When Black Country Communion released their debut album last fall, they sent many rock critics into a frenzy, and much praise was received for their first effort. I was not as enamored with BCC’s debut as my peers, but I thought to myself, “Man, if these guys stick together, they could release something really special”. I just didn’t expect it to happen THIS fast.
Black Country Communion’s new CD “2”, is far better than the debut. Everything has improved on “2”. The song writing, the music, and the vocals are absolutely fantastic. Black Country Communion quickly prove they are here to rock. The album begins with the face-melting anthem, “The Outsider”. The hard-driving riffs of Joe Bonamassa paired with the amazing rhythm section of Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham is absolutely superb. Glenn Hughes vocals are at the same high level as his days with Deep Purple. To think he sing like this at age “59” is simply amazing. Hard rock music just doesn’t get BETTER than this.
“Man in the Middle” is another riff heavy rocker that does a good job at keeping the pace of the album going. It is a catchy rocker that grows on you with multiple listens. (Check out “Man in the Middle” in the video below.)
To my ears, the best song on 2 might just be “The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall”. This acoustic number not only shows off the fret work of Bonamassa, but features his vocals as well. The first time I heard this song, it brought Led Zeppelin to mind. I don’t know if Bonamassa is influenced by Jimmy Page or not, but there is definitely a Zeppelinesque feel to this amazing song.
Was Paul Rodgers a stand in on “Ordinary Son” ? This song has a Bad Company like feel to it, although it somewhat heavier than most of Bad Company’s music. Bonamassa and Hughes both share the vocal duties on this impressive tune. I can only imagine that song is an intoxicating experience live.
“Smokestack Woman” is a rockin’ number that should have been released as the first single. This is better tune overall than “Man in the Middle”, and has tons of radio potential.
I am a sucker for good bluesy rock, and Joe Bonamassa’s playing on “Little Secret” is pure blues brilliance. Bonamassa truly shines on this song.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with “2”, and feel it is a much better album than the debut. Black Country Communion shows to the world what the title “supergroup” is supposed to mean. The band has put together an amazing effort with their sophomore release, and is one of the best rock records of 2011. I highly recommend picking up “2”. You won’t be disappointed!
“2” was released in UK via Mascot Records today, and will be released on Tuesday in the US by J&R Adventures. Don’t miss this!!
Rating: Out of 10
1. The Outsider
2. Man In The Middle
3. The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall
4. Save Me
5. Smokestack Woman
7. An Ordinary Son
8. I Can See Your Spirit
9. Little Secret
Black Country Communion is:
Glenn Hughes – Vocals & Bass
Jason Bonham – Drums
Joe Bonamassa – Guitar & Vocals
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
How is it that a CD can make me smile and scream at the same time? I have been waiting for May 31st to come around for quite a while. I have been quite anxious to hear Black Stone Cherry’s third effort, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Let me preface this review by stating that I am a big Black Stone Cherry fan. I have been from the beginning, and probably always will be.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a very good CD, however I feel like the band’s latest effort has been Bensonized. What does that mean? Howard Benson is the producer on this CD. He has produced CD’s for many successful modern rock acts including Saliva, Seether, Three Days Grace and many more. The problem being is that Black Stone Cherry has never been a 100% Modern rock band. On their past releases, they have had one foot in the Southern Rock camp, and the other in modern rock. It is the blend of these two sounds that makes their sound a unique one, and makes Black Stone Cherry one of the more interesting bands to come along in the last 5 years. With that being said, Howard Benson has pushed Black Stone Cherry’s sound more towards the modern side, and I couldn’t be more frustrated. The mix on this record has Ben Wells guitar work practically mixed out of existence. It sounds like the Marshall stacks are set on 10 for the bass and 6 for the guitars. Ben is one hell of a guitar player, and when he does cut loose on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, he shines. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to do so anywhere near enough. With no disrespect to the bass playing Jon Lawhon, he does a fine job, but this CD sounds as if Benson tried to modernize Black Stone Cherry’s sound more down the well beaten and tired path of Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman and Saving Abel. The whole down tuned guitar thing is WAY overdone. Quite frankly, Black Stone Cherry is a much better band than this, and deserved much better from the production and mixing side. Oddly enough, the Clear Channel family of radio stations will probably eat this up, and this could be Black Stone Cherry’s most successful CD to date.
Ok, now that I have gotten that off of my chest, aside from the production qualities of this CD, I do like Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. There are plenty of cool songs worth checking out, from “White Trash Millionaire”(see video below), “Blame It On the Boom Boom”, the future hit “In My Blood” the cover of the Marshall Tucker Band song “Cant You See”, the future stripper anthem, “Let Me See You Shake” and “Like I Roll” are amongst my favorites.
Lzzy Hale from Halestorm sings back up vocals on the CD, and does a great job. Her voice is very good pairing for Chris Robertson. I would love to see these two do a duet on a future BSC or Halestorm song. I can’t say enough good things about Chris Robertson on this disc. His voice IS the most powerful instrument to be found on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and he has never sounded better than he does here.
Don’t let my mini rant scare you away from Between the Devil & The Deep Blue Sea, this is a very good CD, and maybe Black Stone Cherry’s best yet. With a little bit of tweaking it could have been even better.
Rating: Out of 10
1. White Trash Millionaire
2. Killing Floor
3. In My Blood
4. Such A Shame
5. Won’t Let Go
6. Blame It on the Boom Boom
7. Like I Roll
8. Can’t You See
9. Let Me See You Shake
12. All I’m Dreamin’ Of
Black Stone Cherry is:
Chriss Robertson – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Ben Wells – Guitar
Jon Lawhon – Bass Guitar
John Fred Young – Drums
When does a re-release get better? When it is packed with bonus tracks, and a Live concert DVD “Live at the Garage” from the Glasgow, UK show on September 22nd, 2008. The DVD also includes the promo video for “No More” and all of the band’s previously released Webisodes.
Sick is easily my favorite work from Duff McKagan since he left Guns N’ Roses, and that includes the Velvet Revolver records. I loved the original version of Sick, and this version is even better with the bonus track “Roll Away”, and the acoustic version of “Wasted Heart”. Every time I listen to this CD, I hear elements of Guns N’ Roses & the Rolling Stones in the song writing. The music has a slight punk rock edge, and even the slower track “Mother’s Day” is extremely cool.
If you haven’t picked up Sick, this is the best way to experience the CD. The DVD adds a ton of a value to a cool CD that should already be in your collection. The live show is shot at the Garage, a small 500 seat (est.) club in Glasgow. The footage is great, and Loaded sounds amazing. I wish I could have experienced a Loaded show in a small venue like this. It was a packed house for the show, and I bet it is almost as much fun to watch the show on DVD.
I haven’t seen Duff McKagan’s Loaded Live, and unless they schedule some East coast shows (rare) I may never get the chance. Until then, I will enjoy watching this live concert footage on the DVD. The CD & DVD offers over 2 1/2 hours of entertainment, and is a great value to all McKagan & Guns N’ Roses fans alike!
You can pick up the special edition CD/DVD Set of Sick for the price of a regular CD in the HRH music store at this link. Check it out, you will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
CD Track Listing:
- Sleaze Factory
- The Slide
- Mother’s Day
- I See Through You
- Forgive Me
- No Shame
- Blind Date Girl
- Wasted Heart
- No More
- Roll Away
- Wasted Heart [Acoustic Version]
Duff McKagan’s Loaded is:
Duff McKagan – Vocals & Guitars
Geoff Reading – Drums & Vocals
Jeff Rouse – Bass, Vocals on Translucent
Mike Squires – Guitars & Vocals
Today at Hard Rock Hideout, we are going to do something that we have never done before. We are going to review a CD from a band from……..wait for it………… Sweden. All kidding aside, Die For Diamonds is the new debut effort from Billion Dollar Babies.
Pure Steel Records calls this band a cross between Motley Crue and KISS. I wouldn’t call that a completely accurate description. To my ears, Billion Dollar Babies sounds like a mix of Black N’ Blue, The Poodles and Mamakin. Whichever way you look at it, their new CD does rock. The songs are a bunch of fun rockers that would make a very good Friday night party soundtrack.
Die for Diamonds is a solid debut for Billion Dollar Babies, and one that rock fans should take note of.
This CD is powered by the songs “Boys Night Out” (my personal favorite), “Lose It”, and “Key To My Heart”. The songs are well written, catchy, and will likely appeal to most Swedish glam fans, and a bunch of 80’s hard rock fans as well.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Boys Night Out
2. Highest Mountain
3. Restless Minds
4. Lose It
5. Key to my Heart
6. Second Time Around
7. Right on Time
8. Stand your Ground
9. Nineteen Ninety Four
10. We Don’t Live Forever
Billion Dollar Babies are:
Frankie Rich : Vocals
Jon Silver : Guitars, Backing Vocals
Nic Lester : Bass, Backing Vocals
Pat Kramer : Guitars, Backing Vocals
Robban XII : Drums, Backing Vocals
Singer Olof Lindgren and bassist Axel Karlsson split from the Swedish glam band Overnight Sensation in 2009 to form the killer new band Distorted Wonderland. Lindgren and Karlsson both sang back up on Hardcore Superstar’s self titled album in 2005. This inspired them to move into a new direction, and form Distorted Wonderland.
With no surprise, Distorted Wonderland’s sound reminds me a lot of Hardcore Superstar, Crashdiet, and a dash of Skid Row. Their sound is definitely not unique, but the tunes on their debut album rocks hard.
“Raised on Rock N’ Roll” (See Video Below) quickly makes it’s point, and lets you knew Distorted Wonderland is here to rock your face off.”
“In For A Thrill” is absolutely a killer tune. This high speed rocker, is one of the best tunes on CD. Every time I hear this song, I want to hit replay. This is a fun tune that I wouldn’t recommend playing while driving. You might see red and blue flashing lights in your rear view mirror.
It is the background vocals on “Waving The Flag” that absolutely drives the song home for me. This song sounds like it is right out of the 80’s.
The album closer “Tangerine” is a terrific way to close out this album. This song is ridiculously catchy, and is one of my favorites on the CD.
I am glad to see yet another band from Sweden delivering quality hard rock for the masses. If you are a fan of the Swedish sleaze rock bands out there, you ought seek out Distorted Wonderland. This is an impressive debut from the band, and is a CD, that that is going to get a lot of plays for this listener. You can purchase the CD, at this link.
Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Raised On Rock N’ Roll
02. Losing It
03. Slave Of My Desire
04. In For A Thrill
05. Never Had Nothing
06. Behind The Scenes
07. Waving The Flag
08. Stand And Deliver
09. Guillotine Babies
10. On The Other Horizon
Distorted Wonderland is:
Olof Lindgren – vocals
Fredrik Lundstedt – guitar
Axel Karlsson – bass
Petter Karlsson – drums
After a fifteen year absence, The Electric Boys reunited, and have delivered their fourth album, And Them Boys Done Swang.
The band mates of Electric Boys didn’t exactly disappear during the bands hiatus. Connie Bloom and Andy Christell have been playing in Hanoi Rocks, and released a great album, Street Poetry in 2007.
So how does And Them Boys Done Swang stack up? In my opinion, I believe the band has cranked out their best album since their classic debut, Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride.
And Them Boys Done Swang sees the Electric Boys return to their funky roots. The music on this CD is a mix of funky glam rock, 70’s psychedelia and classic hard rock. The majority of the songs are positively upbeat, fresh and highly listenable. This is definitely one of the more interesting albums I have heard in 2011.
Some of the highlights includes the rockin’ opening cut “Reeferlord”, the infectious “Father Popcorn’s Magic Oysters” (see video below), the Beatles-like “Ten Thousand Times Goodbye”, the silly yet fun “The House is Rockin” and the super funky “Sometimes U Gotta Go Look For the Car”.
And Them Boys Done Swang is one of the surprise albums of 2011. This is a highly entertaining album, and a disc worth checking out. Don’t miss this!
For more information on the Electric Boys, please visit the ElectricBoys.com.
Rating: Out of 10
02. My Heart’s Not For Sale
03. Father Popcorn’s Magic Oysters
04. Angel In An Armoured Suit
05. Ten Thousand Times Goodbye
06. The House Is Rockin’
07. Welcome To The High Times
08. Sometimes U Gotta Go Look For The Car
09. Put Your Arms Around Me
10. The Day The Gypsies Came To Town
11. Rollin’ Down The Road
12. A Mother Of A Love Story
The Electric Boys are:
Franco Santunione – Guitar
Andy Christell – Bass
Niklas Sigevall – Drums
Conny Bloom – Guitar, Vocals
Portuguese heavy rock powerhouse MISS LAVA has entered Panavideo Studios, in Lisbon, Portugal to record their upcoming full-length album, the follow-up to their debut Blues For The Dangerous Miles (2009 – Raging Planet Records), under the supervision of producer/bassist Samuel Rebelo. The record will be mixed and mastered in August/ September by a famous North-American producer soon to be announced.
According to a band update:
“J. Garcia already initiated the drum parts recording process which are becoming really explosive and amazing. The band is very excited with the sounding of the new stuff and yes, it will be a harder and more intense work and for sure the fans will love it.”
Chris Common (THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, PELICAN) is the responsible for the drum acoustic sound.
The name and its release date are still to be unveiled as well as the bands inked deal for this new record.
Some song titles set to appear on the CD include:
‘Kill My Grace’
MISS LAVA will play a show on May, 14th at Revolver Bar, in Cacilhas, Portugal at Stone N’ Roll Fest 2011.
For more updated information on the bands activities please follow to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-Lava/103744269669446.
Ever since I first heard Enuff Z’nuff was giving away copies of their latest album Dissonance at Rocklahoma in 2008, I have been trying to get my hands on a copy. While I never tracked down one of the original versions, I was glad to find that the 2010 version released by Rock Candy Records in the UK has a few songs that were not on the original CD.
I have been a fan of Enuff Z’nuff for a long time, and when I found out that former Ozzy Osbourne & Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee was handing the guitar duties on Dissonance, I knew I had to find a copy.
The title track “Dissonance” starts off the album in fine fashion. This is a heavier Enuff Z’nuff tune that has a 70’s hard rock vibe in the vein of KISS & Alice Cooper. It is a cool tune to start the album with.
I thought “Fine Line” was just an ok tune, but there moments when Jake E. Lee flashes his skills on guitar that makes me change my mind. I wish he would break loose more often on Dissonance.
It disappoints me to know that very few radio stations will play a cool song like “Rollaway”. This song has a cool, almost Beatle-esque vibe to it. “High” is one of the heavier numbers on Dissonance. The chorus on “High” reminds me a lot of the Beatles “Day Tripper”. It is much different lyrically, but has a similar style.
Enuff Z’nuff is from Blue Island, Il, just south of the Windy City. Their tune “Chicago” is a pretty cool ode to the city they love.
One of my absolute favorites on Dissonance is the song “Code Red”, which is only available on the Rock Candy records version of the CD. This song sounds like a blend of Enuff Z’nuff and Motley Crue. It super catchy, and if they did a radio edit, this song could easily be a hit single for E’nuff Z’nuff.
The cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” is kind of cool, but does not surpass the original version of tune. The Enuff Z’nuff version is heavier, and Jake E. Lee shreds on this song towards the end. Very Cool!
If I have any complaints about Dissonance, it is the editing job that the folks at Rock Candy did. The song titles were completely jumbled up from what was listed on the back of the CD. Aside from that, I have found Dissonance is a very enjoyable CD from Enuff Z’nuff.
It never ceases to amaze me how great the song writing duo of Donnie Vie and Chip Z’nuff is. The songs on Dissonance are well written, and get in your head. The music on this CD is great. Jake E. Lee shows some flashes of brilliance, but mostly plays within the context of the songs. In my opinion, Dissonance is a must own disc for all Enuff Z’nuff fans and is a CD that should be checked out by everyone else.
Oddly enough this CD was released in Japan, and the UK, and still has not had an official U.S. Release. Hopefully, a smart U.S. label will pick this up, and distribute it. Until then, you can purchase the digital downloads of Dissonance at Amazon and iTunes, and the CD’s through the Rock Candy Records store on Ebay.
You can hear the songs “Lazy Dazy” and “Dissonance” on myspace. Check ’em out!
Rating: Out of 10
2. Fine Line
3. Lazy Dazy
6. Altered States
9. Joni Lynn
11. Code Red
12. When Doves Cry
13. Run For Your Life
Enuff Z’nuff is:
Donnie Vie – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Chip Z’nuff – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, B3
Jake E. Lee – Lead Guitar
Vinnie Castaldo – Drums
Australia is the home to many popular bands including AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and Airbourne. The next Aussie band that may be knocking on stardom’s door is Dead Star Renegade from Melbourne.
The thing I like about Dead Star Renegade, is they have a more modern sound, but flash some classic rock influences throughout their music. They don’t sound like any of the bands that have blazed the path before them. Their debut effort Blackwing shows a ton of potential.
Blackwing starts off a really cool anthem “Born To Lose”, and maintains that upbeat energy until the song “Time Standing”. “Time Standing” is a mid tempo number that deserves radio play everywhere. This vocal harmonies from Jimmy VanZeno on “Time Standing” reminds me of the 80’s pop act, The Cutting Crew (without the keyboards, and much heavier guitars). I bet Dead Star Renegade could rip out a killer cover “Died In Your Arms Tonight” but I digress.
One of my favorites on Blackwing is the rocker and the band’s first single “Tommy Gun”. From Jimmy VanZeno’s excellent vocals, to the fantastic fretwork of Matt Owen, this song has to be a real crowd pleaser.
“The Serpent” is a heavy modern rocker that about mid way through shows some influence of Aerosmith on the music. I thought this was a pretty cool touch!
Two of my favorites on Blackwing is the high energy number “Outta My Head”, and the album closer “Tidal”. “Outta My Head” has some cool tempo changes, and lyrics that stick with you. “Tidal” shows some flashes of bluesy rock, and is a cool song to close out Blackwing with.
Judging from the cool tunes on Blackwing, not even the chilly waters of the Tasman Sea may be able to keep Dead Star Renegade on Australian soil for very much longer. Check it out!!
You can listen to songs from Blackwing at Dead Star Renegade’s website.
If you like what you hear, you can purchase Blackwing in MP3 Format here!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Born To Lose
3. Tommy Gun
4. Time Standing
6. 20 To Life
7. The Serpent
8. One More Time
9. Outta My Head
Dead Star Renegade is:
Jimmy VanZeno – Vocals
Matt ‘Shorty’ Owen – Guitar
Tim Dobie – Bass
Vik Kundra – Guitar
Jay Pizzey – Drums
When I first heard that Frontiers Records signed Benedictum, I was pretty surprised. I have listened to their first two CD’s Uncreation and Seasons of Tragedy and knew that this was a really heavy band.
Kudos to Frontiers Records for stepping out of their Melodic Rock comfort zone for releasing one of better metal CD’s of 2011.
The über sexy Veronica Freeman is one of the most amazing female vocalists I have ever heard. She can scream, growl, and sing in a way that is so impressive, it blows my mind that Benedictum isn’t much higher in the food chain of heavy metal. Guitarist Pete Wells may be Freeman’s metal equal. His playing on Dominion is nothing short of amazing. He is one of the unsung heroes of heavy metal, and Dominion should change that.
On Benedictum’s third effort, Dominion, the band doesn’t hold back any punches, and delivers one super tight metal album, filled with songs deserved to be played at maxium volume. Benedictum has obviously caught the eye of many hard rock veterans, as Dominion features guest apperances from Jeff Pilson, Craig Goldy and Rudy Sarzo!
The title track “Dominion” is a heavy face melter, that just blows my mind when I hear it. Freeman’s voice is at such a low register, I had to make sure it was still her that was signing.
“At the Gates” pummels you with its heavy bass drumming of Mike Pannone, and absolutely kills you with the awesome lyrical delivery from Veronica Freeman. You can’t listen to “At the Gates” without banging your head!
“Grind It” is one of the shorter numbers on Dominion, and yet, when I hear Freeman growl in her lower register, it send shivers down my spine, and puts a big METAL smile on my face. Awesome!
You can practically hear the influence of Ronnie James Dio in Freeman’s delivery of “Prodigal Son”. This is another heavy and cool tune!
The fantastic fretwork of Pete Wells matched with the keyboards of Tony Diaz on the brief instrumental “Beautiful Pain” reminded me a lot of Whitesnake, and left me salivating for more songs in this fashion. This song serves a cool intro the rockin’ tune “Dark Heart”.
“Bang” is a fist pumping, metal anthem that will get a ton of replay from this metalhead! This is the biggest metal anthem of 2011!
Benedictum slows it down for the acoustic number “Sanctuary”. This song while not a heavy tune, would sound great on radio. It is a shame that there aren’t many DJ’s out there with the balls to play it.
Benedictum has included some impressive covers on their first two CD’s, and Dominion is no exception. The cover of “Overture/Temple Of The Syrinx” from Rush’s 2112 shocked me as to just how good it it. This song closes out Dominion in fine metal fashion.
If Benedictum keep releasing albums as impressive as Dominion, they are going to conquer the world of heavy metal. If you are a metal fan, get this CD, and play it loud!! It gets better with every listen! Highly Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
2. At the Gates
4. Grind It
5. Prodigal Son
6. The Shadowlands
7. Beautiful Pain
8. Dark Heart
10. Loud Silence
13. Overture/The Temples of Syrinx
Veronica Freeman – Vocals
Pete Wells – Guitars
Mike Pannone – Drums
Chris Shrum – Bass
Tony Diaz – Keyboards
The amount of talented bands coming out of Sweden is absolutely staggering. Stockholm, Sweden’s De Van is one of the more unique bands I have heard, and quite possibly one of the better ones. Unlike many of their peers who fit more into the glam & sleaze genres, De Van’s music has a more Finnish sound. I would describe their sound as melodic metal, but hanging one genre on the band doesn’t really seem appropriate after listening to Planet Botox. De Van is a little bit metal, a little bit hard rock, a dash of electronica and 100% great!
Eric De Van has a huge voice, but not one that you would expect to hear in a metal band. His voice is clean and clear, and seems well suited to the melodic rock of De Van. The band’s sound is also bolstered by the keyboard playing of Johan Adler. His playing does not over power the music of De Van, it augments it. Typically, I am not a big fan of keyboard oriented rock, but Adler’s keyboards blends so well with the up tempo rhythms of the music, I have enjoyed this sound a lot.
I would describe the opening number “Another Perfect Day” as a melodic headbanger. The drum rhythms are heavy and will definitely get you rocking. “Shine” is a heavy rocker that sounds like a blend of Disturbed, Nine Inch Nails and dare I say, Information Society. That description sounds like an odd mix, but this is a really cool song.
“Plastic Surgery” seems like an odd title for a song. De Van has taken a rarely sang about subject and crafted a well written song.
“I Lose My Faith” is a slower number that builds in to a modern rock beast that ought to be an international hit for De Van. This is a great tune, and one you should all check out. (The “I Lose My Faith” video is below!)
These are just some of the standout tracks on Planet Botox. There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch. If you want to check out a new band that has a cool sound, you need to check out De Van! You can listen to songs from Planet Botox, and download the song “Shine” for free on De Van’s Reverbnation Page!
You can purchase Planet Botox at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Another Perfect Day
3. Plastic Surgery
4. Feed Me
5. I Lose My Faith
7. Not Good
9. Here in Shalaland
10. Planet Botox
11. Waiting for the Sun
De Van is:
Eric De Van – Lead vocals
Johan Adler – Keyboard
Greg Andersson – Guitar, backing vocals
Cee – Bass, backing vocals
Mike Lavér – Lead guitar
Joakim Janthe – Drums
The band Big Ball comes from Germany, but on first listen, you might think they are from Australia. The front cover of my CD says if you like Krokus, Airbourne and AC/DC, You will love Big Ball! If every song sounded like the opening cut, “Double Demon” I would have to agree. Big Ball are masters of the three chord AC/DC influenced rock. Hotter Than Hell doesn’t have one original thing going for it, but the band does rock.
Lead Singer, The Blood God has so much snarl & venom in his voice, that he sounds more like Udo Dirkschneider than Bon Scott or Brian Johnson. With that being said, his voice quickly becomes tiring, and one that I could do without. If you can get past the voice of The Blood God, you will probably enjoy the music. Unfortunately for me, I can’t separate the two. The singer of Big Ball absolutely kills this CD for me. I like the song “Double Demon”, and aside from that I found the title track “Hotter Than Hell” to be ok, but I struggled to find any other songs to my liking.
There are a ton of bands out there that have a similar sound to AC/DC, and many of them are quite good. To my ears, if Big Ball had a different singer, they could be one of the good ones. Hotter Than Hell was nothing more than a disappointment to my ears.
Check out Big Ball on Myspace, and decide for yourself!
- Double Demon
- Porna Lisa
- Big Ball Crew
- Free Fire Zone
- Hell Whores & High Heels
- Hotter Than Hell
- Plugged In
- Wrecking Ball
- Groove Monster Machine
- Rock N Roll Stomper
- Riding With The Devil
Big Ball is:
The Blood God – Vocals
The Killdozer – Guitars
The Groove Monster Machine – Drums
The Rock N’ Roll Stomper – Drums
Coldspell has returned in 2011 with the follow-up effort to their awesome debut, Infinite Stargaze. For Coldspell’s new CD, Out From the Cold, the band has a new rhythm section with drummer Perra Johanson & Anders “Kebbe” Lindmark on bass. The Coldspell lineup for 2011 has changed but the band’s awesome sound has not. Tommy Hansen (TNT, Helloween, Pretty Maids) mixed this CD, and Out From The Cold picks right up where Infinite Stargaze left off!
Coldspell’s music is some times heavy, always melodic, and very pleasing to my ears. Niklas Swedentorp’s vocals are perfect for this style of music. He has a solid range in his voice, but never over sings the songs. Michael Larsson is a top-notch guitarist who has plenty of tasty guitar licks on this CD. His playing is augmented by the keyboards of Matti Eklund. There are some instances on Out From The Cold where Eklund appears to be playing a Hammond B3. The B3 has such a cool sound, and helps to give some of Coldspell’s songs a cool, almost Deep Purple like vibe.
The first song I heard from the CD was the first single “Heroes” (see video below). I was sold on this CD as soon as I heard this song, but this great rock doesn’t stop here. “Run For Your Life” is another great rockin’ tune that does a good job keeping the pace of the album going. If there was any justice in the world, this song would get a ton of airplay!
I don’t know if it is the rhythm of the song, or what it is, but “One In A Million” reminds me a lot of the (Lynch era) Dokken’s style of music. “Six Feet Under” is a very catchy rocker that has been growing on me a lot. One of the highlights on Out From the Cold, is the song “Time”. I keep finding myself turning up the volume every time I play this upbeat rocker.
Another song I would like to mention is the title track, “Out From the Cold”. This song has a slow acoustic build, but turns into a beast of a heavy tune. This may be one of the heaviest songs Coldspell has ever done. It may not grab you on the first listen, but give it a chance, this is really great stuff.
Overall, there are a bunch of cool tunes on this disc, but the real stand out songs are “Heroes”, “Run For Your Life”, “Time” and the upbeat rocker “Seven Wonders”.
If you are a fan of heavy melodic rock bands like Gotthard, Europe, or Whitesnake, you will find a lot to love with Coldspell’s Out From The Cold. Iff you are a fan of the debut CD, Infinite Stargaze, you need to pick this up now!! Recommended!!
You can purchase Coldspell’s Out From the Cold the CD at this link.
2. Run For Your Life
3. One In A Million
4. Six Feet Under
6. Save Our Souls
7. The King
9. Seven Wonders
10. Angel Eyes
11. Heading For Tomorrow
12. Out From The Cold
Niklas Swedentorp – Vocals
Michael Larsson -Guitars
Perra Johanson – Drums
Anders “Kebbe” Lindmark- Bass
Matti Eklund – Keyboards
Bullet is back with another head banging, hard rocking, ear splitting monster record, Highway Pirates. Coming off the phenomenal Bite The Bullet, Bullet was poised for quite a task to repeat such a great performance contained on their last record. Fortunately for both Bullet and their fans, the band was able to pull it off. The hard rocking, guitar shredding, heavy metal mayhem continues in stride on Highway Pirates.
Highway Pirates picks up right where Bite The Bullet left off, and while some fans may cry foul, it’s a perfect follow up. Not every album has to change direction and see a band growing musically while venturing into some different, astounding territory. Sometimes, if the formula works, then you stick with it. That’s exactly what Bullet has done with Highway Pirates much to the delight of my ears.
Highway Pirates launches with the title track and immediately there is no doubting who is blasting out of the radio speakers. Bullet is a loud, raw, in your face, heavy metal act that can pump up the juice in even the calmest of listeners. With ripping guitar work from Hampus Klang and Erik Almstrong,”Highway Pirates” sets the tone for the entire album, which is hard, heavy, and fast. This is true metal at its finest.
“Back On The Road” continues the shred fest of guitar genius. This song appears to be a sequel to “Road King” (from 2008’s Bite The Bullet) which is a delicious metal treat. “Road King” was one of the best songs from that album, and “Back On The Road” is another spectacular hard and heavy tune that’s sure to have heads banging in no time.
Dag “Hell” Hofer’s vocals sound as intense as ever on this record. His voice is a high powered tension wire that explodes through each song, screaming with energy and adding credibility to the music. As a lead vocalist, Hell Hofer is one of the best in the business. His vocal styling is one that many lead singers should envy. Filled with power, pitch, and ability, Hell Hofer is a vital part of what makes Highway Pirates so great.
Hampus Klang and Erik Almstrong are great guitarists in their own right. On Highway Pirates, they show other hard rock bands how guitars should be played. Their shred and rip style is ideal for the metal generation. The solos are clean and structured in perfect time with the intensity of the music. Klang and Almstrong go all out on tracks like Back On The Road, Blood Runs Hot, and Heavy Metal Dynamite. You would be hard pressed to find a better guitar tandem in the heavy metal genre.
The AC/DC influences can be heard all over Highway Pirates. Bullet takes the bar beat rock and roll to the next level by injecting some speed and thrash elements to the simplistic four bar sound. The results are simply amazing. Highway Pirates is a hard rocking hit that will not disappoint metal fans at all. Adding this metal music bliss to your collection is a smart move that would make your friends envious and showcase your hard rock genius.
- Highway Pirates
- Back On The Road
- Stay Wild
- Blood Run Hot
- Fire And Dynamite
- Down And Out
- Heavy Metal Dynamite
- City Lights
- Into The Night
Dag “Hell” Hofer – Vocals
Hampus Klang – Guitars
Erik Almstrong – Guitars
Gustav Hjortsjo – Drums
Adam Hector – Bass
Swedish Rockers Bonafide have just released a new EP. Fill Your Head With Rock – Old, New Tried & True, has two songs from the band’s previous effort Something’s Dripping, plus some cool cover tunes, a new unreleased song, “Kick Me Out”, and the band’s videos “Hard Livin’ Man” and “No Doubt About It”.
I like the shortened version of “Fill Your Head With Rock” as well as “No Doubt About It”. They were amongst my favorites on Something’s Dripping. The real star on this EP is the unreleased song, “Kick Me Out”. This is a fun upbeat AC/DC influenced rocker, and the best song on the EP, in my opinion.
I found it interesting that two of the covers on this EP, “I Don’t Need No Doctor” (Ray Charles) and “I Can’t Explain” (The Who) have already been covered by W.A.S.P. and The Scorpions. For Bonafide to cover these songs, they had better put forward their best effort. Thankfully, that is exactly what Bonafide did. I think Bonafide’s version of “I Don’t Need No Doctor” is even better than the version from W.A.S.P. ‘s classic album, Inside the Electric Circus. I have always loved The Who’s “I Can’t Explain”, and Bonafide does a very good job with their cover.
“Nice Boys Don’t Play Rock ‘N’ Roll” is easily one of the biggest songs of Rose Tattoo’s career. Bonafide does a good job paying homage to Rose Tattoo with their version of this song.
Usually, I am not a big fan of cover tuness, but the cover songs on this EP give you a very good feel as to what Bonafide’s music is all about. If you have never listened to Bonafide before, Fill Your Head With Rock – Old, New, Tried & True is a cool way to discover this kick ass hard rock band.
01. Fill Your Head With Rock (radio edit)
02. No Doubt About It
03. Kick Me Out (previously unreleased)
04. I Don’t Need No Doctor
05. I Can’t Explain
06. Nice Boys Don’t Play Rock ‘N’ Roll
07. Hard Livin’ Man (video)
08. No Doubt About It (video)
Pontus Snibb – Guitar & Lead Vocals
Mikael Fässberg – Guitar & Background Vocals
Sticky Bomb – Drums
Micke Nilsson – Bass & Background Vocals
Whether it’s with Extreme, Van Halen, or on his own, one thing about Gary Cherone remains constant – the man can sing! He also seems to always be involved in great musical projects. That’s why when word came out regarding Hurtsmile, Cherone’s latest outing with his brother Markus, expectations were high. Once again Gary Cherone delivered.
One thing is eminent, Hurtsmile is not a hair metal record, but then, Extreme was never really a hair metal band no matter how often they got lumped into the category. Hurtsmile is a class unto itself – a modern rock record that would do well with some radio airplay.
Hurtsmile is an amalgamation of Cherone’s entire career. Elements of Extreme, his days in Van Halen, and his more recent solo projects are all evident in this debut disc. While sometimes biting and fast, and sometimes acoustic and soft, Hurtsmile is certainly one thing – rocking. Led by Markus Cherone’s powerful and striking guitar, Hurtsmile is an enjoyable ride through the valley of hard rock. Markus Cherone’s ability with the guitar rivals that of the other legendary guitarist Gary Cherone has worked with, Nuno Bettencourt. The first solo on lead song Just War Theory shows off Markus’ talent and the realization of his ability just grows from there.
Not to get lost in the advertising of the Cherone brothers are the rhythm section of Joe Pessia on Bass Guitar and Dana Spellman on drums. Their timing is impeccable and Spellman’s ability to keep the beat is something every musician should aspire to. These two are the perfect compliment to the Cherone brothers. The four musicians make some quality music together.
All is not perfect on Hurstsmile however. While most of the album is a solid rockfest, it does come with moments of limitations. A couple of songs (most notably Kaffur and Set Me Free) appear to be more filler than killer and only serve to hurt the album’s overall greatness. However, songs like Jesus Would You Meet Me and Slave more than make up for the shortcomings of those weaker songs. They are just a barely noticeably dip on the road of an otherwise fantastic musical journey.
Hard rocking and filled with gems, Hurtsmile is an album that fans of Gary Cherone are going to enjoy. The guitar work is simply outstanding and Gary Cherone’s voice is still strong and significant. The acoustic jam on Jesus Would You Meet Me alone is worth the price of the record. Hurtsmile delivers more than just one great song though. It comes with several to choose from. If you’ve been craving a hard rock record that will provide multiple listens, then pick up a copy of Hurtsmile. There will be plenty of return on your investment.
- Just War Theory
- Love Thy Neighbor
- Kaffur (Infidel)
- Painter Paint
- Tolerance Song
- Set Me Free
- Jesus Would You Meet Me
- Beyond The Garden – Kicking Against The Goads
- Just War Reprise
- The Murder Of Daniel Faulkner (4699)
Gary Cherone – Vocals
Markus Cherone – Guitars
Joe Pessia – Bass
Dana Spellman – Drums
The first thing that stands out on Gynger Lynn’s sophomore LP Baby’s Gone Bad (culled from material originally recorded in 1993) is the guitar work of Will Hair. Between blistering solos and clean notes, Will Hair stands out as the most talented member of this group. While I like lead singer Dean Pressley’s voice it is Will Hair’s ability with the ax that gives Baby’s Gone Bad some merit.
Oozing with 80s hair metal riffs, lyrics, and topics, Baby’s Gone Bad is a great album for the hair metal fanatic. Whether it’s singing about a girl, fast times, or partying, Gynger Lynn covers the 80s scene in full force for 16 tracks. Some of these songs are very catchy (Baby’s All Talk, Need To Know, Baby’s Gone Bad) and some are nothing more than filler (Take Me Away, Yes It’s True, The Chance).
Ultimately there is nothing outstanding or new in the presentation. Gynger Lynn is a band that would have made it big back in the day if they had the proper marketing. What that adds up to in 2011 is a mediocre effort that the nostalgic metal heads will love. That leaves little room to grow an audience though.
The power ballads on the album (of which there are several) do stand out and it’s these romantic jams that make Baby’s Gone Bad worth paying attention to. Pressley’s voice is a perfect companion to Will Hair’s moving guitar riffs and Gavin Jadwin’s keyboard playing. A quick listen to songs like Along The Way or Lonely, Lonely will leave you yearning for the innocent days of high school and your fringe leather jacket.
Part of the problem with Baby’s Gone Bad is that not enough songs were excluded from the album. If the band and the producer had decided to trim this album to 11 songs, it might be regarded as one of the strongest hair metal records released in quite a while. Unfortunately, Gynger Lynn decided to take the more is more approach which left a glaring error on the disc. Filler songs are far too many and actually take away from the stronger songs that stand out in their own right.
Overall, Baby’s Gone Bad isn’t a bad album; it’s just that it never rises above the level of average. If you’re seeking a hair metal sound from back in the day, Gynger Lynn is worth checking out. If you’re looking for a record that has depth and a little innovation, this is not the record for you. Hopefully for their next release Gynger Lynn will decide to write some current material that will include current topics. It would certainly be an interesting listen.
Key Tracks – Need To Know; Baby’s All Talk; Lonely, Lonely
- Take Me Away
- Need To Know
- Baby’s All Talk
- Along The Way
- Yes It’ True
- Need A Little Love
- Goin’ Home
- Lonely, Lonely
- Never Gone Find A Better Girl
- Wanna Be Your Lover
- The Chance
- Stay With Me
- Baby’s Gone Bad
- Way Of The World
- Bad Luck
One of my favorite reissues released in 2010, is the Deluxe Edition of Black Sabbath’s Seventh Star. Seventh Star was originally released in January of 1986. The story behind Seventh Star has been well documented. This was supposed to be a Tony Iommi solo CD, but the record company pressured Iommi to release this a Black Sabbath CD. That is abridged version of the story, but if you check out the booklet that is included in this two CD set, it will tell you the complete details about Seventh Star. There are also some cool pictures of the band as well.
How is the music on Seventh Star? I wouldn’t call it unSabbath like. It isn’t as heavy, or doom laden as most of Black Sabbath’s stuff but it is very good. The bass from Dave Spitz is nowhere near as heavy as that of Geezer Butler, but due to the nature of the music, it works, and works well. Tony Iommi’s riffs are awesome as always, and Glenn Hughes vocals are perfect. While this CD may not be as heavy as other albums in the Black Sabbath discography, it is awesome in its own right.
The song “In For The Kill” is an excellent tune. It is a shame that this tune doesn’t get more airplay. This hard rocking number ought to be up there with Sabbath’s best. “No Stranger to Love” is a powerful slow number. Geoff Nicholls keyboard work on this song brings the classic Sabbath album Heaven and Hell to mind. Eric Singer shows off his mad drum skills on the rocker “Turn To Stone”. Tony Iommi may have been a genius nabbing Glenn Hughes to sing on this CD. His vocals are as good as it gets. I have always been a fan of Glenn Hughes since his Deep Purple days, but I think Iommi’s playing may complement his voice even more. If Black Sabbath doesn’t reunite with Ozzy Osbourne, Glenn Hughes ought to be given a strong look. Needless to say, I have no problem listening to Seventh Star over and over again. It is a very underrated recording in the Sabbath discography.
With the newly reissued Deluxe Edition, you get a really cool fold out digipack case with band pictures, and a nicely put together booklet. The second CD features the late Ray Gillen (Badlands) singing with Black Sabbath Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1986. The Live recording isn’t what I would consider pristine, but it something I have looked forward to owning for years. It has only been available in bootleg formats prior to this release. Gillen’s vocals sound fantastic on both the Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio, and Glenn Hughes tracks. For my ears, the second CD alone is worth the price of admission. The audio quality isn’t the greatest, but it preserves a piece of Metal history, with a singer who should have been one of Metal’s biggest stars.
If you are a Black Sabbath fan, and have never picked up Seventh Star before. This is the version to own! It may not be the preferred Black Sabbath lineup, and the original recording is somewhat short, but it is still a very solid effort from Tony Iommi and company! Recommended!
1. In for the Kill
2. No Stranger to Love
3. Turn to Stone
4. Sphinx (The Guardian)
5. Seventh Star
6. Danger Zone
7. Heart Like a Wheel
8. Angry Heart
9. In Memory…
10. No Stranger To Love (Alternate Version)*Bonus Track
Black Sabbath is:
Tony Iommi – Guitars
Glenn Hughes – Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums
Dave “The Beast” Spitz – Bass
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards
Gordon Copley – Bass on “No Stranger To Love”
Ray Gillen – vocals (on – Disc 2)
Before I picked up the CD, Bitten By the Beast from David “Rock” Feinstein, I wanted to check out his solo band’s 2004 debut Third Wish. I have heard a few good things about this disc, but I haven’t heard any songs off of it until I picked it up a couple of weeks ago.
The first thing that I noticed on Third Wish was the awesome vocals of John West. West is no stranger to the hard rock and metal world. He has sung in the bands Royal Hunt & Artension. He has a killer voice with an impressive range. I can’t believe that I haven’t listened to more of his stuff, but I will soon be on the hunt for some of his previous works. David “Rock” Feinstein is the cousin of Ronnie James Dio, and has played with him in several of his previous bands including Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, and Elf. What I didn’t know is just how good of a guitarist Feinstein is! His guitar work on Third Wish is pretty amazing.
The influences of Black Sabbath and DIO on Feinstein’s music is clearly obvious throughout Third Wish. The songs are filled with heavy riffs, excellent solos, and big vocals. If you are a fan of either of those bands, you are going to find a lot to like on Feinstein’s Third Wish.
Some of my favorites on this CD are the Dokken-esque tune “Rebelution”, the incredible anthem “Screaming Star”, & the killer title track “Third Wish”, and the heavy rocker “Masquerade” All four of these songs are worth the price of the CD by themselves. The title track ‘Third Wish” clocks in just shy of 9 minutes long, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. It starts off slow but builds into an awesome metal beast. “Masquerade” is another upbeat rocker with a huge vocal performance from John West.
From the opening riffs, to the catchy vocals of John West, “Far Beyond” sounds like a lost DIO track.
The closing song “Inferno” is an instrumental that sounds like the bastard child of a Rainbow tune. This would be a killer intro for a live performance from Feinstein.
This CD flew under the radar for me, and I am embarrassed that I haven’t listened to this disc before now. I am glad I picked up Third Wish, and wouldn’t hesitate to buy this CD again. If you are a fan of classic metal, you need to find this disc now.
For more information on David “Rock” Feinstein, check out David’s myspace page.
- Screaming Star
- Third Wish
- Rule The World
- Far Beyond
- Poison Ivy
- Live To Ride, Ride To Live
David “Rock” Feinstein – Guitars
John West – Vocals
Jeff Howell – Bass Guitar
Nate Horton – Drums
Bob Twining – Keyboards
It is a crying shame that Bang Tango’s third effort, Love After Death has not had a proper release in the United States. This disc is the last to feature the band’s original recording lineup of Joe LeSté, Mark Knight, Tigg Ketler, Kyle Kyle, and Kyle Stevens. This was released after the grunge scene hit it big, and was released in Europe under the Music For Nations label.
It took months for me to track down a reasonably priced copy of this out of print CD. As they say, good things come to those who wait. Bang Tango’s Love After Death is another good release indeed. Does it stand up to Psycho Cafe or Dancin’ on Coals? Probably not, but there are some pretty good songs worth checking out on this CD.
The opening track “New Generation” is full of the all the fire & energy that made me love this band in the first place. “My Favourite 9″ is another cool tune that is filled with that funky bass from Kyle Kyle that gave Bang Tango their semi-unique sound in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
“Crazy” starts off slow and finishes big. Joe LeSté and company takes the listener on a fun ride. If this would have been released earlier in Bang Tango’s career, it could have been a huge hit.
The only song that really doesn’t seem to work on Love After Death is the ballad “A Thousand Goodbyes”. The rest of the CD is pretty good, but this song I could have lived without. Nonetheless, Love After Death is a pretty good effort from Bang Tango, and seems like a natural bridge for Joe LeSté’s jump over to Beautiful Creatures in the mid nineties.
I can’t understand why this CD didn’t get a proper release in the United States. Bang Tango fans will without question love this disc. Sadly, it is a hard disc to track down, and it out of print. It often sells for over 25 bucks on eBay regularly. It is a cool CD, and one worth tracking down if you can find it at the right price. Happy Hunting!
(I found a couple of song clips on Youtube, you can check them out below.)
1. New Generation
2. My Favourite 9
3. Feelin’ Nothin’
4. Don’t Count Me Out
5. Live On The Moon
7. The Hell I Gave
9. So Obsessed
10. Gonna Make You Feel Like
11. A Thousand Goodbyes
Bang Tango is:
Joe LeSté – Vocals
Mark Knight – Guitars, Electric & Acoustic, Slide, Sitar
Kyle Stevens – Guitars, Electric & Acoustic, Mandolin
Kyle Kyle – Bass
Tigg Ketler – Drums
Hinder is back with their third effort. All American Nightmare. I have been looking forward to this disc for a while, but I have to admit I had a few reservations about it. Once I found out that they used some of the same writers as country artists Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Faith Hill and Dierks Bentley I was left scratching my head in disbelief. I mean, after all, what does a bunch of country writers know about rock and roll? Certainly they can’t write a rock album can they? YES THEY CAN!!
As it turns out Brett and Brad Warren, the two writers who wrote many of the songs on All American Nightmare, were in a lesser known hair metal band called St. Warren in the early 90’s. (You can still find their St. Warren releases at FNA Records.com) The two brothers also have plenty of credibility as hit country writers as well. Needless to say, they helped Hinder craft some cool tunes on what is quickly becoming my de facto favorite of all the Hinder releases.
The opening cut “2 Sides of Me” has those big hooks that Def Leppard became known for. This song gets better with every listen.
The title track “All American Nightmare” is another infectious rocker that had me proudly displaying my Ronnie James Dio “Mano Cornutos”.
If “What You Gonna Do” doesn’t blow up, and become a major hit, there is something seriously wrong with American radio out there. This is a great tune.
“Waking Up the Devil” was originally featured on the Saw 3D soundtrack. If you picked that disc up, you already know how cool this track is. This song has a little bit of a southern rock edge, with a splash of heavy modern rock mixed in for good measure.
“Striptease” may just be the heaviest Hinder song of all time, and honestly I wish the band would do MORE songs like this. This song is catchy and heavy.
“Put That Record On” is a catchy and clever song honoring all of the awesome rock bands that blazed the path for Hinder. This is a very cool way to close out All American Nightmare.
If you are a fan of Hinder, you are going to love All American Nightmare. If you haven’t check the band out before, check out this CD first. You won’t be disappointed.
- 2 Sides Of Me
- All American Nightmare
- What Ya Gonna Do
- Hey Ho
- The Life
- Waking Up The Devil
- Red Tail Lights
- Everybody’s Wrong
- Put That Record On
Austin Winkler – vocals
Joe Garvey – lead guitar
Mark King – rhythm guitar
Mike Rodden – bass guitar
Cody Hanson – drums
I can’t think of may rock releases in 2010 that I have been looking more forward to than Alter Bridge’s third effort AB III. Alter Bridge’s previous release Blackbird was excellent, and one of my favorite CD’s of 2007. My hopes were high that AB III would be at that same high level. After hearing Myles Kennedy’s fine work on Slash’s CD earlier this year, it only whet my appetite even more to hear some new Alter Bridge music.
AB III has a ton of new music to digest, and chances are, you won’t do it in one sitting. The regular version of the CD has over an hour of music, and the Best Buy Edition , with its two bonus tracks, clocks in at over 70 minutes. With that being said, I believe AB III is more of a grower type of CD, but there are many flashes of brilliance on this disc that will take several spins to fully absorb.
First and Foremost, Myles Kennedy’s vocals on this disc are AWESOME. Kennedy is easily one of the most talented singers in rock today, and his voice shines big on AB III.
The opening song, “Slip To The Void” is a powerful number that may just be one of the heaviest Alter Bridge songs to date. Chances are you have heard this first single off of AB III, “Isolation”, and you already know how heavy this song this. “Isolation” and “Slip To The Void” offer up two great, heavy songs right out of the gate, and set the tone for AB III. This easily Alter Bridge’s heaviest and darkest album to date.
“Ghost of Days Gone By” is much like a spark that turns into a roaring wildfire. At first it seemed that this song was mixed in as a pace breaker for the first two heavy cuts. The song starts slow but builds into yet another heavy number. I have mixed feelings on this tune. I think it could have stood out better without the heavy rocker it morphs into.
“Make It Right” is one of the more catchy songs on AB III. I hope Alter Bridge releases this as a single. It could be a big hit for the band.
“Wonderful Life” shows a different side of Alter Bridge. This is a slower number that showcases the powerful voice of Myles Kennedy. Kennedy shows his impressive range, on this incredible number. This is a well written number that will make even the non Alter Bridge fan say “WOW”! Anyone that has ever been in a relationship will relate to this song.
Some of the other highlights on this album are “Coeur D’alene”, “Life Must Go On”, “Words Darker Than Their Wings”. Both of the bonus tracks, “Zero” and “Home” are pretty solid tunes making the Best Buy version of the disc the best overall value.
I have played AB III heavily over the last couple of weeks, and while it has some great songs, it does not surpass its predecessor Blackbird. It is still a very solid album, and one that Alter Bridge, or Myles Kennedy fans should not miss.
For more information Alter Bridge and to hear songs from AB III please visit the band’s website.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Slip To The Void
03. Ghost Of Days Gone By
04. All Hope Is Gone
05. Still Remains
06. Make It Right
07. Wonderful Life
08. I Know It Hurts
09. Show Me A Sign
11. Breathe Again
12. Coeur D’alene
13. Life Must Go On
14. Words Darker Than Their Wings
15. Zero* (Bonus Track)
16. Home* (Bonus Track)
Alter Bridge is:
Myles Kennedy — lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards
Mark Tremonti — lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals
Brian Marshall — bass guitar
Scott Phillips — drums, percussion
AVENGED SEVENFOLD “Nightmare” – The Crown Jewel Of A7X
It has been a little over two months since the July 27th, 2010 release of “Nightmare” from Avenged Sevenfold. This has been more than enough time for me to listen to their fifth studio album and come to this realization… “Nightmare” is profoundly bigger and more badass than any critics out there ever expected. To listen to this new A7X album and walk away unimpressed tells me only one thing… your oozing with quality Metal envy. The #1 album chart status and sales figures alone for “Nightmare” are telling of the popularity and quality that A7X carries with their brand of Heavy Rock.
The lead single of “Nightmare” alone is as fine an example of the musical maturation that A7X has reached, in factually just a decade. With shades of Metallica influence combined within their own Metal prowess, A7X can very well know they have made the song of their lives. Just when you think “Nightmare” is going to subside, it doesn’t. This song is uncannily relentless with its psyche-you-out continuity. I can’t help but think to myself… this “Nightmare” song will make Metallica wish it was theirs. I state this as a compliment to both bands, I’m opposed to stirring up controversy. Sometimes.
Anyone still unfamiliar with this “Nightmare” album should consider themselves either a rain forest hermit or walking in their sleep while still having functioning body parts. To pick apart this album would be rather easy… if you never listened to it. That sadly, has been the morbid case in situations that are few and far between. “Nightmare” is so much more than the lead single. As is always the case with A7X, this is a total album of songs. As diverse as it is dynamic, “Nightmare” flourishes with its originality from song to song, with not a micro hint of cut and paste with this extraordinary group of musicians.
If “Danger Line” doesn’t bring your eyes to some semblance of tears, then obviously the lyrics go right over your head. “Danger Line” incorporates whistling and a piano for extra emotional affect, evaporating the immature mentality out there that A7X is NOT a screaming Metalcore band for teenage boys only. Take that, all of you liberal and over compensated mainstream Rock Music critics. “Buried Alive” relies on its melodic heaviness to carry out it’s more than memorable song structure. This is a song that plays out in two parts, one part heavy ballad and second part melt your eardrums into Heavy Metal delirium.
“So Far Away” further removes the unsubstantiated stereotype and misgivings that A7X at times have to duck away from. This song is remarkable in both its musicianship and lyrics. “So Far Away” is the bridge between A7X the Metal Band and A7X the diverse and skillful musicians that they glowingly are. “Tonight The World Dies” tantalizes with a Classic Rock sensibility that marries into the emotionally driven darkness that is this “Nightmare” album. M. Shadows vocally switches from crooning to power bellows with flawless and inherent confidence.
“God Hates Us” is undisputedly the heaviest track on “Nightmare”, exposing the full throttle and extreme side that A7X can credibly unleash through song. If “Nightmare” was built around the sound and fury of “God Hates Us”, A7X would be just another Metal Band that made a “decent” album. This song is grand and mighty in every musical aspect, only A7X doesn’t need to rely on this high level of heaviness to be as great as they are. It is songs like “Victim” that enriches this “Nightmare” album into its “necessity to own” status. A heavy ballad is “Victim” and it does not resemble anything you have ever heard in a “heavy ballad” before. This is as modernistic and emblematic of what a heavy ballad should sound like… and A7X created it.
M. Shadows sings his heart out on this entire album, with the purest and most legitimate emotion spilling over each and every syllable. Yes, hearing Dream Theater founder and former drummer Mike Portnoy on drums is evident and incredible all the same. Mike Portnoy only escalates the totality of power and drive with his rhythmic essence and elegance within these songs heard on “Nightmare”. Synyster Gates on lead guitar and Zacky Vengeance on rhythm guitar compliment one another to the point where they are a guitar brotherhood. Listening to both play together on “Nightmare” is seamless in their unison. Johnny Christ on bass is heard very clearly, playing alongside Mike Portnoy with rhythmic precision, to my ears anyways.
“Save Me” is the epic song on “Nightmare”, coming in a few seconds short of eleven minutes. If Synyster Gates intentionally wanted his guitar to sound as if it were singing, he succeeded here. This song is not going to be a dreaded epic listen, for those of you who have not heard it just yet. A7X took great care into considering song structure for “Save Me”, it plays out as a short story with ample guitar parts that focus on melody and harmony, rather than raw power leads. With a ballad formula that compensates by its overall hardness, “Save Me” never loses my attention for a second. The speed kicks in at the midway point, with multiple guitar solo’s that brandish speed, while never compromising this song’s melodic intent.
Jimmy “The Reverend” Sullivan sings on “Fiction” and is credited with the drum arrangements as well. Hearing “The Rev” sing these lyrics on “Fiction” is chilling and leaves an emotional impression on me. Not to sound cliche, yet, “The Rev” was a one of a kind drummer. A7X will never be the same band without “The Rev”, his untimely and tragic passing only reminds me to never take for granted great musicians who have brought joy to my Metal loving life… and to not take life for granted either.
“Lost It All” is the non-album track that is available on itunes as a deluxe version bonus track. This song’s dark theme and heaviness fits right into the “Nightmare” scheme of things, showcasing just how brilliant sounding A7X is, when they combine present day “hardness” with their already patented “heaviness”.
I liken “Nightmare” to be Avenged Sevenfold’s “Back In Black” album, possibly their “Black Album” of their career. It surely comes across this way to my ears and senses. A7X took a dark approach lyrically and delicately weaved some heavy emotion into an album of songs that is fittingly titled “Nightmare”. Not one song sounds forced or contrived “at the last minute” of recording. This is an album to embrace for not just its skillful musicians, this album must be embraced for its end product being the totality of “real” songs. There is nothing pre-packaged here, this is “Nightmare” and A7X can stand tall and proud in “my” Metal world.
Rating: Out of 10
- Welcome To The Family
- Danger Line
- Buried Alive
- Natural Born Killer
- So Far Away
- God Hates Us
- Tonight The World Dies
- Save Me
Avenged Sevenfold is:
M. Shadows – vocals
Synyster Gates – lead guitar, backing vocals
Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Johnny Christ – bass
The Rev – Drum arrangements, Lead Vocals on Fiction, Drums on Nightmare’s demo
Mike Portnoy – drums, percussions
Brian Haner, Sr. – guitars on “So Far Away”
Sharlotte Gibson – backing vocals
Jessi Collins – backing vocals
David Palmer – piano, keyboards
Stevie Blacke – Strings, string arrangement
Stewart Cole – trumpet
Mike Elizondo – keyboards
The Whistler – Whistling
Miami rockers Atom Smash released their debut CD, Love Is in a Missle on August 31st. If you are a modern rock fan, you are going to love Atom Smash.
The album kicks off with a pretty good rocker “Ashes”. My first thought after hearing this tune, is that Atom Smash was going to deliver one kick ass hard rock CD. This modern grungy rocker seems tailor-made for FM radio. Singer Sergio Sanchez has a very enjoyable voice that helps bolster this tune.
I have mixed feelings about the song “Do Her Wrong”. The beginning of the song kind of sounds like a Def Leppard tune. The lyrics in the song, “Do Her Wrong” kind of made me laugh. “She can be a saint, she can be a looker She can make love or fuck like a hooker” This sounds like something an 80’s hard rock or glam metal band would write. The music quickly changes to the formulaic modern rock that Atom Smash dishes out. This song just doesn’t come out as sincere to me with this style of rock. Sure this is the type of thing I would expect a rock band to write, but it just seems odd here in comparison to the other songs in Love Is In the Missle. It isn’t a bad tune, but you won’t want to play this one around your kids.
If you listen to the background vocals in “Last Call”, you can hear a little bit of hardcore action going on. Luckily, the background vocals are not mixed super loud, but it is noticeable and it is bad. I have to ask Atom Smash why on earth would they do this. There is nothing enjoyable about hearing some one regurgitate lyrics, even if it is a background vocal. Sergio Sanchez has a voice that is strong enough to carry the tunes. He doesn’t need any hardcore background vocals at all.
“Erase Those Days” is a slower number that screams hit. I would not be shocked to see Atom Smash release this as a single/video.
“Bianca” might be as close to a power ballad as you will come with a modern rock band. This is another song with some hit potential.
“Sacrifice” has this really cool heavy groove that I wished the band would have focused more on. When it does show up it is pretty darn cool. The song ventures off into a different tempo midway through, and that is where the song begins to lose me.
Atom Smash taps into that Nickleback vibe, and delivers two rocking tunes back to back with “Mile High Love” and “Rocker Girl”. “Mile High Love” has more of that annoying screechy back ground vocals. Luckily it is mixed very low, and doesn’t show up often. I can foresee “Rocker Girl” showing up in the strip clubs. It has that kind of groove. Both of the songs are very upbeat, and amongst my favorites on Love Is In The Missle.
The album closes out with the mid tempo pop rocker “Shooting Star”. This is another solid tune that has a lot of radio potential.
Overall, Love Is In The Missle is an enjoyable disc from Atom Smash. I must admit that I don’t believe Love is In The Missle is very original, there are some songs on the CD that are definitely worth checking out.
For more information on Atom Smash, please visit the band’s Myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Do Her Wrong
3. Last Call
4. Erase Those Days
9. Mile High Love
10. Rocker Girl
11. Shooting Star
Atom Smash is:
Sergio Sanchez – vocals
Marc “Taco” Annino – drums
Arnold Nese – bass
Alex “Z” Zilinski – guitar
Luke “Cowboy” Rice – guitar
I have been a fan of Rob Halford for what least seems like forever. Halford’s debut solo effort Resurrection remains one of my favorite CD’s to this day. Needless to say, when Mr. Halford announced his new CD, Made of Metal, I was pretty excited. If any band is going to knock Accept off the top of the METAL ladder in 2010, it has to be Halford right?
I have always felt that Halford’s solo band could give Judas Priest a run for its money talent wise. Roy Z, Metal Mike Chlasciak, and Bobby Jarzombek are as good as it gets in Metal today. Rob Halford is and always will be the Metal God.
So how does Made of Metal stack up? Musically speaking this disc is awesome. It is everything that I thought it would be. The songs are packed with blazing guitar solos, killer drumming and everything you would expect from Halford. Roy Z and Metal Mike Chasciak are one potent combination on guitar. They deliver some of the best riffs that I have heard in 2010. With that being said, Made of Metal is far from perfect. There are a few weak tracks on the CD, including the lackluster title track. Rob Halford has lost a step or two in his voice, and while he still delivers a good vocal performance, he doesn’t push his voice any more than he has to. I expected more screams from Metal’s main man, and it just isn’t here.
Luckily, the good songs far out weigh the bad. “Undisputed”, “Speed of Sound”, “Hell Razor”, “Thunder and Lightning” are amongst my favorite songs on the CD. While Made of Metal doesn’t live up to Halford’s previous releases Resurrection, or Crucible, it is still more enjoyable than the last Judas Priest effort, Nostradamus. Even if it isn’t Halford’s best effort, it is still a heavy metal disc worth picking up.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Fire And Ice
3. Made Of Metal
4. Speed Of Sound
5. Like There’s No Tomorrow
6. Till The Day I Die
7. We Own The Night
9. Hell Razor
10. Thunder And Lightning
11. Twenty-Five Years
13. I Know We Stand A Chance
14. The Mower
Rob Halford – Vocals
Roy Z – Guitars
Metal Mike Chlasciak- Guitars
Mike Davis – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Kick ass rock and roll!! What more can I say about the debut from Tallahassee, Florida rockers Dirty Skirty? Dirty Skirty’s debut album Long Live Rock N’ Roll sounds like a rockin’ mix of AC/DC & Buckcherry with the swagger of Aerosmith. Don’t confuse Dirty Skirty as another AC/DC clone though. They are much better than that.
Singer Luke Stephens often sounds like he could be stand in for Josh Todd, and appears to be a better song writer than the Buckcherry front man. His vocals are great all throughout Long Live Rock N’ Roll, and the songs are so catchy that I bet you will be singing along with most of the songs after the second spin of the CD. Jeff Allen completely nailed the hard rock sound that I love with his heavy guitar riffs.
Long Live Rock N’ Roll blasts off with the rocker “Ride” and doesn’t look back. Dirty Skirty has managed to dish out an all killer, no filler CD with tunes you will be proud to crank up!
Rating: Out of 10
01 – Ride
02 – King Sleaze
03 – Red Light Go
04 – Dirty Angel
05 – Virgin Slayer
06 – Long Live Rock N ‘Roll
07 – Playin ‘With Girls
08 – Loud
09 – Spill Your Heart Out Tonight
10 – All The Way
Dirty Skirty is:
Luke Stephens – Lead Vocals
Jeff Allen – Guitar, Vocals
Evan Garnell – Bass, Vocals
Eric Allen – Drums
It is hard for me to believe that two years has gone by since Disturbed’s last album Indestructible. It was Indestructible CD and tour that made a fan of Disturbed, so needless to say, I have been looking forward to Disturbed’s follow-up to that CD. The band’s latest album Asylum is finally here, and has secured yet another #1 spot for Disturbed. How does Asylum stack up? Read on.
I expected Disturbed to come slammin’ out of the gate with a heavy rocker, so they took me by surprise with the instrumental track “Remnants”. The track opens with some moody keyboards, and closes with a cool guitar riff that sounds like a mix between Pantera’s “Cemetary Gates” and the beginning of Great White’s “Save Your Love”. This is a very cool beginning to the song “Asylum”, and an unexpected approach for Disturbed.
“Asylum” is more of what I expected Disturbed to open the album with. This is a hard-hitting number with the sound that Disturbed is known for. I have played this song several times and I just can’t get into this. I have heard Disturbed record many songs like this one, but to me the song “Asylum” is not as good as most of the songs on Indestructible.
I like the song “Infection”, but the lyrics kind of make me chuckle. Every time I hear “the infection must die” I think to myself, get you some penicillin dude.
Somehow I can see the song “Warrior” showing up on WWE as a theme song for one of the wrestlers. It is just an ok song in my opinion.
“Another Way To Die” is easily my favorite track on “Asylum”. To me, this song is the most memorable on the album, and features some of the best guitar work from Dan Donegan.
With the song “The Animal”, I can see Disturbed trying to grow in their music. While not a huge departure from their sound, I can see a few small things that shows some growth with Disturbed. First and foremost David Draiman’s vocals are excellent. While this song is on the heavy side, the keyboards are a nice touch. This ought to be the band’s next single in my opinion.
Depending on which version of Asylum you picked up, you album will either close with the song “Innocence” or the bonus track “Leave it Alone”. “Innocence” is a pretty cool rocker, and a good way for Disturbed to go out swinging. Oddly enough, my CD was supposed to come with the bonus song “Leave it Alone”. After hitting play, and enduring a minute a half of dead silence, a completely different song appeared. Disturbed covered the U2 song, “I Still Have’s Found What I’m Looking For”. This is a more rockin’ version of the classic U2 song. I have always liked Disturbed’s take on the some of the big 80 hits. This one is easily as solid as some of their previous covers.
I have given Asylum several spins, and I don’t think this album is as strong as their previous releases. I can see this CD as being a grower, but the songs just haven’t stuck with me as of yet. Asylum isn’t a bad album, and I would recommend checking out the videos below to hear a couple of the tracks from the CD. Disturbed fans will probably enjoy Asylum.
Rating: Out of 10
3. The Infection
5. Another Way to Die
6. Never Again
7. The Animal
10. My Child
13. Leave It Alone
David Draiman – lead vocals, backing vocals
Dan Donegan – guitar, electronics, backing vocals
John Moyer – bass, backing vocals
Mike Wengren – drums, percussions, backing vocals
Metal Glorious Metal! How much do I love thee? Thanks to Accept’s Blood of the Nations, I think I just fell in love metal all over again. Just when I thought 2010 was going to be a wash for a stellar metal disc, Blood of the Nations comes along and takes me by surprise! I must admit I was more than a little skeptical when Accept announced their new singer as Mark Tornillo. Not that I have anything against Tornillo. I like his old band T.T. Quick well enough, but Accept without Udo is a hard pill to swallow.
On Blood of the Nations, Tornillo absolutely kills it! His razor-sharp vocals are the perfect match for the superb axe slinging of Herman Frank and Wolf Hoffmann. He does an absolutely fantastic job, and shows that he can sing and scream with the best of them.
What can I say about Herman Frank and Wolf Hoffmann that hasn’t already been said. These two are the six string saviors of classic metal. They let their heavy riffs fly often on this CD, and quite frankly I couldn’t be happier. This is some of the best fretwork that I have heard in a while.
There are far too many cool moments to mention on Blood of the Nations, but in my opinion the best tracks are “Beat the Bastards”, “Teutonic Terror”, “Locked and Loaded” “Pandemic” and “Bucketful of Hate”.
I am an old school Accept fan, and I will always be a fan of Udo Dirkschneider, but Blood of the Nations is the disc that will rekindle the career of this amazing metal band. Come back album of the year? Metal album of the year? Blood of the Nations could be either one of those. This CD is highly recommend to the metalhead nation! Buy This!!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Beat The Bastards
02. Teutonic Terror
03. The Abyss
04. Blood Of The Nations
05. Shades Of Death
06. Locked And Loaded
07. Time Machine
08. Kill The Pain
09. Rollin’ Thunder
11. New World Comin’
12. No Shelter
13. Bucketful Of Hate
Mark Tornillo – vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – guitars
Herman Frank – guitars
Peter Baltes – bass
Stefan Schwarzmann – drums
When most people hear the name Bad Boys, they immediately think about the them song from the show COPS. Well back in the early nineties, there was a short lived band named Badd Boyz that featured former Quiet Riot members Paul Shortino and Sean McNabb, as well as Mitch Perry (Talas, Steeler, Heaven), Michael Guy (Shark Island, House of Lords) and Rich Carlton.
This self titled effort was released in Japan after the band split up, and has been out of print for years. So it this CD worth tracking down? If you are a fan of Paul Shortino, chances are you are going to like this. In my opinion, Paul Shortino has a very cool, and unique voice that truly stands out. I enjoyed the stuff he has recorded with Rough Cutt, and Quiet Riot, so it was only natural for me to finally track this CD down.
There are some really cool tunes on this disc including, “Leave It To The Law”, “No Time For Cryin” and “Straight To My Heart”. I would put these songs up against anything else Shortino has ever recorded. They are that good!
Some of the songs that the band put together were not available at the time this CD were recorded, so Paul fleshed out the rest of the CD with the songs, “This Must Be Love”, “Hard To Say Goodbye”, “You’re Mine Tonight” and “Save Our Land”. The only problem with doing this is, it made the CD seem a little uneven. The whole disc is solid 80’s / early 90’s style hair metal, the second half is not quite as heavy, and isn’t as good. There really isn’t a bad song on the CD, I just enjoyed the first half a lot more.
If you can find this at a reasonable price, I would definitely recommend picking it up. Ebay or Gemm may be the the only way to find this rare CD from Badd Boyz!
Rating: Out of 10
- Leave It To The Law
- No Time For Cryin
- I Don’t Want to Hear Your Heart Break
- Straight to My Heart
- You’re Mine Tonight
- This Must Be Love
- Hard To Say Goodbye
- Save Our Land
Badd Boys are:
Paul Shortino – Vocals
Mitch Perry – Guitars
Sean McNabb – Bass/Vocals
Rich Carlton – Drums
Michael Guy – Guitars
Steve Fister – Guitars
Matt Abts – Drums
From the ashes of the band Powerspace, comes a cool new Chicago based band, Bad City. Bad City’s debut effort Welcome to the Wasteland is a good mix of pop & classic rock, with a bunch of catchy songs that is going to please a wide variety of music fans.
“Showdown in Central Park” is a decent enough opener for this album. Josh Caddy’s vocals remind me of Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins somewhat, and the gang background vocals bring the band Bang Camaro to mind. Is it ironic that the band is touring with The Smashing Pumpkins? I think not.
“Take Me For A Ride” would have made a much better opener for this disc. With the big sing along chorus, and cool riffs, this song has hit written all over it. This sounds like something Bon Jovi would have written in the eighties.
“Do you Believe in Rock N Roll” (Yes I do!) has some cool 70’s influences that stand out in this song. I immediately hear a little bit of Queen in the vocals, and a little bit of Thin Lizzy sprinkled in the guitar riffs. Bad City did a very nice job with this song, and it is one of my favorites on the CD.
“Wildlife” is the first single off of the album. This is a pretty cool track for the most part. It could have been a stronger tune without the gang background vocals, but it is still a decent song nonetheless.
At this point Bad City needed something to break up the pace of the album, and they did just that with the power ballad, “Fire In The Pouring Rain”. This catchy tune could be a big hit on the pop rock stations. This may be of a power pop song, but it enjoyable nonetheless.
Bad City lets their inner KISS fan shine with the cool cut, “Call Paul Stanley”. This song kind of has a Cheap Trick vibe to it, and is another super catchy tune. I thought it was cool to see the band immortalize one of their heroes in the form of a song.
Overall, Welcome to the Wasteland is a solid album, and a fine debut for these Chicago rockers. This CD isn’t super heavy, and may have a broader appeal as a result. I like this CD, and I think you will too!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Showdown In Central Park
2. Take Me For A Ride
3. Do You Believe In Rock N Roll
5. Fire In The Pouring Rain
6. Call Pall Stanley
8. Look Out!
10. Straight To The Grave
Bad City is:
Josh Caddy – Vocals
Tom Schleiter – Lead Guitar
Max Perenchio – Lead Guitar
Jake Serek – Bass
Kevin Kane – Drums