BEN GRANFELT's previous album was one if the best of that year for this blog, and now he's back 2017 with his amazing band and another superb record titled "Another Day".
For the initiated, Ben Granfelt is an experienced musician from Finland that was part of Gringos Locos, Guitar Slingers and Leningrad Cowboys, but he become more known for his partnership with Andy Powell in Wishbone Ash some years ago.
Besides playing in those acts since the mid-Eighties, Granfelt has built up a solid solo career on the side.
Ben Granfelt’s "Another Day" hits home with its unmistakable hard thinking start and sense of proportion, this is an album which starts as it means to go and never wavers from the sense of outraged justice it wishes to convey, to shoulder into the mean battlefields’ armaments, and take them to the place where all weapons of destruction should be left, in the realms of history, consigned to rot.
The only weapon truly required is authenticity and it's something that Ben Granfelt truly holds close by and in the nearest holster.
Classic rock, tasteful heavy blues harmonies and a melodic feel all over is the motto of "Another Day". True, honest and tasteful.
In tracks such as the opener title song 'Another Day', 'Shine Like The Sun Over Me', 'Endless', 'Heart On Your Sleeve' and 'You Are What You Is', the energy is overflowing, the electricity has no idea where to go so it does the only thing that is left to, fill the ears of those listening and watch the buzz grow and swell.
The star on the record is obviously Granfelt's exquisite guitar playing, terrific tone and melodies, but he is an accomplished singer too, and his bandmates provide a warm, steady instrumental companion.
Seriously, Ben Granfelt is a six-string giant, never overblown, never boring, always imaginative and the tone, omg what a guitar tone!
If you want to listen something good, really good, don't miss Ben Granfelt Band's "Another Day"... true Classic Rock as it should be done.
01 - Hangman's Tree
02 - Another Day
03 - Wayward Child
04 - Shine Like The Sun Over Me
05 - Endless
06 - Open Road, Open Book
07 - Heart On Your Sleeve
08 - Rocking The Boat
09 - Sweet Love
10 - You Are What You Is
Guitar, Lead Vocals – Ben Granfelt
Bass – Joni Vihervä
Drums – Miri Miettinen
BUY IT !
Monday, January 30, 2017
Hailing from Sweden's capital Stockholm, BLACK PAISLEY will release their full-length debut "Late Bloomer" tomorrow January 31, 2017 via the band’s own label.
The band's origins date back to 1998 as a cover act with a different name, but over the years started to compose their own music inspired by the classic Hard Rock / Melodic Rock sounds.
The group played several gigs in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway and built up a strong reputation around its name, Black Paisley, took from Richie Sambora’s Fender signature guitar.
In Autumn 2014 the 5-piece started the recording process in Sundsvall with producer Johan Derborn (Takida).
The result is this punchy, classic melodic hard rock record plenty of rich deep bluesy infused vocals mixed with intricate guitar hooks, strong melodic flashes and effective backing vocals.
Stefan Blomqvist vocals are soulful and emotional, the guitars are 'crunchy', melodic and, when needed, heavier while the rhythm section is solid providing a great bounce.
They start with the killer "Run Run Run", a guitar driven hard rocker with a British feel. Next "Way To Something" adds a classic rock atmosphere, while "Easy" is a great midtempo which reminds me an Burning Rain track from the past.
Continuing the album in the same rocking quality we have "Kickin", "This Is My Day" and the very strong semi-ballad "Ordinary Day".
I can see why the band have chosen their name listening to "This Is My Day" as the tune brings memories of Richie Sambora's second solo album Undiscovered Soul. Really solid stuff.
Finally, closing the disc melodically there's the highly vocally harmonized "It Ain't Over" and the sweet acoustically filled "Coming Home".
Coming from the amazing musical scene of Sweden, Black Paisley has delivered a record that is not a 'Late Bloomer' at all. It may have take them many years to put out their debut, but the quality on offer well worth the wait.
Fans of classic melodic hard rock with a bluesy background and AORish pinches need to check these guys pronto.
Very, Highly Recommended
01 - Run Run Run
02 - Way to Something
03 - Easy
04 - Ordinary Day
05 - Autumn
06 - Kickin'
07 - This Is My Day
08 - It Ain't Over
09 - Coming Home
Stefan Blomqvist: lead vocals, guitar
Ulf Hedin: guitar, backing vocals
Jan Emanuelsson: bass
Robert Wirensjö: keyboards, backing vocals
Robert Karaszi: drums, percussion
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I'm not sure many would have predicted that 22 years after their last UK top ten album, MARILLION would take their last studio effort F.E.A.R., right up to #4. Lyrically challenging and musically rewarding the album found the band right at the height of their powers and yet you could argue that it is in the live arena that they've always been at their best.
So now they are releasing "Marbles In The Park", which is (depending on your preference) a 2CD, DVD, Bluray retelling of the band's 2004 album Marbles, filmed and recorded at the 2015 Marillion Weekend in Port Zélande, in The Netherlands.
Ths fifteen track epic Marbles was viewed by many as a return to form from Marillion, their previous three albums veering on occasion into areas their long faithful fanbase weren't quite so sure of.
Therefore, in front of a packed, vociferous, partisan crowd, it's no surprise that it's the full monty version of Marbles that's given new life here. It's a breathtaking experience.
Technically this release is simply stunning, with a fantastic quality sound.
Steve Hogarth's vocals are immediately in character, something he maintains in all manner of guises for the entire show and with sublime numbers such as "You're Gone", "Ocean Cloud" "The Damage" and "Drilling Holes" for him to get his teeth into, no wonder.
Still, these songs would be nothing without the amazing talents of Messrs Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas and Mosley, and as you'd expect from a quartet that have been together since 1984, their chemistry is verging on telepathic. Something the enigmatic, emotional rendition of Marbles closing number "Neverland" illustrates to perfection.
The choice of the Afraid Of Sunlight pair, "Out Of This World" and "King" and the title track of Sounds That Can't Be Made prove equally inspired as encores, but by this stage it's mere icing on the most sumptuous of cakes.
"Marbles In The Park" is a fantastic live album that I’d have no hesitation in recommending.
It’s a luxury recording and it’s certain to go down great with Marillion fans and melodic prog fans in general.
1. The Invisible Man
2. Marbles I
4. Fantastic Place
5. The Only Unforgivable Thing
6. Marbles II
7. Ocean Cloud
8. Marbles III
1. The Damage
2. Don't Hurt Yourself
3. You're Gone
5. Drilling Holes
6. Marbles IV
8. Out of This World
10. Sounds That Can't Be Made
Steve Hogarth - vocals, guitar, keyboard, percussion
Steve Rothery - guitar
Ian Mosely - drums
Mark Kelly - piano, keyboards
Peter Trewavas - bass, backing vocals
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Sunday, January 29, 2017
YesterRock Records has remastered all the 3 first '80s albums by German AOR pioneers TOKYO, being their self-titled the band's debut with a strong American Pomp AOR influences mixed with a classic European sound. This is the more hard to find from this reissue batch, out of print with few copies remaining on selected stores.
Tokyo were founded in the early '80s in Frankfurt, Germany, by studio musician and songwriter Robby Musenbichler (vocals, guitar), together with Ken Taylor (vocals, bass), Fritz Matzka (drums) and Lothar Krell (keyboards) who previously had been part of the Michael Wynn Band and Supermax.
The combo completed the line-up with vocalst Klaus Luley (who later founded Craaft).
Tokyo went on rehearsing for a half year before they started to play their first live gigs. The band took the crowd by storm with a strong stage presence – with three singers, twin guitars, tasty keyboards and a pumping drum sound.
Their first and self-titled release "Tokyo" appeared ate end of 1980 - early 1981 and immediately made it really well at the central Europe charts.
The title track "Tokyo" became a classic and received tremendous airplay in every rock club and radio station. Until today, this track still appears on many '80s compilations.
Tokyo play classic Melodic Rock / AOR with prominent keyboards plus strong melodious guitars, and their songs are constructed around catchy choruses. Curiously, being a German band, their style is pretty Americanized in the vein of Balance and alike.
This debut has a surprisingly modern, fresh and high quality production for the era, even today, after so many years, it doesn't sounds dated at all.
Apart from the hit "Tokyo", the rest of the album maintains a high standard with no fillers in sight.
"Cryin`" has that magical early Eighties atmosphere including wonderful AOR stacatto keyboards, "Girl" rocks with melody, the catchy "We Are The Times" is made for the radio, and "Father Of Time" has an L.A. feel all over it.
One of my definitive favorites is the awesome midtempo "Carry On" layered with great harmonic vocals and a consistent guitar line through it.
After three successful albums, all Tokyo members decided to put the band on hold to form their own projects.
Klaus Luley founded the prime Melodic Rock outfit Craaft, while Robby Musenbichler, Ken Taylor & Lothar Krell glued into another German AOR wonder; JoJo.
But in the middle, Tokyo continued to record some material sporadically.
Now, thanks to the Yesterrock label we can listen those previously unreleased tunes, plus some fresh new material from Tokyo. This "Tokyo" includes no less than 7 great bonuses.
"Young Kids In Love", "The Time Is Right", "Behind The Faces" and "On My Mind" have been recorded during the '80s. Robby Musenbichler, who today owns a studio near Graz in Austria, has remastered / remixed these takes between 1995 and 2004.
The tracks "Carry On", "Cryin`" and "Girl" are newly recorded versions of the originals – both technically and musically up to date.
I'd say that this CD is a more than recommendable fine slice of pure '80s AOR / Melodic Rock, essential in any fan collection of the genre.
01 - Tokyo
02 - Cryin'
03 - Tuesday Morning
04 - Girl
05 - We Are The Times
06 - Teenage Shooter
07 - Father Of Time
08 - Carry On
09 - Welcome To My Home
PREV. UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS;
10 - Young Kids In Love ['80s recording]
11 - Carry On [2011 version]
12 - Girl [2011 version]
13 - Cryin' [2011 version]
14 - The Time Is Right ['80s recording]
15 - On My Mind ['80s recording]
16 - Behind The Faces ['80s recording]
Klaus Luley - Vocals, Guitars
Robby Mussenbichler - Vocals, Guitars
Ken Taylor - Vocals, Bass
Lothar Krell - Keyboards, synths
Fritz Matzka - Drums
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As part of the YesterRock Records remastered reissue batch of TOKYO '80s albums, "San" is the band's third effort originally appeared in 1983. This is the first time the record is released on CD, including 5 bonus tracks.
Featuring the great AOR-styled vocals of talented Klaus Luley and with mastermind Robby Musenbichler conducting the music (also handling some lead vocals alongside bass player Ken Taylor), Tokyo cemented a strong fan base all over Europe with their first two albums.
After the self-titled debut, the beginning of the effervescent German 'Neue Deutsche Welle' era took away some time from the band as all members continued to work as successful studio musicians for various different projects.
This success and the connections to an international management brought them together with the greats of the rock genre such as Toto, Deep Purple or Meat Loaf.
In 1982 Tokyo’s second effort ‘Fasten Seat Belts’ was released, straightly followed by this "San" in 1983.
By the time "San" hit the market the group was almost disbanded (several members went on to form Jojo and Klaus Luley, Craaft) and later Tokyo released a final album with a different line-up and more New Wave / Pop oriented.
However, "San" isn't a re-harsh of throwaway songs, but musically the more varied album in Tokyo's discography because most the songs were composed separately by the band members.
One of my favorites is opener 'Don't Want Your Money', a punchy melodic rocker mixing Toto's dynamics with a typical European radio-friendly AOR.
Next 'Need Another Love' provides a different approach with its catchy hi-tech surroundings and a contagious chorus, while 'Don't Run Away' is classic Tokyo in a ballad-esque form.
Three first distinctive tracks showcasing the band's versatility.
There's great Luley lead vocals on 'Too High', while 'Emiko' borders the West Coast / L.A. sound with elegant arrangements.
'Jealousy' is a really fine AOR tune in the vein of the 'Americanized' Charlie, then 'Invisible' adds a lite-prog touch with a poppy background.
'Caroline' is another good ballad, whilst 'Summerday' make justice to its title with a feel-good melody.
The original "San" LP release ends with a highlight: the keyboard driven AOR of 'One Step Away' with 'that classic' 1983 sound. Lovely.
The bonus tracks on this Yersterrock remastered reissue are juicy as well; 'Diana' has a Toto feel from the 'Toto IV' era, and 'You're A Liar' blends melodic rock riffs with an American radio-ready chorus.
As said, this is the more varied Tokyo record, and 'See You Again' is a very different composition with a relaxed arrangement.
There's a different version of 'Too High' with a more modern sound, and the last of the bonuses is the interesting instrumental 'Ocean Of Love', again, with a Toto feel.
Tokyo's "San" is another worthwhile addition to your early '80s AOR collection, plenty of interesting and varied compositions.
This is not the best Yesterrock remaster I've ever heard (there's some background noises at places), but probably the master tape wasn't in the best shape.
Anyway, what matters is the music, and the fact the album was rescued from oblivion and released on CD for the first time, plus previously unheard material.
01 - Don't Want Your Money
02 - Need Another Love
03 - Don't Run Away
04 - Too High
05 - Emiko
06 - Jealousy
07 - Invisible
08 - Caroline
09 - Golden Time
10 - Summerday
11 - One Step Away
PREV. UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS:
12 - Diana
13 - You're a Liar
14 - See You Again
15 - Too High (different version)
16 - Ocean of Love
Robby Musenbichler (guitars, vocals)
Ken Taylor (bass, vocals)
Klaus Luley (guitar, vocals)
Lothar Krell (keyboards)
Fritz Matzka (drums)
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After the successful response from the fans with the reissue of their '80s material, German cult AOR outfit TOKYO returned with 4 out of the 5 original members (Klaus Luley, Robby Musenbichler, Ken Taylor & Lothar Krell) and this new album titled "One World".
Original drummer Fritz Matzka died in 1992 and has been replaced by Aaron Thier.
While the band's last official album 'San' (1983) was slightly more melodic rock oriented, 31 years have passed. And also for Tokyo members and their musical development.
"One World" delivers the typical Tokyo melodies, but as well different musical sources acquired by these musicians all over the years, specially Robby Musenbichler, always unquiet and searching for fresh musical grounds.
But don't worry, "One World" is updated to modern times, yet still melodic.
Opener and title track "One World" has a steady mid-tempo rhythm with great AORish vocals and refined keyboards in the background. A cut with a single potential for Classic Rock Radio.
"I'm Free" is another song with an AOR touch akin Mr. Mister, although the chorus is more punchy and melodious. Later, "It's Springtime Again" is a trademark Musenbichler ballad with nice acoustics, pianos and a little Scorpions feel.
The poppy rocker "If We Don't Believe" strangely reminds me their countryman Dominoe, and has a very interesting middle part, while the somehow hi-tech melodic rocker "Do You Feel The Thunder" brings to mind Luley's other band, Craaft.
On the more different songs from the Tokyo traditional mould, we have the quite modern rocker "Stand Up" with a good guitar work and a little progressive passage, the poppy "Soon", and the Euro-rock of "Children Of Darkness". All are interesting and add a new facet to Tokyo's music.
Perhaps old school melodic rockers and fans of the band's first era were expecting another early '80s sounding album from Tokyo, but the guys are showing on "One World" where they are musically now.
And I like what I hear, mixing the trademark melodies known from this quintet with exploring sounds always centered in rock but trying to avoid common places.
A quite recommended listening.
01 - One World
02 - Stand Up
03 - I'm Free
04 - If We Don't Believe
05 - Soon
06 - It's Springtime Again
07 - Sea Of Joy
08 - Fall Into Sleep
09 - Do You Feel The Thunder
10 - Children Of Darkness
11 - Desert Life
Robby Musenbichler - guitar, vocals
Klaus Luley - guitar, vocals
Ken Taylor - bass, vocals
Lothar Krell - keyboards, vocals
Aaron Thier - drums
BUY IT !
YesterRock Records has remastered all the 3 first '80s albums by German AOR pioneers TOKYO, and their second effort, the awesomely titled "Fasten Seat Belts" is one of their best.
Not only the title is good, the music is even better delivering some true consistent AOR Melodic Rock tunes in the best Euro Eighties fashion.
Fans (like me) of the adorable classic keyboard driven AOR will love "Fasten Seat Belts". There's tons of very well produced catchy songs, sometimes treading the Melodic Rock ground with precise guitars and a sonically solid rhythm section.
All are good, being the highlights "Dreamer" and "World of Promises" - seriously I would buy this album just for these two songs alone.
If that's not enough, we have a newly recorded version of the first single "Keiko" plus other four previously unreleased bonus tracks; "Rainy Days", "Who Will Stop The Rain", "Turn Off The Light" and "Mama".
All are pre-production demos (with very good sound) that were recorded during the late '80s, and sees the band exploring a more Lite AOR territory.
Tokyo certainly appear to experiencing something of a resurgence at the moment and listening to this album it's easy to see why.
Before the strong heat wave of AOR bands began to sweep the world, this five piece German band commanded by Robby Musenbichler was already swinging with two studio albums in 1982.
These recent reissues have even been enough for AOR Magazine to run a huge feature spread on a band that deserves to be discovered by new generations, and why not, veterans who missed them.
01 - Keiko
02 - Spell On You
03 - Dreamer
04 - Feel Right
05 - World Of Promises
06 - Dreaming Of You
07 - Hearts Of Steel
08 - Get It All Night Long
09 - Bliss
10 - Give Me Power
11 - Lady
PREV. UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS:
12 - Keiko [New Version]
13 - Rainy Days
14 - Who Will Stop The Rain
15 - Turn Off The Light
16 - Mama
Robby Musenbichler - guitar, vocals
Klaus Luley - guitar, vocals
Ken Taylor - bass, vocals
Lothar Krell - keyboards, vocals
Fritz Matzka - drums
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With Robert Papst comfortably sitting on a label CEO's chair and concentrated producing other artists, I wasn't expecting another DOMINOE album. Well, the German creators of the classic hit 'Here I Am' returned with a brand new solid album titled "Naked But Dressed".
The core force behind the band, Papst and singer Jorg Sieber, this time have called some well known names in the industry to enrich their sound; on bass John 'Rhino' Edwards of Status Quo and Charlie Morgan (Elton John band) on drums & percussion.
But the guest stars are the vocalists; Larry Hoppen of legendary band Orleans, Jimmy Hall of southern rockers Wet Willie, and no other than Jimi Jamison can be heard on three songs in a duet with Jorg.
Dominoe has added a new (female) vocalist to their line up as well; Janina Dietz, whose role is much more significant than a back-up singer, as she not only adds different colors to the harmony vocals, the girl has her solo moments on various songs as well.
Fortunately, Papst and Sieber haven't forgotten how to write a catchy song, and even better: how to write pure Melodic Rock tunes.
The first 4 tracks on this CD are like a four aces poker. Winners.
"What Happens" opens the album in the best Dominoe tradition, with their classic '80s bobastic sound (missed in the last couple of albums), an instant melodious hook and a ridiculously catchy chorus. Guys, this is pure Melodic Rock!
Next, "It's Fine For Me" adds to the mix vintage organs and panned guitars, it's a more classic rock sounding track but the catchiness is sticky like epoxy glue. I Love this track, it's incredibly contagious.
With "Naked" arrives the first guest star vocalist. Larry Hoppen who sadly passed away some time ago demonstrates how great he was. Larry provides his soulfoul register to this Classic Rock tune which it isn't an ordinary four-tone track. The instrumentation is meaty (the rhythm section is awesome) and the vocal harmonies are excellent too.
And then we have the mighty Jimi Jamison in duet with Jorg Sieber. "Comin' Home" is pure Melodic Rock bliss. Sorry if I'm biased, but this is how Melodic Rock should be composed, arranged and performed. The song looks specially written for Jamison who plays in his league here, singing completely the first and third verses, and then together with Jorg on the chorus and outro.
I don't need more. These quaternary of tracks already made it for me, and worth the disc purchase.
However, there's more interesting tunes, like the AORish "Don't Throw Our Love Away", the melodic rocker "One More Sugar", the semi-ballad "All The Sins Are Dying" or the acoustic and calmer "Love Is The Answer" and "Take Me As I Am".
A few others are not so good and more standard Classic Rock oriented (a style that Papst seems to be pouring) but I don't care, Dominoe is back with their instinct intact.
It should be noted that production on this album is superior than the average in the genre these days.I can't help but I am a fan of this catchy brand of Melodic Rock (and this band), and only can add that "Naked But Dressed" is a very, Highly Recommended disc.
01 - What Happens
02 - It's Fine For Me
03 - Naked (duet with Larry Hoppen)
04 - Comin' Home (duet with Jimi Jamison)
05 - It's Alright
06 - Don't Throw Our Love Away
07 - Good Way Down
08 - Love Is The Answer
09 - My Girl (duet with Jimmy Hall)
10 - All The Sins Are Dying
11 - No Dude
12 - You And Me
13 - Take Me As I Am
14 - One More Sugar
Robert Papst: Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Backing Vocals
Jorg Sieber: Vocals
Eddie Daum: Keyboards
Christian Birawsky: Drums, Percussion, Bass
Janina Dietz: Vocals
John "Rhino" Edwards: Bass
Charlie Morgan: Drums, Percussion
Larry Hoppen (Orleans): guest Vocals
Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie): guest Vocals
Jimi Jamison (Ex- Survivor): guest Vocals
BUY IT !
Friday, January 27, 2017
Hard rock & metal legends KROKUS are releasing today their new studio album titled "Big Rocks", where the Swiss group is paying tribute to bands that influenced them in their origins as a band, going from Led Zeppelin, Queen and The Who, to Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and many more.
"Big Rocks" also includes a re-recorded version of Krokus’ hit 'Backseat Rock N’ Roll', which together the classic songs chosen, all of them are flawlessly executed / interpreted and spiced up with the typical Krokus edge.
‘It is a homage, a nod to all those artists who paved the way for us, making it possible for us to do what we do,’ says bass player Chris von Rohr.
The idea of such an album was in the heads of the band members since a long time and finally they are executing it.
Von Rohr and his gang put a bunch of iconic classics on this album, each of them a song that’s known all over the world. Tunes like “My Generation”, originally from The Who, and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” are real pearls that were made even shinier by the Swiss quintet.
It’s Marc Storace’s rough way if singing that gives each of the covers a dirty rock ’n’ roll vibe and it’s Von Arb’s, Kohler’s and Meyer’s guitars making classic like “Whole Lotta Love” irresistibly heavy. These three guys push hard and it’s a wall of riffs build by them.
The opening track is an instrumental rendition of the Sabbath classic “N.I.B” where the guitar harmonies in the middle portion sound eargasmic. Up next is Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and Krokus adds a bit of NWOBHM flavour to it and Storace’s vocals do sound a lot like Biff Clyford of Saxon in this one.
There's also excellent covers of two classics by Neil Young and The Space Davies Group respectively. No rock and roll tribute album can be complete without Led Zeppelin and the eighth song "Whole Lotta Love" takes that into account. Storace almost pulls off a perfect Robert Plant voice in this one and the heavy riffs go along very good with the song.
Up next is a very different sounding “Summertime Blues” cover with a '80s old school hard rock feel.
Krokus surely knows how to please a classic rock lover and hence did not leave out pulling of a great cover of “Born To Be Wild” in the album, followed by a Dylan and a Stones cover each. The final song is better recorded and mixed version of their own “Backseat Rock N’ Roll” which was released way back in 1980 in ‘Metal Rendez-Vous’ album.
The great thing about "Big Rocks" is that the sound is full-on vintage power hard rock with a touch of blues and without any of the usual studio trickery of today. The band sounds raw and flawless and "Big Rocks" will be a trip down memory lane for lovers of the rock ‘n’ roll classics.
“Big Rocks” is one of the best cover albums I have heard for many years. Krokus interpreting these classics became an entertaining experience that you shouldn’t miss. These guys just did this longplayer due to passion for rock and no other reason. Thumbs up for this vitalization of rock history.
01 - N.I.B.
02 - Tie Your Mother Down
03 - My Generation
04 - Wild Thing
05 - The House of the Rising Sun
06 - Rockin' in the Free World
07 - Gimme Some Lovin'
08 - Whole Lotta Love
09 - Summertime Blues
10 - Born to Be Wild
11 - Quinn the Eskimo
12 - Jumpin' Jack Flash
13 - Back Seat Rock'n Roll
Marc Storace: Lead Vocals
Chris von Rohr: Bass, Vocals
Fernando Von Arb: Guitar, Vocals
Mark Kohler: Guitar
Mandy Meyer: Guitar
Flavio Mezzodi: Drums
BUY IT !
Released by Frontiers Music, "Echoes Of The Aftermath" is THE MURDER OF MY SWEET's just released new album. 2015 saw the band presenting the concept CD Beth Out Of Hell, a truly interesting record that was described as "almost Wagnerian in style" and favorably compared to such masterpieces as Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime by U.K.'s Powerplay Magazine.
"Echoes Of The Aftermath" musically follows on the heels of the previous record, with a more commercial, straight-ahead songwriting approach, but still offering the symphonic and cinematic elements the band is now well-known for. "Echoes Of The Aftermath" showcases a Nordic sound that the members of the band grew up listening to and lyrically takes on issues in tune with our modern day life.
I’m a totally devoted fan of vocalist Angelica Rylin whom I could wax lyrical about until the apocalypse, and drummer / keyboardist Daniel Flores is a great songwriter with a keen ear for commercial flair which means he tends to know exactly the sort of thing that’s going to get your blood pumping.
So, it’s always great to get more The Murder Of My Sweet music but even more so when it sees the band at the top of their game and showcasing all their depth and talent as musicians.
Flores is also an accomplished producer and the band always benefit from his luxurious production jobs – which given the style of the band only makes them sound even more epic.
I really enjoyed the band's previous album, but I think "Echoes Of The Aftermath" out shines it as it is slightly more accessible and instant.
The Murder Of My Sweet originally were a symphonic metal band but the music on this album occupies the commercial end spectrum of that genre, more emphasis on melody and hooks, less operatic vocals, going for more warmth and diversity and less aggressive whilst retaining a powerful rhythm section and metallic guitar riffs.
Although Flores is principally a drummer he is never shy with his heavy use of keyboards and I think this is one of the key points into my liking the band. The keyboards on this album are simply phenomenal.
Unlike some bands, Flores also utilises keyboards in a wide range rather having a specific style or preference; you’ve got pumping synths, pompous power chords, modern keyboard twists and sweeping atmospherics. He also combines many of these styles within one song to great and exciting effect.
For me one of the things that makes "Echoes Of The Aftermath" stand out against all the other symphonic related acts is it’s unbelievably catchiness and these songs get stuck in your head in a minute.
You find yourself returning to them again and again. I also really like the full sound they create with so much going on in each song.
Vocally Angelica Rylin delivers some stunningly beautiful and stirring moments throughout. She has a rich warm voice that really conveys emotion across in an extremely powerful way. She can do all the operatic style warbling too, but her strength lies in those more majestic and often complex vocal melodies she gives us on many of the songs.
The commercial ‘Personal Hell’ hits you hard from the very first listen, a real The Murder Of My Sweet classic especially due to the beautiful vocal melody from Rylin on the chorus.
A very early contender for song of the year for me though is ‘Shining In The Dark’. Despite it’s heart-breaking lyrics it's really commercial, with an indelible chorus and some simply heart wrenchingly wonderful vocal melodies. The track is a great example of what emotive, thought provoking and evocative lyricist’s this band are too.
The album closer ‘Inside Outside’ is another great example of this, a ballad with a movie soundtrack feel written all over it.
The Murder Of My Sweet have continued to grow with each release. Although previous albums have gone down the concept route, "Echoes of the Aftermath" heralds a return to a normal standalone songs but without losing any of the bombastic style of the band's fantastic back catalog.
Whereas before the group let the concept lead, this album is all out rock with symphonic flushes that enhance the listening pleasure. Finally finding their groove, the band have possibly released the best album of their career.
01 - Sleeping Giant
02 - Personal Hell
03 - Racing Heart
04 - Cry Wolf
05 - Echoes of the Aftermath
06 - Flatline
07 - Loud as a Whisper
08 - Shining After Dark
09 - Ode to Everyone
10 - Go On
11 - In Risk of Rain
12 - Inside, Outside
Angelica Rylin - Vocals
Christopher Vetter - Guitar, Vocals
Patrik Janson - Bass
Daniel Flores - Drums, Keyboards
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Thursday, January 26, 2017
JIM JIDHED, the singer of AOR Gods Alien during their glorious days, will release his 6th solo album "Push On Through" on January 27th 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.
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)
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To be released tomorrow, "Fearless" is highly anticipated new studio album from super AOR outfit PRIDE OF LIONS. 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!"
If this is a problem for you, then you may as well skip this review because it sure ain't a problem for yours truly.
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.
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.
'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.
01. All I See Is You!
02. The Tell
03. In Caricature
04. Silent Music
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
Jim Peterik - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Toby Hitchcock - vocals
Ed Breckenfeld - drums
Klem Hayes - bass
Mike Aquino - guitar
Christian Cullen - keyboards
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Finally, “He Saw It Comin'”, the new album from Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE will see the light of day tomorrow, via Frontiers Music.
The press release states that “Jack Russell’s Great White represents the next phase of a legacy.” Truer words were never spoken.
It’s been six years since Mr. Russell has released an album and A LOT has happened in his life. Rather than me telling his story within this review, go get “He Saw It Comin'” and hear it from the man, himself.
Following the long time signature Great White sound, here on “He Saw It Comin'” Russell and friends take classic AOR melodic rock and invest it with blues, groove and boogie.
Opener 'Sign Of The Times' while lyrically about the world we live in today, musically it takes you back to Jack’s late '80s heyday. Vocally, his pipes are as strong now if not stronger than they were then.
I’m really diggin’ the melodic rock vibe felt throughout 'She Moves Me'. It works very well with the weaving of instruments and synths that musically make up the tune. I hope my fellow guys have a stripper pole in their place if this is played when the ladies are around.
Songs like 'Crazy', 'Love Don't Live Here', 'He Saw It Coming', and the heavier 'Blame It On The Night', sway and swagger with classic, essential melodic hard rock rhythms.
And don't underestimate that AOR nuance. The material is also very accessible and catchy, having arena and radio readiness flowing between the notes and chords. Tracks such as 'My Addiction' or the West Coast breezy 'Don't Let Me Go' are truly delightful pieces.
In this same vein, the album closes with 'Godspeed' which flirts with something between Californian rock and classic Motown with the happy beat and vocal harmonies.
“He Saw It Comin'” is as strong an album as Mr. Jack Russell has ever released, as Great White or solo. The band has obvious chemistry in the studio and live.
It’s safe to say that Jack has found his groove again and his vessel to carry him off into the sunset many high tides from today!
Well done Captain, really well done.
01. Sign of the Times
02. She Moves Me
04. Love Don't Live Here
05. My Addiction
06. Anything for You
07. He Saw It Comin'
08. Don't Let Me Go
09. Spy vs Spy
10. Blame It on the Night
Jack Russell (Vocals)
Tony Montana (Guitar, Keyboards)
Robby Lochner (Guitar)
Dan McNay (Bass)
Dicki Fliszar (Drums)
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Melodic hard rockers ST. JAMES are set to release their debut album "Resurgence" via Sleaszy Rider Records tomorrow.
Back in the ‘90s, The Rod's drummer / producer Carl Canedy was part of a band based in New Haven, Connecticut, baptized St. James. The group featured vocalist John James and brothers Robert Jacobs and James Jacobs on bass and guitar, respectively.
This lineup recorded several songs that grew to a large collection of songs over time. The band played live shows with a different drummer, but never got to tour with Canedy due to his schedule as an in-demand producer.
They also never released the songs properly – until now.
So, the aptly titled ”Resurgence” it's a 17-track collection taped by St. James back in the early '90s. Regarding the cache of songs, Canedy remarked, “I listened to a bunch of the songs and felt like this stuff was just too good to never be released. The writing, the playing, the production, even after all this time they still hold up.”
The songs feature big vocal hooks and tons of swagger. Make no mistake, while the late ‘80s hard rock, metal and melodic rock influences can be heard, St. James is a band with its own unique sound.
The album opens with the powerful “Attitude”, which punches you in the face from the beginning. The Bang Tango-ish “Worth Fighting For” follows with a pulsing bass riff from Robert. James Jacobs’ guitar squeals and John James’ amazing voice raise this song to another level.
The Bon Jovi-flavored “This Distance” is next, with a big hooky chorus. You just don’t hear the confidence that a song like “Let It Rain” preaches much anymore. If you’re feeling down, this song will give you a boost.
There is a playful prance in “What’s Your Situation?” that keeps your head nodding. “The Road” is one of the best songs on the album, featuring some George Lynch–style guitar riffs.
The ballad “Castles In The Sand” is another winner, featuring harmony vocals galore.
“Somewhere Between Here And There” is another bright spot as well, featuring upbeat vocals from James. “In Your Heart” is a good example of the emotional, hooky tracks that are on Resurgence. Along with “Ain’t It Sad”, a bluesier number featuring acoustic guitar and harmonica, this song (and many other ones like “Princess Of Pain”), could have been legitimate hit songs back in the day.
Overall, this is an impressive collection that has finally seen the light of day with this remastering twenty-five years later.
Had ”Resurgence” been released back in the early Nineties, I’m pretty sure it’d be enjoying at least a cult classic status these days.
With a little luck and a major deal, they might have scored a hit or two with some of these songs. Bear in mind that in 1991 the tide was already turning and the flannel invasion was right around the corner…
With 17 songs at an hour long, ”Resurgence” delivers a bunch of darn fine rockers too good to let sit on the shelf forever.
Strong material that should appeal to fans of Dokken, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Bang Tango, etc. Additionally, I love the album cover featuring a slick logo typical from the era created by the Belgian artist Eric Philippe (TNT, The Rods, Overland, Coldspell).
Arena hard rock with a late '80s / early '90s feel.
A fantastic release!
2. Worth Fighting For
3. This Distance
4. Let It Rain
5. What's Your Situation
6. The Road
7. Rattled Bad
8. Castles in the Sand
9. Shelter Me
10. Somewhere Between Here and There
11. Toughest I can Take
12. In Your Heart
13. Ain't It Sad
14. Princess of Pain
15. Crimes of the Heart
16. Inside The Outside
17. Fluffy Through The Hoop
John James - Lead Vocals and Harmonica
James Jacobs - Guitars and Mandolin
Robert Jacobs - Bass
Carl Canedy (The Rods) - Drums
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Released via AOR Heaven Records, "Winter In Paradise" is the brilliant debut by SWEET MARY JANE, a band formed in the Summer of 2012 in Sundsvall, Sweden, by Tomas Nässlin (ex-Roulette), Per Olof Åsberg (ex-Airborn) and young talents Alexander Olsson (ex-Anacondah) and Andreas Sparby (ex-L.A.C.K.).
They wrote the first single 'Fire In Your Eyes' with Tomas Lundgren (also from Roulette) that Nässlin had kept in touch with from his time in the band.
Later on Tomas Berggren (ex-Razamanaz) stepped up to take over the lead vocals. Tomas is the brother of Stefan Berggren who is known from Berggren Kerslake band, Grand Slam and also Snakes In Paradise.
Wonderfully produced by Lars Chriss (Lions Share) obtaining a crisp sound, “Winter In Paradise” showcases the wide variety of musical influences from these experienced musicians, rounding a classic Melodic Rock / AOR style that the band should really be proud of.
There's powerful melodious vocals, crunchy guitars riffs and of course memorable choruses that makes the final result a mandatory check for every fan of the genre.
The disc opens with the aforementioned "Fire In Your Eyes", a catchy song with a bouncy rhythm, but the fisrt highlight arrives with track number two...
What you can expect from a song with the legendary title "No Retreat No Surrender"??? Just pure '80s magic! Edgy AOR stuff with a monster chorus line that instantly sticks into your head, driven by a fabulous guitar work.
Title track "Winter In Paradise" and "Madeleine" are two more great examples Sweet Mary Jane's dexterity in musicianship.
Then "Carry On" has that sweet late '80s AOR vibe on it much in the vein of Nässlin's fantastic ex band Roulette, while just another pearl comes with "Angel Of Mine", a glorious midtempo embedded into a classic AOR atmosphere.
"Surrender" features a stirring and heavier riffing in it, a brilliant harmony and a chorus arrangement to sing-a-long for days.
The uptempo and faster "Don't Be Too Late", which closes this debut, is yet another killer melodic hard rock gem.
Sometimes edgy and bordering melodic hard rock, sometimes highly melodic AOR, "Winter In Paradise" is a terrific, perfectly balanced debut from Sweet Mary Jane.
This easily could become your favorite CD all over the year, so don't hesitate to grab your copy immediately.
01. Fire in Your Eyes
02. No Retreat, No Surrender
03. Winter in Paradise
06. Carry On
07. Angel of Mine
09. Keep the Fire Burning
10. Don't Be Too Late
Tomas Berggren (vocals)
Per Olof Åsberg (guitars)
Tomas Nässlin (keyboards, guitar)
Alexander Olsson (bass)
Andres Sparby (drums)
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The new melodic hard rock year starts in the best way possible with STEPHEN PEARCY’s new album “Smash” to be released on January 27th via Frontiers Records, containing 13 very well crafted songs.
Best known as the original vocalist and founding member of the platinum rock band Ratt, Pearcy has been working hard to complete his highly anticipated fourth solo album, while at the same time keeping busy performing shows across the U.S.
Stephen is also a producer, composer, television program creator, art director, marketing director, owner / product creator of “Mic Knuckles” (hands-free mic holder) and has also been involved in recording songs for TV and Movies and ESPN2 NHRA Drag Racing Series over the years.
Additionally, he has been involved in sponsoring several top fuel dragsters and funny cars since the mid '80s-90s thru the 2000’s.
“Smash” has the typical Ratt’s musical imprint and it's easily cool to the ear for every Pearcy fan, myself included. The whole album is an adrenaline condensed that lay bears this great vocalist and good frontman, giving us extraordinary rockin' songs.
Voices and grit aren’t changed as time went on, he still the same guy I’ve known from Ratt’s music, his style still the same and and I love it.
Powerfully sung and played, “Smash” is the album old fans waited for.
The first track, “I Know I’m Crazy” is a hypnotic rock song that involves us with it’s music vortex, great guitar riff, and Stephen’s voice. “Ten Miles Away” is the first very scrappy track, strong guitars, right drums cadence and the proof that Mr. Pearcy still a really screamer.
“Shut Down Baby” is on the same line of the previous track with a little more swagger, while “Dead Roses” is definitely heavier, great shot.
“Lollipop” starts with brilliant drums and is the most Ratt like style, a good refrain.
“Hit Me With A Bullet” is another arrow target of this album, so good, so hard rock and old style in some point.
“Rain” is an enthralling track, another old style echoes in this well-done piece. Just another great hard rock in “Want Too Much” where Stephen’s vocalizations are mixed in perfect style with the other instruments.
There's a little southwestern sound in the beautiful “What Do Ya Think” , pure American sound. Returning to the hard rock style there’s the massive “Jamie”.
“I Can’t Take It” (Album Version), wow, this’s exactly the perfect mainstream rock song we can expect by Stephen Pearcy, another hit that we’ll make us scream at his future shows, a very cool and fresh track for this incredible album.
A little different is “Passion Infinity” but it permeates of positive energy and the rough voice of Stephen. The semi-ballad “Summers End” close the album blending powerful melodies mixed with Stephen’s melodic performance, a very brilliant melodic hard rock piece.
It’s a pleasure to listen to Stephen Pearcy and to know he is back and in good shape, his unmistakable hard rock style and all the gumption he still having.
This album takes me back to the past but with all the new fresh areas that an artist like him can do, all his fans will be happy about it.
Thank you Mr. Pearcy for keeping the true '80s hard rock swagger alive.
01. I Know I'm Crazy
02. Ten Miles Wide
03. Shut Down Baby
04. Dead Roses
06. Hit Me with a Bullet
08. Want Too Much
09. What Do Ya Think
11. I Can't Take It (2017)
12. Passion Infinity
13. Summers End
Stephen E. Pearcy - Lead Vocals
Erik Ferentinos - Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Back-up Vocals
Greg D'Angelo - Drums, Percussion
Matt Thorne - Bass Guitar
Chris Hager - Guitars, Lead Guitars on track #3
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Here's the other much sought after STAN MEISSNER album remastered with a pristine sound by Yesterrock Records; "Windows To Light", including 3 bonus tracks.
Considered as one of the most influential artists from Canada’s '80s scene, Stan Meissner personifies the sound of that decade like no one else.
Exquisite musician, songwriter and producer, Meissner has always put out quality product in whatever role he performs in. He has written songs for many international acts such as Lee Aaron, Alias, Darby Mills, Eddie Money, Triumph, just to name few.
As solo recording artist he has released three albums and all of them deserve to be called 'classics' in the Melodic Rock /AOR genre.
Stan Meissner two first albums where originally released by A&M Records, later expanded and reissued in the Nineties by legendary German label Long Island Records but in limited quantities, becoming much sought after pieces.
Both essential albums to any Melodic Rock / AOR fan are now again available through YesterRock, remastered for the first time and featuring 3 bonus tracks each.
After the terrific debut, Meissner perfected even more the polished delivery for his second solo effort "Windows To Light".
The choruses are bigger, the smoothness shine and the melodies are to die for.
Top class Melodic Rock / AOR staples like "Heart Of Ice", "I'll Wait For You", the wonderful "Coming Out Of Nowhere", or the anthem "Lifeline" (awesome) are must haves in your collection.
Bonuses "Wild And Blue" and the ballad "Endless Ride" are great too, rounding a fantastic album.
"Windows To Light" was digitally remastered by George Graves at The Lacquer Channel in Toronto obtaining a superb crystal clear sound.
Provided with 12-page booklet, containing all the lyrics and liner notes by Stan Meissner himself, re-issues can hardly come in a better way.
A must have Melodic Rock / AOR classic.
01. I Want Everything
02. One Chance
03. Heart Of Ice
04. Wild And Blue (bonus track)
05. I Can't Break Away From You
07. I'll Wait For You (bonus track)
08. Coming Out Of Nowhere
09. Walk The Line
10. Endless Ride (bonus track)
11. Counting On Love
12. Hold Me
Stan Meissner - vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums
Peter Cardinali - bass, strings
Anton Evans - bass
Mike Sloski - drums
Kevan Mckenzie - drums
Steve Hunter - additional keyboards
Steve Mackinnon - piano solo on track 7
Bert Hermiston - sax solo on track 5
Peter Fredette - add. vocals
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