Emperors and Elephants sound is influenced by 90′s hard rock scene. The band wears their influences on their sleeves, on their new album Devil In The Lake. On the first listen, I immediately noticed the Alice in Chains influence but found their music to be completely refreshing. If you are expecting another album full of down tuned guitars, think again. There are a lot of infectious riffs to be found on this album. Emperors and Elephants recently added Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper from Texas Hippie Coalition to their ranks, and his playing mixed with Jeph Stiph’s gives E+E, a pretty fantastic guitar tandem. If the opening track “Bring It Down” doesn’t make you a quick believer, “Who Are You” will certainly drive the point home.
Devil In The Lake has a bunch of radio ready tracks. Some songs are pretty heavy, some tone it down to allow Jesse Andrews’ voice to shine. When Andrews’ voice is the focal point in the music, you will find that he has a pretty awesome voice, and he can hold his own with some of the best modern rock singers out there today.
My Favorite songs on Devil In the Lake include “Bring It Down”, “Who Are You”, “Hit of Red”, “You and I” and the band’s hard rockin’ cover of the Chris Isaac classic “Wicked Game”.
Emperors and Elephants is easily one of the best new modern hard rock bands I have listened to in 2014. If you are a fan of bands like Alice in Chains, Shinedown and Pop Evil, do yourself a favor, and check out Devil In The Lake. I think you are going to like Emperors and Elephants a lot. I sure do!
01. Bring It Down
02. Who Are You
03. Your Will
04. Man of God
06. Hit of Red
07. Deep Sleep
09. Wicked Game
10. Ghost In The Mirror
11. You And I
12. M.oG. – Dupermang Re-Mix
Emperors and Elephants are:
Jesse Andrews – Vocals
Jason Meudt – drums
Jeph Stiph – Guitars
Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper – Guitars
Ron “Stoppable” Vanders – Bass
The first attention grabber from Pretty Wild is the fact that rock a scream this grand hasn’t been heard since Steelheart was in their prime. That sucked me in right away and set a very high expectation level for what was to come. And the good news is that those expectations were exceeded by the fourth song on Pretty Wild. If you’ve been yearning for some exceptional sleaze rock, welcome to Pretty Wild!
Pretty Wild hails from Sweden and upon formation they had one mission in mind: play the best 80s metal possible. They have certainly reached that feat. Their overall style and sound is an exact replica of the greatest 80s metal bands, but Pretty Wild has a unique signature of their own, which means they are more than a just a carbon copy of great 80s metal, they are also a unique force in the world of 80s hard rock music and Swedish metal in general.
The hard rocking tunes are plentiful on Pretty Wild. The album kicks off with the hard rocking “Are You Ready,” which starts with a pounding bass drum and the chants of “Are you ready, are you ready for me?” Once the guitar started to slowly build up just under the surface, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before the song exploded. And at the center of the explosion was the first rock scream from vocalist Ivan Ivve Hoglund. The fun factor just ramped up from there.
“Staring At The Sun” is a great highway song that should be played at maximum volume with the windows down, the sun on the horizon, and your foot pressing the gas pedal hard. It is a song that is very reminiscent of some of the great sounds from my youth, and “Staring At The Sun” made me feel like I was 17 again. Hoglund’s vocals were tight and glorious, while the guitar work from Axl Ludwig was flat out fun.
Ballads are present and accounted for on Pretty Wild and done in the appropriate power ballad fashion. “All I Want” and “High Enough” are the two stand out ballads, with “High Enough” just edging out “All I Want” as the better ballad overall. Both songs are exceptional, showing off the talents of all band members, and make me yearn for a video that would rule the Dial MTV charts. However, the guitar solo on “High Enough” is so amazing that it gives this song the edge for best ballad on the record.
If you’re yearning for the sound of the 80s with a modern flair, or if you’re just looking for some flat out fun hard rock to add to your collection, check out Pretty Wild. These guys are the real deal and I can guarantee that their debut album is going to get a lot off spins from me.
Notable Tracks: Are You Ready, High Enough, Hold On
01. Are You Ready
02. Get It On
03. Troubled Water
04. All I Want
06. Staring At The Sun
07. High Enough
08. Ready To Go
11. Blow The Night Away
12. Come Out Tonight
13. Hold On
14. Pretty Wild
Pretty Wild Is:
Ivan Ivve Hoglund – Vocals
Axl Ludwig – Guitar
Kim Chevelle – Bass
Johnny Benson – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
When Eddie Trunk brought Jake E. Lee on That Metal Show in 2013, I couldn’t have been more excited. Mr. Lee has been noticeably absent from the hard rock world for a few years, and I greatly missed him. When Jake mentioned his new band Red Dragon Cartel, I was ecstatic that Jake was returning to make new music. I have longed to hear him play in a band since the last Badlands CD Dusk from ’98.
Well Red Dragon Cartel is finally here, and I couldn’t be happier. The new music is great, and has me super excited to see the band live later in 2014.
The opening track “Deceiver” is an awesome stadium anthem that easily states that JAKE E. LEE IS BACK! The riffs on this song sound like they could have easily been off of the Ozzy Osbourne Ultimate Sin album. I can’t get enough of this song.
The song “Shout It Out” has more of a modern flair to it, but it a good song, and one of my favorites on the album.
“Feeder” features Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander on vocals, and as always Zander does a terrific job. This guy could sing names out of the phone book and make it sound good. Jake E. Lee’s riffs are pretty awesome too. Something about the intro on this song reminds me of the opening music on the animated series Batman Beyond, but it is very cool.
“Fall From The Sky (Seagull)” is a slower tune that has a cool alternative vibe too it. I really dig this track. It sounds great loud too!
If there is one weak track on the Red Dragon Cartel album, It is “Wasted”. While I like Paul Di’Anno, I don’t think his voice has aged well, and this song to me would have been better with Darren Smith on vocals. I like the music, but the vocals kill it for me.
“Slave” is another cool rocker with some killer riffs from Jake E. Lee. This hard driving tune really gets your blood pumping.
I am sure some folks were shocked when they heard “Big Mouth” with Maria Brink on vocals. This is unlike anything Jake E. Lee has ever done. It is a modern hard rocker, which isn’t too far off from what In This Moment plays. I like In This Moment and Maria Brink so I have really been enjoying this tune. I am hoping In This Moment will play this live at some point.
The song “War Machine” is doom-laden Black Sabbath like metal opus that gets better every time I listen to it. What a cool tune!
I was surprised to find that Jake E. Lee locked in Sass Jordan to sing a song on the album. I love Sass Jordan, especially on her recent release S.U.N. – Something Unto Nothing. She is a powerful bluesy singer. She does a killer job on “Redeem Me”.
“Exquisite Tenderness” is the first song that Jake E. Lee ever wrote. This is a piano based instrumental that shows that Mr. Lee has a great musical talent beyond his guitar (but please don’t give up that six string Jake!).
If you buy the special Best Buy Edition of the Red Dragon Cartel CD, you will get a bonus track “American Dream”. Is it worth it? I think so. This is a cool rocker that should not be missed.
Overall, I have been enjoying Red Dragon Cartel. It has easily been my favorite hard rock CD of 2014 so far. Some of my peers have not been so kind to Red Dragon Cartel singer Darren Smith, but I will go on record that I like his voice a lot. He reminds of a cross between John Corabi and Rod Jackson. I like both of those singers and I like Darren too. I can’t wait to hear him sing these songs live.
Red Dragon Cartel’s debut is a solid album all the way through, and most importantly it brings Jake E. Lee back to the limelight, and live stages all across the world. Welcome back Jake! I am glad you and Red Dragon Cartel are here!
02. Shout It Out
03. Feeder (Robin Zander)
04. Fall From The Sky (Seagull)
05. Wasted (Paul Di’Anno)
07. Big Mouth (Maria Brink)
08. War Machine
09. Redeem Me
10. Exquisite Tenderness
11. American Dream (Bonus Track)
Red Dragon Cartel is:
Jake E. Lee – Guitars
Ronnie Mancuso – Bass
D.J Smith – Vocals
Jonas Fairley – Drums
I have seen Jizzy Pearl perform with L.A. Guns, RATT, and I have always wanted to see Jizzy Pearl perform live with Love/Hate. I sadly missed my chance at the 2013 M3 Music festival which I was unable to attend. Jizzy Pearl’s latest effort Crucified started out as a Love/Hate record, but after a recently released statement, the album title was changed to a Jizzy Pearl solo record, and sadly, we may never see Love/Hate perform again.
This album works better as a Jizzy Pearl album as it doesn’t really have a Love/Hate feel. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable however.
Crucified starts out strong enough with the punk infused rocker “Hanging You Out To Dry”. This song is the heaviest on the EP.
“Sunny Day” is a mid tempo number that Jizzy says is a love song to his girlfriend. It is a trippy number that grows on you with a few plays. “You’re Making Me Nervous” is a song that I could hear get some serious airplay. This is the catchiest song on the Crucified EP.
“I Don’t Want To Be Your Baby” is a slower acoustic based number that is a cool twist on the 80′s power ballad. If there was one song that screams hit on Crucified, this is the one. Jizzy wears his Zeppelin influences on his sleeve with “Love Is All”. This is another bit of late 70′s classic rock. I love this tune.
I wonder if playing with Traci Guns had an influence on the song “Too Late”. This song has a 90ish LA Guns feel to it, with a bluesier twist.
Overall, this is a solid effort from Jizzy Pearl and one that I will get a lot of plays out of. If you are a Love/Hate or Jizzy Pearl fan, you should definitely check this out. You can purchase it at Amazon.com & iTunes.
01. Hanging You Out To Dry
02. Sunny Day
03. You’re Making Me Nervous
04. I Don’t Want To Be Your Baby
05. Love Is All
06. Too Late
Alex Beyrodt and Mat Sinner are busy men. Beyrodt and Sinner already have two great releases with Voodoo Circle & Sinner in 2013, and now in 2014, Silent Force & Primal Fear. In the case of Silent Force, it has been seven long years since the band’s last album, Walk The Earth.
Silent Force’s new album Rising From Ashes boast a new singer, and a great one at that! Michael Bormann replaces former Silent Force singer DC Cooper on vocals, and helps to turn in one of the best melodic rock albums of 2014 so far. For those of you not familiar with Bormann, he has lent his vocals to several great bands over the years including Jaded Heart, Bonfire, Redrum and more. He is a fantastic singer, and a great addition to Silent Force.
Rising From Ashes is packed full of heavy, melodic and catchy rockers. Alex Beyrodt delivers an album full of amazing guitar work, and Alessandro Del Vecchio adds a melodic flair to the music with his outstanding keyboards. Some of my favorites on the album are “Caught In the Wicked Game”, “There Ain’t No Justice”, “You Gotta Kick It “, and “Born To Be A Fighter”, but this is an album that I can listen to from beginning to end without the need to skip a track.
Rising From Ashes grows on you more and more with each play. I have always loved Michael Bormann’s voice, and he does an outstanding job as Silent Force’s new front man. I can only hope that Silent Force will make it to the U.S. as some point. I would love to hear the songs from this album live. If Rising From Ashes is any indication of the music to be released in 2014, it will be a great year for hard rock. Check it out!
01. Caught In The Wicked Game
02. There Ain’t No Justice
03. Circle of Trust
04. Living to Die
05. Before You Run
06. You Gotta Kick It
07. Turn Me Loose
08. Born To Be A Fighter
09. Anytime Anywhere
10. Kiss of Death
Silent Force is:
Alex Beyrodt – guitars
Michael Bormann – vocals
Mat Sinner – bass
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keys
André Hilgers – drums
It seems like every couple of years or so, there is a new modern rock act to catch my attention. In the case of Age of Days (formerly known as Age of Daze), they aren’t new at all. The band has been around since 2005, and their latest release Radioactivity is their second album. Their first album, Hollywood Ending, was released in 2008. Judging from the songs on Radioactivity, I need to seek out Age of Days’ first album asap.
Radioactivity is packed with a bunch of radio ready singles that could spawn a bunch of hits for these Canadian rockers. Age of Days sound may not be original, but in their music, I hear a great blend of bands like Theory of a Deadman, Nickelback, My Darkest Days and Hinder. In fact, Sal Costa (ex-My Darkest Days) co-wrote and played guitars on the song “Now or Never” along with Hinder’s Cody Hansen on drums. Their music might be derivative of these other modern hard rock acts, but with an album as good as Radioactivity, I could care less. Age of Days have crafted a bunch of catchy tunes, that with a little bit of luck, could help make them a very successful rock act in the U.S. and beyond.
Radioactivity has a good mixture of modern pop rock/hard rock, and there isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Of course, my favorites on Radioactivity are the hard rockin’ numbers “Bombs Away”, “Justify”, “I Did It For Love”, “Ready to Go” and “All I Know”.
Radioactivity is an album that I can listen to, from beginning to end without the need to skip songs. I have enjoyed this album greatly, and I think you will too.
You can pick up Radioactivity at Amazon.com & at iTunes. Check it out!
Age of Days is:
Tim Morrison – vocals, guitar
Matt McLaughlin – bass, backing vocals
Brent Alvey – lead guitar
Mike Langford – drums
The wait is over! Stryper’s eighth studio album No More Hell To Pay is finally here. Good things come to those who wait, and No More Hell To Pay pays the listener massive dividends. This album delivers Stryper’s strongest and heaviest material since their 1988 classic album, In God We Trust. Big Vocals, bigger riffs and great songs, No More Hell To Pay has it all!
The album starts off with the heavy song “Revelation”. This song is classic Stryper all the way, and a fantastic lead off song for No More Hell To Pay.
The guitar tone for “No More Hell to Pay” takes me back to the Stryper classic “To Hell With The Devil”. This is a killer cut, and if you wondered if Michael Sweet lost any range in his voice, the answer is a most definite “no”! (Check it out in the video below).
Michael Sweet pushes his voice to new limits on the heavy rocker,”Saved By Love”. You have to hear this song to believe it. This is one amazing tune, and my new favorite from Stryper. I hope to hear them do this song live.
Stryper tears the roof off with their smokin’ cover of the Doobie Brothers hit, “Jesus is Just Alright”. This is easily one of the best cover songs I have heard in a long time. Stryper gave this song a great, heavy face lift, and it really works well.
“The One” does a good job changing the tempo on the album, and delivers a song that could get airplay, if DJ’s out there had a soul.
“The Legacy” is another face melting rocker that demands several replays just to register what you just heard. This is easily one of the heaviest Stryper songs to date.
“Marching Into Battle” sounds like it came out of the early 80′s and that is a great thing. This is one of those deep cuts that may not be hit material, but fans will appreciate this nonetheless. Michael Sweet again pushes his screams to the max on this tune.
I immediately hit replay after hearing “Te Amo” the first time. This is another tremendous rocker that is a feast for the ears. This song ought to be another big sing along tune for Stryper’s live set.
“Renewed” closes out No More Hell to Pay with another amazing rocker, and a song that is easily as good as the first.
Major kudos to Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, Robert Sweet and Tim Gaines. The yellow and black attack have released one of the best albums of their career. Michael Sweet’s voice has never been stronger, and the guitar work on this album is fantastic.
Clearly, No More Hell to Pay is an album that Stryper made for the fans, and it delivers all the way through. If you have ever listened or have been a fan of Stryper in the past, you are going to LOVE this album. If you do one thing this Tuesday, you should download the album from iTunes, or if you are old school like me, run (don’t walk) to your nearest music store and pick this CD up asap. You won’t be disappointed. No More Hell To Pay is one of the best albums of 2013. Get it now!! Highly recommended!!
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus is Just Alright
05. The One
06. The Legacy
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Robert Sweet – Drums and Visual Timekeeping
Timothy Gaines – Bass / Vocals
Oz Fox – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Respect. When I think of the musicians that make up the band The Winery Dogs, I have nothing but respect. Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen are amongst some of the best hard rock musicians to ever grace the stage. When I first heard about the Winery Dogs, I couldn’t wait to hear what the band had to offer. Sometimes when a so called supergroup comes out, the music isn’t quite what you expect it to be. That simply isn’t the case with the Winery Dogs. Every member of the the band shines on this release, and Richie Kotzen is the real X-factor, as his singing is far better than expected. Kotzen pushes his voice to the limit. His vocals are fantastic, and some of the best he has ever done.
The music on this CD oscillates between the decades, and gives the listener a nice voyage from the 70′s & 80′s classic rock, to some bluesier numbers, and some more modern offerings. If you have ever listened to some of Richie Kotzen’s solo releases, The Winery Dogs will seem pretty familiar to you. The music isn’t a far stretch from Kotzen’s solo material, and that is a great thing.
The major difference with The Winery Dogs, is you get the best rhythm section in hard rock, and you get the wicked solos from Mr. Sheehan, Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen.
The Winery Dogs give you great songs, and sophisticated jams that should satisfy even the pickiest hard rock fan. This is one of those albums that you can listen to from beginning to end, without the need to skip any songs. It really is that good.
This CD has been one of my favorites of 2013. If you haven’t picked it up, you should definitely give it a listen. I highly recommend it!!
3. We Are One
4. I’m No Angel
5. The Other Side
6. You Saved Me
7. Not Hopeless
8. One More Time
10. Six Feet Deeper
12. The Dying
The Winery Dogs are:
Richie Kotzen – Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Billy Sheehan – Bass / Vocals
Mike Portnoy – Drums / Vocals
A couple of months ago, when my good friend Ryo Vie was in town, we did what most rabid music fans do. We went binge shopping at the local Cincinnati music stores. While rummaging through one of my favorite local haunts, Shake It Records, I stumbled upon the band Brand New Machine. Shake it Records had a listening station where I could hear the CD, The Devil Made Me Do It. After listening to the first three songs, I knew I wasn’t leaving the store without buying this CD.
I was dumbfounded that I didn’t know about this band already. I thought maybe I overlooked a press release, or got them mixed up with another band. Lets face it, there is Brand New, New Medicine, Machinehead, Brand New Sin, and several other bands with similar sounding names. Brand New Machine sets themselves apart by offering fans a classic sound with a modern twist. On The Devil Made Me Do It, I can hear a mix of KISS, Guns N’ Roses and maybe a little bit of Foo Fighters. This is one of those releases that you can listen to from beginning to end without the need to skip tracks. Their sound really works, and there isn’t a bad song on the CD.
Once I opened the CD booklet, I quickly discovered that Brand New Machine’s guitarist is none other than Michael Thomas. The same Michael Thomas who I have seen play with Faster Pussycat and Beautiful Creatures in the past. Not only does the band have a kickass guitar player, but they have one of the best new hard rock singers I have heard in a while. Front man, Brantly Thompson delivers the goods with his whiskey stained vocals on The Devil Made Me Do It.
One way or another, I was destined to find this CD, I am glad that I did. I love this disc, and I am pretty sure you will too!
1. Here I Am
2. Girls Like You
3. Devil Made Me Do It
4. Dust in The Sky
5. Here and Gone Today
6. Living For Another Day
7. Always on the Run
8. Blackout Overdose
9. Lettin’ It Roll
10. What Do I Gotta Do
11. Let Me Go
Brand New Machine is:
Brantly Thompson – Vocals
Seven Antonopoulos – Drums/Vocals
Wiley Oliver – Bass/Vocals
Michael Thomas – Guitars/Vocals
Coming off the very strong and very fabulous Awake, Skillet has returned with their latest rock record, Rise. Fans have been waiting for a couple of years to see what Skillet had in them for a follow up to one of their most popular (and fantastic) records. Well, we can all rejoice, because Skillet has delivered a record that is every bit as good as its predecessor.
Rise opens with the hard hitting, heavy sounding, title track, “Rise.” If you love a guitar driven, hard rock sound, “Rise” is going to put a smile on your face. The song is a great opener for the record and sets the listener up for the rest of what’s to come—hard hitting rock music with an edge. Keyboards blend with shredding guitar and some hard pounding drums to create a strong, forceful album opener. “Rise” is just a great track.
Pounding drums, wailing guitars, and a steady heavy beat isn’t all that makes “Sick Of It” a hard core rock song. It is also the lyrics and the message behind the song. Almost a modern day “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Sick Of It” could be an anthem for a whole new generation. The song screams sing along at a concert, with fists flying in the air. “Sick Of It” speaks to standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe in. If you’re sick of…whatever…fight it and stand strong.
“Good To Be Alive” takes off on a similar message that “One Day Too Late” (from Awake) had, in the celebration of life and all that we have. A simple steady beat is the backdrop for lead singer John Cooper’s vocals, which are very strong on this song. And while the beat is simple, and the song is not overly complex, it is still quite amazing. “Good To Be Alive” was the first song that really grabbed me from this album and I found myself singing along almost immediately.
Skillet really hits a home run with “Not Gonna Die,” the best song on the album. This song has the perfect blend of guitar, vocals, anthem style rock, and overall fun. “Not Gonna Die” is a solid song that kicks off strong and immediate grabs the listener’s attention. It is also a song with deep meaning about fighting back and overcoming any challenges that life may throw. I always attach to songs like these because they are powerful in spirit, style, and substance. “Not Gonna Die” is no exception and I found myself hitting repeat several times.
And while the rest of the tracks on Rise are solid, it is these first four that pack the hardest punch. Admittedly, I spent much more time listening to these four tracks than I did to the rest of the album, but that’s not to say the rest of the album is weaker, because it’s not. It’s just that these first four songs brought so much enjoyment, that I could not help but constantly hit replay after “Not Gonna Die.”
Skillet has once again delivered a fantastic record that hard rock fans will be sure to enjoy. Packed with an edgier modern rock sound and guitar solos galore, Rise is sure to please fans of both the modern rock genre and the old school rock style.
Rating: Out of 10
- Sick Of It
- Good To Be Alive
- Not Gonna Die
- Circus For A Psycho
- American Noise
- Madness In Me
- Fire And Fury
- My Religion
- Hard To Find
- What I Believe
John Cooper – Bass, Lead Vocals
Korey Cooper – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
Jen Ledger – Drums, Vocals
Seth Morrison – Lead Guitar
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
When it comes to death/doom metal I am not a fan of the vocals at all. Usually the music is stellar, but the growling, gravel eating vocals destroy the song for me. When it comes to Five Finger Death Punch, I never gave them many listens. I had heard one or two songs on the radio and thought they were okay, but the growling vocals immediately had me stereotype the band and not explore them more. When it comes to The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume One, I am a huge fan. Five Finger Death Punch has won me over and I will definitely be seeking out their back catalog.
Having not listened to much Five Finger Death Punch, I did not know what to expect when I slipped in my ear buds and fired up The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell. What I received was amazing music that blew my senses away. It was a symphony of spectacular sounds drifting through my eardrums and creating a grin on my face. Nothing brings me more joy than discovering a new (to me) band that I want to listen to over and over again.
“Lift Me Up” gets the disc started and it was this song that captured me instantly. There is so much happening on this one little song that it causes an explosion in the brain. With a cataclysm of sound, “Lift Me Up” is a terrific album opener, especially if it is one of the first times you are listening to Five Finger Death Punch. The song drew me in immediately and by the time it was completed, I was hooked and had to hear more.
“Dot Your Eyes” is another excellent song that just demands you jump around, scream and shout. Ivan Moody’s voice is strong and the rhythmic beats and blistering guitar solos will find fists flying in the air on first listen. The power that “Dot Your Eyes” delivers is unrivaled. The song demands attention and action. This would be the perfect song to work out to, rally behind, or start your day with. It’s an instant shot of energy and emotion and one of the best songs that The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell has to offer.
My favorite song on the album is “Anywhere But Here.” The song is just magnificent. It revisits a familiar theme of what would you do if there was no tomorrow, but Five Finger Death Punch put their own spin on it. Most songs dealing with the theme of today being your last day on Earth discuss how the final moments should be enjoyed and treasured. Five Finger’s version is a little darker. “Anywhere But Here” approaches the world ending by proclaiming that no tears would be shed and that being anywhere but here but would be for the best. The narrator of the song is clearly not happy with where he is in life and it is time to get out and move on to something better. Throw in a magnificent Jason Hook guitar solo and some fantastic drum beats from Jeremy Spencer and it is easy to see why “Anywhere But Here” is one of the best tracks on this record.
Sad as it is to say, “Mama Said Knock You Out,” is a poor cover of the classic LL Cool J jam. The idea of a hard rock cover of this stupendous hip hop song gave me high hopes, but Five Finger just didn’t deliver as crisply as I had hoped. It is but one of two weaknesses on the album. The follow up song, “Diary Of A Deadman,” is not great either. In short, it’s a blatant rip off of Sixx AM’s Heroin Diaries. Thankfully, these are the last two songs on the record, so there are only two bad songs to endure. The other 9 tracks are flat out stellar.
It’s also worth noting that Five Finger Death Punch included 2 different versions of 3 songs. The first version was their own recording and the other version included guest vocals by Jamey Jasta (“Dot Your Eyes”), Max Cavalera (“I.M. Sin”), and Maria Brink (“Anywhere But Here”). It was interesting to hear the two different takes on each of these songs, and it has added some replay value to the record.
Overall, The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume One is a superb record that has me waiting in earnest for volume 2. If you are yearning for a modern rock sound with a real hardcore edge, I highly recommend this record. It has made me a Five Finger Death Punch fan.
Rating: Out of 10
- Lift Me Up (featuring Rob Halford)
- Watch You Bleed
- Wrong Side Of Heaven
- Burn MF
- I.M. Sin
- Anywhere But Here
- Dot Your Eyes
- M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
- Mama Said Knock You Out
- Diary Of A Deadman
- I.M. Sin (featuring Max Cavalera)
- Anywhere But Here (featuring Maria Brink)
- Dot Your Eyes (featuring Jamey Jasta)
Five Finger Death Punch Is:
Ivan Moody – Lead Vocals
Zoltan Bathory – Rhythm Guitar
Jeremy Spencer – Drums
Jason Hook – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris Kael – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Wow! I just finished listening and then listening and listening again to the new Avenged Sevenfold album Hail To the King. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the band’s new album. I was sure it would be good, but this album isn’t good, it is outfreakinstanding.
Hail to the King is the first album without Avenged Sevenfold’s drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. “The Rev” was always such a driving force in A7X’s music, I was wondering how the band would handle his tragic loss, and how it would affect their music. A7X’s music has definitely changed, but it has changed for the better in my opinion.
What A7X has done is change their tempo, and completely move away from their metalcore roots. The band has crafted a bunch of songs that could easily be staples on rock radio everywhere. The change of tempo doesn’t mean that Synnester Gates and Zacky Vengeance don’t play their asses off. There is some fine guitar work on this album, and I hear little bits of Megadeth, Metallica and even Guns N’ Roses influence in the music on Hail To the King. Kudos to drummer Arin Ilejay, who does a find job behind the kit on this record.
The first four songs “Shepherd of Fire”, “Hail To The King”, “Doing Time” and “This Means War” really set the stage for this album, by delivering several excellent, hard rockin’ numbers that will have you hooked after the first listen. While these are my favorites, the great songs don’t end there.
I like the creepiness of “Requiem”. I look for Damien Omen to show up every time I listen to this one. “Heretic” is one catchy rocker that I would love to see A7X perform live. I love the lyrics on this song. “Acid Rain” is one of those deep cuts on “Hail To the King” that will keep me spinning this disc for a long time. I love the haunting piano melodies on this song.
This may be the most mainstream A7X album yet. It is rare when an album exceeds my expectations, but I believe this is Avenged Sevenfold’s best album yet. I thought some fans would be unhappy with A7X’s current direction, but judging from he fact that the album is # 1 in the U.S., Canada and the UK, most A7X fans must think it is pretty cool too!
If you buy one version of the album, get the Deluxe version of the album, which will give you two cool A7X coasters, and a password for a free download of the bonus track “St. James” which is a pretty cool song too!
I won’t be surprised to find “Hail To the King” on top of many best of 2013 lists. It really is that good! Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Shepherd of Fire
02. Hail To the King
03. Doing Time
04. This Means War
06. Crimson Day
08. Coming Home
10. Acid Rain
Bonus Track (as a download from the A7X website)
Avenged Sevenfold is:
M. Shadows – Vocals
Synyster Gates – Lead Guitar
Zacky Vengeance – Rhythm Guitar
Johnny Christ – Bass
Arin Ilejay – Drums
Don’t judge a book by a cover. That is the first thing I think of when I listen to North Carolina Alt rockers, Another Lost Year. You see, the winged skull on the cover of Another Lost year’s album Better Days would have me believe that ALY is a metal band. I would not consider ALY’s music metal, but alternative hard rock more in vain of Candlebox, Live and Three Doors Down. They might be a little heavier than those bands, but when I listen to Better Days, these are the bands that come to mind.
Another Lost Year’s music has grown on me quite a bit over the last few weeks. There are several songs that could easily be radio singles on this album and two ( “War On The Inside” and “Writing On The Wall”) already have been.
Clinton Cunanan has a pretty solid voice, and his voice help propel my favorite tracks on Better Days including “War On The Inside”, “Broken” and “Runaway”. I don’t like it when they tread into screamo territory, but there is very little of that on this album.
Better Days also features a great duet with singer Lish Rimer on the song “Angels”. This song ought to be a big hit for Another Lost year. Check it out below!
Overall, Better Days is a solid album, and will likely get a lot of mileage on the radio for ALY. If you check out one new band in 2013, you could do a lot worse than Another Lost Year. Check them out on facebook at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Better Days
02. War On The Inside
03. All That We Are
05. What I Deserve
08. Last Goodbye
09. Writing On The Wall
10. Come And Gone
11. Forgot About Us
Another Lost Year is:
Dave Whitaker – Guitars
Clinton Cunanan – Vocals & Guitar
Adam Hall – Guitars & Vocals
Lee Norris – Drums
Jason Lovelace – Bass
When I first heard the name Stardog Champion, I immediately thought of the Mother Love Bone song from the 90′s (what a great song!) I can assure you that Stardog Champion has nothing to do with Mother Love Bone, but they are a cool new band worth checking out.
Stardog Champion is the new band with singer Nick Coyle (from Lifer), and guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist Mark James (both originally from Breaking Benjamin). Their new EP Exhale offers up five rockin’ tracks that will likely get a lot of radio play. The first single “When We Fall” was my first introduction to the band, and I took to that song immediately. “When We Fall” is a little heavier that the rest of the songs on Exhale, but if the five songs on this EP are any indication as to the direction of Stardog Champion, this band will have a long and prosperous career.
Stardog Champion’s music leans more towards the alt rock side of the fence, but there are some definite harder rocking moments. If you like bands like Papa Roach, & Shinedown, I think you will enjoy Stardog Champion too. Check them out!
Rating: Out of 10
2. Nothing To Lose
3. When We Fall
4. House of Cards
5. The Switch
Stardog Champion is:
Nick Coyle – Vocals
Aaron Fink – Guitar
Mark James – Bass
Josh Karis – Drums
Synth heavy, hard hitting, and filled with lyrics that give the listener pause, creating thought, Pretty Maids latest album, Motherland is a solid, enjoyable effort from this Danish rock band. While their last effort, 2010’s Pandemonium was a harder edgier affair, Motherland is a strong musical journey and a great next chapter for this band’s long history book.
On first listen, it may appear that Pretty Maids are leaning more toward the album oriented rock melody in their song crafting. Yet, after a few more spins, it is easier to tell that this disc is still based on a solid foundation of shredding guitars, strong and steady stomp drumbeats, and massive guitar solos. Overall Motherland is a little mellower than its predecessor, but it still delivers the hard rock hits.
Motherland is one of those atypical albums where the disc must be played through a few times for the whole effect to take hold. On first listen, I thought that Motherland was a decent record with the stronger songs placed at the end of the album. Then I played it through a few more times only to learn that the songs at the beginning of the record were pretty decent as well.
Loaded with great hooks and shredding solos, Pretty Maids have delivered a fine piece with Motherland. Lead singer Ronnie Atkins’ voice is in top form throughout the record, never wavering or weakening. Ken Hammer continues to deliver on guitar with some exceptional work and fantastic solos. And while the keyboards from Morten Sandager receive plenty of spotlights, they never overtake the music entirely, allowing for a perfect blend of synthesizer, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals. It creates a synthesis of symphonic sound parading through the eardrums with delight.
Motherland reminds me of great synth-rock albums from the 80s, balanced with mid-tempo melodies, hard rockers, and a ballad or two thrown in for good measure. Think Styx, Trixter, Europe, or Winger for a good point of reference. And while Motherland may not be as strong a release as their last record, it is still a decent album worthy of investing your listening time into. Pretty Maids may be heading in a mellower direction, but that doesn’t make them any less grand. And given enough time (and plays) Motherland may overtake any of the bands releases in the last ten years as the record to listen to.
Rating: Out of 10
Mother Of All Lies
To Fool A Nation
Sad To See You Suffer
Why So Serious
I See Ghosts
Bullet For You
Who What Where When Why
Pretty Maids Are:
Ronnie Atkins – Vocals
Ken Hammer – Guitars
Rene Shades – Bass
Allan Tschicaja – Drums
Morten Sandager – Keyboards
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Legendary. It is the only word that fits the band Black Sabbath! It is mind-blowing to me that Black Sabbath has been recording metal music off & on for over 40 years now. Their music has stood against the test of time. There have been many imitators, but no band has been able to reproduce the amazing music that Black Sabbath has put out over the years. With that being said, Black Sabbath’s latest album 13, is not what I would call legendary, but it is a great bookend to what could easily be the final chapter in the careers of this amazing metal band.
Before the release of 13, I had not listened to a single song from the album, so I had no idea what to expect. After the first play, the only song that grabbed my attention initially was “God Is Dead”. On the first play, I thought, this could easily be a staple for Sabbath’s live set. It is a very classic sounding Sabbath song and easily one of my favorites on the album. I struggled at first to find another song that really made an impact on me, but I kept listening, and then a funny thing happened, I couldn’t QUIT listening.
13 really started sinking in after the second listen, and I started to enjoy it more. “End of the Beginning” does a great job re-capturing the vibe of the awe-inspiring 1970 debut Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi is absolutely riffdiculous. On 13, he has once again put together a stellar performance, creating a bunch of new riffs from his endless bag of tricks. It is his guitar work that will make you want to give this album endless spins. Geezer Butler deserves a strong mention here as well. His powerful bass is the driving force behind this music. It is awesome to listen to someone who can truly play, and not just remain hidden in the background playing rhythm. His deep and sometimes jangly bass riffs are amazing. Geezer does not always get the credit he deserves. It is my opinion that his playing on 13 is stellar.
As much as I love Ozzy Osbourne, I didn’t think his vocals were as strong or as aggressive as past releases. I get the fact that Ozzy is 64 years old, but I was hoping that producer Rick Rubin would push him a little further than he did. With that being said, Ozzy’s vocals aren’t bad, just not as good as they have been in the past.
As much as I am disappointed that Bill Ward was not involved in the making of this album, I have to give credit to Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine. He provided the thunder for this album, and I truly believe he did an outstanding job.
There are three of songs that have really grown on me since I started listening to 13, and those are “Loner”, “Zeitgeist” and “Live Forever”. “Loner” is maybe the most upbeat track on the album, while “Zeitgeist” is the slowest. “Zeitgeist” may just be one of the most different sounding Sabbath tracks of all time. That is the song’s pure brilliance. Iommi nearly treads into Eric Clapton territory with his playing on this one, and Brad Wilk plays the bongos throughout this song. “Zeitgeist” is clever and cool. Metal purists may turn their nose at this one, but I appreciate the creativity, and outstanding musicianship. I love the chorus on “Live Forever”. “Well I don’t want to live forever, but I don’t want to die….”. This lyric has really stuck in my head.
If you buy one version of this album, I highly recommend the bonus version (available at Best Buy) with four bonus tracks.
The bonus track “Methademic” is nearly worth the price of admission all by itself. This is a killer up tempo number that should have been on the main disc. I don’t know why this one got picked over. It is better than some of the songs on the main disc. This is a song that you won’t want to miss. (Check it out below!) “Pariah” is also an outstanding tune that should not be missed.
Overall, 13 is a solid, but not spectacular album. The more I listen to it, the more I have grown to like and appreciate it. It may not be perfect, but it does have good song writing, and outstanding musicianship. Black Sabbath fans should rush to get this, and all other metal fans should give this one a chance.
Rating: Out of 10
01. End of The Beginning
02. God is Dead?
05. Age of Reason
06. Live Forever
07. Damaged Soul
08. Dear Father
* Bonus Tracks
02. Peace of Mind
04. Naivete In Black
Black Sabbath is:
Tony Iommi – lead guitar
Geezer Butler – bass guitar
Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals
Brad Wilk – drums
Megadeth has returned with their fourteenth album Super Collider. On their latest effort, the band has taken the tempo down, and have crafted another solid hard rock/metal album. Megadeth’s thrash metal fans will probably throw their arms up in the air in disbelief after listening to this album. After three heavy, aggressive albums in a row (United Abominations, Endgame and Thirteen), Super Collider may seem like a bit of departure for Megadeth. Super Collider leans more towards the hard rock side of the fence than metal on this album. Megadeth may truly have “A House Divided” after this record.
This isn’t Megadeth’s first foray in hard rock by any means. Is it a really a far stretch from the metal they usually create?! Sure the tempo may be a little slower, but the music may not be quite as heavy, but is still very enjoyable. One of my favorite Megadeth albums, Countdown to Extinction was more of a hard rock effort, and to this day, I still think it is one of the band’s best albums.
Super Collider isn’t without its thrashy moments however. “Kingmaker” is one the heavier songs on the album, and it is pretty damn cool! “Built For War” also teeters on the edge of thrash. I can see this song being a staple in Megadeth’s live sets for sure! “Off the Edge” is a catchy rocker that fits my mindset every time I leave the office. “Don’t Turn Your Back” is another tune that will definitely get your blood pumping!
“Cold Sweat” is one of my favorite Thin Lizzy songs, so I was excited to hear Megadeth’s version of this song. It certainly does not disappoint (although JORN’s version is still my favorite). I still have to tip my hat to Dave Mustaine & company for putting a cool heavy spin on such a killer, classic tune.
Overall, Super Collider is a bit of a grower. While this isn’t Megadeth’s best album, it is far from their worst, and it does continue to get better with multiple plays. There is some filler on this album, but the good tunes far outweigh the bad ones. Give Super Collider a chance, and I think you will like it as much as I do!
Rating: Out of 10
02. Super Collider
04. Build For war
05. Off the Edge
06. Dance In The Rain
07. Beginning of Sorrow
08. The Blackest Crow
09. Forget To Remember
10. Don’t Turn Your Back
11. Cold Sweat
12. All I Want (Bonus Track)
13. A House Divided (Bonus Track)
14. Countdown To Extinction (Live)
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Lead, rhythm, slide & acoustic guitars
Chris Broderick – Lead, rhythm, acoustic guitars & background vocals
David Ellefson – Bass Guitar & background vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums, percussion & background vocals
When Alex Beyrodt’s Voodoo Circle started up, I thought of this band as mostly a side project. Well the last few years
has seen this band blossom into a full-fledged band, that is continuing to release some killer hard rock to feast our
ears upon. In 2013, Voodoo Circle released their third effort More than One Way Home. On the band’s newest opus, they
have truly tapped into their inner Whitesnake, and to my ears, that is a great thing! David Readman (Pink Cream 69) has turned in some of his most powerful vocals to date. He is hitting new highs vocally, and quite honestly he could go toe to toe with Mr. David Coverdale himself.
Readman’s vocals come as no surprise to this listener, as I have been a fan of his music with Pink Cream 69 for many years now. As great as Readman’s performance is, Alex Beyrodt’s is even better. Beyrodt has been a fixture in the metal scene with the bands Silent Force, Sinner, and Primal Fear, but with his band Voodoo Circle he shows even more growth as a player (if that is even possible). He delivers some of the best guitar riffs I have heard in quite some time.
With Whitesnake on somewhat of a hiatus, it is great that a band like Voodoo Circle can fill that void with some outstanding hard rock that will put a smile on the faces of Whitesnake & Deep Purple fans everywhere. More Than One Way Home may not be very original, but when a band sounds THIS good, I could care less.
I love Voodoo Circle’s previous album Broken Heart Syndrome, and quite frankly, I think this album is even stronger than the last one. This album has plenty of great songs, and there are no duds in the bunch. Some of my favorites are “Graveyard City”, “Tears In the Rain”, “Cry of Love”, “Alissa” and “The Saint and The Sinner”. This is a very enjoyable album, and will be getting a ton of repeat plays from me now and in years to come!
If you are a fan of Pink Cream 69, Whitesnake or great classic hard rock, you owe it to yourself to check out Voodoo Circle! I think you will love it!
You can pick up a copy of More than One Way Home at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Graveyard City
02. Tears In The Rain
03. Heart of Babylon
04. Cry of Love
06. The Ghost In Your Heart
07. Bane of My Existence
08. More Than One Way Home
09. The Killer In You
10. The Saint And The Sinner
11. Victim of Love
12. Open Your Eyes
Voodoo Circle is:
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
David Readman – Vocals
Mat Sinner – Bass
Markus Kullmann – Drums
Jimmy Kresic – Keyboards
Adjectives that can be used to describe Onyx: heavy, different, solid, fantastic, amazing. After a few spins it is easy to state that Onyx is the best Pop Evil album to date. And while that may seem like a bold statement, it is a true statement. Fans expecting to hear “Monster You Made,” or “100 In A 55,” will not find that here. That doesn’t mean those fans will be disappointed, because Pop Evil has still delivered greatness. Acoustic guitars may be absent, and ballads may be few and far between (technically only one ballad appears on Onyx), but phenomenal music is definitely present and accounted for. Here now is Hard Rock Hideout’s track by track breakdown of the latest LP from Pop Evil.
Goodbye My Friend
Opening track, “Goodbye My Friend,” is a solid, hard rocking, modern blast. The addition of Nick Fueling (lead guitar) and Chaci Riot (drums) are felt immediately. And while the absence of Tony Greve and Dylan Allison is noticeable, the new players are taking Pop Evil in a whole different direction. “Goodbye My Friend” sets the tone for what the rest of Onyx is going to sound like: a fast, hard hitting masterpiece. The solos in this song are outstanding and vocalist Leigh Kakaty reaches down and pushes out a growling, gravelly voice that has not been heard previously.
Deal With The Devil
“Deal With The Devil” is a fast song with a hard and heavy beat. This song hit hard right out of the gate and quickly became an instant favorite. I didn’t think that there was a song that I would enjoy more than “Trenches” on this record, but I was wrong. There are multiple songs that are better than “Trenches” and “Deal With The Devil” is one of them. Crunching guitars from Nick Fueling and Dave Grahs dominate this song and turn it into a gem. Add to that Kakaty’s voice in peak form, and there’s high chance for “Deal With The Devil” to become a huge hit.
“Trenches” was the first single released for Onyx and for a while I really thought it was the best song on the record. That is no longer the case (as you will see). Yet, “Trenches” is one of the best Pop Evil songs to date. Crunching, heavy guitars open the track and are immediately followed by the pounding drums of Riot. The powerful vocals that Kakaty nails throughout along with the urgency that the song is sung in makes this one of the most powerful anthems to come out of the Pop Evil camp.
Torn To Pieces
This is easily the weakest song on the album. That’s not to say it’s a horrendous song, it’s just not as strong as the other tracks. The subject matter is very touching (Leigh Kakaty wrote it as a tribute after his father passed away), and the song is heartfelt, but “Torn To Pieces” lacks the power that all other Pop Evil ballads have contained. And considering this is the only true ballad on Onyx, it was quite surprising. Heading into the disc, I thought “Torn To Pieces” was going to be a song that I constantly played. However, it looks like it will be just the opposite. I seem to hit skip a lot to get to the next track.
“Divide” is another strong, hard hitting, modern rock gem that only Pop Evil can deliver. This is also another song that defines the new direction Pop Evil is heading in. There would never be a song like “Divide” on the band’s previous two albums because they hadn’t emerged to that state in their career yet. With “Divide” the band has embraced the modern rock sound that they seemed to be keeping at bay on previous records. Here, they embrace the sound and turned in a strong, enjoyable song.
“Beautiful” is a mid-tempo piece that is quite enjoyable. The subject matter is exceptional, as the message in the music is we are all beautiful to someone in our own way. Regardless of sexual orientation, the color of our skin, personal interests, or anything else, we are all beautiful today and everyday for the rest of our lives. “Beautiful” is a very uplifting song and one that I believe has the potential to be absolutely astonishing in concert. Personally, I can’t wait to hear this song performed live.
Silence & Scars
Another ballad is delivered in the form of “Silence & Scars.” The song emerges with a strange, yet cool, attention grabbing guitar riff. It sets the stage for the rest of the song. Once again, Kakaty’s voice is strong and smooth and while it’s not a true ballad, “Silence & Scars” is up there with “Monster You Made” for one of the best ballads in the Pop Evil catalog. I expect that this will be a chart topping hit in the very near future.
This is the heaviest song that Pop Evil has ever done. It sounds like a mash up of Marilyn Manson, Rage Against The Machine, and some darker modern rock bands. After the first couple of listens, I didn’t think that I was going to like this song at all. Then, after a few more spins, it started to grow on me. Now, “Sick Sense” is one of my favorite tracks on the record. It clearly shows the evolution of Pop Evil and the deep influence that Fueling and Riot had on the band for the recording of this record. Three years ago, I wouldn’t even consider “Sick Sense” a Pop Evil song. Now, part of me is hoping this is the direction the band heads in over the next couple of albums.
“Fly Away” is a return to the Pop Evil sound that fans have come to know over the years. Hard rocking, clean, and a whole lot of fun, “Fly Away” is one of the strongest Pop Evil songs recorded. This is destined to be a sing along classic in almost no time. “Fly Away” is another song that I am anxious to see the band perform in concert. There is so much raw power and potential for this song to be a climactic moment during their concert. And while the song structure is very simple, the delivery is impeccable, and it is what pushes “Fly Away” over the top.
Behind Closed Doors
This is another song that took a few listens to grow on me. At first, I wasn’t quite sure that I liked this song, but after a few plays, I realized how grand of a song “Behind Closed Doors” is. Starting off slow and then building into a hurried frenzy, “Behind Closed Doors” is a song that has a lot to offer. The song is rich, layered, and deep, which may be why it took so long to grow on me. There is a lot happening within “Behind Closed Doors” and it takes several listens to truly appreciate all of the great music that is being played back at the listener.
Welcome To Reality
Another quick, simple, and highly enjoyable song, “Welcome To Reality” is standard Pop Evil flair. Filled with high energy and strong vocals from Kakaty, “Welcome To Reality” is a song that delivers. If “Trenches” has a sibling, it would be “welcome To Reality.” This is a strong song that serves as a great reminder that music can sometimes just be straight out fun.
“Flawed” is an odd song that I haven’t quite decided how I feel about. I love the opening guitar riff from Nick Fueling and I love how the drums come crashing in behind the riff. Yet, there is something about the song that keeps it from standing out as all of the other tracks have. I am unable to identify exactly what is holding this song back, but the simple fact remains that “Flawed” isn’t as grand as 10 of the other Onyx tracks. Maybe it’s due to the fact that it is the last song on the record? I have no idea. What I do know is that it will take several more listens to determine if “Flawed” is one of the better Pop Evil catalog songs.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Goodbye My Friend
02. Deal With The Devil
04. Torn To Pieces
07. Silence & Scars
08. Sick Sense
09. Fly Away
10. Behind Closed Doors
11. Welcome To Reality
Pop Evil Is:
Leigh Kakaty – Vocals
Matt DiRito – Bass
Dave Grahs – Rhythm Guitar
Nick Fueling – Lead Guitar
Chachi Riot – Drums
Are YOU ready to ROCK?! Airbourne certainly is, and with their third album Black Dog Barking, the band has raised the bar high as far as rock albums in 2013 goes.
While Running Wild put Airbourne on the Rock and Roll map, and No Guts, No Glory proved that the band was the real deal. I believe it will be Black Dog Barking that will bring Airbourne their greatest success yet. Why is that you ask?
Black Dog Barking has not one, but ten songs that could easily be radio singles for Airbourne. Airbourne has managed to load this album with a bunch of killer fist-pumping anthems that are going to please most hard rock fans out there. Joel O’Keeffe sings, screams and plays his ass off on this album, and I hear some definite growth in his playing as well.
“Ready To Rock”, “Animalize”, and “Live It Up” are my favorites on this record but there isn’t one dud in the bunch.
I spent the extra money for the UK import which has three bonus tracks (Why doesn’t the U.S. get these ROADRUNNER?!), and I am glad I did. The bonus songs are pretty solid numbers too.
Some may argue that there isn’t one original thing about Black Dog Barking. I say what the album lacks in originality, it makes up for it with pure hard rock awesomeness. Airbourne is dishing out the best Aussie rock out there right now, and that includes most of the bands that inspired them. Don’t miss this! You won’t be disappointed! Look out for Airbourne on the Rock Allegiance Tour coming to major venues later this summer!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Ready To Rock
03. No One Fits Me (Better Than You)
04. Back In The Game
06. Live It Up
07. Woman Like That
09. Cradle To the Grave
10. Black Dog Barking
11. Jack Attack
12. You Got The Skills (To Pay The Bills)
13. Party In The Penthouse
Joel O’Keeffe – lead vocals, lead guitar
David Roads – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Justin Street – bass, backing vocals
Ryan O’Keeffe – drums
“Suicidal is back!” So screams Mike Muir on the lead single to Suicidal Tendencies first album in 13 years, 13. Judging from the collection of songs put on this disc, Suicidal is back indeed. Technically, 13 is the band’s first album since 2000’s Free Your Soul And Save My Mind, hence part of the reasoning for the title 13. 13 years is a long time to be out of the spotlight and away from the fans. The big question on everyone’s mind was could Suicidal still deliver exceptional thrash/metal music after such a long hiatus? The short answer to that question is yes.
Opening with the hard hitting “Shake It Out,” 13 delivers an immediate impact that both long time fans and newcomers alike are bound to enjoy and praise. The opening guitar riff and drum beat scream out this is a hardcore, thrash album that needs to be played loud. A self-celebrating praise of their return, “Shake It Out” is a reminder of how much fun Suicidal Tendencies can be. This is a hard hitting opener that makes me want to listen over and over again.
“God Only Knows…Who I Am” features a solo by Dean Pleasants that is jaw dropping. The song opens slower than most on the album, but it builds in intensity and anticipation as it develops. By the time the chorus arrives, ears are hooked and fists are pumping into the air. This is an immensely pleasing, amazing song. The build up to the chorus is a great set up for the explosion in the middle. The eruption is pure ear candy and “God Only Knows…Who I Am” could be one of the best Suicidal Tendencies song ever recorded.
“Show Some Love…Tear It Down,” highlights guitarists Dean Pleasants’ and Mike Clark’s exceptional abilities and how they are able to weave so well together. The guitars are heavy, the groove is tight, and the song is flat out fun. This is yet another song that will find fans singing along after just one or two listens. I had a grin planted on my face after just one listen. This is a perfect song for moshing or head banging (depending on your preference). And while it slows down in the middle, it just gives the listener a reason to catch their breath before the song takes off in a fit of rage once again.
Overall, 13 is a fantastic album. If you are a fan of How Will I Laugh Tomorrow… or Lights, Camera, Revolution, then you are going to love 13. Layered with multiple infectious grooves, powerful hooks, heavy guitars, and lots of funk and fun, 13 is a powerful album that takes the listener on a journey of musical styles with thrash metal always remaining as the main focus. Suicidal Tendencies did a phenomenal job with this record. There is not a bad song on the album and it is near perfect. When it comes to voting for album of the year, 13 is definitely going to get heavy consideration.
Rating: Out of 10
- Shake It Out
- Smash It!
- This Ain’t A Celebration
- God Only Knows…Who I Am
- Make Your Stand
- Who’s Afraid?
- Show Some Love…Tear It Down
- Cyco Style
- Slam City
- Till My Last Breath
- Living The Fight
- Life…(Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It)
- This World
Suicidal Tendencies Is:
Mike Muir – Lead Vocals
Dean Pleasants – Lead Guitar
Mike Clark – Rhythm Guitar
Steve Bruner – Bass Guitar
Eric Moore – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
If you are a fan of classic riff rock, then 2013 has been a very good year for you, with kick ass new releases from Krokus, Airbourne and Irish rockers Screaming Eagles!
I don’t know what is in the water in Ireland, but I wish they would share their water supply with the rest of the world. Two great Irish revival rock acts in the Answer & Million Dollar Reload are already making major waves in the worldwide rock scene. Judging from the tunes on From The Flames, Screaming Eagles will be the next big rock act from the Emerald Isle.
Singer Chris Fry is a another great vocal find. His voice falls somewhere in between Lex Koritni (Koritni) and Josh Todd (Buckcherry). As far is singers go, that is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion. His voice oscillates between a clean singing style, and more than enough rasp to make the songs fun to listen to. His partner in crime, Adrian McAleenan dishes out a rockin’ bunch of guitar riffs that complement’s Fry’s voice in the best kind of way.
The great thing about this CD is, there is no filler. Every song rocks! There are no sappy ballads, no acoustic stripped down numbers. From the Flames has ten rocking tunes that ought to please the pickiest of hard rock fans out there. “Down The River”, “Vampire” and “Blood”are my favorites, but there isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
From the Flames is an independent release that you won’t want to miss. You can get your CD copy of From the Flames at this link or in mp3 form from Amazon.com & iTunes. Do your ears a favor and get this now!!!
Rating: Out of 10
01. All The Way
02. Down The River
03. Hungry For More
04. Fight The Fire
06. Devil In The Dust
07. Rock n Roll Soul
08. One Man Revolution
10. Take My Time
Screaming Eagles Are:
Chris Fry – Vocals
Adrian McAleenan – Guitar
Ryan Lilly – Bass
Kyle Cruikshank – Drums
If Nikki Sixx puts his stamp of approval on something, 10 times out of 10, I’m going to at least check it out. So when he decides to hand-pick a band, produce their album and throw them on the opening slot for a Motley Crue tour, I listen and I listen well. Nikki certainly didn’t disappoint with The Last Vegas. I was hooked as soon as their 2009 release, Whatever Gets You Off, hit my ears. Last year, the Chicago quintet followed that album up with Bad Decisions, a raucous, loud, sleazy rock and roll album that leaves you begging for more.
I got my first taste of this album last year when I saw The Last Vegas open for Theory of a Deadman. “Evil Eyes” really stood out for me that night from the instant I heard the crunchy, nasty guitars. And with its addictive groove, “Other Side” was certainly a crowd favorite with its chant worthy chorus: “Whoa, yeah, boy you better be ready/ Last chance, ‘cuz the rumors ain’t lies/ God damn, fucking bitch goes crazy/ You ain’t ever coming back from the other side.”
The dark, brooding bass that opens “Beat to Hell” followed by raunchy guitars and Chad Cherry’s rock and roll scream, certainly sets the tone for the entire album: you’re about to get your ass kicked and it’s going to be a lot of fun. And as if there was any doubt, the title track reassures us that with The Last Vegas, we can do what rock and roll always intended for us all to do…”have a good time making bad decisions.”
Can we talk about Chad Cherry for just a moment? In a sea of monotonous, bland rock singers, Cherry’s voice stands out above them like a stripper in church. You know exactly who it is when his voice screeches out in a song. It grabs you by the balls and makes you pay attention. I think that’s something that can’t be said for a lot of artists today. His stage presence gives off the same kind of attitude, which makes him a force to be reckoned with during their live shows. And if you want to try to grab some of that attitude, then check out his badass, up-cycled, one of kind clothing designs in his Etsy store.
This album just goes from one kick ass song to the next, with seedy guitars and in your face solos that make you want to grab a bottle of Jack and guzzle it. As much as I’d like to sit here and tell you about the rest of the songs on the album, it would get redundant and you’d get tired of reading how awesome each song is. Like Cherry’s clothing line, The Last Vegas are up-cycling some good, old-fashioned rock and roll. They’re taking some great formulas and adding their own touch, their own tastes and making it better. Bad Decisions is quite possibly the best bad decision I’ve made in a long time.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Beat To Hell
02. Other Side
03. Bad Decisions
04. Evil Eyes
05. Don’t Take It So Hard
06. She’s My Confusion
07. It Ain’t Easy
08. My Way Forever
10. Devil In You
11. You Are The One
12. Good Night
The Last Vegas is:
Chad Cherry – vocals
Adam Arling – guitar
Johnny Wator – guitar
Danny Smash – bass
Nate Arling – drums
Reviewed by Christine Sixx
When I first caught wind of Tom Keifer working on a solo album , I was excited that new tunes would be coming from the Cinderella front man. That was four years ago! Mr. Keifer has been working on They Way Life Goes for a long time. I can gladly say that good things come to those who wait. The Way Life Goes is one of Tom’s most brilliant pieces of work, and possibly his best song writing since Cinderella’s Long Cold Winter. It really is that good.
The Way Life Goes is NOT a hard rock record by any means. It is an honest to goodness rock record, with elements of blues, a little bit of country, and some hard rock moments as well. I was fortunate enough to experience some of the songs on this record live on Tom’s tour a couple of months ago, and I really enjoyed what I heard. I knew then that this album may be something special, but I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS good. This CD has been on constant repeat since I picked it up a week ago.
There are so many good songs on The Way Life Goes, it is hard for me to pinpoint a favorite, but “Thick and Thin” and “Ask Me Yesterday” are songs that really get me thinking. I love the harder rocking moments of the songs “Solid Ground”, “Mood Elevator” and “Welcome To My Mind”. “The Flower Song” is a terrific song to put the convertible top down on a sunny afternoon and enjoy the day. “You Showed Me” has a bit of a Beatle-esque quality to it. This is another tremendous song that deserves a ton of airplay. “Ain’t That A Bitch” is a cool bluesy rocker that has a 70′s type of feel to it.
The fact is, there is NOT one bad song on this CD. The songs on The Way Life Goes are arranged in a way that keeps the album flowing and interesting.
Fantastic song writing, and outstanding playing fill The Way Life Goes and Tom Keifer’s voice has never sounded better! If you buy one CD in 2013, this is the one to get!
I can’t recommend this enough! This is easily one of the best releases of the year! Don’t miss this!!
Rating: Out of 10
l. Solid Ground
2. A Different Light
3. It’s Not Enough
4. Cold Day In Hell
5. Thick And Thin
6. Ask Me Yesterday
7. Fools Paradise
8. The Flower Song
9. Mood Elevator
10. Welcome To My Mind
11. You Showed Me
12. Ain’t That A Bitch
13. The Way Life Goes
Tom Keifer – Vocals, Background Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Slide Guitar, Keyboards
Greg Morrow – Drums & Percussion
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Tony Harnell – Piano, B3, Wurlitzer, Clavinet
Background Vocals – Etta Britt, Crystal Taliaferro, Savannah Keifer,Vicki Carraco, Kent Agee, Chuck Turner
Additional Guitars – Ron Wallace, Pat Buchanan, Jeff Labar
Saxophone -Bobby Keys, Jim Horne
Midi Programming & Strings – Mitch Goldfarb, Blair Daly
Rock and Roll will never die! That is what I think when I hear a band like The Fuzz Drivers for the first time. Classic rock has inspired bands all over the globe, and The Fuzz Drivers are dishing out the best 70′s style rock and roll I have ever heard from Portugal.
The first time I listened to “Discordia Song”, I knew I was going to enjoy The Fuzz Drivers’ album, but what I didn’t realize is how much. After my first couple of listens, I detected a lot of Zeppelin and Beatles influences in the music, and that is a good thing. Sérgio dishes out some mad riffs on “Discordia Song”, and Marcelo Viero pushes his vocals to the limit.
“Shine” is possibly my favorite track on the album. This powerful number is driven by the Bonham-esque drums of Duarte Carvalho. This heavy tune gets better with every listen.
When I listen to the song “Carved Time”, songs like “Dear Prudence” and “Over the Hills And Far Away” come to mind. Sergio’s guitar tone falls somewhere between those two songs, and I love it! If there was ever a more radio friendly song, “Carved Time” is the one that is worthy of a lot of radio airplay.
“Mama Told You” has an infectious little riff that makes this one incredibly catchy tune. I like this one a lot.
For a self produced and recorded album, the sound quality on this album is top notch. The band did an outstanding job putting this together. Even though the album is a little on the short side, it is a solid debut for The Fuzz Drivers. With music this good, I think the band has the potential to get some global recognition.
You can get a copy of The Fuzz Drivers’ new album for FREE at this link. If you like bands like The Answer, or Black Robot, check out The Fuzz Drivers! You will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Discordia Song
3. Eats Me Up
4. Carved Time
5. Mama Told You
6. Into The Sun
7. The Poet And The Thief
8. Until It Bleeds
9. White Lies
The Fuzz Drivers are:
Marcelo Viera – vocals
Duarte Carvalho – drums
João Lopes – bass
Sérgio “Mad Mag” – guitar
Part glam, part thrash, part progressive, The Savage Playground, Crashdiet’s latest record, is all grand. Highlighting masterpiece guitar solos, sleazy vocals, and good time party lyrics, The Savage Playground is a record that emphasizes fun. And who doesn’t like to have fun?
Opening with a spoken soliloquy reminiscent of Motley Crue’s “…In The Beginning,” The Savage Playground takes hold immediately with glam vocals, sleaze guitars, and a whole lot of hard rocking for the record. After pelting the listener with glam rock for the opener “Change The World,” Crashdiet shifts gear to trash with “Cocaine Cowboys.” This is a turn it up loud and play it real proud party song with a thumping bass beat that goes on for miles.
The guitar work from Martin sweet on this album is exceptional. His solos absolutely shred and add a sophisticated level of depth to the record. Sweet has a great appreciation for scales and solos and applies them at just the right time. His genius stands out on The Savage Playground. The combination of Sweet’s guitar and Simon Cruz’ vocals blend well and bring The Savage Playground to life.
Crashdiet spent a lot of time mixing up their sound for this release. Venturing between glam, sleaze, thrash, progressive, and even a ballad, Crashdiet was not afraid to experiment with different sounds and styles which helped the record stay fresh. It can be disappointing when every song on an album starts to sound the same as the last, but The Savage Playground has none of that. Each track is a new piece that stands out on its own and helps to further cement the versatility of Crashdiet.
If you are looking for a record that rocks hard and is worthy of a few spins this spring while cruising down the highway, or playing air guitar in your basement, give The Savage Playground a try. It’s an album that will get several listens over the course of time. Highly entertaining, heavily rocking, and quite delightful, The Savage Playground is a solid effort from Crashdiet.
Rating: Out of 10
- Change The World
- Cocaine Cowboys
- Lickin’ Dog
- Sin City
- Tonight’s The Night
- Damaged Kid
Simon Cruz – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Martin Sweet – Lead Guitar
Peter London – Bass Guitar
Eric Young – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Saxon is just about to release their 20th studio album (gasp!), Sacrifice on the world on Tuesday. How does their latest effort Sacrifice stand up? In my opinion, Sacrifice is better than the last couple of releases, Call to Arms and Into the Labyrinth. It is heavier, grittier and delivers a lot more punch than the previous two albums. Byford’s vocals are still in fine form. Even at the ripe young age of 62, Byford is still delivering some of the best vocals in heavy metal. I can’t say enough about the guitar work of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt either. There are plenty of solos and heavy riffs to feast your ears on.
After the brief instrumental opener “Procession”, Sacrifice really doesn’t let up at all. If the title track “Sacrifice” doesn’t get your blood pumping, your stereo might be broken. The pounding rhythms don’t end with “Sacrifice”. In fact, there isn’t a slow moment on the album.
If NASCAR was smart, they would use “Warriors of the Road” as a theme song. Byford lets his fondness of auto racing flow into this song with the sound effects from the high speed whine of some open wheel race cars. Much like those race cars, the throttle is wide open on “Warriors of the Road”. This high octane rocker is going to be staple in Saxon’s live set without a doubt.
Another favorite song on Sacrifice is “Stand Up And Fight”. This is a great metal anthem, with a simple, yet powerful message.
If Sacrifice falls short anywhere, it is the overall length of the album, which is a little on the short side. I will take 40 minutes of quality heavy metal over sixty minutes of crap rock any day of the week though, so this isn’t a problem for me. Sacrifice might not stand up to the classic albums, Denim & Leather, or Wheels of Steel, but it is definitely one of the better Saxon albums in the last 10 years or so. It is solid all the way through, and worth your hard earned dollars.
Fans of classic metal and Saxon fans are going to love this! Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
03. Made In Belfast
04. Warriors of the Road
05. Guardians of the Tomb
06. Stand Up and Fight
07. Walking The Steel
08. Night of the Wolf
09. Wheels of Terror
10. Standing In A Queue
Biff Byford – vocals
Paul Quinn – guitars
Doug Scarratt – guitars
Nibbs Carter – bass
Nigel Glockler – drums
Their bio says they write “trend free music” and what we get to hear are “Real grooves, real performances, real rock.” I’d say that description is
pretty dead on. If there’s one thing that irritates the hell out of me, it’s the over computerized, over produced, overly generic music that’s being pushed out to the world on a daily basis. You certainly won’t get any of that with S.U.N.’s (Something Unto Nothing) self titled debut album.
Sass Jordan (vocals), Brian Tichy (guitar), Michael “Denim” Devin (bass), and Tommy Stewart (drums) make up this quartet with quite an extensive resume: Billboard’s Best Female Rock Vocalist award, songs on major motion pictures and television shows, and time spent in Whitesnake, Foreigner and Billy Idol…just to name a few. With talent like that, you almost can’t go wrong.
Upon listening, the first thing you’re going to notice (because you just can’t ignore it) is Sass’ powerful voice. It’s strong and beautiful in that Janis Joplin kind of way. It’s not dripping with femininity. It’s dirty and gruff and fits perfectly.
The next thing you’ll notice are the solid rock and roll grooves. It’s the kind of sound that makes you tap your foot and bounce your head to the beat because it’s real rock and roll and you can’t help but get into it. There’s dirty, thick guitar all throughout the album, but it pulls you in right from the start with “Burned” and “Crazy Head.” Then you get hit with some Sabbath-y heavy rock during “Nomad.” And if you’re looking for a little 80′s rock influence, you can find it on “I’m the One.”
Where I feel the album falls short is on the ballads like “Wide Ocean” or “If I was You.” Don’t get me wrong, they’re good songs, but they just don’t hold up as well and they’re not as strong as the other songs. S.U.N. are just more powerful when they are rocking faces off.
There’s no doubt that S.U.N. is real, soulful rock and roll. This debut album is a really good, solid foundation that they should be able to build great things on. It makes me excited to see what the future holds for them. They just need to remember not to succumb to making radio friendly music because it sells; they should continue to make solid rock and roll because that’s what makes them shine.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Crazy Head
4. Did Me No Good
5. Mobile Again
6. I’m The One
7. If I Was You
8. The Beginning Of The End (The Journey of The Phrygians from Madrid)
10. Wide Ocean
11. No Way Home
12. Something Unto Nothing
Sass Jordan – Vocals
Brian Tichy – Gutiars
Michael Devin – Bass
Tommy Stewart – Drums
Reviewed by Christine Sixx
I will admit that I have never listened to Atreyu more than once or twice. They were never a band that hit me right away, so I never spent much time with them. I wasn’t even aware that the band was on hiatus while members worked on side projects and pursued other interests. So when Hell Or Highwater’s Begin Again came across my desk for review, I did not realize that it was Atreyu drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller’s side project. That being said, I am glad that I took the time to review Begin Again.
Begin Again is a solid modern rock record. Packed with hard edged, heavy songs that are completed with melody and harmony, Begin Again is an album that most rock fans will want to hear. And once the album is heard you can’t get it out of your head. Begin Again has staying power and replay value. The album kicks off with the first single, Gimme Love. This is a hard rocking track that is meant to get attention and succeeds. Saller’s vocals are reminiscent of Hinder’s Austin Winkler and the twin guitar attack by Matt Pauling and Neal Tiemann is first rate.
The heavy hits continue with “Hail Mary” and “Terrorized In The Night.” The band plays hard on these heavy tracks and the musical talent of each band member shines through. The songs are high energy and touch on typical hard rock themes of anger, disappointment, rage and fear. The songs are performed with a modern rock flair, heavy drums, exceptional guitars, and solid vocals. The combined elements equal nothing but pure entertainment.
The band doesn’t stop there. Begin Again delivers in the slower/ballad department as well. And although “Tragedy” and “Rock Water’s Edge” aren’t true ballads in the old 80s power ballad sense, they are still slower, bluesy songs that deliver in power and passion. Saller’s lyrics are deep and meaningful and when combined with amazing guitar riffs, it is easy to see how either, or both, of these songs will be a huge radio hit. “When The Morning Comes” is the most radio friendly, mainstream song on the record and it is a song that people will be rocking along with all summer long. Led by a blistering guitar intro followed by an enjoyable chord progression and sing-along lyrics, “When The Morning Comes” is one of the best tracks on this record.
Begin Again is an exceptional album that will rock you on first listen. After that, you will find yourself hitting repeat several times. It is an album that can be played over and over again without getting stale. Saller’s voice is strong, steady, and enjoyable. Pauling and Tiemann are a fantastic guitar duo that play off each other well, each knowing exactly when to hold back so the other can move forward. Their timing is second to none and it is their combined ability that really makes Begin Again come to life and sing.
If you are searching for a new band or a new record that is going to excite you and make you want to hear more, pick up a copy of Begin Again. If you are looking for the next great modern rock sound filled with superb hooks and melodious riffs that tunnel into your eardrums and don’t leave until they are committed to your memory, Begin Again is the record for you. Pick it up.
Rating: Out of 10
- Gimme Love
- Hail Mary!
- Terrorized In The Night
- Find The Time To Breathe
- Rock Waters Edge
- Go Alone (Featuring M Shadows)
- When The Morning Comes
- Crash & Burn
- Come Alive
- We All Wanna Go Home
- Tragedy (Villain Remix) – Bonus Track
- The Boxer – Bonus Track
- Pretty Penny – Bonus Track
Hell Or Highwater Is:
Brandon Saller – Vocals
Matt Pauling – Guitar
Neal Tiemann – Guitar
Joey Bradford – Bass
Captain Carl – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
It has taken me a while to stumble upon the band Hellbastard, but man oh man am I glad I did. The band’s new EP “Sons of Bitches” might be short, but it doesn’t lack in heavy riffs or killer grooves. Hellbastard’s sound sounds like a marriage of Slayer, and Suicidal Tendencies. This is simply killer metal that fans of classic thrash are going to love. I may have over looked Hellbastard because of their name, but I won’t make that mistake again. I can’t wait to hear their full length album due out later in 2013, or their back catalog of music which is pretty deep as well.
Aside from the intro “Wolfsong” which is nothing more than an intro, and the EP closer “Throw The Petrol Bomb”, which is a wacky reggae number, this EP is pretty strong.
If you want a taste of some killer classic thrash, you gotta check out Hellbastard’s Sons of Bitches! Hellbastard will be a band to watch in 2013!
Rating:Out of 10
3. Sons of Bitches
4. System Whore
5. We Had Evidence
6. Throw The Petrol Bomb
Malcolm “Scruff” Lewty – Vocals & Guitars
Tom McCombe – Guitars
Paul O’Shea – Bass Guitars
Nathan Ellis – Drums