Starting out over 40 years ago when they were just kids, Blackwood Creek could hold the record for longest amount of years passed before a reunion. Theirs was longer than even the Eagles. However, it’s a good thing for the fans that the band waited so long to get back together, because it gave one of their members a chance to become famous and form a great hard rock band in Winger. Now known (unofficially) as Kip Winger’s side band, Blackwood Creek is releasing their debut album here in the states on January 12th.
After coming off a great record in Winger’s Karma, it’s questionable whether Kip could put together two great albums in a 6 month span. Well, after listening to the record there’s no doubt that he can. Blackwood Creek rocks! The disc has a little of the new Winger sound, blended with some southern rock (ala Lynyrd Skynyrd). Blackwood Creek combines the high power charges of party rock and roll and mixes them with simple free style guitar riffs, easy steady drum beats, and a lot of fun.
Blackwood Creek opens with Out In Outer Space, which sets the tone immediately and makes you sit up and take notice. After the first spin of this song, you just know there are good things coming. The opening guitar chords and drum beats throw a warning punch, the first verse announces their presence, but the chorus has you hooked. If you’re not singing along to this song by the third listen, you may not be a rock music fan.
Nothing But The Sun continues where Out In Outer Space left off. Kip’s voice sounding bold and clear and the musical melody holding steady with foot tapping, enjoyable rhythms. Love Inspector is a good time party song about babes and beer, something that any healthy male can enjoy and sing along too.
The great songs continue with “Your Revolution”, “Dead Stung”, and “Albatross”, just to name a few.
Kip’s voice continues to have that blend of former Kip Winger and David Coverdale that stood out on Winger’s last CD, Karma, but just as then, he makes it work to his advantage. While he may not be able to hit the high notes of Madeline anymore, he doesn’t need to, because he has great current songs that are well within his range. His grainy, grungy vocals give his new music a rougher age that is very appealing to older music fans. The squeaky clean high vocals of the glam era are gone and the grittier, throaty vocals are fronting the songs now.
Blackwood Creek is amazing in its simplicity. The guitar playing is straight forward, three chord rock. The drums are simple 1-2-3-4 beats, with not a lot of rolls or changes. There are few guitar solos, there are no crazy bass lines, and there’s no screaming or wailing glam metal vocals. And that’s why this record is so amazing. A stripped down, easy feeling, good time, bar band rock and roll. Kip Winger and the band focused on the product (in this case the music as a whole) more than the packaging (glitzy guitar solos or musical tricks). This is down to earth rock for fans that have been musically starved for too long.
Rating: Out of 10
- Out In Outer Space
- Nothing But The Sun
- Your Revolution
- Dead Stung
- After Your Heart
- Jimmy and Georgia
- Rack of Greed
- Love Inspector
- Joy Ride
- Wooden Shoe
Blackwood Creek Is:
Kip Winger – Lead Vocals and Bass Guitar
Nate Winger – Drums
Peter Fletcher – Guitars
I am not sure how Freakshow’s CD dropped off our review schedule at Hard Rock Hideout, but I can not overlook this CD any longer. I have been a fan of Marcus Allen Christopher’s other band Miss Crazy for quite some time. I always thought that there are some similarities between his voice, and Cinderella’s Tom Keifer. It seemed like the the perfect fit for Cinderella’s Jeff LaBar to work with Markus. Freakshow is rounded out by fretless bass wonder Tony Franklin, and former Quiet Riot skin man, Frankie Banali. The overall talent in the band is crazy good, so the CD has to be good too right? Right! After hearing this CD, I can only hope that line up would record together again, and or tour.
Admittedly, I was not super crazy about the opening tune, “Welcome To the Freakshow”, but decided to hang around to see what else Freakshow could offer. The first time I listened to the song “Everyone”, I thought that is was a major rip off of Cinderella’s “Somebody Save Me”. It isn’t exactly the same, but the main riff is pretty similar. It is still a cool song. I guess if anyone is going to rip off Cinderella, why shouldn’t it be their long time axeman. The more I listen to this song, the more I love it.
“You Who Wins” is an excellent crunchy rocker. Tony Franklin and Frankie Banali steal the show on this tune. Banali’s drumming is near perfection, and Franklin bass work complements him well. The guitar licks on “It’s Really Over” instantly brings Whitesnake to mind. This is an infectious tune that demands a lot of replays.
If you can play “Burning Me” without headbanging, you must have a neck brace on. This catchy rocker will have you singing along, “I need your love”. Another great tune! From this point forward, this album is packed with rockers all the way until the final song “Mistaken”. This is a slower number, but still a cool tune at that.
While some band projects suffer from mediocrity, Freakshow rises above the masses to deliver one rockin’ CD. This is easily the best CD that Retrospect Records has ever put out. If you are a fan of 80’s hard rock music, you will love Freakshow. You can purchase this CD at this link. Check out Freakshow on myspace here.
- Welcome To the Freakshow
- You Who Wins
- It’s Really Over
- Burning Me
- Four Leaf Clover
- Looking Back At Me
- Mistreat Me
Marcus Allen Christopher – Vocals
Jeff LaBar – Guitars
Tony Franklin – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums
We have seen a crazy amount of good bands come of Sweden in the last couple of years. In 2007, Swedish rockers Bonafide released their self titled debut. I enjoyed their first disc quite a bit, but Bonafide has far exceeded that album with their sophomore effort “Something’s Dripping”. What does Bonafide sound like? How about Paul Shortino on steroids, fronting a band the caliber of Rhino Bucket. This is bluesy pub rock at its finest.
If the opening track “Dirt Bound” doesn’t knock you down on the first play, the following cut, “Hard Livin’ Man” will certainly deliver that one-two punch.
Mia Coldheart from Crucified Barbara shares vocal duties with Pontus Snibb on “Straight Shooters” I can only describe this as one bad-assed tune.
There are parts of the song “Elvis Chapel Blues” where Pontus Snibb nearly sounds like Paul Stanley from KISS. I think the song also has a Krokus like vibe going for it. Cool tune.
“Dog” is a high octane head banger that has to be fun to see live. (Neck brace is optional).
“Butter You Up” starts off a triumvirate of kickass rockers to close out Something’s Dripping.
I am a sucker for the bluesy riffs of “Swan Song”. If you don’t find your self rocking out to this tune, then your headphones must be broken.
The closer “Sicker Than I Think” sees Bonafide channeling their inner AC/DC, and it flat out rocks.
Go ahead and “Fill Your Head With Rock” by checking out Bonafide’s myspace here. Something’s Dripping may not be completely original, but it certainly entertaining! This is the type of music that will make you want to crack open a cold one, and enjoy your weekend! Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Dirt Bound
02. Hard Livin´man
03. No Doubt About It
04. Straight Shooters
05. Elvis Chapel Blues
06. Fill Your Head With Rock
08. Shot of You
09. Butter You Up
10. Swan song
11. Sicker Than I Think
Pontus Snibb – Guitar & Lead Vocals
Mikael Fässberg – Guitar & Background Vocals
Sticky Bomb – Drums
Micke Nilsson – Bass & Background Vocals
After a long layoff following their debut album in 2005, Flyleaf is back with 14 rocking tunes in the form of their latest disc, Memento Mori. The power and energy with which lead vocalist Lacey Mosley sings is what makes this album so attractive. As she sings, we feel her pain, victory, and anguish, listening to her spill out all of her pent up emotion into the microphone. Mosley has a rare talent not seen in many vocalists; it’s the talent to capture your imagination with her power.
While the music from the rest of the band can sometimes be dismissed as cookie cutter that we’ve heard before, if you take a second listen, the depth of the music is obvious. The guitars, drums, and bass are all in sync with Mosley’s vocals, feeding off the emotion she provides. On notable tracks like Missing and This Close, we can not only hear the message in the music, we can feel it.
Memento Mori opens with the powerful “Beautiful Bride”. While it is a strong opener, it is far from the best music being offered on this disc. “Beautiful Bride” kicks in with the sound of drums knocking down your speakers and the grunge guitar riff filling your ears. This is a grand entrance for Flyleaf that makes the listener pay attention and prepare for what’s to come.
“Missing”, one of the best songs on Memento Mori, is a beautiful masterpiece that showcases Mosley’s vocal ability. Her voice is sweet and stylistic as the guitars surround her in a cocoon of blissful music. A sing along song that’s meant to be played at high volume during the summer while cruising the highway, “Missing’ shows what Flyleaf can be…an amazing band that could rule the airwaves.
“This Close” continues the standard of excellence set by its predecessor. This is another song that captures all of the raw power of an artful performer. With lyrics about not feeling alive, but being closer than ever before, “This Close” is a song about becoming who you were meant to be. It’s a triumphant anthem of blossoming into all you were meant to be, pushing yourself to the limits and overcoming all challenges laid out before you.
“Set Apart This Dream” is another incredible track that sets Flyleaf apart from the competition. A semi power ballad, Set Apart This Dream is a memorable tune that gets stuck in your head and doesn’t leave. You’ll be hitting the repeat button a couple of times when this song is through, because it’s meant to be played over and over again. With simple guitar riffs filling the background, the song builds during the verse before exploding into an excellent chanting chorus delivered with strength.
With solid music, poetic lyrics, and a powerful singer, Memento Mori is a worthy addition to your music collection. It was a long time coming, but Flyleaf’s sophomore effort will not be suffering from the dreaded jinx that has tortured many a band. Memento Mori is a solid record that pushes the limits of what a band can do when put up against the challenge of delivering a hit record.
Rating: Out of 10
- Beautiful Bride
- This Close
- The Kind
- In The Dark
- Set Apart This Dream
- Swept Away
- Tiny Heart
- Melting (Interlude)
Lacey Mosley – Lead Vocals
Sameer Bhattacharya – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jared Hartmann – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pat Seals – Bass
James Culpepper – Drums
One of the many things that I love about Hard Rock Hideout, is all of the cool new bands we often discover. In the case of rockers Judge Jackson, they aren’t a new band at all. Their new CD Drive is already their fifth release (gasp!). When I hear music this good, it boggles my mind that I haven’t heard this band before. Judge Jackson’s sound is a good blend of classic & southern rock with some hard elements. The song writing is very good, and the musicianship is as solid as it gets.
The opening song “Just Because” kind of reminds me of a Buckcherry tune, minus all of the profanities. This is a good foot tapper, and a great start for Drive.
“Pickin’ Me Up” is another fun rocker that I had to keep hitting repeat on. The song “Radio” is such a monster tune, it ought to be played on rock stations everywhere. This super catchy rocker made me an instant fan of Judge Jackson.
The good tunes don’t stop there. “Head over Heels” is a hard rockin’ tune tailor made for driving. This song will make you want to roll your windows down, crank the volume, and rip the knob off of your stereo.
“The End” is a cool tune with a southern rock flair that brings The Black Crowes to mind.
There is no official word on the release date for Drive. You will need to keep an eye on the band’s myspace page for more info. The band has several songs from Drive streaming there. You will definitely want to grab a copy of this CD when it becomes available. Music this good should not be missed. Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
- Just Because
- Pickin’ Me Up
- The River
- Me Then You
- Letting Go
- Head Over Heels
- The End
- Meant To Be (Featuring Julia Henry)
Judge Jackson is:
Todd McTavish – Vocals
Lee Jackson – Guitars
Brian James – Bass/Vocals
J.J. Garcia – Drums
Guitarist Herman Frank is no stranger to this hard rock fan. He has been rocking me hard for years with his guitar work on the classic Accept release, Balls to the Wall. Finally, in 2009, after stints with several other metal bands (Sinner, Moon ‘Doc, Victory), Frank has released his first solo effort.
On Loyal to None, Herman Frank is obviously out to rock your face off. The blistering riffs on “Moon II” immediately demand attention, and the rest of the songs on this CD follow suit in strong fashion. Frank’s high octane fretwork is augmented by the vocals of his band mate from the band Victory, Jiotis Parachaidis. If you haven’t ever heard this guy sing before, you are in for a real treat. His vocals fall somewhere in between David Coverdale & Rob Halford. I have not heard him sing before this release, so I was quite surprised at how good he is. As much as I love the vocals of Paracharidis on Loyal to None, Herman Frank’s guitar work is even better. He doesn’t hold back on this album at all. If you are a fan of classic metal guitar noodling, you are going to love this.
Herman Frank’s band is rounded out with former Running Wild members Peter Pichl and Stefan Schwarzmann. These classic metal musicians help deliver one of the better metal releases of 2009. Loyal to None is strong effort from beginning to end. If you aren’t sold, after listening to the clip of “Metal Gods” (below), your speakers may be broken. There are no songs that I would consider filler. Simply put, this is an fantastic slab of classic metal.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Moon II
2. 7 Stars
3. Father Buries Son
4. Heal Me
6. Kill The King
7. Down To The Valley
8. Bastard Legion
9. Metal Gods
10. Welcome To Hell
Herman Frank – Guitars
Jiotis Paracharidis – Vocals
Peter Pichl – Bass
Stefan Schwarzmann – Drums
Do you remember Dilana Robichaux from the 2006 TV show, Rock Star Supernova? Dilana was a finalist for the band which featured Tommy Lee, Gilby Clarke & Jason Newsted. Personally, I thought Dilana was easily the most talented out of all of the singers on that CBS reality show, but I was glad she didn’t win. I thought it would have been a waste of her talent.
Fast Forward to 2009, and Dilana has finally released the album her fans have been waiting for. She got a little help from some friends including Mick Mars from Motley Crue, who plays guitar on InsideOut. Adrian Young from No Doubt handles the drums.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with InsideOut. I knew the vocals would be great, but that was about it. I was hoping Dilana would rock out on this CD. InsideOut isn’t quite as heavy as I was hoping, but it is still quite good. There are some rocking moments, although I would call this more of a modern rock/ pop rock CD than a hard rock disc.
“My Drug” is a cool jangly rocker, that would not have been out of place on a No Doubt record. “Hate U” is a pop rock tune that has some big beats, and the undeniable guitar riffs of Mick Mars. Dilana’s vocals make this tune what it is. It could easily be a radio hit. “Loud Silence” is a slower number with some cool guitar tones surrounding Robichaux’s powerful pipes.
Some of the songs that I immediately took too on the first listen were “Holiday”, “Solid Gold” and “Falling Apart”. These are the harder tunes on InsideOut. There are some songs that I would consider filler including “World Party”, but the majority of the songs are good.
If you are a fan of female fronted rock, you ought to give InsideOut a chance.
Rating: Out of 10
2. My Drug
3. Hate U
4. Loud Silence
5. Somebody Else
7. Solid Gold
8. Dirty Little Secret
9. World Party (Free Love)
10. Falling Apart [Explicit]
11. Still Wanting
12. The Question
Dilana Robichaux – Vocals
Mick Mars – Guitars
Adrian Young – Drums
Every now and then an album comes along that is so good, it is hard to put it into words without sounding corny or like I’m sucking up to the band. Swedish five piece Grand Design’s debut “Time Elevation” is exactly that kind of album. Several bands have issued albums in the past year with a heavy Def Leppard influence, 7th Heaven and Wildstreet immediately come to mind, but nobody has been able to accomplish the task as well as Grand Design has. Almost effortlessly; they have taken the best of Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalize, mixed them into their on concoction and the result is “Time Elevation”, easily without a doubt one of the best debuts in 2009.
“Love Sensation” gets everything going and I can’t think of a better way to start the album off than with this melodic rocker. Foot stomping rhythms from bassist Anders Modd and gang vocals that would make Joe Elliott & the boys green with envy are only the tip of the iceberg for this tasty little treat. Guitarists Peter Ledin and Dennis Veldman smoke this song as does drummer Richard Holmgren. With a title like “Slugged Out” you would expect it to be a barn burner from the word go but no the guys throw everyone for a loop with the slow pounding intro before it kicks in to a full blown rocker, more killer gang vocals and choruses and front man Pelle Saether is just simply a kick ass vocalist. “Air It Out” is the third track and you won’t find a song better built for the stadiums than this melodic rocker, everything about this tracks screams BIG from the production to the drums and everything in between. The anthem “Piece of the Action” comes up next and it falls into the same vein as “Rocket” and “Armageddon It” until the solo and Ledin and Veldman are unleashed and completely shred the solo, awesome.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but sometimes it can’t be helped to get a point across. There are at least six songs on “Time Elevation” that if this album was released in the 80’s would have made Grand Design household names, but there are three songs that would have gone straight to the top of the charts and made these guys world wide superstars “The Sad Sound of Goodbye” is one of those songs a mid tempo rocker that is pop metal perfection. Once you hear this song you will not be able to stop tapping your feet or get the song out of your head. “Hello Mr. Heartache” is another song that should be a smash hit for Grand Design, impossible for me to choose between this and “The Sad Sound of Goodbye” as my favorite song on “Time Elevation”. “Let’s Go Down Fighting” would be the perfect song for Grand Design to kick off their live show with this anthem would be guaranteed to get the crowd rocking from the get go and there would be no looking back from there. “Sheik Iddup” is just a fun good time sing along rocker much like “Armageddon It” was 22 yrs ago on Hysteria. If you read my reviews regularly you should know I’m not a fan of ballads closing out albums, but “Love Will Know” is an outstanding song and this acoustic ballad would be my third choice as an out of the ball park hit for Grand Design, when the band plays this song live cell phones and lighters will be lighting up like there’s no tomorrow.
“Time Elevation” makes me want to break out Pyromania, Hysteria, and Adrenalize for a few spins, but the problem with that is I can’t stop listening to “Time Elevation” long enough to listen to anything else. Grand Design already have my vote for best new band in 2009 and I can guarantee you “Time Elevation” will be on my list of best albums of 2009 as well. This is one album no hard rock fan should be without.
Check out Grand Design on myspace, at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
- Love Sensation
- Slugged Out
- Air It Out
- Piece Of Action
- Sad Sound Of Goodbye
- No Time For Love
- Hello Mr. Heartache
- Let’s Go Down Fighting
- Sheik Iddup
- Love Will Know
Grand Design is:
Pelle Saether – Vocals
Peter Ledin – Guitar
Dennis Vestman – Guitar
Richard Holmgren – Drums
Anders Modd – Bass
“Fight” is the third release from Bilbao, Spain rockers Airless and for fans of Firehouse, Mr. Big, Dokken, Lynch Mob or fans of virtuoso type of players, you should definitely have this album in your collection because guitarist Robert Rodrigo is absolutely amazing on this album. Along with Rodrigo Airless also consist of Inaki Lazakano (Vocals), Miguel Manjon (Bass), and Pako Martinez (Drums) and while I’m not usually a fan of accents that can be forgiven this time because of the great songwriting and Rodrigo’s playing.
“Don’t Give Up” and “Now or Never” are the first two tracks on “Fight” and these two anthems rock from beginning to end with some great background vocals, catchy melodies and hooks. I would love to hear both of these songs live and once again I can’t stress how awesome Rodrigo’s guitar is, I am definitely a new fan of his playing. “Time To Say Goodbye” is a mid-tempo number that starts out with a nice keyboard intro before picking up steam, radio ready is written all over this song. “Twist of the Wrist” is a full-blown rocker and Pako Martinez will not be outshined by anyone on this track, phenomenal drumming from him. Another radio ready rocker “Crying For Your Love” is just short of perfection definitely the best track on the album. “Switch Off The Light” is a dirty little rocker with a touch of sleaze and some great thumping bass from Miguel Manjon, really reminds me of Firehouse. “Suffering” and “Blame (the Darkness Part II) both remind me of early Lynch Mob, particularly “Blame” would have fit perfectly on the first Lynch Mob album. “One Last Kiss” also makes a strong bid for album favorites great rocker once again reminiscent of Firehouse.
When comparing “Fight” with the first two releases from Airless the songwriting is light years ahead on “Fight”. Check out http://www.myspace.com/airlessrock or if you read Spanish you can go to http://www.airless.es to learn all about Airless.
Rating: Out of 10
- Don’t Give Up
- Now Or Never
- Time To Say Goodbye
- Twist Of The Wrist
- Crying For Your Love
- Switch Off
- Blame (The Darkness Part II)
- I Don’t Need Your Words
- One Last Kiss
Inaki Lazakano – Vocals
Robert Rodrigo – Guitar
Miguel Manjσn – Bass
Pako Martinez – Drums
When Bon Jovi released their previous album, Lost Highway, I was more than a little harsh on the band. I was not fond of band’s country direction in the least bit. I swore off Bon Jovi until they returned to playing rock music. Lucky for me,and their long time fans they have. It took a couple of years, but the band is back with a new rock album, The Circle. This album treads a fine line between pop and rock. Bon Jovi is no stranger to crafting tunes in this fashion, and they are quite good at it. Their pop metal days are long over, and if you are looking for another dose of tunes in the vein of their early material. You won’t find it here.
The opening cut, “We Weren’t Born To Follow” is more of a pop/rock tune, but it reminds me of the music that was on the 2005 CD, Have A Nice Day.
“When We Were Beautiful” has this jangly guitar tone that has an almost U2 feel to it. This song has a sing along chorus that will translate well in Bon Jovi’s live show. I must admit that this song is kind of a grower. I didn’t care for it at first, but a few repeat plays I have changed my mind.
The bass line on “Work for the Working Man” took me all the way back to Slippery When Wet. It literally sounds as if it was ripped off of the Bon Jovi classic “Livin’ On a Prayer”. With that being said, “Work for the Working Man” isn’t a bad tune, but it isn’t great either. The background vocals don’t really work for me. It just seems kind of silly.
“Superman Tonight” is another song that has some serious hit potential. The chorus is catchy and memorable. This is one of my favorites on The Circle.
The voice coder intro in the beginning of “Bullet” give the song a familiar Bon Jovi feel. Finally some heavier riffs show up in the song “Bullet”. Richie Sambora finally cuts loose a little on this tune, and I am thankful. This album needed a heavier tune, and this is it.
“Thorn in My Side” keeps the pace going well, and is one of the more rockin’ songs on this disc.
“Live Before You Die” is a story teller type of song. Bon Jovi has done a few of these songs in the past, and I have never really cared for these. This is an ok tune, and I am sure it will appeal to some folks.
Just when I was starting to get a little bored, “Brokenpromieland” comes along and makes me hit replay a couple of times. I love Sambora’s guitar tone on this song.
“Love is The Only Rule” almost sounds like a Neil Diamond tune with some heavier riffs. Every time I hear this tune, Jon Bon Jovi’s vocal delivery reminds me of that for some reason. The funny thing is, it works for the most part.
Is it just me, or does “Fast Cars” sound like a Coldplay tune? The keyboards and guitar tone sound more like that band than a Bon Jovi tune. I didn’t really care for this tune very much.
The Circle will be in stores tomorrow. Is it worth picking up? While I don’t think this is the best Bon Jovi album, it is far from their worst. The production from John Shanks is top notch, but the album could have used a few heavier moments. If you are looking for the big monster pop metal rockers like the band used to put out in the eighties and early nineties, you aren’t going to find them on The Circle. This is a solid pop rock album with a few hard edges here and there.
Rating: Out of 10
1. We Weren’t Born to Follow
2. When We Were Beautiful
3. Work for the Working Man
4. Superman Tonight
6. Thorn in My Side
7. Live Before You Die
9. Love’s the Only Rule
10. Fast Cars
11. Happy Now
12. Learn to Love
Bon Jovi is:
Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals
Richie Sambora – guitars, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums, percussion
David Bryan – keyboards, piano
Hugh McDonald – bass
Charlie Judge – additional keyboards and strings
On one lovely 4th of July in 2007, my husband’s band, Snowblynd, was playing a show at a local bar. Some band from Atlanta that no one had ever heard of was headlining and none of us really cared. When the band showed up, a bunch of long-haired, bearded dudes in good jeans rolled out of the van. My first thought? Wow…these guys look interesting. Then they started rolling all of their gear out of the trailer. My husband’s first thought? Wow…they have good gear; there’s a possibility they could be decent at least. After Snowblynd played, we went outside to hang out. Then all a sudden we heard the headlining band start playing and we stopped what we were doing. We all looked at each other and just hauled ass back inside the bar to see what the hell was going on. The headlining band was blowing our minds and it was Blackberry Smoke. It’s not very often that a band comes out of nowhere and knocks me flat on my ass, but Blackberry Smoke did exactly that and I’ve been hooked ever since. With their sophomore release, Little Piece of Dixie, the Blackberry Smoke boys are out to knock you on your ass too.
Little Piece of Dixie is 11 songs of solid and real southern rock. There’s something very authentic about these guys; they’re not putting on their costumes to pretend to be something they’re not. They are all incredibly talented and serious musicians from the south who have worked their asses off to get to where they are today, and they deserve every ounce of success that is headed their way.
Their chemistry is undeniable. Charlie’s vocals have a unique vintage quality that really stands out, and his guitar is playing is stellar. Paul Jackson’s guitar playing and harmonies are the perfect complement to Charlie. Brit Turner’s drums are always steady and in the pocket all while making it look completely effortless. Richard Turner may be the quiet one in the band, but his bass playing speaks way louder than words. And the recent addition of Brandon Still on the keyboards is the perfect finishing touch to round out their sound. I’m convinced that their long hair, beards and sideburns have super powers that make them sound so incredible.
The album starts off with the first single, “Good One Coming On”, which is about “drinking tequila and skinny dippin'” Charlie would say as he introduces the song at their live shows. It’s a good summertime, have fun with your friends kind of song and was featured in the Kevin Costner movie, Swing Vote. “Good One Coming On” is also the band’s first full length video.
If you’re into video games or Nascar, you may have heard “Up in Smoke” on the Nascar ’08 video game. And if you like things with engines that go fast, then you probably watch the Speed channel and may have heard “Up in Smoke” on an episode of Drag Race High. From the moment you hear Richard’s bass intro, you’ll want to hop in your car and tear down the road like the cops are chasing you. The song just has that get up and go kind of feel.
Just because these guys have a bit of that country twang to them, doesn’t mean they can’t, or don’t, enjoy some of the staples of the rock and roll life. Since they’ve already covered liquor, they had to write a song about…what else but strippers! “Shake Your Magnolia” is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s a sweet little diddy about a guy falling for a stripper, and it does make you want to get up and shake it a little bit for the boys.
These days, it’s extremely rare to find such talented musicians making such amazing music. If you want to hear some really kick ass, genuine southern rock that doesn’t sound like any of that crap you hear on the radio, then pick up Little Piece of Dixie. There’s not a bad song on it. From start to finish, it’s strong and impressive. If you like southern rock, then you’ll love this album. If you don’t like southern rock, then this album will make you change your mind.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Good One Comin’ On
2. Like I Am
3. Bottom Of This
4. Up In Smoke
5. Sanctified Woman
6. Who Invented The Wheel
7. I’d Be Lyin?
8. Prayer For The Little Man
10. Shake Your Magnolia
11. Freedom Song
Blackberry Smoke is:
Charlie Starr – Vocals, guitar
Paul Jackson – Guitar, vocals
Richard Turner – Bass, vocals
Brit Turner – Drums
Atreyu has just released their highly anticipated album, Congregation of the Damned! The album is the band’s fifth studio album and features the first single, “Storm To Pass,” as well as the heavy-hitting song, “Stop! Before It’s Too Late And We’ve Destroyed It All.” Currently, the band is on a nationwide tour with Hollywood Undead. Visit their official site, www.atreyurock.com, for all tour dates and ticket information and make sure to pick up your copy of Congregation of the Damned on iTunes and in stores everywhere!
Tour Dates w/ Hollywood Undead
Oct 27 The National Richmond, Virginia
Oct 29 Roseland Ballroom NY, New York
Oct 30 Sonar Baltimore, Maryland
Oct 31 Electric Factory Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nov 2 Metropolis E Montreal, Quebec
Nov 3 Sound Academy Toronto
Nov 4 Ches-Arena Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nov 6 Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Illinois
Nov 7 The Myth Maplewood, Minnesota
Nov 8 Sokol Auditorium Omaha, Nebraska
Nov 10 The Fillmore Auditorium Denver, Colorado
Nov 11 The Great Salt Air Magna, Utah
Nov 13 Knitting Factory ConcertHouse Boise, Idaho
Nov 14 Showbox SoDo South Seattle, Washington
Nov 15 Roseland Theatre Portland, Oregon
Nov 17 Sacramento Memorial Auditorium Sacramento, California
Nov 18 Event Center at San JoseState Univ. San Jose, California Nov 20 House of Blues Las Vegas, Nevada
Gotthard is back with their 9th studio release Need To Believe, and one of Switzerland’s finest exports does not disappoint. Since the release of their self-titled debut in 1992 Gotthard, which consist of Steve Lee (Vocals), Leo Leoni (Guitars), Freddy Scherer (Guitars), Marc Lynn (Bass), and Hena Habegger (Drums), has built a reputation as one of the finest and most popular hard rock bands in Europe and around the world, but they are virtually unknown here is the U.S.. Fans of blues based, Zeppelin/Whitesnake/Deep Purple influenced hard rock should be lining up to get their copy of not only Need To Believe but Gotthard’s entire catalog.
“Shangri-La” kicks Need To Believe off with a Eastern Asia flavored intro before kicking into the song. Lee’s vocals sound great as do the background vocals, and the band’s Zeppelin influence really shines through on the entire song but especially on the solo, a great way to get the album rolling. “Unspoken Words” is a rocker with stadium written all over it, Leoni and Scherer make a great guitar tandem and Marc Lynn’s thumping bass gives the song a full sound. “Need To Believe” is a dark and slow building song until it kicks in a the chorus again it is filled with some great vocals by Lee and even though the song is dark it is still very much a sing along song and Leoni has another nice solo maybe the best so far. “Unconditional Faith” is a foot tapping mid-tempo number with some mandolin added to give the song a fuller sound with the band’s Whitesnake influence starting to raise it’s head a little, but on “I Don’t Mind”, David Coverdale’s influence is shining its brightest on this rocker from the guitar intro to Lee’s vocals and the rhythm section of Lynn/Habegger sound phenomenal we even get treated with a little COW BELL. I would definitely love to hear this song in a live setting guaranteed to get the crowd going.
Another song custom built for the stadium and bic lighters is “Break Away” an epic feeling mid tempo number with Lee’s vocals shining through once again, I could see this song being played with an orchestra and it would make “Break Away” even better than it already is. “Don’t Let Me Down” is a classic sounding power ballad that back in the day would have everyone knowing who Gotthard was because it would have been all over radio. Excellent acoustic opening that is joined by some nice piano before the band kicks in at the chorus. “Right From Wrong” is a modern sounding rocker that goes for the throat and once it grabs hold it doesn’t let go, the band as a whole sounds great on this track. “Rebel Soul” and the bonus track “Ain’t Enough” are two more straight up rockers built for a stadium show.
Any fan of hard rock should have Need To Believe and pretty much any of Gotthard’s albums in their collection, as they are without a doubt one of the best hard rock bands around today.
Rating: Out of 10
02. Unspoken Words
03. Need To Believe
04. Unconditional Faith
05. I Don’t Mind
06. Break Away
07. Don’t Let Me Know
08. Right From Wrong
09. I Know, You Know
10. Rebel Soul
11. Tears To Cry
12. Ain’t Enough
Steve Lee – vocals
Leo Leoni – guitars
Freddy Scherer – guitars
Marc Lynn – bass guitar
Hena Habegger – drums and percussion
In 2008, Blaze Bayley released his 4th solo album, The Man Who Would Not Die. On this new album, the former Iron Maiden front man has a brand new band cranking out the quality metal on this release.
Quite honestly, I am not familiar with the musicians in Bayley’s current band. With that being said, I had no expectations going into Blaze Bayley’s latest solo effort. Much to my surprise, Bayley has put together an ultra tight band that truly delivers the goods.
Nicolas and David Bermudez both came from a band called Under Threat. Judging from the tunes on this CD, and the songs I have heard from that band, Blaze Bayley has found two hotshot players for his current group. I am quite impressed with aggressive riffing and pummeling bass of these two brothers from Columbia.
I don’t know why Blaze Bayley doesn’t receive more credit in the metal world. He easily delivers what is the vocal performance of his career.
The Man Who Would Not Die sounds like a classic 80’s metal CD. The songs are filled with super tight riffs, and a kick ass rhythm section to drive the songs home. From the very first song, you will find it impossible to keep yourself from headbanging. The opening and title track, “The Man Who Would Not Die” is the type of song that you will NOT want to drive to. If you do, a speeding ticket may ensue, as the high speed rhythm of this song will definitely pump you up. The shredding on this tune is fantastic!
Some of the highlights on The Man Who Would Not Die are, “Blackmailer”, “Samurai”, “A Crack In The System”, and “Robot”. There honestly isn’t a bad tune on this CD.
I can’t seem to get “Blackmailer” out of my head. It is practically impossible to not sing along with this song. The music is great, and Bayley’s vocals truly give this song a classic metal feel. I love it!
“Samurai” could have easily been a tune from Iron Maiden. It really is that good!
If you love riff heavy metal, you need to find this CD now! The Man Who Would Not Die is one my favorite new metal CD’s. My only complaint is that I didn’t hear this music sooner.
For more information on Blaze Bayley, please visit the band’s myspace page, at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. The Man Who Would Not Die
3. Smile Back At Death
4. While You Were Gone
6. A Crack In The System
8. At The End Of The Day
9. Waiting For My Life To Begin
10. Voices From The Past
11. The Truth Is One
12. Serpent Hearted Man
Blaze Bayley Band is:
Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Nicolas Bermudez – Guitars
David Bermudez – Bass
Jay Walsh – Guitars
Lawrence Paterson – Drums
Finally!! Mick Jones has released a new Foreigner album with the touring lineup that includes Kelly Hansen (Hurricane, Unruly Child) on vocals and Jeff Pilson (Dokken, War & Peace) on bass, and Brian Tichy (Pride & Glory) on drums. If you are expecting a dirty, balls out rocker you may be a little disappointed, but not surprised because that is not what Foreigner has evolved into over the years, but with the release of Can’t Slow Down fans of such releases as 4, Agent Provocateur, and Inside Information will rejoice. Admittedly I was a little iffy when I heard Kelly Hansen was singing with Foreigner a few years ago, that was until I heard the Extended Versions Live album after that I was hooked. I will let everyone know this right now, Kelly Hansen sounds absolutely phenomenal on Can’t Slow Down.
The title track “Can’t Slow Down” gets us going on the right track, it has that classic Foreigner sound everyone knows and loves. I can see why NASCAR wants to use this foot tapping rocker. One thing Hansen never got a real chance to do in Hurricane or even on Unruly Child’s “Waiting For The Sun” was sing on some slower mid tempos and ballads, but on Can’t Slow Down he get his chance in spades and he damn sure makes the most of the opportunities. “In Pieces” is his first shot and he absolutely nails it, this song definitely needs a shot as a single, I have a feeling it will scorch the charts once it is released. Aside from Hansen’s vocals, Jeff Pilson lays down some very nice bass lines, but Michael Bluestein’s keyboards really stand out filling out the song, this is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. The first single from Can’t Slow Down is next and “When It Comes To Love” is already on the charts, and this mid-tempo number will fit in perfectly with such songs as “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, “I Want To Know What Love Is”, and others. Some more nice keyboards from Bluestein and Tom Gimbel’s saxophone is a nice touch also. “Living In A Dream” picks up the pace with a little nod back to Foreigner’s 70s sound, love the horns laced throughout and Tichy’s drumming as well. “Ready” and “Give Me A Sign” keep the train rolling with two more solid tracks. I can’t see the guys not playing “Ready” live as this upbeat anthem would definitely get the crowd going. “I’ll Be Home Tonight” is another mid-tempo number made for radio, Hansen shines once again. “Too Late” is another nod back to Foreigner’s 70s sound and it could easily fit onto “Head Games” or “Double Vision”. “As Long As I Live” and “Fool For You Anyway” are two more tracks that really stand out on Can’t Slow Down.
Can’t Slow Down is a 2 cd/dvd set from Wal Mart, and like the other Wal Mart exclusive releases like Kiss’s Sonic Boom and Journey’s Revelation there is a remix cd of some Foreigner’s classics, if you have any doubt about Kelly Hansen filling Lou Gramm’s shoes I suggest you give the remixes a listen. Not to take away from the performances of Mick Jones, Jeff Pilson, and the others on Can’t Slow Down because they are sound great on this album, but for me Kelly Hansen’s vocals are what made this album. I’ve always been a fan of his singing but I think his performance on Can’t Slow Down may well be the best of his career. I’m already looking forward to this line-up’s next album, hopefully Mick and the guys don’t make us wait to long.
Rating: Out of 10
Disc 1 – Can’t Slow Down
1. “Can’t Slow Down”
2. “In Pieces”
3. “When It Comes to Love”
4. “Living in a Dream”
5. “I Can’t Give Up”
7. “Give Me a Sign”
8. “I’ll Be Home Tonight”
9. “Too Late”
11. “As Long As I Live”
12. “Angel Tonight”
13. “Fool For You Anyway”
Disc 2 – Remixes
1. “Feels Like the First Time”
2. “Cold as Ice”
3. “Hot Blooded”
4. “Blue Morning, Blue Day”
5. “Double Vision”
6. “Dirty White Boy”
7. “Head Games”
8. “Jukebox Hero”
10. “I Want to Know What Love Is”
Disc 3 – DVD
1. “Double Vision”
2. “Head Games”
3. “That Was Yesterday”
4. “Say You Will”
6. “Feels Like the First Time”
8. “Juke Box Hero”
9. “I Want To Know What Love Is”
10. “Hot Blooded”
Kelly Hansen – Lead Vocals
Mick Jones – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Piano
Thom Gimbel – Guitars, Saxophone, Backing Vocals
Michael Bluestein- Keyboards
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums
I first heard about the St. Louis, Missouri band Cavo, when they were announced as one of the second stage acts for Cruefest 2. I was relatively unimpressed by their music on myspace. I did see part of their set during Cruefest 2, and I must admit that I thought the song “Champagne” was kind of cool. This led to me checking out their debut CD, Bright Nights, Dark Days, to see if there was more quality rock worth checking out.
After my first spin of this CD, my first reaction is Cavo is not a hard rock band at all. I thought they might be a hard rock act after getting the Cruefest 2 gig. They are more of alternative rock group with a pop/rock slant. The majority of the songs on this CD could have crossover appeal, meaning the songs could turn up on different radio formats. I am just not sure how much this CD will appeal to hard rock fans.
“Champagne” is the lead off single, and unless you haven’t listened to rock radio lately, you have probably heard this song quite a few times. It is a good tune, and is a #1 hit for Cavo.
“Crash” has been released as the second single and is a pretty catchy tune that is in the vein of Daughtry.
“Let It Go” was originally featured on the Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen soundtrack. It is a more mellow number and a bit too safe in my opinion. I didn’t care for this tune very much.
“Blame” is another tune that screams hit for Cavo. It is a mid tempo number, and one of the harder moments on Bright Nights, Dark Days.
Overall, Cavo has crafted a solid pop/rock album that will likely appeal to fans of bands like Saving Abel, Nickelback, and Daughtry. I wish it had a few more harder tunes for a fan like me, but I can’t deny that there are some quality tunes for mainstream rock fans to enjoy. The band will likely have a few hits on their hands before it is all said and done.
Rating: Out of 10
3. Let It Go
4. Cry Wolf
7. My Little Secret
9. We All Fall Down
10. Over Again
Casey Walker – Vocals
Chris Hobbs – Guitars
Brian Smith – Bass
Chad LaRoy – Drums
Hurt can best be described as a band that is still finding their one true voice, which is what makes them so great. Most rock critics would be quick to dismiss them as a metal band that never made it, but they would fail to see the full spectrum of influences that are represented in Hurt’s music. With a mainstream sound smoothly blended with indie influence, hard rock guitars, and even a violin solo (or two), Hurt’s Goodbye to The Machine is nothing short of amazing.
Part Radiohead, part Black Stone Cherry, part Seether, with a touch of Saving Abel and a smattering of other influences, Hurt has combined all the best elements of these bands and turned them into their own stylistic sound. They mix country, metal, alternative, pop, and jazz into one hard rock beauty, Goodbye to The Machine.
Goodbye to The Machine opens with the heavy hitting “Got Jealous”, the hard rock tale of a jealous lover, drugged up and plotting his revenge. This is a haunting, dark and angry lead song that is a great introduction to the band. “Got Jealous” is an excellent track and an amazing opener that forces you to stay for the rest of the album.
Shaun Morgan from Seether stops by to provide guest vocals (alongside lead vocalist J. Loren Wince) on “World Ain’t Right”, which is a cool appearance, but unfortunately it’s a weak song. In time, this song may grow on me, but after a few listens, this is a ballad that lacks power. The message is there, and the music is pretty, just no punch.
“Dreams Away” fights hard for the title of best song on the record and wins. This is a song that should be smothering mainstream radio. A catchy, rocking tune that builds on an excellent guitar riff, contains exceptional lyrics, and has the proper elements of a great single. Wince’s vocals are sharp and invigorating and collaborate perfectly with Paul Spatola’s guitar work. “Dreams Away” is an incredible song that makes the entire disc worth the price of purchase.
Goodbye to The Machine really picks up in the second half. If the first half of this disc is a decent, solid recording, then the second half can only be described as a masterpiece. With “Well”, “Pills”, “Dreams Away”, and “Fighting Tao”, all competing alongside “Got Jealous” for best song on the disc, the second half truly rocks.
The real power of Goodbye to The Machine is the progressive changes contained in each song. From slow and melodic to hard and heavy, Goodbye to The Machine runs the gauntlet of musical tastes. Wince’s vocals are solid throughout the record and show a wide range of ability and talent. Spatola’s guitar playing is stellar and completes the album. The solos stand out and reveal the true talent that Spatola has. Hard rock guitar and drums, blended with acoustic intros and interludes, the occasional violin solo, and a voice that can sing to all of these instruments and more, Goodbye to The Machine may have to go into consideration for one of 2009’s best releases.
Bottom line? This is an album that you have to add to your collection. If you consider yourself a fan of hard rock music and are looking for the next great thing, pick up a copy of Hurt’s Goodbye to The Machine. It’s an excellent way to spend an hour of your day.
Rating: Out of 10
- Got Jealous
- World Ain’t Right (feat. Shaun Morgan of Seether)
- Sweet Delilah
- Role Martyr X
- Dreams Away
- Fighting Tao
- That (Such A Thing)
J. Loren Wince – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Paul Spatola – Lead Guitar
Rek Mohr – Bass Guitar
Louie Sciancalepore – Drums
I didn’t think we would ever see another album from Alice in Chains after the death of singer Layne Staley. It has been fourteen long years since the band’s 1995 self titled album.
I must admit that I had some reservations before listening to Black Gives Way to Blue. Lets face it, Layne Staley left some pretty big shoes to fill. Is Alice in Chains new singer William DuVall up to the challenge?
DuVall’s voice, mixed with the back up vocals of Jerry Cantrell gives Alice in Chains close to the same sound that helped the band sell millions of albums in the nineties. The big problem is DuVall’s voice is often hidden behind Cantrell’s voice, and the heavy guitars. He isn’t really given a chance to shine as Alice in Chains new voice.
“Check My Brain” is a doom laden grunge masterpiece that only AIC could make work. The guitars are tuned down, so that that the whole key of the song sounds utterly creepy, yet cool. The vocals on this song are perfect. This sounds like classic Alice in Chains.
“Last of My Kind” looses a little bit of the doominess, but is still heavy as hell. This song requires multiple listens to fully appreciate.
“Your Decision” is an acoustic guitar based track. This is the first song where DuVall’s voice is allowed to shine without the layers of guitar and heavy bass. It sounds great and ought to be a single for Alice in Chains.
“A Looking In View” is the longest track on this album, but this moody mid-tempo number might be too long for its own good. This song kind of plods along never really offers the listener a climax. It is seven minutes of sludgey rock that I could have lived without.
“When the Sun Rose Again” is another acoustic track with some odd percussion thrown in for good measure. This song doesn’t work for me either.
At this point in the record, I was hoping to stumble upon a hit worthy tune from AIC. Hopefully somewhere on this disc is a monster song that I could not live without. I wouldn’t call it a monster track, but “Lesson Learned” is more like the AIC of old. A cool heavy tune.
“Take Her Out” is another heavy mid tempo number that resembles the classic AIC sound.
The closing and title track “Black Gives Way to Blue” is a tribute to Layne Staley. The piano on this song is played by none other than Elton John. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a very slow and short tune, but is also quite amazing. It is a very cool tune that honors Layne Staley well.
Does Black Gives Way To Blue live up to the Alice in Chains legacy? No, I don’t think it is even close. The vocals are great. The guitar work is great. So where does the problem lie?
The overall pace of the album is pretty slow, and the songs don’t stick with you. Once upon a time, the band could write some pretty cool grungy rockers with lyrics that were ultimately catchy and memorable. There just aren’t enough of these on this record to make me want to play it a whole bunch. Yes there are songs that I like on this disc, but even with repeated listens something appears to be missing. I am glad Alice in Chains is back, but Black Gives Way To Blue is ultimately disappointing.
Rating: Out of 10
1. All Secrets Known
2. Check My Brain
3. Last of My Kind
4. Your Decision
5. A Looking in View
6. When the Sun Rose Again
7. Acid Bubble
8. Lesson Learned
9. Take Her Out
10. Private Hell
11. Black Gives Way to Blue
Alice in Chains are:
Jerry Cantrell – lead guitar, vocals
William DuVall – vocals, rhythm guitar
Mike Inez – bass guitar
Sean Kinney – drums
Most people know Howard Leese from his days with Heart, but what a lot of fans don’t realize is that he has a deep and rich career that extends beyond that. This summer, Leese released his first solo album, Secret Weapon on Frontiers Records. With guest stars galore, this album showed promise for fans of rock music.
Secret Weapon opens with the strong “Alive Again”, an acoustic/electric blend with Joe Lynn Turner (Yngwie Malsteen, Rainbow) handling the vocals. A slow build up starts the song off with the anticipation that something magical is about to happen. “Alive Again” has a great southern rock feel to it that seems to capture the essence of the Deep South in the form of music.
“Heal The Broken Hearted” comes up next with guest vocals from Paul Rodgers. This is the best Bad Company song I’ve heard in years. I realize that Howard was not in Bad Company, but he did play live with Paul Rodgers, and this song reminds me so much of Bad Company that it had me yearning for a reunion with Howard on lead guitar. With a classic Bad Company sound and groove, “Heal The Broken Hearted” is a great track and is in contention for best on the album.
“Hot To Cold” has a strong, mesmerizing blues beat to it and feels like it would be right at home on the Chicago strip of blues clubs. With guest vocals from Deanna Johnston and Joe Lynn Turner leading the way, “Hot To Cold” is a nice blues song with solid rhythm and a steady beat. Leese shows off his guitar skills with strong leads and a great solo in the middle of the track. A longer solo would have made this the best song on the disc, which is a testament to Leese’s ability with the axe in his hand.
“Rada’s Theme” is a mellow acoustic/electric instrumental that has a relaxing motif to it. This song shows a new direction for Leese, with a beautiful saxophone harmony washing over the acoustic and electric guitar strings. Blending synthesizer, saxophone, and guitar seamlessly, Rada’s Theme would fit nicely on any movie score, especially a romance film.
The instrumentals (and there are several) on the disc are a different style than expected from a rock guitarist. While touching on jazz and blues influences, there is a strong classical style on all of the instrumental melodies. Leese combined his guitar work with strings, piano, wind instruments, and light percussion to create the classical sound that was a nice surprise, but may turn off some fans. If you’re seeking a hard rock record from top to bottom, Secret Weapon does not deliver that. It does provide a nice blend of different styles that make for a decent album.
The biggest problem with Secret Weapon is how all of the songs (especially the instrumentals) sound eerily similar to one another. At certain points in the disc, it was hard to know where one song ended and the next began. While the compositions are pretty, there is a lack of definition in most tracks. It appears as if the instrumentals are still trying to find their voice (no pun intended).
Overall Secret Weapon is a decent solo album from a great guitarist. While not the rip roaring rock record that was expected, one should applaud Howard Leese for trying new styles and showing off his different tastes in music. Blending classical, blues, jazz, and rock, Secret Weapon is a solid disc for fans looking to move beyond just rock and roll. For those that are seeking just the rock, download “Alive Again” and “Heal The Broken Hearted”.
Rating: Out of 10
- Alive Again (w/ guest vocals from Joe Lynn Turner)
- Heal The Broken Hearted (w/ guest vocals from Paul Rodgers)
- Hot To Cold (w/ guest vocals from Deanna Johnston and Joe Lynn Turner)
- French Quarter (Instrumental)
- 33 West Street (Instrumental)
- The South Summit (w/ guest vocals from Duke Fame)
- Rada’s Theme
- The Vine (w/ guest vocals from Jimi Jamison)
- In These Eyes (w/ guest vocals from Keith St. John)
- Vermilion Border
- I’ve Been Leavin’ You (w/ guest vocals from Andrew Black)
- Somewhere (Theme from West Side Story)
It has been six long years since the Bulletboys last release “Sophie”. There is only one original member of this band left, with singer and guitarist Marq Torien. With that being said, you can expect some changes to the Bulletboys sound.
I first heard the track “Road To Nowhere” in an Eddie Trunk Interview in 2008, so I knew this would be a different sounding record, but I wasn’t sure how much. I wasn’t initially impressed with this song, and didn’t expect much from 10c Billionaire. I have been a long time fan of the band, so I bought the CD any way.
The opening cut “Asteroid” is a heavy cut that has a very modern hard rock feel. This is a completely different sound for the Bulletboys. This song would not be out of place on FM rock radio at all. Once the surprise wore off with how different this was, I have grown to like this song a lot.
“Born To Breed” has some monster guitar riffs that sound like the band stole a page out of Slash’s handbook. This song has this rocking sleazy feel that is not unlike Guns N’ Roses. If Marq Torien ever wanted a new job, he should take a look at the singerless Velvet Relvolver. This song should makes that type of statement. Color me impressed!
“Bringing Home The Gun” sounds a lot like a Shinedown track, and I am ok with that. I love Shinedown, and the Bulletboys bring it on this tune!
Wow! Another song with a familiar feel is “Jenna Star”. The funny thing is, this sounds like a Foo Fighters song with different vocals.
I am guessing that the version of “Road To Nowhere” on 10c Billionaire is a little more polished than the one that I heard over a year ago. I like this version a lot more.
The hair metal era of the Bulletboys is gone. I loved the early hits by this band, and surprisingly I like this new album a lot. It took a few listens before I completely appreciated what is happening on this disc. Marq Torien and company have delivered a surprisingly relevant album for today’s rock audience. Old fans of the band might be shocked by their new sound, but I think if you give 10c Billionaire a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised. Not all of the songs work, but there are some solid tunes worth exploring on 10c Billionaire.
Rating: Out of 10
02. Blessed By Your Touch
03. Born To Breed
04. Bringing Home The Gun
05. Girls Kissin’ Girls
06. Jenna Star
07. Road To Nowhere
08. Save The World
11. Road To Nowhere (Radio Edit)
The Bulletboys are:
Marq Torien – Vocals & Guitar
Ryche Green – Drums
Tory Stoffregen – Guitars
Rob Lane – Bass
It has been far too long since we have had a new Ace Frehley solo disc. It has been twenty years since Ace’s last release, Trouble Walkin’. I had high hopes after for this CD after hearing “Outer Space” for the first time. I heard it, on the Hard Rock Nights radio show, a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to hear more.
Luckily, the good tunes don’t end with “Outer Space”.
“Foxy & Free” reminds me a lot of the Ace Frehley hit, “Rock Soldiers”. You gotta love the cowbell!
Ace Frehley has been known to do a cover or two, and on Anomaly, Ace takes on the Sweet classic, “Fox On The Run”. The funny thing is, I always thought the original tune sounded like a KISS song. Either way, Frehley knocks it out of the park. I love this version.
“Pain In The Neck” could be another Frehley classic. This song has been growing on me with every listen.
“Genghis Khan” left me scratching my head. This tune shows off Frehley’s six string talent, and in that regard, it is pretty cool. The inane lyrics about Genghis Khan seems like they were nothing more than an afterthought. It sounds like they were added after the music was written. This would have been better off as an instrumental in my opinion.
“Too Many Faces” might be a little too similar to “Pain in the Neck” but I like it anyway.
“It’s A Great Life” is a catchy tune, although it is a little different from what I would expect from Frehley. This song has an almost pop/rock style to it.
“Fractured Quantum” is an instrumental song that carries on from Frehley’s previously released Fractured tunes. This is a solid tune, and a decent album closer. (If you buy the iTunes version, you will get a bonus track “The Return of Space Bear”).
Overall, I think Ace Frehley picked up where he left off with Trouble Walkin’. I have been enjoying this disc quite a bit. Anomaly is another solid effort for the Space Ace.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Foxy & Free
02. Outer Space
03. Pain In The Neck
04. Fox On The Run
05. Genghis Khan
06. Too Many Faces
07. Change The World
08. Space Bear
09. A Little Below The Angels
11. It’s A Great Life
12. Fractured Quantum
13. The Return of Space Bear (iTunes exclusive)
Ace Frehley Band is:
Ace Frehley – Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Esposito – Bass
Anton Fig – Drums
Derrek Hawkins – Rhythm Guitar
Marti Frederiksen – Bass, Keyboards
It has been quite a while since I have listened to the band Hurricane. I thought I would dust off this CD to give another listen to singer Kelly Hansen’s vocals. Kelly’s career will soon be getting a boost as he is featured on the new Foreigner album, Can’t Slow Down that will be released on Sept 29th, 2009.
Hurricane’s initial claim to fame was the band had two siblings of Quiet Riot, Tony Cavazo, and Robert Sarzo.
How is the music on Over The Edge? I would consider this slightly above average hair metal, and this is being pretty generous. I have a very hard time getting into this disc. There are a couple of solid tunes sandwiched around a lot of filler, and one track that is completely abysmal at best.
The album kicks off with the title track “Over The Edge”. This tune has a ballad like feel to start off with, but turns into a harder rocking tune after a slow beginning. It is a solid start to this disc.
The cover of “I’m Eighteen” plods of along and does not surpass the original by Alice Cooper. I am not sure this one was needed. This was probably the wrong song for this band to cover. (Could you imagine if they did a cover of “Hot Blooded”?)
“I’m On To You” is a solid tune and easily the band’s biggest hit. (see video clip below).
“We Are Strong” showcases Hansen’s excellent vocals. Robert Sarzo throws in some cool guitar licks, although the opening riffs sound as if they were borrowed. It is a cool tune, and one of the highlights on this disc.
The album close, “Baby Snakes” might just be the dumbest example of a song that I heard in my entire life. This is four and half minutes of my life that I will never get back. Let’s listen to a guy get rejected by some girl over the phone, with background guitar riffs. What the hell were producers Mike Clink and Bob Ezrin thinking when they green lighted this crap. This is terrible!
Overall, I think Kelly Hansen’s vocals are better than the songs, and music on this CD. Die hard hair metal fans might enjoy this. All others tread at your own risk!
This CD was out of print for years, but was re-released in 2008 by Caroline Records. You can purchase a copy of Over The Edge at this link. For more information on Hurricane, check out their myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Over The Edge
02. I’m Eighteen
03. I’m On To You
04. Messin’ With A Hurricane
06. We Are Strong
07. Spark In My Heart
08. Give Me An Inch
10. Baby Snakes
Kelly Hansen – vocals
Robert Sarzo – guitar and vocals
Tony Cavazo – bass and vocals
Jay Schellen – drums and vocals
“Money Never Sleeps” is the debut of the five man Swedish band Covered Call. Formed in 2006 by drummer Ronny Svanströmer and guitarist Joel Carlsson, who recruited bassist Thomas Thulin and second guitarist Morgan Rosenquist before finding Ex Candlemass and Therion vocalist Thomas Wikström to complete the lineup. At first listen “Money Never Sleeps” does not have any stand out tracks, but after a couple of listens you will find an album that is solid from beginning to end where the melody and hooks grab you and each song builds momentum for the next song.
“All Because of Me” is the first track on “Money Never Sleeps”. It’s a mid tempo rocker that is usually found as the third or fourth track on most albums, but is a good song nonetheless with a nice solo and some sing along verses. “Til The End” is a great rocker balls out from the beginning again Carlsson has a nice solo, but Thomas Thulin’s bass sounds awesome on this track. “Shine” is a song that caught me completely off guard as it is a cover of one my favorite songs by Mr. Big from their “Actual Size” album. While Wikström is no Eric Martin, he and the band still do this song justice giving it a heavier sound but still as melodic as the original version. “Never Again” is where “Money Never Sleeps” grabbed my attention and takes off great heavy melodic song that should get the band some radio spins. It probably wont get played in the United States because U.S. radio doesn’t play songs this good. It will definitely receive airplay in Europe.
“Anything You Want” is a piano ballad with some beautiful playing throughout. “I Wanna Be Free” is a hard rocking anthem built for the live show with a great intro by Carlsson and once again some great bass lines from Thulin. “Nothin’ At All” is another great sing along foot tapping melodic rocker. Carlsson and Rosenquist’s playing really shines on this song as does Wikström’s vocals. The title track “Money Never Sleeps” is another anthem with some great background vocals and the song is just plain fun, a great song for the summer to blast on a road trip.
Looks or listens can be deceiving on “Money Never Sleeps” at first listen. But Covered Call have one of the best kinds of albums the kind that grow on you with each listen and hook you with some great songs and great playing. Definitely makes me look forward to their next album.
Rating: Out of 10
- All Because of Me
- Til’ the End
- Never Again
- Anything You Want
- I Wanna Be Free
- Nothing at All
- Money Never Sleeps
- What About Us
- Let’s Make It Real
Thomas Vikstrom – Lead vocals
Joel Carlsson – Guitar
Thomas Thulin – Bass
When I was first introduced to the band Carbon 9, the first thing I saw and heard was their cover of Danzig’s “Mother”. I like that tune pretty well, and I thought Carbon 9 butchered a good song. Maybe that wasn’t a fair assessment, but I didn’t want to hear any more songs off of The Bull. I was a little too quick to discount this band, but decided to revisit their CD, at a later time, when I could look at it with a fresh perspective. I am glad I did, because the songs on The Bull are much better than the Danzig cover.
Carbon 9’s sound is a blend of industrial and modern hard rock. At first, I thought they were going to be another Nine Inch Nails clone, but their music might be closer to Dope than NIN.
“My Friend” offers up some cool guitar riffs, and some bass licks that wouldn’t expect to hear from a band of this genre.
“Somebody Like Me” is a heavy rocker has a catchy chorus that should help this song find its way to mainstream rock radio. The title track, “The Bull” is another radio ready rocker, that has some cool synthesizer effects in it. This is a good tune.
After hearing some of the songs on this CD, I understood this band quite a bit more. I have even grown to like their cover of “Mother” that once turned me off of this band.
“Butterflies in My Head”, “This Life” and “I’m Not Broken” are amongst my favorites on this disc as well.
“Tongues” the album closer is a bizarre ending to this disc. The song starts off with random outdoor sounds, and adds tribal beats, Indian chants and more. I am not sure what they were trying to accomplish with this song, but this was not the way to close out this CD.
Overall, I think The Bull is a solid debut effort for Carbon 9. If you like bands like Dope,Disturbed or Soulidium, chances are you will enjoy Carbon 9 as well.
For more information on Carbon 9, check out the band’s myspace page.
You can give the song, “My Friend” a free test drive when you sign up for the band’s mailing list. Worldsound will give you a free download of the song, as well as let you stream songs from The Bull.
1. What It Is We’re Made Of
2. Crawling Over Me
3. My Friend
4. Somebody Like Me
5. The Bull
7. Butterflies in My Head
8. For You
9. This Life
10. Mary Mannequin
11. I’m Not Broken
12. Loving You
13. I’m on My Own
14. Lonely in Love
Carbon 9 is:
Stacey Quinealty – Vocals & Sequencing
Darwin DeVitis – Guitars & Vocals
Matty Milani – Drums
Omar D Brancato- Bass & Vocals
Danny Cistone – Vocalist & Art Director
Hardcore Superstar has released their follow up to 2007’s excellent Dreamin’ In A Casket. Their last album was so full of great, hard rocking sleazy fun, that I was anxiously awaiting the release of this disc. How does it stack up? Read on.
The album starts off with an instrumental cut, “This Worm’s For Ennio” that sounds like it would be better served in a spaghetti western movie, than a sleaze rock album. It is an odd start to Beg For It, but it doesn’t really detract from the album.
The new two songs “Beg For It”, and “Into Debauchery” deliver that one-two punch to get this album started. Both are good tunes, but I would probably consider these amongst Hardcore Superstar’s best. I didn’t think so initially, but the songs have grown on me quite a bit after a few more listens.
I can’t put my finger on it, but once “Shades of Grey” starts up, the songs on Beg For It start falling into the pattern where the songs sound far too much the same. I would have liked a little more variety between the songs.
Luckily, “Hope For A Normal Life” is exactly what I was looking for. This song changes the pace up with an acoustic based, mid tempo number. I didn’t care for the keyboard parts on this song. I didn’t think they were needed, but this is a still a solid tune.
“Remove My Brain” starts off with this really cool sleazy groove which gave me high hopes, unfortunately, the intro is better than the rest of the song. The chorus falls into the same old scream along trap, that sounds like far too many other Hardcore Superstar songs.
“Spit It Out” is far better. This is a good song with a cool groove, that has a couple of guitar parts that sounds like it borrows from Motley Crue’s Nona. You can probably guess the chorus on this one, but it a good song nonetheless.
Overall, it took me a few listens to get into this disc. The music is great, but I just couldn’t get into the songs as much as the last disc. It is a good CD, and die hard Hardcore Superstar fans will probably enjoy it. If you are checking Hardcore Superstar for the first time, check out Dreamin’ In A Casket first. It is the better album of the two.
Rating: Out of 10
01. This Worm’s For Ennio
02. Beg For It
03. Into Debauchery
04. Shades Of Grey
05. Nervous Breakdown
06. Hope For A Normal Life
07. Bad Behaviour
08. Remove My Brain
09. Spit It Out
10. Illegal Fun
11. Take Them All Out
12. Innocent Boy
Hardcore Superstar is:
Jocke Berg – vocals
Vic Zino – guitar
Martin Sandvik – bass
Magnus Andreasson – drums
Is the sequel ever as good as the original? For House of Lords the answer is a resounding YES! After a “What the Hell Were They Thinking” moment that was the release of 2000’s “the Power & the Myth” James Christian said enough is enough, and with the blessing of founder Gregg Giuffria, put together a new lineup consisting of Jimi Bell (Guitars), BJ Zampa (Drums), and Chris McCarvill (Bass) and a return to the melodic sound House of Lords were known for. With the release of two very solid albums “World Upside Down” and “Come To My Kingdom” House of Lords were back at the forefront of the Melodic Rock world, but the release of the lineup’s third album “Cartesian Dreams” puts the band way ahead of the competition. If I could only use one word to describe the sound of “Cartesian Dreams” it would be heavy, by far the heaviest HoL album to date but still retaining HoL’s trademark melody and sound. James Christian’s voice still sounds fantastic and the band as a whole are tight and in sync with one another.
“Cartesian Dreams” starts out with a bang with the title track, and immediately gives us a taste of what we are in for with this release. Heavy, thumping, with nice keyboard fills and some outstanding background vocals Bell has an excellent solo but it is BJ Zampa that outshines everyone on this track with his drumming. “Born To Be Your Baby” follows up with a great sing a long chorus that will get stuck in your head and not let go. One of the catchiest tracks on the album that has single written all over it. “Desert Rain” is next in line and much like “Cartesian Dreams” is a heavy thumping song about the Iraq War, with the whole band sounding fantastic. On the American version “Sweet September” is the closest song you could call a ballad on this album and it is a great one with some nice background vocals and James Christian sounds amazing on this song. “Bangin'” is a great dirty rocker, which would make a great lead off single, a classic HoL song. At first listen you think “A Simple Plan” is a slow mid tempo number, but once Bell’s guitar kicks in, that changes your thinking completely, while it does stay in the mid tempo range it is anything but slow. Once again the band sounds outstanding on this song especially Bell and McCarvill.
The rest of “Cartesian Dreams” is filled with more heavy melodic rockers like “Saved By Rock”, “Repo Man” and the outstanding “Joanna” another song with single written all over it. If you get the European version look out for the song “the Train” a slow mid tempo song with some great lyrics and background vocals. Fans of HoL and Melodic Rock in general are going to find “Cartesian Dreams” to not only be the best release of HoL’s new Lineup but one of the best of the band’s entire career. Definitely a must have album.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Cartesian Dreams
02. Born To Be Your Baby
03. Desert Rain
04. Sweet September
06. A Simple Plan
07. Never Look Back
08. The Bigger They Come
09. Repo Man
10. Saved By Rock
12. The Train (Bonus Track)
House of Lords are:
James Christian – vocals
Jimi Bell – guitars
BJ Zampa – drums
Chris McCarvill – bass
It never ceases to amaze me how many cool bands have come out of Sweden as of late. Dynazty is latest bunch of hard rockers ready to kick your ass.
It makes me feel old when a band like Dynazty comes along, and rocks out like it is 1987 all over again. The funny thing is, the oldest member of Dynazty is 24. With the way, Bring the Thunder rocks, you would think these guys were veterans of the Sunset Strip. In all honesty, these guys were in diapers when the L.A. Scene hit its peak. Nonetheless, Dynazty brings us a classic sounding rock record with big hooks on their debut release Bring the Thunder.
Before I heard Dynazty for the first time, I noticed that one of their two guitarists was none other than Rob Love from the band Zan Clan. He is an up and coming shredder that can play with the best of them. Lucky for him, he had John Berg to trade licks with. Berg is no slouch in the six string department either. As a result, Bring The Thunder is a guitar noodlefest and I love it!
Dynazty’s singer, Nils Molin has a serious set of pipes. He has an impressive vocal range that falls somewhere in between former Crash Diet singer Dave Lepard (R.I.P.), and ex TNT front man Tony Harnell. The bottom line is this, the guy can flat out sing, and he can hit some notes that few other singers would even try.
This disc has a bunch of cool rockers including the kick ass title track “Bring the Thunder”, “Catch the Night”, “Lights Out” and “Top of The Line”. There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Producer Chris Laney worked his magic on this disc, and as a result it sounds amazing.
If you are a fan of bands like Steel Panther, Shotgun Messiah or Crash Diet. You will probably love this CD as much as I do. Bring the Thunder is a fantastic debut by Dynazty. With an album this good, you are going to be hearing a lot more about this talented band in the near future.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Bring the Thunder
2. Catch the Night
3. Lights Out (in Candyland)
4. Far Away
5. Top of the Line
6. Monkey Wants, Monkey Needs
8. Take Me Down
9. The Devil’s Shake
10. Higher n’ Higher
11. Sail Away (bonus track)
Nils Molin – Vocals
Rob Love – Guitar
John Berg – Guitar
George Egg – Drums
Joey Fox – Bass
Five years after they announced Ted Poley had rejoined Danger Danger and 20 years after the release of their debut, Danger Danger returns with “Revolve”. Was it worth the wait? I guess that depends if you are a fan of the Danger Danger from 20 years ago with songs filled with sexual innuendo such as “Naughty Naughty” and “Slipped Her The Big One” or an older more mature band with 20+ years of music business experience behind them. I happen to be a fan of both and have made no secret of how much I was looking forward to hearing the new music. While I liked the albums with Paul Laine on vocals, Ted Poley will always be the voice of Danger Danger to me, and he has never sounded better than he does on “Revolve”.
“That’s What I’m Talking About” starts “Revolve” off and while I don’t think it is the best way to open the album it is a great song that makes you want to crank the stereo up and sing at the top of your lungs, the rhythm section of Steve West and Bruno Ravel sound as great as ever and Rob Marcello plays guitar like a man obsessed. “the Ghost of Love” is a great melodic rocker the band is famous for as tight as the band sounds you would never think it has been 11 years since Ravel, West, and Poley were in the studio together. “Killin’ Love” has some slow driving bass lines and though it is a slower mid tempo song it still makes you want to crank it up and sing along. “Hearts On The Highway” can’t say enough about this song it is classic Danger Danger at their best, great melodies, great hooks and background vocals one of the best on the album. “Fugitive” is a ballad with acoustic guitars, piano, and strings starting things off which could give the guys a Top 40 hit if released as a single. “Keep On Keepin’ On” would be my pick as the album opener this is a great summertime song yet another track that makes you want to crank it up and sing along as your flying down the highway, probably Rob Marcello’s best solo on the album and another one of the best songs on “Revolve”. “Rocket To Your Heart” once again classic Danger Danger, Ted Poley sounds great on this song as does Bruno’s bass. “F.U. $” is an anthem about exactly what the title suggests filled with some great gang vocals, another nice solo from Marcello that should go over well live. “Beautiful Regret” is a heavy modern sounding song but fits perfectly on “Revolve”. “Never Give Up” is a mid tempo song that would’ve fit perfectly on the band’s debut or “Screw It” once again classic Danger Danger sound. Leave it to Danger Danger to save the best for last with “Dirty Mind” not only does Poley sound great the band as a whole really nail this song a great rocking song and the perfect way to close “Revolve”.
No matter what you think of Danger Danger they definitely deserve some respect. While alot of other “80’s” bands have dried up and blown away these guys kept putting out some great music and with Ted Poley back in the band I believe it is only going to get better. I just hope it isn’t another 5 years before the follow-up to “Revolve” is released.
Rating: Out of 10
01. That’s What I’m Talking About
02. Ghost Of Love
03. Killin’ Love
04. Hearts On The Highway
06. Keep On Keepin’ On
07. Rocket To Your Heart
09. Beautiful Regret
10. Never Give Up
11. Dirty Mind
Danger Danger is:
Ted Poley – Vocals
Bruno Ravel – Bass
Rob Marcello – Guitars
Steve West – Drums
For two long years, I struggled trying to find a reasonably price copy of EZO’s debut CD. Finally, I decided to cave, and pay the import price from Japan. In the U.S., this CD is pretty scarce and extremely hard to find. I originally had EZO’s debut on cassette tape back in the day, but it eventually was worn out from too many plays. The CD was reissued in 2005, but only in Japan. In the U.S., this disc has been out of print for years.
Many of you probably aren’t familiar with EZO. They are a Japenese metal band that was signed to a record contract by Geffen Records in the eighties, and produced by Gene Simmons. The band had a couple of albums released via Geffen, and a few music videos in support of their albums which got quite a few plays on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.
EZO was originally known as Flatbacker in Japan, and had released a couple of discs under that moniker as well.
So was this CD worth the wait? Most definitely yes. It has been a long time since I have listened to these songs, but I am still enjoying them after all of these years. I have to give some credit to Gene Simmons, as he really got the most out of this band. The production on this CD is top notch, and sounds fantastic. I get a kick out of hearing Masaki’s howling vocals on “House of 1,000 Pleasures” and his growly delivery of “Flashback Heart Attack”.
This disc is actually a lot heavier than I remembered it to be and all of the songs are pretty solid all of the way through. The musicianship of EZO is surprisingly better than a lot of the hair metal acts that followed them. EZO’s guitarist, Shoyo Iida was a pretty big talent on the six string. I really like his playing on this disc a lot. Where did this guy disappear to?
If this CD has any detriment to it. It is a little on the short side. Nine songs clocking in at a little less than 36 minutes. But is nine very good songs! The bottom line is this, if you can fine EZO’s debut CD, buy it, you won’t be disappointed. I like this one a lot, and I think you will too!
Rating: Out of 10
1. House of 1,000 Pleasures
2. Flashback Heart Attack
3. Mr. Midnight
4. Here It Comes
5. I Walk Alone
7. Big Changes
8. Kiss of Fire
Masaki Yamada – Vocals
Taro Takahashi – Bass
Shoyo Iida – Guitar
Hirotsugu Homma – Drums
Check out Dream Theater’s new video, “A Rite of Passage” below. “A Rite of Passage” is the first single that was released off of the new Dream Theater album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings.