A few weeks ago on the Hard Rock Hideout Radio show, Brian Basher played a tune from the band McQueen Street. I immediately went scurrying through my collection of music to revisit this CD. I haven’t listened to McQueen Street in years, and never got around to loading it onto my drive.
The songs on this band’s 1991 debut area good mix of sleazy rockers, pop metal and even the dreaded ballads.
“In Heaven” is a tune that should have been a modest hit for McQueen Street. This song is worthy of a few replays.
“My Religion”, “Stick It” and “Money” are all solid tunes. I have played “Time” a few times, and I have grown to like this one quite a bit. There are parts of this song that have a real Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora type of style to it.
It almost sounds as if the band was trying to tap into the Aerosmith/Guns N’ Roses vibe with “Going Back To Mexico”. It doesn’t come close to achieving that level of greatness, and falls flat. The opening of this song reminds me of the Lionel Richie song “Dancing on the Ceiling” (insert shudder here).
“Woman In Love” features the six string wizardry of Steve Stevens, and this song rips as a result of his amazing fret work.
Derek Welsh’s vocals are quite noisy on the closing song “When I’m In The Mood”. This is fairly average stuff.
Overall, there a few good songs on this CD, and I am sure the hair metal fans will enjoy it. I wouldn’t consider this CD essential listening, but is worth picking up if the price is right.
It has been out of print for years, so eBay and Amazon.com are the best places to f ind it.
- Only The Wind
- Two Worlds
- In Heaven
- Going Back To Mexico
- My Religion
- Stick It
- Woman In Love
- When I’m In The Mood
Derek Welsh – lead vocals and guitar
Michael Powers – lead guitar and background vocals
Richard Hatcher – bass and background vocals
Chris Welsh – drums, percussion and background vocal
Jeff Scott Soto – background vocals
Steve Stevens – additional guitar
C.J. Vanston – keyboards
OVERKILL - with 15 studio and a few live albums released by Overkill since their 1985 Feel The Fire debut, these Thrash Metal legends originating from New Jersey, have unleashed their newest Metal carnage among the masses… IRONBOUND. Released on February 9, 2010 on E1 Music, Ironbound could very well be Overkill’s finest album to date. Judging from the speed and thrashtastic riffage, leads and solo’s of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer, frenetic drumming of Ron Lipnicki, empowering bass grooves from DD Verni and of course, the trademark, hardened and vicious vocals of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, to walk away from Ironbound feeling Thrash fulfilled is a Metal understatement. The two opening songs – “The Green And Black” and “Ironbound” are how Thrash Metal albums are supposed to begin… like decisive missile strikes and extremely Metal monumental.
“Ironbound” just sounds as if DD and “Blitz” decided to not just remind the world they are Thrash Metal originators and icons, they have also pronounced and engraved their loyalty to a genre they helped create. “The Green And Black” offers such a diverse song structure, with it’s near epic length of over 8 minutes. “Endless War” capitalizes on the combination of lyrical imagery, (a soldiers dread, suffering and anguish of dying) and blazingly brilliant, Thrash musicianship. The sinister acoustic intro to “The Goal Is Your Soul”, only accentuates the impending Thrash heaviness that is to follow. This song’s message can/may be interpreted: reap what you sow by your actions/words and knowing one can lose their soul to damnation and the dark unknown, despite life’s blessings being fulfilled or not. This is Overkill’s reality check… as only they can deliver it.
“The Head And Heart” is emblematic of what Overkill’s Thrash Metal makeup is all about. A dark lined intro that submerges your ears into the Thrash assault of heavy and fast grooves with the punctuated vocals of “Blitz” that come across with hellish and angst ridden conviction. The more times I delve my senses into Ironbound, the more I become convinced of Overkill’s allegiance to the foundation of Thrash Metal. Overkill reaches into their underground roots if you will, which is conveyed by them with dominance in their playing, energy, spirit, sound and feel of Ironbound.
Metal truth be told, this is probably the first Overkill album ever, where I have been highly enticed by deciphering the lyrics! This is not to say Overkill never possessed smart, entertaining or attention grabbing lyrics in their past albums. Ironbound just carries with it, an increased intellectual approach to it’s lyrical messages, in my Metal opinion. DD and “Blitz” seemed to turn it up a notch with their lyrics and song writing and this entire Overkill unit has obviously approached this Ironbound album with a type of new found Thrash epiphany.
Lyrical meanings aside, Ironbound is equal to or more explosive, heavy, fast and mean as any Thrash album in Overkill’s iconic catalog. If Overkill were ever be remembered as Metal martyrs, they would be for the Thrash Metal cause they have valiantly forged, with blue collar blood, sweat and muscle for over 25 years. Overkill carrying and waving the flag of Thrash Metal, spanning across decades, is not something I or countless others can ignore. This Overkill lineup has cast their finest album together, Ironbound is a new Overkill Thrash Metal classic, proving once again, this band has not abandoned the Thrash Metal cause, their fans or themselves.
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – Vocals
D.D. Verni – Bass, Backing Vocals
Derek “The Skull” Tailer – Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Ron Lipnicki – Drums
Dave Linsk – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Paradox delivers the thrash & power with Riot Squad!
PARADOX, just another one of Germany’s very finest, in a long line of Metal greats. When you wish upon a Metal star, looking for that incredible combination of Thrash with a slight dose of Power Metal, all you need is Paradox… they shall deliver! Since 1987, Paradox is Old School, yet what sets this band apart from being considered stagnant is their hunger and drive for maintaining relevancy.
Gus Drax on lead guitar summons up the ferocity of what Thrash Metal was built upon, while establishing and securing melodic leads and solo’s throughout the entire Riot Squad album. Just one listen to the song Rise In Rank and the message is clear, Paradox is not a Metal band that is about to rest on their Metal laurels. Riptide is as strong a contender of Thrash excellence in 2010 as any Thrash Metal song I’ve listened to in recent months. Riptide alone is worth a dozen repeat listens!
Charly Steinhauer on lead vocals and guitar, is never the overpowering force… which is a great attribute in any Metal outfit. Charly’s vocals are melodic and laced harmoniously with hardened edges of experience. Charly Steinhauer has the Metal gift of having both Thrash and Power Metal vocals, thus the Thrash meets Power Metal reference I made earlier. Hollow Peace is a song I consider to showcase Paradox at their tightest and most momentous as a unit, it’s melodic ferocity that I hear, which is such a fine trademark of this untiring band.
Paradox has many Metal strengths, Olly Keller on bass and Roland Jahoda on drums remind me that speed is not focused entirely around the guitarists, this tandem executes precisely how a rhythm section holds everything together with mesmerizing speed of their very own.
Paradox does not just pull it off with Riot Squad, this is a Thrash Metal strike at the knees. The roots and credibility of this band’s past comes through on every song, a continuance of a Metal legacy is what Paradox has accomplished. As I see and hear it, let the underlying nuance of Power Metal in Paradox reign, it is the Thrash Metal override that catapults them onto the level of their elite peers. Paradox fans will either agree with me or they are too busy Metal rejoicing in the streets due to Riot Squad. New fans to Paradox should not just be buying and listening to only this great Paradox album… do yourself an important Metal favor and get ahold of Product Of Imagination from 1987 and Heresy from 1989, the roots, the legacy of Paradox are seeded in these must albums. Despite the lineup changes that Paradox encountered since 1987, this band has achieved what had to be their Metal goal from the very beginning… to keep the Metal real. Paradox the band and Riot Squad the album are real.
Riot Squad was released in Europe on October 16, 2009, and on January 12th, 2010 via AFM Records. For more information on Paradox, please visit the band’s myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Suburban Riot Squad
02. Hollow Peace
04. Rise In Rank
05. Evolution Reset
07. No Place To Survive
08. Dream Hero
09. Planet Terror
Charly Steinhauer – vocals/guitars
Kai Pasemann – guitars
Olly Keller – bass
Roland Jahoda – drums
It has been a long time since KEEL has given us a new album. Their last album VI was released in ’98 without much fanfare. How does their new reunion effort Streets of Rock & Roll stack up? A lot better than you might expect. With this CD, KEEL didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, and change their sound. The band wanted to make a classic sounding KEEL album, and I believe they have succeeded in that task. I somewhat expected Ron Keel to have lost some of his range with his vocals, but he does a great job on this record. Marc Ferrari and Brian Jay serve up some tasty guitar riffs that fans of KEEL’s earlier releases are sure to enjoy.
There really isn’t a band tune on this CD, in fact I enjoyed them all. If there was any doubt in your mind, the title track “Streets of Rock & Roll” quickly lets you know this album is going to rock. This song immediately captured my attention, and this is far from the hardest rocking track on this disc.
“Come Hell or High Water” might be one of the best KEEL songs ever. This high octane rocker is easily my favorite on this CD. “Does Anybody Believe” is another great tune that will have people breaking out their lighters and cell phones in unison at KEEL’s live shows. “Gimme That” is a tune that will instantly get you rocking.
Overall, Streets of Rock & Roll is now my second most favorite KEEL album next their awesome self titled album from 1987. Ron Keel & company have crafted a well written CD full of catchy rockers that will definitely appeal to fans of hard rock and hair metal. This is one of the better releases of 2010. Don’t miss this!
For more information on KEEL, check out the band’s myspace page. Streets of Rock & Roll will be released on February 23rd, 2010.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Streets Of Rock & Roll
2. Hit The Ground Running
3. Come Hell Or High Water
4. Push & Pull
5. Does Anybody Believe
6. No More Lonely Nights
7. The Devil May Care (But I Don’t)
8. Lookin’ For A Good Time
9. Gimme That
10. Hold Steady
12. Brothers In Blood
Ron Keel – Vocals
Marc Ferrari – Guitar
Bryan Jay – Guitar
Geno Arce – Bass
Dwain Miller – Drums
KITTIE – “IN THE BLACK” SCREAMS KITTIE IS BACK! KITTIE – In The Black marks the fifth studio release from a Metal Band that epitomizes perseverance and a blue collar, Metal work ethic. Since 1999′s album Spit, Kittie has certainly come a long way… both in song writing and evolving as musicians. The proof is in listening to 2007′s Funeral For Yesterday and now, without a Metal doubt in my mind, In The Black. Can In The Black be considered THE breakout album of Kitties Metal career? Absolutely it can. With experience comes identity and Kittie has seemed to nestle right into their very own Metal comfort zone… still with many reminders of the vengeful lyrics, extreme vocals and Metal Music being played as fast as a ballistic missile out of control. That is the Kittie that us die-hard fans don’t ever want to see go away… while simultaneously embracing the Melodic Metal moments of Kittie that is now. The blend of extreme and melodic is reality in Metal Music, Kittie knows this and encapsulates it on In The Black better than I could have ever imagined.
The minute and a half intro of Kingdom Come is as delicate of a Heavy Metal instrumental as one can wish for. Do not be fooled by the sweetness Kingdom Come breathes however, the remaining 11 songs are greatly Metal vicious as they are sinister sweet… please Kittie, give me more! The Truth at almost 7 minutes long is a showcase of Morgan Lander’s vocal talents, she can offer up to you a freshly baked cupcake and then hand over your heart on a Metal platter. Morgan Lander can be trusted though… vocally she has elevated herself to near icon status among her female AND male peers within the Extreme and Metal community.
Die My Darling and Sorrow I Know are two songs that have their slivers of commercial appeal, the heavy, melodic and unforgettable guitar leads and riffs are complimented by once again… Morgan Lander’s Metal harmony. Morgan’s enticing vocals should not shroud the fact that she can play a credible note or two on guitar as well. Each time I listen to Sleepwalking, I need to remind myself that Metal Bands sometimes DO evolve into something special. Evolving from the stigma of Metal brutality to Metal exquisiteness like Kittie has done needs to be commended and exalted in the highest of praise. If I had to choose THE standout song on In The Black, without deliberation it is Now or Never. Every Metal quality that Kittie has in their Metal box of tricks is featured in Now or Never, from melodic and extreme vocals to a super catchy guitar solo.
Tara McLeod is now the guitar veteran of the Funeral For Yesterday and In The Black albums, solidifying her Metal legacy alongside fellow guitarist Morgan Lander, both with too numerous and solid guitar licks to mention. Kittie also empowered their unit to even greater Metal heights two years ago, by recruiting Ivy Vujic on bass guitar. What I hear on In The Black, is an asset to the rhythm section from Ivy. To be playing along with the beyond astute drummer Mercedes Lander is quite a professional achievement.
If anything can be learned from listening to In The Black, is that the Metal world has a sister duo in Morgan and Mercedes Lander that are as gifted musically as they are resilient. In The Black can easily be considered the bridge into Kittie’s second Metal chapter. The Lander sisters know and give more than a nod to their Metal roots and influences, while demonstrating they can recruit and mold new young talent within their Metal family they call Kittie… take a bow Kittie, you deserve it.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Kingdom Come
2. My Plauge
3. Cut Throat
4. Die My Darling
5. Sorrow I Know
6. Forgive and Forget
7. Now or Never
8. Falling Down
10. Whiskey Love Song
11. Ready Aim Riot
12. The Truth
Morgan Lander – Vocals & Guitar
Mercedes Lander – Drums
Tara McLeod – Lead Guitar
Ivy Vujic – Bass
After the demise of the Christian Metal band Liberty N’ Justice, band found Justin Murr decided to carry on with the Liberty N’ Justice name. Without a band at his disposal, he has brought in countless rockers to help create the songs from Liberty N’ Justice. Light It Up, is the brand new CD that was recently released by LNJ . It is s a star studded affair, and a damn fine release at that.
Typically, I am not a big fan of compilation CD’s, but Light it Up is a well rounded affair, and sounds great all the way through.
The first time I heard the title track “Light It Up” I did a double take. I could not believe this was Phil Lewis on vocals. Lewis sings in a lower key than I am accustomed to hearing him sing in. This is a rockin’ tune, and a pretty cool way to start off this CD.
Dale and Troy Thompson from Bride blast out the tune “The Other Thief” which sounds like it could be an unreleased Black Sabbath tune.
CJ Snare and Bill Leverty take the song “Blink” and make it sound like a lost Firehouse classic. I could see Firehouse doing this song live. Great tune!
“Man vs. Mother Nature” reunites the team of Ted Poley & Vic Rivera. If you liked the Poley /Rivera album, of any Danger Danger tunes, you are going to love this awesome song. This is easily the best on Light it Up.
“Uncle Sam”, which combines the talents of Sheldon Tarsha and Foreigner’s Jeff Pilson. If you haven’t heard Tarsha sing before, you are truly missing out. I would have never thought about combing Tarsha with Pilson, but this combination works. This is another terrific tune.
“Every Reason To Believe” is an acoustic based tune which features Kelly Keeling & Kerri Kelli. I have always loved Keeling’s voice, and he delivers with this song. If “Every Reason To Believe” would have been released in the late eighties, it would have been a monster hit. I can imagine a stadium full of lit lighters (or cellphones) swaying to this excellent tune.
I must admit that haven’t listened to a ton of Harem Scarem. “Beautiful Decision” which features Harem Scarem’s Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance, is a fantastic melodic rocker that is going to have me shopping for some Harem Scarem CD’s.
If “Greed” is any example of what the new Warrant tunes will sound like, sign me up now. I have loved just about everything Robert Mason has been involved in, and I can add LNJ’s “Greed” to that list.
Overall, “Light It Up” is one of my favorite new releases of 2010. If you are looking for a CD that can offer you a lot of variety, strong writing, and great sounding songs, you don’t need to look any further than Libery N’ Justice’s Light It Up.
Rating: Out of 10
- Light It Up (Phil Lewis of LA Guns and JK Northrup)
- The Other Thief (Dale and Troy Thompson of Bride)
- Blink (Lynn Louise Lowrey of Vixen and Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister)
- Do What You Believe (CJ Snare and Bill Leverty of Firehouse)
- Man vs. Mother Nature (Ted Poley of Danger Danger and Vic Rivera of Crunch)
- Treading On Serpents (Les Carlsen of Bloodgood and Oz Fox of Stryper/Bloodgood)
- Uncle Sam (Sheldon Tarsha of Tarsha/Adler’s Appetite and Jeff Pilson of Dokken/Foreigner)
- Every Reason To Believe (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/TSO and Kerri Kelli of Alice Cooper)
- Wrestling With God (Pete Loran, Steve Brown of TRIXTER & Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of GN’R / Lita Ford)
- Best Time You Never Had (Chris Jericho (WWE Wrestler/Fozzy) and Phil Collen of Def Leppard)
- Beautiful Decision (Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance of Harem Scarem)
- Drunk Dead Gorgeous (Marq Torien of BulletBoys and Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P.)
- Greed (Robert Mason of Warrant/Lynch Mob and Jerry Dixon of Warrant)
- For Better Or Worse (Shawn Pelata of Line Of Fire/Waking Jonah and Stephen Chesney of Waking Jonah)
Melodic rockers Last Autumn’s Dream are back with their 7th release “A Touch of Heaven”, and it will have melodic rock fans chomping at the bit, wanting to get their hands on it. The German/Swedish group made up of Mikael Erlandsson (Lead Vocals, keyboards), Andy Malecek ( Guitars) Nalley Pahlsson ( Bass, vocals), Jamie Borger ( Drums, vocals) have put together one hell of a good album. Picking up where the bands’ last effort “Dreamcatcher” left off the band continues to perfect their sound and songwriting with songs ranging from custom built stadium anthems, mid-tempo rockers, to ballads. The guys even let their Cheap Trick influence shine through on both “See My Baby Jive” and a cover of the legends staple “Surrender”. Erlandsson and Malecek both shine on “A Touch of Heaven”, Erlandsson continues to show me why he is fast becoming one of my favorite singers today. The rhythm section of Pahlsson and Borger are tight and steady throughout the album, which may make their performances shine even brighter considering the fact they have not been playing together very long, Pahlsson replaced Marcel Jacob, who passed away last year.
“A Touch of Heaven” starts off with a brief intro titled “Heaven & Earth”, before heading into “Caught In Between”, which is a mid tempo number with a sing along chorus and some great bass from Pahlsson and a great solo from Malecek, who proves great solos are not all about flash and speed. “Top of the World” is next and like I said earlier it is a custom built stadium anthem, in my opinion would be a great way to kick off a live show as a way to get the crowd involved right from the start. “Top of the World” is just a great foot tapping, sing along song something the world needs more of these days. “Candle In The Dark” is another mid-tempo number, but a little more balladesque than “Caught In Between”, but still a good song nonetheless. “Come Rain Or Shine” is our fourth track and it can easily put up a good fight for best song on “A Touch of Heaven”, excellent playing by everyone involved, but Malecek’s solo and playing are simply brilliant. With some great background vocals, as well “Come Rain or Shine” is another great foot tapping sing along song. “Heartbreaker” has my vote as best song on the album, but that is definitely subject to change at any moment. Everything about this song is great from the chorus to the keyboards to the solo, it is just perfect melodic rock. The band get a little help from the one and only Jeff Scott Soto on “Last Mistake” as he contributed background vocals for this mid tempo gem, fans of Firehouse should find a lot to like about this song. Fans of Cheap Trick and Enuff Z’nuff will find a lot to love about “See My Baby Jive” as it could easily pass for a song from either band as well one more contender for best song on “A Touch of Heaven”. “What’s On Your Mind” & “How Long” are two more outstanding songs on “A Touch of Heaven” custom built for radio airplay as is the majority of this album.
If you have never heard Last Autumn’s Dream before “A Touch of Heaven” is the perfect starting point to get to know the band before going back to check out the rest of their catalog, if you are a long time fan of Last Autumn’s Dream then “A Touch of Heaven” will not disappoint at all. Simply put “A Touch of Heaven” is an excellent album worthy of your hard earned dollars.
Check out Last Autumn’s Dream on myspace at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Heaven And Earth
02. Caught In Between
03. Top Of The World
04. Candle In The Dark
05. Come Rain Or Shine
07. Last Mistake
08. See My Baby Jive
10. What’s On Your Mind
11. How Long
13. Jenny’s Eyes
Last Autumn’s Dream is:
Mikael Erlandsson (Lead Vocals, keyboards)
Andy Malecek (ex FAIR WARNING; guitars)
Nalley Pahlsson (TREAT bass, vocals)
Jamie Borger (TALISMAN; drums, vocals)
NIGHTMARE “INSURRECTION” – POWER METAL LEGENDS RETURN WITH A VENGEANCE!
When you think of a nightmare, it usually is the uninvited mind intruder in the middle of your sleep, maybe it’s the backup on the freeway during rush hour. Fear not fellow Metalheads, this Nightmare are the Power Metal warriors hailing from France and they reached a Heavy Metal milestone in 2009… their 30th anniversary of creating some of the best Power Metal to come out of Europe and the entire planet for that matter! To sustain the success and quality of Power Metal that Nightmare has achieved over three decades, is a legitimate Heavy Metal celebration. What better way to celebrate Nightmare’s legacy than to dive right into their September 11, 2009 release – Insurrection, on AFM Records.
Once you begin listening to Insurrection, if your like me, you’ll feel that the overwhelming waves of melodic Power Metal never sounded so glorious. “Decameron”, “Target For Revenge” and “Angels Of Glass” encompass every muscular nugget of what I crave for from Nightmare’s Power Metal attack. “Three Miles Island” is arguably the heaviest and fastest song on Insurrection, satisfying my need for Power Metal speed. Legions Of The Rising Sun does not lag far behind on the speed scale either, with guitarists Franck Milleliri and JC Jess impressing beyond my wildest Metal belief. “Eternal Winter” is a powerfully perfect song to culminate the Insurrection listening experience, with it’s anthemic chorus and slower tempo making for an emotionally driven ending. Nightmare has as formidable of a guitar duo here as any Heavy Metal band in 2010. Throughout Insurrection, the melodic licks are contagiously unreal.
Insurrection is a potent Power Metal release from 2009, one that Nightmare should beat their chests to with pride. Jo Amore on lead vocals can take a Metal bow, his range and pitch are to not just be enjoyed… revered as well. Jo Amore’s brother, David, plays the drums with precision and intensity, only magnifying the power of Insurrection to jaw dropping heights. Yves Campion on bass, keeps the rhythmic power machine on overdrive, adding more fuel to the already sweltering, Power Metal fire that is Nightmare… Insurrection.
Rating: Out of 10
Track Listing :
1. Eternal Winter
2. The Gospel Of Judas
4. Legions Of The Rising Sun
5. Three Miles Island
6. Mirrors Of Damnation
8. Target For Revenge
9. Cosa Nostra (Part I – The Light)
10. Angels Of Glass
Jo Amore – Vocals
Franck Milleliri – Guitars
JC Jess – Guitars
Yves Campion – Bass
David Amore – Drums
One of the harder to find CD’s in my collection is the debut effort by hard rockers Johnny Crash. This CD has been out of print forever and brings down big bucks on Ebay and Amazon.com. Finding a copy of it in 2010 will be a daunting task for any hard rocker. I finally tracked down a copy of this CD last year, after searching for this for months.
Was it worth the wait, and all of the searching? Absolutely!! Neighbourhood Threat kicks ass. Once upon a time I owned this cassette, but never replaced it on CD. It is every bit as good as I remembered it to be.
This band was fronted by former Tokyo Blade singer Vicki James Wright. If you haven’t ever heard him sing before, he has a cool raspy voice that fits this music to a tee. Fans of bands like Rhino Bucket, Dirty Looks and AC/DC are going to love this CD. This is sleazy good blues rock that does not disappoint. The band had a modest hit on MTV with “Hey Kid”, but like many of their peers in the ’90′s, Johnny Crash has little to no label support, and they broke up. They did release a follow up effort, Unfinished Business a couple of years ago, but it is not even in the same class as Neighborhoud Threat.
While the music on this disc is far from original, it is extremely good. There truly isn’t a bad song on this CD, as a result it is highly sought after release. Buy it, if you can find it! Happy Hunting!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Hey Kid
2. No Bones About It
3. All The Way In Love
4. Thrill Of The Kill
5. Axe To The Wax
6. Sink Or Swim
7. Crack Of Dawn
8. Freedom Road
9. Halfway To Heaven
10. Trigger Happy
11. Baby’s Like A Piano
Johnny Crash is:
Vicki James Wright -vocals
August Warchell – guitar
Christopher Stewart – guitar
Andy Rogers – bass
Stephen Adamo – drums
Nuclear Blast’s latest signee Mustasch is far from a household name in the U.S., but I am hoping that the band’s major label debut may change that. While Mustasch’s fifth effort does not have a U.S. Release date as of yet, it is available as an import, and is a hard rock release that you will not want to miss. With a sound that is like a blend of the Cult & Soundgarden, Mustasch has blasted out eleven more rockers that you need to hear.
Ralf Gyllenhammer’s mohawk might be gone, but this guy hasn’t stopped rocking one bit. His vocals are razor sharp, and helps drive this songs home on this CD. If you haven’t heard him sing before, you are truly missing out.
The opening prelude track “Tritonus” sounds like it fell out of Tony Iommi’s closet full of riffs. This leads into two great crunch rockers, “Hersey Blasphemy” and “Mine” (see video below). “Damn It’s Dark” would sound amazing on U.S. Radio, and the heavy riffs of “The Man The Myth The Wreck” practically demand headbanging.
The pace slows down somewhat for “The Audience is Listening”. This ready ready tune provides a nice break, but still rocks hard. The first song that I didn’t really care for is “Desolate”. The music on this song just didn’t work for me. Luckily, “Deep In The Woods” picks back up where “The Audience is Listening” left off. This is the type of song that you want to crank up, and rip the knob off. If you liked the Mustasch tune “Double Nature” you are definitely going to like this too.
“I’m Frustrated” is a slower number with a Zeppelin like vibe to it. It is a lot different from the other tunes on this disc, but it is cool nonetheless!
I have been a fan of Mustasch since discovering their previous release “Latest Version of the Truth” in 2007. I have been anxious to get my hands on this CD, and it does not disappoint in the least bit. You can import this CD from Amazon UK for about 17.99 U.S., it should also be available for download via Amazon and iTunes soon. It is definitely worth the high price of admission.
In my opinion, Mustasch is far too good to be a European only hard rock band. I am hoping with their recent signing to Nuclear Blast that they will soon find their way to U.S. soil. Don’t miss out on this excellent CD!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Tritonus (Prelude)
2. Hersey Blasphemy
4. Damn It’s Dark
5. The Man The Myth The Wreck
6. The Audience Is Listening
8. Deep In The Woods
9. I’m Frustrated
11. Blackout Blues
Ralf Gyllenhammer – Vocals – Rhythm Guitar
David Johannesson – Lead Guitar
Mats Johansson – Bass Guitar
Danne McKenzie – Drums, Percussion
Upon hearing the opening bass riff of Destiny Calls lead track “Broken”, you just know that something grand is about to happen. Hailing from Sweden with their third release, Destiny Calls finds Naughty Boys hitting their groove and stride as part of the Swedish heavy metal movement. Capturing the sound and power that seems to be steamrolling out of Sweden, Naughty Boys have caught our attention with Destiny Calls.
Rock and roll in the vein of Europe, Dokken, and a slew of 80s keyboard driven metal, Destiny Calls is an ear pleasing album bound to please any fan of slick, pop metal. The guitar work of Hans Olsson makes me feel like I’m in high school all over again, with power chords intertwined with beautiful, layered solos that surround the songs like silk. Guitar solos aren’t the only key features on this album though. Morgan Valentin is allowed to shine on more than a few tracks with glossy piano/keyboard solos that add depth and glam to the music.
Mikael Sandvik is a rocking singer who keeps his range in the lower end of the spectrum until it comes time for a rock scream. That’s when Sandvik steps it up and delivers the wailing vocals that are required of any hard rock singer worth his weight in metal. “Endless Pain” opens with a rock scream that calls out to the glory days of nostalgic heavy music. The song continues in that direction with the sound and feel of glam metal at its finest.
“Broken” is a solid lead track with a heavy opening bass line groove that riffs into an exciting guitar solo and showcases Sandvik’s lower key vocals. Visiting typical themes of being beaten down with feelings of failure, “Broken” shows how to overcome the odds and rise above it all, even when feeling at your worst. Blending into the background, yet standing out when focused upon, are Valentin’s keyboards. They add a nice touch to this song, completing it with a full sound that makes it a stand out track.
The double shot of ballads in the form of “Eternity” followed by “Fly With The Angels” was a nice combination that you don’t see much of anymore. Back to back ballads are very rare, but on Destiny Calls, it helps to raise the album to the next level.
“Eternity” is an ode to a lover, locked in an endless embrace and wanting nothing more than to be by her side forever. This is the weaker of the ballads on the album, not because the song is weak, which it isn’t, but because the lyrics are not as fresh and innovative as the rest of Destiny Calls. “Eternity” is rife with overstated used lines that are uncommon on the rest of the album. The guitar solo is incredible and overall the song is a great one, it’s just that the commoner lyrics stop it from being an absolutely killer song.
“Fly With The Angels” is the best song on the disc. Upon hearing it for the first time, my entire world stopped as I focused in on every lyric, every piano note, and every guitar lick. This is an amazing song that is bound to help Naughty Boys break through from the “sort of known” into the mainstream. Opening with a rip rocking guitar introduction, this is a ballad with power. The song starts with Sandvik singing softly for the first verse before the chorus kicks in with a heavy dose of rock vocal power that demands your attention. “Fly With The Angels” will certainly be played over and over again, possibly before you are even able to get to the end of the disc.
With themes of lost love and heartache, overcoming hard times, and giving your best to rise to stardom, Destiny Calls could be rife with clichés, but that’s what makes the album stand out. It’s not filled with typical overwritten lyrics and rhymes. Naughty Boys have found a way to put a new spin on old standards. While the songs center on the saturated metal material that has been done time and time again, the lyrics are fresh, and the delivery is bold. Naughty Boys have proven that they stand above the rest of the crowd and brought their perfect example of why in the form of their latest record. Destiny Calls is worth your time and money. This is a CD that you should spend some quality time with. It’s 80s metal for the 2010s and an amazing collection of incredible songs.
Rating: Out of 10
- Destiny Calls
- Don’t Turn Around
- Endless Pain
- Fly With The Angels
- Head Held High
- Light Of The Day
- Runaway Train
- Walk Away
Naughty Boys are:
Mikael Sandvik – Vocals
Morgan Valentin – Keyboard
Hans Olsson – Guitar
Jonas Ludvigsson – Drums
I first discovered the band Logan, when Irish hard rockers Million Dollar Reload mentioned them as a band that they have toured with recently. A few internet clicks later, and I stumbled upon another kick ass rock band from the UK. This unsigned band already has three CD’s under their belt, and have played with Alter Bridge & Bon Jovi, as well as major festivals in Europe. In the United States, they are largely unknown, but judging from the songs on Cruel Little World, that wont be the case for very long.
Logan’s third CD, Cruel Little World was re-released in 2008 with three bonus tracks, “Lost & Found”, “Grounded” and “New Way”. I would describe the band’s sound as a mix between Creed & Shinedown. It blows my mind that Logan is unsigned, as there are less talented bands touring the United States today. Cruel Little World is impressive collection of modern hard rock, that should be played on radio stations everywhere.
“Hallowed Ground”, “Out of Mind”, “Be Strong” and “New Way” are the heaviest cuts on this CD, and are easily my favorites. There truly isn’t a bad song in the bunch, and there are several hit worthy tunes on this disc.
You can check out the songs from Cruel Little World on Reverbnation at this link, and you can purchase it from iTunes at this location. This CD is going to be a mainstay in my play list, and it should be in yours too. Check Logan out! You will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Lost & Found
02. Stand To Reason
03. Hallowed Ground
04. Tell Me
05. When I Get Down
07. Out Of Mind
09. Be Strong
10. With Me (Acoustic)
11. New Way
Kenny Collins – Vocals
Al Reilly – Lead Guitar
Mick Coll – Rhythm Guitar
Iain Stratton – Drums
Steve Reilly – Bass
Digging deep into my collection, I found this lost gem, Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom. I recently loaded this CD into my play list as I completely forgot about this band. Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom was formed from the ashes of the legendary punk band The Dictators. They released one CD under the Wild Kingdom moniker, before reforming the Dictators in the late nineties.
..And You? is a cool blast of punk metal, led by the cool party anthem “The Party Starts Now”. This CD is ridiculously short. Only two songs are longer than three minutes. The total playtime is just a little over 26 minutes. Even though it is short, it is still a pretty fun CD to listen to.
Dick Manitoba probably will not ever be considered a great singer, but he makes these songs work. Former Manowar guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman dishes out some cool guitar licks, and give the songs on …And You? a metal edge.
“Haircut and Attitude” almost sounds like a lost Beastie Boys song. D.W.I. is so catchy, it almost sounds like a KISS tune. “Fired Up” is more metal, than punk, and is a good tune to fire you up! …And You? sounds good when played loud. I think I am getting more enjoyment out of this CD now, than when it was originally released.
You can score copies of this CD dirt cheap at this link. The ultra low price makes this a CD worth checking out. Don’t miss out on this lost classic.
Rating: Out of 10
1. The Party Starts Now
2. Haircut And Attitude
3. New York, New York
5. I Want You, Tonight
6. Fired Up
7. The Perfect High
8. Had It Coming
Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom is:
“Handsome” Dick Manitoba – Vocals
Ross “The Boss” Friedman – Guitars
Andy Shernoff – Bass
J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson – Drums
Les Claypool, former front man for the alternative band Primus, is back with his latest solo effort, Of Fungi And Foe. Packed with funky riffs that made his former band famous, Of Fungi And Foe is a silly record in the vein of early Primus. Odd sound effects, whistles, kazoos, and synthesized musical treats round out this strange album that is bound to please any fan of Primus.
The album opens with strange bongos, a xylophone, and Les Claypool singing through a loudspeaker about the Mushroom Men. One can only assume that these are the mushroom men of a hallucinogenic variety, as the strange sounds and odd lyrics would attest to. The weirdness continues as Mushroom Men bleeds right into Amanitas, which has more queer tribal drums, synthesizer bleeps and twangs, and the addition of a violin to round out the oddball harmonies that make the esoteric music come to life.
What Would Sir George Martin Do is an ode to the famous Beatles producer, considered to be rock royalty by most (and rightfully so). Though the tribute is a nice touch, the song is the oddest (and longest) on the disc. With choppy cello strings, a bouncy bongo, and a trill xylophone, Les Claypool sings Sir George Martin’s name to open the song and then lets the music take over. The song tells a tale of a trip (assumingly Les’) to England where baggage is lost, a cab can’t be hailed, and nothing seems to go right. Hence, Les conjures up a question, what would Sir George Martin do (in times like this)? An intriguing song that is hard to fall in love with, but too complex to not listen to a few times.
Kazoo is a musical sonnet to a beautiful woman sung in the strange Les voice, but complete with a beautiful violin, saxophone, and bass musical interludes behind Les’ singing. A soft song, Kazoo is much different from the rest of the tracks on Of Fungi and Foe. Still strange in its own right, Kazoo is a pretty song that shows the depth and ability of Claypool as a solo artist. Deeply ingrained with rich and lavish backgrounds, this song is layered in different sounds. It takes quite a few listens to fully appreciate the beauty of this song, but it is certainly worth the journey.
Primed By 29 is the best track on the album and it is also the most honest. A tongue in cheek look at the music world, this is Claypool’s take on music and concert performers, including his own. With lyrics such as “Geez what a horrible song, it stinks just like a donkey dong, but if you wrap your lips around a bong, I’m sure it will sound just fine,” Primed By 29 is a true call out to the way some music is meant to be listened to.
Not exactly rock, no longer punk, and definitely not modern, Led Claypool’s Of Fungi and Foe can best be described as different. If you’re looking for an album that is a break from the typical arena power chord rock, or heavy vocals with long guitar solos, then this is the album for you. Highly innovative, but definitely not something you can bang your head to, Of Fungi And Foe will be revered by Primus fans and those looking for a different sound that they can pick apart over several listens. Layered with deep, satisfying tones and melodies, Of Fungi And Foe is a record for rockers that like a little more than three chords and a scream. Les Claypool has definitely provided that here.
Rating: Out of 10
- Mushroom Men
- Red State Girl
- Booneville Stomp
- What Would Sir George Martin Do?
- You Can’t Tell Errol Anything
- Bite Out Of Life
- Primed By 29
- Pretty Little Song
- Of Fungi And Foe
- Ol’ Rosco
Reviewed by Ryo Vie (http://rockandrollguru.blogspot.com)
A CD that I have not mentioned soon enough at Hard Rock Hideout, is United States from the duo of Paul Gilbert & Freddie Nelson. This is some of the most inspired playing hat I have heard from Paul Gilbert in quite some time. Gilbert’s fretwork is nothing short of amazing on this CD. While United States could have fallen short with a bunch of mindless guitar noodling, it simply does not. Gilbert’s solos are absolute perfection, and are enhanced by the amazing vocals of Freddie Nelson.
I do not know where Paul Gilbert found Freddie Nelson, but this guy is the most incredible new singer I have heard in quite some time. There are times throughout United States where Nelson sounds a lot like Queen’s former front man, Freddie Mercury (R.I.P.). He doesn’t come out sounding like a complete Mercury clone. He has his own sound, and his vocals are nothing short of fantastic.
This CD has an interesting Yin and Yang factor to it. Paul Gilbert’s playing and Freddie Nelson vocals greatly complement each other. I don’t think this CD would work if either Gilbert or Nelson wasn’t on it. Either way, I hope this is a collaboration that continues down the road. This is some of Paul Gilbert’s finest work since his Mr. Big days.
United States is a one cool rockin’ CD. You will be hard pressed to find a bad tune on this one. I can’t imagine any rock fan not enjoying this CD. If you aren’t hooked by the opening cut, “The Last Rock and Roll Star”, you will be after “I’m Not Addicted”. Great vocals, and great musicianship equals a great CD.
Fans of Queen & Mr. Bigneed to check this CD out asap!. This will easily be one of my top CD’s of 2009. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars!! Buy this one now!! Highly Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
1. The Last Rock and Roll Star
3. Waste of Time
4. Bad Times Good
5. Paris Hilton Look-Alike
6. The Answer
7. I’m Free
9. Girl From Omaha
10.I’m Not Addicted
Freddie Nelson – Vocals, acoustic guitar
Paul Gilbert – Guitars, bass and vocals
Emi Gilbert – Keyboards
Mike Szuter – Bass
Matt “Muck” Muckle – Drums
The Swedish metal band Lion’s Share released their sixth album, Dark Hours in 2009. This is the first album that I have checked out from them. Judging from the cool tunes on Dark Hours, I have a lot of catching up to. The music on this CD reminds me of a cross between Judas Priest, and Thunderstone, with a dabble of Sabbath for good measure.
I don’t know why it took me so long to check out this band, but one thing is for certain, they are bloody good. Patrik Johansson has a fantastic voice, and Lars Chriss is one amazing axeman.
My first taste was with the awesome rocker, “Judas Must Die” (see video below). If you like this tune, you are going to love Lion’s Share. “Phantom Rider” demands immediate replays. This riff heavy tune is going to please the most persnickety head bangers on the planet. What a great song!
“Heavy Cross to Bear” could have easily been on the last Black Sabbath record. Its deep tones and heavy bass line, mixed with some cool keyboards could give Iommi and company a run for their money.
Lion’s Share has released one kick ass, melodic metal monster with Dark Hours. I could not find one bad tune on this CD. Lion’s Share has dished out one of my favorite metal albums of 2009.
You can check out some of the songs from Dark Hours on the Lion’s Share myspace page. Check them out, you will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Judas Must Die
2. Phantom Rider
3. Demon In Your Mind
4. Heavy Cross To Bear
5. The Bottomless Pit
6. Full Metal Jacket
7. The Presidio 27
8. Barker Ranch
9. Napalm Nights
10. Space Scam
11. Behind The Curtain
Lion’s Share is:
Lars Chriss – Guitars
Patrik Johansson – Lead Vocals
Sampo Axelsson – Bass
Conny Pettersson – Drums
In 2009, Eonian Records has been uncovering some classic metal acts that never got their due. Chicago’s Uzi is another band that showed a lot of potential, but by the time they relocated to L.A., the hair metal scene was dead. If this band would have made the move five years earlier, they could have made their mark on the music scene. There a quite a few cool rockers on Madhouse that are worth checking out.
The CD opens up with the title track “Madhouse”. This sleazy rocker had me sold on the first listen. This tune has a lot of energy that really sets the stage well for the rest of the album.
“American Dream” is a short little rocker, clocking in just shy of three minutes. It does a good job at keeping the pace going on the CD.
“Away From My Heart” is a power ballad that should have generated a hit for the band. While it doesn’t break any new ground, it is easily as good as a lot of the stuff that was being released in the late eighties and early nineties.
“Rocker” reminds of classic Skid Row, while the tune “Raise Hell” is more like a Def Leppard tune. Both tunes are very cool!
“For the Money” is a kick ass, foot-stomper that has it all: cowbell, horns and some excellent guitar noodling. This is as good as any closing song that I have heard all year.
It doesn’t detract from the experience too much, as the songs are pretty good.
There are far too many cool bands out there that never got their due. Madhouse is a cool retrospective on a band that should have been huge. I am grateful for Eonian Records, as they have uncovered another gem with Uzi’s Madhouse.
Rating: Out of 10
2. American Dream
3. Mutha’s Knockin
5. Do What I Do
6. Away From My Heart
7. Raise Hell
8. From the Gutter
9. Wreckerd Man
10. For the Money
Nicholas Flynt – Vocals
Gary Vail – Lead Guitar
Ben Taylor – Guitar
Jef Kors – Bass
Paul Petrillo – Drums
This weekened marked the 20th Anniversary of the KISS CD, Hot in the Shade. This is the last CD to feature the late Eric Carr, and the first to feature song writing credits of current KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer.
Once upon a time, I didn’t care for this KISS album very much, but I decided to revisit, especially with all of the hoopla over the new KISS CD, Sonic Boom. Much to my surprise, I like this album a lot more now, than when it was initially released. I am glad that I got reacquainted with Hot in the Shade.
“Rise To It” is a great hard rocking cut to lead off the album with. I can’t understand why this song doesn’t get played live by KISS.
Gene Simmons handles the vocals on “Betrayed” and does a solid job. The catchy sing-along chorus in this tune really works. This is a very under rated KISS tune.
The Paul Stanley/Desmond Child penned tune “Hide Your Heart” was a modest hit for KISS. I am not a huge fan of the song. It is maybe a bit too pop for my tastes. I like Ace Frehley’s version of this song (on Trouble Walkin’) better.
“Read My Body” has a total hair metal feel, and is a pretty cool tune to boot.
“Forever” is the ultimate KISS ballad, and one of the band’s biggest hits in the nineties. I was glad to see this one show up on the Greatest Hits CD in the Sonic Boom package.
The late, great Eric Carr sings on the song “Little Caesear”. Carr may not have been the best vocalist in the KISS, but he does a damn fine job on this hard rocking tune.
Overall, this is a better album than I originally remembered it to be. There are quite a few solid tunes, but Hot in the Shade is not without some filler material. It is worth picking up if you can find it cheap, and you can at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Rise To It
3. Hide Your Heart
4. Prisoner Of Love
5. Read My Body
6. Love’s A Slap In The Face
8. Silver Spoon
9. Cadillac Dreams
10. King Of Hearts
11. The Street Giveth And The Street Taketh Away
12. You Love Me To Hate You
13. Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell
14. Little Caesar
Gene Simmons – bass guitar, lead vocals
Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Bruce Kulick – Lead guitar, backing vocals
Eric Carr – drums, percussion, vocals
With all of the hoopla over Lita Ford’s new CD, Wicked Wonderland, I wanted to step back and check out her husband’s solo debut from 1987, Proud To Be Loud.
This CD features the talent of Michael Angelo Batio on guitar. If you have ever heard this guy play, then you know his skill falls somewhere between Vinnie Vincent and Yngwie Malmsteen. He is an impressive shredder, who can play at a ridiculous speed. On Proud To Be Loud sometimes his style of playing works and sometimes it doesn’t.
I would never consider Jim Gillette a great vocalist. He does have an impressive range, and can hit some notes that most singers would never try for. In fact, the only thing higher than the notes coming out of his mouth, is his hair. His lower range where most of his vocals fall is similar to, but not as good as Mark Slaughter. Overall, his voice takes some getting used to, and you will either love it, or hate it. Personally, I am not a fan, so I struggle with his vocals.
There are a couple songs on this CD that I did like, but not much more. On the song, “When the Clock Strikes 12″ Gillette really belts the notes out. Michael Angelo Batio’s playing is top notch as well. The band slows things down somewhat for the song “Angel in White”. This isn’t what I would consider a power ballad, but probably the closest thing you will find to a hit on this CD.
If you grab the 2003 reissue of this CD, you will find 5 bonus tracks, some of which come from Gillette’s bands Nitro, and Organ Donor. The Organ Donor songs show Gillette singing in a lower tone that is very similar to his range on Lita Ford’s new CD. It is more of an alternative metal sound, which I could live without. For more information on that group, check out www.myspace.com/organdonorfresno. The bonus tracks don’t really add anything to the CD, but if you must have it, at least you get to check out a few more tunes.
Overall, I can’t recommend Proud to Be Loud. Batio’s playing would probably be the only true reason to grab this disc. As a whole, the majority of the songs on this disc make my head hurt.
This CD is now out of print once more, but you can find copies of it on Ebay from time to time. Tread at your own risk!
Rating: Out of 10
- When the Clock Strikes 12
- Head On
- Angel in White
- Flash of Lightning
- Proud To Be Loud
- Never Say Never
- Nitro – Guitar Solo
- Red Hot Rocket Ride
- Make Me Crazy
- Show Down
- Mirror – Mirror
- Nitro – Bitch on My Back
- Organ Donor
- D.Marks & J. Gillette – Out of Time
- Organ Donor – Six Feet Deep
- Slut – Dr. Monster
One of the lesser known bands in my vast CD collection is I, Napoleon. This band’s self titled debut was released towards the end of the hair metal era. Judging from the perfect coiffures the band members have on the back cover of this CD, they were certainly trying to appeal to the hair metal crowd. The music on this CD is so completely random, I don’t think I could truly classify them as one.
When I picked this up in the 90′s on cassette, I remembered not really getting into this very much, but couldn’t remember the tunes at all. I recently replaced this CD, and found that I liked this a lot more than when it was first released.
Singer Steve Napoleon’s voice sounds like a cross between Richard Black from Shark Island, and Steven Shareaux from Kik Tracee but the music is nothing like either one of those bands.
The opening track “Perfect Absolution” kind of sounds like a White Lion tune with a different style of singer. It is an o.k. opener, but there better songs on this CD.
The keyboards on “Go To Pieces” sounds like they should be in a Honeymoon Suite song, than from I, Napoleon. The vocals are pretty cool on this tune.
“Come Back Soon” fires off with a bunch of La, La, La’s. My first reaction was “What the hell is this?”. That part of the tune is kind of annoying, but catchy in an odd way too. The rest of it is pretty good.
“Everytime I See Your Picture” is a keyboard based power ballad that could have had a little bit of hit potential, assuming the band got some radio airplay, of which they received very little. This is a cover song from the Canadian singer Luba, who did have a top 40 hit with this song.
“Whipped Silly” is easily one of my favorite tunes on this CD. You have to love the Cowbell!
“I Am The Idiot” is cool rocker that blasts out a saxophone solo towards the middle of the song. You have to love the classic lyrics “Life’s a bitch and I’m a whore, at least I’m not some goddamn bore”.
“Sweet Cyanide” is a pretty straight forward sleazy rocker, and good tune at that.
“Concerto in D Minor” is a piano instrumental that pretty much adds nothing to this CD at all. Its inclusion here is just weird.
This CD has been out of print for years, but you can still find copies of it, at this link. Back in the 90′s, I didn’t care for this CD, but now I think its kind of cool. The low price makes it a CD worth checking out.
Rating: Out of 10
- Perfect Absolution
- Go To Pieces
- Don’t Wanna Sleep Alone
- Come Back Soon
- Everytime I See Your Picture
- Love I Hate
- Whipped Silly
- Feels Like Suicide
- I Am The Idiot
- Sweet Cyanide
- Concerto in D Minor
- My Backyard
I, Napoleon is:
Steve Napoleon – Vocals, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Percussion
Joe Fazio – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Imondi – Drums, Percussion Backing Vocals
Doug Stratton – Guitars, Backing Vocals
It has been fourteen years since Lita Ford’s last album, Black. In her long absence away from the metal scene Lita has been lost in the Caribbean with her husband Jim Gillette (Nitro), and has been focused on her family, not music. Unfortunately, Wicked Wonderland shows just that. On this new album, Lita Ford has reinvented her sound, and I am not sure which set of music fans she is trying to appeal to. Her old fans will be left scratching their head, and I am not sure how many new fans this music will appeal to.
I have no problem with an artist updating their sound, or trying to stay current. Even though hair metal had made a minor comeback over the last few years, I didn’t expect Lita to put out a disc that sound like her 80′s material. If you go back and listen to her album Black from 1995, you will see a change in her sound. That disc showed a somewhat different direction from Lita’s roots, but it still worked. After a few spins of Wicked Wonderland, I wish she had gone back to the sound that helped make her famous. Some of the songs on Wicked Wonderland work well enough, but most of them are a maybe a little too grungy for their own good. Lita Ford’s husband, Jim Gillette, who was once known for his glass breaking screams in the band Nitro, shares the vocal duties on this CD. The odd thing is, he sings in a gruff, sometimes menacing voice that is completely unlike anything Nitro fans have heard either. Overall, it makes for a strange combination. It almost sounds as if Lita listened to a heavy dose of Rob Zombie in her hiatus.
The opening cut “Crave” is kind of cool. I will admit that this song has grown on me somewhat, even through it has an almost industrial like feel.
“Piece” on the other hand makes me shudder. It oozes sex, but not in a good way. This song has a grungy rap like feel, and for my ears, it just doesn’t work.
“Patriotic SOB” starts off with Lita’s sons pledging the allegiance to the flag. It then blasts off into a grunge filled rocker. This song isn’t great, but isn’t terrible either. It does have some catchy moments.
On the song “Inside” Lita shares the vocals with her husband Jim. This song has a sexual yet eerie vibe. I could actually see this song getting used in a Vampire flick of some sort.
I could almost hear the title track Wicked Wonderland getting some play in the dance/strip clubs. It has a pretty cool groove that is undeniably catchy.
The production on Wicked Wonderland is top notch, but the production can not help the weak songs, and there are far too many of them. I kept trying to find another song or two that might change my mind about this disc, but I could not find one. Overall, I found Wicked Wonderland to be a major disappointment. I still love Lita Ford, and I will definitely catch her on her tour with Queensryche. I just hope she plays more of her classic material.
Rating: Out 0f 10
3. Patriotic SOB
6. Wicked Wonderland
“The Hottest Band In The Land” Kiss is back with their first new studio album in 11 years. After two very disappointing albums in the late nineties, “Carnival of Souls” and “Psycho Circus”, a lot of fans were left thinking the band was through; with studio albums anyways. But seriously folks, did you really think Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley would let Kiss go out with a huge stinking thud?? I think not! “Sonic Boom” is everything the Kiss Army has been clamoring for years to hear, which is a step back to the sound of such Kiss classics “Destroyer” and “Rock and Roll Over” and the guys do not disappoint in the lest bit.
Admittedly I was not crazy about the album’s lead off “Modern Day Delilah” at first listen or even the second go around, but after a few listens it has started growing on me, which in my opinion is the best way to go. Paul Stanley sounds great, he can still seduce your mom out of her panties and she wouldn’t have a clue it was happening until it was too late. One thing I had forgotten over the years is that Gene Simmons can actually play bass and play it pretty damn good; here he lays down some nice thumping bass lines. After years on the sidelines Tommy Thayer finally gets a little of the spot light to shine on him and he makes the most of it showing the world he is a disciple of Ace Frehley, without stepping all over Ace’s legacy. On “Russian Roulette” Gene takes over the vocals and as usual it is a slow dirty innuendo laden song that Gene sings to perfection, while also laying down more heavy thumping bass lines, classic sing a long chorus, one of the early surprises on the album. “Never Enough” screams single and rightly so as it is one of the best songs Kiss has recorded in years. They could throw this song into the live show and it would fit right in without missing a beat, definitely a new Kiss classic. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” sounds like it could’ve been taken from the “Destroyer” or “Love Gun” recording sessions, great 70′s feel to it, this may actually be the best Gene Simmons song I’ve heard. “Stand” is yet another anthem with a late 80′s/early 90′s feel to it. Not the best song on the album but still better than 90% of the songs bands are releasing today. All I really need to say about “Hot & Cold” is COW-BELL COW-BELL COW-BELL!!! Honestly Gene has really surprised me with how good his vocals sound on this album.
Of Course, I couldn’t get through this review without mentioning Eric Singer and while his drumming is phenomenal throughout the album it is when he steps up to the mike on “All For The Glory” that he really shines, the sound reminds me of “Creatures of the Night” or maybe “Lick It Up”. “Danger Us” and “I’m An Animal” borrow some influence from Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin respectively, but Paul and Gene borrow with style. “When Lightning Strikes” marks the return of the COW-BELL and if you hear a little Black N’ Blue in the song then it should not surprise you that Tommy Thayer has stepped up to the mike and absolutely knocks this song out of the park!! “When Lightning Strikes” goes with “Never Enough” as my two favorite songs off “Sonic Boom”. The album wraps up with “Say Yeah” and with that I can say yeah to quite a few things about “Sonic Boom”. Yeah “Sonic Boom” is a kick ass ride from beginning to end. Yeah Tommy Thayer finally gets some of the attention he has earned and deserved over the years. Yeah “Sonic Boom” is the best Kiss album in years. Yeah it is possible “Sonic Boom” is Kiss’s best album since the mid 70′s. Yeah it definitely deserves a spot alongside “Destroyer”, “Rock and Roll Over”, and “Love Gun” as a Kiss classic, because that is simply what it is.
Rating: Out of 10
- Modern Day Delilah
- Russian Roulette
- Never Enough
- Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)
- Hot And Cold
- All For The Glory
- Danger Us
- I’m An Animal
- When Lightning Strikes
- Say Yeah!
Paul Stanley – Vocals, Rhythm guitar
Gene Simmons – Vocals, Bass guitar
Eric Singer – Vocals, Drums
Tommy Thayer – Vocals, Lead Guitar
One of the better melodic rock CD’s that you never heard is Jamilya’s Over the Edge.
Jamilya is a five piece band from Chicago, Illinois that features the awesome six string talent of Lou Jamilya, and the sensational vocals of Kevin Willison.
The opening song, “Run For Your Life” is a melodic monster. Kevin Willison’s voice resembles Michael Sweet of Stryper, but Jamilya’s keyboard based hard rock is far different from anything Stryper has ever done.
“Rock To the Edge” is another cool rocker with some catchy lyrics and some George Lynch like guitar parts from Lou Jamilya.
If “I Will Remember You” would have been released in the late 80′s or early 90′s, Jamilya would have had a massive hit on their hands. This song sounds like it fell out of Warrant’s song book. This is the type of arena song that would have thousands of people breaking out their lighters and cell phones in unison. This is an awesome tune, and one of the highlights on Over the Edge.
Over the Edge is a terrific melodic rock CD with great vocals and musicianship to match. There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch. It is a shame that Jamilya didn’t get the attention they deserved with this disc.
It is never to late to explore a lost classic. The CD is hard to find, but you can purchase the mp3 downloads of “Over the Edge” here. You can find more information on Jamilya on myspace at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Run for Your Life
2. Rock to the Edge
3. Sticky Situation
4. I Will Remember You
5. Knights of Glory
6. Can’t Stand the Heartache
7. Before the Moment
8. Moment of Silence
9. Steal Away
10. Like Father Like Son
Kevin Willison – vocals
Lou Jamilya – guitars
Stan Stocki – keyboards
Marc Ralston – bass
Tony Napolitano – drums
One word best describes Megadeth’s twelfth CD, Endgame. Disappointing! I had high hopes for this CD, but this long time Megadeth fan is not impressed. With the awesome dualing riffs of Mustaine and Broderick, this band may have the best guitar tandem since Marty Friedman was in the band. Nonstop noodling and shredding does not make a good album though. There has to be solid songwriting. This disc is lacking the melodies and lyrics that made Megadeth one of the biggest and best thrash metal bands of all time.
I enjoyed the band’s previous effort, United Abominations. Personally, I don’t think Endgame is anywhere near as good as that disc. Musically, I think Endgame is superior to UA, but lyrically, I believe United Abominations is the stronger of the two.
With Megadeth’s new axeman Chris Broderick, Dave Mustaine has found the new sparring partner he has been looking for. Broderick’s playing is as intense, as it is fast. I am quite impressed with his playing on this disc.
Endgame opens up with a brief instrumental track, “Dialectic Chaos”. The trade off between Mustaine and Broderick is brilliant. Although, I would typically think that opening an album with an instrumental would be an unwise decision, this tune sets the stage for Endgame perfectly. The songs ending, and “This Day We Fight!” beginning is seamless, and it doesn’t take long for Mustaine’s trademark snarl to find its way into the lyrics. I don’t think I have heard a song played with such fury and intensity since “Rust in Peace”.
The pace slows down somewhat for “44 Minutes”. Dave Mustaine rattles off lyrics about a bank robbery gone awry. There is no discernable chorus, but it is a cool song nonetheless.
“1,320′” opens up with the high octane sounds of a funny car. As you probably guessed, this song is about drag racing. The guitar noodling on this track is insane! Mustaine and Broderick trade off leads that might be as fast as the cars this song represents. If the NHRA needs a theme song, they don’t need to look any further.
The bass groove by James Lomenzo on “Bite the Hand” is extremely cool. There are some cool lyrics in this tune, but I can’t seem to get into the chorus, “When its dog eat dog, you are what you eat”. Ok, Dave! The music overall is pretty good, but this isn’t one of my favorite tunes on this album.
“The Hardest Part of Letting Go….Sealed With A Kiss” starts off in a ballad like form, before blasting off in the middle, and slowing back down towards the end. Out of all of the songs on Endgame, this one probably has the most radio potential.
I hope this CD isn’t Megadeth’s Endgame. It is a good thrash album, even if I don’t think it is one of Megadeth’s best. This CD is loaded with guitar solos, which I absolutely love, I just wish there were more melodies and catchy lyrics on this disc. This CD may grow on me more, but the songs just aren’t very memorable after a few listens. The end result is ultimately disappointing.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Dialectic Chaos
2. This Day We Fight!
3. 44 Minutes
5. Bite the Hand
8. The Hardest Part of Letting Go…Sealed With a Kiss
9. Head Crusher
10. How the Story Ends
11. The Right to Go Insane
Dave Mustaine – rhythm/lead guitar, lead vocals
Chris Broderick – lead/rhythm guitar, backing vocals
James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals
Shawn Drover – drums
The Bio on Germany’s latest metal band, The New Black describes the band like this: “Just imagine Black Label Society inviting the Nickelback guy over for some Thin Lizzy covers, all dressed up in Pantera shirts.” While this kind of sounds like a hot mess of influences, I am not sure if I could say it any better than that. The music on this CD is a cool mix of classic metal and modern hard rock. It is a step above the majority of the stuff you are hearing on U.S. radio stations today.
The New Black’s singer, Fludid has an almost James Hetfield like growl. His voice has just enough coarseness to make the songs interesting. The music on this CD has a much heavier edge than today’s modern hard rock acts. There is some of that distorted guitar sound that haunts U.S. rock radio, but it is mixed with plenty of solos and a dash of Zakk Wylde style pinch harmonics here and there.
There is a lot of cool music on this disc. It is nearly impossible to listen to “Everlasting”, and not bang your head. Once the guitars kick in, it is practically irresistible. “Why I Burn” almost rips off the Pantera type of groove to start off with, but then settles into a very cool, crunch filled rocker. The New Black dishes out a bunch of Thin Lizzyisms in their music. Obviously, the tunes are heavier here, but you can’t listen to “Coming Home” or “Simplify” and not recognize the similarities of their twin axe attack. With that being said, both songs are really well done, and are a good listen. I love the blues harp intro on “Simplify”.
If there was any song on this disc that could sneak onto U.S. Radio, “More Than A Man” will be the one. This song kind of reminds me of Shinedown on steroids. It is an up tempo tune, with a cool modern rock slant.
Even though “50 Ways To Love Your Live’ is not one of my favorites on this CD, there are some really cool riffs that are worth listening to.
Some of the other highlights are “Ballad of Broken Angels”, “Love is Blue”, and “Drive”.
The more I listen to this CD, the more I like it. I believe The New Black has created one of the better hard rock albums of 2009. Check them out on myspace at this link, or at Reverbnation here. If you like what you hear (and I bet you will), you can download a copy of the song “Everlasting” for free from AFM Records here.
Rating: Out of 10
- Why I Burn
- Coming Home
- More Than A Man
- 50 Ways To Love Your Liver
- Ballad Of Broken Angels
- Not Me
- Superman Without A Town
- Man Who Saw The Universe, The
- Love Is Blue
- Welcome To Point Black
The New Black is:
Fludid – Vocals
Christof Leim – Guitars
Fabian Schwarz – Guitars
Gunt Auschrat – Bass
Chris Weiss – Drums
When I first heard that Lynch Mob was reuniting with Oni Logan to record a new CD, there was extreme excitement in the air. I always thought that Wicked Sensation (Lynch Mob’s debut disc) was underrated and under appreciated. Oni Logan has an amazing voice and coupled with George Lynch’s guitar abilities, Wicked Sensation was everything that solo Don Dokken was not.
After their debut album launched, Logan left the band or was fired, depending on which report you go by. It was assumed that their time together was done. Well now, some 19 years later, they have reunited to record the proper follow up to Wicked Sensation. Their offering is titled Smoke and Mirrors, and quite frankly, it was so worth the wait.
A throwback to the days of great rock and roll, the sound of the 80s with a new millennium twist, Smoke and Mirrors is rock done right. This is the record that all of their peers wished they recorded. Lynch has never sounded better, and Logan’s vocals are still amazing, even after all these years. This is hard rock the way you want it, a touch of blues, a pinch of sleaze, and a lot of fun. Rounding out the band with Lynch and Logan are bassist Marco Mendozza and drummer Scott Coogan (from Brides of Destruction). Together, these four men made quite a record.
Smoke and Mirrors opens with three of the hardest rocking tracks I’ve heard in a long time. They aren’t just great Lynch Mob songs, they’re great rock songs. The disc launches with the hard hitting “21st Century Man”, a kick in the face opening track that blows the mind. Lynch’s guitar work has an immediate impact and 30 seconds into the song when Logan’s vocals kick in, there is a magical feeling oozing from the disc. My only complaint on this song is the band’s decision to use the echo microphone effect currently made popular by Nickelback. That is an overused effect and it did not add any depth to the song, so it was not really necessary. Fortunately, this is the only song they try it on.
The title track follows and delivers a punch that’s just as hard as the opener. A hard rocker with a bluesy backbone, ‘Smoke & Mirrors” is a song that has feet moving and inspires sing-alongs after just two or three listens. Lynch launches the song with a little acoustic guitar riff that bleeds into an Oni Logan moan, and gets the song started. The music and vocals take over from there, producing an excellent track.
“Lucky Man” comes next and delivers the knockout blow. It’s not quite power ballad, not quite hard rocker, just a perfect hybrid of the two. “Lucky Man” shows Logan’s vocal range and proves that he still has what it takes to be a great lead singer. These three songs are reason enough to lay out the cash for this CD, but Lynch Mob is far from finished after ‘Lucky Man”.
Notable tracks include “Smoke and Mirrors”, “Lucky Man”, ‘The Phacist”, and “21st Century Man”. The solo on “Time Keepers’ is some of Lynch’s best work and shows that he is still a master of the guitar, worthy of being mentioned in the same league as Eddie Van Halen, Ace Frehley, and Yngwie Malmsteem. “Let the Music Be Your Master’ may not deliver as quickly as the opening tracks, but after three or four spins, it can be said that this song is as solid as the rest of the disc. The bridge changes and Lynch’s solo make this a worthy contender for top song on the disc. However, there is no clear cut favorite. That’s how good this CD is.
The hard hitting drum work of Coogan adds depth to these solid tracks. Coogan keeps perfect time throughout the album and shows off some of his own talent, even though it may appear that he and Mendozza get buried under the shadow of Lynch’s amazing guitar and Logan’s solid vocal power. That’s simply not true. The rhythm section in this band is the anchor and it’s a huge part of what makes Smoke and Mirrors such an outstanding album.
With a mixture of blues, hard rock, and a smattering of metal, Smoke and Mirrors is a CD sure to get multiple listens on your CD player, IPod, car stereo, house stereo, and wherever else you like to jam the tunes. Coming off the very solid Souls of We record, Lynch certainly has delivered a lot of great music in the past 12 months. Smoke and Mirrors is quite simply a must own disc for any hard rock/metal fan. With a ballsy bluesy, sleaze sound, powerful and outstanding guitar work by Lynch, and riffs that get stuck in your head for days, it’s a no brainer. Smoke and Mirrors is an exceptional CD.
Rating: Out of 10
- 21st Century Man
- Smoke and Mirrors
- Lucky Man
- My Kind of Healer
- Time Keepers
- Revolution Heroes
- Let The Music Be Your Master
- The Phacist
- Where Do You Sleep At Night
- Madly Backwards
- We Will Remains
- Before I Close My Eyes
- Mansions In The Sky (Bonus Track)
Lynch Mob is:
George Lynch – Lead Guitar
Oni Logan – Vocals
Marco Mendozza – Bass Guitar
Scott Coogan – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie.
Innocent Rosie is one of the most talked about new bands coming out of Sweden today and with the release of their debut “Bad Habit Romance” it is easy to see why. This five piece from Gothenburg, Sweden is made up of Oscar Kaleva (Vocals), Dixxi (Guitars), Joel Eliasson (Rhythm Guitar), Olof Oljelund (Bass), and drummer Benjamin Borang and simply put “Bad Habit Romance” kicks ass. Loaded with some great modern sounding but sleazy, bluesy influenced songs, it’s not hard to say Innocent Rosie may have the best debut of the year on their hands.
“Bitter Cocktail” is a great track to start the album off, heavy but melodic with Kaleva’s whiskey and cigarette flavored voice and some nice bottom end playing from Oljelund, while Dixxi blows the solo way. “Knock Me Out” sound like something L.A. Guns should of had on “Cocked & Loaded” and I personally can never have to much hand claps. “Animal” has a great groove to it, with Borang playing his ass off behind the kit and Dixxi and Eliasson making a great tandem on guitars. “Let A Memory Die” starts out with a great bluesy intro on guitar and harmonica before it kicks in, love the way the band burns through the verses but slow it down and dirty at the chorus and the harmonica solo is awesome. “Bad Habit Romance” starts out acoustic then fires on all cylinders for not only the best song on the album but one of the best songs of the year. “Sextalkin’” sounds like a heavier sleazy version of the Quireboys with some nice honky tonk piano and some great slide guitar. “I’m A Vibe” has a great groove to it and I just can’t get enough of Kaleva’s vocals or Dixxi’s guitar. Great intro from the rhythm section on “Wasteland” before Dixxi takes over on guitar. “Shine, Shine, Shine” is a mid tempo bluesy number with some nice background vocals and foot tapping groove probably my second favorite song on the album. More harmonica and honky tonk piano on the rocking “Don’t Drag Me Down” which should get the crowds singing along in a live setting. “I’ll Get Rich” is another song that reminds me of a heavier version of the Quireboys, one more great song on “Bad Habit Romance”. ”Left Alone” would fit nicely on any Backyard Babies or Hardcore Superstar album and is a great way to wrap up “Bad Habit Romance”.
Along with Heaven’s Basement, Innocent Rosie is easily one of the best new bands of the year and given some good record company support Innocent Rosie could have a monster on their hands with this debut. Not just a great debut but a great rock ‘n roll record as a whole, I’m hoping they can make it across the Atlantic to play some live shows here in the states definitely wouldn’t want to miss that show.
You can check out Innocent Rosie at www.myspace.com/innocentrosie and by all means buy a copy of “Bad Habit Romance” or you’ll be missing out.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Bitter Cocktail
02. Knock Me Out
04. Let A Memory Die
05. Bad Habit Romance
07. I’m A Vibe
09. Shine, Shine, Shine
10. Don’t Drag Me Down
11. I’ll Get Rich
12. Left Alone
Oscar Kaleva – vocals
Joel Eliasson – guitar
Olof Oljelund – bass
Benjamin Borang – drums
Today (August 4th, 2009) marks the 20th anniversary of the release of L.A. Guns superb sophomore effort, Cocked & Loaded. To this listener Cocked & Loaded is easily the best release of L.A. Guns storied but troubled career.
I have listened to this CD countless times over the years, and it remains my defacto favorite from the L.A. Guns camp. Quite a bit of L.A. Guns live set comes from this disc including: “Rip & Tear”, “Sleazy Come Easy Go”, “Never Enough”, “Malaria”, and “The Ballad of Jayne”.
The great songs don’t end there. Cocked & Loaded dishes up a bunch of cool rockers including the kick ass opener, “Letting Go”, “17 Crash”,”Wheels of Fire” and “I Wanna Be Your Man”.
Phil Lewis has never sounded better than he did on Cocked & Loaded (although he still sings these song remarkably well today). Tracii Guns guitar work on this disc is just stupid good.
It is crazy to see what this band could do in their peak lineup. I doubt we will ever see the classic lineup of the band back together ever again. They are too busy squabbling over the L.A. Guns name instead of trying to show folks why they were one of the best bands on Sunset Strip, when they all played together.
At least we have Cocked & Loaded to keep the memories alive. This is as close to perfection as 80′s sleaze metal ever got to. A worth pick up for any hard rock fan! Highly Recommended!
You can grab dirt cheap copies of this CD at this link. It is worth every penny!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Letting Go
2. Slap In The Face
3. Rip And Tear
4. Sleazy Come Easy Go
5. Never Enough
7. The Ballad Of Jayne
9. Give A Little
10. I’m Addicted
11. 17 Crash
12. Showdown (Riot On Sunset)
13. Wheels Of Fire
14. I Wanna Be Your Man
L.A. Guns are:
Phil Lewis – lead vocals
Tracii Guns – lead guitar
Mick Cripps – rhythm guitar
Kelly Nickels – bass
Steve Riley – drums
Rocking the world of hard rock and heavy metal since 1988, Lillian Axe is a veteran rock band that knows what it takes to deliver the goods. They’ve recently returned with their latest CD, Sad Day On Planet Earth, trying to prove that they can still rock hard and make a great album worthy of your valuable listening time.
Sad Day On Planet Earth opens with the excellent instrumental, “Cocoon”, which sets the stage for the rest of the disc. The acoustic guitar mixed with some special sound effects paints a dark, ominous picture of what’s to come. “Cocoon” bleeds into “Megaslowfade”, a rocker that was made to lead off an album.
“Megaslowfade” takes the intro of “Cocoon” and turns it on its ear. This is a guitar heavy, head banging, hard rocking, fist pumping song that electrifies the senses. An enjoyable way to get things started, “Megaslowfade” is one of the best cuts on the disc. The changes from bridge to chorus to verse are well done and enjoyable, and show just how much talent this band still has. The power behind this song is breathtaking; a great punch in the gut that makes the listener notice the immediate impact of Sad Day On Planet Earth.
“Jesus Wept” picks up where the previous song left off, albeit it a slightly slower tempo. This is a catchy song that will have you singing along in no time. The demanding drumbeat, gripping guitar riffs, and crisp vocals pull this song together and make it one to remember.
The title track is the power ballad of the disc without much power. While the message in the lyrics is strong and worth paying attention to, the music doesn’t quite match up and this attempt at a ballad misses the mark. Derrick LeFevre’s voice isn’t up to the task of singing this slow one, and the acoustic guitar riffs are lack innovation and style; they’re just plain vanilla. “Within Your Reach” is the better ballad on the disc, but still doesn’t deliver that knockout punch expected in a strong, complete ballad. The song starts with potential, but falls apart by the chorus and is never able to recover from that point.
“Fire, Blood, the Earth and Sea” is the big, Maiden-esque epic to close out the disc, and it delivers. This is a good way to say goodbye and a great showing of Lillian Axe’s talent. The acoustic guitar intros the song followed by a singing chant from Derrick LeFevre to set up the hammer punch that will soon follow. Like most great epics, this song is complete with several chord changes, lyrical depth, and a deeper message within the lyrics. This song pulsates with power and if there is one song that you should own from this album, “Fire, Blood, the Earth and Sea” is the one. This is an amazing, powerful song that is pleasing to the ear and sure to be enjoyed by any heavy metal fan.
While Derrick LeFevre may not be the original lead singer of the band, he has a great voice and is an excellent singer for Lillian Axe. While he struggles with the ballads, Derrick still has a strong voice and proves it on the heavier tracks from Sad Day On Planet Earth. His vocal styles combined with the amazing guitar work of Sam Poitevent and Steven Blaze make for a great combination and a lot of fun.
Sad Day On Planet Earth is rock with an edge. This is a solid album that delivers what rock fans want, hard hitting, catchy tunes that will move your feet and have you banging your head and throwing your metal hair all over the place. What more could a metal addict want?
Rating: Out of 10
- Jesus Wept
- The Grand Scale of Finality
- Sad Day On Planet Earth
- Within Your Reach
- Down Below The Ocean
- Blood Raining Down On Her Wings
- Cold Day In Hell
- Nocturnal Symphony
- Kill Me Again
- Fire, Blood, the Earth, and Sea
Lillian Axe is
Eric Morris – Bass Guitar
Sam Poitevent – Guitar/Vocals
Derrick LeFevre – Lead Vocals
Steven Blaze – Guitar/Vocals
Ken Koudelka – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie.
In my opinion, Jorn Lande is one of the best new metal vocalists to come along in quite some time. His releases rarely ever disappoint me, and the new CD, Spirit Black is no exception.
The opening cut and title track “Spirit Black” is the greatest song Ronnie James Dio never wrote. Jorn Lande shows off his awesome Dio like mimicry on this tune, and it is damn cool as a result! Lande’s long time axeman Tore Moren plays some wicked guitar on this song.
“Below” isn’t my favorite JORN track by any means, but this tune does a good job keeping the pace going. Tore Moren’s guitar work is the highlight on this one.
The ultra creepy intro on “Road of the Cross” almost made think this was a Black Sabbath tune. I love the chugging guitars on this track.
I found it ironic that Heaven & Hell has a song Rock and Roll Angel, and JORN has “Rock ‘N’ Roll Angel”. They are two completely different songs
but I have to give a point to JORN. JORN’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Angel” is clearly better. This JORN tune is a heavy yet melodic rocker that takes a couple of spins to fully absorb. Jon Berg makes a guest appearance and throws in some very cool guitar licks on this track.
“I Walk Alone” is a Tarja Turunen cover song. I haven’t heard the original song, but JORN’s version is pretty good. This song is a
little slower paced than the average JORN song, but Lande owns it vocally anyway.
My overall impression with Spirit Black is that it has stellar musicianship, and great vocals, but I am not so sure that the songs are all that memorable. It is a good disc, but not quite as good as some of JORN’s past releases. I like this CD well enough to replay it, and I wouldn’t turn it off if I heard it on the radio. I am a die-hard JORN fan though, so it might not have as much appeal to other folks. I would recommend giving the songs on JORN’s myspace a listen if you are on the fence.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Spirit Black
3. Road of the Cross
4. The Last Revolution
5. City Inbetween
6. Rock’n'Roll Angel
7. Burn Your Flame
8. World Gone Mad
9. I Walk Alone
Jorn Lande – lead vocals
Tore Moren – guitars
Sid Ringsby – bass
Jimmy Iversen – guitars
Willy Bendiksen – drums
Igor Gianola – guitars on “City Inbetween”, “I Walk Alone” and “The Sun Goes Down”
Espen Mjoen – bass on “City Inbetween” and “The Sun Goes Down”
Nic Angileri – bass on “I Walk Alone”
Jon Berg – additional guitars on “Rock’n'Roll Angel”
Tommy Hansen – additional keyboards