The wait is over! Stryper’s eighth studio album No More Hell To Pay is finally here. Good things come to those who wait, and No More Hell To Pay pays the listener massive dividends. This album delivers Stryper’s strongest and heaviest material since their 1988 classic album, In God We Trust. Big Vocals, bigger riffs and great songs, No More Hell To Pay has it all!
The album starts off with the heavy song “Revelation”. This song is classic Stryper all the way, and a fantastic lead off song for No More Hell To Pay.
The guitar tone for “No More Hell to Pay” takes me back to the Stryper classic “To Hell With The Devil”. This is a killer cut, and if you wondered if Michael Sweet lost any range in his voice, the answer is a most definite “no”! (Check it out in the video below).
Michael Sweet pushes his voice to new limits on the heavy rocker,”Saved By Love”. You have to hear this song to believe it. This is one amazing tune, and my new favorite from Stryper. I hope to hear them do this song live.
Stryper tears the roof off with their smokin’ cover of the Doobie Brothers hit, “Jesus is Just Alright”. This is easily one of the best cover songs I have heard in a long time. Stryper gave this song a great, heavy face lift, and it really works well.
“The One” does a good job changing the tempo on the album, and delivers a song that could get airplay, if DJ’s out there had a soul.
“The Legacy” is another face melting rocker that demands several replays just to register what you just heard. This is easily one of the heaviest Stryper songs to date.
“Marching Into Battle” sounds like it came out of the early 80′s and that is a great thing. This is one of those deep cuts that may not be hit material, but fans will appreciate this nonetheless. Michael Sweet again pushes his screams to the max on this tune.
I immediately hit replay after hearing “Te Amo” the first time. This is another tremendous rocker that is a feast for the ears. This song ought to be another big sing along tune for Stryper’s live set.
“Renewed” closes out No More Hell to Pay with another amazing rocker, and a song that is easily as good as the first.
Major kudos to Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, Robert Sweet and Tim Gaines. The yellow and black attack have released one of the best albums of their career. Michael Sweet’s voice has never been stronger, and the guitar work on this album is fantastic.
Clearly, No More Hell to Pay is an album that Stryper made for the fans, and it delivers all the way through. If you have ever listened or have been a fan of Stryper in the past, you are going to LOVE this album. If you do one thing this Tuesday, you should download the album from iTunes, or if you are old school like me, run (don’t walk) to your nearest music store and pick this CD up asap. You won’t be disappointed. No More Hell To Pay is one of the best albums of 2013. Get it now!! Highly recommended!!
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus is Just Alright
05. The One
06. The Legacy
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Robert Sweet – Drums and Visual Timekeeping
Timothy Gaines – Bass / Vocals
Oz Fox – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Respect. When I think of the musicians that make up the band The Winery Dogs, I have nothing but respect. Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen are amongst some of the best hard rock musicians to ever grace the stage. When I first heard about the Winery Dogs, I couldn’t wait to hear what the band had to offer. Sometimes when a so called supergroup comes out, the music isn’t quite what you expect it to be. That simply isn’t the case with the Winery Dogs. Every member of the the band shines on this release, and Richie Kotzen is the real X-factor, as his singing is far better than expected. Kotzen pushes his voice to the limit. His vocals are fantastic, and some of the best he has ever done.
The music on this CD oscillates between the decades, and gives the listener a nice voyage from the 70′s & 80′s classic rock, to some bluesier numbers, and some more modern offerings. If you have ever listened to some of Richie Kotzen’s solo releases, The Winery Dogs will seem pretty familiar to you. The music isn’t a far stretch from Kotzen’s solo material, and that is a great thing.
The major difference with The Winery Dogs, is you get the best rhythm section in hard rock, and you get the wicked solos from Mr. Sheehan, Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen.
The Winery Dogs give you great songs, and sophisticated jams that should satisfy even the pickiest hard rock fan. This is one of those albums that you can listen to from beginning to end, without the need to skip any songs. It really is that good.
This CD has been one of my favorites of 2013. If you haven’t picked it up, you should definitely give it a listen. I highly recommend it!!
3. We Are One
4. I’m No Angel
5. The Other Side
6. You Saved Me
7. Not Hopeless
8. One More Time
10. Six Feet Deeper
12. The Dying
The Winery Dogs are:
Richie Kotzen – Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Billy Sheehan – Bass / Vocals
Mike Portnoy – Drums / Vocals
Coming off the very strong and very fabulous Awake, Skillet has returned with their latest rock record, Rise. Fans have been waiting for a couple of years to see what Skillet had in them for a follow up to one of their most popular (and fantastic) records. Well, we can all rejoice, because Skillet has delivered a record that is every bit as good as its predecessor.
Rise opens with the hard hitting, heavy sounding, title track, “Rise.” If you love a guitar driven, hard rock sound, “Rise” is going to put a smile on your face. The song is a great opener for the record and sets the listener up for the rest of what’s to come—hard hitting rock music with an edge. Keyboards blend with shredding guitar and some hard pounding drums to create a strong, forceful album opener. “Rise” is just a great track.
Pounding drums, wailing guitars, and a steady heavy beat isn’t all that makes “Sick Of It” a hard core rock song. It is also the lyrics and the message behind the song. Almost a modern day “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Sick Of It” could be an anthem for a whole new generation. The song screams sing along at a concert, with fists flying in the air. “Sick Of It” speaks to standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe in. If you’re sick of…whatever…fight it and stand strong.
“Good To Be Alive” takes off on a similar message that “One Day Too Late” (from Awake) had, in the celebration of life and all that we have. A simple steady beat is the backdrop for lead singer John Cooper’s vocals, which are very strong on this song. And while the beat is simple, and the song is not overly complex, it is still quite amazing. “Good To Be Alive” was the first song that really grabbed me from this album and I found myself singing along almost immediately.
Skillet really hits a home run with “Not Gonna Die,” the best song on the album. This song has the perfect blend of guitar, vocals, anthem style rock, and overall fun. “Not Gonna Die” is a solid song that kicks off strong and immediate grabs the listener’s attention. It is also a song with deep meaning about fighting back and overcoming any challenges that life may throw. I always attach to songs like these because they are powerful in spirit, style, and substance. “Not Gonna Die” is no exception and I found myself hitting repeat several times.
And while the rest of the tracks on Rise are solid, it is these first four that pack the hardest punch. Admittedly, I spent much more time listening to these four tracks than I did to the rest of the album, but that’s not to say the rest of the album is weaker, because it’s not. It’s just that these first four songs brought so much enjoyment, that I could not help but constantly hit replay after “Not Gonna Die.”
Skillet has once again delivered a fantastic record that hard rock fans will be sure to enjoy. Packed with an edgier modern rock sound and guitar solos galore, Rise is sure to please fans of both the modern rock genre and the old school rock style.
Rating: Out of 10
- Sick Of It
- Good To Be Alive
- Not Gonna Die
- Circus For A Psycho
- American Noise
- Madness In Me
- Fire And Fury
- My Religion
- Hard To Find
- What I Believe
John Cooper – Bass, Lead Vocals
Korey Cooper – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
Jen Ledger – Drums, Vocals
Seth Morrison – Lead Guitar
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
When I first heard the name Stardog Champion, I immediately thought of the Mother Love Bone song from the 90′s (what a great song!) I can assure you that Stardog Champion has nothing to do with Mother Love Bone, but they are a cool new band worth checking out.
Stardog Champion is the new band with singer Nick Coyle (from Lifer), and guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist Mark James (both originally from Breaking Benjamin). Their new EP Exhale offers up five rockin’ tracks that will likely get a lot of radio play. The first single “When We Fall” was my first introduction to the band, and I took to that song immediately. “When We Fall” is a little heavier that the rest of the songs on Exhale, but if the five songs on this EP are any indication as to the direction of Stardog Champion, this band will have a long and prosperous career.
Stardog Champion’s music leans more towards the alt rock side of the fence, but there are some definite harder rocking moments. If you like bands like Papa Roach, & Shinedown, I think you will enjoy Stardog Champion too. Check them out!
Rating: Out of 10
2. Nothing To Lose
3. When We Fall
4. House of Cards
5. The Switch
Stardog Champion is:
Nick Coyle – Vocals
Aaron Fink – Guitar
Mark James – Bass
Josh Karis – Drums
Synth heavy, hard hitting, and filled with lyrics that give the listener pause, creating thought, Pretty Maids latest album, Motherland is a solid, enjoyable effort from this Danish rock band. While their last effort, 2010’s Pandemonium was a harder edgier affair, Motherland is a strong musical journey and a great next chapter for this band’s long history book.
On first listen, it may appear that Pretty Maids are leaning more toward the album oriented rock melody in their song crafting. Yet, after a few more spins, it is easier to tell that this disc is still based on a solid foundation of shredding guitars, strong and steady stomp drumbeats, and massive guitar solos. Overall Motherland is a little mellower than its predecessor, but it still delivers the hard rock hits.
Motherland is one of those atypical albums where the disc must be played through a few times for the whole effect to take hold. On first listen, I thought that Motherland was a decent record with the stronger songs placed at the end of the album. Then I played it through a few more times only to learn that the songs at the beginning of the record were pretty decent as well.
Loaded with great hooks and shredding solos, Pretty Maids have delivered a fine piece with Motherland. Lead singer Ronnie Atkins’ voice is in top form throughout the record, never wavering or weakening. Ken Hammer continues to deliver on guitar with some exceptional work and fantastic solos. And while the keyboards from Morten Sandager receive plenty of spotlights, they never overtake the music entirely, allowing for a perfect blend of synthesizer, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals. It creates a synthesis of symphonic sound parading through the eardrums with delight.
Motherland reminds me of great synth-rock albums from the 80s, balanced with mid-tempo melodies, hard rockers, and a ballad or two thrown in for good measure. Think Styx, Trixter, Europe, or Winger for a good point of reference. And while Motherland may not be as strong a release as their last record, it is still a decent album worthy of investing your listening time into. Pretty Maids may be heading in a mellower direction, but that doesn’t make them any less grand. And given enough time (and plays) Motherland may overtake any of the bands releases in the last ten years as the record to listen to.
Rating: Out of 10
Mother Of All Lies
To Fool A Nation
Sad To See You Suffer
Why So Serious
I See Ghosts
Bullet For You
Who What Where When Why
Pretty Maids Are:
Ronnie Atkins – Vocals
Ken Hammer – Guitars
Rene Shades – Bass
Allan Tschicaja – Drums
Morten Sandager – Keyboards
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
When Alex Beyrodt’s Voodoo Circle started up, I thought of this band as mostly a side project. Well the last few years
has seen this band blossom into a full-fledged band, that is continuing to release some killer hard rock to feast our
ears upon. In 2013, Voodoo Circle released their third effort More than One Way Home. On the band’s newest opus, they
have truly tapped into their inner Whitesnake, and to my ears, that is a great thing! David Readman (Pink Cream 69) has turned in some of his most powerful vocals to date. He is hitting new highs vocally, and quite honestly he could go toe to toe with Mr. David Coverdale himself.
Readman’s vocals come as no surprise to this listener, as I have been a fan of his music with Pink Cream 69 for many years now. As great as Readman’s performance is, Alex Beyrodt’s is even better. Beyrodt has been a fixture in the metal scene with the bands Silent Force, Sinner, and Primal Fear, but with his band Voodoo Circle he shows even more growth as a player (if that is even possible). He delivers some of the best guitar riffs I have heard in quite some time.
With Whitesnake on somewhat of a hiatus, it is great that a band like Voodoo Circle can fill that void with some outstanding hard rock that will put a smile on the faces of Whitesnake & Deep Purple fans everywhere. More Than One Way Home may not be very original, but when a band sounds THIS good, I could care less.
I love Voodoo Circle’s previous album Broken Heart Syndrome, and quite frankly, I think this album is even stronger than the last one. This album has plenty of great songs, and there are no duds in the bunch. Some of my favorites are “Graveyard City”, “Tears In the Rain”, “Cry of Love”, “Alissa” and “The Saint and The Sinner”. This is a very enjoyable album, and will be getting a ton of repeat plays from me now and in years to come!
If you are a fan of Pink Cream 69, Whitesnake or great classic hard rock, you owe it to yourself to check out Voodoo Circle! I think you will love it!
You can pick up a copy of More than One Way Home at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Graveyard City
02. Tears In The Rain
03. Heart of Babylon
04. Cry of Love
06. The Ghost In Your Heart
07. Bane of My Existence
08. More Than One Way Home
09. The Killer In You
10. The Saint And The Sinner
11. Victim of Love
12. Open Your Eyes
Voodoo Circle is:
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
David Readman – Vocals
Mat Sinner – Bass
Markus Kullmann – Drums
Jimmy Kresic – Keyboards
“Suicidal is back!” So screams Mike Muir on the lead single to Suicidal Tendencies first album in 13 years, 13. Judging from the collection of songs put on this disc, Suicidal is back indeed. Technically, 13 is the band’s first album since 2000’s Free Your Soul And Save My Mind, hence part of the reasoning for the title 13. 13 years is a long time to be out of the spotlight and away from the fans. The big question on everyone’s mind was could Suicidal still deliver exceptional thrash/metal music after such a long hiatus? The short answer to that question is yes.
Opening with the hard hitting “Shake It Out,” 13 delivers an immediate impact that both long time fans and newcomers alike are bound to enjoy and praise. The opening guitar riff and drum beat scream out this is a hardcore, thrash album that needs to be played loud. A self-celebrating praise of their return, “Shake It Out” is a reminder of how much fun Suicidal Tendencies can be. This is a hard hitting opener that makes me want to listen over and over again.
“God Only Knows…Who I Am” features a solo by Dean Pleasants that is jaw dropping. The song opens slower than most on the album, but it builds in intensity and anticipation as it develops. By the time the chorus arrives, ears are hooked and fists are pumping into the air. This is an immensely pleasing, amazing song. The build up to the chorus is a great set up for the explosion in the middle. The eruption is pure ear candy and “God Only Knows…Who I Am” could be one of the best Suicidal Tendencies song ever recorded.
“Show Some Love…Tear It Down,” highlights guitarists Dean Pleasants’ and Mike Clark’s exceptional abilities and how they are able to weave so well together. The guitars are heavy, the groove is tight, and the song is flat out fun. This is yet another song that will find fans singing along after just one or two listens. I had a grin planted on my face after just one listen. This is a perfect song for moshing or head banging (depending on your preference). And while it slows down in the middle, it just gives the listener a reason to catch their breath before the song takes off in a fit of rage once again.
Overall, 13 is a fantastic album. If you are a fan of How Will I Laugh Tomorrow… or Lights, Camera, Revolution, then you are going to love 13. Layered with multiple infectious grooves, powerful hooks, heavy guitars, and lots of funk and fun, 13 is a powerful album that takes the listener on a journey of musical styles with thrash metal always remaining as the main focus. Suicidal Tendencies did a phenomenal job with this record. There is not a bad song on the album and it is near perfect. When it comes to voting for album of the year, 13 is definitely going to get heavy consideration.
Rating: Out of 10
- Shake It Out
- Smash It!
- This Ain’t A Celebration
- God Only Knows…Who I Am
- Make Your Stand
- Who’s Afraid?
- Show Some Love…Tear It Down
- Cyco Style
- Slam City
- Till My Last Breath
- Living The Fight
- Life…(Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It)
- This World
Suicidal Tendencies Is:
Mike Muir – Lead Vocals
Dean Pleasants – Lead Guitar
Mike Clark – Rhythm Guitar
Steve Bruner – Bass Guitar
Eric Moore – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
If you are a fan of classic riff rock, then 2013 has been a very good year for you, with kick ass new releases from Krokus, Airbourne and Irish rockers Screaming Eagles!
I don’t know what is in the water in Ireland, but I wish they would share their water supply with the rest of the world. Two great Irish revival rock acts in the Answer & Million Dollar Reload are already making major waves in the worldwide rock scene. Judging from the tunes on From The Flames, Screaming Eagles will be the next big rock act from the Emerald Isle.
Singer Chris Fry is a another great vocal find. His voice falls somewhere in between Lex Koritni (Koritni) and Josh Todd (Buckcherry). As far is singers go, that is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion. His voice oscillates between a clean singing style, and more than enough rasp to make the songs fun to listen to. His partner in crime, Adrian McAleenan dishes out a rockin’ bunch of guitar riffs that complement’s Fry’s voice in the best kind of way.
The great thing about this CD is, there is no filler. Every song rocks! There are no sappy ballads, no acoustic stripped down numbers. From the Flames has ten rocking tunes that ought to please the pickiest of hard rock fans out there. “Down The River”, “Vampire” and “Blood”are my favorites, but there isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
From the Flames is an independent release that you won’t want to miss. You can get your CD copy of From the Flames at this link or in mp3 form from Amazon.com & iTunes. Do your ears a favor and get this now!!!
Rating: Out of 10
01. All The Way
02. Down The River
03. Hungry For More
04. Fight The Fire
06. Devil In The Dust
07. Rock n Roll Soul
08. One Man Revolution
10. Take My Time
Screaming Eagles Are:
Chris Fry – Vocals
Adrian McAleenan – Guitar
Ryan Lilly – Bass
Kyle Cruikshank – Drums
Rock and Roll will never die! That is what I think when I hear a band like The Fuzz Drivers for the first time. Classic rock has inspired bands all over the globe, and The Fuzz Drivers are dishing out the best 70′s style rock and roll I have ever heard from Portugal.
The first time I listened to “Discordia Song”, I knew I was going to enjoy The Fuzz Drivers’ album, but what I didn’t realize is how much. After my first couple of listens, I detected a lot of Zeppelin and Beatles influences in the music, and that is a good thing. Sérgio dishes out some mad riffs on “Discordia Song”, and Marcelo Viero pushes his vocals to the limit.
“Shine” is possibly my favorite track on the album. This powerful number is driven by the Bonham-esque drums of Duarte Carvalho. This heavy tune gets better with every listen.
When I listen to the song “Carved Time”, songs like “Dear Prudence” and “Over the Hills And Far Away” come to mind. Sergio’s guitar tone falls somewhere between those two songs, and I love it! If there was ever a more radio friendly song, “Carved Time” is the one that is worthy of a lot of radio airplay.
“Mama Told You” has an infectious little riff that makes this one incredibly catchy tune. I like this one a lot.
For a self produced and recorded album, the sound quality on this album is top notch. The band did an outstanding job putting this together. Even though the album is a little on the short side, it is a solid debut for The Fuzz Drivers. With music this good, I think the band has the potential to get some global recognition.
You can get a copy of The Fuzz Drivers’ new album for FREE at this link. If you like bands like The Answer, or Black Robot, check out The Fuzz Drivers! You will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Discordia Song
3. Eats Me Up
4. Carved Time
5. Mama Told You
6. Into The Sun
7. The Poet And The Thief
8. Until It Bleeds
9. White Lies
The Fuzz Drivers are:
Marcelo Viera – vocals
Duarte Carvalho – drums
João Lopes – bass
Sérgio “Mad Mag” – guitar
Saxon is just about to release their 20th studio album (gasp!), Sacrifice on the world on Tuesday. How does their latest effort Sacrifice stand up? In my opinion, Sacrifice is better than the last couple of releases, Call to Arms and Into the Labyrinth. It is heavier, grittier and delivers a lot more punch than the previous two albums. Byford’s vocals are still in fine form. Even at the ripe young age of 62, Byford is still delivering some of the best vocals in heavy metal. I can’t say enough about the guitar work of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt either. There are plenty of solos and heavy riffs to feast your ears on.
After the brief instrumental opener “Procession”, Sacrifice really doesn’t let up at all. If the title track “Sacrifice” doesn’t get your blood pumping, your stereo might be broken. The pounding rhythms don’t end with “Sacrifice”. In fact, there isn’t a slow moment on the album.
If NASCAR was smart, they would use “Warriors of the Road” as a theme song. Byford lets his fondness of auto racing flow into this song with the sound effects from the high speed whine of some open wheel race cars. Much like those race cars, the throttle is wide open on “Warriors of the Road”. This high octane rocker is going to be staple in Saxon’s live set without a doubt.
Another favorite song on Sacrifice is “Stand Up And Fight”. This is a great metal anthem, with a simple, yet powerful message.
If Sacrifice falls short anywhere, it is the overall length of the album, which is a little on the short side. I will take 40 minutes of quality heavy metal over sixty minutes of crap rock any day of the week though, so this isn’t a problem for me. Sacrifice might not stand up to the classic albums, Denim & Leather, or Wheels of Steel, but it is definitely one of the better Saxon albums in the last 10 years or so. It is solid all the way through, and worth your hard earned dollars.
Fans of classic metal and Saxon fans are going to love this! Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
03. Made In Belfast
04. Warriors of the Road
05. Guardians of the Tomb
06. Stand Up and Fight
07. Walking The Steel
08. Night of the Wolf
09. Wheels of Terror
10. Standing In A Queue
Biff Byford – vocals
Paul Quinn – guitars
Doug Scarratt – guitars
Nibbs Carter – bass
Nigel Glockler – drums
Their bio says they write “trend free music” and what we get to hear are “Real grooves, real performances, real rock.” I’d say that description is
pretty dead on. If there’s one thing that irritates the hell out of me, it’s the over computerized, over produced, overly generic music that’s being pushed out to the world on a daily basis. You certainly won’t get any of that with S.U.N.’s (Something Unto Nothing) self titled debut album.
Sass Jordan (vocals), Brian Tichy (guitar), Michael “Denim” Devin (bass), and Tommy Stewart (drums) make up this quartet with quite an extensive resume: Billboard’s Best Female Rock Vocalist award, songs on major motion pictures and television shows, and time spent in Whitesnake, Foreigner and Billy Idol…just to name a few. With talent like that, you almost can’t go wrong.
Upon listening, the first thing you’re going to notice (because you just can’t ignore it) is Sass’ powerful voice. It’s strong and beautiful in that Janis Joplin kind of way. It’s not dripping with femininity. It’s dirty and gruff and fits perfectly.
The next thing you’ll notice are the solid rock and roll grooves. It’s the kind of sound that makes you tap your foot and bounce your head to the beat because it’s real rock and roll and you can’t help but get into it. There’s dirty, thick guitar all throughout the album, but it pulls you in right from the start with “Burned” and “Crazy Head.” Then you get hit with some Sabbath-y heavy rock during “Nomad.” And if you’re looking for a little 80′s rock influence, you can find it on “I’m the One.”
Where I feel the album falls short is on the ballads like “Wide Ocean” or “If I was You.” Don’t get me wrong, they’re good songs, but they just don’t hold up as well and they’re not as strong as the other songs. S.U.N. are just more powerful when they are rocking faces off.
There’s no doubt that S.U.N. is real, soulful rock and roll. This debut album is a really good, solid foundation that they should be able to build great things on. It makes me excited to see what the future holds for them. They just need to remember not to succumb to making radio friendly music because it sells; they should continue to make solid rock and roll because that’s what makes them shine.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Crazy Head
4. Did Me No Good
5. Mobile Again
6. I’m The One
7. If I Was You
8. The Beginning Of The End (The Journey of The Phrygians from Madrid)
10. Wide Ocean
11. No Way Home
12. Something Unto Nothing
Sass Jordan – Vocals
Brian Tichy – Gutiars
Michael Devin – Bass
Tommy Stewart – Drums
Reviewed by Christine Sixx
Have you ever yearned to hear hard rock music that hits you so hard, your fist is in the air by the second song? If so, then Sister Sin’s Now And Forever is a record that you must listen to. Filled with nothing but hard rocking, pulse pounding, kick ass, hard rock music Now And Forever is a gem of an album.
Sweden has become a hot bed for some great glam metal over the last few years, and Sister Sin is one more addition to that list of awesome. Their latest album, Now And Forever, is another fabulous ride through some ripping glam metal.
Sister Sin has been making hard rocking music since 2002, and making it well. For their fourth album, the tradition of great, glam metal continues. The first single and one of the best tracks from Now And Forever is “End Of The Line.” Showing off all of Sister Sin’s strengths, “End Of The Line” is the song that will have listeners falling in love with the band. Fantastic guitars with great solos, a heavy, steady drum beat, and excellent vocals from lead singer, Liv Jagrell, make “End Of The Line” one of the greatest rock songs that I’ve heard in a while.
The hard hits just keep on coming after that. “Fight Song” delivers the goods with hard hitting drums courtesy of Dave Sundberg, and some excellent guitar work via Jimmy Hitula. And anytime a song starts with a big loud “Fuck You!” from a vixen of a lead singer, well, you can consider me hooked. And the good news is that “Fight Song” has more than just a cool intro. It has balls that last throughout the entire track.
“In It For Life” picks up right where “Fight Song” left off. More loud, hard rocking guitars, devious drum beats, exceptional bass lines from Strandh, and being told to kiss Liv Jagrell’s ass in the first thirty
seconds. Sounds like something I’m going to jam out with for a long time. And with the incredible raw power that is captured on “In It For Life,” I’ll be hitting my repeat button quite a few times.
Every other song on the record follows this same pattern. That’s the greatest thing about Now And Forever — the raw power that it packs. After one listen to this disc if you aren’t rocking out harder than
ever before, well, you may not be a metal head. Sister Sin is the real deal and Now And Forever is their strongest effort yet. The guitar solos are well thought out and perfectly placed with some amazing finger
picking by Hitula. He is a great guitarist and if Sister Sin gets the recognition that they deserve, Hitula will be mentioned in the same paragraphs as some of the greats of our time. Add in the amazing ability of Liv
Jagrell to front the band and you’ve got a deadly combination waiting to explode.
If you haven’t checked out Sister Sin yet, this is the perfect album to get to know them. Now And Forever will leave you hooked and wanting to hear more. The great news about that is that there is plenty of
back catalog to pick up after you’ve worn out your copy of Now And Forever. You can pick up a copy of Now And Forever at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
- End Of The Line
- Fight Song
- In It For Life
- Hearts Of Cold
- The Chosen Few
- Hang ‘Em High
- I’m Not You
- Running Low
- Shades Of Black
- Morning After
Sister Sin Is:
Liv Jagrell – Vocals
Jimmy Hitula – Guitar
Strandh – Bass
Dave Sundberg – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
What can you expect on T&N’s new CD Slave To the Empire? How about five cool versions of Dokken songs, and some killer new stuff as well?! Slave to The Empire has
plenty of guest stars (Doug Pinnick, Robert Mason, Sebastian Bach, Tim “Ripper” Owens), and each one of these singers do an outstanding job on the Dokken songs they sing.
The new T&N songs are pretty good too.
I always new Jeff Pilson was a great back up singer to Don Dokken, but after listening to “Into the Fire”, it is clear to me that Jeff Pilson’s voice is superior to Don’s. I like the
extended version of the song on this CD. It is a great update to a Dokken classic. In fact, Pilson’s voice shines on all of the songs that he sings on this album. Give the song “Rhythm of the Soul” a listen and you will understand just how big Mr. Pilson’s voice.
The Dokken song that I was concerned about the most on this album, was “Tooth & Nail”. I wasn’t sure how Doug Pinnick’s voice would translate on this song. Pinnick added a little more soul, but also a lot more power to this song. I love this version!
Warrant singer Robert Mason does a trenmdous job on “It’s Not Love”. I am sure he sang this one a few times during his tenure with Lynch Mob, and it shows, as this version is excellent!
I never thought I would like Sebastian Bach singing a Dokken tune, but I love his voice on “Alone Again”. His vibrato and voice are quite different from Don Dokken. While this version is similar to the original, I think I prefer this version. I like this so much that I would love to see Sebastian perform this song live.
“Mind Control” is my favorite out of all of the new T&N songs. This song really rocks. “Kiss of Death” on the other hand is my least favorite out of the Dokken tunes. Tim “Ripper” Owens does a good job on the song, but I still prefer the original “Kiss of Death” version to this one.
George Lynch takes a more bluesy approach to his playing on “Jesus Train”, and it really works on this song. I am not used to hearing George play like this, and I love his sound on this song.
“Access Denied” is a heavy tune that sounds as if it could have been left over from the George Lynch Kill All Control sessions.
This is not a filler tune by any means. George Lynch plays his ass off.
Overall, Slave to the Empire is a very enjoyable album. Half of it does play like a Dokken cover album, but quite frankly some of the versions on this album are superior to the original songs. They give the album a nice flow.
The new songs show off the crazy talent of George Lynch, Jeff Pilson Mick Brown and Brian Tichy (who handles the drumming on the new T&N tracks). If you are a fan of Dokken, you NEED to pick this up!
You can pick up Slave to the Empire here!
Rating: Out of 10
- Slave to the Empire
- Sweet Unknown
- Tooth and Nail (featuring Doug Pinnick of Kings X)
- It’s Not Love (featuring Robert Mason of Warrant)
- Rhythm of the Soul
- When Eagles Die
- Into The Fire
- Alone Again (featuring Sebastian Bach)
- Mind Control
- Kiss of Death (featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens)
- Jesus Train
- Access Denied
George Lynch – Vocals
Jeff Pilson – Vocals and Bass
Mick Brown – Drums
Brian Tichy – Drums
Doug Pinnick – Vocals (Tooth & Nail)
Sebastian Bach – Vocals (Alone Again)
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals (Kiss of Death
Robert Mason – Vocals (It’s Not Love)
It’s amazing that Rush has been around for almost 40 years and are still making significant music. Their last studio album, Snakes And Arrows, was a great disc filled with solid, enjoyable rock songs. Earlier this year, the band released their 19th studio album, Clockwork Angels. This album is a testament to the fact that Rush still has what it takes to make a great record worthy of fan consumption.
Clockwork Angels reminds me a lot of the very underrated Presto, which is one of my favorite Rush albums. While most fans think Presto is a decent record, it never quite got the attention it deserved. Clockwork Angels falls into a similar category. It is an amazing record that may not get the attention it is due.
These days, Rush fans are mostly about the nostalgia of the band. On their last tour, Rush played Moving Pictures in its entirety, and a plethora of their hits that had the crowd ecstatic. When it came time to play the new songs from their forthcoming album (which would be Clockwork Angels) a lot of fans tuned out, even though the songs were fantastic. “Caravan” and “BU2B” were played live for every concert performance and gave us a taste of what was to come. And that taste left me wanting the full meal. Now that Rush has delivered Clockwork Angels, they have not disappointed.
“Caravan” and “BU2B” start the record off and their studio incarnation is even better than their live counterparts. Building in intensity as the songs progress, both “Caravan” and “BU2B” are great openers for Clockwork Angels. Both of these songs are short, enjoyable bursts of hard rock music that could be released as radio singles with no qualms.
The rest of Clockwork Angels is not short and sweet like the opening tracks, and that is great news for Rush fans everywhere. Rush works the rest of the album in their typical style, with much progression, chord changes, multiple arrangements, and mini operatic songs. Acoustic guitars and strings are plentiful, as well as deep, thought provoking, lyrics that can only be written by Neil Peart.
“Halo Effect” is a magnificent ballad. Opening with a nice acoustic riff from Alex Lifeson, the song builds in intensity when the strings arrive for the chorus. The string section blends together with the acoustic guitars to make a harmonious delight. “Halo Effect” is a fantastic song, even though it is one of the quieter moments on Clockwork Angels.
“The Wreckers” is the song that most reminds of Presto era Rush. With strings, acoustic guitars, a simple drum beat and intense lyrics, “The Wreckers” takes me back to the late 80s when I was dissecting Presto for every fantastic nuance that it contained. The lyrics for “The Wreckers” do not reflect the most positive light, but tell a real message. “Sometimes you have to be weary of a miracle that is too good to be true.” Geddy Lee’s voice is at its finest for “The Wreckers.” While he can’t hit the high notes like it was 1974, Lee still delivers the vocals with pure passion that will have fans truly believing in “The Wreckers” as a huge hit song.
“Wish Them Well” is the strongest song on Clockwork Angels. Opening with a great pounding simple drum beat that bleeds into a typical, complex Peart percussion, “Wish Them Well” captures the ear from the first note of the song. “Wish Them Well” is Rush at their finest. Three guys making music and having fun. There are no strings, no acoustics, and no additives. “Wish Them Well” is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart showing what they can still do when the three of them get together to make a great song. This is classic Rush with a modern contemporary twist, and it is beautiful.
With Clockwork Angels, Rush have delivered one of their best albums to date. Even after 38 years of making music, this band still has something to say and it is worth listening to. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Clockwork Angels don’t delay any longer. This could be the best record you will hear all year.
Notable Tracks: The Wreckers, Wish Them Well
Rating: Out of 10
03. Clockwork Angels
04. The Anarchist
06. Halo Effect
07. Seven Cities of Gold
08. The Wreckers
09. Headlong Flight
11. Wish Them Well
12. The Garden
Geddy Lee – Bass, Vocals
Alex Lifeson – Guitar
Neil Peart – Drums
Back with some hard hitting, gritty, modern rock tunes, Three Days Grace delivers Transit Of Venus, the follow up to 2009’s solid Life Starts Now. Returning to give fans more of the same, Three Days Grace’s latest album is another enjoyable collection of modern rock tunes filled with anger, angst, pain, and passion. And while that is the same formula the band has followed since their debut album in 2003, it is not necessarily a bad thing. If some is good, more is better, and if a certain sound and style works, why try to reinvent yourselves? Three Days Grace just delivers more solid rock and roll.
Darker, grittier, and perhaps even more angry than ever before, on Transit Of Venus, Three Days Grace returns to themes of hatred, problems, and the depressing side of life. While hope is offered in songs like “Time That Remains,” the majority of the songs deal with the negative side of life. Themes of oppression, anti-authority, and taking control of your own life run rampant throughout Transit Of Venus.
“Operate” is a hard hitting, rocking song that will find fists in the air and throats raw from screaming. Lead singer Adam Grontier crafted a sing-along anthem with “Operate” that is bound to find a lot of fans screaming to the beat. The chorus is a powerful, bombastic blast of rage fueled anger that explodes out of the song. Hearing this song live in concert would be a real treat.
“Give In To Me,” is another powerful blend of smooth harmony and heavy, anger fueled, rock. This song jumps out at the listener with powerful riffs and commanding vocals. The thrash/grunge infusion helps take “Give In To Me” to a higher level of joyfulness. Add in some expert playing by lead guitarist Barry Stock and the combination adds up to a winning song.
The aforementioned “Time That Remains,” portrays a picture of hope with a look toward the future. Grontier’s lyrics are full of beauty and sage advice, telling that the past should not be relived, and the pain of the past should not be dwelled on. Moving forward with life is all that anyone can do. With a beautiful melody and terrific harmony, Grontier sings like an angel on “Time That Remains.” This is an uplifting song that shows how future achievements in life can be grand, despite what has happened in the past. One should use the time that remains to create great memories, and forget about the pains of the past.
Three Days Grace has once again delivered a solid, enjoyable, album in Transit Of Venus. Fans of the band are going to love this record a lot, but there is plenty for new fans to grab onto as well. With the proper balance between rockers and ballads, nice melodies, deep lyrics, and plenty of energy, Transit Of Venus is a solid record worthy of quite a few plays through the I-Pod.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Sign Of The Times
02. Chalk Outline
03. The High Road
06. Misery Loves My Company
07. Give In To Me
09. Give Me A Reason
10. Time That Remains
12. Broken Glass
13. Unbreakable Heart
Three Days Grace Is:
Adam Gontier – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Barry Stock – Lead Guitar
Neil Sanderson – Drums
Brad Walst – Bass
Eonian Records has been putting out some cool stuff over the last few years, but their latest release No Retreat by Youngblood is a step above anything they have put out yet. How this CD didn’t get released in the early nineties is mind-boggling! No Retreat is packed with catchy tunes that every fan of hair metal is going to love.
What does the band sound like? How about a blend of Steelheart, Poison and Extreme?! It really is that good! Singer Bobby Sisk could give Miljenko Matijevic a run for his money.
No Retreat is one of those rare releases where there is no filler songs at all. My favorites are “Pump It Up”, “Get Down To It”, “Heat of the Passion”, “Taste of Your Lovin’ “, “Back In My Life” and “Don’t Play With My Head”. It is a tall order for any band to write an album full of good songs. Youngblood has dished out sixteen of them on “No Retreat”!
With music this good, I hope Youngblood will do some reunion shows. I would love to hear the songs on No Retreat played live!
If you are a fan of hair metal, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this CD! You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Pump It Up
02. Love Is All Around
03. Sock It To Me
04. Get Down To It
05. Shot of You
06. Heat of the Passion
07. Save Your Lies
08. Feel Thang
09. Find A Way
10. Taste Of Your Lovin’
11. Back In My Life
12. Coming Home
13. My One and Only
14. Don’t Play With My Head
15. You’ve Gotta Go
16. I Love You
Bobby Sisk – Lead Vocals
Jeff Diehl – Guitars & Vocals
Eric Saylors – Guitars & Vocals
Danny William – Keyboards & Vocals
Kyle Koker – Bass & Vocals
Kevin Kale – Drums
You may have seen the new SNEW CD, What’s It To Ya advertised on That Metal Show. You may have even said, “Who in the hell is SNEW?” Let me tell you, if you haven’t checked SNEW yet, you are missing out on one of the best new bands to come out of Hollywood in quite some time. What does SNEW sound like? Blend the ass-kicking rock of Jackyl, AC/DC and maybe a dabble of Accept, and you will know what to expect. What’s it To Ya is SNEW’s third CD, and easily their best. To my ears, this CD features the band’s best music, and song writing to date. This CD is packed with a bunch of catchy hard rocking tunes, that classic rock fans are going to love.
So what’s new about SNEW this time? The band now features former Black Sheep front man, Willie Basse on bass. Willie’s big bass sound only helps to bolster SNEW’s take no prisoner’s style of rock. I don’t know if his addition has added new energy to the band, but Curtis Don Vito is singing like a man possessed on his record. Every single song rocks, and while this isn’t the longest of CD’s, it is 40 minutes of some of the best hell raising tunes I have listened to in 2012. I can’t get enough of this!
If you like bluesy, raw, kick-ass rock & roll, What’s It To Ya is a CD you are going to want to add to your collection and soon! You can become a member of the SNEW World order by picking up What’s It To Ya at Amazon.com, iTunes or direct from the band at Snewstore.com. Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Release The Beast
02. I Got A Rocket
03. Pull My Stinger
05. Tearing Up Your City
06. Clever Girl
08. Bad Words
09. What’s It To Ya
10. All Over You
Curtis Don Vito – vocals and harmonica
Andy Lux – guitar
Mark Ohrenberger – drums
Willie Basse – bass
While there is a few good tunes on the new CD, it did not live up to my expectations.
On the good side, Slash plays his ass off, and truly delivers some killer riffs. This might be his best playing since his Guns N’ Roses days.
On the bad side, I think I have seen (or heard) Myles Kennedy’s one weakness as a singer. On the mid tempo songs he sounds great! On the high tempo songs, he gets a little screachy, and in my opinion, his voice doesn’t work well on those songs. Luckily there aren’t many songs like this, but
there are a few that I want to skip over.
Apocalyptic Love really starts picking up steam with “You’re A Lie”. The best songs on the album start at this point on Apocalyptic Love.
With that being said, there are a few good songs worth checking out including the first single “You’re A Lie”, “No More Heroes”, “Anastasia”, “Hard Rain”, and “Shots Fired”.
My favorite track on Apocalyptic Love is “Anastasia”. This song starts off with a simple acoustic part which makes you
think this is going to be a simple or even a weak track. One listen, and you quickly find that is one of the strongest
songs on the album. (Check it out below).
“Far and Away” is the slowest number on Apocalyptic Love. This song has a blusier feel to it, and Kennedy’s voice shines on this track.
Apocalyptic Love isn’t a perfect CD, but it is still worth checking out. I enjoyed most of the songs on the album, and few stronger tracks and this could have been one of 2012′s best albums.
01. Apocalyptic Love
02. One Last Thrill
03. Standing In The Sun
04. You’re A Lie
05. No More Heroes
07. We Will Roam
09. Not For Me
10. Bad Rain
11. Hard And Fast
12. Far And Away
13. Shots Fired
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators are:
Slash – Guitar
Myles Kennedy – Vocals
Todd Kerns – Bass
Brent Fitz – Drums
You can purchase Apocalyptic Love from Amazon.com at this link.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear — if you are a fan of the harder side of Hard Rock Hideout, you are not going to have any interest in Donnie Vie’s solo effort, Wrapped Around My Middle Finger. That having been said, if you like the softer side of rock once in a while, then this is an album you will fall in love with. Even without his band mates from Enuff Z’Nuff, Donnie Vie has put out some spectacular, haunting, beautiful music.
As he has done for years in Enuff Z’Nuff, Donnie Vie writes sweet, smooth melodies overlaid with beautiful lyrics. On Wrapped Around My Middle Finger Vie tends to lean toward the ballads and moderate tempo songs, but they are so expertly crafted that it is a joy to hear them. While there may not be any cranking guitars or drum solos, there is still impressive, beautiful, melodic music.
Starting with the opening notes of the title track, “Wrapped Around My Middle Finger” sucks you in to hear more. The amazing “Lisa” and hook catchy “Now Ya Know” lead the way in anchoring the album as a solid record. After a few spins, every listener will find themselves singing along to “Now Ya Know.” “I Won’t Let You Down” is another love song done right. The changes and expert guitar playing mixed in with Vie’s raspy vocals create a fantastic song that is one of the best the album has to offer.
Vie continues to inspire. Even after more than 20 years of song writing, he is still able to craft fresh lyrics blended with perfect harmonies and melodies that never tire. Wrapped Around My Middle Finger is just another example of the great artist Donnie Vie is. If you are a fan of Enuff Z’Nuff’s softer side, exceptional lyrics, or superb soft melodies that are easy to sing along with, then you are going to love Wrapped Around My Middle Finger.
Rating: Out of 10
- Wrapped Around My Middle Finger
- Daddy’s Girl
- Now Ya Know
- No Escape
- Lil Wonder
- Flames Of Love
- Rattle On
- I Won’t Let You Down
Donnie Vie Band Is:
Donnie Vie – Vocals, Guitars
Jimmy Maguire – Guitars
Patrick Pulver – Bass
Randi Scott – Drums
Blasting out a sound that is a little Taddy Porter, a little Airbourne, and a little American Bang, The Treatment have released a solid hard rock debut entitled This Might Hurt. Although the members of this band are very young, they pack a talent that most veterans of the hard rock scene would kill to have. Formed in Cambridge in 2008, this UK band has unleashed an epic record that fans of hard rock are going to love. Although new to me, this amazing beauty was released in February of 2011, forcing me to wonder why I haven’t heard this great music sooner.
Led by the gritty, sleaze vocals of lead singer Matt Jones, This Might Hurt captures all of the elements that a great rock record should have; superb guitar riffs, a solid bass, mighty, rhythmic drums, and an energetic lead singer that puts his all into every song he sings. The twin guitar attack of Ben Brookland and Tag Grey is so magnificent that it’s hard to believe these young men are recently out of their adolescent years. The lead solos and riffs performed by Brookland and Grey are utterly superb and help to solidify each song on This Might Hurt as exceptional rock and roll fun.
My lone complaint centers on one of my favorite songs on the record. “Nothing To Lose But Our Minds” is certainly one of This Might Hurt’s best songs, but unfortunately, the opening riff is so eerily familiar of a Marvelous 3 tune, that it almost feels as if The Treatment borrowed too heavily from the great late 90s band. It may not be exactly the same, but it’s a little too close for me to call it original. However, Led Zeppelin made a living off “borrowing” riffs, so I suppose I can give The Treatment a pass. The rest of the song, as well as the rest of the album, is clearly theirs.
The rock never stops on This Might Hurt. From the opening notes of “Departed” to the ending of “I Will Be There,” The Treatment has structured each song as an incredible ride for the ears. Layered with plenty of ear candy, This Might Hurt is a strong debut record from a band with plenty of talent and skill.
Be sure to keep your eyes on The Treatment. As they start to gain more notoriety and name recognition, it is certain that everyone will be talking about them in the near future. This young, hungry band is too good to ignore. If they can put together some extensive tour dates, and continue to open for acts like KISS and Motley Crue (which they will be doing this summer), everyone will know who The Treatment is.
Key Tracks: Just Tell Me Why, Nothing To Lose But Our Minds, Winter Sun
Rating: Out of 10
02. The Doctor
03. I Want Love
04. Just Tell Me Why
05. D***k, F**k, F***t
06. Nothing To Lose But Our Minds
07. Shake The Mountain
08. I Fear Nothing
09. Winter Sun
10. Lady Of The Light
11. Road Rocket
12. Stone Cold Love
13. I Will Be There
14. Just Tell Me Why (Acoustic)
The Treatment Is:
Matt Jones – Vocals
Ben Brookland – Guitar
Tag Grey – Guitar
Dhani Mansworth – Drums
Swoggle – Bass
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Tesla has released a new video for their of the Climax Blues Band’s song “I Love You”. This song is on Tesla’s Twisted Wires CD which is available for purchase at Amazon.com. Check it out!
Like any vice, The Veer Union is enjoyed more and more over time. At first listen, Divide The Blackened Sky is a decent record that has some potential. After a few listens, it is recognized more as a great album that needs to be heard. After several listens, it is classified as one of the strongest modern rock releases this year that everyone needs to hear.
Divide The Blackened Sky is the sophomore effort for modern rock darlings, The Veer Union. Following up their successful debut, Against The Grain, The Veer Union have released another album filled with modern rock delights. Hard rocking power riffs, strong vocals, and excellent drum beats all combine to make Divide The Blackened Sky an excellent release.
“Borderline” starts the album and shows off The Veer Union’s strengths—powerful rock, with a heavy beat. This is modern rock with an edge. The influences of bands like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace can be heard throughout the disc, but “Borderline” is where these influences stand out the most. If you are a Breaking Benjamin fan, you will love the lead track from Divide The Blackened Sky.
On their sophomore release, The Veer Union decided to go all power. No ballads made an appearance on this record, however, they aren’t missed. Usually modern rock records need balance between the hard rock hits, and the loving ballads. Divide The Blackened Sky mixes melody and power so well, that the lack of ballads isn’t a deterrent to the record.
“Inside Our Scars” is the strongest song on the disc and the most enjoyable track as well. Lead singer Crispin Earl has a chance to show off the true power of his vocals and sings like a siren. While the intro of the song might have listeners thinking that it is a ballad, the song kicks in so heavy halfway through, that the hard rock prevails. Drummer Neil Beaton shows off his talents as well, playing some of the best drums of the record on “Inside Our Scars.”
Divide The Blackened Sky is a strong release, especially considering the expectations following such a solid debut. The Veer Union didn’t shy away from the challenge and put out a heavy, dark, hard rocking record, worthy of being called the follow up to their first release. If you’ve been looking for a new band to add to your rotation, I highly recommend The Veer Union. Divide The Blackened Sky is an addictive record. The more you spin it, the more you want to hear it.
Rating: Out of 10
02. Bitter End
03. I Will Remain
04. Buried In The Ground
05. Inside Our Scars
06. Live Another Day
07. Divide The Blackened Sky
08. Silent Gun
09. Last Days Of Life
The Veer Union Is:
Crispin Earl – Vocals
James Fiddler – Lead Guitar
Eric Schraeder – Rhythm Guitar
Marc Roots – Bass
Neil Beaton – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
There have been so many great releases in March and April already, it is easy for some bands to get lost in the shuffle. A band that has been sandwiched between my recent playlist of Jack Blades, Van Halen, Shinedown, Accept, Halestorm, and Adrenaline Mob, is Santa Barbara, California’s Winchester Rebels.
Winchester Rebels released their debut, Three Sheets To the Wind last fall. With the release of their recent video clip, “Flying” (see video below), I knew I needed to check these guys out. After giving Three Sheets To the Wind a few plays, I hear a variety of influences. The best way I could describe the band is a modern rock band with classic influences. The band’s sound is bolstered by the big voice of Nick Hunt. Mr. Hunt has a clean vocal style with an above average range. . When his vocals soar, the songs really jump out at me. His voice is a pure pleasure to listen to. He isn’t the only talented musician in this band though. Guitarists Nick Fitzgerald and James Longoria are solid players. They may be guilty of playing the down tuned guitars a little bit, but they also sneak in some pretty cool riffs that make that tunes stand out.
I have read where Winchester Rebels have been compared to Stone Temple Pilots, and I would agree that there are some songs on Three Sheets to The Wind that could easily fit on an STP record. The songs “Loaded Gun”, “Taste of Hell” and “Silence” definitely fit that style.
Some of my favorites on this CD are “Private Angel”, “Down”,and “Dining With Devils” . There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a major label signed the Winchester Rebels. They are far better than many of the bands you hear on FM radio today. I truly have been enjoying their CD Three Sheets To The Wind, and I think you will too.
For more information on Winchester Rebels, please visit the band’s Facebook page.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Private Angel
3. Loaded Gun
5. Dining With Devils
9. Taste Of Hell
Winchester Rebels are:
Nick Hunt – Vocals
Nick Fitzgerald – Guitar
James Longoria – Guitar
John Livergood – Bass
Barry Carter – Drums
I recently completed my collection of Saxon’s discography, and one of the last CD’s I picked up, turned out to be one of my favorite Saxon releases ever. I don’t know how I managed to miss Forever Free the first time around, but it has been a mainstay in my playlist since I received the CD.
From the opening number”Forever Free” to the final cut “Cloud Nine”, Forever Free rocks all the way through, without a bad tune in the bunch.
The title track “Forever Free” is one of the most powerful Saxon songs ever. I don’t know if they play this one live today (I have never seen Saxon live), but they should if they don’t.
Saxon’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “Just Wanna Make Love To You” is quite unique, and they made it completely their own. It is quite different from the version made famous by Foghat on their 1972 debut.
“Get Down and Dirty” has a touch of hair metal flair that is absolutely awesome. I love this song!
“Iron Wheels” is the only ballad on Forever Free, but is a solid tune that is worth many repeat plays.
Paul Quin and Graham Oliver really tear it up on “One Step Away”. Guitar lovers are going to love this track.
If there was a theme song that ever fit my life, “Can’t Stop Rockin” would be the song I would choose. I am dumbfounded at how I missed out on this song for nearly two decades.
Every time I hear “Nighthunter”, I want to crank the stereo up, and rip the knob off. This is another killer Saxon anthem.
The closing number “Cloud Nine” has music that sounds like an amalgam of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher”, and Sammy Hagar’s “There’s Only One Way To Rock”. This song closes out Forever Free the same way it started…..rockin’ out! I wouldn’t have it any other way!
July 2nd, 2012 is the 20th anniversary of Forever Free. I can’t believe it took me nearly twenty years to check this one out, but I am glad I did.
Forever Free was reissued in 2002 with two bonus live tracks, “Princess In The Night” and “Forever Free”. If you missed this CD the first time around like me, you can pick up a copy at this link. I highly recommend it!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Forever Free
02. Hole in the Sky
03. Just Wanna Make Love To You
04. Get Down and Dirty
05. Iron Wheels
06. One Step Away
07. Can’t Stop Rockin
10. Cloud Nine
Nibbs Carter – Bass
Paul Quinn – Guitar
Biff Byford – vocals
Graham Oliver – Guitar
Nigel Glockler – drums
When a band is recording the follow-up to one of the most popular albums of their career, the hype for the next release is always higher than it should be. Often times in these situations, a band tries to do much and either overproduces the art, or fails miserably in expectations. Thus, when Shinedown was set to release Amaryllis, the highly anticipated follow-up to their mega-smash album, The Sound Of Madness, the band was facing several of these aforementioned challenges. Fortunately, Shinedown found the middle ground where they could create an album that is enjoyable to the ears of fans.
Amaryllis kicks off with a three song punch that is a huge treat for any lover of hard rock music. The pulse pounding, foot stomping, rock song “Adrenaline,” kicks off the record in hard rocking style. The drums are crisp, the guitars are sharp, and the vocals from Brent Smith sound as great as ever. I’ve always been a fan of Brent Smith’s voice and he delivers immediately on the opening track.
The first single from Amaryllis, “Bully,” follows and packs quite a punch of its own. “Bully” is an anthem to a rising problem in modern day America that is starting to get a lot of media attention. Bullying is no longer going to be tolerated, and there are a lot of schools that have implemented zero tolerance policies to help combat this rising issue. Shinedown brings their own version to the party, singing about how the meek can overcome these bullies by banding together and deciding that they are no longer going to take the bullying. Anyone who has ever been picked on, made fun of, or otherwise humiliated, is going to feel great allegiance with this track.
The three pack ends with what is possibly the best Shinedown song ever recorded in Amaryllis. Every once in a while a song comes along that is so perfectly crafted that it can only be described as perfection. “Amaryllis” is one such song. The intro to the song provides a perfect lead up to the bridge, which then segues in perfect harmony to the chorus. With the addition of string instruments on top of the guitars and drums, Shinedown has produced a massive power ballad hit that fans and everyone else are going to love. The lyrics are expertly written and fit the music with a precision that can only be achieved when everything is in perfect alignment.
And while the rest of the album is strong, there isn’t one song that compares to “Amaryllis.” Overall, Amaryllis is a fantastic album, with hit after hit pelting the ears of the listener. Shinedown was able to overcome the high expectations that were laid on them following the success of The Sound Of Madness. They rose to the challenge and created a record that far exceeds their previous work. The only problem now is that they have set the bar even higher for the next record. Given the history of the band, I am sure they will be able to surpass that bar as well.
Amaryllis is available for sale at this link. Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
06. I’m Not Alright
07. Nowhere Kids
09 I’ll Follow You
10. For My Sake
11. My Name (Wearing Me Out)
12. Through The Ghost
Brent Smith – Vocals
Zach Myers – Guitars
Eric Bass – Bass
Barry Kerch – Drums
Dutch rockers Vengeance have been rockin’ since 1983. Their lineup has changed many times over the years, but one thing has been constant, the band has been kicking ass on each and every release they have put out. In 2012, the band has released their ninth album, Crystal Eye. The new album features an All Star Lineup for Vengeance. Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper) handles the guitar work, Chris Glen is on bass, and former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade is pounding the skins for Vengeance. While its cool that Leon Goewie has put together a cool new lineup, it is vocals that is the true star of Vengeance. He has a distinct vocal style that falls somewhere between Brian Johnson & Udo Dirkschneider. His excellent vocals and metal growls help to deliver one cool album for Vengeance.
I really enjoyed the songs “Bad To The Bone”, “Shock Me Now”, and “Desperate Women” (“Desperate Women” is easily my favorite). These are just some of Crystal Eye’s highlights.
“Me and You” starts off Crystal Eye right with an upbeat, hard rockin’ anthem that should be a real crowd pleaser.
If you ever needed a theme song for your backyard BBQ, the song “Barbeque” is it. I thought this song was kind of silly at first, but I have to admit that it is pretty catchy.
Former Black Sabbath singer, Tony Martin wrote the song “Whole Lotta Metal” for Vengeance, and this is easily one of the best songs on Crystal Eye.
The album closes with the instrumental track “Jan`s End Piece” which features the last guitar solos recorded by Jan Somers before his unexpected death. ( Jan passed away from a heart attack on January 28th.)
Crystal Eye is easily the best Vengeance album since Back in the Ring. If you are a hard rock fan, you gotta check this one out!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Me And You 04:02
2. Bad To The Bone 04:51
3. Barbeque 03:31
4. Shock Me Now 03:28
5. Five Knuckle Shuffle 04:10
6. Desperate Women 04:03
7. Whole Lotta Metal 04:11
8. Promise Me 03:43
9. Crystal Eye 06:13
10. Missing 04:51
11. Jans End Piece 01:16
Leon Goewie – vocals
Keri Kelli – guitar
Chris Glen – bass
Chris Slade – drums
Guest musicians: Michael Voss – guitar, vocals / Timo Somers (Delain) – guitar
I’ll admit that I haven’t paid much attention to Staind over the last few years. After the release of 14 Shades Of Gray, I found the band heading in an uncertain direction. No longer sure of their voice or where their music was heading, I was disappointed and bored, and thus moved on to other bands. After hearing their latest single, “Eyes Wide Open,” I decided to give the band another chance and picked up a copy of their self-titled release. It was one of the best musical decisions I have made in recent years. Staind have found their current voice and the end result is spectacular.
Still fused fully in the dark side of rock, the recent change for Staind is the bands’ desire to unleash their anger in the music. Whereas past albums were dark and depressing, wondering how to survive the future, their latest disc is filled with fight. Songs like “Wannabe” and “Now” are anthems to haters and doubters that they’d better back off. Staind isn’t going to stand around and be your punching bag. They even take the time to call out those that would download their music for free (i.e. steal it) and then trash it online.
Blending grunge and hardcore rock, Staind’s latest record takes their enjoyable sound to a level not previously achieved. The crisp guitar solos by Mike Mushok obliterate any of his previous work and the structure of each of song is impeccable. “The Bottom” has a striking melody that sounds like a cross between Nine Inch Nails industrial rock and a Poison Power Ballad. It is a beautiful melody punctuated by Lewis’ amazing voice. “Now” is a solid, hard rocking smack in the face complete with finger shredding guitar work worthy of a Mastodon comparison. “Wannabe” is a war cry for the haters to go away and find somewhere else to waste their time. Hearing Staind call out the freeloaders was the highlight of the record.
Staind finds the band pulling no punches, and musically, it finds the band meshing the likes of which they haven’t since the late 90s. This is Staind at the top of their game and it’s a welcome thing of beauty. Lead singer Aaron Lewis’ voice is as powerful as ever. His singing ability has never failed to amaze me and even more so on Staind. Mike Mushok is firing on all cylinders, exploding through blistering guitar solos, and keeping the melodies in perfect harmony with the rest of the music. The rhythm section of Johnny April and Jon Wysocki (no longer a member of the band) round out the music nicely.
Less is more was a theory that the band obviously subscribed to, and it paid huge dividends. While Staind only comes with 10 tracks, each of these masterfully crafted beauties are works of art worthy of cherishing for several years to come. Had I given this record a chance sooner than 2012, it’s possible that it may have cracked my top 10 for 2011. Well, there’s always the top ten for the decade.
Rating: Out of 10
- Eyes Wide Open
- Not Again
- Throw It All Away
- Take A Breath
- The Bottom
- Paper Wings
- Something To Remind You
Aaron Lewis – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Mike Mushok – Lead Guitar
Johnny April – Bass
Jon Wysocki – Drums
In what could be his best release since Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Bruce Springsteen has returned with a magnificent album fueled by anger, poignant with insight, and offering a glimmer of hope for the future. That album is Wrecking Ball, and it is the first album Springsteen has recorded since the death of his dear friend, and founding E-Street Band member, Clarence (Big Man) Clemons.
While the last Springsteen album (2009’s Working On A Dream) was criticized as being too rushed, too polished, and too pop oriented, none of those comments can be regurgitated for this record. Wrecking Ball is the antithesis of Working On A Dream. Musically, the album is heavier. Lyrically, the album is angrier. Spiritually, the album is much more uplifting and inspiring. Wrecking Ball is a request to a nation; regain the fire that once burned bright in their belly.
If Working On A Dream was themed with hope, opportunity, and a chance for change, Wrecking Ball is a call to action for that change to happen now. The frustration and demand is felt in these songs written by a man mired in blue collar roots who is saddened by the current state of his America. The current situation has cheated us with empty promises and side mouth talking. The time to act upon those promises is now. It’s time for people to rebound and put in the hard work, as a group, not as individuals, required to take back the strength we all once commanded. There is hope in the future. The hope comes with a price though. We have to be willing to put in the sweat required today in order to receive a brighter tomorrow.
While not as patriotic as Born In The USA, Wrecking Ball speaks to the American public. The cynicism of modern day Bruce is immediately felt on opening track “We Take Care Of Our Own.” The lyrics cry out that we feel cheated. The promises of a better today have not arrived and need to. Springsteen sings that “the road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone,” letting us know that the time for talk is behind us and the time for immediate action is upon us. If we join together and take care of our own, we will be able to accomplish anything that we desire.
Calls of unity and group action (“We Take Care Of Our Own”), overcoming tragic loss and still moving forward (“This Depression”), taking the worst that comes and conquering (“Wrecking Ball”) and seeing hope in the future (“Land Of Hope And Dreams”) dominate this record. Springsteen has reached back to a style of writing reminiscent of his early, mid-70s career and composed music with a message and a meaning. The time to stand up and fight for what we believe in is now. There can be no tomorrow if we don’t take action today. The challenge is laid forth. We can overcome it and become greater than we ever imagined.
Recording this album also found Bruce Springsteen in the studio without his best friend and longtime band mate, Clarence Clemons. The trademark saxophone has been replaced by trumpets and horns, electronic drum tracking and plenty of fiddle. Songs like “Rocky Ground” and “This Depression” contain dual messages that not only center on the current state of our nation, but also describe the pain of moving forward after losing someone that has meant so much for so many years. How does a man move forward from that? Strength, determination, and remembering what the friendship stood for are some of the key ways.
Blending his 70s style blue collar rock with his more recent Irish folk flavor, and mixing in some good old fashioned classic guitar rock, Bruce Springsteen has struck gold with his latest release. There is something for everyone on Wrecking Ball. From ballads to blues, from guitar solos, to foot stomping folk songs, Wrecking Ball has it all. That is what makes it such a great treasure. After 40 years, Bruce Springsteen still knows how to rock and roll and Wrecking Ball is the current proof of his lasting musical genius.
Rating: Out of 10
- We Take Care Of Our Own
- Easy Money
- Shackled And Drawn
- Jack Of All Trades
- Death To My Hometown
- This Depression
- Wrecking Ball
- You’ve Got It
- Rocky Ground
- Land Of Hope And Dreams
- We Are Alive
On their debut CD, Will Wallner & Vivien Vain have recruited some of hard rock’s finest musicians to help craft their songs. The end result is a remarkable hard rock CD that I can’t stop listening to. Will Wallner may not be a guitarist whose name you recognize. One listen to this CD, and I think he could possibly become an overnight sensation. Wallner delivers some of the best hard rock riffs I have heard in 2012, and that includes the recent works from Eddie Van Halen & Vinnie Moore (in UFO). Wallner’s style reminds me of a cross between Randy Rhoads & Jake E. Lee. That is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion.
Vivien Vain, where have you been hiding? Vain is easily one of the best new female hard rock vocalists that I have heard in quite some time. Her powerful pipes are a very good match for Wallner’s heavy riffs. Of course it doesn’t hurt when you attract the likes of Carmen Appice, Tony Franklin, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain, Tony Carey, Brian Tichy and Derek Sherinian to play on your songs. These hard rock legends help to craft some very cool tunes. I can’t begin to tell you how good it is to hear Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice (two-thirds of Blue Murder) playing on some songs together again. This is very cool stuff indeed!
The best songs on the CD are “Dreamstealer”, “Streets of Rage” & “Miles Ahead”, but there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
If you are a fan of 80′s hard rock, you ought to check out this CD. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
- The Dream
- Streets Of Rage
- Fourteen Twenty Eight
- All That I Want
- Miles Ahead
- Soul Monster
Vivien Vain – Vocals
Will Wallner – Guitar
Tony Carey – Keys on Tracks 1, 2, 8, 9
Jimmy Bain – Bass on Track 2
Vinny Appice – Drums on Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6
Carmine Appice – Drums on Tracks 3, 5, 9
Tony Franklin – Bass on Tracks 3, 5, 7, 9
Rudy Sarzo – Bass on Tracks 4, 6
Brian Tichy – Drums on Track 7
Derek Sherinian – Keys on Track 7
Royal Hunt is back with their eleventh long player Show Me How To Live. Show Me How to Live features the return of D.C. Cooper (Silent Force) on vocals. DC Cooper’s parting from Royal Hunt was not an amicable move back in the late 90′s, so I am glad the gentleman in Royal Hunt could mend the fences. D.C. Cooper has an outstanding voice, and after giving Show Me How To Live a few spins, I can clearly say, it sounds like he never left.
Don’t misunderstand my excitement with D.C. Cooper returning to Royal Hunt. I thought Mark Boals and John West both did a great job singing for this band. I liked Royal Hunt’s last album X a lot. I don’t know what it is, but there seems to be magic when André Andersen and D.C. Cooper record together.
Show Me How To Live is a tight record packed with melodic, and progressive edged tunes that are a pure pleasure to listen to.
The album starts off with a powerful rocker “One More Day” which is also the main chorus of the song. With Jonas Larsen’s excellent guitar work, and the catchy lyrics, I have found this song to be extremely infectious.
“Another Man Down” (See video below) is a duet with Michelle Raitzin. Raitzin’s vocals are a very good match for D.C. Cooper.
Every time I play “Hard Rain’s Coming” I want to hit repeat. Not only is this one of the best songs on Show Me How To Live, it may also be one of Royal Hunt’s best.
The album’s title track “Show Me How To Live” is a ten minute melodic monster. The musicianship is so incredible you forget that you are listening a song this long.
With only seven songs, I wish Show Me How To Live had a few more tunes, but with 42 minutes of music that is THIS good, I am still quite satisfied.
Royal Hunt fans, do yourself a favor and pick this CD up. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
01. One More Day
02. Another Man Down
03. An Empty Shell
04. Hard Rain’s Coming
05. Half Past Loneliness
06. Show Me How To Live
07. Angel’s Gone
Royal Hunt is:
André Andersen – keyboards
D.C. Cooper – vocals
Allan Sørensen – drums
Andreas Passmark – bass
Jonas Larsen – guitars