From Guns N’ Roses, to Slash’s Snake Pit, to Velvet Revolver, Slash has had one hell of a career so far. One thing is for certain, if you have lived on the planet Earth for the last few months, you have heard a lot of hype about Slash’s new solo album. I must admit that although I like Slash, I didn’t have high hopes for this CD. Usually when there is such a hodgepodge of musicians on a release like this, the end result is typically a couple of good songs a but not much more. This is NOT the case with Slash’s CD.
First and foremost, Slash plays his ass off on this CD. His guitar work is superb all the way through. It is going to take a few more plays before I fully realize the full effort that Mr. Hudson has put into this disc. If anything, I am quite impressed.
The opening song “Ghost” has made me hungry for some new Cult songs. This is no phone in performance from Ian Astbury. This is a great vocal, and an awesome song!
I love Ozzy Osbourne, and I thought his appearance might be one of the lone highlights on this CD. I would have to say that Slash’s playing on “Crucify the Dead” is better than Ozzy’s vocals. All in all, it is a decent song, but not one of my favorites.
Fergie’s appearance on this disc, took quite a few people by surprise. I am not a Black Eyed Peas fan by any means, but I have heard Fergie sing enough rock songs to know that she has some vocal talent. (Take a look on youtube and check out her rendition of Heart’s Barracuda.) With that being said, I didn’t have an issue with her appearance here. Fergie turns in a very good vocal performance, and seems to be a good match for Slash’s playing. I found “Beautiful Dangerous” surprisingly refreshing.
I have been anxiously awaiting to hear Slash’s song with Myles Kennedy for quite some time. Myles has made quite an impression on me with the last Alter Bridge album. This guy is one hell of a singer. He is also Slash’s singer on tour, so it is important that his vocals are top-notch here. I am pleased to say that both “Back to Cali” and “Starlight” are highlights on this disc. Myles Kennedy may just be one of the most under rated vocalists today.
Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell turns in a solid vocal on “Promise”. This song has single written all over it. This is going to get a lot of radio play without question.
The first single from this CD, is “By The Sword” with Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale. I am not sure why this song was released as the single. It is not the best song on this CD. It isn’t even close. The song almost has a Led Zeppelin like vibe. Although it is not one of my favorites, it has grown on me after a few spins. The song does work to break up the pace on the album.
Maroon 5′s Adam Levine takes the mic on the song “Gotten”. With no surprise, this song is more of a pop tune, than a rock song, but it isn’t bad. I can’t say that I have ever heard Slash play like this. His playing is rather light until about two-thirds of the way through the tune, when he breaks out with some cool bluesy licks.
Thank God for Motorhead’s Lemmy! You know exactly what you are going to get with a vocal from Lemmy. He always dishes out razor-sharp vocals with Motorhead, and while “Doctor Alibi” may not be as heavy as a Motorhead tune, he does turn in a pretty good vocal. I like this song a lot.
“Watch This” became an instrumental tune when Dave Grohl decided that he did not want to SING on Slash’s album. Grohl does play the drums on watch this, and it turns out to be a pretty cool tune. This is easily one of the heaviest songs on this CD. I don’t think Grohl’s vocals would have improved this. You can download “Watch This” for free, here!
Kid Rock offers no surprises on “I Hold On”. This song has a very southern rock like vibe to it. I am not a big Kid Rock fan either, but I must admit, Kid Rock sounds 100% better with Slash.
After hearing Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows on “Nothing To Say” I thought myself, could this be the singer that Velvet Revolver needs? This is an up tempo rocker, and Slash’s playing is awesome here. I love hearing him cut loose like this! M. Shadows and Slash seems to complement each other well. Who knew this one would work? Very cool indeed!!
Out of all of the musicians on Slash’s solo CD, I am least familiar with Rocco DeLuca. Much like the song, with Adam Levine, Slash shows another side of his six string prowess. Even though this style of song is not what I would expect from Slash, it does sound like a million bucks. The production is top notch.
The album closes out with the legendary Iggy Pop signing “We’re All Gonna Die”. This is a very catchy rocker, even though it does have some silly lyrics. It is a pretty solid way to close out this album.
Overall, I am very pleased with Slash’s new album. There are a ton of great tunes on this CD on this disc, and it seems to get better with every listen. Don’t miss out on this CD! You can preview the songs at Slash’s website at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Ghost (feat. Ian Astbury & Izzy Stradlin)
2. Crucify the Dead (feat. Ozzy Osbourne)
3. Beautiful Dangerous (feat. Fergie)
4. Back from Cali (feat. Myles Kennedy)
5. Promise (feat. Chris Cornell)
6. By the Sword (feat. Andrew Stockdale)
7. Gotten (feat. Adam Levine)
8. Doctor Alibi (feat. Lemmy)
9. Watch This (feat. Dave Grohl & Duff McKagan)
10. I Hold On (feat. Kid Rock)
11. Nothing to Say (feat. M. Shadows)
12. Starlight (feat. Myles Kennedy)
13. Saint is a Sinner Too (feat. Rocco DeLuca)
14. We’re All Gonna Die (feat. Iggy Pop)
Josh Freese – drums (except track 9 & 12)
Chris Chaney – bass (except 9)
Leonard Castro – percussion (except 1, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13)
Catalog # 5099963143324
If you were to look for a definition of Melodic Rock, there’d be no need for you to look any further than “Coup De Grace,” the sixth studio album from Swedish rockers Treat.
Now I’ll be honest. I hadn’t listened to any of Treat’s music until I listened to this album. I’d heard of the band, but I didn’t know anything about them at all. I’m one of those unfortunate people who thought that Europe was Sweden’s best melodic rock export. All I can say is that I have SERIOUSLY been missing out. What I heard when I listened to this album literally amazed me. “Coup De Grace” is nothing short of a masterpiece that encompasses every element of the Melodic Rock genre, from smooth vocals and tight harmonies to driving rhythms and guitar laden anthems. And the production?? Simply REMARKABLE!!!
The album opens with a stirring prelude that features audio clips from several memorable historical events and speeches, moving from war and terror to peace and love. I personally think that many of these types of preludes on albums are cheesy, but this one is really well done. Afterwards, you’re transported into the heavy, opening guitar riff of “The War Is Over,” a feel-good, fist-pumping, stadium rocker with some mind-blowing harmonies, in both the vocals and the guitars. This is followed by “All In,” a deliciously fun number that kind of feels like a cross between Def Leppard and Buckcherry.
The fourth track on the album is “Paper Tiger,” which has symphonic elements that roll into some powerful vocals and huge hook lines. “Roar” follows with the same type of symphonic elements, but it’s a much harder track with some awesome guitar riffs and aggressive vocals.
Of course, a melodic rock album would not be fit for purchase without an awesome power ballad. Treat definitely delivers with “A Life To Die For.” I’m a BIG fan of the piano and the keyboards in this song. And I love the way that the simple melody builds throughout the song as layers of guitars and harmonies are added. Of course, the lyrics are enough to give any rocker chick butterflies.
“Tangled Up” is a hard-drivin’ party rocker with some fantastic guitar work, including a kick-ass solo. The album then moves into a heavier, chunkier sound in “Skies of Mongolia.” This song is GREAT. It has a much darker feel, lending additional depth to the scope of songs on the album. “Heaven Can Wait” follows with a great melody and a catchy refrain.
“I’m Not Runnin” is another heavy track that‘s quite multi-dimensional, combining a style that you hear in more modern bands (especially in the verses) with the ‘80s feel of big choruses and big harmonies. “No Way Without You” is next. It’s an anthem that moves along at a thunderous pace and literally makes you want to roll down your windows, crank the stereo, and drive 100 miles an hour! I want to describe the next track, “We Own The Night,” just by saying that it made me close my eyes and smile. It’s everything I love about melodic rock. If you listen to it, you’ll get it. It’s amazing! It’s followed by “All For Love,” yet another catchy anthem that will have you singing right along. The album closes with the hard-driving “Breathless,” containing a great melody, some powerful riffs, and a spectacular guitar solo.
Big guitars. Big choruses. Big sound. “Coup De Grace” has all of that and more. It’s one of those albums that will captivate you from start to finish. Every track is simply amazing! Don’t be one of the millions of Americans who are missing out on exceptionally incredible rock music because you’re stuck listening to Nickelback and the rest of the crap played on radio. Go out and get this album. You won’t be disappointed!!!
Dear Treat: Welcome to heavy rotation on my iPod.
Coup De Grace will be released on April 20th. Check them out on myspace at this link.
Rating on Dee’s “How Hard Does It Rock” scale: Out of 10
01. Prelude – Coup de Grace 2:27
02. The War Is Over 3:57
03. All In 4:11
04. Paper Tiger 4:27
05. Roar 4:27
06. A Life To Die For 4:21
07. Tangled Up 4:07
08. Skies of Mongolia 3:52
09. Heaven Can Wait 3:29
10. I’m Not Runnin’ 3:26
11. No Way Without You 4:09
12. We Own The Night 4:34
13. All For Love 3:50
14. Breathless 4:22
Robert Ernlund: vocals
Anders Wickstrom: guitars and background vocals
Jamie Borger: drums
Nalle Pahlsson: bass
Patrick Appelgren: keyboards, guitar and background vocals
If there has a been a hard rock CD that desperately needs to be reissued, Salty Dog’s Every Dog Has Its Day would have to be it. With such classics like “Come Along”, “Ring My Bell” and “Where The Sun Don’t Shine” this is a CD that still needs to be heard by all rock fans.
Amazingly, “Come Along” still gets airplay from my local rock station even today. This is an amazing feat for a relatively unknown band. After this kick ass single from Salty Dog, one might be quick to discount this band as another AC/DC clone, but if you dig deeper into this CD, you are going to hear the influences of other massive hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith.
Pete Reveen’s guitar work on this CD is excellent, and Jimmi Bleacher’s vocals are perfect for this style of rock. Both of these guys are musicians that I would like to hear perform again. Both Reveen and Bleacher have been missing from the rock world far too long. Reveen’s bluesy licks get better every time I listen to this CD.
Overall Every Dog Has Its Day has lots of excellent rock to feast your ears on. Even the slower tunes “Just Like A Woman” and “Sacrifice Me” are great on this disc.
I am a sucker for this old school bluesy hard rock, and I know a lot of you are too. If you are a fan of this genre, you need to seek this disc out. This CD was originally released by Geffen Records, but has sadly been out of print for years. You can sometimes find copies of it through Ebay, and Amazon.com. Grab this if you can find it! You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
- Come Along
- Cat’s Got Nine
- Ring My Bell
- Where The Sun Don’t Shine
- Just Like A Woman
- Sim Sala Bim
- Keep Me Down
- Heave Hard (She Comes Easy)
- Lonesome Fool
- Slow Daze
- Sacrifice Me
- Nothin’ But A Dream
Salty Dog is:
Jimmi Bleacher -lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Pete Reveen – lead and rhythm guitar
Michael Hannon – bass
Khurt Maier – drums
Hard Rock, Glam Metal, Power Pop, Hair Metal. Whatever genre of music you could tag Reckless Love with, it would probably fit. The genre doesn’t matter, but the music does, and it is quite good. When I first saw the video for Reckless Love’s “Beautiful Bomb”, I knew we might have another great CD on the way. I had no idea it would be THIS GOOD!
If you want to know why H. Oliver Twisted aka Olli Herman left Crash Diet, look no further than his own band Reckless Love. The debut of Reckless Love exceeds the last Crash Diet effort by a mile. This CD sounds like it was recorded in 1989, not 2009. The music on this CD is has a very happy sound that blends elements from all of the biggest hair metal acts of the eighties. I hear the influence of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison, KISS, Van Halen and more when I listen to this disc. Reckless Love pulls this sound off, and does not sound like a cheap imitation. The band has a passion for this music, and this disc shines as a result. If you like sing along anthems with big guitar riffs, look no further. Reckless Love’s new CD is packed with infectious rockers that is going to appeal to a ton of hard rock fans.
Olli Herman’s vocals are much more enjoyable with Reckless Love, and Pepe is going to turn a lot of heads with his outstanding guitar work.
In Finland, Reckless Love have already released two singles, “Babylon Bombs” and “One More Time”. Both of these are favorites of mine, along with “Romance”, “Badass” and “Love Machine”. I won’t waste your time giving you a song by song break down. What you should know is, there isn’t a bad song on this CD. Reckless Love is as close to glam metal perfection as you are going to get in 2010.
This CD does not have an official U.S. Release date yet, but you purchase it through CD Inzane at this link. The price may be a little on the steep side, but this disc is worth every penny. Your only regret will come from not buying this CD sooner! I love this disc, and I think you will too.
If you tune into the Hard Rock Hideout Radio show tonight (3/31/10), you will hear three songs from this CD. Don’t miss it!!
For more information on Reckless Love, please visit the band’s myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Feel My Heat
02. One More Time
04. Love Machine
05. Beautiful Bomb
08. Back To Paradise
09. So Yeah!
10. Wild Touch
11. Born To Rock
Reckless Love is:
Olli Herman – vocals
Pepe – guitar and background vocals
Jalle Verne – bass and background vocals
Hessu Maxx – drums, percussion and background vocals
Catalog #: 2733094
I first noticed the band The Spittin’ Cobras in 2008 when they were in the running for the Guitar Center/ Motley Crue contest in 2008. The Last Vegas ended up winning the contest (and the opening slot on the Motley Crue tour), but there were several
good bands worth checking out that made the top six. One of those bands was The Spittin’ Cobras.
Once upon a time, Seattle was once known for its long list of depressing grunge bands. It seems as of late the bands rockin’ in Seattle are back to playing kick ass rock and roll. Just check out the bands Underride and The Spittin’ Cobras. It is refreshing to hear bands from the Emerald City playing kick ass rock n’ roll again.
One listen to this band, and you might think, who the hell are these guys? This isn’t a pimple faced band starting out. The Spittin’ Cobras have members from the bands KMFDM, The Dwarves and Murdock. Needless to say, these guys have been in the music business for a while, and they know how to rock. Their music takes the energy of punk rock, the fury of Motorhead, and blends it to excellent blast of hard rock.
Year of the Cobra is the debut of these Seattle rockers, and a damn good one at that. One word best describes this CD, “relentless”. Every song on this album is heavy and fast with blazing guitars and pounding rhythms. I don’t know how a person can actually sit still and listen to this CD. It is a very energetic disc that with have you headbanging, and throwing your horns in no time.
This is one of those rare cases where every song on the album rocks, and rocks hard. Some of my favorites are “All the Way” “Throw Your Horns”, and “Built For Speed”, but I truly like every song on this disc.
Year of the Cobra closes out with a rockin’ rendition of the Rainbow classic, “Long Live Rock N’ Roll”. Alx Karchevsky is no Ronnie James Dio, but the Spittin’ Cobras do the song justice with their high-octane rendition of the song.
If there is anything I would have changed about this disc, it could have used a song or two to break up the pace. I think it would have given some of the songs more impact. Nonetheless, Year of the Cobra flat out rocks. You should pay a visit to the Spittin’ Cobras myspace page and check them out. You can purchase Year of the Cobra on iTunes at this link.
- All the Way
- 10,000 Broken Bodies
- Coup D’Etat
- Criminal Mastermind
- Throw Your Horns
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold
- Built for Speed
- Last Chance Saloon
- Long Live Rock n’ Roll
The Spittin’ Cobras are:
Jake Hagan – Bass
Jules Hodgson – Guitar
Andy Seway – Drums
Alx Karchevsky – Vocals
Guest Back up Vocals – Rob Swenson
2010 marks the end of a long and awesome career for the Scorpions. The band is preparing a multi-year farewell tour, and has returned with the seventeenth and final studio album of their long and storied career. The Scorpions has been saying for months that Sting in The Tail is a return to their classic sound, and I would have to agree. 2010 has been another great year for hard rock, and even with some stout competition Sting in The Tail is going to find its way on a lot of top ten lists at the end of the year.
Klaus Meine sings his ass of on this CD, and still sounds amazing. Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs cut loose often, and dish out some tasty guitar riffs that classic Scorpions fans are sure to love.
If you have listened to Hard Rock Hideout radio over the last few weeks, you have heard the first single “Raised on Rock”. This song is so good, it has made me anticipate the release of Sting In The Tail even more.
In my opinion, the title track “Sting In The Tail” is one of the weaker cuts on this album. The music is good, and this song does a good job at keeping the pace going, but there is something odd about it that I can’t put my finger on.
“Slave Me” on the other hand, is damn near perfect. I love this tune.
“The Good Die Young” features a duet with former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen. If this song doesn’t get tons of radio play for the Scorpions, there is something seriously with a whole lot of DJ’s out there. This song is awesome!
James Kottak dishes out some killer drum work on the rocker “No Limit”. Klaus Meine pulls off some screams that I didn’t think he had left in him. This song gets better every time I listen to it.
If “Rockzone” doesn’t have you throwing your metal horns in the air, nothing will. This is one of the heavier songs that the Scorpions have done in quite some time. “Rockzone” flat out rocks! I love this!!!
If I would have changed anything on this CD, I would have added one more rocker to the mix. Three ballads are a bit much, even if they are quite good.
Did the Scorpions save their best release for their last one? Absolutely not. Sting in the Tail is however a damn fine release, and one of the stronger efforts by the Scorpions. If Sting in The Tail is truly the Swan Song for the Scorpions, then the band can retire knowing they gave their best effort for their final disc. That is all this fan can ask! While I am sad to see the Scorpions retire, I am going to enjoy Sting In The Tail for many years to come.
You can grab a copy of Sting In The Tail for only $7.99 this week at this link!! Don’t miss this!
The Scorpions are:
Klaus Meine – Lead vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead guitar, Backing vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Rhythm guitar, Backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – Bass, Backing vocals
James Kottak – Drums, Percussion
Are you looking for some new rock that stands out from the mediocre metal and has a sound that slaps you awake? Well, look no further, Taking Dawn is the band you seek. Equipped with a talented lead singer in Chris Babbit, who also serves double duty as guitarist, and armed with talented musicians who know how to play their instruments well, Taking Dawn is poised to be the next great hard rock band.
Their debut album, Time To Burn, is a testament to that style of hard and heavy rock. Filled with crushing guitar solos, rhythmic drums, and a lead singer whose voice is powerful and smooth, Time To Burn is one hell of a debut album.
Time To Burn opens with the title track, a fast, hard-hitting rock tune that has a modern Winger vibe and finds lead vocalist Chris Babbit sounding a lot like Kip Winger. That’s not to say Taking Dawn is a Winger-esque band, but the opening track definitely has a Winger sound and feel to it. A solid opener on its own accord, Time To Burn sets the pace for the rest of the album and announces that Taking Dawn hit hard.
“Like A Revolution” keeps the rock going. Babbit and guitarist Mikey Cross show off their skills on this song, which contains some amazing guitar work. The solos are sharp and enjoyable and the heaviness of the song reminds us of why we are fans of hard rock and roll in the first place. “Like A Revolution” is a song that packs a powerful punch.
“So Loud” is a blistering party rocker if ever there was one. While simple in lyrics and melody, the catchy hook and chorus force you to tap your feet and sing along. It’s only a matter of moments before you know the words and are shouting them out loud with a smile on your face and an extra bounce in your step. So Loud reminds us of what fun rock sounds like.
The big ballad of the album (yeah, you knew they had to have one) is “Close Your Eyes”. As far as ballads go, this one is ok. Ballads are not the strength of Taking Dawn, and while every band likes to include one in the hopes it will push them over the top,”Close Your Eyes” is mediocre at best. The band should stick to their strengths, which is fist in your face, hard rock and roll.
The album closes with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”, and while it’s a huge risk to cover a song so beloved, I give Taking Dawn a lot of credit. Their version of this classic rocker is solid. Opening with a nifty little guitar riff, the song segues right into the classic guitar notes of the original. And while Chris Babbit may not be Lindsey Buckingham and Mikey Cross is certainly not Stevie Nicks, the dark raspy vocals work exceptionally well for this cover tune.
Taking Dawn are a new band that you should definitely be listening to. Armed with heavy rock, talented guitars, and deep, dark vocals that have power and ability, this is a band worth telling your friends about. If you’re a fan of rock and roll and you’ve been waiting for something new and exciting to come around that you could get behind and support, then Taking Dawn is what you’ve been wanting. Time To Burn is available on Roadrunner Records and worth every penny you spend on it.
- Time to Burn
- Like A Revolution
- Take Me Away
- So Loud
- Save Me
- Close Your Eyes
- Fight ‘Em With Your Rock
- Never Enough
- The Chain
Taking Dawn Is:
Chris Babbit – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Mikey Cross – Lead & Rhythm Guitars, backing vocals
Andrew Cushing – Bass Guitar, backing vocals
Alan Doucette – Drums, backing vocals
I have always considered myself a casual Rob Zombie fan. I have enjoyed many (but not all) of his songs in the past. With that being said, I am having a lot of trouble getting into the newest CD, Hellbilly Deluxe 2. After spinning this CD a few times, I found moments of brilliance, incredible guitar work, and a catchy song or two. On the other hand, I found Rob’s over industrialized vocals to be rather bland and noisy.
I have no problem with profanity in rock, but the repeated chorus of “Rock Motherfucker” in the song “Sick Bubblegum” does not work for this rock fan. I guess I am in a place in my life where I don’t need to hear the profanities over and over again. I am sure the angst filled teenagers will love it. I don’t care for it.
I must admit that I found the song “What?” extremely catchy, and I have grown to like this one a lot.
The musicianship on this CD is stellar,and I get a kick out of Rob’s horror filled lyrics. For whatever reason, Rob Zombie’s vocals grate on my nerves on this CD. People who like Rob’s vocals may find more to like with Hellbilly Deluxe 2, as John 5, and Piggy D do a great job here.
I have tried repeatedly to listen to this CD, and I have struggled with it ever time. For this listener, Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is a macabre mess of distorted mayhem. The Zombieheads out there will probably love this. I found it to be above average at best.
1. Jesus Frankenstein
2. Sick Bubble-Gum
4. Mars Needs Women
5. Werewolf, Baby!
6. Virgin Witch
7. Death and Destiny Inside the Dream Factory
9. Cease to Exist
10.Werewolf Women of the SS
11.The Man Who Laughs
Rob Zombie – Vocals & Lyrics
John 5 – Guitars
Piggy D. – Bass
Tommy Clufetos – Drums
Tyler Bates – String Arrangements
Chris Baseford – Keyboards and Programming
Stratovarius released their first studio album Fright Night in May of 1989. Practically twenty one years to the month later, Stratovarius releases upon their fans, an album of songs that radiates Power Metal sophistication. Polaris, released on May 21, 2009, may not bestow the original Stratovarius lineup, nonetheless, this is as potent a lineup as there ever has been, in this bands history. Being an integral name in a select group of Power Metal pioneers, Stratovarius continues on without original guitarist Timo Tolkki for the first time on Polaris.
Step in new guitarist Matias Kupiainen. The melodic Power Metal guitar of Matias is standout, with his solos abundant on Polaris and not self serving. On Winter Skies, Matias lends his guitar to be a true asset to Stratovarius. Matias’s emotion for playing seeps from his guitar tone with riveting believability on Winter Skies. The same can be said for his talent during many, many moments onPolaris.
Lauri Porra as the new bass guitarist for Stratovarius fits right in alongside drummer Jorg Michael, bringing the melodious thunder that holds together these songs, especially on Blind and Forever Is Today, which can be equated as the two heaviest and fastest tracks on Polaris. Lead vocalist Timo Kotipelto can be considered to be the featured attraction for Stratovarius, never over powering yet powerful enough are his vocals to make any fan of Power Metal or Heavy Metal take notice.
On Polaris, the progressiveness of Stratovarius cannot hide, especially when a song such as Falling Star exists. The integration of Progressive and Power Metal styles that sometimes gets non mentioned doesn’t escape my ears, on a song so dynamic as Falling Star this never sounded more true. King Of Nothing carries out this same Power Metal progressiveness, with a saturated and brilliant overlay of synthetic sound from Jens Johansson’s keyboard skills. At 6:44 long, King Of Nothing borders on epic and plays out masterfully, without ever becoming an elongated power ride of nonsense.
Emancipation Suite I Dusk and Emancipation Suite II Dawn blend together with a thematic power ballad style that is reminiscent of 1970′s Hard Rock legends Styx, with Power Metal mechanisms all in place, of course. The vocals of Timo Kotipelto have pronunciations that remind me of Styx vocalist and founding member Dennis DeYoung, these two opening tracks are my best examples of this complimentary example.
Deep Unknown culminates Polaris as one of the best formulated and once again, mature, Power Metal albums that I have listened to in quite some time. Deep Unknown does not mask itself from any dark theme lyrically, it just spirals it’s way through a mixture of melodies and hooks that signify exactly what Stratovarius is… sophisticated Power Metal. Polaris is not going to grab you with non-stop and heavy Power Metal fury, nor will it have you wondering where the good parts are either. The element of surprise lies in it’s tantalizing progression toward the highs, while never letting in the lows.
Polaris has become a Power Metal album that I would recommend in the same sentence, along with Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Trilogy and Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I. The significance for me lies within the overwhelming musical credibility that I hear from this Stratovarius lineup, in addition to the exemplary song writing and layering of music elements. It’s not always about the heavy in Power Metal, the hardness, diverse tempos and progressive articulation is what has won me over with Polaris.
1. Deep Unknown
2. Falling Star
3. King of Nothing
5. Winter Skies
6. Forever Is Today
7. Higher We Go
8. Somehow Precious
9. Emancipation Suite I: Dusk
10. Emancipation Suite II: Dawn
11. When Mountains Fall
Timo Kotipelto – Vocals
Matias Kupiainen – Guitars
Lauri Porra – Bass
Jorg Michael – Drums
Jens Johansson – Keyboards
It seems like every year there is a solid new modern hard rock act that comes along. After listening to Razer’s new CD, Dark Devotion over the last few weeks, I would have to say they are one of the best new metal acts that I have heard in a long time. At first I thought Razer sounded like a decent mix of bands like Godsmack & Drowning Pool. In all honesty, that isn’t really fair, they may be better than both of those bands.
The first thing I noticed about Razer was the vocals of Chris Powers. Powers delivers the songs on Dark Devotion with plenty of conviction, and he has just enough roughness in his voice to make the songs interesting. The rhythm section of Razer is damn near perfect. Thundering drums and heavy bass lines help bolster the songs this album. Chris Catero has played in Mary Friedman’s solo band, so you know this guy can deliver the goods. He definitely gets it done on Dark Devotion. Jeremy Graves and Paul Sullivan are no slouches on the guitar either. There are plenty of riffs for you to feast your ears on. I doubt you will be able to listen to Dark Devotion from beginning to end without the desire to head bang, or play the air guitar.
The lead off single “Superpaun” is a heavy rocker that gets in your head. I have been listening to a large variety of bands as of late, and it is the riff from “Superpaun” that keeps sticking with me. As good as “Superpaun” is, it isn’t the best song on Dark Devotion by any means. There are several good tunes on this CD including “Cold War”, “Never Understand”, “Frozen” and “The Broken”. All of these songs could easily be a single for Razer. I believe you will be hard pressed to find a bad song on this CD.
Overall, Dark Devotion is a very strong debut from a band that we are going to be hearing a lot more about in the years to come. If you missed out on Hard Rock Hideout’s Dark Devotion listening party last Friday (2/19/10) you can still check out some songs from this album at the Razer myspace page. Don’t miss out on this hard rockin’ CD!
Rating: Out of 10
02. What I Say
03. Cold War
04. Never Understand
05. Dark Devotion
06. Right Kind Of Evil
07. Fall From Grace
09. Falling In Line
10. Save The World
11. Cut And Paste
12. The Broken
Chris Powers – Vocals
Jeremy Graves – Guitar
Paul Sullivan – Guitar
Eric Bongiorno – Drums, Backing Vocals
Chris Catero – Bass, Backing Vocals
Would she follow in her father’s operatic rock footsteps? Or would she venture into metal alongside her husband, Scott Ian? Pearl Aday did neither on her first, full length album, Little Immaculate White Fox. She followed her own road to rock, and it’s good.
With such a colorful musical upbringing, there was no way this lady wasn’t destined for rock greatness. Meatloaf is her father, whom she performed and toured with. That was followed by a stint as a back up singer for Motley Crue (call me jealous). And now Pearl is taking her well deserved position at center stage.
The first track, “Rock Child,” establishes all this and more. From being a “little girl living center stage” and “sleeping in a guitar case,” this song is a rock anthem about her life. She comes out wailing and comes out with a bang that makes you stop and take notice.
She follows that up with a rockin’ rendition of Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limit,” which is a perfect selection for her voice and would definitely make Ms. Turner proud.
Although it’s easy to spot all of the different musical influences in her music, the one influence that isn’t overly stated is the influence from her father. The one song that really has that Meatloaf vibe to it is “Whore.” From the harmonies to the musical and vocal phrasing, it just screams Meatloaf . Whether she meant to do it or not, it is quite an excellent homage to her father.
Pearl wasn’t messing around when putting together musicians for this album. Her band consists of guys from Mother Superior, who have backed The Rollins Band and U2. Husband Scott Ian plays guitar, and there are a couple of other tasty guitar players who also make appearances.
First up, Ted Nugent. Yeah, you just can’t go wrong with Uncle Ted. And the second you hear “Check Out Charlie,” there’s no denying that Ted Nugent guitar sound. The song is heavy and solid and Pearl proves that she can stand her ground in the rock world.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Pearl can slow it down and croon a touching ballad too. With Jerry Cantrell’s guitar mastering on “Anything,” Pearl’s soft, sweet vocals blend perfectly with his soulful sound. It was the perfect way to end the album. Some may question ending an album with a ballad, but this worked well for me, like a moment of zen after rockin’ out for almost an hour.
Song after song, your ears are bombarded with great rock and roll. Sometimes it’s hard for me to really get into an album. With this one, there was no problem at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it already and it hasn’t grown old. Why? Because it’s real. Rock is in her heart, her soul and her blood and it’s obvious when you hear her voice. There are plenty of decent rock singers and rock bands out there, but there are very few that make you feel it. Pearl makes you feel it.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Rock Child
2. Nutbush City Limits
3. Broken White
4. Check Out Charlie
6. My Heart Isn’t In It
8. Worth Defending
9. Love Pyre
Pearl Aday – Vocals
Scott Ian – Guitars & Background Vocals
Jim Wilson – Guitars & Background Vocals
Marcus Blake – Bass & Background Vocals
Matt Tecu – Drums
Glam fans rejoice! One of the better hair metal bands of the 80s (although they weren’t as well known as the big names) has released the follow up to their exceptional debut CD some 20 years later, All Those Strangers. This album is everything that a growing (or well seasoned) metal fan needs in their collection.
On All Those Strangers, Vain make it sound like the late 80s all over again. The reason for that? This follow up disc to their superb debut album was recorded in 1991. It is finally getting to see the light of day thanks to Jackie Rainbow Records who dug it out of the vaults and decided to give it a shot. I am extremely grateful that they did.
Vain was a band that never got enough recognition. Lead singer Davy Vain has the ultimate glam voice, sounding like a cross between Taime Down (Faster Pussycat) and David Roach (Junkyard). Davy Vain is a master behind the microphone. His ability to hit the right key and the precise inflection at the perfect moment is impeccable. On songs like “Shooting Star”, “Love Drug”, and “Here Comes Lonely”, Vain shows his power and ability by sounding like a leader from the L.A. Strip circa 1988.
Exceptional vocals aren’t the only thing that All Those Strangers is blessed with. The guitar playing is incredible, highlighted by Danny West’s killer solos and James Scott enchanting rhythm. All Those Strangers has a lot of fast paced, bluesy moments, which only helps to catapult it to the upper echelon of greatness. It has a sound similar to early LA Guns and a touch of White Lion.
Every song on this disc is great. All Those Strangers is one of those rare records where you want to hear the next song as badly as you want to replay the last one. It’s that strong. Why this band never gained more attention remains a mystery to me. You can blame grunge and the death of the Hollywood Strip scene all you want, but these guys should have made a comeback a lot sooner.
The best song on the disc (by far) is also the power ballad of the record and it an amazing one at that. “Shouldn’t Cry” is the epitome of what late 80s rock aspired to be. If you slap on the headphones, put this song on, and sit in a darkened room with your eyes closed, there is no doubt you will be whisked back to high school days, thinking about your girl and wondering what tomorrow is going to bring. I’ve never heard a song that can transport me back instantaneously the way “Shouldn’t Cry” does. It’s magical.
Blessed with the ability to capture the sound of hair metal at the height of its fame, All Those Strangers is a glam fans dream come true. A must own for your collection, this disc will not disappoint, but it may make you yearn for the easier days of yesteryear. That’s a small price to pay for a collection of exceptional rock and roll.
Rating: Out of 10
- Love Drug
- Planets Turning
- Shooting Star
- Too Bad
- Far Away
- Wake Up
- Freak Flag
- Here Comes Lonely
- Shouldn’t Cry
- Do You Sleep With Strangers?
- Looking Glass
Davy Vain – Vocals
Danny West – Guitar
James Scott – Guitar
Ashley Mitchell – Bass
Tom Rickard – Drums
February 23rd marks the U.S. release of “Non Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll,” the fourth album from Norwegian rock band Wig Wam. Now I have to be completely honest. When I was given the opportunity to review this album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never even heard of Wig Wam. But after listening, I can say with the utmost certainty that there’s a reason why these guys are known as the Norwegian Glam Kings. This stuff is glam metal at its finest!
Wig Wam had my attention with the very first track, “Do You Wanna Taste It.” This song has a Def Leppard feel with a catchy hookline and harmonies that are almost reminiscent of Queen. And guess what – this album’s title is aptly titled, because the rock doesn’t stop there! The electrifying guitar riffs and hard-driving rhythms in the title track and in “Walls Come Down” are literally worthy of blowing your speakers. You’ll find yourself singing along to the feel-good, melodic hard rock anthems “C’mon Everybody” and “Rocket Through My Heart.” And ladies, not to worry! The boys in Wig Wam haven’t forgotten about you! They’ve included two ballads on this album – “From Here” and “Man In The Moon” – that will melt your panties as well as your heart.
My pick for best song on the album is “Still I’m Burning.” It contains just about every element of a great 80′s style hard rock song: It’s catchy, it’s fun, it has a great (yet very simple) guitar solo, and it has a driving energy that makes you want to throw up the horns!
There are a couple of songs that are a little cheesy, but overall, the album is very good. If you are a fan of ’80′s hard rock and glam metal, this album is a MUST have for your collection. You will not be disappointed!
Rating on Dee’s How Hard Does It Rock Scale: Out of 10
1. Do Ya Wanna Taste It
2. Walls Come Down
3. Wild One
4. C’mon Everybody
5. Man In The Moon
6. Still I’m Burning
7. All You Wanted
8. Non Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll
9. From Here
10. Rocket Through My Heart
11. Chasing Rainbows
12. Gotta Get It On (Bonus Track for Europe and US; only available in the first edition digipak)
Wig Wam is:
Glam – vocals
Teeny – guitar
Flash – bass
Sporty – drums
I have been wondering for years why the Sgt. Roxx EP Push N Squeeze was capturing such high dollars on Ebay over the years. This highly sought after CD, has pulled down hundreds of dollars for a single copy. Thanks to Eonian Records, I will wonder no more. Weapon of Miss Distraction has all off the songs from the hard to find EP and thirteen more (gasp!). With over 70 minutes of music on one CD, this is a great value for a hair metal fan.
The six songs from the EP are all solid tunes. They remind me a lot of another Eonian band High Noon that I am pretty fond of. The power ballad “Don’t Cry” is quite good as well. If this would have been released back in the late 80′s, the band could have had a hit with this. I got a pretty good laugh out of the tune “Alright”. This is pure hair metal cheese, but a fun song at that. “Ransom” is another kick ass rocker that I will get plenty of replay out of. I also got a kick out of “(Don’t Do) What Your Mama Sayz”.
Overall, if you are expecting to hear something new, you won’t find on Weapon of Miss Distraction. By no means are the songs on this CD worth the big money that Ebay has attracted over the years. If you are looking for some above average hair metal, then you definitely need to get this.
For more information on Sgt. Roxx, check them out on myspace.
Rating: Out of 10
1. All You Need
2. Why’d You Lie
3. Movin’ On
4. Push & Squeeze
5. Million Dollar Girls
6. Wrap Yourself
7. Don’t Cry
8. Rockin Horse
11. Without You
12. Thinkin’ Of You
14. (Don’t Do) What Your Mama Sayz
15. 4th time out
16. I Don’t Know
17. Psycho In The House (Live)
18. My Lady (Live)
19. Bread & Water
Sgt. Roxx is:
Jack Adams – lead/backing vocals
Bob Briles – lead/rhythm guitars and backing vocals
Bob O’Conner – lead/rhythm guitars and backing vocals (1-5, 11-16)
Scott ‘Grover’ Weatherspoon – lead/rhythm guitars and backing vocals (6-10, 17-19)
Darrin Laszlo – bass and backing vocals
Kevin Cora – drums and backing vocals (6-10, 17-19)
Scott Wilson – drums (1-5)
Gabriel ‘Gabie’ Anthony – drums (11-16)
There were so many good releases that came out in 2009, I am afraid that a few bands got overlooked. One such act is San Diego rock band, Thieves & Liars, and their sophomore effort, American Rock ‘N’ Roll.
On American Rock ‘N’ Roll, Thieves & Liars strayed away from the concept album of their debut, and went for a more straight forward hard rock approach. As a result, they have put together another solid album, that might have more mainstream appeal than their excellent debut. On American Rock ‘N’ Roll, the touches of Pink Floyd are gone, but the bluesy hard rock influences of Led Zeppelin, is clearly obvious in their music.
While the title track, “American Rock N Roll” is very good, it was the high octane rockers “Let’s Rock” and “Walking By My Side” that immediately hooked me. ‘Till the Walls Fall Down” seems like a cliched title me, but the song flat out rocks. I love the bluesy slide guitar of “Killed A Man”. The super catchy “Promised Land” is going to be a song that I replay a lot this year.
My only problem with this CD is that it is a little short, clocking in just over 34 minutes. Overall, this is solid release, and a great way to start out 2010.
For more information on Thieves & Liars, check out the band’s myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
- American Rock N Roll
- Let’s Rock
- Walking By My Side
- Fight Song
- Till The Walls Fall Down
- Killed A Man
- Promised Land
- Prodigal Son
Joey Bradford- Bass, Vocals
When Vains of Jenna released their debut album Lit Up/Let Down in 2006, there was far too much hype surrounding that release. It left quite a few fans with a bad taste in their mouths, many of which now think the band is overrated.
Fast forward to 2009, Vains of Jenna has released their sophomore effort, The Art of Telling Lies. This CD is everything the debut record should have been and more. Everything about this CD surpasses VoJ’s previous effort. The song writing, the musicianship, and the vocals are all better than Lit Up/Let Down. Brent Woods (Wildside, Vince Neil) was the producer on this CD. It sounds like he caught the band at their best on this disc.
To me, this CD is very similar to the music that has been coming out of Sweden as of late. It is sleazy, catchy and cool.
Guitarist Nikki Kin sounds like he has been overdosing on Guns N’ Roses in his downtime. His guitar playing on this CD reminds me a lot of Slash. His playing isn’t quite to that level, but it is pretty good. I was immediately hooked with his riffs on the opening track, “Everybody Loves You When Your Dead”.
Vains of Jenna added some sleaze to their cover of Tom Petty’s “Refugee”. Aside from the vocal delivery, this is pretty much a faithful rendition of the Top Petty classic. It is a cool cover, and I think VoJ does a better job with this song than Poison did with Petty’s “I Need To Know” a couple of years ago.
I kept finding myself cranking the volume up on “Get It On”. This is one fun sleazy rocker.
“Enemy in Me” was featured on the Viva la Bands, Volume 2 last year. I thought this song was better than anything on the first VoJ CD, the first time I heard it. I am glad the band decided to add it to this CD.
Vains of Jenna slows it down for the song, “Better Off Alone”. This is a pretty cool tune that shows a different side of the band. This ought to be a hit for the band.
The Art of Telling Lies has renewed my interest in Vains of Jenna. I can only hope that I get to see the band perform some of these songs live. I am proud to have this CD in my collection, and will be getting a lot of repeat plays out of it.
If you would like the purchase this CD, the only place I have found that is selling the CD online, is CM Distro.com, however you can download the album off of iTunes, Amazon.com & more. For more information on Vains of Jenna, and to hear tunes off of The Art of Telling Lies, please check out the VoJ myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead
2. Mind Pollution
4. I Belong To Yesterday
5. Paper Heart
6. Get It On
7. Enemy In Me
8. Better Off Alone
9. I Don’t Care
10.The Art of Telling Lies
Vains of Jenna is:
Lizzy DeVine – Vocals, Guitar
Nicki Kin – Lead Guitar
JP White – Bass
Jacki Stone – Drums
When I first received the CD from Helsinki, Finland’s Renegade Ride, I had no expectations. I was not familiar with the band, or what they sounded like. With that being said, the band’s new CD, Dream Machine, was a pleasant surprise to me.
Renegade Ride have put together a great modern sounding CD, while having a sound that reminds me of a mixture of The Cult, Velvet Revolver, a dash of T-Ride and maybe a dabble of Soundgarden. It is a refreshing change from all of the Nickleback clones that are currently invading U.S. radio air waves.
Singer Jakko Latva-Pukkila has a voice that is similar to The Cult’s Ian Astbury. It is that likeness that helps give Renegade Ride a familiar sound that I quickly took to.
The opening cut “Stars” has the extremely cool groove, that demands replay. I love the guitar tones on this song as well.
The title track , “Dream Machine” is a song that has a funky progressive T-Ride like sound to it. I haven’t heard any band do anything like this in quite a while. It works for Renegade Ride as this is one of the better tunes on Dream Machine.
“Burnin’ Up Inside” starts of with this middle eastern intro. It evolves into this catchy yet grungy rocker.
Another cool rocker is “Break Me To Pieces”. This tune has a southern rock vibe with an interesting jangly guitar riff.
My favorite tune on Dream Machine is the song “Crusader”. This song starts off with this really cool guitar riff, and build into a moody, mid-tempo rocker. I have gotten a lot of replay out of this one.
Overall, Renegade Ride has put together one hell of a debut effort. It is amazing to me when an independent band puts together a quality release like this, and gets little press. This is a band that is worth your time, and your cold hard cash.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Dream Machine
3. Burnin’ Up Inside
4. Absolution of Growth
5. Shoot Me Down
6. Break Me To Pieces
8. Close Your Eyes
9. World Without Soul
Jaakko Latva-Pukkila – vocals
Jake Enden – guitars, vocals
Jay Sarkkinen – guitars, vocals
Jussi Kirjavainen -bass
Pete Enden – drums
In an interview with HRH this past August Big Cock guitarist Dave Henzerling mentioned a new unnamed project he was working on with former Icon vocalist Scott Hammons with a late 70-early 80′s feel to it, what Mr. Henzerling failed to mention in our interview is that the music from this project is the best and most enjoyable 29 minute ass whipping you will ever get.
Now some 4 months later it’s time for that project now called Tunnel to be let loose on the masses. If you are expecting Big Cock Version 2 you may be sadly disappointed, Tunnel is a whole new animal with a great 70′s vibe and surprisingly a little Lynch Mob vibe to it as well, courtesy of vocalist Scott Hammons, who’s bluesy raspy voice sounds like a mix of Robert Mason and Oni Logan, former and present Lynch Mob vocalists. If you haven’t heard Hammons singing before you are in for quite a surprise. With a little help from drummer Ryan Hoyle, background singer Marc LaFrance, and Steve Ouimette, Henzerling and Hammons have put together a great straight-up in your face hard rock project that leave you wanting more. Even though it has been released here in late November the music on Tunnel’s self-titled debut is the kind that needs to be played at maximum volume as you are roaring down the road with the top down.
If I had to describe this album in two words, groove-laden, are the words I would choose. Every song on this album is loaded with groove, but none more so than the opening track “Sound of Thunder” and it is a great introduction to what Tunnel have in store for us on this release. A groove laden, in your face, foot stomping good time is what “Sound of Thunder” is. Dave Henzerling has a very cool intro and solo on this song and he shows you can be a great guitarist without having to pull off a ego feeding flashy prolonged solo. The band’s debut single “Blood On The Highway” is next and simply put it’s the kind of song that once it is in your head it is impossible to get it out. From the opening chants to the very cool bass lines laid down here the playing on this anthem sounds like it is being played by a seasoned band that has been playing and touring together for years. “Open Up For Me” is a dirty little rocker and the first of two songs with a heavy Lynch Mob influence. Scott Hammons has sounded good on this album so far but he sounds great on this song. Amazing he can get so much feeling and emotion into this song despite it only being 2 1/2 minutes long.
After hearing the first 3 songs on this album I was definitely not expecting a song like “Into The Sun”, Wow!! Spanish flavored guitar, strings, woodwinds, horns, and yet it still manages to rock as well. While I wouldn’t call this epic a ballad, it is without a doubt a love song about someone very special to Henzerling. “American Metal” is a straight up rocker that gets us back in line foot stomping, hand clapping and roaring down the highway again. “In Your Groove” is the second Lynch Mob sounding song I was talking about earlier and it absolutely smokes, great song. The guys slow it down again and take a little Led Zeppelin approach with “the Balcony” another very cool song. Seven songs from Tunnel so far, seven extremely good songs, but they definitely saved the best for last in my opinion with “Garden of Your Earthly Delights” a bluesy dirty rocker with a great sing along chorus and a fantastic jam by Henzerling to close out the song.
If you like bluesy groove filled songs with sing along choruses and great playing, you can’t go wrong by picking up Tunnel’s debut. If I had one thing to say to Scott and Dave it would simply be I need more, 8 songs just isn’t enough Tunnel.
Digital downloads of Tunnel can be purchased at LaLa.com along with I-Tunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, & Napster. C.D.’s can be purchased straight from the band at www.tunnelonline.net or CDBaby.com You can also preview songs at their myspace. The one thing you do not want to do is miss out on this album.
Rating: Out of 10
With motifs of alienation, anger, animosity, and vengeance, Life Starts Now is a demanding album designed to help unleash the pain within. This is nothing new for Three Days Grace, whose two previous albums (Three Days Grace and One-X) all deliver similar messages of living a hard life and not being happy about it. While not much has changed in the way of songs for album number three, sometimes staying the same is a good thing.
Life Starts Now picks up right where their previous album left off. Heavy, grunge metal guitars dominate the record, setting the tone and pace for what’s to come. Bitter Taste kicks off the anger, a song about putting up with too much for too long and not wanting to deal with it anymore. It’s a tune of ultimate revenge, erasing the bitter taste from life (presumably a girl and a relationship that really soured). Bitter Taste starts the album and let’s everyone know what’s to come.
Adam Gontier’s vocals are still rough and harsh, providing the dark edge to the emo-induced songs on Life Starts Now. His scratchy throat, reminiscent of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix, bring the power to allow the listener feel the pain. The darkness surrounding his vocal chords is clear on all of the songs and help to reinforce the structures of the tracks. Life isn’t all peaches and cream, and we’d all do well to remember that. Three Days Grace is doing their best to remind us.
One song of note is World So Cold which sounds like a Hall & Oates song that was reformed and reshaped into a heavy, dark, rock track. If slowed down and sung in a higher key, Daryl Hall would be able to take this track and make it a monster hit for the power pop duo. It’s most noticeable in the chorus and makes me wonder if Three Days Grace listened to Hall & Oates when they were younger.
Songs like Break and The Good Life revisit the subject matter of doing whatever is necessary to overcome the darkness that is locked inside of everyone’s individual world. The necessity to break away and rise above from the crap that life throws at us all is well documented and accounted for. If you’re not happy with what you have and where you are in life, you need to break away and rise above with the inner strength that each of us possess.
While not breaking any new ground musically or lyrically, Three Days Grace have still delivered a solid rock record in Life Starts Now. If you’re a fan of their previous albums, then you’re going to love this one. If you’re not a fan, then you might want to stay away from Life Starts Now.
Rating: Out of 10
- Bitter Taste
- World So Cold
- Lost In You
- The Good Life
- No More
- Last To Know
- Someone Who Cares
- Without You
- Goin’ Down
- Life Starts Now
Three Days Grace is:
Adam Gontier – Lead Vocals/Guitar
Neil Sanderson – Drums/Piano/Vocals
Brad Waist – bass
Barry Stock – Guitar
It is hard to believe that it has already been two decades since Whitesnake’s CD, Slip of the Tongue, but 2009 marks the twentieth anniversary of this very successful release for Coverdale and company.
The funny thing is, (to me at least) this album rarely comes up in my play list, and I consider myself a pretty big Whitesnake fan. After listening to Slide it In and the self titled disc from 1987, I can understand why Slip of the Tongue is greatly missing something. It lacks that bluesy edge that made the previous two albums so great. Coverdale is the only remaining member from the previous two recordings, and Slip of the Tongue shows just that. Coverdale’s vocals are great, but his vocals alone can not carry the band.
Steve Vai is an incredible guitar player, and I loved his stint in David Lee Roth’s band, but his style of playing is so different from John Sykes that it gives Whitesnake a completely different sound. I am not knocking Vai as a player, but I am not so sure that he was the right fit for Whitesnake. There is lno bluesy element in Vai’s guitar work, and that is what Slip of the Tongue greatly needed.
Whitesnake’s lineup for Slip of the Tongue was like an all star band of hard rock musicians. Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy Osbourne), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy, Quiet Riot), Steve Vai (Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth) all recorded with Coverdale for the first time on this release. Even with all of this talent at this disposal, Coverdale could not capture the magic from his previous two releases with this disc.
With that being said, Whitesnake still ripped out a few hits off of this CD, including “Now Your Gone”, “The Deeper the Love” and the band’s reworking of the 1980 Whitesnake classic, “Fool For Your Loving”. (Is Whitesnake the only band to cover themselves?) Some of my favorites from Slip of the Tongue, are the tunes that got less attention, including “Cheap and Nasty”, “Wings of the Storm” and “Judgement Day”.
Slip of the Tongue is far from bad. It just doesn’t quite live up to the Whitesnake legacy. From a hair metal perspective, it is very good, but as a Whitesnake release it is slightly above average. You can score copies of this CD for under $3.00 at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Slip Of The Tongue
2. Cheap An’ Nasty
3. Fool For Your Loving
4. Now You’re Gone
5. Kittens Got Claws
6. Wings Of The Storm
7. The Deeper The Love
8. Judgement Day
9. Slow Poke Music
10. Sailing Ships
David Coverdale – Vocals
Steve Vai – Lead Guitar
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Tommy Aldridge – Drums
The greatest KISS CD never made? That is what some folks consider punk rocker Wendy O. Williams debut CD, WOW.
Why is that you ask? Gene Simmons produced the album, and wrote five of the nine song on the disc. Ace Frehley plays lead on the tune “Bump and Grind”, Paul Stanley plays guitar on “Ready To Rock”, Eric Carr plays drums on “Legends Never Die”. Stanley, Carr and Vinnie Vincent also have partial song writing credits.
So how is the album? It is quite a departure from the music that Wendy O. Williams did with The Plasmatics, but it is good nonetheless. “I Love Sex” sounds like a distant cousin to “I Love It Loud”.
If there is one song that should have been a hit on WOW, it is “It’s My Life”. This tune written by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley is ridiculously catchy. (See the video below).
If the title “Thief in the Night” sounds familiar, it should. This song appears on the 1987 KISS CD, Crazy Nights. I kind of like the version Wendy O. Williams did a little better. Her coarse vocals are a better match with this song.
There are a few more cool tunes on this disc, including the heavy rocker “Ready to Rock”, “Bump and Grind”, and “Aint None of Your Business”. This CD’s only fault, aside from pretty much being a KISS CD in disguise, is that it is a little on the short side with it being less than 37 minutes in length. Nonetheless, I love Wendy O. Williams voice with this type of hard rock. Her razor sharp vocals sound great with the heavy guitar riffs played on WOW. If you haven’t heard her sing before, this is a good place to start.
Sadly, Wendy O. Williams committed suicide back in 1998. Here death is a shame, but she did leave plenty of music for fans to check out. WOW is definitely a CD worth checking out. If you are a fan of KISS, or an 80′s hard rock fan in general, you will probably like this. WOW has been out of print for quite some time, but you can find copies of the CD at this link. For more information on Wendy O. Williams, check out this tribute myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
1. I Love Sex (And Rock and Roll)
2. It’s My Life
4. Thief in the Night
5. Opus in Cm7
6. Ready to Rock
7. Bump and Grind
8. Legends Never Die
9. Ain’t None of Your Business
Wendy O. Williams – Vocals
Wes Beech – Rhythm & Lead Guitar
Michael Ray – Lead Guitar
Reginald Van Helsing – Bass Guitar
T.C. Tolliver – Drums
Long before the onslaught of Swedish glam & sleeze that is being released today, there was this kick ass metal band from Sweden called Masquerade. My first introduction to the band was with their second CD, Surface of Pain, that was released in the United States via Metal Blade Records. Masquerade has a sound that falls somewhere in between the sound of Dream Theater & Queensryche. The music is heavy with a touch of progressive metal for good measure.
Surface of Pain has a bunch of cool tunes including “Judas Kiss”, “Suffering”( listen to this song below), “America” and “Mercy Me”. In my opinion, there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Tony Johansson’s voice might not be in the same league as Geoff Tate’s, but his vocals have a huge impact on the songs here. He has a solid range, and his style seems to be a good mesh with Thomas G:son’s guitar work.
It is a shame that a CD this good was majorly over looked by the masses. This is a solid effort by
Masquerade. The band should have had a lot more success with Surface of Pain.
Although Masquerade is not together currently, a couple of the band members have been active in other bands. Singer Tony Yoanson was singing in the band Nocturnal Alliance, while Henrick Lundberg is playing bass for House of Heavy.
For more information on Masquerade, check out the band’s myspace page here.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Judas Kiss
2. Say Your Prayer
3. State of Grace
5. End of Nothing
7. God of Man
9. Feels Good
11. Mercy Me
12. Free My Mind
Thomas G:son – guitar
Tony Johansson – vocals
Marco Tapani – drums
Henrik Lundberg – bass
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
When I recently found Vamp’s debut CD, The Rich Don’t Rock, I had to buy it. I could only vaguely remember this hair metal act from the late 80′s. I use to own this on cassette ages ago, but I couldn’t recall anything about the music. Judging from the CD cover, I was pretty sure that the music on this disc was going to be pure cheese. My incessant need to find the rarest rock on the planet wasn’t going to stop me from picking this up.
Oddly enough, this band is far better than I expected them to be. Vamp is not a Sunset Strip, Van Halen wanna be. They are a German hard rock act whose musical roots seem to stem deeper than the rock coming out of Los Angeles in the 80′s. Ricolf Cross dishes out some wicked six string work on this CD. I am extremely impressed with his playing. Where is this guy now?
Singer Tom Bellini’s voice takes a little bit to get used to, but it grows on you. He kind of reminds me of a higher pitched Kevin DuBrow. Drummer Dicki Fliszar gets some moments to shine too. He has a pretty cool drum solo in the tune “All Nite”. I thought that was unusual, and cool all at the same time.
The best songs on this CD are “Like I Want” (my personal favorite), “Rich Don’t Rock”, “All Nite” and “Stand By Me”.
Very little information is available on the guys in Vamp. The Rich Don’t Rock is their only CD. Drummer Dicki Fliszar went on to play drums in the band SKIN. The rest of the gents in the band are at large in the musical world. If you know what these guys are up to today, let us know.
Is The Rich Don’t Rock worth picking up? If you can find it, absolutely. This CD has been out of print for a long time and is very hard to find. There are a bunch of quality rockers on this disc, and I am definitely getting a kick out of them. I am glad I rediscovered this band in 2009. Everyone needs a little Vamp before Halloween right?!
You can listen to the song, “Heartbreak, Heartache” and “Renegade” at the band’s myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Like I Want
3. Rich Don’t Rock
4. Love Games
6. All Nite
7. Lonely Nights
8. Stand by Me
10. Talk Is Cheap
Tom Bellini – vocals
Ricolf Cross – guitar
Oliver Scholz – bass
Dicki Fliszar – drums
All The Way is an eight song e.p. from Swedish glam band Pretty Wild made up of Ivan Höglund (Vocals), Krizzy Field (Guitar), Kim Chevelle (Bass), and Johnny Benson (Drums). The bad news about “All The Way” is there are only six original songs on the album with the other two songs being an alternate version of “Let The Good Times Roll” and a live version of “Dangerous”. The good news is if you are a fan of the Sunset Strip’s 80′s heyday then Pretty Wild is the band for you, with a sound that reminds me of early Motley Crue mixed with Pretty Boy Floyd.
The title track kicks off this disc and it is a catchy rockin’ little tune with some good background vocals, great hooks, and a nice solo from Krizzy Fields. “Time” is another catchy straight up rocker with some nice hooks and melodies, a cool solo from Fields and the rhythm section of Chevelle and Benson play their asses off on this song. “Let The Good Times Roll” is a mid tempo rocker with a touch of acoustic guitar that is probably the best song on All The Way. “Shockin’ Teen” is a straight up rocker where Höglund gets to show off the power of his voice and Fields has another flashy solo. “Dangerous” keeps with the rest of “All The Way” as a catchy rocker with nice background vocals and a solo. “Take It Off” is my second favorite song on this album. Höglund’s vocals sounds great on this song, the song is catchy and sing along with some great background vocals as well.
While I am a little dissappointed that All The Way is so short, it ‘s a solid album with some good songs that definitely give Pretty Wild something to build a full album off of and I will definitely be looking forward to that release. For more information on Pretty Wild, check them out on myspace at www.myspace.com/prettywildrocks.
Rating: Out of 10
1. All The Way
3. Let The Good Times Roll
4. Shockin’ Teen
6. Take It Off
7. Let The Good Times Roll (-86 Mix)
8. Dangerous Live In L.A.
Pretty Wild is:
Ivan ‘Ivve’ Hoglund – vocals
Krizzy Field – guitar
Kim Chevelle – bass
Johnny Benson – drums
It has been two and half years since W.A.S.P.’s kick ass album, Dominator. I truly enjoyed the last disc, so I was anxiously awaiting to see what the band could offer on their latest opus, Babylon.
I was immediately disappointed to find that there are two cover songs on this CD, Deep Purple’s “Burn” and Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land”. W.A.S.P. is no stranger when it comes to cover tunes. They have done plenty in their career. I guess I was hoping for more original material this time around.
Lucky for me, the new W.A.S.P. material is very kick ass stuff. Blackie’s vocals haven’t changed much over the years. He sounds great on Babylon. In fact, the classic W.A.S.P. sound is still in tact with thanks to Doug Blair. He seems to have carried on, where he left off with Dominator. I believe his playing is even better on this album.
As soon as I heard “Crazy”, I knew that Babylon was going to be another solid release. This song quickly establishes that W.A.S.P. is still firing on all cylinders. This is a great way to start of this CD.
“Live to Die Another Day” is easily my favorite song on Babylon. Blackie Lawless sings his ass off, and the music is great too. Check it out in the sample below!
The galloping guitars of “Babylon’s Burning” immediately brings Iron Maiden to mind. This is another stadium anthem type of rocker, that could easily become another W.A.S.P. classic.
“Burn” is one of these songs that to me, does not need to be covered. It is such an awesome tune, I doubt too many bands could truly do it justice. Much to my surprise, W.A.S.P. knocked it out of the park. They did nothing to make it their own, but hearing Blackie’s voice on this tune was kind of cool. This is a faithful replica of the Deep Purple classic.
The band slows the pace down with the tune “Into the Fire”. This is a mid-tempo number that absolutely rips. Blair’s guitar solos on this tune are awesome! What a song!
It has been a long time since I have heard the Chuck Berry tune “Promised Land”, and I must admit that the W.A.S.P. version didn’t do much for me. I guess some songs work better as metal tunes than others, and although it isn’t bad, it just doesn’t live up to the original.
Overall, I am very pleased with Babylon. Blackie Lawless and company has cranked out another great CD. Long time W.A.S.P. fans will want to pick this one up! Babylon will be released October 27th, 2009. You can grab a copy of the CD, at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Live To Die Another Day
3. Babylon’s Burning
5. Into The Fire
6. Thunder Red
7. Seas Of Fire
8. Godless Run
9. Promised Land
Blackie Lawless – lead vocals, guitars
Doug Blair – lead & rhythm guitars
Mike Duda – bass
Mike Dupke – drums
It was a tragedy when we lost Bon Scott back in 1980. AC/DC’s front man will never be forgotten. When it comes to the band ’77, I believe Bon Scott may have been reincarnated as ’77′s singer, Armand Valeta. Not only does Valeta sound like Bon Scott, but his brother LG, has the Angus Young style of play down to a science. ’77 has been able to reproduce the sound of pre-80′s AC/DC almost perfectly.
Some may argue that ’77 is nothing more than a clone band, and perhaps they are. When a CD rocks as hard as 21st Century Rock, I could care less. ’77 doesn’t sound like a watered down tribute band. These Spanish rockers completely nail the hard rocking sound of AC/DC. This is the type of music that you immediately want to crank up, and play as loudly as possible.
21st Century Rock has a bunch of fun tunes including, “Big Smoker Pig”, “Your Game’s Over”, “Double-Tongued Woman”. I can’t get “Big Smoker Pig” out of my head. It is insanely catchy, even if the lyrics are somewhat silly. Did the band write this song about a Barbecue? One may never know.
If you are a fan of AC/DC, you owe it to yourself to give ’77 a chance. There isn’t a bad song on this CD, and it absolutely rocks!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Gimme Rock’n'roll
2. Hardworking Liar
3. Big Smoker Pig
4. Shake It Up
5. Wicked Girl
6. Your Game’s Over
7. Less Talk (Let’s Rock)
8. Let the Children
9. Double-Tongued Woman
10. 21st Century Rock
Armand Valeta – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
LG Valeta – Lead Guitar
J.T. Dolphin – Drums
Raw – Bass
Eonian Records have found another gem with their retro-release of Shake City’s self titled effort. 80′s Sunset Strip rock at its best is what Shake City has to offer, if this album reminds you a little of Warrant or Black ‘N Blue, it could be because vocalist Adam Shore was Warrant’s singer before the train wreck known as Jani Lane came along, or it could be because Erik Turner, Tommy Thayer, and even Lane himself helped pen some of the tunes on this album. Turner and Thayer also lent a hand in the studio producing the album along with Pat Regan. Without a doubt, Shake City is the best release from Eonian so far.
“One Good Reason” is a sleazy opener with some catchy background vocals and chorus. Guitarist Don E. Sachs lays down a very nice solo that I’m sure had all the girls on Sunset stripping off their clothes and throwing them on-stage back in the day. If I didn’t know any better I would think “Hot Love” was a long lost Black ‘N Blue track, even though I think Shore is a better fit than Jamie St. James on this song. This head bobbing, foot tapping treat would’ve garnered Shake City a massive amount of airplay on Headbanger’s Ball, while also adding to the band’s female underwear collection. Another track that has Black ‘N Blue written all over it is “Betty Blu” and while, the band as a whole sound as tight as a drum the guitar tandem of Don E. Sachs and Michael Blair really shine. “Get It While It’s Hot” is a slow, bluesy, sleaze filled song perfect for the strip clubs, reminds me a little of Sweet F.A. “Submarine” is a sex fueled barn burner with more cool guitar from Sachs & Blair, “Little Lianne” is a classic 80′s power ballad that other bands made platinum albums off of. “Lust & Love” takes us back to sleaze with some nice bass from Ray Bailey and more great background gang vocals. “Psychedelic Ride” may sound familiar to some listeners as it also appeared on Eric Turner’s “Demos For Diehards” and it played almost note for note on that album as it is this one, still a very catchy tune though. “Sweet Dreams” is an acoustic based number with a heavy Beatles influence. Another song that will sound familiar to fans is “Game of War”, which appeared on Warrant’s remastered version of Cherry Pie, but in all honesty Adam Shore’s vocals on this song leaves the Jani Lane version wanting, and wanting very badly. “Game of War” is definitely one of the best tracks on “Shake City”.
There are quite a few bands that could’ve been big back in the day, but judging from the songs on this album Shake City is one of the few bands that should’ve been not just big, but huge. Unfortunately, even with Eric Turner and Tommy Thayer’s help, it didn’t happen and that is just a damn shame.
Rating: Out of 10
1. One Good Reason
2. Hot Love
3. Betty Blue
4. Get It While It’s Hot
6. Little Lianne
7. Lust & Love
8. Psychedelic Ride
9. Sweet Dreams
10. Can’t Get Over You
11. Game Of War
12. Bad On Wheels
Shake City is:
Adam Shore – Lead Vocals
Don E. Sachs – Guitar & Vocals
Michael Blair – Guitar
Ray Bailey – Bass & Vocals
Jaycee Cary – Drums
Ethan Gladstone – Guitar on Tracks 5, 6, & 9
Winger is back with a brand new album, Karma and they are ready to kick your ass. While they may have been the butt of some heavy metal jokes back in the day (thanks Beavis & Butthead), Karma is no laughing matter. I don’t know what Kip and the band have been doing over the last couple of years, but I know this, they’ve worked hard to put out an incredible new record.
Karma opens with the hard hitting “Deal With The Devil”. The drums and guitars kick in immediately, and then Kip launches into the vocals. The first thing noticeable about Kip’s voice is that it sounds eerily like David Coverdale’s. This happens throughout most of the record. Kip is older now, so his voice probably changed over the years, but the high notes are no longer his friend.
“Big World Away” is a heavy rock song with a touch of grunge and a lot of grit. Beach’s stand out guitar is felt immediately, and Kip’s “David Coverdale” voice really gives this song a Whitesnake feel with a Winger chorus. It’s a song that gets your feet tapping and will have you listening over and over again. “Big World Away” will definitely hook you on Karma and have you proclaiming what an excellent record this is.
The guitar work on this record is nothing short of fantastic. Even the songs that aren’t spectacular (fortunately that’s just a couple) are saved by the guitar solos. It’s amazing the amount of work that went into the guitar playing for this record. Reb Beach should be celebrated for the amazing work he has done. His guitar licks are all over this record and every one of them sounds incredible. Beach really makes this disc shine.
“After All This Time” is a great power ballad, part of the 1-2 set of ballads to close the album. This is a slow, melodic rocker with balls. The heavy blues influence can be felt in this song about still being in love after many years have passed. Once again, Beach’s guitar solo is fantastic and inspiring. If I was a teenager hearing this for the first time, it would force me to get a guitar and learn how to play.
Karma closes with the absolutely stunning “Witness”, an amazing power ballad with the emphasis on power. Witness is a closer that leaves you wanting to hear more. This is one of the few songs on Karma where Kip Winger’s voice shines through. The feature guitar solo to close the track is one of the greatest I’ve heard in a long time. Simply breath taking and it totally fueled my desire to hear this song live.
With incredible guitars, solid lyrics, and well written, beautifully crafted songs, Karma is poised to thrust Winger back into the spotlight and the center of the mainstream. If they team up with another 80s hair metal act for a summer tour, expect sellout crowds at most stops along the way. Winger is back, let the party resume!
Karma will be released on October 27th in the United States.
Rating: Out of 10
- Deal With The Devil
- Stone Cold Killer
- Big World Away
- Come A Little Closer
- Pull Me Under
- Always Within Me
- Feeding Frenzy
- After All This Time
Kip Winger (bass and vocals)
Reb Beach (lead guitars)
Rod Morgenstein (drums)
Cenk Eroglu (keyboards, rhythm guitar)
John Roth (rhythm guitar)
Super 400 is a power trio from Troy, New York. I must admit that I only recently discovered this band, although, “Sweet Fist” is the band’s 4th studio effort.
This first thing I noticed was the band’s kick ass 70′s rock vibe. I immediately picked up on Led Zeppelin and some Hendrix as influences to this band.
The opening track, “Needle Down” is an absolute scorcher. The heavy riffs immediately capture my attention, and had me anticipating what would come next. This is the type of tune that you need to crank up loud to fully appreciate.
The riffs on “FFMN” (Fear Forget My Name) are ridiculously catchy. Part of the lyrics seem disjointed from the killer groove this song has. It is a shame, as this song has some good ideas, but I think it tries to do too much.
Lori Friday takes over the lead vocals on the song “Flashlight”. Her vocals give the music more of alternative edge, but this song could also turn out to be a radio hit.
Out of nowhere comes this southern, bluesy, swamp rock tune “Sand Hill”. This song takes a few listens to completely appreciate, but was a nice surprise on “Sweet Fist”.
“Thorn Tree” is another highlight on “Sweet Fist”. This heavy Zeppelin-esque rocker rocks hard. Kenny Hohman really cuts loose on the vocals on this tune.
Super 400 covers the Carole King classic, “I Feel The Earth Move” and does an amazing job with it. This version has a much harder edge, but Kenny Hohman gives the vocals proper treatment. The Hendrix inspired guitar work in this version, makes me prefer Super 400′s over the original. Well done!
I like Super 400′s stripped back approach on this disc. You won’t find flashy guitar noodling or a bunch of high speed double bass drumming. What you will find is a very talented three piece band that can dish out some solid classic rock. If you enjoy the early to mid seventies era of rock, you ought to check out Super 400′s “Sweet Fist”. I think you will enjoy it.
You can get a free download of the song “Flashlight” at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Needle Down
2. Another Heavy Word
6. Sand Hill
7. Thought it was the End
9. Thorn Tree
10. I Feel Earth Move
11. Devil Song
12. White Bird
Super 400 is:
Kenny Hohman – guitar, vocals
Joe Daley – Drums and Percussion
Lori Friday – bass, Mellotron, Piano and vocals