Aussie rockers Strange Karma released their debut effort Volume 1 on February 15th, 2011. The side story about Volume 1 is this CD was recorded in 2007. The band had a few failed contracts which delayed the release of this CD. Volume 1 finally got its proper release via FNA Records earlier this year. Kudos to FNA Records, as Brothers Paul and Martin Stage have joined forces to record one hell of a cool record.
The opening rocker “America” reminds me of a heavy Jane’s Addiction tune. This is a powerful tune to start the album off with. This song is going to get a ton or plays from this listener.
Martin Strange has such a terrific voice. He makes songs like “Down and Out” such a joy to listen to. This song gets better with every listen.
“Time” is a piano based number that is just an incredible listen. It has been quite a while since I have heard a song composition as strong as this one. This song is absolutely terrific, and is one of my favorites on Volume 1.
There are parts of the song “Fame” where Martin Strange’s voice reminds me of Kingdom Come’s Lenny Wolf. This song has a lot of tempo changes which makes it one interesting listen.
“Storm” has a very Zeppelin-esque feel to it. When Martin Strange busts out those coarse screams, you can almost hear Robert Plant coming out of your speakers.
The second half of Volume 1 has some more cool surprises including the acoustic guitar flavored “Uneasy”, the hard rockin’ “Mind Games”, and the epic album closer “Indian Sun”.
I have enjoyed Volume 1 from Strange Karma immensely. Volume 1 was a pleasant surprise for my ears. With music this good, Strange Karma’s Volume 1 could easily crack my best of 2011 list. I can’t wait to see what is next from this cool band! Don’t miss this!!
You can purchase your own copy of Strange Karma’s Volume 1 at the FNA Records webstore.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Down And Out
6. Harder Than A Stone
8. Young And Free
9. Mind Games
10. Indian Sun
Strange Karma is:
Martin Strange – Lead Vocals, Piano, Guitar;
Paul Strange – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals;
Jason McDonald – DW Drums;
Doe Prijono – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals;
If you are a fan of Thin Lizzy, then Brian Robertson is no stranger to you. This former Thin Lizzy/Motorhead guitarist has finally released his first solo album after years of being absent from the music scene. On his new album, Diamonds and Dirt, Robbo has enlisted an all-star crew to help form one hell of a good debut record. The line up for this CD is Ian Haugland (Europe) on drums, Nalley Påhlsson (Treat) on bass, Leif Sundin (MSG) on vocals and Liny Wood on background vocals. Many of the songs on Diamonds and Dirt were written by Brian Robertson, the late great Phillip Lynott, plus you get three cool Frankie Miller cover tunes. What this means is, on Diamonds and Dirt you get 100 % quality music all the way through.
Brian Robertson’s guitar work shines all the way through this CD. Hearing him play again after all of these years, makes me wonder where he has been hiding. Robbo’s style of playing reminds me of a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughn and Peter Frampton. He is one hell of a talented player. Diamonds and Dirt ought to put him back in the spotlight.
The music on this CD is a blend of classic rock, blues and AOR. It isn’t a perfect outing, but it is one entertaining listen. The songs on this CD came from Robertson’s unreleased compositions, so I am sure that a lot of the material is fairly old, however that doesn’t make it bad. Some of the songs remind me of a blend of Bad Company, Foreigner and of course, Thin Lizzy. If Diamonds and Dirt was released sooner, who knows what kind of impact it could have had on the music scene.
I am glad Robbo finally let this music see the light of day. Hopefully, he won’t wait a long time before Robbo blesses us with another set of tunes. Until he does, I will be enjoying Diamonds and Dirt. Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
01: Diamonds And Dirt (Brian Robertson)
02: Passion (Brian Robertson)
03: It’s Only Money (Phil Lynott)
04: Mail Box (Frankie Miller)
05: Running Back (Phil Lynott)
06: Texas Wind (Brian Robertson)
07: Devil In My Soul (Brian Robertson)
08: Do It Till We Drop (Drop It) (Frankie Miller/Jeff Barry/Brian Robertson)
09: Blues Boy (Brian Robertson/Phil Lynott)
10: That’s All…! (Brian Robertson)
11: 10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road (Jim White)
12: Running Back (Phil Lynott) (slow version)
13: Ain’t Got No Money (Frankie Miller) (bonus track)
Produced by Chris Laney, Sören Lindberg and Brian Robertson except for “Ain’t Got No Money” produced by Sören Lindberg and Brian Robertson
Brian Robertson – All Guitars, Lead & Backing Vocals, Keyboards(Bass Guitar and Percussion on “Ain’t Got No Money) (Ex-THIN LIZZY, Ex-MOTÖRHEAD, Ex-WILD HORSES)
Ian Haugland – Drums and Percussion (Drummer EUROPE)
Nalley Påhlsson – Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals (Bassplayer THERION and TREAT)
Leif Sundin – Lead Vocals (Ex-singer of MSG)
Liny Wood – Backing Vocals
Rickard Jakobson – Percussion
Chris Antblad – Piano on “Running Back”
Ola Gustafsson – Dobro on “Running Back”(slow version only!)
Rob Lamothe – Lead Vocals on “Ain’t Got No Money” (RIVERDOGS)
Ellinor Alm – Backing Vocals on “Ain’t Got No Money”
Håkan Persson – Drums on “Ain’t Got No Money”
I have been a fan of the heavy metal band Vicious Rumors since their excellent debut, Soldiers of Night from 1986. The lineup of Vicious Rumors has changed several times over the last 25 years, but one thing has remained constant, guitar player Geoff Thorpe. Thorpe is the heart and soul of Vicious Rumors. His dedication to creating quality metal has not changed since the band’s beginning. I am convinced he has metal in his blood.
Razorback Killers is a heavy metal fan’s dream. Heavy guitars, screaming vocals and songs that will absolutely kick your METAL ass! New Vicious Rumors singer Brian Allen (Last Empire, Malice, Wild Dogs) is a terrific find, and a fantastic addition to Vicious Rumors. He may be my favorite Vicious Rumors singer since the late Carl Albert (God rest his soul)! He can growl, scream and sing with the best of them!
I don’t know if Brian Allen has been a new muse for Geoff Thorpe. Thorpe has always been a great guitarist, but his guitar work on Razorback Killers is stellar. I can’t say enough about his playing on this disc.
The music on Razorback Killers oscillates between classic heavy metal, and thrash, and it never fails to disappoint.This disc will easily be a solid contender for metal album of the year. Heavy Metal just got a major kick in the ass!
If you are a metal head, you should be RUNNING to the store, and picking this up when it is released (April 5th). You can purchase it online here!
For more information on Vicious Rumors, please visit the band’s website!
Rating: Out of 10
3. Razorback Blade
4. Blood Stained Sunday
5. Pearl Of Wisdom
6. All I Want Is You
7. Axe To Grind
8. Let The Garden Burn
9. Rite Of Devastation
10. Deal With The Devil
Vicious Rumors is:
Brian Allen – vocals
Geoff Thorpe – guitars
Kiyoshi Morgan – guitars
Stephen Goodwin – bass
Larry Howe – drums
I am convinced that in 1998, the Scorpions and producer Peter Wolf were abducted by Aliens and transported to the Planet Suck. From the Planet Suck, the band brought back with them the CD, Eye II Eye. OK, maybe that is not really what happened, and maybe that is a little extreme but I would have never expected a Scorpions CD to be this disappointing. I didn’t pick this up when it was released in 1999, and only found a reasonably priced copy recently. I didn’t read any of the reviews for it, as I knew I would pick it up eventually. Needless to say, I was very let down after hearing Eye II Eye. I totally get it when bands try to do something different, but this disc is just bad. I couldn’t find much music that resembled the band I have loved for many years.
“Mysterious” has a funky rhythm that seems better suited for a pop song. There are parts that resemble the Scorpions of old, but over all it just doesn’t work. I just can’t get into this song. “To Be No. 1” sounds like a regurgitated Prince song. I don’t get why The Scorpions were trying to down the pop road, but I can’t stand this song. (Decide for yourself in the video below.) Luckily, there aren’t too many songs like this, but it doesn’t get much better. “Freshly Squeezed” also falls into this weird pop rock sound.
Eye II Eye is plagued by far too many slow songs. “Obsession”, “10 Light Years Away”, “What You Give You Get Back”, “Skywriter” and “A Moment in a Million Years” if listened in succession might just lull you into a coma. In the Scorpions defense, “What You Give You Get Back”, and “A Moment in a Million Years” aren’t bad songs, but they needed some heavy rockers to break them up.
“Mind Like A Tree” is one of the semi-heavier songs on the album, and I like this one somewhat. “Yellow Butterfly” has some heavy moments and is an ok tune. I have to admit that “Priscilla” is kind of catchy. It is an upbeat rock tune that avoids that pop rock stuff. It is definitely one of the more listenable songs on Eye II Eye. Overall, I am thankful that the Scorpions returned to their classic sound with their follow up effort Unbreakable. Eye II Eye was a complete let down for me. This CD is only for Scorpions die-hards and those looking to complete their collections from the band.
Rating: Out of 10
2. To Be No. 1
4. 10 Light Years Away
5. Mind Like a Tree
6. Eye to Eye
7. What You Give You Get Back
9. Yellow Butterfly
10. Freshly Squeezed
12. Du bist so schmutzig
14. A Moment in a Million Years
The Scorpions are:
Klaus Meine – Lead vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Rhythm guitars, Backing vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead guitars, Backing vocals
James Kottak – Drums, Percussion, Backing vocals
Ralph Rieckermann – Bass, Backing vocals
Call me an old soul if you will, but I have always liked Frank Sinatra. When I first heard about the Sin-Atra CD , I knew I would have to add it to my collection when it came out. This CD features the vocals of some of the best singers in hard rock including Dee Snider, Robin Zander, Glenn Hughes, Joey Belladonna, Geoff Tate, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Eric Martin, Jani Lane and dUg Pinnick.
This collection is put out by the same folks who did the We Wish You A Metal X-Mas Christmas CD. That CD has become a metal staple during the holidays at my house, so I knew this had to be good. Sin-Atra is not just another cover CD. The musicians involved in this project put their own unique spin on Frank Sinatra’s songs making it a must have for most hard rock fans.
Former Deep Purple, and current Black Country Communion singer, Glenn Hughes shows off his impressive vocal range on the Old Blue Eyes classic “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
“It Was A Very Good Year” features Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider on vocals. This is a really cool, heavy version of this song. Bob Kulick’s guitar work is awesome, and Dee Snider gives this song a great vocal performance.
Mr. Big’s Eric Martin takes the Sinatra staple, “Lady Is A Tramp” and helps turn it into a real rockin’ tune. This version is 100% different from the original, but is a very fun spin on this song.
Tim “Ripper” Owens takes the song “Witchcraft” to new heights with an over the top metal vocal.
Do I dare say that I like the version of “High Hopes” from Scars of Broadway front man, Franky Perez better than the original? I do….this version is less cheesy than the original version.
I can’t hardly hear “Love And Marriage” without thinking about the TV Show, “Married With Children”. This version is a very heavy, up tempo number. Nonpoint front man, Elias Soriano does a pretty good job with it.
The CD closer “That’s Life” features the blazing guitar work of Richie Kotzen, and a solid vocal performance by former Warrant front man, Jani Lane.
Overall, I have been enjoying Sin-Atra, and I think many of you will too. Long time fans of Frank Sinatra will probably hate this, and I am pretty sure Frank Sinatra (god rest his soul) is probably rolling around in his grave. Hard rock and metal fans will be sure to enjoy these unique spins of the classic Sinatra tunes!
You can listen to this CD in its entirety for a limited time at this link. Check it out!!
Rating: Out of 10
- New York, New York (Devin Townsend)
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Glenn Hughes)
- Summerwind (Geoff Tate)
- It Was A Very Good Year (Dee Snider)
- Witchcraft (Tim “Ripper” Owens)
- Fly Me To The Moon (Robin Zander)
- Lady Is A Tramp (Eric Martin)
- Strangers In the Night (Joey Belladonna)
- High Hopes (Franky Perez)
- I’ve Got The World On A String (Dug Pinnick)
- Love And Marriage (Elias Soriano)
- That’s Life (Jani Lane)
Bob Kulick – guitar
Brett Chassen – drums
Billy Sheehan – bass
Doug Katsaros – keyboards & orchestrations
Richie Kotzen – Lead Guitar on “That’s Life”
Memphis rockers Saliva are back with their 7th album, Under Your Skin. For the band’s latest effort, Island Records brought in the two time Grammy nominated producer Howard Benson (Bang Tango, Motörhead, Theory of a Deadman, Halestorm). With Benson at the helm, I believe Saliva has turned in one of their most interesting, and quite possibly one of their best releases yet.
Those of you who like the old rap/rock sounds of Saliva, will be quite happy with the songs “Badass” and “Burn It Up”. Both songs preserve the class sound of Saliva.
If I would have heard the songs “Better Days” or “Nothing” on the radio before hearing this album, I would not have recognized these to be Saliva songs. Both tunes are modern rock numbers that Saliva should have some moderate success with. Josey Scott’s voice continues to surprise me. When he sings, instead of raps, his voice truly shines.
“Hate Me” is a pretty catchy tune that has a partial writing credit from Zac Maloy from the Nixons.
“Never Should’ve Let You Go” and “Prove Me Wrong” practically sound like left over Shinedown songs. I say this in a very positive sense, as I like Shinedown a lot. “Never Should’ve Let You Go” is a another modern rock number that by all means, ought to be a major hit for Saliva. “Prove Me Wrong” is a semi-heavier tune that will likely find its way to radio as well.
My favorite track off of Under Your Skin is the tune “Toxic Suicide”. This song is very infectious, and I can’t get it out of my head.
“Spotlight” closes out Under Your Skin on a high note with another catchy rocker.
Overall, I have been enjoying Under Your Skin quite a bit. It seems to get better with every spin. I recommend checking it out!
You can listen to the stream of Under Your Skin at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Better Days
4. Hate Me
5. Never Should’ve Let You Go
6. Prove Me Wrong
7. Burn It Up
8. Toxic Suicide
9. Turn The Lights On
Josey Scott – Vocals
Wayne Swinny – Guitar
Dave Novotny – Bass
Paul Crosby – Drums
It’s hard to believe that a mega-rock star such as David Coverdale would have trouble finding love. He’s rich, charismatic, still decent looking, and a well known entertainer. One would think that the girls are lining up to date him and that he would be able to take his pick for a love mate.
However, on Whitesnake’s latest album, Forevermore, themes of needing love, wanting love, and stealing love are rampant throughout. “Steal Your Heart Away”, “All Out Of Luck”, “Love Will Set You Free”, and “Easier Said Than Done” are the first four tracks on Forevermore. All four songs revolve around a similar theme — love. What was going through the mind of Mr. Coverdale while writing the lyrics to these songs?
That’s not to say that Forevermore is a sappy, heartsick, school boy, love fest. It is far from that. While there are the required ballads done in Whitesnake style (ala Is This Love), the majority of the record is rooted in hard rock. And with guitarist Reb Beach lighting it up much like he did on Winger’s last album (2009’s Karma) Forevermore is a treat for both Whitesnake fans and fans of hard rock.
Songs such as “I Need You (Shine A Light)” are notable, powerful, and pleasing to the ear upon first listen. “I Need You (Shine A Light)” is a fast moving, up tempo, hard rocking song that could be the best thing Whitesnake has produced in years. Coverdale’s voice sounds like the 80s all over again and the twin guitar attack from Beach and Doug Aldrich is pure joy for the music lover. The opening riff just screams “Summertime!” and if you close your eyes, you can feel the hot sun on your face and the highway miles rolling behind you. If this song doesn’t become a huge hit, there is something wrong with the music industry. It would be in the best interest of Whitesnake’s management to make sure that “I Need You (Shine A Light)” is released as a single.
Then there is the lighter side of this album. The soft acoustic “One Of These Days” is the perfect contrast to “I Need You (Shine A Light)” and is superbly placed to follow that massive rock single. These are complete book ends in the form of musical opposites. “One Of These Days” finds Coverdale’s voice sounding sweeter than ever. With a perfect blend of acoustic guitar and a dash of electric mixed in, “One Of These Days” weaves wonderfully through the listeners ears.
It’s obvious that Whitesnake took the recording of Forevermore seriously. Their vast catalog of music has served a number of hits over the years, and the band knew that they were up against their past. Rather than shy away from that challenge and try to recreate music they’ve already done, or churn out something that is total garbage, the band worked hard to put together a spectacular collection of songs that make a fantastic record.
Make no mistake, Forevermore, is an early front runner for record of the year. I don’t say that lightly, as I take my favorite albums very seriously. However, Forevermore has earned this early nomination. The hard work and dedication to the craft clearly shows in the finished product. If you’re a fan of Whitesnake, you need to own this album. If you’re a fan of hair metal, you need to own this album. If you’re a fan of rock music, well, you know…
Notable Tracks: I Need You (Shine A Light), One Of These Days, Fare Thee Well
- Steal Your Heart Away
- All Out Of Luck
- Love Will Set You Free
- Easier Said Than Done
- Tell Me How
- I Need You (Shine A Light)
- One Of These Days
- Love And Treat Me Right
- Dogs In The Street
- Fare Thee Well
- Whipping Boy Blues
David Coverdale – Vocals
Reb Beach – Guitar
Doug Aldrich – Guitar
Michael Devin – Bass
Briian Tichy – Drums
Thank You, Tora Tora, Thank You!!! I have been waiting a long time for the follow-up effort to Tora Tora’s sophomore effort, Wild America from 1992. I had no idea it would take nearly two decades to have a copy of Tora Tora’s Revolution Day in my hands! Tora Tora has finally made their third CD, Revolution Day available for purchase through FNA Records.
You can call it the introduction of grunge to the music scene, or label restructuring, but what ever reason fits, Revolution Day never received a proper release after it was recorded back in 1994. It is a crying shame, as music this good should not have been under wraps for so long.
Revolution Day sees that excellent Tora Tora sound well in tact, but it also shows signs of growth in the band’s sound. The guitar work of Keith Douglas really shines on this CD. There are moments on this CD where his playing brings Jimmy Page to mind. The additions of horns into the music, really punches the songs up. Anthony Corder’s unique vocals have never sounded better.
From the opening Led Zeppelin like intro of the title track, “Revolution Day”, you almost know right out of the gate that you are about to hear something special, and it only gets better. “Revolution Day” should have been a blazing hot tune on the radio back in ’94, and a few smart DJ’s out there will likely play this now!
“Mississippi Voodoo Child” is so incredibly catchy, it will have you singing along after the first listen.
Some of my other favorites on Revolution Day include the tracks “Blues Come Home To You”, and “Little Texas”. There truly isn’t a bad song in the bunch, and this CD gets better with every listen.
If you have one of those shoddy bootleg copies of Revolution Day that has been circulating across the net for years, you really owe it to yourself to hear the songs of Revolution Day recorded in all of their glory. This is way the CD was meant to be heard!
If you were a fan of Surprise Attack, or Wild America, you are going to love this. I highly recommend picking this up. Kudos to FNA Records for releasing one of the best hard rock records of 2011!
You can purchase Tora Tora’s Revolution Day through FNA Records at this link!
01. Revolution Day
02. Mississippi Voodoo Child
03. Candle And The Stone
04. Blues Come Home To You
05. Time And The Tide
06. Shelter From The Rain
07. Living A World Away
08. Rescue Me
09. Little Texas
10. Memphis Soul
11. Me And You
12. Out Of The Storm
Tora Tora is:
Anthony Corder – Vocals
Keith Douglas – Guitar
Patrick Francis – Bass
John Patterson – Drums
In case you weren’t certain where Sick Of It All hailed from or what type of music the band performs, they are happy to clarify. On the fourth track of the band’s latest album, Based On A True Story, lead singer Lou Koller leads the chant of “New York… Hardcore…!” Hardcore rock is definitely what Sick Of It All is all about.
Based On A True Story is the band’s first album in over four years. The band has been making hardcore rock and roll to the delight of their fans since 1986. Formed by Koller and his brother, guitarist Pete Koller, Sick Of It All exploded onto the hardcore scene in the mid-eighties and quickly rose the ranks to become one of the best known hardcore bands in existence.
While the opening tracks on Based On A True Story are only slightly above average, it’s the third song on the disc, “Dominated”, that really brings the record to life. Starting with a ripping beat and complimented with snarling, seething vocals by Lou Koller, “Dominated” is pure energy packed into just over 2 minutes of music.
“A Month Of Sundays” continues the greatness that “Dominated” started, with another hard rocking, kick in the ass song that will find you needing to jump around and scream for no apparent reason. A shout out to the early days of performing matinee gigs at CBGBs on Sunday afternoons, “A Month Of Sundays” re-lives the beginnings of the hardcore scene in New York City. The song references name drops of the Bowery, New York City, and a shout out to their future worldwide dominance. The references are made with style, as Sick Of It All remembers where they came from and where they were headed.
Toward the end of the album, the songs only get better. The second to last track, “Nobody Rules”, is the second to best track on the record. The music, especially the drums, is once again loud, proud, and fantastically hard. The chant of “Nobody Rules” sticks in your head and doesn’t go anywhere for a long time. It’s easy to hit repeat on this track several times, but don’t hit it too often. If you do, you’re apt to miss the best song on the record.
It’s rare that a band saves their best work for last. However, that is exactly what Sick Of It All has done on Based On A True Story. “Dirty Money” could be one of the best hard rock songs I’ve ever heard. With a beat that can only be described as intense speed, “Dirty Money” is an anthem to the evils of monetary desire. Between the groove of the music and the message in the lyrics, “Dirty Money” makes you think. And as with most great song that makes you think, you realize how magnificent music can be. “Dirty Money” is the strongest track on Based On A True Story and it leaves the listener wanting more.
Filled with thrash sounds that will leave your insides vibrating as you try to stop yourself from moshing in your living room, Based On A True Story is a hard and heavy album. While it contains moments of brilliance with certain songs, Based On A True Story suffers from similarity disease. Too many songs sound identical and at times it can be hard to determine where one song ended and the next began. Overall, this is an enjoyable record for its hard beats and raw power. However, Based On A True Story falls short of being a masterpiece.
Notable Tracks: Dominated, Nobody Rules, Dirty Money
- Death Or Jail
- The Divide
- A Month Of Sundays
- Bent Outta Shape
- Lowest Common Denominator
- Good Cop
- Watch It Burn
- Waiting For The Day
- Long As She’s Standing
- Nobody Rules
- Dirty Money
Sick Of It All Is:
Lou Koller – Vocals
Pete Koller – Guitar
Craig Setari – Bass
Armand Maijdi – Drums
Ralf Scheepers has had a long career in hard rock & metal. With over 25 years of service in the bands Tyran Pace, Gamma Ray and Primal Fear, I found it surprising that Ralf finally chose to do a solo album. One might think that with this being a solo disc, that Ralf might try some different things, or slow it down somewhat. Ralf did exactly the opposite by putting out a quality solo effort, that is a full fledged metal disc, that is absolutely essential to every fan of the genre.
The metal music on Scheepers reminds me a lot of Nightcrawler era Judas Priest. Dare I say that this is even better than the last Primal Fear album? This is really good stuff!! Scheepers is packed with metal guest stars including Tim “Ripper” Owens, “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (Halford), Snowy Shaw (Therion), Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) Sander Gommans (After Forever), and Victor Smolski (Rage) as well as Ralf’s Primal Fear band mates, Alex Beyrodt, Magnus Karlsson, and Mat Sinner. Each of these musicians help to create an incredible solo effort with Ralf Scheepers.
Some of the highlights include the awesome opening track “Locked in The Dungeon” which features Metal “Mike” Chlasciak’s blazing guitar work. “Remission of Sin” features Tim “Ripper” Owens singing a duet with Ralf Scheepers. It is amazing how similiar their voices are, and how well their voices blend together. “Before the Dawn” is a really cool cover of the classic Judas Priest tune from their classic disc, Hell Bent for Leather. On this cover, Ralf played all of the instruments, and Victor Smolski from Rage added the excellent guitar solos.
One of my absolute favorites on this CD, is the song “Doomsday”. The guitars, the double bass drumming and Ralf Scheeper’s soaring voice make this songs one of the best on the CD.
While most solo efforts tend to fall short of the bands the artists came from, Ralf Scheepers solo effort simply does not. This CD is an impressive metal offering that will appeal to fans of Primal Fear, Judas Priest, Halford, and heavy metal music. If you haven’t checked out any of the bands Ralf Scheepers has sang with, I highly recommend check out Scheepers. This CD will make you a new fan without question!
1. Locked In The Dungeon
2. Remission Of Sin
4. The Fall
6. Saints Of The Rock
7. Before The Dawn
8. Back On Track
10. The Pain Of The Accused
11. Play With The Fire
Ralf Scheepers band is:
Ralf Scheepers – Lead & Backing Vocals; Acoustic Guitar; Keyboards; FX Sounds
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Lead Vocals on “Remission of Sin”
Magnus Karlsson – Lead Guitars, Guitars, Banjo, Accordion, Keyboards
Sander Gommans – Lead Guitar, Guitars
Mike Chlasciak -Lead Guitar
Alex Beyrodt – Lead Guitar
Kai Hansen – Lead Guitar
Victor Smolski- Lead Guitar
Mat Sinner: Bass, Keyboards
Snowy Shaw: Drums
Stryper’s new album, The Covering is finally here! This album has been heavily hyped for close to a year now, and finally has received a proper release. Typically, cover albums are not really my cup of tea. In the case of Stryper, I have been a huge fan of the band since the ’80’s. I was definitely willing to give this CD a shot.
The Covering shows Stryper paying homage to all of the bands who influenced their career. Stryper didn’t try to reinvent the wheel when doing these songs. They did the songs in their traditional forms. The major difference on the Stryper version of these songs, are the awesome guitar tones of Oz Fox, and the excellent vocal harmonies of Michael Sweet. They did a terrific job with the songs, and The Covering shines as a result. Did Stryper pick the best songs to cover from the artists who inspired them? Probably not. There are better songs from Van Halen, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden that Stryper could have covered. With that being said, the versions of the songs on The Covering, are handled with such grace, that I can find much fault with this CD at all.
I found it ironic that one of the choices on the CD was Black Sabbath’s “Heaven & Hell”. I was pleasantly surprised how good the Stryper version is. Michael Sweet has always been an incredible singer, and his vocals just blow me away on this song. It is awesome! One of my other favorites is the cover of UFO’s “Lights Out”. This version is so good, even Eddie Trunk will love it! Van Halen’s “On Fire” requires a lot of screaming, and Michael Sweet nails it perfectly on this one too!
To close out the album, there is a great new studio track “God” that has me clamoring to hear more new Stryper material. Hopefully 2012 will bring us another new Stryper disc. Until then, I will definitely be rocking out to The Covering. If you are a fan of Stryper, you gotta get this CD!! You won’t be disappointed!
For more information on Stryper, check them on the web at Stryper.com, or on Facebook at this link. If you have been having trouble finding a copy of The Covering in your local stores (as did I), you can purchase it here! You can check out previews of the songs below!
1. Set Me Free (Sweet)
2. Blackout (Scorpions)
3. Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath)
4. Lights Out (UFO)
5. Carry on Wayward Son (Kansas)
6. Highway Star (Deep Purple)
7. Shout it Out Loud (Kiss)
8. Over the Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne)
9. The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
10. Breaking the Law (Judas Priest)
11. On Fire (Van Halen)
12. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
13. God (new studio track)
Michael Sweet – Vocals
Robert Sweet – Guitars
Oz Fox – Drums
Timothy Gaines – Bass
Rev Theory is back with their third effort Justice. After the success of their last album, Light it Up, I expected the band to travel down that same dreaded path that Saving Abel, and Theory of a Deadman moved on to trying to sound like the next Nickelback. With producer Terry Date (who has also produced records for Soundgarden, Pantera, and Metal Church), Rev Theory attempted to get a more live feel with Justice, and to my ears they have succeeded. While Justice lacks the big stadium style anthems of Light it Up, I honestly believe the music is better on Justice.
While Justice does have a couple of Nickelback like moments, there are also some heavy tunes that remind me of Stone Temple Pilots. The music on the opening cut, “Dead In A Grave” is the first song that has that STP grungy sound to it. The song has plenty of attitude, and shows quickly that Rev Theory is here to rock.
I have to be honest. I am not very fond of the title track “Justice” that was released as the first single from the album. I am sure the song has what it takes to get plenty of airplay on the Clear Channel rock stations out there, but this is my least favorite song on Justice.
To my ears, “Hangman” is much catchier than “Justice” and ought to be under consideration for Rev Theory’s next single. This song is MUCH better.
“Fire” and “Say Goodbye” are both slower numbers that could easily be hits for Rev Theory. While both have that Nickelback like vibe, they also pretty good. I have always like Rich Luzzi’s voice, and he is in fine form on both songs.
I prefer the heavier numbers on Justice, and “Loaded Gun”, ‘”Guilty By Design” and “Wicked Wonderland are easily the best ones on the CD.
Overall, I found myself missing the big hits of Light it Up, but I have enjoyed the music on Justice. To my ears Justice is more of a grower type of record. It might not bite you the first time around, but the songs get better with repeated listens. Check it out!
1. Dead In A Grave
5. Loaded Gun
6. Guilty By Design
7. Enemy Within
8. Wicked Wonderland
9. Say Goodbye
10. Never Again
11. Hollow Man
12. Hell Yeah (Live From Kansas City) * Bonus Track
13. Falling Down (Live From the Gibson Lounge) * Bonus Track
Rev Theory is:
Rich Luzzi- Vocals
Rikki Lixx- Guitar
Julien Jorgensen- Guitar
Matt McCloskey- Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Agoglia- Drums
In 2011, There aren’t too many pop metal CD’s that I don’t own, so I stumble across a really good one that I didn’t have, I get pretty excited about it. With TNT’s recent release of A Farewell To Arms, Tony Mills vocals reminded me a lot of the 1989 Shy (England) CD Misspent Youth. This was a really cool CD that I enjoyed a lot. I started wondering why I never heard anything about the follow up CD, Welcome to the Madhouse. Like many bands on MCA, Shy lost their deal, and Welcome to the Madhouse was originally only released in Japan. It was reissued in 2001 with a couple of bonus tracks, but has never had a proper release in the United States. Tony Mills was unhappy with the direction of the music, and the band brought in John “Wardi” Ward as the singer.
Wardi is a completely different style of singer than Tony Mills, but he is really good. His voice combined with the back up vocals of Alan Kelly and Gary Dallaway made for a perfect combination on this CD.
The first song I heard off of this CD was Shy’s cover of the Rolling Stone classic “Its Only Rock ‘N’ Roll” (See Video Below). I loved Shy’s hair mail twist on that song, so I had to seek this CD out.
I am quite glad I found this CD as Welcome to the Madhouse has moments that remind me of a lot of cool bands including Extreme, RATT, Dokken and more. If you are fan of hair metal, you are going to love this CD. Finding this CD can be somewhat of a challenge, but it does show up on Ebay from time to time, at semi reasonable prices. If you can find it, buy it, I highly recommend it!!
2. Crazy Crazy
3. Its Only Rock ‘N’ Roll
4. What Would Your Daddy Do
5. Tonight (Your Mine)
6. Girls Like You
8. Who Do You Think You Are?
10. Something for the Weekend
11. Don’t Know Why I Love You
13. Money [Live]
14. Its Only Rock ‘N’ Roll [Live]
Wardi – Vocals
Steve Harris – Guitars
Roy Davis – Bass
Paddy McKenna – Keyboards
Alan Kelly – Drums
I must admit, I have had mixed feelings about the band Red over the years. I did like the band’s debut, End of Silence, but I was not very fond of their follow up effort, Innocence and Instinct. I didn’t have any expectations for their latest opus, Until We Have Faces, but I was hoping it would be better then their last disc.
Red often gets lumped into every music genre you can think of including: Christian Rock, hard rock, alternative, metal and more. The music on Until We Have Faces is a marriage of all of those styles, and because of that, Red has turned in a pretty diverse album.
If you are looking for a super heavy album, Until We Have Faces is not going to be your cup of tea. There are some heavy numbers on the CD, including “Feed The Machine”, and “Faceless” but there just isn’t enough of them. “Feed The Machine”, the album’s opening song, took me by surprise. This is one of the heaviest songs Red has recorded, and easily one of the coolest.
The place where Red truly excels on this CD are with the mid tempo rockers. The songs, “Lie To Me (Denial), “Watch You Crawl”, “The Outside”, and “Who We Are” are easily my favorites on the album. “Watch You Crawl”and has a strong modern vibe with some cool Disturbed like moments in the music. “The Outside” may have the biggest potential for radio airplay on rock radio stations.
In my opinion, there are far too many slower numbers on Until We Have Faces. I think this album could have been much better with some additional harder tunes. Red has never been the hardest band in the world, so the balance will definitely please a lot of their fans.
Until We Have Faces ends with a very melancholy sounding ballad, “Hymm For the Missing”. While I enjoyed this song, it thought this CD would have been stronger if it closed with a rocking number.
While Red’s sound may not be completely original, Michael Barnes always delivers with a great vocal performance, and it is his voice that will keep bringing me back to this CD. Until We Have Faces isn’t perfect, but I have enjoyed most of it. I think Red has delivered another solid album that their fans are certainly going to enjoy.
1. Feed The Machine
3. Lie To Me (Denial)
4. Let It Burn
5. Buried Beneath
6. Not Alone
7. Watch You Crawl
8. The Outside
9. Who We Are
10. Best Is Yet To Come
11. Hymn For The Missing
Michael Barnes – lead vocals
Anthony Armstrong – lead guitar, backing vocals
Randy Armstrong – bass, piano, backing vocals
Joe Rickard – drums, percussion
When TNT announced Tony Mills as the new singer of TNT back in 2006, I couldn’t have been more excited. While I hated to see Tony Harnell leave, I have always enjoyed Tony Mills vocals in Shy. I thought he would be a good replacement. I have to admit that I didn’t love the first couple of releases with Mills as the singer. I thought the releases A New Territory, and Atlantis were ok at best.
I feared that with Tony Mills having a heart attack last August that the band wouldn’t be to continue with Mills as the singer. Luckily, the band has returned in 2011, with their latest effort A Farewell to Arms. I can happily say that this IS the TNT CD I have been waiting for. Tony Mills voice soars to new heights, and Ronnie Le Tekro’s playing is absolutely fantastic! This is the TNT sound that fans love. To my ears, A Farewell to Arms is a return to form by TNT.
A Farewell to Arms starts off with a heavy rocker “Engine” that will rip your face off. TNT obviously has something to prove with this album and “Engine” is the song that says “Hey, we are back to kick your ass!” The band doesn’t stop rocking after “Engine” either. This CD is packed full with a bunch of heavy rockers. In fact, TNT doesn’t slow it down on the CD until the brief instrumental track “Signature of A Demon’s Self Portrait”. There are some extremely catchy songs on this disc, with “Take It Like A Man – Woman”, “Barracuda” and “Don’t Misunderstand Me” amongst my favorites on the CD.
TNT sounds completely re-energized with A Farewell To Arms. I don’t think I have heard Tony Mills sing like this since the Shy England offering Misspent Youth. Ronnie Le Torko’s playing is going to have all of the heavy guitar fans going nuts.
It may be early in 2011, but there is no doubt in my mind that TNT’s A Farewell To Arms will be one of the top CD’s of the year. If you are a TNT fan, lover of hair metal, or heavy rock, you gotta check this CD out!
For more information on TNT, check out the band’s website: www.tnttheband.com. You can check out three of the samples from “A Farewell To Arms” below! You can purchase A Farewell To Arms at this link.
3. Ship In The Night
4. Take It Like A Man – Woman
7. Signature On A Demon’s Self Portrait
8. Don’t Misunderstand Me
9. A Farewell To Arms
10. Someone Else
11. God Natt, Marie
12. Harley Davidson (European bonus track)
Tony Mills – Vocals
Ronnie Le Tekro – Guitars
Victor Borge – Bass
Diesel Dahl – Drums
Texas Hippie Coalition released their sophomore effort, Rollin’ in July. If there was any rock CD in 2010 that instantly had me wanting to down a beer and dive into a mosh pit, it was “Rollin”. This southern fried Metal effort is high energy, tough as nails metal that makes you feel like you can take on the world.
The first song I heard off of this CD was “Pissed Off and Mad About It”. I knew immediately after hearing this tune, that I had to buy this CD immediately. It may be the closest thing to a hit on “Rollin'”, but who cares. This kick ass tune is practically worth the price of admission all by itself. (Check it out in the video below!)
The CD starts off with the powerful rocker “Intervention”. Every time I listen to this song, I think Big Dad Ritch could easily be a stand in for Phil Anselmo. His screams are quite similar to Phil’s, and his voice reminds me of the former Pantera front man a lot.
“Groupie Girl” starts off with a cool southern rock vibe, and blast off into a heavy rocker that brings one of my old favorites Saigon Kick to mind. This is another cool tune that ought to get some radio play.
If you want a one-two punch that leave you wanting more, the closing songs “Back From Hell” and “Beg” will do just that. “Back From Hell” is a heavy tune that will rock your face off. The album closer “Beg” has some similarities to the Pantera song “This Love”. This is a cool heavy rocker to close the CD with!
While Texas Hippie Coalition’s sound may not be original, they most certainly rock. Rollin’ seems to get better every time I listen to it. If you are a fan of bands like HELLYEAH, Pantera or Black Label Society, you have to check out Rollin’.
- Jesus Freak
- Pissed Off and Mad About It
- Groupie Girl
- Saddle Sore
- Cocked and Loaded
- Back From Hell
Texas Hippie Coalition is:
Big Dad Ritch – Vocals
Randy Cooper – Guitar
Crawfish – Guitar
John Exall – Bass Guitar
Ryan “The Kid” Bennett – Drums
When I first discovered the UK band SKIN in the summer of 2009, I never expected that the band would release new music. I absolutely loved their debut, so when I received the press release about SKIN’s latest effort, Breaking the Silence I decided right away that that I would spend the extra money to have the CD imported. After playing the heck out of this CD the last couple of weeks, I can certainly say that SKIN’s Breaking the Silence was worth EVERY penny. I didn’t know what to expect with this CD being an independent release by the band. I have to give major kudos to guitarist Myke Gray who wrote the majority of the songs on Breaking the Silence. Not only is Gray a talented guitarist, but his song writing skills shine on Breaking the Silence. This CD is a good mix of upbeat rockers, and solid classic rock numbers. I can happily say that there isn’t a bad song to found on this CD anywhere.
Nev MacDonald has to be one of the most under rated vocalists in the UK today. His vocals are fantastic on this disc. Music this good needs to be heard all over the world. As for now SKIN might just be the UK’s best kept secret.
Sadly, SKIN has announced their farewell tour which is taking place this December. Breaking the Silence could easily be considered “The Comeback album of the Year”. I can only hope that it isn’t SKIN’s “Swan Song”. If so, the band is certainly going out on a high note!
You can purchase SKIN’s Breaking the Silence in the band’s webshop at this link. I Highly Recommend it!
For more information on SKIN, check out the band’s website.
Rating: Out of 10
1- Good To Be Back
2- Don’t Call It Love
4- Can You Feel It
5- The Book Of Your Life
6- When I’m With You
7- Trigger Inside
10- Bad Reputation
11- Born To Rock & Roll
Nev MacDonald – Vocals
Myke Gray – Guitar
Andy Robbins – Bass Guitar
Dicki Fliszar – Drums
Colin McLeod – Keyboards & Hammond Organ
Jackie Gilbert – Backing Vocals on “Born To Rock & Roll”,” Bad Reputation”, “Stronger”, “When I’m With You”, and “Redemption”
Bob Marsh – Trumpet on “The Book of Your Life”
Riotgod is a new band formed by Monster Magnet’s Bob Pantella & Jim Baglino. I have enjoyed quite a few of Monster Magnet’s tunes over the year, so I must say that I was curious to see what Riotgod had to offer.
Riotgod’s debut is an excellent piece of revival rock that taps into the classic sounds of Led Zeppelin, & the heavy rock of Soundgarden. It seems like it would be an odd mix of sounds but Riotgod makes it work. There aren’t any bands on the scene today that sound like Riotgod, and that is a cool thing indeed.
Bob Pantell & Jim Baglino found one talented singer in Mark Sunshine. To my ears, Mark Sunshine is a great find. He is a very versatile singer who can sing and scream with the best of them. Together with guitarist Garrett Sweeny, Riotgod has crafted some hard driving tunes that have really taken me by surprise.
I expected this band to be nothing more than a side project for Pantella & Baglino, and what I found is a band that could be New Jersey’s finest hard rock export since Skid Row.
If you want to hear an outstanding hard rock band with some refreshingly different tunes, give Riotgod a chance. I think you will like them!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Light of the Sun
3. The Time is now
5. 9th Life
7. Collapsing Stars
9. Drone Station
10. Love it or Leave it
12. Sweet Kaos
13. High Time
14. Grand Design
16. Minds Eye*
*Bonus tracks on digipak only.*
Bob Pantella – Drums : Monster Magnet, (current) Cycle of Pain, (current) Atomic Bitchwax, (current) Raging Slab (1989-1991)
Jim Baglino – Bass :Monster Magnet (current) Ribeye Bros, Lord Sterling, Human Remains, Dead Guy
Garrett Sweeny – Guitar: Psycho Daisy
Mark Sunshine – Vocals
I have to admit that I am not very familiar with the music of New York rock band Voice of Extreme. They just released their second album Break the Silence in August, and judging from the kick ass tunes on their latest effort, I will soon be in search of the band’s debut Hypocrite.
This Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) managed band features industry veterans Don Chaffin & John Macaluso (ARK, TNT, Yngwie Malmsteen).
On the opening cut “Damned”, singer Don Chaffin offers up some powerful vocals that bring Robert Plant to my mind. The song has a Sabbath meets Soundgarden kind of vibe to it. The mixture of cool vocals, and kick ass guitar work makes “Damned” one of the many strong points on Break the Silence.
“Tell Me What It Takes” is the closest thing you will find to a power ballad in 2010. This song is pure melodic rock perfection at it’s best.
The great thing about Voices of Extreme is they aren’t afraid to mix it up. They bust out a heavy rocker with “Apocalypse”, and then roll right into the piano filled title track “Break the Silence”. “Apocalypse” is a song that I keep finding myself going back to over and over again. It is a heavy, almost grungy rocker with a very cool, almost danceable rhythm. I absolutely love this tune! “Break the Silence” teases you into thinking the band is going to break out another ballad, but instead it becomes a crafty mid-tempo number. John Macaluso’s drums truly stand out, and get your speakers thumping on this tune.
I have to admit that the song “Numb” didn’t do much for me.Rob Katrikh’s guitars are pretty good, but overall this song is a little too noisy for me. “Did It Again” is a move in the right direction. This song reminds me a of the recent George Lynch band, Souls of We. The major difference in the sound between V.O.X and Souls of We on this tune, are the vocals of Don Chaffin. Chaffin’s vocals are far superior to London LeGrand’s in my opinion.
“Hollow” is another song that for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into. I guess I prefer the more melodic side of Voices of Extreme. Luckily, they follow this lackluster number with the awesome melodic rocker “Made of Stone”. Chaffin’s vocals are absolutely perfect on this song. AOR and Melodic rock fans ought to eat this up.
“Blown Away” is another metal-fueled, grungy rocker that is going to turn some heads, and some stereo knobs up. I love hearing Chaffin push his voice to the max on this tune.
The CD closes out with a cool rockin’ number “Sorry”. There are some really cool guitar tones in this song that I just can’t get enough of.
Overall, Break the Silence is a pretty cool release, and one that hard rock and melodic fans need to look into. Don’t miss this!
For more information on Voices of Extreme, please visit the V.O.X. website.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Tell Me What It Takes
4. Break the Silence
6. Did It Again
8. Made of Stone
9. Blown Away
Voices of Extreme are:
Don Chaffin-Lead Vocals
Bob Brennan-Bass Guitar
Rob Katrikh – Guitar
Mike Khalilov – Keys
Remember the band Two-Bit Thief? If you are a fan of sleaze rock, you will definitely want to give this band a look.
Two Bit Thief’s singer Andy Andersen was part of the pre-Metallica thrash scene in San Fransisco prior to Two Bit Thief. Needless to say, Andersen has been around the live circuit for a long time, and was a veteran on the scene by the time the band Two Bit Thief was formed. Two Bit Thief was formed by former Attitude Adjustment members Andersen, Rick Strahl, Chris Scaparro, and Eric Brecht. Unlike Attitude Adjustment, Two-Bit Thief was the band’s entrance into the hard rock world.
With their album Another Sad Story…In The Big City, the band had a near hit with the song “Broken Hearts” (See Video Below). The rest of the album is packed full of sleazy rockers that remind me of a blend of Dangerous Toys, Jetboy, Vain with a dribble of Metallica here and there.
The band cranked up the tempo on their cover of the Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues”. This is a truly rockin’ version of this song.
Some of my favorite cuts on this CD are “City Boys”, “Desperado”, the thrash fueled rockers “Broke Again” and “Modern Revolution”.
Another Sad Story…In The Big City has some cool tunes worth checking out. It has been out of print for years, but you can find copies of it dirt cheap at this link. Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
1. City Boys
4. Hard Times
5. Broken Hearts
6. Folsom Prison Blues
8. Broke Again
9. One Sad Day
10. Modern Revolution
Two Bit Thief is:
Andy Andersen – Vocals
Chris Scaparro – Guitars
Ron Shipes – Guitars
Rick Strahl – Bass
Eric Brecht – Drums
Finnish rockers White Flame released their sophomore effort Tour Bus Diaries in 2009, and believe me this one band that has not hit a slump. There are a bunch of cool tunes on this disc, of which I have described just a few of.
Tour Bus Diaries picks up where 2007’s Yesterday’s News left off, with the hard rocker, “Tall Thin In”. This song is a cool rocker that has a distinct Aerosmith vibe to it.
“FU&” is so insanely catchy, it should be a crime. You might find your self singing this out loud “FU& I will have my fun”. One thing is for certain, you will want to rip the knob off of your stereo with this impressive rocker.
The bass groove on “Frontrow Girl” is absolutely infectious. The song is short, but it absolutely delivers the goods.
“The Ground” is a very catchy sleaze style rocker that will get your foot tapping in no time.
I can’t ever hear enough of the cowbell in a song, and “Twins” has this and a lot more. This upbeat hit worthy rocker also has horns, piano and some kick ass guitar work to boot.
“Shouldn’t Been Messin’ is a really cool tune that oscillates between a cool piano based number, and a heavy rocker that would make Ugly Kid Joe proud. I love the Saxophone & horns on this tune! Well done!
From the opening blues harp on “Life We Never Had”, I detected another Aerosmith like feel. The song almost starts off like “F.I.N.E.”, but then quickly becomes a massive tune that stands out on its own. This is a slower paced number that have been a massive hit for White Flame. The rock gods are far too unkind to this band.
“No Frozen Angels” features former Bloodpit singer Matthau Mikojan on vocals. I can’t say I am familiar with Bloodpit, but Mikojan’s voice sounds tailor-made for this good & sleazy music.
Do I dare say that “Life We Never Had” has a “Purple Rain” like feel to it? For whatever reason, that is what this song reminds me of, although “Life We Never Had” has more of a bluesy edge to it.
Every time I listen to Tourbus Diaries it seems to get better and better. If White Flame keeps putting out CD’s of this quality, the band will become international superstars. One thing is for certain, if you are a hard rock fan, you need to take a ride on to White Flame’s TourBus now! You won’t want to miss out on this kick ass CD.
Rating: Out of 10
- Catwalk Surprise
- Tall Thin In
- No Good
- Dancing With Her Sister
- Frontrow Girl
- Certainly Something
- The Ground
- Shouldn’t Been Messin’
- 2 Become #1
- No Frozen Angels (featuring Matthau Mikojan)
- Life We Never Had
- Gone By Tomorrow
White Flame is:
Vince – Vocals, Background vocals, Beatbox
Anthon – Guitars, Background vocals, Piano, Organ
Sammye – Bass, Background vocals
Jony – Drums, Percussions
Jari Latomaa Piano, Rhodes, Organs, Percussions, Background vocals
Matthau Mikojan Vocals (13) and Bg-vocals (14)
Sami Hintsanen Background vocals
Antti Mäkinen percussions
STT Horns (4,10,11,13):
Antti Lauronen Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Janne Toivonen Trumpet
Juho Viljanen Trombone
Anu Rasimus Violins (14)
Hanna Heinonen Violins (8,13)
Eeva Kontu Flute (3,14)
Raffe Harmonica (12,14)
Raff Rafferty Soolo Hiphop guy no:1 (6)
Attitude Master Hiphop guy no:2 (6)
Soundwave Decepticon (2,3,9)
Tuna Pasta Girl Laughs (1)
I don’t know who writes up the stickers that embrace the front of the CDs from Victory Records artist Sister Sin, but they always catch the eye of this 80’s metal fan. Sister Sin’s latest output True Sound of the Underground declares the CD as real street metal for fans of Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Scorpions & Accept. Typically, when I read this on the cover of a CD, I think to myself, “Yeah Right”, but in the case of Sister Sin, they completely nailed it. If you like 80’s metal, you are going to enjoy True Sound of the Underground!
My first taste of Sister Sin came with their 2008 release, Switchblade Serenades. I really like that CD a lot, so it was only natural that I was going to pick this disc up. Typically, I have an aversion to female hard rock singers, but this is not the case Sister Sin’s Liv. Liv often reminds me of Doro Pesch when she sings. She has the perfect metal voice, and one that really helps to drive these songs home. True Sound of the Underground blasts off with the opening numbers, “Sound of the Underground”, and “Outrage”. To my ears, these are the best songs on the album, but the all of the songs rock. If you are looking for some power ballads, you won’t find it here. The eleven tracks here are packed full of up tempo heavy metal. If anything, this album could have used a couple of slower tracks to break up the pace a little bit. A little more diversity could have given some of these songs a bigger impact. “Sound of the Underground” and “Outrage” are both awesome, as is the cover song “24-7”.
Most folks may not recognize “24-7” as a cover tune, but this is a Udo Dirkschneider tune from his 2005 CD, Mission No. X. I like Sister Sin’s version of the song better than Udo’s quite honestly. Liv’s voice is nowhere near as abrasive as Udo’s and this makes the lyrics much easier to understand.
Another highlight on the album is the headbanging tune “Heading for Hell”. This kick ass song will have you throwing your horns up in no time!
Overall, True Sound of the Underground doesn’t break any new ground musically, but if you are a fan of 80’s metal, you won’t care about that any more than I do. I believe Switchblade Serenades is a stronger disc than True Sound of the Underground, but this disc does not disappoint in the least. You can download the song “Outrage” for free at this link, and you can score a digital copy of True Sound of the Underground for only $5.o0 in the month of September here! Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Sound of the Underground
03. Better Than Them
05. Heading For Hell
06. I Stand Alone
07. Built To Last
08. The Devil I Know
09. Times Aren’t A-Changing
11. Beat Em Down
Sister Sin is:
Benton – Bass
Dave – Drums
Liv – Vocals
Jimmy – Guitar
The return of 80s metal icons Y&T with a brand new album is something that had most fans salivating. After not releasing a new record since the 1990s, everyone was curious to see what the band could do in the studio. Their brand new record, Facemelter, is up for a tough test. Can a hard rock band that’s been silent from new material for more than a decade still deliver the goods? Dave Meniketti and company went into the studio to find out.
Facemelter starts out with a lot of promise. Although the intro “Prelude, On With The Show”, sounds like a rip off of Motley Crue’s “God Bless The Children Of The Beast”, the song “On With The Show” rocks hard and starts the record off right. Blazing guitar riffs combined with superb vocals by Meniketti solidify “On With The Show” as a spectacular album opener.
Classic 80s metal saturates Facemelter. Every song has either a large helping of 80s metal style, or at least a touch of the classic metal feel. “Shine On” is an example of 80s rock recaptured. This song sounds like it could have (and maybe should have) come out in 1989. Starting with a sweet, slow Meniketti riff, the drums build until Shine On explodes in classic guitar solos, hot vocals, and heavy rock. This is one of the strongest songs on the record, even if it feels a little dated.
Despite stealing Foreigner’s signature riff (RE: “Hot Blooded”), “Hot Shot” is another great Facemelter track. The song opens with the “Hot Blooded” riff (albeit slightly altered) and then bleeds into a more Y&T type of sound. Singing about women, rock and roll, and having a drinking good time, Hot Shot is a classic, sleazy, sexual innuendo that makes older listeners yearn for the glory days of yesteryear.
“Gonna Go Blind” is the most entertaining track on Facemelter. A tongue-in-cheek ode to sexual fantasy and self pleasuring, “Gonna Go Blind” is a humorous track with a hard rock backdrop. Meniketti sings about how a certain leisure activity will make him go blind. He never says what that activity is, but he doesn’t need to. The listener is intelligent enough to figure out by the end of the first verse. He’s gonna go blind because he does it all the time.
Overall, Facemelter fails to live up to the test of being a blistering hard rock record. It’s not that this is a bad album, just not a fantastic one. There are moments of greatness on this album and a couple of the songs will even cause a smile, a fist in the air, and a head bang. Overall though, Facemelter lacks the punch that one would expect from a heavy metal record.
While the stronger songs definitely stand out (“Shine On”, “Gonna Go Blind”), there is also unfortunately too much filler (“I Want Your Money”, “Blind Patriot”) to help set this record apart from the massive amount of music that is currently available. If you are a fan of 80s metal, or Y&T, then you should pick up a copy of Facemelter. If you’re looking for some innovative hard rock to bang your head to for hours at end, don’t bother. Facemelter is an album that may end up collecting dust after a few spins.
Rating: Out of 10
- Prelude, On With The Show
- On With The Show
- How Long
- Shine On
- I Want Your Money
- Wild Child
- I’m Coming Home
- If You Want Me
- Hot Shot
- Blind Patriot
- Don’t Bring Me Down
- Gonna Go Blind
- One Life
- Losing My Mind
Dave Meniketti – Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Phil Kennemore – Bass Guitar
John Nymann – Guitar
Mike Vanderhule – Drums
One of my recent finds in a Baltimore record store was Rainbow’s 1983 release Bent Out of Shape. If you are not familiar with Bent Out of Shape, this is the last Rainbow CD to feature Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, and Roger Glover on bass. This disc produced a couple of the band’s bigger songs, “Street of Dreams” and “Can’t Let You Go”. The initial release only came out on LP and cassette, and was released on CD years later. I have never seen this CD in any of my local stores before, so I was pretty excited to find this disc while in Maryland for the M3 Rock festival. “Street of Dreams” has been one of my favorite Rainbow songs for years. I have had the song on The Very Best of Rainbow CD, for a while, but never had the original release with the song until now.
“Can’t Let You Go” is another killer tune, with its creepy 70’s horror movie pipe organ intro. The album intro “Stranded” is another notable track, with a superb vocal from Joe Lynn Turner.
“Fool For the Night” sounds a lot like a Loverboy tune. I don’t know if Ritchie Blackmore was taking a smoke break when this song was recorded. The guitar work could have easily have been a session player for most of this one. There is a brief guitar solo which is pretty cool, but over all the guitar work blends so much with the keyboards that it sounds more like an 80’s pop/rock tune. This one isn’t one of my favorites, but it is an ok tune.
After hearing “Fire Dance” I wondered if the band was pissed about having to do “Fool For the Night”. On “Fire Dance” it seems that everyone cuts loose. David Rosenthal is no slouch on the keyboards. His playing is superb on “Fire Dance”. Roger Glover shows why his is one of the bass players in the business, and Blackmore’s guitar work is pure magic. I absolutely love this song.
Rainbow gives Joe Lynn Turner a break with the instrumental song “Anybody There”. This is another unappreciated gem that needs to be heard at maximum volume.
I guess it is a sign of the times when Bent Out of Shape was released. “Desperate Heart” kind of sounds like a Survivor tune. Joe Lynn Turner is such an amazing singer, he can an average song, and turn into something great, which he does here. This song sounds like Rainbow as trying to find some mainstream appeal on the radio, but it didn’t work out for them. It is too bad, this song had some potential.
“Street of Dreams” is easily one of the best Rainbow songs ever. This song is as close to perfection as it gets. It is absolute classic! (Check it out in the video below!).
“Drinking With the Devil” should have been another big song for Rainbow. This is a fast tempo rocker that sees Blackmore strut his stuff. I wish I could have seen Rainbow perform this live. This is such a fun tune.
“Snowman” is another instrumental. I must admit, I am not a big fan of instrumental tracks, and two on a ten track CD seems a little excessive to me. Bent Out of Shape could have used another rocker, instead of this song. The CD does end in fine fashion with rockin’ album closer “Make Your Move”.
Although Bent Out of Shape, isn’t the best disc in the Rainbow catalog, the outstanding vocals of Joe Lynn Turner alone make this a disc worth seeking out. “Street of Dreams” is worth the price of admission in my opinion. Chances are you won’t find this in a retail store, but you can get it dirt cheap at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Can’t Let You Go
3. Fool for the Night
4. Fire Dance
5. Anybody There
6. Desperate Heart
7. Street of Dreams
8. Drinking With the Devil
10. Make Your Move
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitars
Roger Glover – Bass, Percussion
Joe Lynn Turner – Vocals
David Rosenthal – Keyboards
Chuck Burgi – Drums
A few months ago, my best friend asked me if I had ever heard of a band called Taddy Porter. When I told her no, she went on and on and on about how amazing they were. She had just seen them open up for some big time band at a little, local venue in our hometown. To make a long story short, she said Taddy Porter blew that big time band away. That was enough to peak my interest.
This quartet from Stillwater, Oklahoma consists of Andy Brewer on vocals/guitar, Kevin Jones on bass, Joe Selby on lead guitar/vocals and Doug Jones on drums. It may look like they’re not quite old enough to buy beer, but they sound like they skipped right over the beer and started guzzling Jack Daniels many, many years ago. Their Facebook bio confirms that their sound “hold[s] you at gunpoint and command[s] that you shake your ass.” That is an understatement.
They draw their influence from the Black Keys, Led Zeppelin, Creedence and Jethro Tull, to name just a few, but I hear some other good things going on. There’s a little AC/DC hiding in there, along with some 80’s rock and a touch of the south and some blues. Their sound is definitely fortified in classic rock with a fresh twist that makes it current and not just another lame, copy cat. This album is just heavy on one of my favorite things: sweet, sweet, good ol’ fashioned, bang your head, get down and dirty rock & roll…and it’s sounds SO good.
For some guys who’ve only been together since 2007, they have a feel that is well beyond their years. It’s so nice to know that these gentlemen take their music seriously; they’re not just a bunch of dudes trying to make it big and get laid (although I’m sure they don’t mind that perk). They actually care about their music. Brewer even took guitar lessons to improve his playing and learn slide. The guitars aren’t overworked or super fancy; they’re simple, dirty and work well together. The drums and bass are heavy and solid. Brewer’s voice is strong and clean, which plays well against all of the dirt the rest of the band is delivering.
The first track, “Whatever Hurts You,” starts off with a slow groove and then blasts your face with rock; it’s a pretty sweet introduction to what’s ahead for your listening pleasure. Their single, “Shake Me” is hot, sexy, loud and rough. There’s enough energy in this song to keep you partying for days, maybe even weeks. The album continues in this rocking fashion with only a couple slower tunes that let you catch your breath.
I could sit here and describe every song on the album to you, but all you really need to know is that it rocks. If you don’t like to rock, then there’s something wrong with you. Can I say “rock” or “dirty” any more in this review? Yes. Make sure your dirty ass buys this album when it comes out because it rocks.
Check out Taddy Porter online at this link! Taddy Porter’s CD hits stores today!!
Rating: Out of 10
- Whatever Haunts You
- Big Enough
- Shake Me
- Gotta Get You Back
- Long Slow Drag
- I Gotta Love
- Mean Bitch
- Bringing Me Down
- In The Morning
- Fire In The Streets
- Railroad Queen
- King Louie
Taddy Porter is:
Andy Brewer – Lead Vocals
Joe Selby – Lead Guitar
Kevin Jones – Bass
Doug Jones – Drums
Norwegian rockers Wild Side are back with a new guitarist, singer, and a CD that is sure to please fans of 80’s era hard rock. After a bizarre but short intro “Paranoia Circus” the band blasts into the hard rockin’ “Live Forever”. On “Live Forever” I immediately noticed the similarities in style between singer Joachim Berntsen and Motley Crue front man Vince Neil. Wild Side’s music is slightly heavier than modern-day Motley Crue, but Bernsten sounds as if he could be Vince’s little brother. His vocals are THAT similar.The guitar duo of Jon Aarseth & Tom Grana impressed me immediately. The solos on this song have to be heard to be believed. Aarseth’s playing reminds me of a young George Lynch. Very cool!
The opening whine of the guitars on on “Mine Tonight” reminds me a lot of early Stryper. This is a mid tempo number that is greatly enhanced by the excellent guitar work. This easily could have been an old Motley Crue track. I love it!
These aren’t the only stand out tunes either. “Need To Deliver”, “Wild One”, “Eagle” and the title track “Speed Devil” all rock hard!
Wild Side slows the pace down a little bit with the mid tempo song “Devil in Disguise”. This song shows me that the band can slow it down and still sound great without falling into that dreadful power ballad trap. Without surprise, a ballad does turn up later with the song “Love For You”. It is a surprisingly good song, with some good acoustic guitar work. I imagine that this song has to make folks break out the Zippo lighters during Wild Side’s live set.
Overall, I enjoyed Wild Side’s Speed Devil quite a bit, and believe it or not, I liked it better than Vince Neil’s latest affair, Tattoos & Tequila. Wild Side’s sound might not be completely original, but at least they are cranking out cool new hard rock and keeping the best era of rock alive and well! The guitar playing on this disc is excellent, and I bet fans of classic hard rock are going to love this. I know I did!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Paranoia Circus
2. Live Forever
3. Mine Tonight
4. Play With Me
5. Need to Deliver
6. Wild One
8. Wont Let Go
9. Devil In Disguise
10. I Will Always Be Me
11. Love For You
12. Speed Devil
Wild Side is:
Joachim Berntsen – Vocals
Jon Aarseth – Guitars
Tom Grana – Guitars
Stian Stensrud – Bass
Ronnia Arntzen – Drums
The first thought that went through my head when I heard Skillet’s, Awake, was “why haven’t I heard of this band sooner?” Although they’ve been around since the late 90s, Skillet has somehow managed to escape my eardrums. Now that I’ve found them, I don’t plan to ever let them go.
Take Austin Winkler from Hinder and combine his voice with the music of Three Days Grace, and you’ll have a good understanding of what Skillet’s Awake sounds like. It’s an exceptional blend of modern and progressive rock that’s bound to get anyone on their feet and rocking.
Awake is an excellent introduction to the band. A hard rocking, progressive metal album that has a unique flavor to it, this disc is pleasure to the ears. If you like your rock and roll loud and proud, you are going to love Skillet’s Awake.
The album opens with the heavy hit, “Hero.” Lead singer John Cooper shares the vocals on this song with his wife Korey and the two voices complement each other very well. The opening guitar riff from Ben Kasica and the heavy synthesizer from Korey Cooper set the stage nicely for this hard pounding rock anthem.
“Monster,” the second track, continues the hard rock mayhem that is central to Awake. Kasica shows off exceptional guitar work and drummer Jen Ledger keeps the pace fast and furious with a steady drum beat. John Cooper’s vocals are strong on this track. Monster is a song that will have you head banging in no time.
You want ballads? Awake has those too. “Don’t Wake Me” is a soft acoustical journey through romance that would make Hinder fans jealous. “Don’t Wake Me” is an incredibly beautiful song that was well arranged with the perfect blend of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and keyboard harmony. Bound to be a radio hit with the romantic ballad lovers, “Don’t Wake Me” shows the depth of Skillet. This is an incredible song that everyone is certain to love.
“One Day Too Late” is the best song on the album. Not only is it an instant rock classic, but the message in the music is a powerful one that makes the listener think. Starting soft and sweet, John Cooper talks about having so much to do and not knowing if there is enough time to accomplish it all. However, the message isn’t about getting a personal agenda taken care of. The message in this song is trying harder to do the things that matter most. Forgive your enemies. Forget the pains of the past. Do your best to make the world a better place, because tomorrow could be one day too late.
“Should’ve When You Could’ve” is another hard rocking hit that touches on themes of revenge in its best form, as a dish served cold. Cooper’s lyrics talk about no longer trusting a lover who could have been the only one. However, the moment was blown and the muse is going to miss the love they had. One day that will be realized and that’s when the revenge will be its sweetest. Another incredible song, “Should’ve When You Could’ve” helps to strengthen the greatness of this record.
Packed with hard rocking hits, sweet soft ballads, and a sound that is familiar, yet unique, Awake is a solid hard rock record that should be added to your collection. If you’re a fan of Theory of a Deadman or Hinder, you are going to love Skillet’s Awake. Capturing the modern rock sound with the progressive groove, Awake is a meaningful album that I wish I discovered sooner.
Rating: Out of 10
- Don’t Wake Me
- Awake And Alive
- One Day Too Late
- It’s Not Me It’s You
- Should’ve When You Could’ve
- Never Surrender
John Cooper – lead vocals, bass
Korey Cooper – keyboards, backing vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizers
Ben Kasica – Lead Guitar
Jen Ledger – Drums, backing vocals
Those merciless metalheads Raven are back with their first new studio album in ten years. On Walk Through Fire, Raven picks up right where they left off. Walk Through Fire has plenty of metal attitude, proving to me that the Gallagher brothers are showing no sign of slowing down. John Gallagher is still screaming like a mad banshee, and Mark Gallagher is still dishing out some of the best metal riffs in the business.
If “Against the Grain” doesn’t get your blood pumping on the first listen, there may be no hope for you. “Against the Grain” bludgeons your senses with fist-throwing, blood-curdling metal, and doesn’t let up for a second.
One you get to heart of the album, you will find some killer songs with “Under Your Radar”, the title track “Walk Through Fire” and my personal favorite “Trainwreck”. The opening riffs of “Bulldozer” immediately brought Pantera to mind.
Raven also deliver a cool cover of the Montrose classic, “Space Station #5”. Raven’s version is a little shorter than the original, but it a good rendition nonetheless. Sammy Hagar could never scream like this!
I have been a fan of Raven for a long time, and found plenty of metal to enjoy on this disc. The only real weak spots for me were the two bonus live tracks at the end of the CD, which gave the album a little bit of an uneven feel. If you like your music loud, raw & heavy, you could do a lot worse than Raven’s Walk Through Fire. If you are a metalhead, and are a Raven fan, you need to get this. This disc will likely appeal to fans of Anvil & Armored Saint as well.
Walk Through Fire was officially released in the United States on March 30th, 2010. You can pick up a copy of the CD at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Against The Grain
3. Breaking You Down
4. Under Your Radar
5. Walk Through Fire
7. Long Day’s Journey
10. Running In Circles
11. Hard Road
12. Armageddon (The Beginning)
14. Space Station #5
15. Live At The Inferno (Live)
16. Rock Until You Drop (Live)
John Gallagher – Bass, Vocals
Mark Gallagher – Guitar
Joe Hasselvander – drums
I have been a fan of Pretty Maids since their classic Future World release. Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I received the news about the band’s follow-up to 2006’s Wake Up To the Real World. With Pandemonium, Pretty Maids have turned in another solid effort, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of the band’s previous releases, and melodic rock in general.
The album opens up with the title track, “Pandemonium”. It seems like to me that Pretty Maids tried to recapture some of the same magic from Future World, and more or less it does. I thought it was odd for a Danish band to have prattlings in their song from U.S. President Barack Obama, and quite frankly, I could have lived with it. Aside from that, “Pandemonium” is a pretty solid opener. I love the up tempo keys of Morten Sandager, and the heavy guitars of Ken Hammer. Ronnie Atkins voice is a lot heavier and more coarse than I remember it being, but it works great with this type of music.
“I.N.V.U” is another melodic monster that reminds me a lot of the current style of the band Gotthard. This is another great tune from Pretty Maids.
If you have been listening to the Hard Rock Hideout Radio Show, you have heard the song “Little Drops of Heaven” a few times by now. In my opinion, this song is easily one of the best of Pretty Maids career. Check it out in the video below.
“One World One Truth” is another up tempo rocker. This one has it all! Blazing guitar solos, great vocals, killer keys. “One World One Truth” does not disappoint at all.
The intro of “Final Day of Innocence” reminds me of the Who’s “Teenage Wasteland”. This song is a pretty catchy melodic rocker that will have you singing along in no time.
“Cielo Drive” is one of the heavier cuts on Pandemonium,. I am a sucker for these up tempo heavy tunes from Pretty Maids, and this one is easily one of my favorites.
You get two versions of “It Comes at Night” on Pandemonium. This song mixes it up with some cool guitar work, killer piano, occasional voice coder. You will want to hit replay after you hear this song the first time. This is some killer stuff. The second version of the song is a minute and a half longer with a longer intro. I think I like the longer version better, but both are very cool.
“Old Enough to Know” has a much more updated song to it, and doesn’t have the dominant keyboards that are present on the other songs on Pandemonium. As a result, “Old Enough To Know” almost sounds out-of-place on this album. The song is a little lighter than what I would expect from Pretty Maids, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them have a hit with this song. This is more in the vein of the music on Bon Jovi’s The Circle.
Luckily, the detour for Pretty Maids is a short one, and the heaviness returns on “Beautiful Madness”. “Beautiful Madness” is a mid-tempo number that is a real grower. I find myself cranking this one up in my car.
The song “Breathless” reminds me a lot of Foreigner. This song would not have been out-of-place on Foreigner’s last CD, “Can’t Slow Down”.
Overall, I enjoyed the songs on Pandemonium quite a bit, and found no filler tracks. This is one of the better melodic rock CD’s I have listened to in 2010!
Pandemonium will be released in the U.S. on June 8th. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this CD. You can pick up Pandemonium at this link.
For more information on Pretty Maids, please visit the prettymaids.dk.
Rating: Out of 10
3. Little Drops of Heaven
4. One World One Truth
5. Final Day of Innocence
6. Cielo Drive
7. It Comes at Night
8. Old Enough to Know
9. Beautiful Madness
11. It Comes at Night (remix bonus track)
Pretty Maids are:
Ronnie Atkins – lead vocals
Ken Hammer – guitar
Allan Tschicaja – drums
Morten Sandager – keyboards
Kenn Jackson – bass
In 1979, the debut album from Accept was unleashed on the world. And it was good! In 1992, Jackyl’s debut took the world by storm. And it was good! In 2010, SNEW singer Curtis Don Vito was possessed by the spirit of Jesse James Dupree and Udo Dirkschneider. And it is good!
Ok, all seriousness aside, SNEW’s latest effort, “We Do What We Want” sounds like a blast from the past, and somehow manages to meld the sounds of Jackyl & Accept into ten shots of hard rock supremacy. Curtis Don Vito’s whiskey stained vocals have seemed to have gotten even stronger since NEW’s fantastic 2008 debut, SNEW YOU. Not only does Curtis sound better, but SNEW as a whole seems to have taken it up a notch. The guitar work of Andy Lux is excellent. He dishes out plenty of killer riffs for you to crank up and enjoy!
Some of my favorites are the Rhino Bucket like title track, “We Do What We Want”, SNEW’s new single, “Feedback and Distortion” and the rocker “Pick Up The Ball”.
I am a sucker for some good raunch & roll, and SNEW’s We Do What We Want delivers the goods. If I had any complaints, it would be that this CD ends far too fast. Good thing I have a repeat button! Grab your copy of this CD in the SNEW store, and let the headbanging commence!
Rating: Out of 10
- We Do What We Want
- Feedback and Distortion
- Private Stash
- Risking My Life
- Get Loud
- Knock It Out of the Park
- Power Pack
- Pick Up the Ball
- Who The Hell Are You
Curtis Don Vito – Vocals
Andy Lux – Guitars
Cat Tate – Bass
Mark Ohrenberger – Drums