Fans of Melodic Rock and AOR acts such as Journey, Giant, Whitesnake, and others will wet themselves after hearing the new project featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Lead Vocals, Robert Sall, Guitars, and Erik Martensson, Guitars, Bass, & Keyboards, appropriately titled W.E.T.
“W.E.T” (Work of Art, Eclipse, Talisman) is an acronym for the bands which comprise this new act and if you are not familiar with the members previous work you should get ready for an album filled with big melodic hooks, fiery guitars, and melodies galore. Along with a little help from Magnus Henriksson, Guitars, and Robban Back, on Drums, W.E.T. have put together one of the best melodic rock records of the year.
“Invincible” is the perfect opener giving us a taste of what we can expect on this album right from the start with it grand keyboards, a driving intro from Martensson on guitar, and of course JSS’s vocals, who I think is one of the most underrated singers in the music business today. “One Love” was my first taste of W.E.T. and I was instantly hooked with it’s radio ready chorus, outstanding background vocals, and a great driving bass line that combined make you want to crank up the volume and sing along at the top of your lungs. Much like “Invincible” and “One Love”, “Brothers In Arms” is another radio friendly track custom made to light up the bics and cell phones throughout the stadiums.
Very seldom, am I impressed with ballads, but not only am I impressed with “Comes Down Like Rain” it is the best song on this album and quite possibly one of the best songs of the year. JSS sings this song to absolute perfection and Magnus Henriksson plays one of the best solos I’ve heard this year. “Comes Down Like Rain” is one of those songs you just want to put on repeat and listen to it over and over non-stop. “Running From The Heartache” is a mid tempo track in the vein of Giant and Foreigner, Erik Martensson continues to impress me with his keyboards which enhance this album instead of trying to overpower the album like a lot of keyboards tend to do.
Other stand-out tracks include “I’ll Be There”, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”, “My Everything” and “If I Fall”. If you like your rock a little on the heavier side W.E.T. may not be your cup of tea, but if you like songs filled with sing along choruses, background vocals, and some stellar guitar and keyboards, W.E.T. will definitely fit the bill. I can’t see fans of Journey, Giant, Hardline, or Foreigner not having this album in their collection. Hopefully this will not be the first and last W.E.T. album, as I am definitely looking forward to seeing how the band can progress after this debut.
Rating: Out of 10
02. One Love
03. Brothers In Arms
04. Comes Down Like Rain
05. Running From The Heartache
06. I’ll Be There
07. Damage Is Done
08. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
09. One Day At A Time
10. Just Go
11. My Everything
12. If I Fall
Jeff Scott Soto: All Lead Vocals
Erik Martensson: Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Robert Säll: Lead Guitar on Running From the Heartache.
Robban Back: Drums
’77, the new hard rock act from Spain, has released a new album, 21st Century Rock. Check out their new video, “Big Smoker Pig”.
Frontiers Records announces the return of GIANT for the release of a brand new album in early 2010.
After recording two albums with christian rockers Whiteheart in the early 80’s and having made a name as session players in the Pop and Rock scene, guitarist / vocalist Dann Huff and his drummer brother David hooked up with Alan Pasqua, an experienced keyboards player which lent his talents to loads of Jazz and Rock artists and Nashville session bass player Mike Brignardello to form Giant.
They eventually signed with A&M Records and released 1989’s “Last of the Runaways”, featuring a classic, melodic hard rock sound, which yielded a top-twenty hit with “I’ll See You in My Dreams“. Giant’s debut album is still regarded nowadays as one of the highest points in melodic hard rock of the end of the eighties melting diverse influences such as Van Halen, Journey and U2 to create an instantly recognizable sound. After countless tours and live performances in the US and Europe, the band recorded the follow up album Time to Burn in 1991. Slightly more aggressive than it’s predecessor, but still magnificent in the production and songwriting departments. this album is also regarded as a main source of influence for many melodic and hard rock bands nowadays.
Soon after the release of “Time To Burn”, Alan Pasqua decided to quit the band and went back to session work. The band toured once again Europe and US without him, but soon after disbanded. Dann Huff then became one of the most respected producers of our era, working in the Rock, Pop and Country Music with countless artists including Shania Twain, Megadeth, Faith Hill and several others. His brother David also started to become more and more involved in the production business and thanks to a mutual friend he was introduced in 1999 to Frontiers Records managers Serafino Perugino and Mario de Riso. This eventually brought to a meeting in Chicago were the label proposed David to bring back the name and the music of such a great band. The “III” album was released in 2001 with major acclaim in the Classic and Melodic Hard Rock community.
However Dann’s busy schedule along with the other members’ commitments, made the reunion impossible to carry on. However the vision of bringing back Giant as a living band unit with a recording and touring line-up and with of course the possibility to carry on the enormous legacy of the music produced so far with the same quality was raised a few times in conversations between David Huff and Frontiers. As time went by it became apparent that Dann Huff could not be a full part of this concept, even though he loved everything that Giant was. Thus original members, drummer David Huff and bassist Mike Brignardello, who wanted to go back to Rock, started an endless research for the right musicians that could be part of a renewed Giant line-up. And in the end the choice fell on singer extraordinaire Terry Brock (Strangeways, Seventh Key) and on John Roth (Winger) on guitars. David Huff comments: “Yes, we have decided to move forward. But we’re not trying to replace Dann, because that could never be done. We have picked up where we left off and have added a great new flavor. We will always stay close to the original core of what Giant was: a melodic arena rock band based around guitar riffs. We will stay with the same principle of vocals too–great harmonies and melodies. Terry’s vocal style is very complimentary to Giant’s core sound–he has tremendous feel (soul) and range along with power. John’s guitar playing is very powerful too”.
The band has completed the songwriting and according to David: “It feels good to be working on Giant again! In early April we had an incredible week with the new Giant line-up, we have some great new songs and we are working also on some ideas that have been taking dust on the shelf for years. Dann was part of our meeting and has co-written several songs which no doubt have his guitar flavors all over them. He was also very excited and he has agreed to appear in the album playing guitar on two songs”.
It is now possible to hear a sample from the first single “Promised Land”, which will also be the title track of the forthcoming album, that will exclusively appear on the Rock the Bones vol. 7 sampler that will be on sale from November 7th. More song titles include: Our Love, Complicated Man, Two Worlds, Plenty of Love, I’ll Wait For You and more.
For the majority of 2009 I have been preaching to anyone that will listen how great English rockers Heaven’s Basement are and how big I think they are going to be. So naturally I was thrilled when I made contact with drummer Chris Rivers back in August on the possibility of interviewing the band. The band agreed and everything was set to go and unfortunately as fast as it came together it also ground to a halt with the announcement of bassist Rob Randell leaving the band for personal reasons, a few canceled dates, and finding a new bass player, and not to mention getting back on the road to finish a European tour.
Finally Chris and I were able to make contact and reschedule, so now without further delay I proudly present to you one of the best new bands of 2009…Heaven’s Basement!
HRH: First off guys I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us here at Hard Rock Hideout.
Chris Rivers:: Our pleasure! Thank you!!
HRH: For the fans that may not know four of you guys (Richie, Chris, Rob, and Jonny) have been playing together for quiet a while first as Hurricane Party and then Roadstar. You released an e.p. as Hurricane Party and two kick ass albums as Roadstar.
Chris Rivers: Rob is actually no longer a member of the band, but yes, myself, Richie and Jonny have played together for 3-4 years in those bands. Jonny and Rob were actually the roots of this band, they have played together in bands since they were 14 years old. Myself and Richie joined Hurricane Party later on, we released one E.P as Hurricane Party on Sanctuary Records, soon after this the band changed name to Roadstar and later released 2 albums, the second was released at the same time as we split up.
HRH: What happened with the band as Roadstar after the release of the second album (Glass Mountain)?
Chris Rivers: We got ourselves into a very bad and unproductive situation with the bands management/label, it happened over time and one day we just all looked at each and said what the fuck have we got ourselves into. It wasn’t always like that, during the Hurricane Party days we had a fairly healthy working relationship with the people that worked for us and with us but that took a massive wrong turn around the time we changed name.
It came to the point were we all became sick of it and situation we were in, it didn’t feel like our band anymore so we ended it. We had some great times during that band, but it was totally clear to us when we had to leave it behind.
HRH: How long was it after Roadstar finished that you decided to give it another go?
Chris Rivers: After Roadstar split we all took about 6 months out in which we all went separate ways and done our own thing, we keep in touch and would regularly meet up to party, hang out etc.. It was only a matter of time before we started jamming together again! I think we all knew it was coming, it was just important for us to take some time out. There was no doubt that any of us wouldn’t be in a band again.
HRH: How did you come up with the name Heaven’s Basement?
Chris Rivers: During a party at Richie’s flat it was suggested we go down to Hevenz’s basement for a jam :)! it stuck with us from then!
HRH: Was it frustrating starting over 3x as a band just when it seemed you were starting to build some momentum?
Chris Rivers: Not really, Heaven’s Basement was totally different to anything we had done in the past! It was just us five with no ties or music industry bullshit to deal with, just 5 guys who love playing music, the band was born on energy and good times..it wasn’t forced. If we didn’t feel any vibe we wouldn’t have bothered, we didn’t have an attitude of ‘oh fuck, we gotta start again and get back to where we were fast!!’ When we started Heaven’s Basement we wanted to build up right from the start on our terms so it was an exciting challenge for us.
HRH: You have some great songs from Roadstar and Hurricane Party such as Crown of Thorns, Roadstar, Hold My Love, Stone, Get This, Rays, and especially If You Say. Do you still play any of these songs live or is there a chance we could hear new versions of them in the future?
Chris Rivers: 100% no, that’s all history for us, there is more chance of me becoming King of England haha! We need to make it clear that Heaven’s Basement is not another version of the former band, it just so happens that 3 of us played in bands together in the past!
HRH: When did Sid Glover come on board as guitarist replacing Robin Hirschfield?
Chris Rivers: Sid joined as the band’s touring guitarist about 6 months before the end.
HRH: How did the band meet Sid?
Chris Rivers: A few of us met him at a guitar show a few years back and kept in touch.
HRH: The band has always had a bluesy sound a’la Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones. What are some of the other bands to influence Heaven’s Basement?
Chris Rivers: We take our influences from many genres of music, we don’t try to sound like one thing really..we know what we are which is a good time rock n roll band with influences of blues, punk and glam but we all listen to lots of different types of music so all those influences come into our song writing and live show.
HRH: You guys are a songwriting machine. You have a 6 song e.p. available on I-Tunes and Heavensbasement.com but you have posted around 16 songs on your Myspace and Heavensbasement.com player. Of the songs I’ve heard so far Can’t Let Go, N.P.D., Mirrors, and Such Is Life are my favorites, but to be honest I haven’t heard a bad song from you guys yet.
Chris Rivers: Cool, thanks! we feel our song writing is getting stronger all the time, there are so many ideas between the 5 of us that sometimes we have too much to work with haha! we are really excited about when we get into writing our debut album, we already have loads of ideas for it.
HRH: How did the band decide what songs would make the e.p.?
Chris Rivers: To be honest, we didn’t have many songs at the time, so we just got into the studio and slammed them down in about 2 days, the songs that are on there are actually the only ones we recorded! We recorded ‘Can’t let go’, ‘Misunderstood’, ’10 Minutes’ and ‘deadman’ in different session. Those tracks were produced by Bob Marlette, Bob is one of the most talented guys we have ever met..he’s an absolute pleasure to work with and really knows how to get the best out of a band. We are really excited about working with Bob again in the future!
HRH: What are some favorites of the band?
Chris Rivers: Live favorites are ‘Tear’, ‘Reign’, ‘Executions Day’..also the heavy shit like ’10 mins’ is fun to play! I personally love the tracks where I get to really lay into my drums haha!
HRH: When will the world get a full album from Heaven’s Basement?
Chris Rivers: We are aiming for early 2010, that’s the plan.. we want to have it released before summer 2010, we will then do the full euro festival circuit next summer. We are still looking for the right label home, offers have come our way but nothing has felt right as of yet and we haven’t felt a desperate need to find a label so we won’t rush that side of things.
HRH: Will it be all new songs or will it have previously released songs also?
Chris Rivers: It will be all new songs, I am 99% sure of that.
HRH: Will you be posting anymore new songs on Myspace or the band’s website in the near future?
Chris Rivers: We will actually have some brand new tracks on our myspace in the coming weeks!!
HRH: The band tours like crazy, you just wrapped up a tours with Buckcherry, appearance at Sonisphere, and Papa Roach. What were those experiences like?
Chris Rivers: Amazing! At the end of the day Heaven’s Basement is a live band, thats where we do our thing. Being on the road has become second nature to us, we are still unsigned so we don’t have a label giving us tour support, we have to support ourselves and we do it very well! Its quite a nice feeling to be able to do it that way, hard work pays off you know. We have had a great summer touring alongside the likes of Black Stone Cherry, Tesla, Shinedown, Papa Roach and Buckcherry..there are so many stories from these tours already haha! Playing with bands of of that caliber really pushes you to become better as well, sometimes a good arse kicking is a good thing! :)
HRH: You just came off the road with Papa Roach. What were those shows like?
Chris Rivers:..It was insane!!!! the crowds were wild and Papa Roach/Madina Lake are all great to hang with.
HRH: Now the big question when are you guys going to hit the U.S.?
Chris Rivers: Ask Buckcherry;) .. we want to get over to the states asap, I am sure we will be over in 2010 to take a break from Europe.
HRH: It seems like 5 new bands from Sweden come out every week, but the U.K. has been holding it’s own with new hard rock bands making noise not only Heaven’s Basement but the Answer, Million Dollar Reload, and the Glitterati to name a few. What are some of the other British bands we should keep our eyes and ears open for?
Chris Rivers: Yeah, there is a few good bands in the UK that are touring hard like us guys, we have never really give a fuck about scenes, we are quite happy to do our own thing with or without other bands but there is no doubt that a few bands doing the same thing does help each other out, just like the the New wave of British metal back in the 80s, the thrash scene in LA, the grunge scene..etc etc. I would recommend people check out the following bands, Dear Superstar, New Device, The Crave, Decadenze, Sworn to Oath, Hollywood Tease, Tequila Rocking Bird and Wired Desire. These are all bands we have played with that are touring the UK hard.
HRH: I’m a big fan of all your music both as Roadstar and Heaven’s Basement and I could sit here all day asking questions. But is there anything else you would like to tell the fans before I let you go?
Chris Rivers: Sure, a big thanks to everyone that has supported us guys, no matter when from and where from, it means everything to us.
HRH: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today we really appreciate it.
Chris Rivers: Thanks Brian and Hard Rock Hideout for taking the time to do this!
Note: As I was putting the final touches on this interview, Heaven’s Basement announced Rob Randell’s replacement had been found. His name ironically is Rob (no last name needed)
Check out the brand new video “Skeleton Key” from Souls of We, featuring George Lynch on guitar!
Monster Magnet’s song, “Heads Explode” was featured on the 2001 album, God Says No. It was also on the Dracula 2000 soundtrack.
On a side note, the Dracula 2000 soundtrack also featured songs from Disturbed, Powerman 5000, Saliva, System of A Down and more. You can find new copies of this soundtrack for less than $3.00, at this link.