic Hard Rock acts.
This is another superlative album by this mighty Swedish combo, and if there is one CD you have to buy this month, this is the one without a doubt.

01 - Vertigo
02 - Never Look Back
03 - Killing Me
04 - The Downfall Of Eden
05 - Hurt
06 - Jaded
07 - Born To Lead
08 - For Better Or For Worse
09 - No Way Back
10 - Night Comes Crawling
11 - Black Rain
Japan Bonus Track:
12. The Downfall Of Eden (Acoustic Version)

Erik Mårtensson - lead vocals, guitar
Magnus Henriksson - guitar
Philip Crusner - drums
Magnus Ulfstedt - bass



Best Classic Hard Rock album 2017 : BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION - BCCIV (2017)


Super classic hard rock group BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION comprising vocalist / bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze), drummer Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper) and blues-rock guitarist / vocalist Joe Bonamassa, release their long awaited and highly anticipated fourth album, "BCC IV" .
This is the band’s first studio album since 2013, and rocks harder than never before.

Following the release of their last studio album Afterglow it looked like we had seen the last of Black Country Communion. However, like a phoenix rising from the flames (which is depicted on the album cover) a chance meeting between Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa post-Deep Purple’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame resulted in the resurrection of this much celebrated super group.
As the band’s fans would want and expect, "BCCIV" has got a very distinctively classic rock sound which highlights the musical heritage of the band members whilst at the same time the album has got a bit of a contemporary twist.
There is a real melting pot of sounds and influences.

The heavy groove of the opening track “Collide” sets the scene for the rest to come. "BCCIV" is packed full of infectious numbers and catchy hooks which simply sweep you away.
Glenn Hughes doesn’t get called ‘The Voice of Rock’ for nothing, and you just have to listen to “Over My Head” or Glenn’s vocal performance on the prog-tastic number “Awake” to see just exactly why.

Joe Bonamassa really lets loose, delivering some blistering fret work, of course, there is face melting solos a plenty – particularly on tracks likes “The Cave”, “Sway” and “The Last Song For My Resting Place”. The latter is a bit different. With this song Bonamassa has put his stamp on the record, the track is also the only song on "BCCIV" to which Joe takes over on lead vocals.
“The Last Song For My Resting Place” depicts the story of Wallace Hartley, the bandleader on board the RMS Titanic, who heroically played on with his musical compatriots as the ship went down. Subsequently, the distinctive undertones of both fiddle and mandolin help to illustrate the story, the track itself is a real masterpiece.

“The Crow” again takes the album in a different direction and brings the band’s distinctive classic rock sound right up to the present date. The hard rocking number features quite modern riffs in places.
The beauty of this album is that each of the working elements of the group comes together seamlessly and organically and that is particularly the case with this track. The masterful keyboard work of Derek Sherinian and the hard hitting rhythm of Jason Bonham is prominent throughout.


As you listen to the "BCCIV" you don’t find yourself skipping tracks, there are no fillers, from start to finish you hear a band at the top of their game. As with the group’s previous releases, producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Journey) has worked his magic on this one once again.

Collectively each member of this incredibly talented outfit has their own very active and successful careers outside of the band, as a result of which, who knows what the future holds for BCC. However, one thing is for sure, Black Country Communion has delivered one of the standout classic rock albums of 2017.
Black Country Communion returns with their fourth and arguably strongest album to date.
Don't miss this.

01 - Collide
02 - Over My Head
03 - The Last Song For My Resting Place
04 - Sway
05 - The Cove
06 - The Crow
07 - Wanderlust
08 - Love Remains
09 - Awake
10 - When the Morning Comes

Glenn Hughes – Vocals, Bass
Joe Bonamassa – Guitars, Vocals
Jason Bonham – Drums
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Produced by Kevin Shirley
thanks to Adam Kennedy

Pre Order:


Best 'Comeback album' 2017, #4 : GREAT WHITE - Full Circle (2017)

GREAT WHITE - Full Circle (2017) full

There's great news for classic hard rock and GREAT WHITE fans as the band will be releasing its new studio album entitled "Full Circle" this 2017.
The album is the second with singer Terry Ilous after Elation, which was released back in 2012. The effort sees the band re-teaming with its original producer, the legendary Michael Wagener.

To put it clear from the start, "Full Circle" is one of the best records in Great White's career, and one of the best 'unadulterated hard rock' albums I heard in long time.
The new album an honorable nod to their first EP Out Of The Night (Aegean Records, 1983) and debut self-titled full-length record (EMI, 1984).
This means outdated? Not at all, but a classic sounding album plenty of well written and performed songs.

All are terrific songs including the feel-good 'I'm Alright', the trademark Great White bluesy midtempo rocker 'Movin' On' (a highlight), the melodic rocker 'This Is the Life' (another pearl), and the acoustically filled ballad 'Let Me In', in the way that only guitarist Mark Kendall can wrote.

GREAT WHITE - Full Circle (2017) inside

You don't need more blah-blah; go and buy "Full Circle".
This is classic Great White, 'that' kind of songwriting & sound all fans have been waiting for since the '80s.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - I'm Alright
02 - Movin' On
03 - This Is the Life
04 - Let Me In
05 - Moonshine
06 - Cry of a Nation
07 - Give It Up
08 - Big Time
09 - Never Let You Down

Terry Ilous - vocals
Mark Kendall - guitar, backing vocals
Michael Lardie - guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Scott Snyder - bass
Audie Desbrow - drums

Pre Order:


Friday, December 29, 2017

COFFEINNE - Circle Of Time (2017)

COFFEINNE - Circle Of Time (2017) full

"Circle Of Time" is the debut album from Spanish five-piece COFFEINNE presented in exclusive at 0dayrox. Readers of this blog will recognize singer Inaki Lazcano (frontman of melodic hard rockers AIRLESS) with a couple of albums featured in this blog.
COFFEINNE, however, adds strong parts of Euro melodic metal and some progressive into the mix, resulting into an explosive, rocking cocktail.

On "Circle Of Time", COFFEINNE even adds some light power metal drumming here and there, but Lazcano's raspy and melodic vocals - something like a cross between Don Dokken y Herry Hess - turn things very melodic.
Since opener 'Fragile' you can taste what this band is all about; modern melodic metal with progressive touches, but pre / main chorus really melodic, hard rock oriented.

Overall, the final product bring to mind JAMES LaBRIE solo records (but more melodic imho) and another band that many of you will remember: BALANCE OF POWER. The latter act sound is strongly present in 'Take this Life', a song with lots of power but really, really melodious in essence.
Next, 'Isolated' is even more melodic, a mid-paced song decidedly melodic hard rock both in structure & sound. It bring to mind AIRLESS or LOVER UNDER COVER. The guitar solo soars, truly compelling.

'Life in a Showcase' has a little '80s feel here and there with some synths in the background (and very melodic vocals in the ALLEN / LANDE vein), then on 'Save Me' the band try some thing different adding a female vocalist (Esther Gomez) and growl vocal touches which I didn't like it.
However, the band is back on track with follower 'Broke', and what a killer tune it is. A midtempo with that 80s hard rock / metal feeling where the chorus is pure melodic gold, same with the excellent guitar solo.

Another highlight arrive with closer and title track 'Circle Of Time'. It's a heavy song, a crossroad between MASTERPLAN and LORDS OF BLACK, with a big rhythm section and huge guitars, and one of my favorites.
The overall feel takes you back to the '80s to the YNGWIE / SOTO era as well, in the middle section there's a killer guitar duel guesting virtuoso Robert. R. Rodrigo, and at the coda we hear greatly arranged harmony vocals.

COFFEINNE - Circle Of Time (2017) back

COFFEINNE is very strong combo mixing equal parts of classic melodic metal / progressive / power / hard, and have created a really impressive debut in "Circle Of Time".
You find varied songwriting, a first class melodic vocalist, an inspired twin guitar attack (David Villareal are particularly creative), a solid rhythm backbone and a bright production.
And most important of all: it always keeps you interested and results very entertaining.
Highly Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Fragile
02 - Fallen Angel
03 - Take this life
04 - Isolated
05 - Life in a showcase
06 - Save me
07 - Broken
08 - No escape
09 - The hate within
10 - Circle of time

Inaki Lazcano – vocals
David Villarreal – guitar
Sergio Salcedo – guitar
Alberto Munoz – bass
Luis Rodriguez – drums
Robert. R. Rodrigo – guest guitar solo on 10
Esther Gomez – guest vocals on 6



ALL FOR THE KING - All For The King (2017)

ALL FOR THE KING - All For The King (2017) full

ALL FOR THE KING is a new band from Sweden releasing their self-titled debut, a mix a classic metal / hard rock and modern heavy. The group is formed by musicians with different background; founder guitarist Erik Tilling comes from metal, singer Ricard Hulteke has his origins in soul & gospel (although he sings for hard rockers Empire 21), Johan Tjernström is the bassist in the Ole Børud Band (Westcoast), while Richard Tonyson played drums for various fusion bands.
The result is a quite original heavy rock album with a modern sound.

Yes, "All For The King" sound is modern, but the songwriting backbone is classic '80s/90s. Additionally, Tilling's style is strongly influenced by Tony Iommi (especially the riffs), while Hulteke vocals are clearly reminiscent of Glenn Hughes. He does not reach as high as Glenn, but Ricard has more depth and weight.
There's a quite heavy riff in opener 'I Am God', but it's in follower 'The Old Man' where ALL FOR THE KING show their real musical style: the verses are dense, but abruptly, the chorus is extremely melodic, adorned by cleverly placed keyboards.

'I Belong To You' is even better, in fact, one of the highlights. It's a modern hard rocker driven by a broken riff, and the chorus is powerful an highly melodious at the same time. The vocals are crystal clear (as on the entire record) and a pleasure to listen, pitch perfect.
The band try something different with midtempo 'Never Back Down', I found 'Not Ashamed' similar to an old Lynch Mob song, while 'Rules Of Love' is very commercial with an infectious chorus.

Perhaps my favorite from the CD, in 'Alive' ALL FOR THE KING showcases another side. The heavy riffs are gone here in favor of classic melodic hard rock scales / patterns, plenty of keyboards and with a sweet chorus. Great song!
More variation appears in 'Going Blind' with a bit of late '90s Queensryche on it, then title track 'All For The King' brings to mind '80s Ian Gillian-fronted Black Sabbath (there's classic organs reinforcing the vibe).

ALL FOR THE KING - All For The King (2017) disc

Mixing classic & modern sounds but always ruled by melody, "All For The King" is a stupendous debut from this new Swedish outfit. While the band has a religious background lyrics are very interesting with a global social appeal.
What I like about ALL FOR THE KING is its variation, all songs are different but the album results very cohesive. You'll find very good musicianship, clear vocals and polished production here.
A strongly recommended debut at the end of the year.

01 - I Am God
02 - The Old Man
03 - I Belong To You
04 - Never Back Down
05 - Not Ashamed
06 - Rules Of Love
07 - Alive
08 - Going Blind
09 - All For The King
10 - Salt Of The Earth

Ricard Hulteke - Vocals
Erik Tilling - Guitars
Johan Tjernström - Bass
Richard Tonyson - Drums



METALMORPHOSIS - MetalMorphosis Volume I (2017)

METALMORPHOSIS - MetalMorphosis Volume I (2017) full

Do you remember '80s US hard rockers Black ‘N Blue? Well, the band is still active, but guitarist Brandon Cook has a new side project called METALMORPHOSIS which released its debut album "Metalmorphosis Volume I" few days ago.
The Portland, Oregon, based group consists of Larry Smith on lead and background vocals; Cook on guitar, bass, keyboards & background vocals; and Andrew Korn on drums, plus various guests.

Over the years these musicians fought many rock battles and toured with some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll, where clapped hands of many fair lads and lasses echoed loudly in the pungent halls of New York, Tokyo, San Francisco, Portland and L.A.
The aim of METALMORPHOSIS is to rock hard, they took their influences and used them front and center without compromise.

The songs in "Metalmorphosis Volume I" are re-workings of songs from other artists - not from the Rock genre - done with a no holds barred full punch rock n' roll style.
Opener 'Luck Be a Lady Tonight' was made popular decades ago by Frank Sinatra (!) but in the hands of METALMORPHOSIS it was transformed into a heavy rocker with big guitars, powerful vocals, and a punchy rhythm section.

Brandon Cook's riffs all over the record are driving groovy, while Larry Smith vocals are like a cross between Brian Vollmer (Helix) and Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group, Grand Prix, et all).
Frank Sinatra also did a famous version of 'Night and Day' (composed 1957), and METALMORPHOSIS 'morphed' it - almost unrecognizable - into a dark heavy rocker with George Lynch feel.
Popularized by Billie Holiday, 'Good Morning Heartache' is completely re-arranged in a dense, Black Sabbath-like dark heavy song.

Again from Sinatra, there's 'Strangers in the Night'... you'll be surprised by the DIO sound obtained in this one. Killer if you ask me.
'My Favorite Thing' was sung by Julie Andrews (!) in the '60s in the musical movie of the same name. Adding acoustics (and electrics) in the vein of Led Zeppelin circa "IV", you can't believe how good this METALMORPHOSIS version resulted. Awesome atmospherics and a true Zepp sound, where Smith vocals soar.

METALMORPHOSIS - MetalMorphosis Volume I (2017) inside

Did you ever thought that Annie Lennox's 'I Put a Spell on You' could be re-done in a 80s US metal style? Wait to listen to this version including a little drum solo too!
Taken from Oliver! The Musical, 'Food Glorious Food' is done with a Queen circa 1977 style, Ray Charles's 'Hit the Road' with a Lez Zeppelin-full electric punch, Cole Porter's 'Anything Goes' sounds like Depeche Mode going heavy (seriously), then Nat King Cole's 'The Party's Over Lyrics' is done in the vein of a Black 'N Blue / Helix hair metal track.

Versions of no-Rock related songs have been done extensively over the past two decades, but METALMORPHOSIS are different. While the tunes chosen are really unexpected, the real fun thing here is the way these were transformed.
These guys pay tribute to the greats such as Led Zepp, Sabbath, Scorpions, etc in terms of sound - even the hair metal era - but using songs that were composed with an absolutely different approach in mind. And works greatly.
If no-one told you where these songs come from, you would think these are originals.
Much, much more than just a 'versions' album, "Metalmorphosis Volume I" will surprise you.
Highly Recommended

01 - Luck Be a Lady Tonight
02 - Night and Day
03 - Strangers in the Night
04 - Good Morning Heartache
05 - My Favorite Things
06 - I Put a Spell on You
07 - Food Glorious Food
08 - Hit the Road Jack
09 - Anything Goes
10 - The Party's Over

Larry Smith - Lead and Bkg Vocals
Zen Brandon Cook - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Bkg Vocals
Andrew Korn - Drums, Keyboards, Bkg Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Danny Obadia - Piano and B3 Organ
Laura Cunard - Bkg Vocals
Josh Lava - Strings and Eno-isms
Sam Bevan - Bass on 'Anything Goes'



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