Let's go with new advanced singles from interesting albums to be released in forthcoming months. From the always superb Frontiers Music camp we have 'Sinking Ship', the first, awesome single from HAREM SCAREM's fourteenth studio album 'United' to be released on May 12. Super melodic song.
Also from the label, another kickin' rocker from ADRENALINE RUSH's next album has surfaced, plus a new track from TREAT's upcoming live album; 'Papertiger (Live)', which if you ask me sounds even better than the studio version. The recording quality obtained on this album is amazing.
In addition to the 2 LABYRINTH tracks already featured on the previous 0dayrox Advanced Releases, we have the third single 'Bullets', a killer song.
And completing the news from Frontiers Music, I am in love with 'That Kind Of Love', the first single from SNAKECHARMER's sophomore album 'Second Skin' (May 12).
Honestly, this is the best Chris Ousey vocal performance in years bringing to mind his AOR days in Virginia Wolf. You gotta listen this. Fantastic.
In May, Swiss rockers SIDEBURN will present their new CD, and listening the other song from the double single just released, the band has refined their sound with a polished production.
A real highlight in this compilation is 'I Believe', from the terrific THE DARREN PHILLIPS PROJECT. This talented musician & songwriter is recording an album with some of the best names in melodic rock. For this track, the great Robbie LaBlanc (Find Me, Blanc Faces) perform lead vocals, Philip Lindstrand (Strong, Find Me) on backing vocals, and the whole thing was mastered by Erik Martensson (Eclipse. W.E.T).
You'll be blown away with this song.
RHINO BUCKET consisting of original members Georg Dolivo and Reeve Downes as well as guitarist Brian Forsythe (Kix) and drummer Dave DuCey have released the catchy 'Everything You Do', the second song from the band’s upcoming, awaited seventh studio album (April 21).
Also cult rockers JUNKYARD are back with a new studio album on April 21, 2017, and 'Cut From The Same Cloth' is the first single.
NO SLEEP FOR LUCY is an interesting new Swedish band recording their first album, check 'Don't Let Go' and their brand of modern melodic rock.
Also from Scandinavia but this time Norway, 'Tears 'n Fire' is the kick ass fist single from WILDNITE, a promising new act which lists its influences as “everything from the ’80s.”
'Imagine' is for the West Coast fans, taken from MACK KEANE first EP to be released next month. Yes, as you guess, Mack is family-related to legendary AOR genius Tom & John Keane (Richard Marx, Jack Wagner, etc), and his musical style is modern smooth pop with a L.A. West Coast background.
As bonus, you have the delicious cover of 'Heart Of Blues' (a Jude Cole song) done by talented Swedish cat STEFAN GUNNARSSON, still unreleased.
01 - Harem Scarem - Sinking Ship
02 - The Darren Phillips Project - I Believe (feat Robbie La Blanc)
03 - Adrenaline Rush - Stand My Ground
04 - Snakecharmer - That Kind Of Love
05 - Treat - Papertiger (Live)
06 - Sideburn - Turn Away
07 - Wildnite - Tears 'n Fire
08 - Rhino Bucket - Everything You Do
09 - Labyrinth - Bullets
10 - Junkyard - Cut From The Same Cloth
11 - No Sleep For Lucy - Don't Let Go
12 - Mack Keane - Imagine
13 - Stefan Gunnarsson - Heart Of Blues (Jude Cole cover)
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Friday, March 31, 2017
Let's go with new advanced singles from interesting albums to be released in forthcoming months. "Only Broken Heart" is the new single from WARRANT, the first track from the band's long awaited new studio album 'Louder Harder Faster' which will be released on May 12 via Frontiers Music. It sounds fabulous.
From the label as well we have a new LABYRINTH record, a band with almost 25 years in the business and a more melodic approach right now. And ADRENALINE RUSH delivers a punchy rocker taken from the next CD due the end of the next month also via Frontiers.
In April the rocking outfit WOLFPAKK fronted by Michael Voss are back with a new record. The first single 'Blood Brothers' is a killer track, featuring Saxon’s Biff Byford as guest.
In May, Swiss rockers SIDEBURN will present their new CD, and judging the double single just released, the band has refined their sound with a polished production.
JD MILLER already surprised us with his very good debut, but listening to 'Journey Through The Past', the advance from his new album on Mighty Music due April 28, I am pretty sure it will be much, much better. A bombastic song with a huge melodic production.
Another track from AYREON's new album has surfaced, and it's a delight for all melodic progressive fans.
After only one song on iTunes and without any commercial backup, Swedish Melodic Rock band ROCKETT LOVE received a great deal of radio time and a fully seated venue playing their debut gig. The single 'Rocket Love' had a big viral spin when Beau Hill took the song to his studio and produced it. The album will be released in April by AOR Heaven Records.
RHINO BUCKET consisting of original members Georg Dolivo and Reeve Downes as well as guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe (Kix) and drummer Dave DuCey have released a new song entitled 'Hello Citizens' from the band’s upcoming, awaited seventh studio album (April 21). It rocks greatly.
For West Coast / AOR fans here's 'Somehow I Found Home', a new song from ANDREAS ALEMAN, a smooth, groovy tune with an '80s feel but modern production.
For the last, check STEEL PANTHER's two bonus tracks exclusively included into the band's fresh album in its Deluxe Edition. For those doubting about this band's talent, especially listen the excellent 'Momentary Epiphany' and the awesome harmony vocal arrangement.
More to come.
01 - Wolfpakk - Blood Brothers
02 - Warrant - Only Broken Heart
03 - Adrenaline Rush - Sinner
04 - Labyrinth - A New Dream
05 - Labyrinth - Someone Says
06 - JD Miller - Journey Through The Past
07 - Sideburn - All The While
08 - Ayreon - The Source Will Flow
09 - Andreas Aleman - Somehow I Found Home
10 - Rockett Love - Rocket Love
11 - Rhino Bucket - Hello Citizens
12 - Steel Panther - Momentary Epiphany *
13 - Steel Panther - Red Headed Step Child *
* (Lower The Bar Deluxe Edition bonus tracks)
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Swedes DISMISSED have been playing since 2011 apparently doing several live performances where they whip each other, smash instruments and set the stage on fire, just to make a point. "Heads Held High" is their debut album released today and after reading it is produced by Martin Sanvik (Hardcore Superstar) I thought this was just another Swedish melodic hard / sleaze band.
I never heard about Dismissed until now and seems the same happened to the major public. The band has been playing the underground circuit for a while, but it was in the Swedish take-outs for the recent 2017 Eurovision Songcontest in Malmö where Dismissed presented themselves to the world.
Although their song 'Hearts Align' didn't make it to the final, Dismissed's live performance created some impact for sure.
All musicians in Dismissed dress like women, use rare make-up, and they did a Fashion Model parade. Just take a look at their performance in Eurovision past month;
Well, seems Dismissed want to shock somehow, and are politically incorrect. But what matters to me, is the music.
And no, Dismissed is not another Swedish hard rock band, but a strange and very intriguing amalgam of '80s New Wave, '90s Power pop and timeless rock wrapped by modern production.
While the song in the video is pretty modern / alt, there's much more interesting material into the album.
'Leave It Under Water' is a haunting song with an oppressive atmosphere, and dark synths that reminds me '80s movie soundtracks. At the end it speeds up with more raw vocals and guitars.
'Escape' has a Depeche Mode current feel all over yet with a rock pulse, the melodic and clean 'Stay' a British feel akin Duran Duran '90s 'adult era' (excellent vocal work here), then 'Dance on the Borderline' is more adventurous than anything released by U2 in the last twenty years.
There's a glammy feel in 'Glitch' with some rocking instrumentation, then 'March With Heads Held High', while modern, has a stadium anthem heart.
That's some orientation about Dismissed overall sound, but they have a very own, unique style.
I really like the way they approach to songwriting not following the traditional pattern. Yeah, these are rock&pop songs, but created in their own way and where you expect the following verse they add an atmospheric synth break.
Open your ears (and mind) and try "Heads Held High". It's all good, different stuff.
01 - Leave It Under Water
02 - Escape
03 - Hearts Align
04 - Stay
05 - Dance on the Borderline
06 - Glitch
07 - Save the World
08 - Lucifer
09 - March With Heads Held High
Tor Höglund (vocals)
Johan Carlsson (drums)
Freddie Van Eijsden (guitar)
Douglas Woodbridge (bass)
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Thursday, March 30, 2017
L.A. rockers BEAUTIFUL CREATURES have reunited again and are releasing tomorrow a newly remastered & remixed version of their sophomore album Deuce, also re-sequenced and including bonus tracks, re-titled as "Deuce Deluxe".
The line-up that originally recorded the Deuce album back in 2005 is the same as the reunited one in 2017: ex- Bang Tango frontman Joe Leste, guitarists Anthony Focx and Alex Grossi, bassist Kenny Kweens and drummer Timmy Russell.
"Deuce Deluxe" also features a refreshed artwork and some new solos / instrumentation.
Following Beautiful Creature’s self titled release in 2001, the core band (Leste, Kweens and Focx) immediately entered the studio with a new lineup which included lead guitarist Alex Grossi and began recording material for the follow-up to their debut, which would end up being titled Deuce.
Produced by guitarist Anthony Focx and bassist Kenny Kweens, mixed by Toby Wright (whose past production work includes Alice In Chains and KISS), Deuce was released worldwide in 2005 and ultimately landed premier placements on the hit FX TV series Sons Of Anarchy, the Walt Disney/Touchstone hit film The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock as well multiple other TV & movie soundtracks.
Founding bassist Kenny Kweens states, “unlike our Warner Bros. debut record, Deuce was never properly released and nearly impossible to get due to all the changes in the industry. We are really looking forward to everyone hearing Deuce as it was meant to be sonically.”
Beautiful Creatures "Deuce Deluxe" feature every track the band recorded for the Japanese Release (JVC Records) as well as the U.S. Release (Spitfire / Eagle Rock) in one package that has been re-mixed and remastered.
There's also a new album cover artwork and edits that up until now, were not included in either initial release, such as the scorching newly recorded guitar solo for the power ballad 'I Still Miss You' (originally a Japanese bonus track).
That said, there is a much more muscle to the guitar tone, a little more grit in Leste's vocals and a melodic polish on some tracks.
The resulting effect is some kind of a mix including The Cult, early Bang Tango, Guns N' Roses (the refreshed 'Forgiven' sports one of those ragged-glory choruses that Axl Rose used to be able to put over), while 'Brand New Day' finds The Cult's influence at maximum — you could drop this song on side two of Sonic Temple or Beyond Good and Evil and no one would notice.
'Thanks', along with 'Straight To Hell' are some of the heavier tracks on the album, with Leste's vocals sounding really aggressive. Songs like 'Anyone' and 'Freedom' take a more modern approach, in terms of sound, to bands such as Velvet Revolver or Brides of Destruction.
On the ballad side, apart from the aforementioned 'I Still Miss You' (which is one of the highlights), there's the acoustically based 'I Won’t be the One' which provides some balance at the middle of the album.
Short songs (around the 3-minute mark) benefits the effectiveness of "Deuce Deluxe", a solid collection of rocking songs. The remaster / remix added a lot of punch to these songs, with more bass presence and sharper guitars.
In style, successfully link the '80s with the '90s and 2000s, and manages to be both modern and L.A. hard rock inspired.
01 - Black Circus (intro)
02 - Straight to Hell
03 - Thanks
04 - Anyone
05 - Freedom
06 - Save Me
07 - I Still Miss You
08 - Brand New Day
09 - I Won't Be the One
10 - Get You High
11 - SuperFly
12 - The Unknown (guitar interlude)
13 - Ton of Lead
14 - Starr Cross
15 - Forgiven
16 - Empty
17 - Never
Joe Lesté - vocals
Alex Grossi - guitar
Anthony Focx - guitar, background vocals
Kenny Kweens - bass
Timmy Russell - drums
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Tomorrow is the day for the release of "Starlight", the awaited JON STEVENS new album where he joins forces with legendary musician, songwriter and producer Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, who co-wrote and produced the album. Ringo Starr plays drums on the lonely ballad ‘One Way Street’ and ‘Something Bout You’ features the vocals of Vanessa Amorosi.
Recognized as one of the most talented rock musicians to emerge from Australia in recent memory, Stevens has had phenomenal success as a solo artist, knocking Michael Jackson off the top of the charts in Australia.
And as the lead singer of major rock acts, he did it first with Noiseworks, then INXS after the death of his friend Michael Hutchence, and recently hard rock super-group The Dead Daisies.
With "Starlight" Jon Stevens is back and focused on the thing he loves most — playing and making music. And when a man of music integrity, in the shape of award winning Eurythmics guitarist and producer Dave Stewart, gives your talent the tick of approval, Stevens is a happy man.
Stewart claims Stevens has one of the most extraordinary voices he has ever recorded, and the result was this organic, complete, and quite rocking album.
With a solid backdrop of classic rock, blues and soul that amps up the atmosphere without monopolising your attentions, Stewart has captured Jon Stevens’ original fire providing to his vocals some edge.
On the rockers Jon feels raspy and powerful, while on the ballads such as the aforementioned 'One Way Street' there's a soulful confidence. The man can sing any style with equal ease, and on the bluesy 'Oh Lord' he shines. There's also a very nice duet with female singer Vanessa Amorosi on 'Something 'bout You'.
"Starlight" sound and feels like a 'major' production with a glossy polished production courtesy of Dave Stewart (who also play guitar and keyboards).
There's a skilfully delivered consistency all over, an album created with a lifetime of talent and experience behind it – backed with the session work of some of the best musicians in the world.
The result is a highlight in what continues to be a remarkable career for Jon Stevens and will undoubtedly take his music onto an international platform that is so well deserved.
01 - Hold On
02 - Oh Lord
03 - Feel Like Letting Go
04 - Scars
05 - F.U.C.
06 - Devil In My Heart
07 - Something Bout You (feat. Vanessa Amorosi)
08 - One Way Street
09 - What Makes You Happy
10 - Starlight
11 - All About The People
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Only a few years back most people in Sweden didn’t know who STEFAN GUNNARSSON was. Only die hard fans of West Coast / power pop and a number of first class session musicians knew of his fantastic skills as musician. This changed almost instantly when he took place in the TV show “Så ska det låta” (“That’s the way it should sound!”) where two teams compete around one piano player each. Stefan was one of them.
His first self-titled solo album however, has been in the making for many, many years. Maybe we should be happy of Gunnarson’s fame, ‘cause this may have speeded up the finishing touches and the release of this CD appeared some time ago, and requested on this blog.
So what do we have here then?
Well, if you are a big fan of soft AOR and artists like MICHAEL RUFF or TIM FEEHAN – this one’s surely for you.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying Michael Ruff means soft AOR – no at all. But most of the songs on this CD are more light AOR oriented than I expected, while the ones filled with some soul / West Coast vibes do remind me a lot of Ruff.
A perfect example is “Let The Gods Do Their Work”, where the verse could’ve been taken from the 'Full Contact' album by Tim Feehan, whereas the chorus is prime time Michael Ruff. It also has a nice smooth vibe at the end.
All of you whom enjoyed ANDREAS ALEMAN last full album will feel at home in “As you go Along”, where there’s also some AIRPLAY and EARTH WIND & FIRE influences as well.
Other recommendations are “Reflections” (like WARREN WIEBE meets JAY GRAYDON solo) and the wonderful upbeat tune “Fine day” (lots of Tim Feehan, Don Henley and CHICAGO here).
There is not one single weak track on this wonderful, finely crafted album.
The list of session musicians will not bring you any names you recognize – but do not fear. These are all Swedish super players, and Gunnarsson is actually involved on ALL instruments you can think of, with the exception of horns.
STEFAN GUNNARSSON's debut is an exquisite piece of music. It is a charming WestCoast / Lite AOR / Pop oriented feel-good Springtime music that will warm you after this long and pretty cold winter.
And if you aren’t convinced yet – Stefan is an excellent singer too!
01. Better Things To Do
02. As You Go Along
03. All Of My Might
04. Bring Me Down
05. Fine Day
07. Stop, Look, Listen
08. First In Line
09. Words are Not Enough
10. Gotta Find It
11. Let The Gods Do Their Work
12. Things I Didn't Say
Stefan Gunnarsson: Vocls, Guitar, Yamaha MotifHS, Percussion, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond Organ, Rhodes MkII, Bass, Trumpet, Drums, Yamaha DH7
Eric Bernholm: Guitar, programming
Göran Eriksson: Guitar, Background vocals
Johan Granström: Bass
Rasmus Kihlberg: Drums, Percussion
Anna Alerstedt: Background vocals
Bo Strandberg, Dan Johansson, Peter Dahlgren: Horns
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
In spite of being involved in many musical projects such as Primal Fear and bluesy hard rockers Voodoo Circle, Mat Sinner always finds the time to work with his band, SINNER. The 31st of March will see the release of their new studio album “Tequila Suicide”, produced by Mat and the great Dennis Ward. The album combines solid songwriting with a powerful, balanced sound.
Numerous high-class guest musicians such as Gus G of Ozzy Osbourne & Firewind, Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Thin Lizzy), Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear) and Pete Lincoln (Sailor, Sweet) have contributed to this new work.
But the core of Sinner always have been Mat Sinner's melodic vocals and a tight instrumentation, and “Tequila Suicide” is not an exception.
The first track 'Go Down Fighting' begins the album on a very heavy note that will sound great at peak levels. The track has a feel of traditional metal of the likes of Thin Lizzy and Saxon with the riffs and the gritty vocals. It opens the disc very 'up', however in my opinion it's the only weak track on the CD.
Next is the title track 'Tequila Suicide' and now we're talking; this one is also an up-tempo track but driven by a catchy melody and an '80s feel. Classic German metal lovers like me will enjoy this very much.
The 'Road To Hell' intro sounds a lot like Scorpions’ Rock You Like A Hurricane but then goes into completely different territory with melodious guitar licks and groovy bass lines. 'Dragons' has elements of melodic metal as is implied by the name, and is another straightforward song with fillers of clean toned guitar and keys.
'Battle Hill' is another mesmerizing track with acoustics into the mix and some Celtic vibe, with an 'anthem' smell, but not the type destined for arenas. I think 'hymn' is the word. It's the song that struck to me as definitely the best one on this album.
The next track 'Sinner Blues' somewhat digresses from the usual Sinner sound and it has turned out to be a great experiment. Well, at least for this band, as Mat already crafted this kind of tunes with Voodoo Circle.
This track proves how good a band Sinner is as they have nailed something completely different from their sound. Blues lovers will cherish this one with the breath-taking guitar playing and the old school bluesy vocals.
'Why' brings back the flow of the heavy music and promises that this album has more treats for our ears.
The next two numbers are also solid compositions; 'Gypsy Rebels' with a heavily sound, 'Loud Clear' it’s a jolt before the conclusive 'Dying On A Broken', a nice quiet song with bluesy background.
Being a band that has been put up on the same platform as other German legends like Scorpions and Accept, Sinner has proved their musical expertise once again with this new record "Tequila Suicide".
Having elements of heavy rock / classic metal with a few experiments like ‘Sinner Blues’ (well, it's classic rock after all), this album will definitely rock everyone.
01 - Go Down Fighting
02 - Tequila Suicide
03 - Road to Hell
04 - Dragons
05 - Battle Hill
06 - Sinner Blues
07 - Why
08 - Gypsy Rebels
09 - Loud & Clear
10 - Dying on a Broken Heart
Mat Sinner (vocals, bass)
Tom Naumann (guitar)
Alex Scholpp (guitar)
Francesco Jovino (drums)
Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind)
Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Thin Lizzy)
Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear)
Pete Lincoln (Sailor, Sweet)
Norway’s ethereal progressive rock collective WHITE WILLOW will release their seventh studio album, "Future Hopes", in a few days. One of the characteristics of White Willow is the heavy use of synthesizers, including the unique textures of the Yamaha CS80, the famed 'Blade Runner' soundtrack synth.
If you find some resemblance at album cover with Yes and Asia your are not wrong; it's a specially commissioned painting by legendary Roger Dean.
However White Willow has few points in common with the mentioned bands: this is progressive music more based in atmospheres and climax.
"Future Hopes" is diverse; each song on the album sounds different, from the soundscapes of ‘Where There Was Sea There Is Abyss’ to the guitar heavy sounds of ‘Animal Magnetism.’ The album also experiments with electronic and acoustic sounds, making it an unpredictable listen.
For the new album the band recruited female vocalist Venke Knutson, who apparently has had pop singles in Norway.
The album starts off with the title track, a good showcase of White Willow's style with synths creating a sonic landscape and bursts of guitar, deep bass lines and dynamic drumming.
Then “Silver and Gold” explores a more mellow, acoustically based sound. Both songs fit Knutson’s vocal style, sometimes fragile sometimes breathy.
Things get vastly interesting with the expansive “In Dim Days” which has plenty of instrumental passages in it and much more power. Knutson has to muster up more nerve in her voice. A great song.
Along the same lines is the 18 minute epic “A Scarred View” which is the other track I really like on “Future Hopes.”
White Willow is a really interesting band, not your typically prog outfit. The group have a Tangerine Dream meets Renaissance thing going on, with a lot of guitar work but synth based and thus sounds more futuristic. On some passages, the drums sound almost mechanical, but I think it was done on purpose to provide that 'alien' vibe.
Give this Norwegian combo a chance, you might end finding a style never heard before. Ah, and Roger Dean’s artwork is pretty awesome.
01 - Future Hopes
02 - Silver And Gold
03 - In Dim Days
04 - Where There Was Sea There Is Abyss
05 - A Scarred View
06 - Animal Magnetism
07 - Damnation Valley
Venke Knutson - vocals
Jacob Holm-Lupo - guitars, synths, keyboards, backing vocals
Ellen Andrea Wang - bass
Mattias Olsson - drums, percussion, e-bow, sounds & noises
Lars Fredrik Frøislie - synthesizers, keyboards
Ketil Vestrum Einarsen - wind controller, ute
Hedvig Mollestad, Ole Øvstedal - guitars
David Krakauer, Kjersti Løken - horns
After the recent JOURNEY posts here one of you asked as well for "Departure", in its Japanese Deluxe Paper Sleeve Mini Vinyl LP Replica package and pressed on a high quality Blu-Spec CD2 disc. It uses the last DSD remastering and on this CD format it truly sounds fabulous.
The first Journey album in the '80s, "Departure" arrived at a crucial moment during the band's transition from jam-friendly progressive rock to an arena-ready mainstream AOR sound, and found the band continuing to streamline its songwriting in an increasingly successful quest to invade Top 40 radio.
True to its title, the album served notice that the group was closing a chapter in its history by embracing a new direction while letting go of some formerly ingredients.
“We named it that because there’s going to be a little bit of a musical change,” singer Steve Perry teased in a spring 1980 interview. “We’re departing from some of our roots and keeping some.”
Despite many people think the new 'commercial' approach wanted for "Departure" came from Steve Perry, in fact it was guitarist Neal Schon & Columbia Records whom aimed for a more rocking, melodic, intense sound.
Part of that intensity derived from a switch in producers. Having openly groused about working with Roy Thomas Baker, the band hired Kevin Elson to co-produce alongside engineer Geoff Workman, adopting a live-in-the-studio approach to tracking "Departure" which provided much more muscle to the music.
It all added up to an album that, while perhaps somewhat edgier sonically than the previous, was still eminently radio-friendly.
"Departure" climbed to No. 8 on the album chart and summed up the Journey of 1980’s Top 40 appeal with its lead-off track and first single 'Any Way You Want It', one of my favorite Journey songs ever.
There's the slightly bluesy, catchy 'Walk Like A Lady' (which also did great on the charts), 'Where Were You' has an terrific melodic chorus, 'I'm Cryin' contains some of the most amazingly emotive Perry vocals ever, and 'Line Of Fire' absolutely smokes.
Another favorite of mine is 'People and Places'. I don't know what it is about that song, but with the way the different members each sing a word one after the other combined with the haunting (in spots) sound of the keyboard, this one still can send shivers up my spine. Very unique track.
"Departure" also would mark the last full-time studio album appearance of founding member Gregg Rolie, and his penultimate recording with the band - his final contributions would appear on Dream, After Dream, a soundtrack album to the Japanese film of the same name, from which 'Little Girl' is added here as bonus track.
Rolie had become tired of life on the road and decided to leave the band after assisting in the selection of his replacement, talented Jonathan Cain, then of The Babys. Rolie sang lead vocals on only one song on "Departure", the blissful, melodic midtempo ballad 'Someday Soon'.
"Departure" is one of Journey's strongest albums, very well written & arranged, melodic and rocking at the same time. It went triple-platinum and Journey rode this success with a major tour. These gigs spawned the follow-up live album Captured, which was another major hot seller for the group in the '80s.
This remaster pressed on BSCD2 is fantastic, I can hear more bass presence and an overall 'studio ambiance'. Additionally you got 2 bonus tracks.
A must for Journey fans and highly recommended to all Melodic Rock / AOR enthusiasts.
Columbia / Sony Japan ~ SICP-30136
01 - Any Way You Want It
02 - Walks Like A Lady
03 - Someday Soon
04 - People And Places
05 - Precious Time
06 - Where Were You
07 - I'm Cryin'
08 - Line Of Fire
09 - Departure
10 - Good Morning Girl
11 - Stay Awhile
12 - Homemade Love
13 - Natural Thing
14 - Little Girl [Dream After Dream soundtrack]
Steve Perry - lead vocals
Neal Schon - guitars, vocals
Gregg Rolie - keyboards, vocals
Ross Valory - bass guitar, vocals
Steve Smith - drums, percussion, vocals
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
SIN CRUZ is another young, and very good, melodic hard rock band from Sweden presenting their debut album "Enter The Unknown". And this couldn't be a more appropriate title, as everything about this 4-piece is a mystery.
Nope, this is not a publicity strategy. I don't know why, but Sin Cruz has the worst promotion plan I've seen in many time. There's no press kit, no bio, no band members name! Not even at their official Facebook.
A shame, because their "Enter The Unknown" album is very, very well crafted.
Yes, this is an indie release and perhaps you guess there's a little budget for promotion... well, let me tell you this recording sounds terrific and not low-budget at all.
"Enter The Unknown" was recorded at the famous Studio Titan in Sweden, and Sin Cruz shared the facility with Crazy Lixx while taping their forthcoming album. And seems some well known producers / engineer that were around helped Sin Cruz with the record.
The result is a fresh, punchy, very well composed and recorded album titled "Enter The Unknown". The band coincidence into the studio with Crazy Lixx seems a life's fate, as Sin Cruz's style is pretty similar to them.
In short, the new breed of Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock sound.
Useful references could be title track 'Enter The Unknown' with Shiraz Lane-like sharp guitar on it, the more melodic 'Mechanical Heart' some NiteRain or Santa Cruz (Finland), 'Burning Bridges' reminds me of ToxicRose, 'Shadows Above' some BlackRain, and so on...
The midtempo 'Unchained' wouldn't be out of place on the recent Confess album, 'One' add a little Crashdiet sleaze, while 'Threnody' some Hardcore Superstar.
You get the picture, right?
Silently released by themselves, "Enter The Unknown" certainly deserves more exposure.
Sin Cruz sounds mature, tight, focused in songwriting and quite solid at the instrumentation, with very good lead vocals and as mentioned, wrapped by a bright production on par with 'big labels' releases.
I hope these guys found a good manager soon, as they are destined for bigger things.
01 - Enter The Unknown
02 - Mechanical Heart
03 - Burning Bridges
04 - Shadows Above
05 - Unchained
06 - One
07 - Avalon
08 - Threnody
09 - Horizon
BUY IT !
Mixing metal / progressive rock electricity, ancient South American instruments, international world class vocalists and an Inca culture-based storytelling, "Souldance" is the worldwide debut by ANCESTRAL DAWN, to be released soon all over the planet and just appeared in Japan.
Ancestral Dawn was created in 2013 by bassist Jorge Higginson, teaming up with Jorge Segersbol (vocals) and Mark Astorga (management), the latter concentrated into launch the band internationally.
They secured the participation of Jonas Heidgert from the Swedish band Dragonland to put the lead vocals on Ancestral Dawn's first single. The track had an excellent reception among the fans, press and specialized radio.
This encouraged Higginson to recruit and define the Ancestral Dawn current line-up, which is formed by Segersbol (Vocals), Higginson (Bass), Devadip Chunga (Drums), Bryan Bello (Keyboards) and Josué Castro (Guitar).
"Souldance" is some kind of a concept album based in an Inca culture-based story, and musically expect classic melodic metal, progressive, some power, and all spiced with non-traditional instruments providing a unique sound.
Higginson aimed higher and for Ancestral Dawn's debut, and he wanted the top metal-related vocalists of the moment.
The crew on "Souldance" is truly impressive: Fabio Lione (Rhapsody/Angra) delivers a soaring performance on the rapid 'The Traveller', while the raspy pipes of Rick Altzi (Masterplan/At Vance) perfectly fit the melodic 'Enter The Shaman' – did I need to say Altzi is one of the best and most underrated shouters from the current scene?
The one and only Mark Boals (ex- Yngwie Malmsteen et all) put his stamp on one of the record highlights, title track 'Souldance', not only including a great middle section of flutes, quena & more - all wind instruments - but also a superb guest guitar solo by Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween).
If you need more variation, the excellent Amanda Somerville (Avantasia / Kiske Somerville) drops her velvety vocals on the ballad 'Whispers In The Grey', again, embelished by wind intruments, then on the other hand, for a heavier, razor and more melodic metal number, check 'StormHaze' featuring Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) on lead vocals on a track that mix Judad Priest, Allen-Lande and Helloween all into one.
Another climax arrives with 'The Eyes Of The Universe', as it features all these stellar vocalists together; Rick Altzi, Mark Boals, Amanda Somerville and Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland/Destiny). The track itself is classic metal in the vein of JORN early works spiced with progressive keyboard runs.
The Japanese Edition features the bonus track 'Covenant', and instrumental showcasing the skills of all band members, a track with an old-school feeling all over.
"Souldance" is a really strong and impactful debut from Ancestral Dawn, a new band in the prog metal / melodic metal / power scene truly offering something different.
While the musical structures are typical from the genre, the band has a more 'classic' sound (read '80s) than most the current acts, while they add their own, unique spin via wind instruments which provide a distinctive atmosphere.
The impressive list of vocalists raise the quality bar of "Souldance" a notch or two, plus the first rate production makes Ancestral Dawn's debut a worthy & entertaining product for all audiences.
01. Endless Nightmare
02. The Traveller
03. Enter the Shaman
04. Rise of the Ancestor
05. Spiritual Flow
06. Leading to Nowhere
07. Souldance (Ayarachis)
08. Whispers in the Grey
10. The Eyes of the Universe
JAPAN BONUS TRACK:
Jorge Higginson - Bass, Pan Flutes
Jorge Segersbol - Vocals
Josue Castro - Guitars
Devadip Chunga - Drums
Bryan Bello - Keyboards
Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen) - Vocals
Amanda Somerville (Avantasia/Kiske Somerville) - Vocals
Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) - Vocals
Fabio Lione (Rhapsody/Angra) - Vocals
Rick Altzi (Masterplan/At Vance) - Vocals
Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland/Destiny) - Vocals
Nahtalie Markoch - Vocals
Roland Grapow (Masterplan/Ex-Hellowen) - guitar solo on 7
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Leeds based, English band JUPITER FALLS returns with their second long player "Faces In The Sand [Part One]" after two years from their debut. The album comes with a personnel change in the form of drummer Luke Hatfield, ans a more melodic approach in sound.
Perhaps the first thing you need to know about Jupiter Falls is that it was founded by lead guitarist Deano Silk and vocalist James Hart. Naturally then, most everything revolves around this duo. That said, with twin guitar harmony / riffage and epic soaring leads, Jupiter Falls and their music is very guitar-forward, even better, guitar-centered. The riffs are brisk and sharp, abundant and large, accounting for the Jupiter Falls bombastic delivery.
Some may consider the depth and strength of the guitar parts as harsh nearing modern heavy rock, and I can understand that point. Voices is a case in point. Even acoustic guitar driven songs like 'Follow You', and more so 'Call Me', find the acoustic riffs bold, with guitarist Deano Silk strumming like his last breaths were at stake.
Within all these things, Hart's vocals both blends with and echoes the guitar sound. He sings as assertive as the strong riffage, yet clean with an abundance of passion.
Returning to Jupiter Falls aggressive modern guitar sound, within songs such as 'Voices' and 'This Is A War We Cannot Win', Hart can add an equally aggressive and raw in his vocal delivery.
But within that latter song, you have Jupiter Falls' wild card, the proverbial ace in the hole. Amidst the strong and bombastic metallic guitars, melody and harmony are woven with delicate subtlety, yet not so sublime to be missed. About two thirds in, for the guitar breakdown, the riffs and rhythms of the guitar lines sweeten the song. You'll find this motif in various and similar ways throughout the album.
Having said that, title track 'Faces In The Sand' is really interesting. It's a very unique mixture of both metal ballad and anthem with lots of the aforementioned guitar bravado. It's a pretty long track with some progressive passages, and as written several times above, plenty of guitar.
"Faces In The Sand [Part One]" is another strong effort from Jupiter Falls. If you like thoroughly guitar charged hard rock / metal / melodic hard which sways between an old school classic vibe and modern sharp nuances, you will enjoy this album.
According to the CD title, there's a 'Part Two' in the making, and I am eager to discover what this interesting band has to offer next.
01 - Welcome To My World
02 - Nothing To Me
03 - Illusion
04 - Call Me
05 - Sickened
06 - Follow You
07 - Voices
08 - This Is A War We Cannot Win
09 - Its Your Problem Now
10 - See You On The Other Side
11 - Faces In The Sand Pt1
Vocals – James Hart
Guitar – Zachari Daniels
Lead Guitar – Deano Silk
Bass Guitar – Dan Clark
Drums – Luke Hatfield
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KIX is one of those bands that almost made it big back in the Eighties but never got the real breaks some of their contemporaries did, although they truly deserved. Kix's catalogue including ‘Blow My Fuse’, ‘Hot Wire’ and particularly ‘Midnight Dynamite’ albums are great examples of prime American Hard Rock.
After almost two decades since Kix has released any new music, the Maryland based group returned with the really solid "Rock Your Face Off" some time ago, and one of you asked for a revisit of the release here on the blog.
A lot has changed since the '80s, but it is good to see that Kix has stuck to their signature style, in your face Hard Rock sound.
Opening with “Wheels In Motion”, it's clear the razor sharp guitar playing of Brian Forsythe dominate this album. The Alice Cooper influenced “You’re Gone” continues with the hard-hitting classic riffs where singer Steve Whiteman lay down his powerhouse vocals.
The rhythm section of bassist Mark Schenker and drummer Jimmy Chalfant is super tight and holds the group together with its ferocious beat.
The very tongue in cheek “Rollin' In Honey” captures the party vibe of the band, while title track “Rock Your Face Off” explodes with the high energy that Kix is noted for in concert. This song is a tribute to touring and the audiences that support the band year after year.
Kix who are also known for their bluesy touches, and this side shine on the swaggerin' “All The Right Things”, where the guys add that huge hook that further tips the balance in their favour.
"Dirty Girls" is a sheer Scott-era AC/DC even with a Bon-like aside. On this album you really feel that Kix has done everyone proud, themselves, fans and lovers of pure and simple straight forwards rock and roll.
Of course you expect a ballad and “Inside Outside Inn” is the one that delivers well enough, if not hitting the absolute heights it’s enough to get the Zippos fired up before the sleazy groove of “Mean Miss Adventure” cuts you down in a trail of fire.
Then arrives the future Kix favorite "Love Me With Your Top Down" which sits on your face like the best dirty rock and roll, an ode to Summer and a party anthem. It’s good to see the band hasn’t lost their sense of humour over the years.
Sometimes the simplest is the best though and along with the title track and "All the Right Things" I’d add "Tail on the Wag" to my list of top picks – it’s a simple bluesy hard rock number and pure Kix!
"Rock & Roll Showdown" that closes the album is another hard driving rock number that seems to say we’ll be back and just as big next time.
Equipped with strong hooks, massive guitars and catchy choruses, Kix rocks on "Rock Your Face Off" with great style. It sounds as if the years had not passed for them, even longtime co-writer and producer Taylor Rhoades is on-board.
In the vein of 'Blow Your Fuse', on this new record the fun, uptempo beat of Kix never diminishes and keeps on rolling. The tightness of the band is evident.
"Rock Your Face Off" is the perfect summertime record. Crank it up to 10 and roll your top down, as the pride of Maryland shows the world how to rock East Coast style.
01. Wheels In Motion
02. You're Gone
03. Can't Stop The Show
04. Rollin' In Honey
05. Rock Your Face Off
06. All The Right Things
07. Dirty Girls
08. Inside Outside Inn
09. Mean Miss Adventure
10. Love Me With Your Top Down
11. Tail On The Wag
12. Rock & Roll Showdown
Steve Whiteman – Vocals
Brian Forsythe – Guitar
Ronnie Younkins – Guitar
Mark Schenker – Bass
Jimmy Chalfant – Drums
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Monday, March 27, 2017
"Wing Seven" is the first album from Brazilian quartet SUNROAD to be released in the US soon, but these guys aren't newcomers at all. Sunroad started out in 1996 and have been playing their brand of melodic hard rock now for over 20 years, with six previous albums, a best of collection and a live DVD under their belt.
They have toured extensively and played with many great bands and artists through the years, including shows with LA Guns, Whitecross, Petra, Stryper and Joe Lynn Turner to name a few.
The sound of Sunroad could be defined as a very dynamic hard rock with a modern approach but song-wise, these guys are inspired by American '80s hard rock.
As you can read above, the band shared stages with several acts from the Christian Metal movement, and that's not a coincidence: Sunroad is a band with a religious background. However, their lyrics reflect social themes in general.
Since opener 'Destiny Shadows' you got a precise hint of Sunroad's style: muscular yet very clean riffs, potent vocals with some kind of Sebastian Bach touch, and a punchy rhythm section.
'White Eclipse' continues with thick riffs akin Impelliterri circa 1988, 'In the Sand' is a much more melodic hard rock beast recalling Skid Row Slave To The Grind era, then 'Misspent Youth' turn things groovy and midtempo with a sightly bluesy foundation. Very good harmony vocals (all musicians contribute) here.
'Skies Eyes' provides variation, as this power ballad mix acoustic guitars with electric, but the latter used in 'clean mode'. Very good song.
'Day by Day' returns to the uptempo territory, a very groovy instrumental with some progressive touches, a killer keyboard solo and spiraling lead guitar work. 'Craft of Whirlwinds' has a darker atmosphere yeat melodic at the same time (lead singer Andre Adonis sounds a lot like Seb Batch here).
'Drifting Ships' balance the record with a sweet melodic hard rock strongly reminiscent of the '80s, while 'Last Sunray in the Road' is a really, really competent piano ballad which later incorporates the full band for great effect.
Sunroad have nothing to envy from established hard rock / melodic hard acts from US and Europe. Everything in "Wing Seven" is absolutely professional, from musicianship to production / mix quality.
The overall record is inspired by late '80s / early '90s American hard rock and while you can hear the aforementioned influences, Sunroad has a true original, own sound.
01. Destiny Shadows
02. White Eclipse
03. In the Sand
04. Misspent Youth
05. Tempo (What Is Ever)
07. Skies Eyes
08. Day by Day
09. Craft of Whirlwinds
10. Drifting Ships
11. Brighty Breakdown
12. Pilot of Your Heart
13. Last Sunray in the Road
Andre Adonis – Lead Vocals, Keyboards
Netto Mello – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Akasio Angels – Bass, Backing Vocals
Fred Mika – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Finland's BROTHER FIRETRIBE, the five-strong outfit that we are never sure will be able to make a ‘next’ album thanks to the demands of Nightwish placed upon guitarist, Emppu Vuorinen, have found a slot in the diary, cleared the schedules, stepped up to the plate and recorded their fourth album "Sunbound", in this Japanese Edition featuring 2 bonus tracks.
And what a great AOR album it is.
While Brother Firetribe have been often compared to Survivor (or copycats), they're in fact strongly influenced by all '80s US AOR. Perhaps the comparison resides on Pekka Heino (Leverage) vocal tone. He sounds uncannily like Jimi Jamison, delivering the catchy choruses with panache and aplomb surrounded by the ever-present keyboards of Tomppa Nikulainen.
But don't be fooled, what Brother Firetribe bring to the table as well is modern Scandinavian melodic rock with Vuorinen’s signature guitar work that set the band apart from so many modern pretenders.
Opening with an instrumental track, the album immediately brings to mind that arena sound that wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of a certain boxing underdog franchise. It leads immediately into ‘Help Is On The Way’, a track that harks back to the style that drew people to the band when their ‘False Metal’ debut was released back in 2006. The solo from Emppu reaffirms why the band present a different, original and modern take on the genre and as it merges into the lick that opens future single ‘Indelible Heroes’ it’s clear, only 2 full songs in, that the album is going to be a winner.
If the aim is to reinvigorate and re-energise a musical style that contains hooks galore, massive melodies, vocals that soar so high they leave you gasping for oxygen, then Brother Firetribe succeed.
“Follow your heart and relive the taste of a champion”, so sings Pekka on the lead single. If Hollywood ever decides to remake the aforementioned boxing franchise, they have the lead single ready and waiting to go. The song has already been used as the theme for a major Finnish advertising campaign and it’s no surprise, it’s the sort of song that only needs 30 seconds to bed itself into the brain.
‘Shock’ with its anthemic chant along chorus should become a highlight of a live set if and when we get to see the band perform again. Prolific touring is not their strongest attribute but when one of you is the lead guitarist in Nightwish, well, it’s not surprising.
‘Strangled’ also delivers a powerhouse track with Pekka’s vocals really driving the song from start to finish.
Even the song titles remind us of a time when AOR ruled the airwaves and bands like Foreigner and Survivor were commonplace on the radio; ‘Heart of the Matter’, ‘Restless Heart’, ‘Big City Dream’ all suggest people moving to L.A. to live the West Coast dream. It’s sun, sea and surf, pretty good from a band whose country is swathed in darkness for half the year.
They save the best for last though and with ‘Phantasmagoria’, they deliver five minutes of epic melodic rock, opening with a beat that feels like it could be the opening music to ‘Top Gun II’ should it ever get made.
This Japanese Edition worth the investment as the band offers not one but two bonus tracks; the extremely melodic / keyboard driven 'Don't Cry For Yesterday' (also extra track for vinyl LP limited version), and acoustic version of 'For Better or for Worse (acoustic)', a track taken from Brother Firetrive previous album Diamond In The Firepit but now completely re-worked with unusual percussion.
"Sunbound" is a superb return for Brother Firetribe, a marked improvement over the previous release and an album that delivers everything we have come to hope for from the Finns.
And that is pure '80s AOR with a modern approach, done like few can do it in 2017.
02. Help Is on the Way
03. Indelible Heroes
04. Taste of a Champion
05. Last Forever
06. Give Me Tonight
09. Heart of the Matter
10. Restless Heart
11. Big City Dream
JAPAN BONUS TRACKS:
13. Don't Cry For Yesterday
14. For Better or for Worse (Acoustic Version)
Vocals - Pekka Ansio Heino
Guitars - Emppu Vuorinen
Keyboards - Tomi Nikulainen
Bass, Backing vocals - Jason Flinck
Drums - Hannes Pirilä
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ART OF ANARCHY was started by brothers Jon (guitar) and Vince (drums) Votta, along with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Disturbed bassist John Moyer. Though Scott Weiland denied being a member of the band, he laid vocals and wrote much of the lyrical content of the band's first eponymous release. For their just released sophomore album "The Madness", Art Of Anarchy tapped Scott Stapp, best known as the vocalist and frontman for Creed.
I approached this with care expecting some kind of alternative / modern rock affair, but Art Of Anarchy surprised me; while there's a lot of modern guitar and a punchy modern rock radio orientation in production, the overall songwriting is based in a classic rock pattern.
I think the key here is Bumblefoot Thal's classic rock formation, and his riffs and song skeletons turn this "The Madness" a very enjoyable experience for all audiences: the old and the young.
Additionally - and fortunately - Stapp sings from a different angle he did in his previous alt-rock band Creed, more raw and from the guts here.
Album opener “Echo of a Scream” is one of my favs, a slamming, large-sounding rocker with chugging guitars and a steady beat that includes some killer guitar solo trade-offs by Bumblefoot and Jon Votta. It’s an excellent start to the disc and it only gets better from there.
“1000 Degrees” is a stomp / clap rocker with certain '80s arena feel, then “No Surrender” pulls things back a bit with a spiraling hypnotic guitar open that builds into a chorus with the band firing on all cylinders.
The strongest part of the disc kicks off with title track “The Madness”, “Won’t Let You Down” plays with the time signature a bit but Stapp absolutely nails it melodically, while “Changed Man” is the piece de resistance power ballad.
While solid, “A Light in Me” and “Somber” bring the album down a bit, before Art Of Anarchy end strong with a pair of raucous tracks that show what they can do with a little attitude.
“Dancing With the Devil” would feel right at home in Velvet Revolver’s catalog, powering forward with swagger to spare. Meanwhile, Stapp has repeatedly praised the album closer “Afterburn,” a more upbeat song with the singer belting about coming to terms with living with the things he’s done.
While Art Of Anarchy may fall under the umbrella of a super-group and they’re just getting started playing their first live shows, it appears as though they’ve definitely hit on something solid with this pairing of musicians. The musicianship is strong, the writing connects and they have a disc that could go deep in terms of radio singles.
However, this band is much more than just another 'modern rock wannabe', as their music feels quite timeless despite the modern - and excellent - production.
01. Echo Of A Scream
02. 1,000 Degrees
03. No Surrender
04. The Madness
05. Won’t Let You Down
06. Changed Man
07. A Light In Me
09. Dancing With The Devil
Vocals - Scott Stapp (Creed)
Bass - John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob)
Guitar - Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Bumblefoot, Guns N' Roses)
Drums - Vince Votta
Guitar - Jon Votta
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