I consider myself a fairly big Savatage fan, so when Jon Oliva puts out new music, I am usually one of his loyal consumers.
With Oliva’s new CD, he included more guitar riffs from his late brother Criss, that him and his wife found in an old shoebox. Criss Oliva is credited with 6 songs on this record. Even after his passing, Criss Oliva’s legacy carries on with Global Warning.
Global Warning is a little more experimental than the last JOP release, Maniacal Renderings. As a result, this is the kind of music that requires multiple listens to full absorb.
Those looking for heavy rockers will be happy to hear cuts like Adding the Cost, Before I Hang, Master, and The Ride.
This album’s strengths are also its weaknesses. Some of the cuts are like a psychedelic blend of Pink Floyd, Queen, and Savatage. Die hard fans are going to dig it, but those looking for songs with more structure, and tighter compositions might be disappointed. This isn’t what I would consider Jon Oliva’s best work, but it certainly deserves a listen or two.
You can preview some songs on the Jon Oliva myspace page. Check ‘em out!
Rating:Out of 10
1. Global Warning
2. Look at the World
3. Adding the Cost
4. Before I Hang
7. The Ride
8. O to G
9. Walk Upon the Water
11. Open Up Your Eyes
12. You Never Know
14. No More Saturday Nights
Jon Oliva’s Pain is:
Jon Oliva – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars Organ
Matt Laporte – Guitars, Vocals
Christopher Kinder – Drums, Percussions, vocals
Kevin Rothney – Bass, Fretless Bass, and vocals
John Zahner – Keyboards, Organ
If the the four gentlemen in Northern Ireland’s Soundstone have their way, they will soon be following their countrymen The Answer, into the mainstream.
Their three song EP, Scratchin’ At My Door is a modern rock CD that has a sound with elements of 70’s classic rock, and a small bit of 80’s hard rock. The tunes are good enough for current rock fans to digest, and could easily work on rock radio today.
Adrian McAleenan has some very cool guitar solos. Declan Bannon’s vocals are pretty good. His sound reminds me of a cross between Andrew Stockdale from Wolfmother, and a small dash of Ian Astbury from the Cult.
Scratchin’ At My Door shows a lot of promise for this Irish four piece. I hope they put out a full length disc for us to listen to soon.
To here these songs, and ton find more information on Soundstone, check them out on their myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Still I Wake
2. Everybody Knows
3. Good For the Soul
Declan Bannon – Vocals
Guitar – Adrian McAleenan
Bass – Ryan Lilly
Drums – Nicolas Pascual
Fans of the band have been clamoring for new material for ages. With The Formation of Damnation, everyone will get their wish.
Testament returns with a powerful new album that should make them the new kings of Bay Area Thrash Metal. I must admit that I had low expectations for this record, which is why it BLEW ME AWAY! Testament still has every bit of the fire that made them a thrash metal favorite.
Chuck Billy has survived his batter with cancer, and with The Formation of Damnation, he sounds like he is out to conquer the world. Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson absolutely shred on this disc. I haven’t heard guitar playing this good on a metal record in a very long time.
Testament has one beast of a rhythm section with Greg Christian on bass, and Paul Bostaph on Drums. Bostaph’s rapid fire drumming is awesome. His drum sound is excellent on this record.
With some of Testament’s past releases, some songs are hit or miss, but with The Formation of Damnation, I can’t find any songs that I dislike. In fact, Testament made me remember why I love thrash metal in the first place. The songs are heavy, blood pumping, heavy metal beasts, that attack your senses with an audible fury that shakes you to your core.
Headbangers can rejoice. Testament has released one aggressive, Pit Bull of a record. 80’s style Bay Area Thrash is back! Thrash Metal fans and metalheads in general need to buy this record now! I highly recommend it.
You can preview new tracks on the Testament E-Card at this location. Metalheads around the world need to buy this record now! This is the best heavy metal record of 2008!
Rating: Out of 10
1. For The Glory Of
2. More Than Meets the Eye
3. The Evil Has Landed
4. Formation of Damnation
5. Dangers of the Faithless
6. The Persecuted Won’t Forget
8. Killing Season
11. Leave Me Forever
Chuck Billy – Vocals
Eric Peterson – Guitars
Alex Skolnick – Guitars
Greg Christian – Bass
Paul Bostaph – Drums
In 1993, Takara released their debut album through the now defunct, Now and Then Records.
This release was largely not know in the U.S. as this disc was primarily released in Europe and Japan. I may not have found this disc myself, but saw that this was one of the earlier works by Jeff Scott Soto, and I was on a mission to find it.
Those of you not familiar with Soto’s work would be surprised at how many acts and bands he has been involved with over the years, including most recently, Journey. I have always been a fan of his vocals and he was the main draw for me to pick up Takara’s Eternal Faith.
On Eternal Faith, Soto works as both producer and singer, and he does a pretty good job in both roles. He wasn’t supposed to sing on this record, but Takara’s original singer flaked out in the studio and Soto took over.
Soto has a keen ear for great melodic rock, and Takara’s Eternal Faith is a fine example of this. This record is filled with ten upbeat keyboard laden tunes, that melodic rock fans will truly enjoy.
While Eternal Faith isn’t the best disc I have ever heard, fans of Jeff Scott Soto will certainly want to pick this up. The best tracks are Spotlight, Two Hearts Together, I Don’t Believe, and Fallen Angel.
Rating:Out of 10
Jeff Scott Soto – lead vocals, keyboards
Gary Schutt – bass
Neal Grusky – guitar
Robert Duda – drums
Theory of a Deadman got their first break, when Chad Kroeger from Nickelback signed the band to his label, 604 Records. Scars & Souvenirs is the bands’ third release, but the first one that I have picked up.
Two things made me pick up Scars & Souvenirs. The song So Happy has gotten a lot of airplay on our local radio station, 96 Rock. The band is also the headliner of a concert, that Airbourne is opening up for tomorrow night.
I don’t recall hearing T.O.A.D.’s tunes prior to this record, and I can hear a definite similarity between their music, and Nickelbacks’ tunes. If you don’t like the latter band, you probably won’t enjoy T.O.A.D.’s music either. For those of you that do, you are going to find quite a few songs to enjoy on Scars & Souvenirs. There are at least 4 or 5 songs that could be singles on this record, if not more. I prefer the harder numbers on this record, therefore the songs, So Happy, Crutch, Bad Girlfriend and Little Smirk are my current favorites. I also like the tunes, All or Nothing and Heaven, both of which are balladesque tunes that could be massive hits for T.O.A.D.
Theory of a Deadman has two platinum albums in Canada, and without a doubt, this will be their third. Will this be their first platinum album in the U.S.? With the right amount of support, it just might. Theory of a Deadman has put together a very solid modern rock album that should have mass appeal. Scars & Souvenirs was a nice surprise, and worth picking up for fans of bands like Hinder, Nickelback and Daughtry.
For more information on Theory of a Deadman, please visit their website. Road Runner Records are also giving away a free download of the band’s first sing So Happy. Just right click and save the file and enjoy!
Rating:Out of 10
1. So Happy
2. By The Way
3. Got It Made
4. Not Meant To Be
6. All Or Nothing
7. Heaven (Little By Little)
8. Bad Girlfriend
9. Hate My Life
10. Little Smirk
11. End Of The Summer
12. Wait For Me
Theory of a Deadman is:
Tyler Connolly – Vocals, Guitar
Dean Back – Bass
David Brenner – Guitar
Jani Lane’s side project has finally seen the light of day, and has been released by Warrior Records. The timing of this release is kind of odd, with Jani recently reuniting with his former band, Warrant.
Nonetheless, The Saints of the Underground new disc is here, and I believe that this is Jani Lane’s most solid effort since the Warrant CD, Dog Eat Dog from 1992.
On this disc, you get two cover songs and eight original tunes. The first is American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. SOTU has increased the tempo on this song by a half step or so, and I like their version quite a bit, although it is very true to the original.
The second cover song is Moonlight Mile by the Rolling Stones. I didn’t really care for the Stones’ version of this song, and SOTU didn’t do anything to improve upon it. Their version is o.k. but It seems like an odd song for them to cover, especially when the Rolling Stones have so many great upbeat songs in their catalog.
The opening track, Dead Man Shoes sounds like a lost Warrant hit from the early 90’s. I like this tune a lot. Tomorrow Never Comes is another solid tune, and a good follow up to keep the pace going on this record. Good Times has a decent intro, which gave me high hopes for this song. It is a mid tempo number that came across as semi-average tune. It took a few listens for me to get into this tune more. I wish they would have made this one a little heavier, but it is, what it is.
The song Exit, didn’t really excite me too much. This sounds like an extra tune that was cut off of a Warrant album. Just when I was starting to lose faith in this record, Signs of Life came at exactly the right time. This tune has a heavier edge that some of the other songs on this record are lacking. It is a cool tune.
Bobby Blotzer’s drums stand out a little more to me, on the tune Bruised. I like the music on this tune, a lot more than the lyrics. Jimmy is a solid closer for this album. This song has a guitar lick that reminds me a whole lot of some old Thin Lizzy tunes.
All in All, Saints of the Underground have released a pretty good CD for the most part. Their are a couple of weak spots, but there are great songs here too.
Warrant and Jani Lane fans will eat this record up! For more information on Saints of the Underground, and to preview six of the songs from Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner, please visit the SOTU myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
Saints of the Underground is:
Jani Lane – Vocals
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
Robby Crane – Bass
Kerri Kelli – Guitars
Whitesnake has returned with their first new studio album since the 1997 album, Restless Heart.
Before I go any further in this review, I will admit, I am biased towards Whitesnake. They have been one of my favorite bands for years, and I have been anxiously awaiting this disc. I am also a long time fan of guitarist, Doug Aldrich. I am quite familiar with his work prior to joining Whitesnake (Lion, Bad Moon Rising, House Of Lords, Hurricane, Burning Rain) and am also a little biased towards him as well.
With that being said, I have played Good to Be Bad several times, and have found it quite to my liking. Aldrich’s guitar sound on this record is fairly close to that of John Sykes playing on the Slide It In, and the multi-platinum, self titled album from 1987. John Sykes is not an easy guitar player to imitate, and I am not sure if that is what Adrich was trying to achieve with his playing. Nonetheless he shreds on this disc, and his guitar work is absolutely killer! He has achieved that signature guitar sound that was present on the two most successful Whitesnake albums of all time.
David Coverdale is no spring chicken at 56 years old, and yet his vocals are excellent as always.
The band could have a bunch of hits on their hands, especially with the tracks, Best Years, All I Want All I Need, All For Love and Good To Be Bad.
The song All For Love sounds so much like a lost Thin Lizzy tune, it is scary, and yet, incredibly cool. This is an amazing new song, and one of my new favorites.
I can hear some 70’s style Whitesnake in the songs, Summer Rain and ‘Til The End of Time. Both tunes have more of a bluesy feel to them. It is good to hear Whitesnake revisting their roots, even if it is an different set of musicians for this record. I can see the lighters and cell phones coming out, if the band chooses to play either one of these songs live.
The cool thing about Good To Be Bad is, I hear different things each time I listen to it. I will not tire of hearing guitar work this good in a long long time. This album is already on top of my play list and is going to take a monster of an album to surpass this disc in 2008!
Don’t hesitate to pick this one up! This is an awesome return to form for Whitesnake, and is easily one of their top discs ever! Good Job Whitesnake! Now bring your tour to the U.S. soon please!!
You can buy a copy of Whitesnake’s Good To Be Bad CD, at this link.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Best Years
2. Can You Hear The Wind Blow
3. Call On Me
4. All I Want All I Need
5. Good To Be Bad
6. All For Love
7. Summer Rain
8. Lay Down Your Love
9. A Fool In Love
10. Got What You Need
11. `Til The End Of Time
1. Burn-Stormbringer (live version)
2. Give Me all Your Love Tonight (live version)
3. Walking In The Shadow…. (live version)
4. The Deeper The Love (live version)
5. Ready & Willing (live version)
6. Don t Break My Heart Again (live version)
7. Take Me with You (live version)
8. Ready To Rock (enhanced video)
David Coverdale – Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Lead Guitar
Reb Beach – Rhythm Guitar
Chris Frazier – Drums
Uriah Duffy – Bass
Timothy Drury – Keyboards
The United Kingdom has never been short on hard rock talent. The new wave of hard rock bands coming out of Europe, and in the case of Wired Desire, from Scotland, gives me high hopes for the future of rock. One band that is making a lot of noise as of late is the five piece group, Wired Desire. This amazing quintet has the hard edge of AC/DC, the swagger of Guns ‘N Roses, and a great sound that should help pave their path to success.
The band has youth on their side (the average age of WIred Desire’s five members are 21) and are showing a ton of promise with their new EP, Barely Illegal.
This EP has four killer cuts of high energy rock and roll. Music this good can only translate well live. My only complaint after hearing this record, is that I want to hear more. Four songs is not enough, when the tunes are this good.
Daly has a great rock voice. He has that rough edge style that I love to hear. The guitar tandem of Jam and Eddy are already making names for themselves in their young career.
The record labels (what is left of them) ought to be lining up to sign these guys, and get it done quickly.
You can preview all of the band’s tunes at their website, as well as purchase a copy of Barely Illegal. Once you hear these tunes, you will certainly want to own a copy. Don’t miss this!
- No One Sleeps
- The Hard Stuff
- Damn Hard
Wired Desire is:
Daly – Vocals
Jam – Lead Guitar
Eddy – Rhythm Guitar
Darry – Bass
Jeeves – Drums
Back in my high school days, I was exposed to the powerful voice that belongs to Doro Pesch. My first experience was with the band Warlock and their release True as Steel. I discovered this band through the magic of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, and was an instant fan. I wore out the cassette of True as Steel years ago, and the high import prices kept me away, as True as Steel has been out of print in the United States for years. Recently, a used copy turned up in the local Rock Shop, and I could not pass it up.
If you haven’t ever heard Warlock before, their brand of metal music is on the harder side of Dokken, and the Scorpions. This is heavy guitar oriented music, that is loaded with
guitar solos and most importanly, excellent musicianship. Make no mistake about it, few female metal singers can hold a candle to Doro Pesch. Her vocals is what makes this disc
stand out. Her potent metal screams on True as Steel made me a fan of hers for life.
This album has plenty of good metal to crank up. Some of the stand out tunes on this record are Mr. Gold, Fight For Rock, Vorwarts, All Right and the title track, True as Steel.
Warlock is a very under rated band, and it is a shame that this group is not around today. Doro Pesch still tours as a solo act, and performs several tunes from Warlock library. You can find more information on Doro at Doro Pesch.com.
True as Steel is one of the better Metal albums of 1986. It is definitely worth picking up if you can find a copy of it.
Rating:Out of 10
- Fight For Rock
- Speed of Sound
- Midnite in China
- Vorwarts, All Right
- True As Steel
- Lady In A Rock ‘n’ Roll Hell
- Love Song
- Igloo on the Moon (Reckless)
Doro Pesch – Vocals
Peter Szigeti – Guitar
Niko Arvanitis – Guitar
Frank Rittel – Bass
Michael Eurich – Drums
Way back in 1989, I picked up a copy of Vain’s debut, No Respect on cassette. I recollect not caring for this release very much back then. This was one of the many tapes that was stolen out of my car back in the 80’s, and I never replaced it. The recent announcement of VAIN on the bill at Rocklahoma, had me scurrying to find a new copy of No Respect. This disc was out of print for a while, but it was reissued by Gott Discs in 2004.
I hoped my opinion would change the second time around for this disc, and you know what, it has! No Respect is a lot better than I remember it to be.
Davy Vain‘s vocal style is kind of like a whiny Phil Lewis, but it grows on you, and is different enough to give this disc some appeal. There is no question, that VAIN rooted themselves in the Glam Metal scene. One look at their picture (below) and you can easily tell what era of rock they came from. The cool thing about VAIN, is they really don’t sound much like peers from the hair metal era.
The music is a lot more raw, and less pop than many of the bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I would guess that Danny West is influenced by Joe Satriani based on some of his guitar licks on this album. (Listen to his playing in the video Beat the Bullet and you will see what I mean.) The guitar work on this record is quite good, and I have found the songs to be much more to my liking in 2008.
Thanks to Rocklahoma, I am happy to have added this disc back to my collection. I am going to be playing this CD a lot in the coming weeks. If you haven’t ever listened to VAIN before, be sure to check out the videos below. You may find yourself wanting to add this highly under rated disc to your own collection.
For more information on the band check out, their myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
2. Beat the Bullet
3. Who’s Watching You
4. 1000 Degrees
6. Smoke And Shadows
7. No Respect
8. Laws Against Love
9. Down For the 3rd Time
11. Without You
Davy Vain – Vocals
James Scott – Guitar
Danny West – Guitar
Tom Rickard – Drums
Ashley Mitchell – Bass
If Thrash Metal is your thing, Ultimatum has released a record that you must seek out!
Ultimatum is a Christian thrash metal band that has been around since 1992. Don’t let the Christian thing fool you! This is 100% pure heavy metal.
Into the Pit features the razor sharp vocals of Scott Waters. His style may not be for everyone, but extreme metal fans are likely going to love this. His style is almost Death Metal like, but unlike many singers who fall into the cookie monster trap, you can understand the lyrics. At times, Waters often reminds me of Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies. Often Into the Pit is a heavy record, that compares sonically to 80’s thrash metal. Fans of bands like Overkill, Testament and some early Metallica, may find something to sink their teeth into here.
On Into the Pit, the guitars are fierce, the lyrics and vocals are intense, and the drum beats are driving and sometimes insanely fast.
I don’t recall any recent albums of this style being this good. Retroactive Records has found one hell of a band with Ultimatum. My favorite cuts on this disc are Heart of Metal, Into the Pit and Game Over. This isn’t usually the style of music that I listen to on a regular basis, but when I want to hear some new thrash metal, I will be grabbing for Ultimatum’s Into The Pit.
Buy Into the Pit and Play it Loud! For more information on Ultimatum, check out their myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
- One for All
- Blood Covenant
- Heart of Metal
- Blind Faith
- Into the Pit
- Game Over
What happens when you take three former members of Saxon, and put them together with Thunderhead singer Ted Bullet? Well, it sounds like a pretty good idea on paper at least, but I honestly did not hear a single note before I picked this disc up.
With that being said, this CD exceeds all of my expectations.
Victim You is like two CD’s in one. The band sounds very much like Saxon on a few songs, and then have a sound more reminiscent of late 80’s pop metal. Bottomline, hair metal fans will LOVE this disc! After giving this disc a couple more complete listens, I would compare the band’s sound as a cross between Dokken and a little bit of Krokus.
This style of metal was about as popular in 1996, as peanut butter and tofu sandwiches, but former Saxonites Peter Gill, Steve Dawson, and Graham Oliver forged ahead anyway. Sadly, this disc went largely unnoticed when it was released. It took 12 years for me to discover it, but I find it to be a great undiscovered piece of music.
Ted Bullet has a vocal style that falls somewhere between Paul Stanley from KISS, and Biff Byford from Saxon. His voice is melodic yet raspy enough to give these tunes here a harder edge. The superb guitar work of Haydn Conway and Graham Oliver is a pleasure to hear. Lots of George Lynch like solos are all over this record!
There isn’t one song on this disc that I do not enjoy. Copies of this disc can be found for less than $10.00 and it is worth every penny. Check it out!
Rating:Out of 10
- Bitch of A Place To Be
- Drivin’ Sideways
- Past the Point
- No-One’s Gettin’ Over
- Treacherous Times
- Love Your Misery
- I Still Care
- Old School
- More For Me
- Evil Sweet Evil
- Victim You
Son Of A Bitch is:
Haydn Conway – Guitar
Peter Gill – Drums
Steve Dawson – Bass Guitar
Ted Bullet – Vocals
Graham Oliver – Guitar
I have had a few different people suggest I check out the band ZO2. For those of you who mentioned this to
me, THANK YOU! ZO2 Rocks!
The powerful three piece from Brooklyn, New York has a lot to offer classic rock and hard rock fans everywhere.
I hear the influence of a few different bands in their music including Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Soundgarden. It sounds like an odd combination of sounds, but it works well for ZO2. What surprises me the most, is how big of a sound this band has for a three piece outfit. Paulie Z is solid singer and superb guitar player. I don’t want to discredit David Z or Joey Cassata, as all three members sing in this band, and do a great job.
Initially, my favorite cuts on this album were the hard rocking Isolate, the positively infectious If You See Kay and the Black Crowes like Ain’t It Beautiful . A few additional spins and some other songs really grew on me. She Believes has a huge vocal, and Cassata, sounds like he graduate from the John Bonham school of drum playing. Comin’ Home has a bluesy Zepplinesque feel to it. This song is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Get Up Now is a fantastic, upbeat tune that has a killer groove.
There are so many radio ready cuts on this record that is should be getting huge amounts of play everywhere, but sadly it is not. ZO2’s Ain’t It Beautiful is a great rock record that should not be missed.
Hard rocks fans everywhere need a copy of this disc for their collection. You can get a copy of it at Amazon.com.
Rating:Out of 10
2. She Believes
3. If You See Kay
4. Ain’t It Beautiful
5. Comin’ Home
7. Get Up Now
8. I Don’t Mind
9. Get the Led Out
10. Hopelessly Gone
11. On the Verge of War
Paulie Z (Vocals, guitar)
David Z (Vocals, bass guitar)
Joey Cassata (Drums, percussion, vocals)
Back in 1988, Kevin Dubrow got fired from Quiet Riot. Carlos Cavazo, and Frankie Banali carried on with former Rough Cutt singer Paul Shortino.
If Quiet Riot had any momentum left in the 80’s, this CD probably killed it. Paul Shortino’s singing style was a radical departure from the metal screams of Dubrow. Shortino is more of a bluesy style of singer. His vocals on this self titled album are actually pretty good, as they were on the Rough Cutt records.
This disc is certainly heavier than the previous album with Dubrow, QRIII. This album is less keyboard centric, and more of a guitar rock album.
Some of my favorite cuts are Stay With Me Tonight, King of the Hill, and The Joker.
In 2008, this album is solid enough to stand on its own. It will never be my favorite Quiet Riot album, but I am still able to play this one, and get a little enjoyment out of it. If you can get over the fact that this is a Quiet Riot album, you might actually like this.
This disc is out of print, but you can still find copies on Amazon.com and Ebay.
Rating:Out 0f 10
1. Stay With Me Tonight
2. Callin’ The Shots
3. Run To You
4. I’m Fallin
5. King Of The Hill
6. The Joker
7. Lunar Obsession
8. Don’t Wanna Be Your Fool
9. Coppin’ A Feel
10. In A Rush
11. Empty Promises
Quiet Riot is:
Paul Shortino – Vocals
Sean McNabb – Bass
Carlos Cavazo – Guitar
Frankie Banali – Drums
Jimmy Waldo (Keyboards)
Jimmy Johnson (Bass)
I still the remember the day I heard the news when David Lee Roth quit Van Halen. I was in a state of disbelief when I first heard this news.
When Van Halen announced Sammy Hagar as their new singer, I had high hopes. Sammy Hagar is a better singer than David Lee Roth, and also has some very good guitar playing skills (although the band Van Halen hardly needs them).
5150 is the first Album with Sammy on vocals. With this release being 22 years old, it seems like an eternity ago. Listening to this album again today, I realize how big of a departure this CD was from the classic Van Halen sound.
5150 is more of a main stream pop rock record, than it is hard rock. Sammy’s vocals are good, but this music is a lot more pop than their previous records. The tunes on this record rely on the keyboard far too heavily. Some may say that Van Halen’s sound matured, but I didn’t really care for this new direction.
I am a Sammy Hagar fan, but I can not deny, I prefer any of the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen albums to the tunes on 5150. I also prefer Sammy Hagar’s solo work to this record. Van Halen has had a ton of success with this record, and continues to sell copies of it today.
I don’t hate 5150, but I don’t love it either. When this album came out, I liked it fairly well, but today, I find this a lot harder to listen to. I believe some of their later work with Sammy Hagar was far better than this. The best cuts on 5150 are Good Enough, Best of Both Worlds, and Dreams.
Dust this record off, and let us know what you think of 5150!
Rating:Out of 10
1. Good Enough
2. Why Can’t This Be Love
3. Get Up
5. Summer Nights
6. Best of Both Worlds
7. Love Walks In
Van Halen is:
Sammy Hagar – Vocals
Eddie Van Halen – Guitars
Michael Anthony – Bass
Alex Van Halen – Drums
If you were to ask me what my favorite CD’s of 1984 were, my response would likely be, Van Halen’s 1984, Iron Maiden’s Powerslave, Judas Priest’s Defenders of the Faith, Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, and RATT’s Out of the Cellar. There are probably quite a few others that I am forgetting about. My point is, 1984 was an awesome year for hard rock. In the case of RATT’s Out of the Cellar, this is certainly one of the biggest releases of ’84.
This disc is RATT’s first full length record, and it is a damn good one. With a little help from MTV, the band gained success quickly with their video Round and Round. This song went on to become a hit, and Out of the Cellar ended up with 4 more hits, Wanted Man, Back For More, Lack of Communication and I’m Insane.
Stephen Pearcy’s raspy vocal delivery was unlike anyone at the time, and combined guitar efforts of Warren De Martini and Robbin Crosby were second to none. Whether you have ever liked RATT or not, you can not deny, that Out of the Cellar is the bands’ best release ever.
The band may not be creating new tunes in 2008, but Out of the Cellar stands up well today, and is an instant classic. This CD should be in the hands of every rock fan on the planet.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Wanted Man
2. You’re In Trouble
3. Round And Round
4. In Your Direction
5. She Wants Money
6. Lack Of Communication
7. Back For More
8. The Morning After
9. I’m Insane
10. Scene Of The Crime
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals
Robbin Crosby – Guitars
Warren De Martini – Guitars
Juan Croucier – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
San Diego trio, Thieves and Liars is simply the best three piece band I have heard since American Dog, and they may actually be better.
The band tracked most of the songs live on When Dreams Become Reality. This is an old school recording process, but for Thieves & Liars it totally works. This CD sounds great.
Before I move into the songs, I must mention the booklet that comes with the disc. It is fully illustrated with complete song lyrics. I find CD booklets of this quality to be rare with today’s artists. Thieves & Liars didn’t go the cheap route for this one.
When Dreams Become Reality is a major upgrade when compared to most of today’s rock artists. This CD has it all! Are you looking for songs with great song writing, and stellar musicianship? Look no further!
You will find some excellent rockers like Road To Nowhere, Slavin’ Away and Run, and amazing Pink Floyd like ballads with Forgotten.
This CD is an ambitious project for the band, as it is a concept album, about the Story of Joseph. I won’t go into the details of the story, you can check that out on your own. Usually concept albums come from bands with a long successful tenure, but this shouldn’t be something to scare you away from Thieves & Liars. If anything, that should tell you that the band took their time with the song writing, and it shows.
When Dreams Become Reality is over an hour long. On this record, you will hear bits of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and AC/DC fused into the band’s music. Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint the band’s true sound, but the songs that rock truly stand out.
This will be a band to watch in 2008. I will certainly catch them live in support of this excellent classic rock record. Check them out on their myspace page here. You can view the band’s video, Slavin’ Away below!
Rating:Out of 10
1. The Dream
2. Betrayed By Blood
3. Road To Nowhere
4. Slavin’ Away
8. When Dreams Become Reality
9. Good Times
10. Seven Long Years
12. The Author Of Dreams
Thieves and Liars is:
Corey Edelman- Guitar
Joey Bradford- Bass, Vocals
Kyle Rosa – Drums, Vocals
When Steve Harris from Iron Maiden recommends a band, I tend to take notice. He has talked favorably about Voodoo Six, and has called their debut, the best he has heard in years.
That was enough to have me search out a copy of the band’s 2006 debut, Feed My Soul. After spinning this disc for the first time, all I can say is, Thank You, Mr. Harris! Voodoo Six delivers the goods!
Singer Henry Rundell has one of those one of a kind 80’s style metal voices, that is quite cool to hear for the first time. His sound falls somewhere between a Jeff Keith from Tesla, and a little bit of Robert Plant.
The band itself leaves me speechless. Voodoo Six has a sound that is a very good blend of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s hard rock. They may not have a completely unique sound, but it is different enough to excite this hard rock fan. In their tunes, I hear elements of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and quite a few others. While their sound may borrow a little from these bands, they don’t sound exactly like any of them, and that is completely cool.
If you want to hear a CD, where guitar solos are not a lost art form, where the bass playing is not a bunch of distortion, where the drum beats will ignite your inner head banger, THIS is the CD to get. Voodoo Six is still very much an unknown band in the U.S. as Feed My Soul has not had a proper release here.
With a disc this good, rock fans that haven’t heard this are truly missing out! This is killer stuff! Voodoo Six will be releasing then 2nd disc in 2008. I highly recommend that you check this band out. Chances are you may find yourself buying two V6 discs this year. Feed My Soul is a very good debut, and is one I will be spinning a lot in 2008.
For more info on Voodoo Six, visit their myspace page!
Rating: Out of 10
- No Friend
- Feed My Soul
- I Am The Sun
- Walking On Nails
- Saints and Sinners
- One More Day
- Shine On
- Slip Inside
Voodoo Six is:
Henry Rundell – Voice
Richie Faulkner – Lead Guitar
Tony Newton – Bass
Dave ‘Grav’ Cavill – Drums
Matt Pearce – Guitar
In 1997, Judas Priest guitarist, Glenn Tipton released his first solo CD.
While strolling through the used music bin the other day, I managed to find the remastered copy of the disc, that was released by Atlantic in 2006.
The reissue of this disc contains two additional bonus tracks Himalaya and New Breed.
On this album, Tipton handles all of the vocals and guitar work. Glenn gets some help by a star studded cast of musicians on this record including Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Brooks Wackerman (Bad4Good, Bad Religion, KORN), Shannon Larkin (Godsmack), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), Cozy Powell (R.I.P.), Don Airey (Deep Purple), John Entwistle (The Who) and Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe, Another Animal).
Tipton’s vocals wont set the world on fire, but the guitar work on this record is superb. His vocals are certainly influenced by Rob Halford, but Tipton doesn’t have the same range. All of the tracks were written by Tipton, with the exception of the Rolling Stones cover, Paint It Black. The music on this record doesn’t stray very far from Judas Priest’s style of heavy metal.
If you can get past Tipton’s vocals, you might find Baptizm of Fire to your liking. Baptizm of Fire started growing on me after repeated listens. My favorite cuts on this disc are Hard Core, Extinct, and The Healer.
Judas Priest fans need to check out Baptizm of Fire. If you haven’t heard this one before, it might help tide you over until the new J.P. release, Nostradamus gets here!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Hard Core (Remastered LP Version)
2. Paint It Black (Remastered LP Version)
3. Enter The Storm (Remastered LP Version)
4. Fuel Me Up (Remastered LP Version)
5. Extinct (Remastered LP Version)
6. Baptizm Of Fire (Remastered LP Version)
7. The Healer (Remastered LP Version)
8. Cruise Control (Remastered LP Version)
9. Kill Or Be Killed (Remastered LP Version)
10. Voodoo Brother (Remastered LP Version)
11. Left For Dead (Remastered LP Version)
12. Himalaya (Remastered Promo Single)
13. New Breed (Previously Unreleased)
Baptizm of Fire has the following musicians:
Glen Tipton – Guitars and Vocals
Whitfield Crane – Additional Vocals (Voodoo Brother)
Robert Trujillo – Bass (Hard Core, Paint It Black, Voodoo Brother)
C.J. de Villar – Bass (Enter the Storm, Fuel Me Up, Cruise Control,
Kill or Be Killed, Left For Dead)
Billy Sheehan – Bass (Extinct, Baptizm of Fire)
John Entwistle – Bass (The Healer)
Brooks Wackerman – Drums (Hard Core, Paint It Black, Voodoo Brother)
Shannon Larkin – Drums (Enter the Storm, Fuel Me Up, Cruise Control,
Kill or Be Killed, Left for Dead)
Cozy Powell – Drums (Extinct, Baptiszm of Fire, The Healer)
Don Airey – Organ (Baptizm of Fire)
In 1992, Southgang released their sophomore effort, Group Therapy. This disc was released towards the end of late 80’s and early 90’s glam metal scene. The introduction of grunge killed any chance of Southgang maintaining any level of success.
It is a real shame too, as Group Therapy is a definite step up from the band’s debut CD, Tainted Angel. The songs on this record have a harder edge, and less of that pop metal sound found on the first album.
These Georgia boys went out in style, as Group Therapy is one great, hard rocking affair. Butch Walker added a bluesier style of guitar to the songs on this record, giving the band a better, more relevant hard rock sound.
The production value on Group Therapy is quite high. This disc was produced by Howard Bensen, who also produced Pretty Boy Floyd’s Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz, and Bang Tango’s Psycho Cafe, and years later Chris Daughtry’s multi-platinum debut.
There truly isn’t a bad song on this record. It rocks from
beginning to end! Some of my favorite cuts on this disc are Water Under the Bridge, Tug of War, and Culture Clash City.
Sadly, this is the band’s last record, and a I am guessing that a reunion is highly unlikely.
Mitch McLee, Jayce Fincher and Butch Walker went on to form the Marvelous 3 after the break up of Southgang, but are no longer together.
Group Therapy has been out of print for years. Used copies turn up from time to time at Amazon.com and Ebay, and well worth picking up. If you don’t own any records by Southgang, this is the one worth searching for.
Rating:Out of 10
1. White Trash With Cash
2. Water Under the Bridge
3. Tug of War
4. Fire in Your Body
5. Final Resting Place
6. Legend of C.C. Road
7. Culture Clash City
10. My Best Friend’s Girl
11. Ode to Peggy’s
12. Blue Bird Has Landed [The Uncut Trail Mix]
Jesse Harte – Vocals
Mitch McLee – Drums
Jayce Fincher – Bass
Butch Walker – Guitars
4-3-2-1…Zeros is the band’s debut release on Restless Records. By the time this disc came out, the glam metal scene was on life support, and the Zeros chances of making it to the top were shot.
On 4-3-2-1…Zeros, I hear a lot of 70’s glam, mixed with some 80’s punk rock. This isn’t your typical hair metal band for this time period. Their influences shine through much more than some of their Los Angeles predecessors.
As far as 80’s pop metal goes, I can hear parts of Cheap Trick, a little bit of Motley Crue, and maybe a dash of Poison. The music is light hearted fun, and some of the songs here are tongue in cheek kind of stuff. Some of the tunes have a hard edge, while some tread the pop rock side of the fence. My favorite tunes on this disc are Love’s Not Fair, Sticky Sweet Girls and Too Young.
4-3-2-1….Zeros has been out of print for quite a while. You can still score a copy of this CD through Amazon.com and Ebay. It is worth picking up if you can find a reasonably priced copy. For more information on The Zeros, check out their website at this location.
2. Oh Yeah
3. Love’s Not Fair
4. Sticky Sweet Girls
5. Zero to Mom
6. Death Rock Girl (Did You See?)
7. Rich Chicks
8. Nobody Cares
9. Too Young
11. Wish I Knew
12. Do You Want Some More?
13. Raging Rock & Roll
The Zeros are:
Sammy Serious – Vocals
Joe Normal – Guitars
Danny Dangerous – Bass
Mr. Insane – Drums
Their self titled disc disappeared about as fast as it arrived. The band had a little bit of success, as a music video was released for the song Cowgirl. The band managed to sell 150,000 copies of the CD, but disappeared before long.
Unlike many of the hair metal CD’s of the early 90’s, this one actually has a little more substance. Great vocals, and a funky upbeat vibe drive these tunes. While Cowgirl is the obvious hit, there isn’t a bad song on this disc.
I once owned a copy of this on cassette tape, but never replaced it until last year. I was shocked to find a used copy of this disc in 2007. A quick internet search, and I found that you can still grab this disc for under 10 bucks (for a used copy) through Amazon.com, and occasionally on EBay. It is way out of print, but well worth the price of admission.
Rating:Out of 10
Sons of Angels are:
Solli – vocals
Torstein – bass, backing vocals
Lars K. – keyboards
Stafan William-Olsson – guitar
Geir Digernes – drums
It is rare when a newer band influenced in 80’s metal puts out a release that remotely compares to their predecessors. The new release Screams from the Wild, by the UK’s Tequila Rockin Bird, sounds like a lost release from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
While this release isn’t original by any means, it is most certainly a good slab of heavy rock. On Screams From the Wild, I can hear bits of Iron Maiden, and Ozzy era Black Sabbath fused into Tequila Rockin’ Birds’ music. I love those bands, so I was immediately captured by the tunes here.
The songs blast off with the opener Welcome to Hell and rock hard right through the closing track Trust In Your Government.
The thunderous drums of Johnny Warriner helps drive the dual axe attack of Nick Watson, and Kez Symes. The powerful, whiskey stained vocals of Rich Woods are a pleasure to take in. A band this talented have to be headed for great things. I would imagine that they won’t be unknown for too much longer. Tequila Rocking Bird will certainly be one of the leaders in the New Wave of Classic Rock that is happening today.
The band has done something rare, by offering up their record for free via download. Something that sounds this good is not usually given away for free, so go download your copy today, before the band regains their senses, and put this record out for sale. Fans of some of the newer Classic Rock bands like Priestess ought to download this asap!
Special thanks to Bill at Rock of Ages for turning me onto this band!
For more information on Tequila Rocking Bird, check out their myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
- Welcome To Hell
- Party Song
- Devil’s in the Detail
- Don’t Make Me Angry Again
- Dirty Mama
- Screams From the Wild
- Step Inside My Mind
- Wild Livin’
- Trust In Your Government
Tequila Rocking Bird is:
Rich Woods – Vocals
Nick Watson – Guitar
Kez Symes – Guitar
Johnny Warriner – Drums
Greg Butler – Bass
This CD blends the styles of several bands that I enjoy including Foreigner, Whitesnake, Bad Company and more.
If you know the band Fair Warning, you are already familiar with Tommy Heart’s vocals. I prefer his work in Soul Doctor. This is killer stuff.
It has been quite a while since I have heard a CD, where I have enjoyed ever song, and the new Soul Doctor disc delivers all the way through. With this disc, you get great singing, smoking guitar work, and songs that rock hard.
My digipak version of this disc included a bonus track called Let’s Zep, which is a nice medley of Led Zeppelin tunes stretched over 9 minutes. This was an extremely cool way to close out this disc.
My only complaint is that I didn’t get to hear this disc in 2007. If I had, it would have easily cracked my top 10 list.
Do not miss out on, one of the better discs of 2007. You can check out Soul Doctor at the band’s website Souldoctorrocks.com .
Rating: Out of 10
Soul Doctor is:
Tommy Heart – Vocals
Chris Lyne – Guitars
Jogy Rautenberg – Bass
Michael Wolpers – Drums
There is a new wave of classic rock bands that are making some big noise in the music scene. Bands like The Answer, and Wolfmother have experienced new levels of success. More and more new bands are strutting their stuff with a sound that has more in common with 70’s hard rock, than the latest sounds of today.
Whitefire from the U.K. is the latest band with that great classic rock sound. Judging from the sound of three song E.P., Whitefire is a band that will be going places in the near future.
On the three songs on this EP, I can hear the influence of bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy. It is that riff heavy sound that takes me back to hard rock’s roots. It excites me to hear a new era of bands influenced by this awesome era of rock.
Whitefire shows that they can deliver the goods with this EP. Jon Sibley is a solid vocalist, and the dual guitar sound of Chris Mills and Stephen Mee is one that I can really get into. My only problem after listening to the three songs here, is I am left wanting more. I can’t wait to hear a full length album by these U.K. Rockers.
- Wishing Well
- Yesterday’s Sorrow
Jon Sibley – Vocals
Chris Mills – Guitar
Stephen Mee – Guitar
Robert Cocks – Bass
John Maughan – Drums
Allied Forces is the only CD in the Triumph discography to go platinum (one million units sold) in the United States.
There are quite a few killer hits on this disc, including Magic Power, Fight the Good Fight and Say Goodbye.
The ultra-cool, title track Allied Forces is one of the heaviest numbers Triumph has ever done.
My only problem with this CD are the two tracks Air Raid, is nothing more than a song intro, and Petite Etude, is an extremely short acoustic guitar track. I could have used a couple of more tracks on this disc, but it is such a small issue, it is hardly worth mentioning.
With only seven true cuts on this disc, it makes it a short listening experience, but a very good one.
Rik Emmet’s voice is amazing on this record. He hits the high notes unlike any other singer in rock music today. His guitar playing is second to none. He handles all of the 6 string and 12 string guitars on Allied Forces. His solos and guitar work in general is something that you have to experience over and over.
I have heard the songs off of Allied Forces, hundreds of times on rock radio over the years, and I never tire of hearing of them. It never ceases to amaze me how great this three piece band sounds.
Allied Forces is a must own record. It is absolute classic disc that no rock fan should be without.
Rating:Out of 10
Rik Emmett – Guitars and Vocals
Mike Levine – Bass Guitar, Piano and backup vocals
Gil Moore -Drums and backup vocals
Yes, that’s right, the same band that brought you Stick To Your Guns, and Temptation is back in action.
The Lost Tapes is a collection of tunes that were intended for release long before 2007 but have not seen the light of day until now.
I have to admit, that I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations for this record. I didn’t enjoy the last record Temptation as much as the debut effort, and was a little leery about this one.
I can proudly say that this disc has exceeded all of my expectations.
This is a fine collection of tunes that in many ways surpasses the debut effort, Stick To Your Guns. My only complaint is that this disc is missing the slick production of the first two releases. That shouldn’t keep you from picking up a copy of this record. It is worth the money, if you like hard rocking, party tunes.The Lost Tapes is the kind of release that makes you want to throw a party, and crack open a few beers.
Some of my favorites off of this record are Just One Kiss, Cheap Wine and Gasoline, and Dancing By The Light of The Moon,
Rating: Out of 10
- Hard Drivin’ Man
- Blue Eyed Soul
- Just One Kiss
- My Body Needs Your Body
- Cheap Wine And Gasoline
- Shakin’ The Blues
- Dancing By The Light Of The Moon
- Rolling Stone
Sweet F.A. is:
Steve DeLong – Vocals
Nick Lane – Drums
Jon Huffman- Guitar
James Thorpe – Bass
Jim Quiggins – Guitar
Seether has been a band that has been off of my radar for a while, but after listening to Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces, I can not ignore them anymore.
The first song I heard off of this disc, was Fake It. That tune piqued my curiosity enough to seek out this record.
If you like that tune, this record will hold no surprises for you, but I think you will be pleased by what you find here.
Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces is a modern hard rock record, that has several radio ready tunes. If you are a fan of bands like Hinder, Nickelback, or Daughtry, you will probably get into this record.
Seether isn’t breaking any new ground with this disc by any means. There are at least five tunes on this record that have hit potential, (Fake It, Breakdown, FMLYHM, Rise Above This, and 6 Gun Quota) and that should be enough for Seether to have a hit record on their hand.
This is a great sounding record, and whether you like the newer, post-grunge hard rock acts out there or not, you are going to hear a lot of these songs in 2008. I like this record, and I think you will too!
You can check out Seether at their myspace page here.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Like Suicide
2. Fake It
6. Rise Above This
7. No Jesus Christ
8. 6 Gun Quota
9. Walk Away From the Sun
10. Eyes of the Devil
11. Don’t Believe
Shaun Morgan – Vocals, Guitar
Dale Stewart – Bass, Vocals
John Humphrey – Drums
There have been a few AC/DC inspired rock releases in 2007, and This Ain’t Heaven…Welcome To Hell is one of the better ones.
The German rock band, Sin City, started as a AC/DC tribute band, but with three strong releases under their belt, they have plenty of tunes to be proud of themselves.
The music on This Ain’t Heaven…Welcome To Hell is so strong, that I often forget that it isn’t AC/DC that I am listening to. Porty Portner has Bon Scott’s vocal sound down to a tee. The combined guitar might of Dschürgen Young and Heiko “The Rocker” Haag, will have you rocking out, and in search of your favorite cold beverage in no time.
I have quite a few favorites on this record, including the tunes, Horny, Sign It, Taking In Your Sleep (The Romantics Cover) and New Jack City. There honestly isn’t a bad cut in the bunch.
If you are rock purist, and are looking for something completely original, Sin City is not an act that you will want to try out. If you are fan like myself that prefers hard rocking tunes with a good beat and a party rock vibe, Sin City delivers the goods! You can pick up your copy of This Ain’t Heaven……Welcome to Hell at the following link. http://www.sin-city.de/puresincity/pages/shop.php
It will make a great stocking stuffer for your favorite AC/DC or Sin City fan!
Rating:Out of 10
Sin City is:
H.G. “Porty” Portner – Vocals
Dschürgen J. Young – Guitars
Heiko “The Rocker”Haag – Guitars
Lars “Dr. Pank” Lunova – Drums
Patrik “AC Thunder” Apel – Bass
New glam metal from nearly every country on the planet continues to show up at the Hard Rock Hideout. The new release by the S.E.X. Department from Perris Records is the first that has come from Italy.
The S.E.X. Department has a sound that I would compare to early Motley Crue, mixed with Pretty Boy Floyd. For a three piece band, they have a decent sound.
Something about this release reminds me of the rawness of Motley Crue’s debut. This disc is not as strong as Too Fast For Love, but it is a pretty good cut of glam tunes for these Italian rockers.
Kelly Trash Mendess vocals are not overpowering, but are well suited for the tunes here. The best cuts on this disc are Revenge of the Vampires, Glitter Bitter, Sir Yes Sir and ,S.E.X. Department.
The band’s sound could be greatly enhanced with a second guitar player and more background vocals. That may be all that S.E.X. Department needs to push them over the top. This CD is a solid debut for S.E.X. Department. This disc should be enough to gain them a whole new slew of fans, and help the band build success for a more powerful sophomore effort.
Rating:Out of 10
The video below is the band performing their song, Rock n’ Roll. Check it out!
- Call Me, Baby Call Me
- Drive Me Insane
- Revenge of Vampires
- Rock n’ Roll Never Dies
- One Way Ticket to Rock
- Glitter Bitter
- Sir Yes Sir
- Italian Cowboy
- Rock n’ Roll
- S.E.X. Department
S.E.X. Department is:
Kelly Trash Mendess – Vocals/guitar
Doctor Dok – Bass
Milky Milano – Drums