Modern rock fans have a new reason to rejoice and that reason is The Wreckage, the debut album from Candlelight Red. This Pennsylvania quartet has been making their presence known on the hard rock scene, playing several festivals, and opening a number of hot tours in 2012. The Wreckage shows just why Candlelight Red is receiving much attention in the modern rock world. Put simply, Candlelight Red is a hard rock band that makes great music.
Filled with heavy and hard tunes, The Wreckage is a fun-filled album of rock music that satisfies. Any of us that love Three Days Grace, New Medicine, or other similar modern rock darlings are going to enjoy listening to The Wreckage. Candlelight Red have released an album of eight original goodies and one interesting cover song that is getting some airplay as of late.
The band’s original songs are real treasures to the ear. They are not overproduced, and they are not weak, which is usually a winning combination to making great music. And while The Wreckage does not contain any Earth shattering, ground breaking, innovative Pink Floyd-esque tracks, that hardly matters. What The Wreckage does contain is 8 original songs that are immensely enjoyable. And in the end, isn’t that what matters most?
The last track on the record is a cover of “The Look,” a big pop hit for the band Roxette in the late 80s. As a huge fan of the original song, I was curious to see what Candlelight Red would do with this cover. And while I commend them for choosing a more pop-oriented song to cover, I have to admit that I much prefer the band’s original material. I miss the falsetto of Marie Fredriksson, which I always felt made the song such a hit.
That’s not to say that “She’s Got The Look” is unbearable, because it is actually enjoyable from a nostalgic sense. However, it is not something that would have me buying The Wreckage. However, original songs like “The Dirt,” and “Medicated,” would. Perhaps it’s a chance for fans to sing along with the band at concerts while they get their name out there, but I would have much preferred one more original song on The Wreckage.
Cover song aside, Candlelight Red have released a solid album complete with creative, entertaining songs. If you’re looking for some hard rocking new music that will get multiple spins on your IPod, definitely check out Candlelight Red’s The Wreckage.
Rating: Out of 10
- The Dirt
- Gone Forever
- The Wreckage
- Bend And Break
- In Your Hands
- She’s Got The Look
Candlelight Red Is:
Jeremy Edge – Guitars
Ryan Hoke – Vocals
Jamie Morral – Bass
Brian Dugan – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Any time a new band catapults onto the scene with loads of hype and praise, I am skeptical. Are the critics all desperately searching for the next darlings of rock? Is the music really as good as everyone claims, or is everyone just drinking the Kool-Aid? Needless to say, when the self-titled debut album from Dead Sara came across my desk, my skepticism was at an all time high. I had heard a lot of great things about this band from critics. It made me wonder if Dead Sara could live up to the hype. I am happy to report that not only can they handle the hype, Dead Sara is even better than any of the praise they have received.
The last time I heard a debut record this fantastic, it was by a little known band named Guns N Roses. We know their story and the fame that they went on to, the question is will Dead Sara do the same? What is most amazing about the debut album from Dead Sara is how every single song is a monster track. There is absolutely zero filler on this record. From “Whispers & Ashes” to “Sorry For It All” every song on this album is intense, rocking, and needs to be listened to multiple times.
If you can imagine the offspring of Evanescence and Flyleaf on steroids, then you have a good idea of what Dead Sara sounds like. The throaty, sultry vocals of Emily Armstrong are what help set Dead Sara apart. A hard rock band that performs incredible music, merged with a blues style powerful female lead singer is hard to come by, but Dead Sara fit that description. From the opening notes of lead track “Whispers & Ashes” it is apparent that something special is being heard. Dead Sara continues to serve mesmerizing songs with “We Are What You Say,” an ode to youth, and the hard hitting first single, “Weatherman.”
Guitarist Siouxsie Medley sets the pace on the harder tracks from Dead Sara. Her guitar playing is a blistering mix of Kurt Cobain, Keith Richards, and Slash, which is fitting when noting that Dead Sara’s influences range from the blues and classic rock to modern punk. Medley is as talented with the ax as Armstrong is with her vocals. Together these two are the most exciting front duo since Tyler/Perry. For anyone that yearns for their music to deliver more, there is now a solution—Dead Sara.
The ballads of the album “Dear Love,” “Face To Face,” and album closer “Sorry For It All,” draw heavy on the blues influence while staying grounded in modern rock. Dead Sara takes the classic power ballad and adds their own twists and turns, creating masterpieces. While the heavier tracks will find many fans banging their heads or jumping around like madmen, the ballads will no doubt find lighters a-plenty, and contain thought provoking lyrics to let the fans linger on the poetic beauty of Armstrong’s highly talented writing.
There is not one negative thing that can be said about Dead Sara. Not one constructive criticism can be made. Dead Sara is about as perfect as an album can be, and the fact that it is a rookie effort, only helps to confirm the fact that Dead Sara is the real deal. If there is only one record that you purchase this year, it needs to be the self titled debut from Dead Sara. You will not hear a better album in 2012.
Rating: Out of 10
Whispers & Ashes
We Are What You Say
I Said You Were Lucky
Face To Face
Test On My Patience
Sorry For It All
Dead Sara Is:
Emily Armstrong – Vocals
Siouxsie Medley – Guitar
Chris Null – Bass
Sean Friday – Drums
Reviewed By Ryo Vie
Baltimore rockers, Charm City Devils have released their sophomore effort, Sins. As much as I loved the band’s debut album, Let’s Rock N Roll, Sins simply blows that album out of the water.
“Man of Constant Sorrow” is the best cover song I have listened to in a long, long time. Charm City Devils have taken this 100 year old folk song, and turned into something completely their own. I think they did an outstanding job with this cover. While “Man of Constant Sorrow” may be the only song that many of you have heard from Sins, the album is much deeper than that.
John Allen and company have crafted a bunch of catchy tunes, many of which ought to be hits for Charm City Devils.
“Walk Away” is massively infectious tune that all rock fans need to hear. I am hopeful that this will be released as a single. This is a great song!
“Still Alive” is the type of song that you will find yourself singing to after the first play.
The opening tunes “Spite” and “Unstoppable” have more of a modern hard rock feel style. “Spite” has a great message, and is another cool tune. This song rocks hard!
If you want some high octane rockers, Sins has those too. Give the songs “Love N War” and “Unstoppable” a listen. You won’t be disappointed. “Love N War” is the heaviest song on the album, and the driving rhythm is completely infectious. I thought “Unstoppable” had a Godsmack like vibe to it, and is extremely cool too!
Overall, Sins is a great album! It is rare when you get an album where you don’t want to skip a song or two. There isn’t a bad tune on Sins. You won’t want to skip any of them! The CD hasn’t left my play list since I purchased it. Don’t miss out on one of the best hard rock albums of 2012! I love Sins, and I think you will too!
You can purchase your copy of Sins from CDBaby at this link!
For more information on Charm City Devils, please visit the band’s links below:
Rating: Out of 10
03. Man of Constant Sorrow
04. Still Alive
05. Walk Away
06. Devil Is A Woman
07. Start It Up
08. Love N War
11. All You’ll Ever Need
Charm City Devils Are:
Rock fans, rejoice! Hurt has returned with the follow up to 2009’s amazing Goodbye To The Machine. This time around, Hurt brings the rock with The Crux. While Goodbye To The Machine found the band leaning more toward the mainstream sound of modern day radio rock, The Crux is a closer return to the earlier, dark, heavy riffs found on Volume I and Volume II.
With a new lead guitarist and a new drummer in the band, it’s obvious that the sound of The Crux is going to vary from that of Goodbye To The Machine. Guitarist Paul Spatola was an exceptional talent that will be missed. And while Spatola’s guitar is absent from the current record, it allows Hurt the opportunity to venture toward a different direction, or in this case, a return to the sound of their earlier albums. If you like the darker side of Hurt, you will love The Crux.
While the first two tracks on The Crux (“So When” and “Eden”) are solid songs, it is the third track “Links & Waves” that really catches the listener’s attention. The unfortunate part is that this song clocks in at a mere 1:15 in length. All that did was leave me wanting more. It left me curious to know what would have happened had the band decided to expand this song and breathe more life into it.
“Caught In The Rain” is easily my favorite song on the record. As I tend to lean more toward the newer style of Hurt, it only makes sense that I would love this song. Also, the guitar solo ripped out by Michael Roberts is spectacular and worthy of some love. “Caught in the Rain” is a hard rocker with a modern edge, finding Hurt really hitting their groove.
“Cuffed” continues the more modern sounding music that I’ve grown to love from this band. More sharp guitar work from Roberts, and some expert changes overall, make this a powerful and enjoyable piece of music. J. Loren Wince’s rock screams can be heard deep into the track and adds plenty of replay value to the song. “Cuffed” finds Wince’s voice at its finest, and combined with the great Roberts guitar work, this track stands out as one of the best on the record.
“How We End Up Alone” is Hurt’s first single from The Crux. It is easy to understand why the band released this song. Starting out soft and melodic, “How We End Up Alone” builds in intensity to a crescendo bridge and chorus that unveils its true power. A darker, grittier tone is captured which adds character. Roberts solo sings on this song, and if he hadn’t earned his Hurt stripes up until that point, he definitely had them at the end of this song. “How We End Up Alone” is a superb track and one of the best cuts that Hurt has ever released.
As a follow up record, The Crux holds up well. Fans that are looking for more of the Goodbye To The Machine sound may find themselves disappointed. However, long time fans that enjoy early Hurt are going to find The Crux getting several replays on their IPods. The balancing act is the sound that lay between the two discs. Songs like “Caught In The Rain” and “How We End Up Alone” are the perfect hybrid of old and new Hurt. As the band continues to progress and grow, it is my hope that they will focus more on these types of hybrid creations. It could be the best sound Hurt has come up with.
The Crux will be released Tuesday, May 1st. Get Your copy of the CD here!
Rating: Out of 10
- So When
- Links & Waves
- Sally Slips
- When It’s Cold
- Caught In the Rain
- How We End Up alone
- The Seer
J. Loren Wince – Vocals/Guitar
Michael Roberts – Guitar
Rek Mohr – Bass
Victor Ribas – Drums
Like any vice, The Veer Union is enjoyed more and more over time. At first listen, Divide The Blackened Sky is a decent record that has some potential. After a few listens, it is recognized more as a great album that needs to be heard. After several listens, it is classified as one of the strongest modern rock releases this year that everyone needs to hear.
Divide The Blackened Sky is the sophomore effort for modern rock darlings, The Veer Union. Following up their successful debut, Against The Grain, The Veer Union have released another album filled with modern rock delights. Hard rocking power riffs, strong vocals, and excellent drum beats all combine to make Divide The Blackened Sky an excellent release.
“Borderline” starts the album and shows off The Veer Union’s strengths—powerful rock, with a heavy beat. This is modern rock with an edge. The influences of bands like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace can be heard throughout the disc, but “Borderline” is where these influences stand out the most. If you are a Breaking Benjamin fan, you will love the lead track from Divide The Blackened Sky.
On their sophomore release, The Veer Union decided to go all power. No ballads made an appearance on this record, however, they aren’t missed. Usually modern rock records need balance between the hard rock hits, and the loving ballads. Divide The Blackened Sky mixes melody and power so well, that the lack of ballads isn’t a deterrent to the record.
“Inside Our Scars” is the strongest song on the disc and the most enjoyable track as well. Lead singer Crispin Earl has a chance to show off the true power of his vocals and sings like a siren. While the intro of the song might have listeners thinking that it is a ballad, the song kicks in so heavy halfway through, that the hard rock prevails. Drummer Neil Beaton shows off his talents as well, playing some of the best drums of the record on “Inside Our Scars.”
Divide The Blackened Sky is a strong release, especially considering the expectations following such a solid debut. The Veer Union didn’t shy away from the challenge and put out a heavy, dark, hard rocking record, worthy of being called the follow up to their first release. If you’ve been looking for a new band to add to your rotation, I highly recommend The Veer Union. Divide The Blackened Sky is an addictive record. The more you spin it, the more you want to hear it.
Rating: Out of 10
02. Bitter End
03. I Will Remain
04. Buried In The Ground
05. Inside Our Scars
06. Live Another Day
07. Divide The Blackened Sky
08. Silent Gun
09. Last Days Of Life
The Veer Union Is:
Crispin Earl – Vocals
James Fiddler – Lead Guitar
Eric Schraeder – Rhythm Guitar
Marc Roots – Bass
Neil Beaton – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
There have been so many great releases in March and April already, it is easy for some bands to get lost in the shuffle. A band that has been sandwiched between my recent playlist of Jack Blades, Van Halen, Shinedown, Accept, Halestorm, and Adrenaline Mob, is Santa Barbara, California’s Winchester Rebels.
Winchester Rebels released their debut, Three Sheets To the Wind last fall. With the release of their recent video clip, “Flying” (see video below), I knew I needed to check these guys out. After giving Three Sheets To the Wind a few plays, I hear a variety of influences. The best way I could describe the band is a modern rock band with classic influences. The band’s sound is bolstered by the big voice of Nick Hunt. Mr. Hunt has a clean vocal style with an above average range. . When his vocals soar, the songs really jump out at me. His voice is a pure pleasure to listen to. He isn’t the only talented musician in this band though. Guitarists Nick Fitzgerald and James Longoria are solid players. They may be guilty of playing the down tuned guitars a little bit, but they also sneak in some pretty cool riffs that make that tunes stand out.
I have read where Winchester Rebels have been compared to Stone Temple Pilots, and I would agree that there are some songs on Three Sheets to The Wind that could easily fit on an STP record. The songs “Loaded Gun”, “Taste of Hell” and “Silence” definitely fit that style.
Some of my favorites on this CD are “Private Angel”, “Down”,and “Dining With Devils” . There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a major label signed the Winchester Rebels. They are far better than many of the bands you hear on FM radio today. I truly have been enjoying their CD Three Sheets To The Wind, and I think you will too.
For more information on Winchester Rebels, please visit the band’s Facebook page.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Private Angel
3. Loaded Gun
5. Dining With Devils
9. Taste Of Hell
Winchester Rebels are:
Nick Hunt – Vocals
Nick Fitzgerald – Guitar
James Longoria – Guitar
John Livergood – Bass
Barry Carter – Drums
I recently completed my collection of Saxon’s discography, and one of the last CD’s I picked up, turned out to be one of my favorite Saxon releases ever. I don’t know how I managed to miss Forever Free the first time around, but it has been a mainstay in my playlist since I received the CD.
From the opening number”Forever Free” to the final cut “Cloud Nine”, Forever Free rocks all the way through, without a bad tune in the bunch.
The title track “Forever Free” is one of the most powerful Saxon songs ever. I don’t know if they play this one live today (I have never seen Saxon live), but they should if they don’t.
Saxon’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “Just Wanna Make Love To You” is quite unique, and they made it completely their own. It is quite different from the version made famous by Foghat on their 1972 debut.
“Get Down and Dirty” has a touch of hair metal flair that is absolutely awesome. I love this song!
“Iron Wheels” is the only ballad on Forever Free, but is a solid tune that is worth many repeat plays.
Paul Quin and Graham Oliver really tear it up on “One Step Away”. Guitar lovers are going to love this track.
If there was a theme song that ever fit my life, “Can’t Stop Rockin” would be the song I would choose. I am dumbfounded at how I missed out on this song for nearly two decades.
Every time I hear “Nighthunter”, I want to crank the stereo up, and rip the knob off. This is another killer Saxon anthem.
The closing number “Cloud Nine” has music that sounds like an amalgam of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher”, and Sammy Hagar’s “There’s Only One Way To Rock”. This song closes out Forever Free the same way it started…..rockin’ out! I wouldn’t have it any other way!
July 2nd, 2012 is the 20th anniversary of Forever Free. I can’t believe it took me nearly twenty years to check this one out, but I am glad I did.
Forever Free was reissued in 2002 with two bonus live tracks, “Princess In The Night” and “Forever Free”. If you missed this CD the first time around like me, you can pick up a copy at this link. I highly recommend it!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Forever Free
02. Hole in the Sky
03. Just Wanna Make Love To You
04. Get Down and Dirty
05. Iron Wheels
06. One Step Away
07. Can’t Stop Rockin
10. Cloud Nine
Nibbs Carter – Bass
Paul Quinn – Guitar
Biff Byford – vocals
Graham Oliver – Guitar
Nigel Glockler – drums
I have to admit that I had no idea what to expect from the band, Adrenaline Mob. I figured the music would be good with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Russell Allen (Symphony X) involved. I have been a fan of Portnoy’s and Allen’s music for quite some time (I am still waiting for another Allen/Lande record). The real X Factor and surprise of Adrenaline Mob, is guitarist Mike Orlando. I knew nothing of Mr. Orlando prior to Adrenaline Mob. Needless to say, I am extremely impressed with his guitar work on this album. The music style ranges from modern hard rock to more classic styles (sorry, no prog rock here). There are some blood pumping hard rockers and a couple of slower numbers. Every song rocks and the riffs of Mike Orlando really make this album. Of course, Mike Portnoy’s drums are excellent, and Russell Allen’s vocals are top-notch, but it is Orlando’s fret work that really surprised me.
The opening number “Undaunted” (see video below) has a very modern feel that sounds like a blend of Godsmack and Disturbed. This is a heavy tune, and deserves a place on rock radio everywhere.
The next two tracks “Psychosane” and “Indifferent” are amongst my favorites on Omertà. “Psychosane” is a pretty catchy headbanger. When Orlando cuts loose on this song, look out! There are some impressive riffs on this tune. I liked the use of the voice coder too.
“Indifferent”isn’t quite as heavy as “Undaunted” or “Psychosane”, but it still a great song, and ought to be released as a single by Adrenaline Mob.
While “All On The Line” is one of the slower songs on Omertà, it might be the best song I have heard in 2012. This ought to be a huge hit for Adrenaline Mob.
The lyrics on “Feelin’ Me” are kind of silly (The main lyric is “Are you mother fuckers Feeeeeeeeeeeeelin Me”), but I still don’t dislike this song. It still rocks.
I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the Duran Duran song “Come Undone”. This song has been covered by far too many bands already, and I didn’t like it that much when Duran Duran did it. Adrenaline Mob’s version of this cover features the monster vocals of Lzzy Hale (from Halestorm). While this version is pretty cool, I still don’t love this song. Lzzy’s vocals do make it listenable though.
“Believe Me” is another song that falls into that modern hard rock style. It is Mike Orlando’s riffs that takes this song up a couple notches. If it wasn’t for his riffs, this song might get lost in a sea of modern rock sound alike tunes that you hear on most FM rock radio stations.
Another stand out tune is “Angel Sky”. This song has it all. Big riffs, big vocals, and yet it is probably the least heavy of all of the songs on Omertà. Russell Allen’s vocals truly shine on “Angel Sky”.
The bottom line – Omertà is easily one of the best hard rock releases this year, will easily find its way into my top 10 at the end of 2012. Don’t miss this!
You can pick up a copy of Omertà at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
04. All On The Line
05. Hit The Wall
06. Feelin’ Me
07. Come Undone
08. Believe Me
09. Down To the Floor
10. Angel Sky
11. Freight Train
Adrenaline Mob is:
Russell Allen – vocals
Mike Portnoy – drums
Mike Orlando – guitars, bass
When a band is recording the follow-up to one of the most popular albums of their career, the hype for the next release is always higher than it should be. Often times in these situations, a band tries to do much and either overproduces the art, or fails miserably in expectations. Thus, when Shinedown was set to release Amaryllis, the highly anticipated follow-up to their mega-smash album, The Sound Of Madness, the band was facing several of these aforementioned challenges. Fortunately, Shinedown found the middle ground where they could create an album that is enjoyable to the ears of fans.
Amaryllis kicks off with a three song punch that is a huge treat for any lover of hard rock music. The pulse pounding, foot stomping, rock song “Adrenaline,” kicks off the record in hard rocking style. The drums are crisp, the guitars are sharp, and the vocals from Brent Smith sound as great as ever. I’ve always been a fan of Brent Smith’s voice and he delivers immediately on the opening track.
The first single from Amaryllis, “Bully,” follows and packs quite a punch of its own. “Bully” is an anthem to a rising problem in modern day America that is starting to get a lot of media attention. Bullying is no longer going to be tolerated, and there are a lot of schools that have implemented zero tolerance policies to help combat this rising issue. Shinedown brings their own version to the party, singing about how the meek can overcome these bullies by banding together and deciding that they are no longer going to take the bullying. Anyone who has ever been picked on, made fun of, or otherwise humiliated, is going to feel great allegiance with this track.
The three pack ends with what is possibly the best Shinedown song ever recorded in Amaryllis. Every once in a while a song comes along that is so perfectly crafted that it can only be described as perfection. “Amaryllis” is one such song. The intro to the song provides a perfect lead up to the bridge, which then segues in perfect harmony to the chorus. With the addition of string instruments on top of the guitars and drums, Shinedown has produced a massive power ballad hit that fans and everyone else are going to love. The lyrics are expertly written and fit the music with a precision that can only be achieved when everything is in perfect alignment.
And while the rest of the album is strong, there isn’t one song that compares to “Amaryllis.” Overall, Amaryllis is a fantastic album, with hit after hit pelting the ears of the listener. Shinedown was able to overcome the high expectations that were laid on them following the success of The Sound Of Madness. They rose to the challenge and created a record that far exceeds their previous work. The only problem now is that they have set the bar even higher for the next record. Given the history of the band, I am sure they will be able to surpass that bar as well.
Amaryllis is available for sale at this link. Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
06. I’m Not Alright
07. Nowhere Kids
09 I’ll Follow You
10. For My Sake
11. My Name (Wearing Me Out)
12. Through The Ghost
Brent Smith – Vocals
Zach Myers – Guitars
Eric Bass – Bass
Barry Kerch – Drums
The musicians in Overkill are angry….. METAL Thrashin’ Angry. At least that is what
I have gathered from listening to Overkill’s newest release, The Electric Age. What is stoking the band’s fire? I don’t know. What I do know is, the music on The Electric Age is easily some of the best that Overkill has ever recorded.
From the thundering bass of D.D. Verni on the opening cut, “Come and Get It”, to the final notes of “Good Night”,Overkill have recorded what I consider, one of the best thrash metal albums of the last decade.
Dave Linsk has delivered some of the best guitar work of his career. From the high-speed riffs of “Come and Get It” to the semi slower paced, Testament like tune “Black Daze”, The Electric Age is packed full killer riffs that classic thrash fans are going to love. On the album closer Good Night, Linsk sounds as if he is channeling Dave Mustaine. Awesome! The furious growls and vocals of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth have never sounded better.
There is no need to give you a song by song breakdown. You are going to want to hear all of the songs on this CD! Some of my personal favorites are “Electric Rattlesnake”, “Wish You Were Dead” “Black Daze” and “Drop the Hammer Down”
In my opinion, Overkill has recorded an album that not surpasses their previous effort, Ironbound, but also surpasses the recent offerings from Metallica, and Megadeth.
In the illustrious words of Mr. Ellsworth, The Electric Age is “More than you can take, make no mistake”. Don’t miss out on one of the best metal albums of 2012 so far! To my ears, Overkill has recorded a true thrashterpeace with The Electric Age. I can’t stop listening to this!
Highly recommended! Buy The Electric Age here!
Rating: Out of 10
- Come And Get It
- Electric Rattlesnake
- Wish You Were Dead
- Black Daze
- Save Yourself
- Drop The Hammer
- 21st Century Man
- Old Wounds, New Scars
- All Over but the Shouting
- Good Night
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – Vocals
D.D. Verni – Bass, Backing vocals
Derek “The Skull” Tailer – Rhythm guitar, Backing vocals
Dave Linsk – Lead guitar, Backing vocals
Ron Lipnicki – Drums
Although lead singer Joe Leste has put together a whole new incarnation of Bang Tango and remains the only original member of the group, the sound of sleaze rock is still strong on their latest effort, Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt. As an added bonus, the new disc really kicks some hard rock ass! If you like your rock hard, sleazy, and mired in sex, drugs, and rock and roll, then Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt is an album that should be added to your collection.
“Dick In The System” starts the record off. This song is an ode to a cheating girl, and sets the table for the sleazy sex tinged portraits painted on the rest of the record. Crunchy guitar and throaty, raspy vocals dominate, making the song enjoyable from the first note. Leste and company found a groove and used it to their advantage. “Dick In The System” is a great lead track and a perfect re-introduction to those of us who may have almost forgotten about the band, Bang Tango.
The band doesn’t just mire all of their tracks in sleaze and sex (not that there is anything wrong with that). They also show off their softer side on the album’s lone ballad “Have You Seen Her?” This is a solid, 80s style ballad that is bound to have cigarette lighters waving when the song is played in concert. Guitarist Scott LaFlamme handles the guitar work exceptionally well and his solo on this track stands out. I expect a lot of summer compilations to include “Have You Seen Her?” on the track list.
“Boom Box Séance” is without a doubt the best track on the record. Totally cool, unique title notwithstanding, this song is fantastic. Combining fresh, tongue-in-cheek lyrics with the best guitar work of the record, “Boom Box Séance” is invigorating in its ability to maintain originality. The underlying theme of sleaze is still present and accounted for, but the entire vibe of the song has a fresh feel not present on the other tracks. That does not mean the other tracks are bad, it just solidifies why “Boom Box Séance” is the best song on the record. If you like a foot stomping, funk and groove rock song, “Boom Box Séance” will be your choice for song of the record as well.
It’s been a while since Bang Tango was a common household name (okay, it’s been a while since some people might have heard of the band), but that doesn’t mean that they have been stale or disappeared. Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt is a strong effort and hopefully Bang Tango will be on the road this summer so that fans can hear the great music Bang Tango recorded. Chock of full of sharp, hard hitting, rock and roll, Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt is rock music for the sleaze enthusiast. Bring on the strippers and booze!
Rating: Out of 10
- Dick In The System
- Suck It Up
- Our Way
- Bring On The World
- Have You Seen Her
- Live Life
- I Like It
- Boom Box Séance
- Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt
Bang Tango Is:
Joe Leste – Vocals
Scott LaFlamme – Guitars
Lance Eric – Bass
Trent Anderson – Drums
Jack Blades is back with his second solo CD, and to my ears, one of the greatest surprises of 2012. I have been a fan of Jack Blades for a long time, but to be honest, I didn’t expect his solo CD to be much. I can gladly say, I was wrong. Rock ‘N Roll Ride is a stronger album, in my opinion, than the latest Night Ranger CD, Somewhere in California. This CD has a good collection of classic rock numbers, with a few hard rock numbers sprinkled in for good measure.
For you hard rockers out there, Rock ‘N Roll Ride has plenty of music for you to check out.
The hardest numbers are “Back In The Game”, “Rock ‘N Roll Ride”, “Love Life”, “Say You Will” and “Rise and Shine”. All of these songs are excellent.”Love Life” sounds like it could have been a left over Night Ranger song. I like this better than anything off of Night Ranger’s recent album, Somewhere in California.
“Hardest Word To Say” is an acoustic guitar based number that gets better and better with every listen. This is another great song!
When I first heard “West Hollywood” I did a double take. Jack Blades almost sounds like Tom Petty in parts of this song. I thought the same thing about the song “Don’t Give Up” as well. They both have that classic Tom Petty style. The music is great, and Jack’s voice has never sounded better.
“Rise and Shine” might just be the catchiest song on Rock ‘N Roll Ride. I wish I could use this song as an alarm on my alarm clock every morning.
The album closes out with the song “Hey Now”. This song has a cool Rolling Stones type of vibe to it. This is one of my favorites on Rock ‘N Roll Ride.
Overall, Rock ‘N Roll Ride has been one of 2012′s great surprises. I love this album, and I think you will too!
You can pick up Rock ‘N Roll Ride at this link. Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Back in the Game
02. Rock N Roll Ride
03. Hardest Word To Say
04. Anything For You
05. Love Life
06. West Hollywood
07. Born For This
08. Don’t Give Up
09. Say You Will
10. Rise and Shine
11. Hey Now
Jack Blades: Bass, guitar, acoustic guitar, lead and background vocals
Joel Hoekstra: Guitars and solos
Will Evankovich: Acoustic guitars, mandolin, add. guitars, Coral Sitar guitar, background vocals
Kelly Keagy and Brian Tichy: Drums
Eric Levy and Christian Matthew Cullen: Keyboards
Dutch rockers Vengeance have been rockin’ since 1983. Their lineup has changed many times over the years, but one thing has been constant, the band has been kicking ass on each and every release they have put out. In 2012, the band has released their ninth album, Crystal Eye. The new album features an All Star Lineup for Vengeance. Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper) handles the guitar work, Chris Glen is on bass, and former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade is pounding the skins for Vengeance. While its cool that Leon Goewie has put together a cool new lineup, it is vocals that is the true star of Vengeance. He has a distinct vocal style that falls somewhere between Brian Johnson & Udo Dirkschneider. His excellent vocals and metal growls help to deliver one cool album for Vengeance.
I really enjoyed the songs “Bad To The Bone”, “Shock Me Now”, and “Desperate Women” (“Desperate Women” is easily my favorite). These are just some of Crystal Eye’s highlights.
“Me and You” starts off Crystal Eye right with an upbeat, hard rockin’ anthem that should be a real crowd pleaser.
If you ever needed a theme song for your backyard BBQ, the song “Barbeque” is it. I thought this song was kind of silly at first, but I have to admit that it is pretty catchy.
Former Black Sabbath singer, Tony Martin wrote the song “Whole Lotta Metal” for Vengeance, and this is easily one of the best songs on Crystal Eye.
The album closes with the instrumental track “Jan`s End Piece” which features the last guitar solos recorded by Jan Somers before his unexpected death. ( Jan passed away from a heart attack on January 28th.)
Crystal Eye is easily the best Vengeance album since Back in the Ring. If you are a hard rock fan, you gotta check this one out!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Me And You 04:02
2. Bad To The Bone 04:51
3. Barbeque 03:31
4. Shock Me Now 03:28
5. Five Knuckle Shuffle 04:10
6. Desperate Women 04:03
7. Whole Lotta Metal 04:11
8. Promise Me 03:43
9. Crystal Eye 06:13
10. Missing 04:51
11. Jans End Piece 01:16
Leon Goewie – vocals
Keri Kelli – guitar
Chris Glen – bass
Chris Slade – drums
Guest musicians: Michael Voss – guitar, vocals / Timo Somers (Delain) – guitar
From Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Eyes & even Skrapp Mettle, I have been listening to Jeff Scott Soto for what seems like forever. I have enjoyed every musical project and band he has been involved with. One thing is for certain, Mr. Soto doesn’t know how to put out a bad release. Needless to say, it was almost predestined that I would enjoy Jeff’s latest effort, Damage Control.
On Damage Control, Jeff Scott Soto doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and he doesn’t need to. Soto delivers his excellent and severely underrated vocals to another batch of great melodi, hard rock tunes. Chances are if you have enjoyed the music of JSS in the past, you are going to like Damage Control a lot. The CD is 100 % quality rock and roll, and it does not disappoint.
I prefer the harder edged numbers on the CD, “Krazy World”, “Afterworld”, and “Damage Control”. These songs are good, but they are not the best songs on Damage Control.
The opening song “Give a Little More” has a pretty good message, and is a great song too. “How To Love Again” is as close to melodic rock perfection as it gets. This song is easily one Jeff Scott Soto’s best tunes.
“Bonafide” is a massive ballad that should get tons of airplay everywhere. “Look Inside Your Heart” is another excellent song (see video below) that has been getting a ton of replays from me.
Overall, Damage Control is another outstanding album from Jeff Scott Soto that is going to please the majority of his fans. You should make a point to check it out, when it is released on March 27th.
If you buy any version of this CD, make sure you get the Deluxe Edition, which had three extra bonus tracks (“Afraid to Die”, “Take U Down”, and “Elena”) which are not on the standard version. You can pre-order Damage Control at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Give A Little More
02. Damage Control
03. Look Inside Your Heart
04. Die A Little
05. Take U Down
06. If I Never Let Her Go
07. Tears That I Cry
10. Krazy World
11. How To Love Again
13. NeverEnding War
14. Afraid to Die (Bonus Track)
Mad Max might not be a familiar name amongst most U.S. rock fans, but maybe they should be. This band has been releasing new music since 1982! They haven’t made a major impact on the U.S. rock scene, but their music is very good, and they are a band worth checking out. I enjoyed Michael Voss’ vocals on the recent Michael Schenker album, Temple of Rock, so I have been looking forward to checking out his band, Mad Max. On their latest album, Another Night of Passion, the band has reunited with their 1987 lineup, to release an album that 80′s hard rock fans are sure to love.
If the Rocklahoma music festival ever needed a theme song, Mad Max has taken care of that with their song “Rocklahoma”. Fans of the music festival need to give this song a listen, you are sure to love it!
Another Night of Passion is packed full of catchy songs with plenty of hooks. Give the songs “40 Rock”, “You Decide” and “Welcome to Rock Bottom” a listen. You will likely be as hooked as I am.
If that is not enough to pique your curiosity, there are also a couple of excellent rockers with the songs, “Metal Edge” and “Back and Alive”. The album closes out on a strong note. with an excellent instrumental track, “True Blue”.
I have been enjoying Another Night of Passion, and I think you will too. Another Night of Passion will be released on March 26th, 2012. You can pre-order it at this link. Don’t miss out on one of the better releases of 2012!
Rating: Out of 10
2. 40 Rock
3. Metal Edge
4. You Decide
5. Welcome To Rock Bottom
6. Fallen From Grace
7. Black Swan
8. Back And Alive
9. The Chant
10. Fever Of Love
11. True Blue
Mad Max is:
Michael Voss – lead vocals, lead guitars
Jürgen Breforth – rhythm guitars
Roland Bergmann – bass, vocals
Axel Kruse – drums
I’ll admit that I haven’t paid much attention to Staind over the last few years. After the release of 14 Shades Of Gray, I found the band heading in an uncertain direction. No longer sure of their voice or where their music was heading, I was disappointed and bored, and thus moved on to other bands. After hearing their latest single, “Eyes Wide Open,” I decided to give the band another chance and picked up a copy of their self-titled release. It was one of the best musical decisions I have made in recent years. Staind have found their current voice and the end result is spectacular.
Still fused fully in the dark side of rock, the recent change for Staind is the bands’ desire to unleash their anger in the music. Whereas past albums were dark and depressing, wondering how to survive the future, their latest disc is filled with fight. Songs like “Wannabe” and “Now” are anthems to haters and doubters that they’d better back off. Staind isn’t going to stand around and be your punching bag. They even take the time to call out those that would download their music for free (i.e. steal it) and then trash it online.
Blending grunge and hardcore rock, Staind’s latest record takes their enjoyable sound to a level not previously achieved. The crisp guitar solos by Mike Mushok obliterate any of his previous work and the structure of each of song is impeccable. “The Bottom” has a striking melody that sounds like a cross between Nine Inch Nails industrial rock and a Poison Power Ballad. It is a beautiful melody punctuated by Lewis’ amazing voice. “Now” is a solid, hard rocking smack in the face complete with finger shredding guitar work worthy of a Mastodon comparison. “Wannabe” is a war cry for the haters to go away and find somewhere else to waste their time. Hearing Staind call out the freeloaders was the highlight of the record.
Staind finds the band pulling no punches, and musically, it finds the band meshing the likes of which they haven’t since the late 90s. This is Staind at the top of their game and it’s a welcome thing of beauty. Lead singer Aaron Lewis’ voice is as powerful as ever. His singing ability has never failed to amaze me and even more so on Staind. Mike Mushok is firing on all cylinders, exploding through blistering guitar solos, and keeping the melodies in perfect harmony with the rest of the music. The rhythm section of Johnny April and Jon Wysocki (no longer a member of the band) round out the music nicely.
Less is more was a theory that the band obviously subscribed to, and it paid huge dividends. While Staind only comes with 10 tracks, each of these masterfully crafted beauties are works of art worthy of cherishing for several years to come. Had I given this record a chance sooner than 2012, it’s possible that it may have cracked my top 10 for 2011. Well, there’s always the top ten for the decade.
Rating: Out of 10
- Eyes Wide Open
- Not Again
- Throw It All Away
- Take A Breath
- The Bottom
- Paper Wings
- Something To Remind You
Aaron Lewis – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Mike Mushok – Lead Guitar
Johnny April – Bass
Jon Wysocki – Drums
In what could be his best release since Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Bruce Springsteen has returned with a magnificent album fueled by anger, poignant with insight, and offering a glimmer of hope for the future. That album is Wrecking Ball, and it is the first album Springsteen has recorded since the death of his dear friend, and founding E-Street Band member, Clarence (Big Man) Clemons.
While the last Springsteen album (2009’s Working On A Dream) was criticized as being too rushed, too polished, and too pop oriented, none of those comments can be regurgitated for this record. Wrecking Ball is the antithesis of Working On A Dream. Musically, the album is heavier. Lyrically, the album is angrier. Spiritually, the album is much more uplifting and inspiring. Wrecking Ball is a request to a nation; regain the fire that once burned bright in their belly.
If Working On A Dream was themed with hope, opportunity, and a chance for change, Wrecking Ball is a call to action for that change to happen now. The frustration and demand is felt in these songs written by a man mired in blue collar roots who is saddened by the current state of his America. The current situation has cheated us with empty promises and side mouth talking. The time to act upon those promises is now. It’s time for people to rebound and put in the hard work, as a group, not as individuals, required to take back the strength we all once commanded. There is hope in the future. The hope comes with a price though. We have to be willing to put in the sweat required today in order to receive a brighter tomorrow.
While not as patriotic as Born In The USA, Wrecking Ball speaks to the American public. The cynicism of modern day Bruce is immediately felt on opening track “We Take Care Of Our Own.” The lyrics cry out that we feel cheated. The promises of a better today have not arrived and need to. Springsteen sings that “the road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone,” letting us know that the time for talk is behind us and the time for immediate action is upon us. If we join together and take care of our own, we will be able to accomplish anything that we desire.
Calls of unity and group action (“We Take Care Of Our Own”), overcoming tragic loss and still moving forward (“This Depression”), taking the worst that comes and conquering (“Wrecking Ball”) and seeing hope in the future (“Land Of Hope And Dreams”) dominate this record. Springsteen has reached back to a style of writing reminiscent of his early, mid-70s career and composed music with a message and a meaning. The time to stand up and fight for what we believe in is now. There can be no tomorrow if we don’t take action today. The challenge is laid forth. We can overcome it and become greater than we ever imagined.
Recording this album also found Bruce Springsteen in the studio without his best friend and longtime band mate, Clarence Clemons. The trademark saxophone has been replaced by trumpets and horns, electronic drum tracking and plenty of fiddle. Songs like “Rocky Ground” and “This Depression” contain dual messages that not only center on the current state of our nation, but also describe the pain of moving forward after losing someone that has meant so much for so many years. How does a man move forward from that? Strength, determination, and remembering what the friendship stood for are some of the key ways.
Blending his 70s style blue collar rock with his more recent Irish folk flavor, and mixing in some good old fashioned classic guitar rock, Bruce Springsteen has struck gold with his latest release. There is something for everyone on Wrecking Ball. From ballads to blues, from guitar solos, to foot stomping folk songs, Wrecking Ball has it all. That is what makes it such a great treasure. After 40 years, Bruce Springsteen still knows how to rock and roll and Wrecking Ball is the current proof of his lasting musical genius.
Rating: Out of 10
- We Take Care Of Our Own
- Easy Money
- Shackled And Drawn
- Jack Of All Trades
- Death To My Hometown
- This Depression
- Wrecking Ball
- You’ve Got It
- Rocky Ground
- Land Of Hope And Dreams
- We Are Alive
Reach deep into the memory banks and recall such classic Survivor hits as “The Search Is Over” and “Burning Heart.” Once that image/sound is conjured into the cerebrum, the brain will be in tune with the sound of Mecca. Mecca is a strong band that performs Album Oriented Rock (AOR) and was considered to be one of the best in the business when their debut album was released in 2002.
Mecca is a melody waiting to erupt. Keyboard driven rock with blistering guitars serve as the footprint for Undeniable. There is a lot of passion to be felt on the songs contained within Undeniable. Strong vocals combined with solid guitars and layers of keyboards are what make Mecca’s Undeniable an enjoyable album. What’s most enjoyable about this disc is the positive, uplifting hope that the lyrics and melody provide.
Opening track, “Perfect World,” sets the stage for the good vibes that can be felt throughout the record. Lead singer Joey Vana sings of how a perfect world would contain harmony and bliss. There would be no war, no crime, and no anger. In a perfect world there would be no need for money or time, because everyone would have all that they need. The message in the song is clear—if we all try hard enough, we can live in this peaceful, perfect world.
“From The Start” is decidedly the best song on Undeniable and the real gem of the record. Vana’s voice sounds exceptional and the guitar work from both Vana and Mark Alano provides an incredible musical backdrop. The song can transport the listener back to the days of youth, when getting over a heartbreak was the worst thing in the world. If I were a lovesick teenager once again, “From The Start,” would be at the top of my playlist. A passionate song sung with power and feeling, dealing with heartache and loss, “From The Start,” is an incredible song that has “hit” written all over it.
It is absolutely clear that Joey Vana has a solid voice. His strong vocals and high octave range are worthy of a melodic rock lead singer and may even leave other singers in the genre a little jealous. Vana’s vocal chords deliver the goods in a most enjoyable way. Basically, the man can sing with the best of them. While it may have taken Mecca nine years to record and release this album, it was well worth the wait. Vana’s vocals never falter, the guitar solos are blistering and fantastic, and the keyboards/synthesizers tie the melodies together in perfect harmony. What more could you ask for in a record?
If you are a fan of the heavier side of rock (speed metal, thrash), then Undeniable is probably not for you. However, if you are looking to discover some darned good music from a band that you may not be familiar with, then you should definitely give Mecca’s Undeniable a try. It’s a solid record that will bring your ears some joy.
Rating: Out of 10
- Perfect World
- Closing Time
- Ten Lifetimes
- Life’s Too Short
- I Know
- Did It For Love
- From The Start
- Deceptive Cadence
- As I Walk Alone
Joey Vana – Vocals and Guitars
Brian Moritz – Keyboards
Paul Pisciotto – Synthesizers
Wally Hustin – Bass
Rick Vitek – Drums
Mark Alano – Guitars
Elegant, melodic rock is the first impression garnered when listening to On Top Of The World by Coastland Ride. On Top Of The World is the second release from Sweden’s Coastland Ride. Their self titled debut was released in 2003 and the band was finally able to release their sophomore effort late last year thanks to signing a new record deal with Avenue of Allies.
On Top Of The World contains all of the general flavor that one would expect from a melodic rock band. Leaning toward the softer side of rock, Coastland Ride and similar bands of the genre create a sound driven by keyboards and melody. While this is not something a listener will bang a head to, it is still good music to jam when the mood strikes.
Embracing the soft rock sound, Coastland Ride have gone heavy on the keys and melodies for On Top Of The World. Opening track “Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons)” sets the stage for what’s to come. Vocalist Markus Nordenberg’s voice hits the ears immediately and causes a slight smile to form. The smile grows as the album plays on. Songs like “Made Up My Mind” and “Lodestar” are bound to be regular spins once they’ve been heard just once.
“Made Up My Mind” is a terrific song of destiny and overcoming hard times and difficult challenges to achieve goals. There are always times when we want to give up and forget the goal we have in our hearts, but songs like “Made Up My Mind” are a great reminder that we shouldn’t give up and we should always give our all to achieve what our heart desires. A great track, with a solid guitar solo and a strong message, “Made Up My Mind” is one of the best cuts on this album.
The funk and groove of “Lodestar” makes it a stand out track from On Top Of The World. The beat is different from most of the other tracks and really has feet tapping. “Lodestar” is an enjoyable treat with a crisp bass line, tight vocals, and dancing keyboards that make the song come alive. “Lodestar” is certainly a favorite that may find you dancing along while the song plays on.
While it’s been a long time in between albums for Coastland Ride, it hasn’t made the quality of their music suffer. If you’re a fan of the softer side of rock, melodic melodies, or album oriented rock, Coastland Ride’s On Top Of The World is a good addition to your collection.
Rating: Out of 10
Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons)
On Top Of The World
Made Up My Mind
Save You From Yourself
Nail Me To The Cross
Coastland Ride Are:
Anders Rybank – keyboards, guitars, bass, & drums
Mikael Bohlin – keyboards, guitars
Markus Nordenberg – vocals
On their debut CD, Will Wallner & Vivien Vain have recruited some of hard rock’s finest musicians to help craft their songs. The end result is a remarkable hard rock CD that I can’t stop listening to. Will Wallner may not be a guitarist whose name you recognize. One listen to this CD, and I think he could possibly become an overnight sensation. Wallner delivers some of the best hard rock riffs I have heard in 2012, and that includes the recent works from Eddie Van Halen & Vinnie Moore (in UFO). Wallner’s style reminds me of a cross between Randy Rhoads & Jake E. Lee. That is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion.
Vivien Vain, where have you been hiding? Vain is easily one of the best new female hard rock vocalists that I have heard in quite some time. Her powerful pipes are a very good match for Wallner’s heavy riffs. Of course it doesn’t hurt when you attract the likes of Carmen Appice, Tony Franklin, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain, Tony Carey, Brian Tichy and Derek Sherinian to play on your songs. These hard rock legends help to craft some very cool tunes. I can’t begin to tell you how good it is to hear Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice (two-thirds of Blue Murder) playing on some songs together again. This is very cool stuff indeed!
The best songs on the CD are “Dreamstealer”, “Streets of Rage” & “Miles Ahead”, but there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
If you are a fan of 80′s hard rock, you ought to check out this CD. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
- The Dream
- Streets Of Rage
- Fourteen Twenty Eight
- All That I Want
- Miles Ahead
- Soul Monster
Vivien Vain – Vocals
Will Wallner – Guitar
Tony Carey – Keys on Tracks 1, 2, 8, 9
Jimmy Bain – Bass on Track 2
Vinny Appice – Drums on Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6
Carmine Appice – Drums on Tracks 3, 5, 9
Tony Franklin – Bass on Tracks 3, 5, 7, 9
Rudy Sarzo – Bass on Tracks 4, 6
Brian Tichy – Drums on Track 7
Derek Sherinian – Keys on Track 7
Royal Hunt is back with their eleventh long player Show Me How To Live. Show Me How to Live features the return of D.C. Cooper (Silent Force) on vocals. DC Cooper’s parting from Royal Hunt was not an amicable move back in the late 90′s, so I am glad the gentleman in Royal Hunt could mend the fences. D.C. Cooper has an outstanding voice, and after giving Show Me How To Live a few spins, I can clearly say, it sounds like he never left.
Don’t misunderstand my excitement with D.C. Cooper returning to Royal Hunt. I thought Mark Boals and John West both did a great job singing for this band. I liked Royal Hunt’s last album X a lot. I don’t know what it is, but there seems to be magic when André Andersen and D.C. Cooper record together.
Show Me How To Live is a tight record packed with melodic, and progressive edged tunes that are a pure pleasure to listen to.
The album starts off with a powerful rocker “One More Day” which is also the main chorus of the song. With Jonas Larsen’s excellent guitar work, and the catchy lyrics, I have found this song to be extremely infectious.
“Another Man Down” (See video below) is a duet with Michelle Raitzin. Raitzin’s vocals are a very good match for D.C. Cooper.
Every time I play “Hard Rain’s Coming” I want to hit repeat. Not only is this one of the best songs on Show Me How To Live, it may also be one of Royal Hunt’s best.
The album’s title track “Show Me How To Live” is a ten minute melodic monster. The musicianship is so incredible you forget that you are listening a song this long.
With only seven songs, I wish Show Me How To Live had a few more tunes, but with 42 minutes of music that is THIS good, I am still quite satisfied.
Royal Hunt fans, do yourself a favor and pick this CD up. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
01. One More Day
02. Another Man Down
03. An Empty Shell
04. Hard Rain’s Coming
05. Half Past Loneliness
06. Show Me How To Live
07. Angel’s Gone
Royal Hunt is:
André Andersen – keyboards
D.C. Cooper – vocals
Allan Sørensen – drums
Andreas Passmark – bass
Jonas Larsen – guitars
Most Hard Rock enthusiasts would agree that it is the presence of a guitar solo that truly defines whether a song should be considered Hard Rock. Should that definition be used as a litmus test to what is or isn’t Hard Rock, then UFO has passed with flying colors. The most enjoyable part of their new disc, Seven Deadly, is the fact that every song gets a guitar solo — rock, the way it ought to be!
It never ceases to amaze me how musicians like UFO that have been around for such a long time can still put out poignant, high quality music for the masses. UFO’s debut album came out in 1970 and they’ve been rocking the world ever since. Seven Deadly is the band’s 22nd record, and while there have been numerous upon numerous lineup changes, original members Phil Mogg and Andy Parker are part of the latest disc.
Combining southern rock, blues, a twinge of 80s metal, and hard riffs, UFO has created an outstanding record that both longtime fans and “Johnny-come-lately” are going to be ecstatic about. The creative outpouring on Seven Deadly is attributable to the band’s veteran dedication to their craft. After 22 albums, one might think the band would decide to rest on their laurels, or release some sub-par material that had been sitting around for years, not making it on other albums. That is definitely not the case with Seven Deadly. UFO proves they still have what it takes and that nothing less than the best will do for the band and their fans.
“Fight Night” kicks the record off in style and immediately brings forth the hard rocking, bluesy sound of UFO. Guitarist Vinne Moore immediately establishes himself as an amazing lead guitarist and the centerpiece of the magnificent music that is bursting from the speakers.
Phil Mogg’s voice has held up well over the years. That is most evident on the track “Angel Station.” This is the slower, prerequisite ballad of the disc, but it is performed with passion and power. Mogg can still hit the high notes and sing with such clarity that it’s hard to believe his age. “Angel Station” is a brilliant song that moves the listener. Mogg does an incredible service to the vocals on this song and the finished piece is proof of his ability with the microphone.
Not enough great things can be said about lead guitarist Vinnie Moore. His best solo comes on the track “The Last Stone Rider.” Combining blues, metal, and finger picking at its best, Vinnie Moore shows some great, flashy techniques with the axe in his hand. His guitar playing prowess is evident all over Seven Deadly and one of the best treats of the album. If you are not a fan of Vinnie Moore, you will be after listening to Seven Deadly” His guitar work takes the album from great to outstanding.
Album closer, “Waving Goodbye,” is a perfect way to end such an esteemed album. A bluesy, ballad that contains another magnificent Moore solo and passionately sung lyrics, this is one of the best songs contained on Seven Deadly and it is worthy of multiple listens. If ever there was a song to add to the joys of summer playlist, “Waving Goodbye” is it.
If you’re seeking new rock from a classic artist that sounds as grand as ever, Seven Deadly by UFO is an album for you. The brilliance of the music and the magnificence of Vinnie Moore make it a record worthy of adding to the collection. UFO has struck gold once again.
Key Tracks: Year of the Gun, Waving Goodbye
Rating: Out of 10
- Fight Night
- Mojo Town
- Angel Station
- Year Of The Gun
- The Last Stone Rider
- Steal Yourself
- Burn Your House Down
- The Fear
- Waving Goodbye
Phil Mogg – Vocals
Vinnie Moore – Lead Guitar
Paul Raymond – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
Andy Parker – Drums
Hair Metal Core...that is how I have heard the band Blessed By A Broken Heart described, and that pretty much fits them perfectly. On the band’s third album, they have relaxed the metal core vocals, and that is a good thing. I have never been a fan of the hardcore/metalcore style of vocals. To me, that style of vocals sounds like Cookie Monster vomiting his cookies, while he tries to spit out a sentence. I prefer clean vocals, and Feel the Power has more clean vocals than either of Blessed By A Broken Heart’s previous two albums.
From a music perspective, this album is rifftastic! Blessed By a Broken Heart has crammed as many riff’s as possible on this album. Shred Sean & Sam Ryder have impressed the heck out of me with their guitar playing on this CD. Most of the songs on Feel the Power are up tempo, and give off a positive vibe. The sound varies from the retro 80′s hard rock style, to the more modern guitar offerings of bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Black Tide.
“Shut Up and Rock” features the vocals of Dallas Taylor from Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. This song is easily one of my favorites on the album.
“I’ve Got You” reinvents the 80′s power ballad, while “Scream It Like You Mean It” and “Forever” (See video below) might be the most melodic tunes on the album. All of these songs will likely have appeal to melodic rock fans.
Overall, I enjoyed this album, but I wish the band would lose the metal core vocals. That is the only thing that held this album back from being a great one. If you enjoy the clips below, you should give this one a chance.
You can purchase Feel the Power at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Shut Up and Rock
3. Love Nightmare
5. Thunder Dome
6. Holdin’ Back for Nothin’
7. I’ve Got You
8. Rockin’ All Night
9. Scream It Like You Mean It
10. Skate or Die
11. Innocent Blood
12. Sleepless Nights
Blessed By a Broken Heart is:
Tony Gambino (lead vocals)
Shred Sean (lead guitar)
Tyler Hoare (bass guitar, backing vocals)
Slater (drums, backing vocals)
Sam Ryder (rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
Dallas Taylor (Maylene and the Sons of Disaster) (vocals on “Shut Up and Rock”)
It is finally here! The album you have been waiting for since 1984…….. A Different Kind of Truth. It seems like I have been waiting for ages to hear David Lee Roth sing with Van Halen again. I enjoyed the tunes from the brief, but short-lived reunion in 1996, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”, and “Me Wise Magic” . A Different Kind of Truth is exactly what I have been waiting for…… An album that sounds like classic Van Halen. While I enjoyed the Sammy Hagar years in Van Halen, I have always longed for Van Halen’s return to their classic sound. That is exactly what A Different Kind of Truth sounds like. Classic Van Halen! This album has a massive production, and will please most audiophiles out there.
I am sure there are many of you that would love to have an album that is on a par with Van Halen I. This album isn’t it. If you want a heavy Van Halen album, with tons of guitars and that fun party rock that Van Halen is known for, A Different Kind of Truth will put a big smile on your face.
I read where many folks were slamming the song “Tattoo”, and while I can understand other people’s opinions, I like the song. It kind of reminds me of David Lee Roth’s song “Sensible Shoes” from his 1991 album, A Little Ain’t Enough. It is a catchy song, but it is one of the lesser songs on this CD.
I have to admit that I like the original demo version of “She’s The Woman” better than this latest version. I miss Michael Anthony’s background vocals. This version is good, and if you haven’t the original unreleased version of this song, you will probably love it.
Alex Van Halen makes his presence felt on the song “China Town”. I have always though of Alex as an incredible drummer. He continues to show just how awesome he is by pulverizing his drum kit, with a super fast tempo, and pounding rhythms. This isn’t a song that would be used as a radio single, but it is one of those deep Van Halen tracks that long time fans of the band will appreciate.
“Blood and Fire” screams radio hit. This song isn’t super heavy, and this song could have easily worked in the Hagar years, but David Lee Roth owns this one.
“HoneybabySweetiedoll” has a strange intro, but this is the kind of aggressive VH tune I have been waiting to hear for years! I love this! “The Trouble With Never” is a catchy, heavy rocker that Van Halen should release as their second single. Those fans on the fence after hearing “Tattoo” will certainly jump on the Van Halen train, after hearing “The Trouble With Never”.
“Stay Frosty” has that same type of acoustic guitar style as the Van Halen classic “Ice Cream Man”, but nowhere near as good as that song (which is one of my Van Halen favorites). The song gets a little heavier towards the middle, but even with Eddie Van Halen’s awesome riffs, this song is still one the weaker tracks.
A Different Kind of Truth closes out in strong fashion with two heavy rockers back to back with “Big River” and “Beats Workin”. It often sounds like to be me that David Lee Roth is singing “Big Trouble” in “Big River”, but it is a cool song nonetheless. Eddie tears it up on “Beats Workin’” and rest assured, but the time this song ends, I am hitting repeat to listen to this CD again.
Thanks to the Van Halen clan and David Lee Roth for releasing the Van Halen album, I have been longing for. A Different Kind of Truth is a tremendous comeback album that I can’t stop listening to. All Van Halen fans should pick up immediately. Highly Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
02. She’s The Woman
03. You and Your Blues
04. China Town
05. Blood and Fire
07. As Is
09. The Trouble With Never
10. Outta Space
11. Stay Frosty
12. Big River
13. Beats Workin’
Van Halen is:
Eddie Van Halen – Guitars
Alex Van Halen – Drums
Wolfgang Van Halen – Bass
David Lee Roth – Vocals
Irish band Glyder recently released their fourth album, Backroads To Byzantium. This was my first exposure to the band and what stood out immediately was Glyder’s 70s style rock sound. While there is not one 70s band in particular they can be compared to, Glyder’s sound is an amalgamation of all 70s rock, from Fleetwood Mac to T-Rex. The band certainly falls into the soft rock category much more than the hard rock side.
While Backroads To Byzantium didn’t wow me out of the gate, it still has its moments and gems. “Even If I Don’t Know Where I’m Gonna Go” is a great highway cruising song and the slide guitar by Bat Kinane and Pete Fisher are stupendous. In fact, the guitar work throughout Backroads To Byzantium is in the upper echelon of greatness. Kinane and Fisher are both expert guitarists and their ability is stamped all over this album.
At the center of the songs is lead singer Jackie Robinson. His smoky voice is a blend of Skynyrd and Allman. Robinson solidifies the 70s style rock and roll that Glyder performs and his voice, while limited in range, is a unique and memorable force. Robinson is the perfect singer for Glyder as his vocal style is an exceptional accompaniment to the music Glyder performs.
The best song on Backroads To Byzantium is easily the last one. “Motions Of Time” is the big ballad and final track of the record. Armed with a memorable hook and fantastic guitar picking, “Motions Of Time,” is as emotional as a ballad should be and left me wanting to hear more songs like this. Obviously Glyder didn’t want to put out an album of ballads, but it appears to be one of the bands strengths. “Motions Of Time” is a blissful mix of blues and acoustic rock.
If you are a fan of the softer side of rock, then Backroads To Byzantium is something you are bound to enjoy. The guitar work alone makes the album worthy of a few spins. However, if you are looking for something a little heavier, then it’s best to pass this one by.
Rating: Out of 10
- Chronicled Deceit
- Long Gone
- Fade To Dust
- Even If I Don’t Know Where I’m Gonna Go
- Don’t Make Their Mistake
- Down & Out
- Something She Knows
- Two Wrongs
- End Of The Line
- Motions Of Time
Jackie Robinson – Vocals
Bat Kinane – Guitars
Pete Fisher – Guitars
Graham McClatchie – Bass
Des McEvoy – Drums
Riot is easily one of the most under rated metal bands in the world. In 2011, the band has reunited with their classic Thundersteel and The Privelege of Power lineup to release their fifteenth slab of blood-pumping, fist-throwing metal, Immortal Soul. While I have enjoyed the Riot releases with singer Mike Dimeo, I have always regarded Thundersteel as one of Riot’s best albums. I am glad that Tony Moore has returned to sing for Riot once more.
If Tony Moore has lost any range in his voice, it isn’t evident on Immortal Soul. On the opening song “Still Your Man” he quickly establishes that he is still very much the powerhouse vocalist from Riot’s Thundersteel days! This song easily could have been on that album. It is an impressive beginning to an excellent metal album.
If “Still Your Man” doesn’t trip your trigger, “Wings Are For Angels” definitely will. This powerful tune is easily one of the best on Immortal Soul. Moore’s voice soars to new heights, and Reale and Flyntz tear it up on guitar.
“Sins of the Father” is the type of song that makes me want to jump in the car, and drop the pedal to floor. This song is blazing fast, and will definitely get your heart racing. Bobby Jarzombek sounds like he is having a lot of fun playing the drums in this song.
“Fall Before Me” is one of the slower tunes on the album. This song has more of a modern feel, with more toned down riffs. It wouldn’t sound out of place with the stuff they are playing on rock radio today.
Mark Reale’s guitar work on this album is beyond incredible. He rips out those blazing fast metal riffs like a man possessed. Any fan of metal guitar playing will love what Reale is doing on Immortal Soul.
Sadly, Immortal Soul is the swan song for guitar Mark Reale who passed away from complications with Crohn’s disease on Wednesday (1/25/12). Mark has been the one constant member throughout all of Riot’s lineup changes over the years. Mark’s contributions to heavy metal music will be greatly missed. Mark’s Immortal Soul has now been carried on to Heavy Metal Heaven. He left us will some killer tunes to enjoy as his parting goodbye. I am sad that I will never get to see Mark perform these songs live, but I am very glad that I picked this CD up.
If you are a metal fan, you should check out Immortal Soul, you won’t be disappointed. You can purchase a copy of the CD at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Still Your Man
04. Wings Are For Angels
05. Sins of the Father
06. Fall Before Me
08. Immortal Soul
10. Whiskey Man
Tony Moore – Vocals
Mark Reale – Guitar
Mike Flyntz – Guitar
Don Van Stavern – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
I have been a fan of Tony Martin since he first joined Black Sabbath back in 1987, and I have picked up several of his lesser known releases (Empire, Phenomena) along the way. Somehow, I have missed the CD’s he has put out with Dario Mollo.
Judging from the sounds on the latest Mollo Martin CD, The Third Cage, I need to rectify that situation soon.
Tony Martin is by far the least heralded of Black Sabbath’s singers. That is a shame as he delivered some great vocals for Black Sabbath, and continues to do so for Mollo / Martin.
The Third Cage comes out of the gate firing with the hard rocker, “Wicked World”. “Wicked World” pushes Tony Martin to his vocal peak, and Dario Mollo delivers some heavy licks that leave me wanting to hear more!
“Cirque Du Freak” has this odd keyboard/synthesizer that gives the beginning of the song, an industrial feel. Luckily this doesn’t plague the song, as Martin delivers what could be his best vocal on this album.
“Oh My Soul” is a song that seems tailor made for rock radio. On this slow brooding tune, Tony Martin practically sounds like Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) on this song, and that is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion. “Oh My Soul” is definitely one of the highlights on The Third Cage.
“One of the Few” falls into the AOR/Melodic Rock territory. Meldodic rock fans are going to eat this tune up. This catchy tune has it all…. great guitar work from Dario Mallo, and another outstanding vocal from Tony Martin.
“Still In Love With You” is another heavy rocker in the vein of Dio era Black Sabbath. This song is heavy, dark, and powerful. Mollo’s guitar riffs in this song are crazy good!
I have mixed feelings about the song “Can’t Stay Here”. The vocals are great, the guitar work is solid, but this song needed a little bit of something to take it over the top. It isn’t filler, but it could be much better.
“Wardance” is a bit of a grower. This metal anthem takes a couple of spins to fully appreciate. I can see this song being done in a live setting with thousands of fans screaming War…..Dance!
“Don’t Know What It is About You” is a melodic rock song that has parts that remind me of a heavy Enuff Z’nuff song. The background vocals on this song are kind of weak, and that brings the song down in my opinion.
“Blind Fury” is another Metal Anthem that is catchy as hell. This is another highlight on The Third Cage.
Tony Martin’s voice on “Violet Moon” reminds me a lot Oni Logan, and as a result, this song kind of sounds like a Lynch Mob tune. This is a cool song to close out The Third Cage with.
Overall I enjoyed this CD quite a bit. This is another strong effort from Dario Mollo and Tony Martin. If you are a Dio, Black Sabbath, or Tony Martin fan, you gotta check out The Third Cage. I think you are going to love it. I recommended it!
You can purchase a copy of The Third Cage at this link. Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Wicked World
02. Cirque Du Freak
03. Oh My Soul
04. One Of The Few
05. Still In Love With You
06. Can’t Stay Here
08. Don’t Know What It Is About You
09. Blind Fury
10. Violet Moon
Mollo / Martin is:
Dario Mollo- Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Tony Martin– Vocals
Roberto Gualdi – Drums
Fulvio Gaslini – Bass
Dario Patti / Brian War – Keyboards
As much as we love new music at Hard Rock Hideout, sometimes we have to take a few minutes to remember the classics.
2012 marks the 30th anniversary (Released April 30th, 1982) of Cheap Trick’s sixth (and possibly most underrated) album, One On One.
One on One is a very easy album to listen to from beginning to end. Even with eleven songs, it clocks in under thirty five minutes. This album features an eclectic mix of pop rockers, and a song or two that you wouldn’t expect from Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick has some mild success with the song “She’s Tight”. This was a top 20 rock hit for Cheap Trick, and still sounds great today.
Why the song “I Want You” doesn’t get airplay today mystifies me. It is a short rocker that seems tailor-made for the radio.
“If You Want My Love” is one of my favorites on One On One. This song is dripping with the influence of The Beatles, but that is what makes it so cool.
“Oo La La La” might have some silly lyrics, but this song is also ridiculously catchy.
I am not sure how to classify the song, “Saturday at Midnight”. Is it disco? Is it rock? You can definitely tell this one is from the eighties with its keyboard effects, but I like it anyway.
Could “I Want Be Man” have influenced a young Trent Reznor? This song almost sounds like early Industrial rock, before their was a genre. I know many Cheap Trick fans hate this song, but I think it is cool for what it is.
The album “Four Letter Word” sounds as if it could have been on a Billy Squier album. It is a semi heavier number, and a really good tune.
One On One is first album to feature Jon Brant on bass. A position he filled for several years before Tom Petersen’s return. I don’t know if Brant added a heavier influence to the songs, but he was a good addition to Cheap Trick even if it was temporary at best.
One On One might be thirty years old this year, but it still sounds better than a lot of the crap that is on the FM dial. Do yourself a favor and check this CD out!
Rating: Out of 10
- I Want You
- One on One
- If You Want My Love
- Oo La La La
- Lookin’ Out For Number One
- She’s Tight
- Time is Runnin’
- Saturday at Midnight
- Love’s Got a Hold on Me
- I Want Be Man
- Four Letter Word
Cheap Trick is:
Robin Zander – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
Rick Nielsen – lead guitar, backing vocals
Jon Brant – bass, backing vocals
Bun E. Carlos – drums, percussion
Finding a cool CD sometimes requires you to be in the right place, at the right time. On a freezing cold Thursday afternoon, I stopped in the local Half Price Books, not to look for music, but to find a movie on DVD that I only had on VHS. I was unsuccessful in finding the movie I was looking for (Aliens), but from the previously owned music section, Doro’s Force Majeure found itself in my hands rather quickly.
Force Majeure is the first CD Doro recorded without the Warlock name. This CD has several classic cuts including
“Save My Soul”, “World Gone Wild”, the cover of Procul Harum’s “A White Shade of Pale”and my personal favorite “River of Tears”.
I once owned Force Majeure on cassette, but never replaced on CD until yesterday afternoon. I can’t believe it took me so long to replace this on CD. I have been thoroughly enjoying Force Majeure, and highly recommend this to all Doro Pesch fans! Doro’s voice has never sounded better than it does on Force Majeure. This CD has some cool tunes and also features the excellent guitar work of Jon Levin.
You can score this CD for less than five bucks at this link. It is worth every penny!
Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
1. A Whiter Shade of Pale 3:56
2. Save My Soul 3:51
3. World Gone Wild 3:44
4. Misson of Mercy 3:59
5. Angels With Dirty Faces 3:59
6. Beyond the Trees 2:27
7. Hard Times 3:33
8. Hellraiser 5:04
9. I Am What I Am 2:36
10. Cry Wolf 4:47
11. Under the Gun 3:48
12. River of Tears 3:54
13. Bis Aufs Blut 0:38
Doro Pesch – vocals
Jon Levin – guitars
Tommy Henriksen – bass and background vocals
Bobby Rondinelli – drums
In the late 80s, Suicidal Tendencies ruled the thrash realm alongside bands like Megadeth and Anthrax. By 1989, the band’s popularity dwarfed that of their comrades. With hits like “Institutionalized,” “Join The Army,” and “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow, When I Can’t Even Smile Today,” Suicidal Tendencies were at the top of their game. In 2001, the band took a long hiatus before releasing a few compilation albums. During that time, lead singer, Mike Muir, released some solo CDs, under the moniker Cyco Miko. His latest Cyco Miko effort, The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour is a gift to fans of Suicidal Tendencies everywhere.
Opening with the instrumental “MMM,” Mike Muir and company draw from Muir’s days in Suicidal Tendencies with an in your face, heart pounding, hard thrash opening. The album erupts from there, spilling out all of Muir’s influences. Muir reminds us all why we loved Suicidal Tendencies so much in the 80s and makes us long for a new album from the band. Gleaning bits of Suicidal Tendencies, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Primus, Cyco Miko combines thrash, funk, alternative, and groove, yet never clearly depicts one particular sound. Some fans will love the variety contained on this record, others will wish that Muir could make up his mind.
Overall, The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour is a great disc. Heavy songs with deep lyrics like “Happiness” and “Done Gone Stupid,” will find fists in the air and forge shout-alongs in no time. The slower ballads like the Suicidal Tendencies cover “Alone,” and “Logical Thoughts Of A Lunatic” express the pain life puts everyone through. The deep spiritual growth contained in the songs can resonate with fans old and young. The style of music may be all over the map, but the sound is clearly enjoyable. Cyco Miko may not be able to proclaim one particular genre, but that’s all right. The strong songs found on The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour don’t need to be pigeonholed into one category. They can all fall under the same label of great music.
Notable Tracks: “Happiness,” “Done Gone Stupid,” “Hang On (The Fight Song)
Rating: Out of 10
- All The Way
- Got Feeling
- Done Gone Stupid
- Full Of It
- Hang On (The Fight Song)
- Logical Thoughts Of A Lunatic
- Who’s Next
- What It Is
- S. Lo Death