Born in Ireland, singer / songwriter BRENDAN KEELEY has been in the music business for thirty years.
In the first half of the nineties Brendan recorded a couple of singles and knocked every music company's door in Dublin without luck. Then he released the material on his own, and the songs became national hits.
Since then, he published three full length CD's, and now "I'll Always Be Lonely", his second international release.
During the last decade Keeley moved to Germany where he spawned another sucessful single (a song featured in a TV show).
Now, defintely established in Tullamore, Ireland, Brendan has re-recorded his earlier hits and new material to present them to the world.
"I'll Always Be Lonely" is one of those old hit tunes, and also the name of this Lite AOR release strongly influenced by the '80s sounds plenty of beautiful melodies, elegant instrumentation and of course, his smooth, breathy vocals.
Brendan Keely's musical style and sound reminds you Canadian Lite AOR acts of the golden decade, where the refined arrangements and polished production were the rule of the genre.
He can be compared with John Farnham or Bryan Adams, but the artist who really match his manner - both musically and vocally - is Canadian Paul Janz.
This album includes truly wonderful AOR songs as the climatic opener "I Can't Believe It", "It's Not Easy" or the charming "Take The Chains Away" to name some.
Brendan visits more classic territories in "After The Love" and "The Three O'Clock Train", goes almost West Coast in the breezy title track "I'll Always Be Lonely" and the majestic "Lady In The Painting", and of course delivers beautiful ballads like "The Loniest Man In The World" and the harmony filled "Heart & Soul".
Brendan Keely is a gifted artist, a complete songwriter with tons of sensibility, a craftsman of his art. These delicious bunch of tunes were meticulously arranged & recorded with passion, finesse, and gently produced with a polished sound.
The album is available with different names and tracklist depending the country, but it doesn't matter which one you pick, surely it will be a delight for AOR and AC audiophiles.
01 - I Can't Believe It
02 - I'll Always Be Lonely
03 - After The Love
04 - It's Not Easy
05 - Heart & Soul
06 - Take The Chains Away
07 - Eyes Of A Child
08 - Lady In The Painting
09 - Song For?
10 - The Caves Of Time
11 - The Three O'Clock Train
12 - The Loniest Man In The World
Brendan Keeley - vocals
Chris O'Brien - all instruments
Graham Murphy - all instruments
Joe Jewell - guitar, backing vocals
Paul Harrington, Sandra Cooney - backing vocals
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Friday, November 30, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Erik Enzo and Paul Call are the main musicians behind THE NORWEGIAN FORDS, a band from (you guessed) Norway. These guys come from a gelid country, but I assure you that their music is warm like the Californian sun in June.
They have released two albums in their homeland, and now the last, "Somewhere Down The Road You'll Listen", finally is available on physical CD.
The Norwegian Fords plays catchy, retro-inspired Californian smooth West Coast AOR with a hint of adult pop and accompanied by quirky lyrics.
The soaring sounds of the classic L.A. scene are the motto of this duo, obviously fans of Bill Champlin, Steely Dan, Bill LaBounty, Boz Scaggs... and the list continues.
Breezy melodies and organic instrumentation are the foundation of lovable tunes like "Wonder What It Takes", the super-smooth "Superglue Kiss", "Plan A" or the flowing "Surfing On The Sun".
More uptempo and gracious numbers such as the extremely catchy "Fit In" (Airplay comes to mind), "Radio In A Song" and the jumpin' "Billy Ocean" would have been top hits in the early '80s radio.
Ballads? Enjoy the stupendous title track "Somewhere Down The Road You'll Listen" with a glass of fine wine at hand.
The musicians from Scandinavia seems to have learned the L.A. West Coast lesson better than anybody in the world.
We have Peter Friestedt, Chris Antblad, Ole Borud, Work Of Art, Spin Gallery... add to this list The Norwegian Fords. They have opened for Toto on many gigs and are already getting considerble airplay in European radio stations.
Songwriting, production, and performances from these talented guys (accompanied by seasoned session players) are pure delight.
Mixed and mastered in L.A. by Grammy Award-winners Bill Schnee & Robert Hadley, you know what to expect from "Somewhere Down The Road You'll Listen" : pure West Coast AOR bliss.
Just love this stuff!
01 - Fit In
02 - Wonder What It Takes
03 - Superglue Kiss
04 - Radio In A Song
05 - I'll Be Dining Here Again
06 - Plan A
07 - Surfing On The Sun
08 - I've Falling In Love (With Somebody Else)
09 - Somewhere Down The Road You'll Listen
10 - Billy Ocean
Erik Enzo - vocals, keyboards, songwriter
Paul Call - guitars, songwriter, lyrics
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Not the cuts version floating around
FUEL FROM HELL got together in at the end of the nineties with the intention to play old-fashioned R'nR.
Their 2007 debut was heavily influenced by the L.A. Sunset Strip style, but this quintet with Italian origins now venture into the slick hard rock territory in their brand new CD "Easier Said Than Done".
Fuel From Hell's new direction can mostly be attributed to new vocalist Phil Lasher, who brings a soother and more traditional Hard Rock voice to the proceedings. "Easier Said Than Done" comes complete with some real rockin' gems.
Opener "Electrified" is one of those stand-out moments (even if the song does steal its intro from Alice Cooper's 'Poison') as it builds itself up towards the powerful and majestic chorus.
"Poison Whiskey", with its honky tonk piano and sweaty guitars is fun, while "Nowhere In The Night" is more melodic rock oriented.
The sleazy "Some Girls" is fueled by high-energy guitar work (although I don't like much the vocals here). "Send Me Your Love" lends in melodic moments again, followed by the also melodious "Anything Goes" featuring nice harmony vocals.
"Midnight" hints at greatness, but it is the adrenaline driven "House Of Love" and the album's shining moment "Bad Jane" that truly display Fuel From Hell's talents. Seems they have reserved the best for the end.
"Easier Said Than Done" succeeds by bookending some weak tracks in the middle of the album with absolutely killer tracks at the beginning and particularly at the end of the CD.
Far from perfect, this is a good, hot hard rockin' effort from Fuel From Hell. If the band can streamline their songwriting, dumping the fillers in the process, they could easily become one of hard rock's best kept secrets - as there are enough pieces of brilliance here to pique your interest.
02. Poison Whiskey
03. Nowhere In The Night
04. Some Girls
05. Send Me Your Love
06. Anything Goes
07. 17 & Wasted
09. December '89
10. Bad Jane
11. House Of Love
Phil Lasher - lead vocals
Dam Littmanen - guitar, vocals
Steve Eighteen - guitar, vocals
Max Velvet - bass, vocals
Alex Count - drums
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
As I find myself exploring the various genres of music I keep coming back to progressive metal as the source of incredibly talented music.
Although SCARLET HOLLOW's full length debut "What if Never Was" adds some other musical colors to their palette such as Celtic elements and a bit of folk-prog, this female fronted SoCal band basically delivers progressive metal, stylized and melodic.
"What if Never Was" includes 10 individual songs that completely stand on their own, but the first 9 are part of a larger picture that tell the tale of a person's spiritual and emotional journey as they try to heal from the after effects of war. So if you like tales you can follow it, if not, the compositions can be enjoyed in its own.
"The Path," starts the melodic rush. The startling, and intensely passionate echoes of lead vocalist and lyricist Allison Vonbuelow's tone harmonize wonderfully with the electric guitar, drums and synths.
The guitars in this album are absolutely brilliant, there are some riffs and licks that will have you rewinding the track over and over again. The drumming is exceedingly complex at various times, notably during the long hypnotic guitar solos. Check this specially in the fifth track "The Waiting", a testament to the talent found within Scarlet Hollow.
"Thermal Winds" with its imagery is a perfect cut for adult rock radio. The sound is mellow, heavy and delicate at the same time. The second part of "Around the Bend" adds some awesome sonic landscapes with Spanish guitars blended with a terrific electric solo and tribal drumming.
"The Waiting" is a hybrid of sorts with its flowing production. Vonbuelow connects with the music and lyrics in a way that is refreshing, and will ensure the listener feel the effects of the journey that Scarlet Hollow wants to invoke.
"As The Blade Falls" is modern metal sounding as Scarlet Hollow taps into the beauty of rock and the many levels that it offers to fans of this kind of music. The CD closes with "Nightfall Overture", a morbid kind of thing that glides across the ears with its Norse and Celtic descriptions.
Scarlet Hollow has found its nesting place among many Prog Metal bands including other sonic elements to enrich their musical delivery, which never is too heavy, just quite melodic.
On "What If Never Was" you will find classic '70s prog rock, hard rock and some Celtic folk sounds alongside the typical Prog-Metal overtones.
Scarlet Hollow features a super high level of musicianship but never at the expense of emotion or the music. It sounds new and fresh, but at the same time familiar.
"What if Never Was" is an impressive debut from a band offering a different flavor to a genre that is mutating trying to reach other audiences.
Very good. Recommended.
01 - The Path
02 - Apathy's Child
03 - Thermal Winds
04 - Around the Bend
05 - The Waiting
06 - Behind the Lines
07 - All That Remains
08 - As the Blade Falls
09 - 20:20
10 - Nightfall Overture
Allison VonBuelow: Vocals, Acoustic Guitars
Gregg Olson: Guitars, Synths, Percussion Programing
Jeff Mack: Bass, Bass Pedals
Diego "GROM" Meraviglia: Drums, Percussion
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"Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" is one of the greatest hard rock albums ever released by a British band.
This classic was the final Ronnie James Dio-fronted recording by RAINBOW. Dio would go on to front Black Sabbath, while guitarist Richie Blackmore hired a new singer in Graham Bonnet.
But "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" is a more than brilliant swan song for this excellent Rainbow line-up.
The title track is a fan favorite and one of the strongest tunes from this era -- a heavy rockin' cracker written for arenas. "Lady of the Lake" is a solid number featuring haunting background vocals. "L.A. Connection" has great keyboard tinglings from David Stone and 'that' atmosphere.
"Gates of Babylon" is a mammoth track featuring the Bavarian String Ensemble, as synthesizer and strings combine for a symphonic big-rock sound. Another standout is "Kill the King," a speedy, full force tune with Mr. Blackmore doing what he does best.
Blackmore opens the thunderous "The Shed (Subtle)" with a fluid, effects-laden bluesy solo, and then the album ends with the jewel "Rainbow Eyes", a seven-minute epic that features a string quartet, flute, and Dio's euphonic balladry.
This digitally remastered and expanded Deluxe two CD edition features a whole CD of bonus material with the album in demo form as well as rehearsals and outtakes.
The main album has a more top-end clarity, while the bonus CD of previously unheard material is really good. The rough mix of "Rainbow Eyes" alone worth the purchase of this pack. This version, without the overdubs it's very 'alone' and poignant sounding which has extra significance with the passing of Ronnie James Dio.
On other rough mixes you find noticeable differences in the intro on "Lady of the Lake" and more perceptible bass lines on "Kill the King" in example.
Packaging is very good as usual in these Deluxe Editions, with extensive liner notes about the recording and all lyrics.
CD 1: Original album Remastered
01 - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
02 - Lady of the Lake
03 - L.A. Connection
04 - Gates of Babylon
05 - Kill the King
06 - The Shed (Subtle)
07 - Sensitive to Light
08 - Rainbow Eyes
CD 2: Previously unreleased
01 - Lady of the Lake (Rough Mix)
02 - Sensitive to Light (Rough Mix)
03 - L.A. Connection (Rough Mix)
04 - Kill the King (Rough Mix)
05 - The Shed (Subtle) (Rough Mix)
06 - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (Rough Mix)
07 - Rainbow Eyes (Rough Mix)
08 - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (Take 1) (Rehearsal 1977)
09 - Kill the King (Rehearsal 1977)
10 - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (Live 1978)
11 - L.A. Connection (Live 1978)
12 - Gates of Babylon (Live 1978)
13 - L.A. Connection (Outtake Version)
14 - Gates of Babylon (Outtake Version)
Ritchie Blackmore: guitars, bass
Ronnie James Dio: vocals
Cozy Powell: drums, percussion
Bob Daisley: bass
David Stone: keyboards
The Bavarian String Ensemble
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
STEELSHINE, the new project featuring King Kobra guitarist Dave Henzerling, Greg Leon Invasion and Big Cock drummer John Covington, and former Adler's Appetite vocalist Seann 'Tarsha' Nicols -- are giving the final touches to their self-titled debut to be released early next year.
As sneak preview we have "Rock N' Roll Made A Man Out Of Me", an EP comprising some tracks of the new album plus exclusives to this release.
Henzerling has played in Keel, Lizzy Borden, Big Cock and Tunnel, but is best known for his work with King Kobra during their '80s golden days under the name David Michael-Philips.
Henzerling, who handles guitars, keyboards, percussion and bass in Steelshine had this project brewing in his head for some time, a slightly different stuff from his recent works.
This is Hard Rock with nods to the eighties / nineties style infused with some bluesy melodies, but all delivered with a modern and updated sound.
"Laughing With The Sinners" starts with a deep scream and a bluesy sharp riff. There's a fat rhythm section with a remarkable drum sound (love that snare) behind the potent 'classic rock' vocals of Seann Nicols. The guitars really screams and Henzerling (who also produces) adds some flanger mix effects making the track sound quite modern.
You can't resist to a chorus like this; "Now I won't play this game, so I might not be a winner / You won't catch me crying' with the saints - I'm laughin' with the sinners". Killer song.
"Rock N' Roll Made A Man Out Of Me" is full of R'NR charm adorned with surrounding vintage keyboards (Henzerling is a clever arranger). Hot track... tap your feet guys.
"Paparazzi" shows that Steelshine isn't the typical Henzerling stuff. This is a cover of a Lady Gaga song (you've read it correctly) and it really works. Steelshine make this sound like a modern Led Zepp with a big groove and turning really melodic at the chorus.
"B.F.A." on the other hand, is a stomper, straight uptempo hard rocker full of fire.
The set sontinues with variety on the next track "Psychedelic Girl", one of the best and more original tunes on the EP. It's a semi-midtempo melodic hard rocker with some Euro influences, great vocal harmonies, precise guitars and cool keyboards all over.
"Devil Moon" returns to more classic sounds in a track that pays tribute to many Classic Rock acts. Henzerling goes acoustic for the most part even adding some mandolin here and there. Elaborated yet 'classic friendly' tune with nice atmosphere.
I truly enjoyed all the tracks included in this Steelshine presentation.
Really well composed and varied songs (yet homogeneous) where Dave Henzerling demonstrates that, in addition to being a very good guitarist (and a fine keyboard & percussion player) as musician he's looking from something different musically.
This material is hard & classic rock based but a twist on some tracks, all highly ear-friendly and very well produced by Dave himself between Phoenix (US) and Vancouver (Canada) studios. Even Canuck cult legends such as Marc LaFrance and Mick Dalla-Vee (The Guess Who) contributes as well.
01 - Laughing With The Sinners
02 - Rock N' Roll Made A Man Out Of Me
03 - Paparazzi
04 - B.F.A.
05 - Psychedelic Girl
06 - Devil Moon
Seann Nicols: lead & background vocals
David Henzerling: guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion
John Covington: drums
Marc LaFrance, Mick Dalla-Vee, Steve Santos, Kris Seuberling: background vocals
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Although based in London, KING LIZARD are the more 'American' Hard Rock band in UK. They have debuted two years ago with the underground
Viva La Decadance', a dirty sleazy (not sleaze) recording.
It was an OK CD for me, plenty of attitude and energy but I need more than that in my musical book regarding this style. Both ingredients must be complemented with some flashy delivery and technical ability, and that's exactly what the Lizards's have incorporated in their sophomore album "A Nightmare Livin' The Dream" to be released next week.
My how they've grown. This is not the same party we heard on the band's debut. "A Nightmare Livin' The Dream" is darker, punchier and musically solidly supported by stronger songwriting, more polished arrangements and a kickin' production.
King Lizard tries to capture the 'real' unbridled debauchery of classic American Hard Sleazy albums from the late '80s and blending it with the sneering sounds of today, and they succeed.
Flash Sawyer's voice is enough gritty yet melodic when needed and guitarist Niro is potentially a superstar – the man has the touch and feel of someone who could have walked into Motley Crue or LA Guns back when they started.
The album starts with the couple of no-resting hard rockers "Come Get Some" and "Kneel to the King", followed by the more bouncy but surefooted bitter love song featuring clearer vocal & guitar parts.
Then the full speed and fun hard rocker "Hair of the Dog" ups the peace again with a really good guitar work, and the 'bad-boys' charm cranks up on "I Want You To Want Me", certainly an offensive dripping in sleazy ala 1986 Guns.
Solid mid-half of the album, but the second is better and more varied.
The hard rocking Shotgun Messiah-gang attitude of "If It's a Sin" is one of the best moments on the CD (love this track), and there's a sweaty riff in the catchy title track "A Nightmare Livin' The Dream".
"Just To Hear You Say It" is an interestingly mellow track which slows the album without bogging it down. "Hard To Get" is back on the bite after the Sunset Blvd sound of "This Ain’t Love", while "Down" has a great balance of attitude and melody.
"Waterloo Ratz" closes the album with a strong punch rounding up the best features of the band; wild vocals, gang backing choruses and layers of diving guitars.
"A Nightmare Livin' The Dream" is a kickin' Hard Rock album in the typical American second half of the '80s sleazy style. That's where musically King Lizard are coming from, with a hint of Thin Lizzy swagger, yet definitely US sounding.
Packed with kick-ass songs, spirited musicianship and the excellent production by Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness, Tank), "A Nightmare Livin' The Dream" is one of the best albums of the year in this particular musical style.
Interestingly enough, this Hard Rock sub-genre is enjoying a real resurgence in Europe more than where it originate, so Londoners King Lizard might just be the right band in the right city at the right time.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrockz
01 - Come Get Some
02 - Kneel to the King
03 - I Can't Be Your Lover
04 - Hair of the Dog
05 - I Want You to Want Me
06 - If It's a Sin
07 - A Nightmare Livin' the Dream
08 - Just to Hear You Say It
09 - This Ain't Love
10 - Hard to Get
11 - Down
12 - Waterloo Ratz
Flash Roxx Sawyer – Vocals
Niro Knox – Guitars
Lee Benz – Bass
Moyano El Buffalo – Drums
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Monday, November 26, 2012
Guns 'N Roses original drummer Steven Adler (the best of the band in my opinon) problems about substance abuse have been well documented lately, notably from his appearances on VH-1's Celebrity Rehab and in his own autobiography My Appetite For Destruction.
Fortunately, Adler battles against his personal demons have been successful enough that he's been able to finally create new music.
After an advanced single presented here months ago and the drop of 'Appetite' from his band's name (now simply ADLER) Steven is finally releasing the full length album "Back From The Dead".
Two things hit hard as the album's title track crashes out: the production from former Dokken and now in Foreigner Jeff Pilson (who also was involved in songwriting and plays all Bass and more here) is really massive, and the other is that Steve Adler and his band has crafted their own sound, with hints from the past yet updated, fresh and vital.
Lyrically, "Back From The Dead" - both album and open title track - smacks (pun, sadly, intended) of desperate and autobiographical times. Life teetering on the brink of collapse must be hellish, but makes for some great art.
Sonically, the recruitment of frontman Jacob Bunton is a masterstroke; the guy takes command of this album from the off and more than holds his own in some esteemed company - the band is completed by effective axeman Lonny Paul, and although all bass tracks in this recording are played by Pilson, they have in Johnny Martin a stable bassist, last seen in Tracii Guns' version of L.A. Guns.
The aforementioned album opener, the title track, eases in on a dark vibe before exploding into life, heavy of riff, bass rumbling, with a hook as catchy as fly paper.
"Own Worst Enemy' (what was I saying about autobiographical lyrics?) has a more modern approach introducing dark riffage and articulated singing in a solid package.
"Another Version Of The Truth" is as infectious as a zombie bite, while the album's advanced single "The One That You Hated" (which you've all already heard, and liked, surely) fuses timeless arena rock sounds to the body of some great melodies.
"Good To Be Bad" features the first of a couple of high profile guest appearances: great guitarist John 5, but, apart from his solo that borders on the crazed, the song itself is the true standout, a terrace chant of a chorus proving most memorable.
The power ballad makes its first appearance of the record, alongside that of Slash, on "Just Don't Ask", but this isn't your run of the mill (soft) rock standard: sure, it pushes every emotion-button required of its ilk, but it does so with its feet planted firmly in the here-and-now rather than the who-cares-when.
"Blown Away" houses possibly the hugest riff of the entire record and wraps it around a gang vocal catchier than a rubbish criminal.
It's ballad time again when "Waterfall" crashes down around your speakers with a modern approach and intereting guitar work (co-written by guitarist (Lonny Paul). It scales new heights for a band formed around an Eighties legend.
Forget about heights for around three and a half minutes as "Habit" kicks in, lyrically finding new lows yet aurally taking this album to its peak; a snarling, depraved beast of a track (Did I say Adler is one of the most creative rock percussionists out there?). It is the one song that you should play to a friend to convince them that Adler are worthy of their time and money. One of the best tracks from the album.
"Your Diamonds" is more subtle in a melody line draping itself over a mid-paced rocker that breaks no new ground, yet sexes up what is already there. There's a definite Enuff Z'Nuff vibe to the mid-section.
The album closes with "Dead Wrong", another polished tune that motors this album home to its conclusion in fine style.
Written off, killed off, snubbed, subbed, mocked: Steven Adler might have been the butt of way too many jokes over the years, but the guy is having the last laugh, finally.
I never thought Adler would, could, produce an album as good as "Back From The Dead" - I am happy to stand corrected.
This is, quite simply, a rollicking, ass-kicker of a record that plants Steven Adler firmly back in the game. An album like this to back him up should busy himself batting away the plaudits rather than the demons.
With good songs, a hot band and great production, one of the rhythmically best rock drummers of the last 25 years appears to have his true 'appetite' back.
01. Back From The Dead
02. Own Worst Enemy
03. Another Version Of The Truth
04. The One That You Hated
05. Good To Be Bad (featuring John 5)
06. Just Don't Ask (featuring Slash)
07. Blown Away
10. Your Diamonds
11. Dead Wrong
Jacob Bunton: lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, piano
Lonny Paul: guitar, vocals
Steven Adler: drums, cowbell, shakers, tambourine, crowbar, shovel and screams
Jeff Pilson: bass on all tracks, guitar, keyboads, vocals
Slash: lead guitar on "Just Don't Ask"
John 5: lead guitar on "Good To Be Bad"
Michael Lord: piano on "Waterfall"
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Sunday, November 25, 2012
Legendary British AOR act FM are busy preparing their seventh studio CD, and as the band have been doing with the last albums, we have an advance with "Only Foolin' EP".
In time-honoured FM fashion this 9-track mini-album (running time approx. 51 minutes) features a mixture of tracks from the forthcoming album, live classics recorded at the 'Indiscreet 25 Live' shows March 2012 and new tracks exclusive to "Only Foolin' EP" that will not be available anywhere.
Really good material with FM's typical smooth style.
01. Only Foolin' (new single from the forthcoming album)
02. Rainbow's End (new track - exclusive to this EP)
03. Shot In The Dark (new track - exclusive to this EP)
04. Let Love Be The Leader (live)
05. Don't Stop (live)
06. Does It Feel Like Love (live)
07. Tough It Out (live)
08. Hot Legs (live)
09. Only Foolin' (Extended Mix by Pete Jupp)
Steve Overland – Vocals & Guitars
Jim Kirkpatrick – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass & Backing Vocals
Pete Jupp – Drums & Backing Vocals
Jem Davis – Keyboards
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After having two of his solo albums reissued this year, ex- Alice Cooper guitarist KANE ROBERTS in conjuction with the Firefest Festival label is releasing a 2-CD set entitled "Unsung Radio".
The package includes Roberts' 3rd solo release under the moniker 'Phoenix Down' along with a full CD of 11 unreleased songs that scan his pre-Alice Cooper recordings to some recorded few years ago (several Jim Peterik co-writes) and an additional audio commentary.
Phoenix Down's "Under A Wild Sky" was originally published independently and become quite hard to find. It's a good Melodic Hard Rock album, where Roberts explores some more modern sounds than on his previous efforts, still faithful to the classic stylings of the genre. Now has been remastered and sounds much better.
The 2nd CD features new songs and really early tracks recorded during the eighties, some delivered with a really rough sound never heard from him.
Interspersed between them, it's really interesting to hear Roberts' commentaries about these previously unreleased tracks about what was happening during the recording sessions.
Released during Kane Roberts show in the last Firefest, "Unsung Radio" is a strictly limited edition of 500 copies only, this is sure to be a much sought after Melodic Hard Rock collector's item – and is a damned good CD as well!
01 - Reckless
02 - Walking On Shadows (Remix)
03 - Love Gone Wrong
04 - Blind
05 - Rain
06 - Alive And Well
07 - Walk
08 - I Want It Again
09 - In Another Life
10 - Rebel Heart
CD 2 :
01 - Commentary #1
02 - City Of Pain
03 - I Bleed For You
04 - Guitar Stroke #1
05 - Guns Of Paradise
06 - Commentary #2
07 - One Step To Heaven
08 - Blue Highway
09 - Commentray #3
10 - Wrong
11 - Rain (Demo)
12 - Guitar Stroke #2
13 - Self Control
14 - Commentary #4
15 - In Another Life (Demo)
16 - Commentray #5
17 - I'm Wiating For You
18 - Louise
19 - Commentray #6
Kane Roberts: vocals, guitar
Jim Peterik: vocals, guitars, keyboards
Vinny Burns: guitars, keyboards
Mike Slammer, Dave Jonzz, Gene Allen: guitars
Mike Davis, Danny Boy: bass
Arthur Funaro: keyboards
Steve Deboard, V. Fundell, Greg Morgan: drums
Sam Blue, Steve Steele, Rob Athas: vocals
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SUNSET BOULEVARD is a new band born in Finland at the end of 2009 founded by songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Juha Vornanen and Simo Sainio.
The guys have rocked together since they were teens, and their love for classic Melodic Rock and AOR is more than evident on the debut "Hungry Hearts".
Both the band's name and album title says all... this is pure European Melodic Rock / AOR with lots of keyboards, melodic riffs and smooth vocals.
Sunset Boulevard sound is typically Scandinavian influenced by Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish acts oriented on the more smoothie side of the spectrum such as Talk Of The Town, Heartbreak Radio, Deacon Street and Tommy Denander AORish projects.
There's uptempo tracks with some hints of melodic hard as "Hungry Hearts" and "Love Eruption", yet most are AOR oriented like the keyboard driven "Sunset Boulevard", "Hungry For Love" or the slightly Americanized "It's True".
Of course Sunset Boulevard delivers midtempos like the sweet "Been Alone Before" and the elegant "Breaking Down My Heart", as well as a ballad in the melodic "Annie".
"Hungry Hearts" was recorded independently last year, but the band is now pushing the material looking for a label contract. The quality of these tracks and the very good musicianship in Sunset Boulevard surely will find a recording company soon.
This is pure AOR / Melodic Rock in the Scandi style.
Fans of the genre are advised!
01 - Hungry Hearts
02 - Sunset Boulevard
03 - Love Eruption
04 - Breaking Down My Heart
05 - Been Alone Before
06 - It's True
07 - Annie
08 - Heartbreaker
09 - Hungry For Love
Juha Vornanen: vocals, drums, guitar
Simo Sainio: bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Aki Kola: bass
Kimmo Puhakka: drums
Saturday, November 24, 2012
FINAL CONFLICT is an internationally acclaimed Progressive Rock band based in UK. Since formed in 1985 by Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin, F.C. has established their own distinctive style of music and has been recognized worldwide for exploring new territories in the genre.
Their new, captivating new effort is called "Return Of The Artisan"
The band's line up of experienced musicians features the dual guitar and vocals of Andy Lawton and Brian Donkin, the magical keyboard skills of Steve Lipiec, and the two newest recruits to the band: Barry Elwood on his six string bass and the very talented Henry Rogers on drums & percussion.
Final Conflict is definitely Neo Prog in all the sense of the tag, as the band combine classic prog elements but with modern and distinctive own touches.
Just listen "The Mechanic" for example: opens with a hard guitar riff and misterious synths, then turns into a cinematic tempo driven by even more synths and modernly produced drums, then abruptly in the middle slows down into an '80s commercial Pink Floyd (Dave Gilmour version) melody with a fantastic guitar work and whispering vocals.
We have beatiful piano passages (really beautiful) in "The Spark", juicy Marillion-like melodies in the excellent "Hopes and Dreams", a bit of Saga in "Around About" and much more to discover in the rest of the tracks.
"Return Of The Artisan" is not just another Neo Prog album, as Final Conflict really has a distinctive sound different to the rest.
It isn't weird or experimental, they are extremely melodic and accesible, yet their music always has attractive and unexpected elements.
There's great interaction between both lead vocalists/guitarists (Andy & Brian) and the rest of the band throughout these elaborated nine compositions, a couple of them consisting of several parts.
The guys ooze class and talent, and this is evident over this intriguing and all the time entertaining recording. Production is excellent with a pristine clear mix.
Recommended not only to Prog fans.
1. The Calling
2. The Mechanic
3. The Spark
4. Hopes and Dreams
5. Around About
7. The Harlequin
8. Keeper of Conscience
9. Return of the Artisan
Andy Lawton : lead vocals and guitars
Brian Donkin : guitars and lead vocals
Steve Lipiec : keyboards
Henry Rogers : drums
Barry Elwood : bass
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Thursday, November 22, 2012
With their curious band name and quirky sixties stoner art, one wonders; what lies within BAD POETRY BAND's 2nd album, "The One Way Romance"?
Hailing from Sweden might give you a clue, where rock bands from classic rock to hard to eighties glam are still rising. Now we're getting closer to Bad Poetry's sound.
The group really need to drop the 'band' part in their name (it just sounds better without it) and hire a new artwork designer as both does not represents their sound nor their style.
Bad Poetry blends retro hard rock with some glam and some surf-like rock&pop driven by fuzzy twin guitars and poppy sing-a-long choruses, and on a couple of tracks they throw in some post-punk riffs. Believe or not, it works.
We have cool rockers in "Not in Love", "Dig Me When I'm Down" (great chorus), and the really smooth "Regret It".
"Make Up Made For Make Out" is a clever little tune with the great refrain that sticks like glue to the back of the mind, while "Half Hearted" reminds me The Damned, which is not a bad thing.
Title track "The One Way Romance" mixes glammy rockin' melodies with the frenzy uptempo style of The Hellacopters, while "Predator" is a simple short 2 minute (yes there's bands still doing songs that short) straightforward rock with some punky noise.
The best song to me is closer "So Long", a contagious and melodic midtempo much in the vein of Swedes The Gloria Story.
It may looks a bit odd, but Bad Poetry Band mixes retro hard rock with glam and a dollop of modern poppy punk and it works.
Surely not the usual band coming out from Sweden, but BPB can turn a phrase and offer fine hooks in lyrics and arrangements. The songs are simple but long on rock groove, large on easy melodies and vocal harmonies.
Frankly, "The One Way Romance" is a ton of fun; call it party rock, if anything. Certainly it's good for a barbeque and a couple of beers at the beach.
01 - We are going down
02 - Not in love
03 - Wait for tomorrow
04 - Dig me when I'm down
05 - Regret it
06 - Predator
07 - Make up made for make out
08 - All in vain
09 - Half hearted
10 - So long
Martin Mula Gustafsson: vocals & guitars
Daniel Birath: guitars
Johan Lundh: bass
Peter Müller: drums & vocals
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Reports say that KIDD BLUE, originated from San Francisco, used to be a hot rockin' live act in the Californian scene back in the late '80s.
Listening their album 'Big Trouble' I have no doubt about it.
The band recorded several songs during those years but never got signed. Indie label Metal Mayhem resurrected some of these tapes some years ago as 'Big Trouble', but now it's the band main singer who is releasing "Big Trouble Expanded Edition", including a bunch of tracks previously unheard.
Kidd Blue should have been huge.
Their perfectly executed late '80s commercial American Hard Rock / Hair Metal has all the elements which made the genre so great, in this case, infusing the typical melodic sound with razor guitars and some kind of powerful attack.
Think Icon (Phoenix, Arizona band), Dokken, Hurricane, mid-'80s Ozzy and the first Warrant blended with the commerciality of Ratt, Blind Date or Aldo Nova.
Opener "Big Trouble" takes you back to the days when Ratt used to rock good, with shouting choruses and an arena-hymn song structure.
It's followed by the extremely catchy melodic hard rocker "Crimes Of The Heart", a pure pop-metal bliss, but probably the highlight of the disc comes next with awesome semi-midtempo "Crystal Tears".
"Restless Eyes" has all the fire of the first Icon, "Hold Me" embraces you with a melodious line, while "Rocket Roulette" rocks hard again recalling the commercial Ozzy. It is easy to listen that axeman Steve Barton is a disciple of the late great Randy Rhoads, and a good one.
"Midnight Train" blends Dokken with XTZ in a groovy rocker, and next "Affection" is really the band's official ballad yet not a syruped one, it's the kind of slow songs that still has its edge, again, in the Icon vein.
"Feel Your Touch" is a pure hair metal affair, while "Fatal Attraction" adds some AOR touches with the infussion of keyboards and acute arrangements.
The bonus, previously unreleased tracks were recorded during different sessions. On "All I Do" the band explores a more relaxed ground adding acoustics, "Touch" is a dark rocker and "Come In From The Rain" is a power ballad in the classic L.A. Sunsest Blvd mould.
"No Rest For The Wicked" rocks again over a fat bass in a Warrant style, and the melodic "Mama Don't" has a catchy hair metal chorus, same as "Bye Bye Baby" with its harmonized backing vocals ala Black 'N Blue.
"Big Trouble Expanded Edition" is pure arena American Melodic Hard Rock / Hair Metal, very melodic and edgy at the same time. Regarding these genres, if you're a fan you'll love this album. There's no weak songs here, indeed, Kidd Blue were musically superior than many bands who achieved stardom.
Keep in mind this material was culled from analog tapes but the sound quality is pretty good. In fact, considering these tracks were recorded without label support more than twenty years ago, listening songs of this quality in 2012 makes you realise just how poor some of the current crop of Melodic Hard Rock acts actually are.
Kidd Blue gives you very good songs with great melodies & hooks, catchy choruses and terrific guitar playing... do you need more?
01 - Big Trouble
02 - Crime Of The Heart
03 - Crystal Tears
04 - Restless Eyes
05 - Hold Me
06 - Rocket Roulette
07 - Midnight Train
08 - Affection
09 - Feel Your Touch
10 - Fatal Attraction
11 - All I Do (bonus track)
12 - Tough (bonus track)
13 - Come In From The Rain (bonus track)
14 - No Rest For The Wicked (bonus track)
15 - Mama Don't (bonus track)
16 - Bye Bye Baby (bonus track)
Bobby Blue - Lead & Backing Vocals
Steve Barton - All Guitars, Backing Vocals
Robert 'Sox' Canchola - Bass
Mark Dubin - Drums
Jesse Bradman - Keyboards, Synths, Backing Vocals
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Soul / R&B American singer ANASTACIA is highly successful in Europe and Asia, but has had only minor success in her native United States.
Her fifth album is a collection of rock male artists covers entitled "It's A Man's World".
This recording is obviously an intent from Anastacia's management to expand her career to other audiences, and why not, reach the American charts. She owns a powerful soulful voice, with a wide range and very educated.
I applaud when a quite popular artist from other genre goes to record rock 'n roll songs, because it opens new doors to people usually away from the sound of a good electric guitar. And this can bring potential 'converted' listeners to Rock music.
There has been many attempts in the industry to do this move with pop entertainers. Let's take as example Britney Spears covering Joan Jett's classic 'I Love Rock 'N Roll'. Sure, it was full of synthesized guitars an plastic beats, but the result was, at least, sexy.
Sadly, "It's A Man's World" fails most the time. Only U2's "One" (which it isn't the most rocking song in the world if you ask) is decent, the rest, specially Aerosmith's "Dream On" are a mess.
One of my favorite producers is involved here; Glen Ballard (Jack Wagner, Toto, Aerosmith, Van Halen) but he and particularly the musical arrangers deliver lifeless versions of these classics.
I don't know if this is 'a man's world', but surely it isn't a rocking world for Anastacia.
Check it if you are curious.
01 - Ramble On (Led Zeppelin)
02 - Best Of You (Foo Fighters)
03 - Sweet Child O' Mine (Guns 'N Roses)
04 - You Can't Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones)
05 - One (U2)
06 - Back In Black (AC-DC)
07 - Dream On (Aerosmith)
08 - Use Somebody (Kings Of Leon)
09 - You Give Love A Bad Name (Bon Jovi)
10 - Wonderwall (Oasis)
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
SOMETHING UNTO NOTHING, or simply S.U.N., is a new supergroup featuring the whiskey-soaked female voice of Canadian icon and Juno Award winner Sass Jordan, and renowned songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Tichy, known for his work with Foreigner, Ozzy, Lynch Mob and currently in Whitesnake.
Their debut CD "Something Unto Nothing" has just been released, and I assure that will rock your ears.
Brittain-born, Canadian-raised may seem an unlikely source for such a soul-filled bluesy vocalist, but Sass Jordan has been pouring out her smoky sound and gaining fans with her raspy powerhouse voice for a couple of decades.
As session musician, Tichy played in one of Jordan's record, and after many years they reconnected and started to write together.
Both felt that in order to write the best, trend-free music they could, they needed to get away. They chose the mountains of Canyon Country and in an old, deserted shack S.U.N. was born.
Completing the band that drives this music home is Michael Devin (Whitesnake, Jason Bonham, Kenny Wayne Shepperd) on bass and Tommy Stewart (Godsmack, Fuel, Everclear) pounded out skins.
S.U.N. plays bluesy hard rock with a seventies feel but their sound is definitely updated, with an '80s vibe and soaring melodies.
From the opening song "Burned" the band seems to be having a helluva good time, with a great vibe and energy. Jordan has a terrific set of pipes, and sometimes she sounds like a male, plenty of swagger and attitude.
It should be noted that Brian Tichy is mostly known as drummer, but hell, the guy can play the guitar on par the best around there. His Les Paul delivers tons of melodious solos and tasteful riffs through classic set-up amps.
I can hear Whitesnake over some of the songs, as on the killer "Crazy Head", the catchy "I'm The One" and the superb "Razed" (which reminds me Coverdale/Page).
There's more bluesy numbers yet not less impactful such as the soulful "Mobile Again" and the ballads "If I Was You" and "Goodbye".
The combo also explores some hard-funk territories in the hooky "Did Me No Good", and acoustics in the great (a highlight) title track "S.U.N." and the Lovemongers-like "Wide Ocean".
"Something Unto Nothing" spreads talent all over.
Sass is an incredibly singer and Tichy does not stop to surprise with his class as musician - this time away from the drums - delivering a fantastic six-string work, varied, captivating, showing an overwhelming technique yet soulful, emotional.
If you don't like the seventies style, don't be fooled by the marketing about this album; the songwriting is '70 hard blues based, but the sound and general style is really updated (some '80s vibe) with crisp, brilliant delivery both in performances and production.
Very, very Recommended.
02. Crazy Head
04. Did Me No Good
05. Mobile Again
06. I'm The One
07. If I Was You
08. The Beginning Of The End (Instr.)
10. Wide Ocean
11. No Way Home
Sass Jordan - Vocals
Brian Tichy - Guitars
Michael Devin - Bass
Tommy Stewart - Drums & Percussion
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The mighty Swedes ECLIPSE have released without a doubt one of the best albums of the year: "Bleed And Scream".
The title track it's the chosen first single, and the physical CD version is exclusively distributed via Sweden Rock Magazine, with two exclusive bonus tracks (unavailable elsewhere) : "Come Hell or High Water" and "Into The Fire".
It's a pity that those two great tracks won't be listened by many fans worldwide, as the digipak CD is only available for the Sweden Rock Magazine readers / subscriptors.
A CD single that surely will be a collector's item soon.
Following on from the recent CD re-release of the excellent self-titled debut album from TOKYO (already presented here), now sees the light the second recording of these '80s German AOR stars: the awesomely titled "Fasten Seat Belts".
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 with 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 (the third and fourth will be reissued soon as well) 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
12 - Keiko [New Version] (bonus track)
13 - Rainy Days [Prev. Unreleased] (bonus track)
14 - Who Will Stop The Rain [Prev. Unreleased] (bonus track)
15 - Turn Off The Light [Prev. Unreleased] (bonus track)
16 - Mama [Prev. Unreleased] (bonus track)
Robby Musenbichler - guitar, vocals
Klaus Luley - guitar, vocals
Ken Taylor - bass, vocals
Lothar Krell - keyboards, vocals
Fritz Matzka - drums
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BLACK TORA is a Texas-based new rockin' band founded by brothers Chris Daniel (vocals & bass) and guitarist RazorDave.
With drummer Nicky X completing the trio, they have just released the melting EP "Raise Your Fists"
Everything is bigger in Texas, so it makes sense that Black Tora's EP feels bigger than just a set of five songs from a three piece band.
The group has been regarded as the new American '80s-styled Hard Rock promise in several magazines and radio/TV shows... would this EP live up to the hype? Simply put, yes -- it certainly does.
The first track, "Never Enough" is a pretty incredible experience with jet fueled guitars, big throaty vocals and a chorus fit for an arena. The band moves from classic Hard Rock guitar riffs to Hair Metal infused choruses and back with ease. The sound is big, thunderous and sharp.
"She Drives Me Crazy" builds off the first track and is much more melodic and ridiculously catchy. The wonderful sounds of eighties Y&T outcrops in this awesome tune.
Track three, "Shadows Of The Night", throws us the kitchen sink of slithering guitars and hard hitting drums before slowing it down to tell a tale of fright. A groovy and heavy track plenty of power.
If you are looking for the next 'Youth Gone Wild' (the Skid Row classic) you may want to check out the title track. "Raise Your Fists" is an up-tempo rocker where everything clicks, turning this tune into a fist pumper (pun intended) that begs you to 'take control and raise your fists for rock and roll!'. Awesome.
For the closer "Wild Child", it's easy to picture this song being played live on a big stage with pyrotechnics, 45,000 fans cheering and cages of strippers.
I am in love with "Raise Your Fists". No wait, I do have one criticism; it's a shame that there was not a full album, as leaves you wanting for more.
Black Tora is an incredible band full of energy, spectacular musicianship and terrific songs. Production is fantastic, handled by Provo Provenzano (Skinlab) and mastered by guitarist James Murphy (Obituary).
I am confidently telling you this is a predecessor to something bigger, something to look forward to. Many rock bands influenced by the eighties sound struggle to make it new -- however, Black Tora have figured out the formula to inject and make this happen.
If Black Tora maintain this songwriting quality and production sound (believe me, it's outstanding) for their full-length debut, we will be in front of a monster album.
01 - Never Enough
02 - She Drives Me Crazy
03 - Shadows Of The Night
04 - Raise Your Fists
05 - Wild Child
Chris Daniel - vocals and bass
RazorDave - guitars, backing vocals
Nicky X - drums
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
MÅRRAN was founded in Älvdalen, Sweden, three years ago by bass layer Morgan Korsmoe and guitarist Ludwig Larsson (both born 1989).
These young musicians with love for the seminal Hard Rock sounds wanted to create a band in this style with experienced colleagues in this matter, so they called seasoned veterans to join in.
Drummer Björn 'Binge' Inge (born 1952) from the legendary Swedish band November (the Scandinavian Cream and the first band to sing hard rock in Swedish language around 1970) and ex- Chuck Berry Band (yeah, you read it right) accepted immediately.
Then Hammond organ player Max Lorentz was in, known for his work as producer and musician for very many artists in Sweden and Denmark, and the guys really get surprised when legendary rock vocalist Göran Edman said 'yes'.
The self-titled album from the band comprises all the elements that made the Classic Hard Rock genre so influential.
The sound is incredibly '70s with a very bluesy feel, but they have a very interesting synergy going on as the experienced members contribute with the 'classic vibe' while the two young musicians provide a modernist approach, and all comes smoothly together.
Perhaps the best way to describe Mårran is their debut single "Gärdesbrud" - which roughly translates as "Woodstock Girl" - telling the tale of a slight romance in the grass of the 1970 swedish Woodstock-style festival 'Gärdesfesten'. Musically is a classic hard rocker with a great melody.
On the CD we have tight riffs yet not too much heavy (more melodic oriented), moving rhythms, tons of Hammond organs and vocals to die for.
Talking about the vocals, Göran Edman simply shines. You can give him a melodic rock, AOR, heavy, prog or whatever song and he does it perfectly.
But let me tell you that Göran's presence in Mårran is not the hired-singer slot, his involvement in the band is as stable member, as in his own words, this is his favorite genre. So he sings his heart out on these tracks in a performance plenty of fire and soul.
Mårran has taken a risk as the songs are written and sung in Swedish, but honestly, I don't care, this material just oozes quality everywhere. In fact, Swedish tongue sounds really nice and gives to their music a distinctive touch.
A really, really good Classic (Hard) Rock album.
1. Än sen (So What)
2. Folkvisa från Helvetet (Folk Ballad From Hell)
3. Syster Blå (Sister Blue)
4. Gärdesbrud (Woodstock Girl)
5. Del av mitt liv (Part Of My Life)
6. Dina ögon är blå (Your Blue Eyes)
7. Tänk om (Think Again)
8. Sockerflicka (Sugar Lady)
9. Med Lena (With Lena)
10. Ensamma Stränder (Lonely Shores)
11. Gånglåt från Zinken (Marching Tune From Zinken)
Göran Edman - Vocals
Morgan Korsmoe - Bass
Ludde Larsson - Guitar
Max Lorentz - Keyboards
Björn 'Binge' Inge - Drums
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KOMPENDIUM is the brainchild of Magenta’s Rob Reed, a monster Prog project which debut album "Beneath The Waves" has just been released, featuring a veritable who’s who from the Progressive world including Steve Hackett, Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), Mel Collins (King Crimson, Camel), Nick Beggs (Steve Wilson, Steve Hackett), Steve Balsamo (Jon Lord, Eric Wolfson), Nick Barrett (Pendragon) and many, many more.
"Beneath The Waves" is classic prog with diverse influences, from celtic sounds to classical, including melodious moments and magical soundscapes.
There's massive arrangements, sometimes subtle, sometimes majestic, and the varied array of musicians was cleverly chosen for each according to their musicianship.
There’s a tendency for people these days to put on music and then pretty much ignore it, and keep it just as muzak. But you can’t do that with "Beneath The Waves" to enjoy it.
This is the kind of recordings where you have to pay attention, back to the days when albums meant so much to fans, when you put on a record and took the time to check out everything that was going on.
And well worth the time invested listening "Beneath The Waves".
It's a captivating Prog album, recorded in the way it used to be with care on all details and a superb production job.
Musicianship is remarkable too. In the old days, when major labels were able to finance something mammoth like this project, there was never any problem in getting big names into the studio. But that’s no longer the case, so kudos to Reed for the accomplishment.
A beautiful album.
01 - Exordium
02 - Lost
03 - Lilly
04 - Mercy Of The Sea
05 - The Storm
06 - Beneath The Waves
07 - Sole Survivor
08 - Alone
09 - Il Tempo e Giunto
10 - A Moment Of Clarity
11 - One Small Step
12 - Reunion
Steve Balsamo, Angharad Bryn - Vocals
Rob Reed - Keyboards, backing vocals
Steve Hackett (Genesis) - Guitar
Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) - Drums
Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett Band) – Chapman Stick, Bass
Troy Donockley (Nightwish) - Uilleann Pipes, Whistles
Nick Barrett (Pendragon) - Guitar
Neil Taylor (Tears for Fears, Robbie Williams) - Guitar
Jakko Jackzyk (20th C. Schizoid Band) - Guitar
Francis Dunnery (ex It Bites) - Guitar
John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*) - Guitar
Mel Collins (King Crimson, Camel) - Sax
BJ Cole (Elton John, David Gilmour) - Pedal Steel Guitar
Chris Fry (Magenta) - Guitar
Christina Booth (Magenta) - Backing Vocals
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Monday, November 19, 2012
While in Talisman, one of the best Swedish Melodic Hard Rock of the nineties, the mighty Jeff Scott Soto and fellow bandmate Marcel Jacob - both prolific songwriters - started a side project to develop their co-penned material outside Talisman.
Called HUMAN CLAY, the duo Soto/Jacob released two albums via a small Swedish label; the selftitled 'Human Clay' and 'U4iA' (read Euphoria).
Despite being re-issued as double CD in '04, due its limited distribution these albums remains pretty unknown for Soto, Jacob, Talisman and general Melodic Hard Rock fans worldwide.
Now the Swedish label and production company A Sun Hill Production AB is re-releasing both albums with some bonus tracks, remastered and re-packaged with new artwork, entitled "Closing The Book...".
Human Clay was the vehicle for Soto and the late Marcel Jacob to develop their Euro Melodic Hard Rock very similar to Talisman in places, but there's also elements that not suited their main band and both wanted to play as well.
Aside from the catchy melodic hard rockers, we have some Scandi AOR numbers as "Vows In Stone", metalized songs as "Survive" or the awesome neo-classical hard rock of "Jealousy" where Yngwie Malmsteen lays a guitar solo (indeed it's a track in the vein of his Eclipse album).
There's also some bonuses not present in the original albums; "In The Line Of Fire", written by Soto/Jacob when they were in the Yngwie band during the '80s, "Boy On A Golden Hill" a well recorded demo by the duo at the begining of the nineties, and "Eternal Flame" co-written with John Norum where he plays guitar uncredited.
So, Human Clay offers more varied material than Talisman from the always awesome Jeff Scott Soto and great multi-instrumentalist Marcel Jacob, which handles most of the instruments here. Many well known Swedish musicians contribute as well, all uncredited due to contractual restrictions.
This remaster improves noticeably the quality over the original releases, and there's more to come, as A Sun Hill Production AB will be releasing the entire remastered Talisman catalog next year.
"Closing The Book..." is the definitive collection of Human Clay, the Melodic Hard Rock vehicle of the talented Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob as duo.
01 - In The Line Of Fire
02 - Salvation
03 - The Thin Line
04 - Pain & Deception
05 - 2 Your Heart
06 - Vows In Stone
07 - Stand 4 The Fall
08 - U4iA
09 - Golden Years
10 - Boy On A Golden Hill
11 - Outside Lookin' In
12 - Pretender
13 - Survive
14 - Lessons Of Love
15 - Without U
16 - Jealousy
17 - Holdin' On
18 - King Of The Nation
19 - Speed Demon
20 - Heaven On Earth
21 - Now It's Time
22 - Don't Look Back
23 - I Wanna Go Home
24 - Eternal Flame
25 - I'd Rather Have The Blues (Than 2 Spend My Life With U)
Jeff Scott Soto - lead & backing vocals, guitar, keys
Marcel Jacob - bass, guitar, keys, drums
Brian Young: guest lead guitars
Yngwie Malmsteen: guest guitar solo
John Norum: : guest guitar solo
and many more uncredited musicians
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Born in Bergen, Norway, ULF JORDAL was trained as classical pianist, but in his teens changed his musical tastes influenced by American AOR and West Coast musicians.
Ulf played and recorded with several Sandinavian bands, and although it has taken some time for his debut album as solo artist, finally it's here in the form of "Heartbeat Of Time".
The CD shows Jordal's different musical influences, mostly L.A. WestCoast AOR oriented, but there's also some melodic rock melodies interspersed between these songs.
Ulf has a warm voice with a wide range and he gives to the background vocals a very important part in his music, crafting beautiful harmonies nicely blended with the tight instrumental arrangements.
The session musicians, all from Norway, are skilled performers with taste and refinement.
Opener "Understand" pretty much describes Ulf's style, somekind of Toto's material penned by David Paich. Ulf is really into the piano playing of Mr. Paich and his vocals are dynamic and colorful, with - as said - elaborated background harmonies. There's a great rhythm into the song and a melodic, toneful guitar solo.
Follower "Every Connection" is even more classic Westcoast with a midtempo pace and the typical L.A. sound, as heard later on the very good "Start Believing", "Turn the Page" and "Living On a Lie".
Even if the base for the album are L.A. WestCoast / AOR sounds, Ulf also delivers Melodic Rock AOR oriented numbers such as title track "Heartbeat of Time" with a catchy chorus, "Look Out" which contains the most powerful riff on the album and got a very fitting reverb added when singing the chorus, and "Open The Door" with a great refrain and strong guitars.
We have ballads in the soulful "One More Try" and the orchestrated "Fight For Love", where Ulf's vocals really shine.
"Heartbeat Of Time" delivers a really good collection of classic L.A. West Coast AOR numbers interspersed with Euro Melodic Rock tracks with the usual quality expected from Scandinavian artists.
Everything is extremely polished and finely arranged. Ulf Jordal has a voice with a very special tone performing smooth leads and top notch background vocal arrangements, all sung by Jordal himself.
Most of the songs are of true quality, with flawless instrumentation and excellent production.
A delicate piece of music from Norway.
01 - Understand
02 - Every Connection
03 - One More Try
04 - Heartbeat of Time
05 - Start Believing
06 - Open the Door
07 - Look Out
08 - Fight for Love
09 - Turn the Page
10 - Love in Harmony
11 - Living On a Lie
12 - Holding On
Ulf Jordal - Lead & Harmony Vocals, Keyboards
Tobben - Lead & High Gain Guitars
Eivind Kvamme - Clean & Acoustic Guitars
Anders Bitustøyl, Thore Maehle - Bass
Torgeir Bjordal - Drums
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Known for his vocal work with The Scream, Motley Crue and Union (with ex-Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick), American hard rock vocalist JOHN CORABI is releasing his solo debut album entitled "Unplugged".
The CD offers 5 new original tracks, seven re-recorded songs from his past bands and in addition, features an exclusive 2012 behind-the-scenes interview with John.
Over the years, it seems there is no middle ground when it comes to people's opinions of John Corabi, either you love him or hate him.
With Corabi on vocals, Motley Crue released one critically acclaimed full-length CD. I've known several people who refused to listen to the album because it wasn't Vince Neil, yet when I put the album on and didn't tell them who it was, they loved it.
Also, there are a large number of people who won't give him a fair shot because the CD was released in the wake of grunge, and despite a Top-Ten placing on the album chart, it ended up being a commercial failure for the label.
While this new release it's a departure from the hard rocking stuff that you would expect from this singer, this is not a shock to anyone who has followed his career as Corabi has perfomed many acoustic gigs over the years.
But to issue an unplugged album as your debut solo effort is a ballsy move in my opinion. That being said, John is one of a few artists that could pull off such a feat after the career fronting the bands that he has.
A few years ago, John moved to Nashville and has been focused on writing songs for others as well as this "Unplugged" album.
The album gets off to an uptempo start with a favorite among Union fans, "Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)". It stays fairly true to the original with a nice guitar work. Very cool version.
Other well revitalized re-worked songs include an old '80s Corabi demo "Are You Waiting?", The Scream's very good tunes "Man In The Moon" & "I Never Loved Her Anyway" and Union's "Everything’s Alright".
The Motley Crue tracks of what Corabi was part are "Loveshine" & "Hooligan's Holiday", the latter one of the best of the CD in a great version. Originally, this cut is as heavy as possible. Here, besides being acoustic, it has a real delta blues feel to it. Former Union bandmate Bruce Kulick provides the lead guitar and nailed Mick Mars parts. I couldn't have ever imagined this song sounding like this but it works and works very well.
The brand new songs are quite good as well.
"If I Never Get To Say Goodbye" is a heartfelt ballad co-written with Nashville songsmith Gary Hannan. Sparse percussion and the harmony vocals really make this song stand out.
Lyrically, "Crash" is a tearjerker. The production and mix on this thack really shines and allows the individual parts to blend together perfectly yet they have room to breathe. Many bands these days record acoustic songs and they sound like a mess.
"If I Had A Dime" is another good new song co-written with bandmate and producer, D.A. Karkos. A lot has been said about John's past songwriting partners like Nikki Sixx and Kulick but from his songwriting contribution here, his musicianship and production throughout, I believe John has met his musical soulmate in Karkos.
"Open Your Eyes" is actually ten years old as it was originally recorded for a project Corabi had in 2002 called 'Zen Lunatic'. Here definitely you can hear the influence that Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith have had on John especially vocally and lyrically.
"Unplugged" isn't just 'a man and his guitar' album, it features a full band in a stripped down setting. There aren't any electric instruments or drums, just acoustic guitars and bass, hand percussion and shakers & three and four part harmonies, but all sounds full-wide and organic.
John Corabi has made a ballsy move for a debut solo album, but it does not disappoint in any fashion. I like the fact that John had Bruce contribute to non-Union songs, as it would have been easy to have Kulick re-recording his parts on acoustic guitar, but instead they went left of center and had him play on cuts from John's previous bands, The Scream and Motley Crue.
There are songs in "Unplugged" that will fit whatever mood you are in, there is some mighty tasty guitar playing on it, the percussion adds to the atmosphere and Corabi is singing better than ever.
Musicianship, production, mixing and mastering on this album are stellar, stripped but with tons of heart & soul.
John Corabi: Lead Vocals & Guitars
D.A. Karkos: Guitars & Vocals
Topher Nolen: Bass & Vocals
Cheney Brannon: Percussion & Vocals
Matt Farley: Percussion & Vocals
Bruce Kulick: Lead Guitar on 7 & 10
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Sunday, November 18, 2012
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the five piece Hard Rock band DESTROY SHE SAID have followed up their two EP releases in 2011 with the full-length debut album "Down To Dirty".
This is a band with the classic Australian riff-based Hard Rock sound that erupts from your speakers with molten riffs and supercharged attitude.
There’s an admitted Rose Tattoo feel to the bedrock of a few of these powerful tunes, also some The Angels and of course, some AC/DC influence can clearly be heard in the ballsy, blues based riffage, the enormous grooves, the tightness of the rhythm section and in the general aesthetic.
However, unlike a couple of other bands we could mention, these guys are far from a carbon copy of the aforementioned Aussie rock juggernauts.
Destroy She Said sound is more pub-rock and they inject an even stronger sense of boogie into their sound. The general tone projected in the music and lyrics is a little darker too.
Simon McCullough’s vocals resemble Bon Scott’s larynx being flayed alive with a sandpaper and gravel dermabrasion treatment, but he also reminds me Graham Bonnet on the more personal sounding tracks of the band.
The weight of Dave Walker and Youngy’s Marshall amps-fueled guitar riffs are thick, while Scampers and Greg Aldridge stomp with mighty rhythm section work on bass and drums respectively.
No mercy is offered in these ten red hot, ballsy rockin' tracks.
Sleazy characters come as thick and fast as killer riffs – from "Overrated" talking about 'medicated drama queen in an overrated social scene', through "Hookers Don’t Kiss" (what a fun number) 'sweet little thing, smelt just like a flower' to the eighties model/stripper of "Drivin’ Machine" – saints they ain’t, but great songs one and all they do make.
The sunday school tale of "Squirter" instantly reminds you Rose Tatoo both in lyrics as sonically, whilst the swagger of "She Fanged It" is pure amusement over some wah-wah pedal.
All the famous elements of traditional hard are here; metronome like drumming, hot riffs, frenzied solos, gravel throated singer, but there’s more.
"Down To Dirty" is not just some one dimensional Aussie pub rock album, some dynamics are injected late in the process.
"You Might Think I Love You" is a more atmospheric, slow burning groove, although still plenty powerful, and McCullough gives a mighty, lung bursting performance on this one that sends shivers down the spine.
Last track "It’s Coming Out Now" is a raunchy shuffle, interspersed with some heavy heavy blues, and is pretty unexpected as well. These guys saved the best til last.
"Down To Dirty" is a tough, straight and honest Hard Rock record: ten tracks of guitar-driven ballsy rock fueled by a vicious rhythm section and driven home by the particular vocals of Simon McCullough.
What puts Destroy She Said in a different place than the many bands playing this style is their freshness. Yeah, there's an Aussie pub rock sound going on at its core – but what you can hear from this young band is their hunger to rock, rock hard uncompromisingly.
Classic (Hard) Rock is alive and kickin' in Down Under land.
02. Game Over
04. No Church
05. She Fanged It
06. Hookers Don't Kiss
07. Fanta Pants
08. Drivin' Machine
09. You Might Think I Love You...
10. It's Coming Out Now
Simon McCullough - vocals
Youngy - guitar
Dave Walker - guitar
Scampers - bass
Greg Aldridge - drums
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Friday, November 16, 2012
Here at 0dayrockz presented WHITE FLAME some weeks ago.
The quartet from Finland have been in operation since 2002 releasing two albums and making some noise hitting two #1 singles in the Scandinavian chart.
After three years since their last album, finally White Flames' third CD "Cougar" hit the stores today. And well worth the wait.
White Flame's music has a shining vibrant '80s feel with a modern basis sparkling through, some kind of hair metal blended with melodic rock with that unmistakable Scandi flavor.
Right from the start with "Get What’s Mine" you'll be in love with this disc. A melodious rocker with a bouncing rhythm, catchy riff and harmonic vocals. The sound is incredibly crisp and brilliant.
Then we have the already presented single "I Know Where You Live", a contagious melodic hard rock anthem that surely will hit the rock charts, at least, in Europe.
"Make Believe" is one of the more mature tracks on the CD, an adult midtempo pop-rocker with thick sound and fantastic layers of harmonies. Love it!
Ready for some cowbell? Title track takes you straight to '80s Sunset Blvd, a foot tapping track plenty of swagger, followed by the tongue in cheek "What Girls Like".
The retro twang of "Used To Be A Girl" is simply catchy with its Enuff 'Z Nuff-like chorus, and then we get back to anthemic hard rock with the bombastic and aptly titled "Right Back In". Just love these guitars.
It should be noted that the tracklist in this album was cleverly done selecting the appropriate song sequence to make the CD flow like a charm.
Next there's the rocking and catchy version of Roxette's classic hit "The Look" filled with stinging guitars an huge drums, before White Flame surprise us with the finely orchestrated ballad "Stay", a commercial midtempo superbly arranged, a tune with single hit potential.
I said the song sequence benefits this album, and 'we get' back to rock with "We Get It On", a moving hard rocker with a hot riff reminding you late seventies Aerosmith just with tons of modern layered guitars.
How about some bombastic super-produced anthem? "Gutted" is a pumping, fist in the air anthem ready for arenas.
Last track "The Question" finds the band exploring some more elaborated sounds adding acoustics and strings, a semi-slow tune but not a ballad. Interesting, though I prefer the band rocking hard.
White Flame has released an album that, if properly managed, easily could shot them to stardom.
"Cougar" is varied, swaggering, sexy-charged and catchy as Hell. These guys have killer songs with a commercial focus but rocking, stadium-rock inspired with huge radio friendly melodies.
One of the highest points in this album is the awesome production, surely the best heard recently. Handled by the afamed knob-twiddler Chris Laney - probably the most talented rock producer around at the moment - there's tons of multi-track layers of sounds expertly mixed with a crisp output.
1. Get What’s Mine
2. I Know Where You Live
3. Make Believe
5. What Girls Like
6. Used To Be a Girl
7. Right Back In
8. The Look
10. We Get It On
12. The Question
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It took Bristish AOR Melodic Rockers DANTE FOX seven years to come up with their third album 'Under The Seven Skies' (2007) and we had to wait another 5 years for this brand-new effort “Lost Man’s Ground”.
Five years may seem a long period, but as long as the quality is there, you can’t complain. And quality is indeed written all over this new album, which has just been released independently by the band at the recent Firefest and will available from all good CD outlets.
Tim Manford and Sue Willetts have come up with their best songs so far and listening to the end result, you can almost feel the pleasure they must have had recording the new stuff.
Both musicians sound quite mature and they got help from great names such as Eric Ragno on keys and rising star Alessandro Del Vecchio on harmony and backing vocals.
This material takes the band back to their more pure style of melodious AOR packed with terrific harmonies. Very good tracks such as "Who Stole The Innocence" which has a great melodic line, the true AOR bliss of "Secrets" or the soaring melodic rocker "I Can't Sleep".
“Lost Man’s Ground” is a great AOR Melodic Rock CD in the classic British style. Only 8 tracks, but among them are no fillers, all are really solid, brilliant songs in this genre.
This much anticipated release sees the band revisiting the pure AOR of their nineties debut album but with a superior production by Mark Stuart and Sheena Shear of M2 Studio (Magnum). Despite of being released by themselves, the sound is top notch.
One of my favorite Female Fronted AOR/MR releases of the year for sure.
1. Who Stole the Innocence
2. Go Where Your Heart Is
4. I Can't Sleep
5. Lost Man's Ground
6. This World
7. Goodbye to Yesterday (Acoustic/String Version)
8. Lost Man's Ground (Radio Edit)
Sue Willetts - Lead Vocals
Tim Manford - Guitar, Vocals, Bass on 3
Andy Perfect - Drums
Alan Mills - Bass
Eric Ragno - Keyboards
Roman Wieckowski - Keyboards on 7
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Harmony Vocals
Tony Mills - Backing Vocals on 7
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THE FORCE was formed in 2002 by British guitarist Mark Elliott and German drummer Hanns Haurein who both live in Switzerland. They meet up with the Swiss bassist and keyboardist Beat Schaub and the line-up was completed.
"Stone Cold" is the band's 4th album, a strong blues-infused Classic Hard Rock CD.
The Force owns an energetic, genuine handmade bluesy Hard Rock sound driven by fat guitar-riffs, melodious vocals and a precisely working rhythm-section.
There could have been no more ideal opener than "Ride". You will be totally awake in the morning by listening to this song on your way to your work or on a pleasure ride with your Harley bike. Elliott has the perfect voice for this kind of stuff that recalls Dave Meniketti (Y&T) in places, and he can play melting guitar solos as well.
Next, "Givin’ It Up" blast your ears with a deep bass groove, super drum beats and fast guitars, followed by the Hendrix inspired hard rocker "All I Need" fueled by Elliott devilish slide-solos. This man is really good at his game.
The catchy (cowbell included) "Run, Run, Run" is a jumpin' commercial rock'n roller where the band sounds more contemporary yet firmly blues based.
The highlight on the CD arrives with "Black Rain". It starts slowy with clean guitars and a cadence reminding earlier Scorpions, then at the end and after a killer solo, the tempo accelerates into a driving classic tune complete with Hammond B3 keys. Awesome track.
Talking about classic stylings, "This Time Your Turn" transports you to the seventies with a Montrose vibe yet with an updated sound.
Elliott sings "Call Me A Doctor" with fire over a venomous rhythm, this is Classic Rock people, and a good one.
Title track is a bluesy, groovy monster rocker, and then "Broken Machine" invites you to ride your Harley again. "Cry" will make tear your stereo indeed, again resembling Y&T. Power track with lots of melody.
Last song "New Day" ends the CD with a deep uptempo groove, a truly good instrumental tune with great feeling that makes you want to see this band alive.
Almost unknown outside central Europe, The Force is an awesome bluesy Hard Rock trio delivering a hot performance through the twelve tracks in "Stone Cold".
This is a polished and tightly played collection of tracks, plenty of power yet very melodic. Don't expect a dirty approach or grit here, this is a quite harmonic, slick material.
These guys - and specially British singer/guitarist Mark Elliott - are tremendous musicians who not only have learned the Classic Rock book by heart, also add to their traditional bluesy hard style a personal touch with a dynamic sound.
Production is darn good, vital and clear.
Don't miss this one, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
02. Givin' It Up
03. All I Need
04. Run, Run, Run
05. Black Rain
06. This Time Your Turn
07. Call Me A Doctor
08. Stone Cold
09. Broken Machine
11. Only The Good Die Young
12. New Day
Mark Elliott - Vocals, Guitar
Beat Schaub - Bass
Hanns Haurein - Drums
Loovy - Keyboards
Peter Tanner - Vocals
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