The first attention grabber from Pretty Wild is the fact that rock a scream this grand hasn’t been heard since Steelheart was in their prime. That sucked me in right away and set a very high expectation level for what was to come. And the good news is that those expectations were exceeded by the fourth song on Pretty Wild. If you’ve been yearning for some exceptional sleaze rock, welcome to Pretty Wild!
Pretty Wild hails from Sweden and upon formation they had one mission in mind: play the best 80s metal possible. They have certainly reached that feat. Their overall style and sound is an exact replica of the greatest 80s metal bands, but Pretty Wild has a unique signature of their own, which means they are more than a just a carbon copy of great 80s metal, they are also a unique force in the world of 80s hard rock music and Swedish metal in general.
The hard rocking tunes are plentiful on Pretty Wild. The album kicks off with the hard rocking “Are You Ready,” which starts with a pounding bass drum and the chants of “Are you ready, are you ready for me?” Once the guitar started to slowly build up just under the surface, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before the song exploded. And at the center of the explosion was the first rock scream from vocalist Ivan Ivve Hoglund. The fun factor just ramped up from there.
“Staring At The Sun” is a great highway song that should be played at maximum volume with the windows down, the sun on the horizon, and your foot pressing the gas pedal hard. It is a song that is very reminiscent of some of the great sounds from my youth, and “Staring At The Sun” made me feel like I was 17 again. Hoglund’s vocals were tight and glorious, while the guitar work from Axl Ludwig was flat out fun.
Ballads are present and accounted for on Pretty Wild and done in the appropriate power ballad fashion. “All I Want” and “High Enough” are the two stand out ballads, with “High Enough” just edging out “All I Want” as the better ballad overall. Both songs are exceptional, showing off the talents of all band members, and make me yearn for a video that would rule the Dial MTV charts. However, the guitar solo on “High Enough” is so amazing that it gives this song the edge for best ballad on the record.
If you’re yearning for the sound of the 80s with a modern flair, or if you’re just looking for some flat out fun hard rock to add to your collection, check out Pretty Wild. These guys are the real deal and I can guarantee that their debut album is going to get a lot off spins from me.
Notable Tracks: Are You Ready, High Enough, Hold On
01. Are You Ready
02. Get It On
03. Troubled Water
04. All I Want
06. Staring At The Sun
07. High Enough
08. Ready To Go
11. Blow The Night Away
12. Come Out Tonight
13. Hold On
14. Pretty Wild
Pretty Wild Is:
Ivan Ivve Hoglund – Vocals
Axl Ludwig – Guitar
Kim Chevelle – Bass
Johnny Benson – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Alex Beyrodt and Mat Sinner are busy men. Beyrodt and Sinner already have two great releases with Voodoo Circle & Sinner in 2013, and now in 2014, Silent Force & Primal Fear. In the case of Silent Force, it has been seven long years since the band’s last album, Walk The Earth.
Silent Force’s new album Rising From Ashes boast a new singer, and a great one at that! Michael Bormann replaces former Silent Force singer DC Cooper on vocals, and helps to turn in one of the best melodic rock albums of 2014 so far. For those of you not familiar with Bormann, he has lent his vocals to several great bands over the years including Jaded Heart, Bonfire, Redrum and more. He is a fantastic singer, and a great addition to Silent Force.
Rising From Ashes is packed full of heavy, melodic and catchy rockers. Alex Beyrodt delivers an album full of amazing guitar work, and Alessandro Del Vecchio adds a melodic flair to the music with his outstanding keyboards. Some of my favorites on the album are “Caught In the Wicked Game”, “There Ain’t No Justice”, “You Gotta Kick It “, and “Born To Be A Fighter”, but this is an album that I can listen to from beginning to end without the need to skip a track.
Rising From Ashes grows on you more and more with each play. I have always loved Michael Bormann’s voice, and he does an outstanding job as Silent Force’s new front man. I can only hope that Silent Force will make it to the U.S. as some point. I would love to hear the songs from this album live. If Rising From Ashes is any indication of the music to be released in 2014, it will be a great year for hard rock. Check it out!
01. Caught In The Wicked Game
02. There Ain’t No Justice
03. Circle of Trust
04. Living to Die
05. Before You Run
06. You Gotta Kick It
07. Turn Me Loose
08. Born To Be A Fighter
09. Anytime Anywhere
10. Kiss of Death
Silent Force is:
Alex Beyrodt – guitars
Michael Bormann – vocals
Mat Sinner – bass
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keys
André Hilgers – drums
It seems like every couple of years or so, there is a new modern rock act to catch my attention. In the case of Age of Days (formerly known as Age of Daze), they aren’t new at all. The band has been around since 2005, and their latest release Radioactivity is their second album. Their first album, Hollywood Ending, was released in 2008. Judging from the songs on Radioactivity, I need to seek out Age of Days’ first album asap.
Radioactivity is packed with a bunch of radio ready singles that could spawn a bunch of hits for these Canadian rockers. Age of Days sound may not be original, but in their music, I hear a great blend of bands like Theory of a Deadman, Nickelback, My Darkest Days and Hinder. In fact, Sal Costa (ex-My Darkest Days) co-wrote and played guitars on the song “Now or Never” along with Hinder’s Cody Hansen on drums. Their music might be derivative of these other modern hard rock acts, but with an album as good as Radioactivity, I could care less. Age of Days have crafted a bunch of catchy tunes, that with a little bit of luck, could help make them a very successful rock act in the U.S. and beyond.
Radioactivity has a good mixture of modern pop rock/hard rock, and there isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Of course, my favorites on Radioactivity are the hard rockin’ numbers “Bombs Away”, “Justify”, “I Did It For Love”, “Ready to Go” and “All I Know”.
Radioactivity is an album that I can listen to, from beginning to end without the need to skip songs. I have enjoyed this album greatly, and I think you will too.
You can pick up Radioactivity at Amazon.com & at iTunes. Check it out!
Age of Days is:
Tim Morrison – vocals, guitar
Matt McLaughlin – bass, backing vocals
Brent Alvey – lead guitar
Mike Langford – drums
The wait is over! Stryper’s eighth studio album No More Hell To Pay is finally here. Good things come to those who wait, and No More Hell To Pay pays the listener massive dividends. This album delivers Stryper’s strongest and heaviest material since their 1988 classic album, In God We Trust. Big Vocals, bigger riffs and great songs, No More Hell To Pay has it all!
The album starts off with the heavy song “Revelation”. This song is classic Stryper all the way, and a fantastic lead off song for No More Hell To Pay.
The guitar tone for “No More Hell to Pay” takes me back to the Stryper classic “To Hell With The Devil”. This is a killer cut, and if you wondered if Michael Sweet lost any range in his voice, the answer is a most definite “no”! (Check it out in the video below).
Michael Sweet pushes his voice to new limits on the heavy rocker,”Saved By Love”. You have to hear this song to believe it. This is one amazing tune, and my new favorite from Stryper. I hope to hear them do this song live.
Stryper tears the roof off with their smokin’ cover of the Doobie Brothers hit, “Jesus is Just Alright”. This is easily one of the best cover songs I have heard in a long time. Stryper gave this song a great, heavy face lift, and it really works well.
“The One” does a good job changing the tempo on the album, and delivers a song that could get airplay, if DJ’s out there had a soul.
“The Legacy” is another face melting rocker that demands several replays just to register what you just heard. This is easily one of the heaviest Stryper songs to date.
“Marching Into Battle” sounds like it came out of the early 80′s and that is a great thing. This is one of those deep cuts that may not be hit material, but fans will appreciate this nonetheless. Michael Sweet again pushes his screams to the max on this tune.
I immediately hit replay after hearing “Te Amo” the first time. This is another tremendous rocker that is a feast for the ears. This song ought to be another big sing along tune for Stryper’s live set.
“Renewed” closes out No More Hell to Pay with another amazing rocker, and a song that is easily as good as the first.
Major kudos to Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, Robert Sweet and Tim Gaines. The yellow and black attack have released one of the best albums of their career. Michael Sweet’s voice has never been stronger, and the guitar work on this album is fantastic.
Clearly, No More Hell to Pay is an album that Stryper made for the fans, and it delivers all the way through. If you have ever listened or have been a fan of Stryper in the past, you are going to LOVE this album. If you do one thing this Tuesday, you should download the album from iTunes, or if you are old school like me, run (don’t walk) to your nearest music store and pick this CD up asap. You won’t be disappointed. No More Hell To Pay is one of the best albums of 2013. Get it now!! Highly recommended!!
02. No More Hell To Pay
03. Saved By Love
04. Jesus is Just Alright
05. The One
06. The Legacy
07. Marching Into Battle
08. Te Amo
09. Sticks & Stones
10. Water Into Wine
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar
Robert Sweet – Drums and Visual Timekeeping
Timothy Gaines – Bass / Vocals
Oz Fox – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Coming off the very strong and very fabulous Awake, Skillet has returned with their latest rock record, Rise. Fans have been waiting for a couple of years to see what Skillet had in them for a follow up to one of their most popular (and fantastic) records. Well, we can all rejoice, because Skillet has delivered a record that is every bit as good as its predecessor.
Rise opens with the hard hitting, heavy sounding, title track, “Rise.” If you love a guitar driven, hard rock sound, “Rise” is going to put a smile on your face. The song is a great opener for the record and sets the listener up for the rest of what’s to come—hard hitting rock music with an edge. Keyboards blend with shredding guitar and some hard pounding drums to create a strong, forceful album opener. “Rise” is just a great track.
Pounding drums, wailing guitars, and a steady heavy beat isn’t all that makes “Sick Of It” a hard core rock song. It is also the lyrics and the message behind the song. Almost a modern day “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Sick Of It” could be an anthem for a whole new generation. The song screams sing along at a concert, with fists flying in the air. “Sick Of It” speaks to standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe in. If you’re sick of…whatever…fight it and stand strong.
“Good To Be Alive” takes off on a similar message that “One Day Too Late” (from Awake) had, in the celebration of life and all that we have. A simple steady beat is the backdrop for lead singer John Cooper’s vocals, which are very strong on this song. And while the beat is simple, and the song is not overly complex, it is still quite amazing. “Good To Be Alive” was the first song that really grabbed me from this album and I found myself singing along almost immediately.
Skillet really hits a home run with “Not Gonna Die,” the best song on the album. This song has the perfect blend of guitar, vocals, anthem style rock, and overall fun. “Not Gonna Die” is a solid song that kicks off strong and immediate grabs the listener’s attention. It is also a song with deep meaning about fighting back and overcoming any challenges that life may throw. I always attach to songs like these because they are powerful in spirit, style, and substance. “Not Gonna Die” is no exception and I found myself hitting repeat several times.
And while the rest of the tracks on Rise are solid, it is these first four that pack the hardest punch. Admittedly, I spent much more time listening to these four tracks than I did to the rest of the album, but that’s not to say the rest of the album is weaker, because it’s not. It’s just that these first four songs brought so much enjoyment, that I could not help but constantly hit replay after “Not Gonna Die.”
Skillet has once again delivered a fantastic record that hard rock fans will be sure to enjoy. Packed with an edgier modern rock sound and guitar solos galore, Rise is sure to please fans of both the modern rock genre and the old school rock style.
Rating: Out of 10
- Sick Of It
- Good To Be Alive
- Not Gonna Die
- Circus For A Psycho
- American Noise
- Madness In Me
- Fire And Fury
- My Religion
- Hard To Find
- What I Believe
John Cooper – Bass, Lead Vocals
Korey Cooper – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
Jen Ledger – Drums, Vocals
Seth Morrison – Lead Guitar
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
When it comes to death/doom metal I am not a fan of the vocals at all. Usually the music is stellar, but the growling, gravel eating vocals destroy the song for me. When it comes to Five Finger Death Punch, I never gave them many listens. I had heard one or two songs on the radio and thought they were okay, but the growling vocals immediately had me stereotype the band and not explore them more. When it comes to The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume One, I am a huge fan. Five Finger Death Punch has won me over and I will definitely be seeking out their back catalog.
Having not listened to much Five Finger Death Punch, I did not know what to expect when I slipped in my ear buds and fired up The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell. What I received was amazing music that blew my senses away. It was a symphony of spectacular sounds drifting through my eardrums and creating a grin on my face. Nothing brings me more joy than discovering a new (to me) band that I want to listen to over and over again.
“Lift Me Up” gets the disc started and it was this song that captured me instantly. There is so much happening on this one little song that it causes an explosion in the brain. With a cataclysm of sound, “Lift Me Up” is a terrific album opener, especially if it is one of the first times you are listening to Five Finger Death Punch. The song drew me in immediately and by the time it was completed, I was hooked and had to hear more.
“Dot Your Eyes” is another excellent song that just demands you jump around, scream and shout. Ivan Moody’s voice is strong and the rhythmic beats and blistering guitar solos will find fists flying in the air on first listen. The power that “Dot Your Eyes” delivers is unrivaled. The song demands attention and action. This would be the perfect song to work out to, rally behind, or start your day with. It’s an instant shot of energy and emotion and one of the best songs that The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell has to offer.
My favorite song on the album is “Anywhere But Here.” The song is just magnificent. It revisits a familiar theme of what would you do if there was no tomorrow, but Five Finger Death Punch put their own spin on it. Most songs dealing with the theme of today being your last day on Earth discuss how the final moments should be enjoyed and treasured. Five Finger’s version is a little darker. “Anywhere But Here” approaches the world ending by proclaiming that no tears would be shed and that being anywhere but here but would be for the best. The narrator of the song is clearly not happy with where he is in life and it is time to get out and move on to something better. Throw in a magnificent Jason Hook guitar solo and some fantastic drum beats from Jeremy Spencer and it is easy to see why “Anywhere But Here” is one of the best tracks on this record.
Sad as it is to say, “Mama Said Knock You Out,” is a poor cover of the classic LL Cool J jam. The idea of a hard rock cover of this stupendous hip hop song gave me high hopes, but Five Finger just didn’t deliver as crisply as I had hoped. It is but one of two weaknesses on the album. The follow up song, “Diary Of A Deadman,” is not great either. In short, it’s a blatant rip off of Sixx AM’s Heroin Diaries. Thankfully, these are the last two songs on the record, so there are only two bad songs to endure. The other 9 tracks are flat out stellar.
It’s also worth noting that Five Finger Death Punch included 2 different versions of 3 songs. The first version was their own recording and the other version included guest vocals by Jamey Jasta (“Dot Your Eyes”), Max Cavalera (“I.M. Sin”), and Maria Brink (“Anywhere But Here”). It was interesting to hear the two different takes on each of these songs, and it has added some replay value to the record.
Overall, The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume One is a superb record that has me waiting in earnest for volume 2. If you are yearning for a modern rock sound with a real hardcore edge, I highly recommend this record. It has made me a Five Finger Death Punch fan.
Rating: Out of 10
- Lift Me Up (featuring Rob Halford)
- Watch You Bleed
- Wrong Side Of Heaven
- Burn MF
- I.M. Sin
- Anywhere But Here
- Dot Your Eyes
- M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
- Mama Said Knock You Out
- Diary Of A Deadman
- I.M. Sin (featuring Max Cavalera)
- Anywhere But Here (featuring Maria Brink)
- Dot Your Eyes (featuring Jamey Jasta)
Five Finger Death Punch Is:
Ivan Moody – Lead Vocals
Zoltan Bathory – Rhythm Guitar
Jeremy Spencer – Drums
Jason Hook – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris Kael – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Wow! I just finished listening and then listening and listening again to the new Avenged Sevenfold album Hail To the King. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the band’s new album. I was sure it would be good, but this album isn’t good, it is outfreakinstanding.
Hail to the King is the first album without Avenged Sevenfold’s drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. “The Rev” was always such a driving force in A7X’s music, I was wondering how the band would handle his tragic loss, and how it would affect their music. A7X’s music has definitely changed, but it has changed for the better in my opinion.
What A7X has done is change their tempo, and completely move away from their metalcore roots. The band has crafted a bunch of songs that could easily be staples on rock radio everywhere. The change of tempo doesn’t mean that Synnester Gates and Zacky Vengeance don’t play their asses off. There is some fine guitar work on this album, and I hear little bits of Megadeth, Metallica and even Guns N’ Roses influence in the music on Hail To the King. Kudos to drummer Arin Ilejay, who does a find job behind the kit on this record.
The first four songs “Shepherd of Fire”, “Hail To The King”, “Doing Time” and “This Means War” really set the stage for this album, by delivering several excellent, hard rockin’ numbers that will have you hooked after the first listen. While these are my favorites, the great songs don’t end there.
I like the creepiness of “Requiem”. I look for Damien Omen to show up every time I listen to this one. “Heretic” is one catchy rocker that I would love to see A7X perform live. I love the lyrics on this song. “Acid Rain” is one of those deep cuts on “Hail To the King” that will keep me spinning this disc for a long time. I love the haunting piano melodies on this song.
This may be the most mainstream A7X album yet. It is rare when an album exceeds my expectations, but I believe this is Avenged Sevenfold’s best album yet. I thought some fans would be unhappy with A7X’s current direction, but judging from he fact that the album is # 1 in the U.S., Canada and the UK, most A7X fans must think it is pretty cool too!
If you buy one version of the album, get the Deluxe version of the album, which will give you two cool A7X coasters, and a password for a free download of the bonus track “St. James” which is a pretty cool song too!
I won’t be surprised to find “Hail To the King” on top of many best of 2013 lists. It really is that good! Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Shepherd of Fire
02. Hail To the King
03. Doing Time
04. This Means War
06. Crimson Day
08. Coming Home
10. Acid Rain
Bonus Track (as a download from the A7X website)
Avenged Sevenfold is:
M. Shadows – Vocals
Synyster Gates – Lead Guitar
Zacky Vengeance – Rhythm Guitar
Johnny Christ – Bass
Arin Ilejay – Drums
Don’t judge a book by a cover. That is the first thing I think of when I listen to North Carolina Alt rockers, Another Lost Year. You see, the winged skull on the cover of Another Lost year’s album Better Days would have me believe that ALY is a metal band. I would not consider ALY’s music metal, but alternative hard rock more in vain of Candlebox, Live and Three Doors Down. They might be a little heavier than those bands, but when I listen to Better Days, these are the bands that come to mind.
Another Lost Year’s music has grown on me quite a bit over the last few weeks. There are several songs that could easily be radio singles on this album and two ( “War On The Inside” and “Writing On The Wall”) already have been.
Clinton Cunanan has a pretty solid voice, and his voice help propel my favorite tracks on Better Days including “War On The Inside”, “Broken” and “Runaway”. I don’t like it when they tread into screamo territory, but there is very little of that on this album.
Better Days also features a great duet with singer Lish Rimer on the song “Angels”. This song ought to be a big hit for Another Lost year. Check it out below!
Overall, Better Days is a solid album, and will likely get a lot of mileage on the radio for ALY. If you check out one new band in 2013, you could do a lot worse than Another Lost Year. Check them out on facebook at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Better Days
02. War On The Inside
03. All That We Are
05. What I Deserve
08. Last Goodbye
09. Writing On The Wall
10. Come And Gone
11. Forgot About Us
Another Lost Year is:
Dave Whitaker – Guitars
Clinton Cunanan – Vocals & Guitar
Adam Hall – Guitars & Vocals
Lee Norris – Drums
Jason Lovelace – Bass
Synth heavy, hard hitting, and filled with lyrics that give the listener pause, creating thought, Pretty Maids latest album, Motherland is a solid, enjoyable effort from this Danish rock band. While their last effort, 2010’s Pandemonium was a harder edgier affair, Motherland is a strong musical journey and a great next chapter for this band’s long history book.
On first listen, it may appear that Pretty Maids are leaning more toward the album oriented rock melody in their song crafting. Yet, after a few more spins, it is easier to tell that this disc is still based on a solid foundation of shredding guitars, strong and steady stomp drumbeats, and massive guitar solos. Overall Motherland is a little mellower than its predecessor, but it still delivers the hard rock hits.
Motherland is one of those atypical albums where the disc must be played through a few times for the whole effect to take hold. On first listen, I thought that Motherland was a decent record with the stronger songs placed at the end of the album. Then I played it through a few more times only to learn that the songs at the beginning of the record were pretty decent as well.
Loaded with great hooks and shredding solos, Pretty Maids have delivered a fine piece with Motherland. Lead singer Ronnie Atkins’ voice is in top form throughout the record, never wavering or weakening. Ken Hammer continues to deliver on guitar with some exceptional work and fantastic solos. And while the keyboards from Morten Sandager receive plenty of spotlights, they never overtake the music entirely, allowing for a perfect blend of synthesizer, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals. It creates a synthesis of symphonic sound parading through the eardrums with delight.
Motherland reminds me of great synth-rock albums from the 80s, balanced with mid-tempo melodies, hard rockers, and a ballad or two thrown in for good measure. Think Styx, Trixter, Europe, or Winger for a good point of reference. And while Motherland may not be as strong a release as their last record, it is still a decent album worthy of investing your listening time into. Pretty Maids may be heading in a mellower direction, but that doesn’t make them any less grand. And given enough time (and plays) Motherland may overtake any of the bands releases in the last ten years as the record to listen to.
Rating: Out of 10
Mother Of All Lies
To Fool A Nation
Sad To See You Suffer
Why So Serious
I See Ghosts
Bullet For You
Who What Where When Why
Pretty Maids Are:
Ronnie Atkins – Vocals
Ken Hammer – Guitars
Rene Shades – Bass
Allan Tschicaja – Drums
Morten Sandager – Keyboards
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Megadeth has returned with their fourteenth album Super Collider. On their latest effort, the band has taken the tempo down, and have crafted another solid hard rock/metal album. Megadeth’s thrash metal fans will probably throw their arms up in the air in disbelief after listening to this album. After three heavy, aggressive albums in a row (United Abominations, Endgame and Thirteen), Super Collider may seem like a bit of departure for Megadeth. Super Collider leans more towards the hard rock side of the fence than metal on this album. Megadeth may truly have “A House Divided” after this record.
This isn’t Megadeth’s first foray in hard rock by any means. Is it a really a far stretch from the metal they usually create?! Sure the tempo may be a little slower, but the music may not be quite as heavy, but is still very enjoyable. One of my favorite Megadeth albums, Countdown to Extinction was more of a hard rock effort, and to this day, I still think it is one of the band’s best albums.
Super Collider isn’t without its thrashy moments however. “Kingmaker” is one the heavier songs on the album, and it is pretty damn cool! “Built For War” also teeters on the edge of thrash. I can see this song being a staple in Megadeth’s live sets for sure! “Off the Edge” is a catchy rocker that fits my mindset every time I leave the office. “Don’t Turn Your Back” is another tune that will definitely get your blood pumping!
“Cold Sweat” is one of my favorite Thin Lizzy songs, so I was excited to hear Megadeth’s version of this song. It certainly does not disappoint (although JORN’s version is still my favorite). I still have to tip my hat to Dave Mustaine & company for putting a cool heavy spin on such a killer, classic tune.
Overall, Super Collider is a bit of a grower. While this isn’t Megadeth’s best album, it is far from their worst, and it does continue to get better with multiple plays. There is some filler on this album, but the good tunes far outweigh the bad ones. Give Super Collider a chance, and I think you will like it as much as I do!
Rating: Out of 10
02. Super Collider
04. Build For war
05. Off the Edge
06. Dance In The Rain
07. Beginning of Sorrow
08. The Blackest Crow
09. Forget To Remember
10. Don’t Turn Your Back
11. Cold Sweat
12. All I Want (Bonus Track)
13. A House Divided (Bonus Track)
14. Countdown To Extinction (Live)
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Lead, rhythm, slide & acoustic guitars
Chris Broderick – Lead, rhythm, acoustic guitars & background vocals
David Ellefson – Bass Guitar & background vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums, percussion & background vocals
Adjectives that can be used to describe Onyx: heavy, different, solid, fantastic, amazing. After a few spins it is easy to state that Onyx is the best Pop Evil album to date. And while that may seem like a bold statement, it is a true statement. Fans expecting to hear “Monster You Made,” or “100 In A 55,” will not find that here. That doesn’t mean those fans will be disappointed, because Pop Evil has still delivered greatness. Acoustic guitars may be absent, and ballads may be few and far between (technically only one ballad appears on Onyx), but phenomenal music is definitely present and accounted for. Here now is Hard Rock Hideout’s track by track breakdown of the latest LP from Pop Evil.
Goodbye My Friend
Opening track, “Goodbye My Friend,” is a solid, hard rocking, modern blast. The addition of Nick Fueling (lead guitar) and Chaci Riot (drums) are felt immediately. And while the absence of Tony Greve and Dylan Allison is noticeable, the new players are taking Pop Evil in a whole different direction. “Goodbye My Friend” sets the tone for what the rest of Onyx is going to sound like: a fast, hard hitting masterpiece. The solos in this song are outstanding and vocalist Leigh Kakaty reaches down and pushes out a growling, gravelly voice that has not been heard previously.
Deal With The Devil
“Deal With The Devil” is a fast song with a hard and heavy beat. This song hit hard right out of the gate and quickly became an instant favorite. I didn’t think that there was a song that I would enjoy more than “Trenches” on this record, but I was wrong. There are multiple songs that are better than “Trenches” and “Deal With The Devil” is one of them. Crunching guitars from Nick Fueling and Dave Grahs dominate this song and turn it into a gem. Add to that Kakaty’s voice in peak form, and there’s high chance for “Deal With The Devil” to become a huge hit.
“Trenches” was the first single released for Onyx and for a while I really thought it was the best song on the record. That is no longer the case (as you will see). Yet, “Trenches” is one of the best Pop Evil songs to date. Crunching, heavy guitars open the track and are immediately followed by the pounding drums of Riot. The powerful vocals that Kakaty nails throughout along with the urgency that the song is sung in makes this one of the most powerful anthems to come out of the Pop Evil camp.
Torn To Pieces
This is easily the weakest song on the album. That’s not to say it’s a horrendous song, it’s just not as strong as the other tracks. The subject matter is very touching (Leigh Kakaty wrote it as a tribute after his father passed away), and the song is heartfelt, but “Torn To Pieces” lacks the power that all other Pop Evil ballads have contained. And considering this is the only true ballad on Onyx, it was quite surprising. Heading into the disc, I thought “Torn To Pieces” was going to be a song that I constantly played. However, it looks like it will be just the opposite. I seem to hit skip a lot to get to the next track.
“Divide” is another strong, hard hitting, modern rock gem that only Pop Evil can deliver. This is also another song that defines the new direction Pop Evil is heading in. There would never be a song like “Divide” on the band’s previous two albums because they hadn’t emerged to that state in their career yet. With “Divide” the band has embraced the modern rock sound that they seemed to be keeping at bay on previous records. Here, they embrace the sound and turned in a strong, enjoyable song.
“Beautiful” is a mid-tempo piece that is quite enjoyable. The subject matter is exceptional, as the message in the music is we are all beautiful to someone in our own way. Regardless of sexual orientation, the color of our skin, personal interests, or anything else, we are all beautiful today and everyday for the rest of our lives. “Beautiful” is a very uplifting song and one that I believe has the potential to be absolutely astonishing in concert. Personally, I can’t wait to hear this song performed live.
Silence & Scars
Another ballad is delivered in the form of “Silence & Scars.” The song emerges with a strange, yet cool, attention grabbing guitar riff. It sets the stage for the rest of the song. Once again, Kakaty’s voice is strong and smooth and while it’s not a true ballad, “Silence & Scars” is up there with “Monster You Made” for one of the best ballads in the Pop Evil catalog. I expect that this will be a chart topping hit in the very near future.
This is the heaviest song that Pop Evil has ever done. It sounds like a mash up of Marilyn Manson, Rage Against The Machine, and some darker modern rock bands. After the first couple of listens, I didn’t think that I was going to like this song at all. Then, after a few more spins, it started to grow on me. Now, “Sick Sense” is one of my favorite tracks on the record. It clearly shows the evolution of Pop Evil and the deep influence that Fueling and Riot had on the band for the recording of this record. Three years ago, I wouldn’t even consider “Sick Sense” a Pop Evil song. Now, part of me is hoping this is the direction the band heads in over the next couple of albums.
“Fly Away” is a return to the Pop Evil sound that fans have come to know over the years. Hard rocking, clean, and a whole lot of fun, “Fly Away” is one of the strongest Pop Evil songs recorded. This is destined to be a sing along classic in almost no time. “Fly Away” is another song that I am anxious to see the band perform in concert. There is so much raw power and potential for this song to be a climactic moment during their concert. And while the song structure is very simple, the delivery is impeccable, and it is what pushes “Fly Away” over the top.
Behind Closed Doors
This is another song that took a few listens to grow on me. At first, I wasn’t quite sure that I liked this song, but after a few plays, I realized how grand of a song “Behind Closed Doors” is. Starting off slow and then building into a hurried frenzy, “Behind Closed Doors” is a song that has a lot to offer. The song is rich, layered, and deep, which may be why it took so long to grow on me. There is a lot happening within “Behind Closed Doors” and it takes several listens to truly appreciate all of the great music that is being played back at the listener.
Welcome To Reality
Another quick, simple, and highly enjoyable song, “Welcome To Reality” is standard Pop Evil flair. Filled with high energy and strong vocals from Kakaty, “Welcome To Reality” is a song that delivers. If “Trenches” has a sibling, it would be “welcome To Reality.” This is a strong song that serves as a great reminder that music can sometimes just be straight out fun.
“Flawed” is an odd song that I haven’t quite decided how I feel about. I love the opening guitar riff from Nick Fueling and I love how the drums come crashing in behind the riff. Yet, there is something about the song that keeps it from standing out as all of the other tracks have. I am unable to identify exactly what is holding this song back, but the simple fact remains that “Flawed” isn’t as grand as 10 of the other Onyx tracks. Maybe it’s due to the fact that it is the last song on the record? I have no idea. What I do know is that it will take several more listens to determine if “Flawed” is one of the better Pop Evil catalog songs.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Goodbye My Friend
02. Deal With The Devil
04. Torn To Pieces
07. Silence & Scars
08. Sick Sense
09. Fly Away
10. Behind Closed Doors
11. Welcome To Reality
Pop Evil Is:
Leigh Kakaty – Vocals
Matt DiRito – Bass
Dave Grahs – Rhythm Guitar
Nick Fueling – Lead Guitar
Chachi Riot – Drums
Are YOU ready to ROCK?! Airbourne certainly is, and with their third album Black Dog Barking, the band has raised the bar high as far as rock albums in 2013 goes.
While Running Wild put Airbourne on the Rock and Roll map, and No Guts, No Glory proved that the band was the real deal. I believe it will be Black Dog Barking that will bring Airbourne their greatest success yet. Why is that you ask?
Black Dog Barking has not one, but ten songs that could easily be radio singles for Airbourne. Airbourne has managed to load this album with a bunch of killer fist-pumping anthems that are going to please most hard rock fans out there. Joel O’Keeffe sings, screams and plays his ass off on this album, and I hear some definite growth in his playing as well.
“Ready To Rock”, “Animalize”, and “Live It Up” are my favorites on this record but there isn’t one dud in the bunch.
I spent the extra money for the UK import which has three bonus tracks (Why doesn’t the U.S. get these ROADRUNNER?!), and I am glad I did. The bonus songs are pretty solid numbers too.
Some may argue that there isn’t one original thing about Black Dog Barking. I say what the album lacks in originality, it makes up for it with pure hard rock awesomeness. Airbourne is dishing out the best Aussie rock out there right now, and that includes most of the bands that inspired them. Don’t miss this! You won’t be disappointed! Look out for Airbourne on the Rock Allegiance Tour coming to major venues later this summer!
Rating: Out of 10
01. Ready To Rock
03. No One Fits Me (Better Than You)
04. Back In The Game
06. Live It Up
07. Woman Like That
09. Cradle To the Grave
10. Black Dog Barking
11. Jack Attack
12. You Got The Skills (To Pay The Bills)
13. Party In The Penthouse
Joel O’Keeffe – lead vocals, lead guitar
David Roads – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Justin Street – bass, backing vocals
Ryan O’Keeffe – drums
“Suicidal is back!” So screams Mike Muir on the lead single to Suicidal Tendencies first album in 13 years, 13. Judging from the collection of songs put on this disc, Suicidal is back indeed. Technically, 13 is the band’s first album since 2000’s Free Your Soul And Save My Mind, hence part of the reasoning for the title 13. 13 years is a long time to be out of the spotlight and away from the fans. The big question on everyone’s mind was could Suicidal still deliver exceptional thrash/metal music after such a long hiatus? The short answer to that question is yes.
Opening with the hard hitting “Shake It Out,” 13 delivers an immediate impact that both long time fans and newcomers alike are bound to enjoy and praise. The opening guitar riff and drum beat scream out this is a hardcore, thrash album that needs to be played loud. A self-celebrating praise of their return, “Shake It Out” is a reminder of how much fun Suicidal Tendencies can be. This is a hard hitting opener that makes me want to listen over and over again.
“God Only Knows…Who I Am” features a solo by Dean Pleasants that is jaw dropping. The song opens slower than most on the album, but it builds in intensity and anticipation as it develops. By the time the chorus arrives, ears are hooked and fists are pumping into the air. This is an immensely pleasing, amazing song. The build up to the chorus is a great set up for the explosion in the middle. The eruption is pure ear candy and “God Only Knows…Who I Am” could be one of the best Suicidal Tendencies song ever recorded.
“Show Some Love…Tear It Down,” highlights guitarists Dean Pleasants’ and Mike Clark’s exceptional abilities and how they are able to weave so well together. The guitars are heavy, the groove is tight, and the song is flat out fun. This is yet another song that will find fans singing along after just one or two listens. I had a grin planted on my face after just one listen. This is a perfect song for moshing or head banging (depending on your preference). And while it slows down in the middle, it just gives the listener a reason to catch their breath before the song takes off in a fit of rage once again.
Overall, 13 is a fantastic album. If you are a fan of How Will I Laugh Tomorrow… or Lights, Camera, Revolution, then you are going to love 13. Layered with multiple infectious grooves, powerful hooks, heavy guitars, and lots of funk and fun, 13 is a powerful album that takes the listener on a journey of musical styles with thrash metal always remaining as the main focus. Suicidal Tendencies did a phenomenal job with this record. There is not a bad song on the album and it is near perfect. When it comes to voting for album of the year, 13 is definitely going to get heavy consideration.
Rating: Out of 10
- Shake It Out
- Smash It!
- This Ain’t A Celebration
- God Only Knows…Who I Am
- Make Your Stand
- Who’s Afraid?
- Show Some Love…Tear It Down
- Cyco Style
- Slam City
- Till My Last Breath
- Living The Fight
- Life…(Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It)
- This World
Suicidal Tendencies Is:
Mike Muir – Lead Vocals
Dean Pleasants – Lead Guitar
Mike Clark – Rhythm Guitar
Steve Bruner – Bass Guitar
Eric Moore – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
If you are a fan of classic riff rock, then 2013 has been a very good year for you, with kick ass new releases from Krokus, Airbourne and Irish rockers Screaming Eagles!
I don’t know what is in the water in Ireland, but I wish they would share their water supply with the rest of the world. Two great Irish revival rock acts in the Answer & Million Dollar Reload are already making major waves in the worldwide rock scene. Judging from the tunes on From The Flames, Screaming Eagles will be the next big rock act from the Emerald Isle.
Singer Chris Fry is a another great vocal find. His voice falls somewhere in between Lex Koritni (Koritni) and Josh Todd (Buckcherry). As far is singers go, that is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion. His voice oscillates between a clean singing style, and more than enough rasp to make the songs fun to listen to. His partner in crime, Adrian McAleenan dishes out a rockin’ bunch of guitar riffs that complement’s Fry’s voice in the best kind of way.
The great thing about this CD is, there is no filler. Every song rocks! There are no sappy ballads, no acoustic stripped down numbers. From the Flames has ten rocking tunes that ought to please the pickiest of hard rock fans out there. “Down The River”, “Vampire” and “Blood”are my favorites, but there isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
From the Flames is an independent release that you won’t want to miss. You can get your CD copy of From the Flames at this link or in mp3 form from Amazon.com & iTunes. Do your ears a favor and get this now!!!
Rating: Out of 10
01. All The Way
02. Down The River
03. Hungry For More
04. Fight The Fire
06. Devil In The Dust
07. Rock n Roll Soul
08. One Man Revolution
10. Take My Time
Screaming Eagles Are:
Chris Fry – Vocals
Adrian McAleenan – Guitar
Ryan Lilly – Bass
Kyle Cruikshank – Drums
If Nikki Sixx puts his stamp of approval on something, 10 times out of 10, I’m going to at least check it out. So when he decides to hand-pick a band, produce their album and throw them on the opening slot for a Motley Crue tour, I listen and I listen well. Nikki certainly didn’t disappoint with The Last Vegas. I was hooked as soon as their 2009 release, Whatever Gets You Off, hit my ears. Last year, the Chicago quintet followed that album up with Bad Decisions, a raucous, loud, sleazy rock and roll album that leaves you begging for more.
I got my first taste of this album last year when I saw The Last Vegas open for Theory of a Deadman. “Evil Eyes” really stood out for me that night from the instant I heard the crunchy, nasty guitars. And with its addictive groove, “Other Side” was certainly a crowd favorite with its chant worthy chorus: “Whoa, yeah, boy you better be ready/ Last chance, ‘cuz the rumors ain’t lies/ God damn, fucking bitch goes crazy/ You ain’t ever coming back from the other side.”
The dark, brooding bass that opens “Beat to Hell” followed by raunchy guitars and Chad Cherry’s rock and roll scream, certainly sets the tone for the entire album: you’re about to get your ass kicked and it’s going to be a lot of fun. And as if there was any doubt, the title track reassures us that with The Last Vegas, we can do what rock and roll always intended for us all to do…”have a good time making bad decisions.”
Can we talk about Chad Cherry for just a moment? In a sea of monotonous, bland rock singers, Cherry’s voice stands out above them like a stripper in church. You know exactly who it is when his voice screeches out in a song. It grabs you by the balls and makes you pay attention. I think that’s something that can’t be said for a lot of artists today. His stage presence gives off the same kind of attitude, which makes him a force to be reckoned with during their live shows. And if you want to try to grab some of that attitude, then check out his badass, up-cycled, one of kind clothing designs in his Etsy store.
This album just goes from one kick ass song to the next, with seedy guitars and in your face solos that make you want to grab a bottle of Jack and guzzle it. As much as I’d like to sit here and tell you about the rest of the songs on the album, it would get redundant and you’d get tired of reading how awesome each song is. Like Cherry’s clothing line, The Last Vegas are up-cycling some good, old-fashioned rock and roll. They’re taking some great formulas and adding their own touch, their own tastes and making it better. Bad Decisions is quite possibly the best bad decision I’ve made in a long time.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Beat To Hell
02. Other Side
03. Bad Decisions
04. Evil Eyes
05. Don’t Take It So Hard
06. She’s My Confusion
07. It Ain’t Easy
08. My Way Forever
10. Devil In You
11. You Are The One
12. Good Night
The Last Vegas is:
Chad Cherry – vocals
Adam Arling – guitar
Johnny Wator – guitar
Danny Smash – bass
Nate Arling – drums
Reviewed by Christine Sixx
After listening to this album multiple times, I searched and searched for the right words to use in order to describe it to you. There were only two words that kept popping up in my head: Holy shit. I kept listening to it and every time the only words that kept coming out of my mouth were, “Holy shit!”
Let’s just get this part out of the way immediately: The obvious comparison that you are going to notice is AC/DC. Yes, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think this was never before released Bon Scott era AC/DC. But you know better and there are enough slight differences that will make you realize it. Besides, this album is so good, you’ll forget about that comparison pretty quickly.
The album opens with the awesome rock anthem aptly titled “Hallelujah Rock n’ Roll.” After that, it’s just one solid rock song after another. For me, this is exactly what rock and roll is all about: dirty, sweaty tunes that make you move. I couldn’t stop tapping my foot, and I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off of my face while listening to this album. I’m pretty sure that if anyone would’ve seen me while I was listening to this album, they would’ve thought I was completely insane. Song after song after song and my smile got bigger, my foot pounded harder and the only I could say was, “Holy shit!”
AC/DC may be the strongest influence, but it’s certainly not the only influence you’re going to hear. Go Baby Go will take you back with it’s retro/rockabilly vibe. Hardrocking Man has hints of early Rolling Stones. And bluesy rock is in just about every other nook and cranny of this album.
And then there’s their cover of the Beatles’ “Help.” This one threw me for a loop. Honestly, I didn’t even recognize it the first time I heard it; my husband had to clue me in. Wow. Just wow. I know a lot of people are very particular about cover songs, and I’m one of those people. Most are purists and prefer no one, no matter who the artist, touch or even attempt to cover the catalogue of their favorite band. I’m sure Beatles fans would start a riot over this one. To me, Krokus’ cover was TOTALLY different. They turned this song into one of the most amazing 80′s ballads I’ve ever heard. Like…it would’ve been included on Monster Ballads. Depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on, this could be a good thing or it could be totally sacrilegious.
Krokus outdid themselves on this one. From start to finish, this album is fantastic. I kept listening to it not only because I had to review it, but also because I wanted to. It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to put an album on repeat all day; this is one of those albums.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Hallelujah Rock n’ Roll
02. Go Baby Go
03. Rattlesnake Rumble
04. Dirty Dynamite
05. Let The Good Times Roll
07. Better Than Sex
08. Dog Song
09. Yellow Mary
10. Bailout Blues
11. Live Ma LIfe
12. Hardrocking Man
Marc Storace – Lead Vocals
Chris Von Rohr – Bass, Vocals
Fernando Von Arb – Guitar, Vocals
Mark Kohler – Guitar
Mandy Meyer – Guitar
Reviewed by Christine Sixx
Rock and Roll will never die! That is what I think when I hear a band like The Fuzz Drivers for the first time. Classic rock has inspired bands all over the globe, and The Fuzz Drivers are dishing out the best 70′s style rock and roll I have ever heard from Portugal.
The first time I listened to “Discordia Song”, I knew I was going to enjoy The Fuzz Drivers’ album, but what I didn’t realize is how much. After my first couple of listens, I detected a lot of Zeppelin and Beatles influences in the music, and that is a good thing. Sérgio dishes out some mad riffs on “Discordia Song”, and Marcelo Viero pushes his vocals to the limit.
“Shine” is possibly my favorite track on the album. This powerful number is driven by the Bonham-esque drums of Duarte Carvalho. This heavy tune gets better with every listen.
When I listen to the song “Carved Time”, songs like “Dear Prudence” and “Over the Hills And Far Away” come to mind. Sergio’s guitar tone falls somewhere between those two songs, and I love it! If there was ever a more radio friendly song, “Carved Time” is the one that is worthy of a lot of radio airplay.
“Mama Told You” has an infectious little riff that makes this one incredibly catchy tune. I like this one a lot.
For a self produced and recorded album, the sound quality on this album is top notch. The band did an outstanding job putting this together. Even though the album is a little on the short side, it is a solid debut for The Fuzz Drivers. With music this good, I think the band has the potential to get some global recognition.
You can get a copy of The Fuzz Drivers’ new album for FREE at this link. If you like bands like The Answer, or Black Robot, check out The Fuzz Drivers! You will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Discordia Song
3. Eats Me Up
4. Carved Time
5. Mama Told You
6. Into The Sun
7. The Poet And The Thief
8. Until It Bleeds
9. White Lies
The Fuzz Drivers are:
Marcelo Viera – vocals
Duarte Carvalho – drums
João Lopes – bass
Sérgio “Mad Mag” – guitar
Bon Jovi has just released their 12th Album, What About Now. Those of you looking for another Slippery When Wet or New Jersey, you will have to keep looking, this album isn’t it. I can’t even call this a hard rock album, it simply is not. What About Now is more of a mainstream pop rock album.
Jon Bon Jovi’s voice is in fine form, and he sounds great, but the music is too poppy to hold my interest for very long. Bon Jovi has always been a band that has spread its wings and tried it’s hand at different musical styles. While as a hard rock album, this may be an epic fail, as a pop rock album, it isn’t too bad. The music just isn’t what I want to hear on a Bon Jovi album. I long for the hard rock style that made Bon Jovi famous. I guess the millions of dollars the band is making touring has allowed them to become a genre defying act. Good for them, bad for the hard rock fans out there.
What About Now might not be the epic disaster that the countrified clay pigeon Lost Highway was, but it still won’t hold much appeal to the hard rock fans out there. The big stadium anthems and heavy riffs of their earlier music can’t be found on the new album. That is the style of Bon Jovi music I enjoy, and for that reason I just can’t get into listening to this.
What About Now leaves me with this final thought, “What About The Rock”!? It is still okay to rock Jon! Your new album does not.
This is perhaps a shallow perspective on What About Now, but this hard rock fan probably won’t give this CD any more plays beyond today.
If you have an open mind, and are a fan of pop/rock or possibly even Christian rock, by all means, give What About Now a shot. If your taste in music leans towards the harder style of rock or heavy metal music, you will probably want to avoid this album. Tread at your own risk!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Because We Can
2. I’M With You
3. What About Now
4. Pictures of You
6. That’s What The Water Made Me
7. What’s Left of Me
8. Army of One
9. Thick as Thieves
10. Beautiful World
11. Room At The End of The World
12. The Fighter
Bon Jovi is:
Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals, guitar
Richie Sambora – guitar, backing vocals
Hugh McDonald – bass, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums
David Bryan – keyboards, backing vocals
Their bio says they write “trend free music” and what we get to hear are “Real grooves, real performances, real rock.” I’d say that description is
pretty dead on. If there’s one thing that irritates the hell out of me, it’s the over computerized, over produced, overly generic music that’s being pushed out to the world on a daily basis. You certainly won’t get any of that with S.U.N.’s (Something Unto Nothing) self titled debut album.
Sass Jordan (vocals), Brian Tichy (guitar), Michael “Denim” Devin (bass), and Tommy Stewart (drums) make up this quartet with quite an extensive resume: Billboard’s Best Female Rock Vocalist award, songs on major motion pictures and television shows, and time spent in Whitesnake, Foreigner and Billy Idol…just to name a few. With talent like that, you almost can’t go wrong.
Upon listening, the first thing you’re going to notice (because you just can’t ignore it) is Sass’ powerful voice. It’s strong and beautiful in that Janis Joplin kind of way. It’s not dripping with femininity. It’s dirty and gruff and fits perfectly.
The next thing you’ll notice are the solid rock and roll grooves. It’s the kind of sound that makes you tap your foot and bounce your head to the beat because it’s real rock and roll and you can’t help but get into it. There’s dirty, thick guitar all throughout the album, but it pulls you in right from the start with “Burned” and “Crazy Head.” Then you get hit with some Sabbath-y heavy rock during “Nomad.” And if you’re looking for a little 80′s rock influence, you can find it on “I’m the One.”
Where I feel the album falls short is on the ballads like “Wide Ocean” or “If I was You.” Don’t get me wrong, they’re good songs, but they just don’t hold up as well and they’re not as strong as the other songs. S.U.N. are just more powerful when they are rocking faces off.
There’s no doubt that S.U.N. is real, soulful rock and roll. This debut album is a really good, solid foundation that they should be able to build great things on. It makes me excited to see what the future holds for them. They just need to remember not to succumb to making radio friendly music because it sells; they should continue to make solid rock and roll because that’s what makes them shine.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Crazy Head
4. Did Me No Good
5. Mobile Again
6. I’m The One
7. If I Was You
8. The Beginning Of The End (The Journey of The Phrygians from Madrid)
10. Wide Ocean
11. No Way Home
12. Something Unto Nothing
Sass Jordan – Vocals
Brian Tichy – Gutiars
Michael Devin – Bass
Tommy Stewart – Drums
Reviewed by Christine Sixx
I will admit that I have never listened to Atreyu more than once or twice. They were never a band that hit me right away, so I never spent much time with them. I wasn’t even aware that the band was on hiatus while members worked on side projects and pursued other interests. So when Hell Or Highwater’s Begin Again came across my desk for review, I did not realize that it was Atreyu drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller’s side project. That being said, I am glad that I took the time to review Begin Again.
Begin Again is a solid modern rock record. Packed with hard edged, heavy songs that are completed with melody and harmony, Begin Again is an album that most rock fans will want to hear. And once the album is heard you can’t get it out of your head. Begin Again has staying power and replay value. The album kicks off with the first single, Gimme Love. This is a hard rocking track that is meant to get attention and succeeds. Saller’s vocals are reminiscent of Hinder’s Austin Winkler and the twin guitar attack by Matt Pauling and Neal Tiemann is first rate.
The heavy hits continue with “Hail Mary” and “Terrorized In The Night.” The band plays hard on these heavy tracks and the musical talent of each band member shines through. The songs are high energy and touch on typical hard rock themes of anger, disappointment, rage and fear. The songs are performed with a modern rock flair, heavy drums, exceptional guitars, and solid vocals. The combined elements equal nothing but pure entertainment.
The band doesn’t stop there. Begin Again delivers in the slower/ballad department as well. And although “Tragedy” and “Rock Water’s Edge” aren’t true ballads in the old 80s power ballad sense, they are still slower, bluesy songs that deliver in power and passion. Saller’s lyrics are deep and meaningful and when combined with amazing guitar riffs, it is easy to see how either, or both, of these songs will be a huge radio hit. “When The Morning Comes” is the most radio friendly, mainstream song on the record and it is a song that people will be rocking along with all summer long. Led by a blistering guitar intro followed by an enjoyable chord progression and sing-along lyrics, “When The Morning Comes” is one of the best tracks on this record.
Begin Again is an exceptional album that will rock you on first listen. After that, you will find yourself hitting repeat several times. It is an album that can be played over and over again without getting stale. Saller’s voice is strong, steady, and enjoyable. Pauling and Tiemann are a fantastic guitar duo that play off each other well, each knowing exactly when to hold back so the other can move forward. Their timing is second to none and it is their combined ability that really makes Begin Again come to life and sing.
If you are searching for a new band or a new record that is going to excite you and make you want to hear more, pick up a copy of Begin Again. If you are looking for the next great modern rock sound filled with superb hooks and melodious riffs that tunnel into your eardrums and don’t leave until they are committed to your memory, Begin Again is the record for you. Pick it up.
Rating: Out of 10
- Gimme Love
- Hail Mary!
- Terrorized In The Night
- Find The Time To Breathe
- Rock Waters Edge
- Go Alone (Featuring M Shadows)
- When The Morning Comes
- Crash & Burn
- Come Alive
- We All Wanna Go Home
- Tragedy (Villain Remix) – Bonus Track
- The Boxer – Bonus Track
- Pretty Penny – Bonus Track
Hell Or Highwater Is:
Brandon Saller – Vocals
Matt Pauling – Guitar
Neal Tiemann – Guitar
Joey Bradford – Bass
Captain Carl – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
Last week, Buckcherry released their sixth album, Confessions. Confessions was originally slated for a 2012 release, and I am glad the band didn’t rush this one out. Good things come to those who wait. You see, not only does Confessions contain some of Buckcherry’s strongest song writing to date, the band’s playing is also a step above their previous releases.
With Confessions, Buckcherry tackles the seven deadly sins. Gluttony, wrath, envy, sloth, greed, pride and lust are all represented on Buckcherry’s latest opus, and are also seven of the album’s song titles. The lyrics are based on singer Josh Todd’s childhood, and his transformation into adulthood. The lyrics are a step above the normal song writing from Buckcherry. Those looking for “Crazy Bitch” part two, won’t find it on Confessions. What you will find however are some well crafted songs that absolutely rock.
This is the first Buckcherry album that I could listen to all the way through since 15 was released. The only negative I could find with this album, is that it lacks the sing along choruses that have made so many of Buckcherry’s songs popular. It may be a different style of writing for Buckcherry, but I couldn’t find one bad song on Confessions.
With that being said, I still think this is Buckcherry’s strongest album since 15, and one that is going to get a ton of replay in 2013 and beyond. If you haven’t picked up Confessions yet, I highly recommend checking it out! The extended edition of this CD ( available at Best Buy) includes two great bonus songs, “Give ‘Em What They Want” and “When the Fire Starts” and a cool DVD as well. Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
3. Nothing Left But Tears
4. The Truth
7. Seven Ways To Die
13. Dreamin’ of You
14. Give ‘Em What They Want
15. When The Fire Starts
Josh Todd – Lead Vocals
Keith Nelson – Lead & rhythm guitar
Stevie D. – Rhythm & lead guitar
Jimmy Ashhurst – bass guitar
Xavier Muriel – drums, percussion
I try my best not to be biased when reviewing albums. I prefer to have no expectations, listen with an open ear, and let the music tell me what to write. However, when it came time to review Hinder’s latest album, Welcome To The Freakshow, I must admit that I entered with expectations. Hinder’s last three albums were absolutely incredible, and this band has become one of my “go-to” groups when I don’t know what to listen to. The anticipation of a new Hinder record had me excited and hopeful. These hard rocking greats were going to once again douse my soul with some solid music. Once I listened to the album, I was reminded why I should never have expectations.
Welcome To The Freakshow starts out in typical Hinder fashion with the first track, “Save Me.” And up until the 2-minute mark, “Save Me” sounds like classic Hinder. Then, out of nowhere, violins enter the mix and lead singer Austin Winkler goes into a small rap. That’s right, I said rap, as in hip-hop music. Where did that come from? And while it doesn’t destroy the song, it sets the stage for fans to scratch their heads. The following track, “Ladies Come First” doesn’t do much to persuade me that this record will be a strong effort. Weak vocals, weaker lyrics, and a chorus that sounds like it was ripped right out of a Nickelback song destroy any credibility this track may have had.
The next batch of songs lift Welcome To The Freak Show and gave me hope that this would be a solid album after all. “Should Have Known Better,” is a return to the classic Hinder sound that fans have come to know and love. Although it is a ballad, ballads are where Hinder tend to excel and “Should Have Known Better” is no exception. Possibly the strongest track on the record, “Should Have Known Better” has hit written all over it. The great tunes continued with title track “Welcome To The Freakshow,” and “Talk To Me.” “Welcome To The Freakshow” is classic, hard rocking Hinder with witty lyrics and sexual themes, while “Talk To Me” is another grand ballad performed in the iconic Hinder style. “Get Me Away From You” is another strong ballad, and the following track “Is It Just Me” is a mid-tempo sing along song focusing on themes of doubt and self adjustment.
The real challenge with “Welcome To The Freakshow” is that it is quite ballad heavy. This formula has worked for other bands in the past (Nickelback comes to mind), but I’ve always considered Hinder more of a hard edged band. That’s not to say the ballads are bad, because they aren’t. All of the ballads are actually well written and enjoyable to listen to multiple times through. However, I like the harder edged Hinder and that is what is absent from “Welcome To The Freakshow.” Even the non-ballads are more mid-tempo than flat out rocker, and that takes away from the Hinder that we have come to enjoy. Yes, they kick it up with “Welcome To The Freakshow” and “See You In Hell,” but it isn’t enough to really make Welcome To The Freakshow stand out on its own. Perhaps the band wanted to reach a different audience, or grow the one they have, or branch out in a different direction. I can understand that and don’t fault them for trying something new. However, it makes for a disappointment when coming in with set expectations.
I appreciate that Hinder wanted to be more experimental for their fourth album. And since they have brought me so much joy over the last few years, I am willing to give Hinder a pass this go round. Almost every band, at some point in their career, releases at least one below average record. With that in mind, Hinder is forgiven for Welcome To The Freakshow. While not terrible, it is far from fantastic, and that is what I have come to expect from Hinder—nothing but the best. This time around, the band did not bring their best, but I have every reason to believe that they will make it up to me when they record their next one.
Rating: Out of 10
- Save Me
- Ladies Come First
- Should Have Known Better
- Talk To Me
- Get Me Away From You
- Is It Just Me
- I Don’t Wanna Believe
- See You In Hell
- Anyone But You
- Wanna Be Rich
Austin Winkler – Vocals
Joe Garvey – Lead Guitar
Mark King – Rhythm Guitar
Mike Rodden – Bass Guitar
Cody Hanson – Drums
I have been listening to Aerosmith’s Music From Another Dimension for a couple of weeks now. I was hoping that my initial opinion of this release would change with a few repeat listens. My opinion hasn’t changed at all. Music From Another Dimension is just average.
Quite frankly, I didn’t have high hopes for Aerosmith’s latest effort. With there being so much infighting in the band, and Steven Tyler’s stint on American Idol, I was doubtful that the band, in its current state of health
could deliver an album worthy of the Aerosmith name.
After listening to the CD several times, my thoughts are this: Music From Another Dimension suffers from too many ballads, too many tracks, and an overall cohesive feel. Sure there are some good songs, but nothing that will probably overwhelm you, and say OOOOOH, I have to run out and buy the new Aerosmith album. If you are an Aerosmith fan, chances are you probably have this in your collection already anyway.
On a positive note, the band has brought in Jack Douglas to produce the album, and the overall production is very good.
The album starts off strong enough, but about midway through it starts to taper off, and suffers from far too many ballads.
The opening track “Luv XXX” sounds like a classic Aerosmith track, and that is great, but the lyrics are just stupid. The song does grow on you though.
“Oh Yeah” sounds like it could have been on Get A Grip. This is a pretty catchy, yet simple tune.
“Beautiful” could possibly be a hit for Aerosmith, but time will tell on this one. The jangly guitars give this song a feel more akin to Aerosmith’s later material, but I am a fan of all eras of Aerosmith so that isn’t a problem for me.
“Out Go The Lights” might just have one of the best Aerosmith riffs in recent years, the problem with this song is the background singers. I think the background singers weaken the track with their vocal piece on the lyrics “If You Want to Take A Lookie, Cookie Tonight Might Be Your Lucky, Nighty Nite Nite”. I think it could have been a stronger song without this. The song seems to go on forever too. It is about two minutes longer than it needs to be. This song could have been one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits, but it is overall a let down.
“Legendary Child” was the first single from the album, and this song is actually pretty good. I think this song could have easily been on Pump, but the song is a leftover demo from “Get A Grip”. I am glad they decided to use this song. I like this one pretty well.
“What Could Have Been Love” is the first sappy Aerosmith ballad, and this song will likely be a COUNTRY hit for Aerosmith. One word defines my opinion of this song, “BLECH”!!!. I skip this song every time. (You can check it out in the video below).
Every time I listen to “Street Jesus” I start thinking “Sweet Emotion”. I guess it is the vocal part on the chorus that is similar between the “Street” and “Sweet”.
I like this song a lot, even if it does somewhat borrow from one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits.
“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” features a duet with Country superstar Carrie Underwood. I have to question Aerosmith’s sanity on this one. Are they looking to recreate some magic, the way they did with RUN DMC in the 80′s? If you wanted to gain a bunch of new country fans, bringing in Carrie Underwood is probably a great idea, but not so much for the rock crowd. I don’t have any problems with Carrie Underwood. She is a hell of a singer. It just seems odd to have a country singer on an Aerosmith album. Oddly enough, this song has less of a country feel than “What Could Have Been Love”. I think this song would have been better suited on a Steven Tyler solo album, than an Aerosmith album, but that is just me.
After a few non-Aerosmtih sounding tracks, we finally get another rocker with “Lover Alot”. This one is pretty catchy, and ought to translate well live.
Joe Perry handles the vocals on “Freedom Fighter”, and as much as I love Joe’s guitar work, I don’t care for his voice very much. The lyrics on this song are pretty good. It is a shame that Steven didn’t sing on this one. It could have been much better. The same goes for the song “Something”. I love the bluesy music on this song, but Joe’s voice just doesn’t do it for me.
The album closes with another sappy ballad “The Last Goodbye”. I think the album, could have been better served by ending with another rocker. It doesn’t and it ends on a weak note in my opinion.
The special edition from Music From Another Dimension includes three bonus tracks, “Up On The Mountain” (sung by Tom Hamilton), “Oasis In The Night” (Sung by Joe Perry) and “Sunny Side of Love” (Sung By Steven Tyler). “Sunny Side of Love” is the best song out of the three. It is a little more pop than rock, but it is still better than a few of the songs that made it on the main track listing of Music From Another Dimension.
Am I being too critical of Aerosmith? Perhaps! I just don’t believe the music from Music From Another Dimension is as good as past Aerosmith releases, and that is disappointing. This is the type of CD that I probably won’t reach for in my collection very often, but won’t turn it off if I hear it on the radio either.
Rating: Out of 10
01. LUV XXX
02. Oh Yeah
04. Tell Me
05. Out Go The Lights
06. Legendary Child
07. What Could Have Been Love
08. Street Jesus
09. Can’t Stop Lovin’ You (Duet With Carrie Underwood)
10. Lover Alot
11. We All Fall Down
12. Freedom Fighter
15. Another Last Goodbye
01. Up On the Mountain
02. Oasis In The Night
03. Sunny Side of Love
Steven Tyler – Vocals, Guitars, Keys, Percussion, Harmonica
Joe Perry – Guitars and Vocals
Tom Hamilton – Bass and Vocals
Brad Whitford – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Joey Kramer – Drums, Percussion and Backing Vocals
Have you ever yearned to hear hard rock music that hits you so hard, your fist is in the air by the second song? If so, then Sister Sin’s Now And Forever is a record that you must listen to. Filled with nothing but hard rocking, pulse pounding, kick ass, hard rock music Now And Forever is a gem of an album.
Sweden has become a hot bed for some great glam metal over the last few years, and Sister Sin is one more addition to that list of awesome. Their latest album, Now And Forever, is another fabulous ride through some ripping glam metal.
Sister Sin has been making hard rocking music since 2002, and making it well. For their fourth album, the tradition of great, glam metal continues. The first single and one of the best tracks from Now And Forever is “End Of The Line.” Showing off all of Sister Sin’s strengths, “End Of The Line” is the song that will have listeners falling in love with the band. Fantastic guitars with great solos, a heavy, steady drum beat, and excellent vocals from lead singer, Liv Jagrell, make “End Of The Line” one of the greatest rock songs that I’ve heard in a while.
The hard hits just keep on coming after that. “Fight Song” delivers the goods with hard hitting drums courtesy of Dave Sundberg, and some excellent guitar work via Jimmy Hitula. And anytime a song starts with a big loud “Fuck You!” from a vixen of a lead singer, well, you can consider me hooked. And the good news is that “Fight Song” has more than just a cool intro. It has balls that last throughout the entire track.
“In It For Life” picks up right where “Fight Song” left off. More loud, hard rocking guitars, devious drum beats, exceptional bass lines from Strandh, and being told to kiss Liv Jagrell’s ass in the first thirty
seconds. Sounds like something I’m going to jam out with for a long time. And with the incredible raw power that is captured on “In It For Life,” I’ll be hitting my repeat button quite a few times.
Every other song on the record follows this same pattern. That’s the greatest thing about Now And Forever — the raw power that it packs. After one listen to this disc if you aren’t rocking out harder than
ever before, well, you may not be a metal head. Sister Sin is the real deal and Now And Forever is their strongest effort yet. The guitar solos are well thought out and perfectly placed with some amazing finger
picking by Hitula. He is a great guitarist and if Sister Sin gets the recognition that they deserve, Hitula will be mentioned in the same paragraphs as some of the greats of our time. Add in the amazing ability of Liv
Jagrell to front the band and you’ve got a deadly combination waiting to explode.
If you haven’t checked out Sister Sin yet, this is the perfect album to get to know them. Now And Forever will leave you hooked and wanting to hear more. The great news about that is that there is plenty of
back catalog to pick up after you’ve worn out your copy of Now And Forever. You can pick up a copy of Now And Forever at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
- End Of The Line
- Fight Song
- In It For Life
- Hearts Of Cold
- The Chosen Few
- Hang ‘Em High
- I’m Not You
- Running Low
- Shades Of Black
- Morning After
Sister Sin Is:
Liv Jagrell – Vocals
Jimmy Hitula – Guitar
Strandh – Bass
Dave Sundberg – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie
When former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler comes back from the dead, he means it. When Adler’s new CD hits the stores on 11/27, prepare to be BLOWN AWAY! Back From The Dead is packed with great songs, and some killer guest appearances from John 5, Slash and Jeff Pilson. I have been looking forward to Adler’s solo debut for quite some time, but I didn’t expect it to be THIS good.
I had high hopes for this album after hearing “The One That You Hated” a few months ago. Back From The Dead does not disappoint one bit!
Jeff Pilson produced the album with Adler, and also handles all of the bass work on the CD. When you have a rhythm section that is Steven Adler and Jeff Pilson, can you really do wrong?
Steven Adler scored big when he got Lynam’s Jacob Bunton to join his band. No only does Bunton handle the vocals for Adler, but is also the lead song writer. Bunton has written a bunch of quality songs, and delivers what could be the vocal performance of his career.
The opening song “Back From The Dead” almost has a Cinderella like opening, but once this song kicks into gear, it is a take no prisoners, head-banging tune.
“Own Worst Enemy”, “Another Version of The Truth” and “The One That You Hated” are three more killer tracks stacked up back to back.
I was excited to learn that John 5 is one of the guest guitarists on Back From The Dead. If you are familiar with John 5, then you will recognize his playing on “Good To Be Bad”. His guitar work is amazing on this song!
I figured that “Just Don’t Ask featuring Slash would be a real ripping track, and I was very wrong about that one. This is a slower track, but Slash’s fretwork shines. This is a great song!
“Blown Away” is a real rocker that ought to be a radio single for Adler. This song is going to take the world by storm.
“Your Diamonds” has a 70′s classic rock feel, while the album closer “Dead Wrong” has a more of a modern feel to it.
Back From The Dead is easily one of the biggest surprises, and strongest albums of 2012. I love this album, and I think you will too! Don’t miss this!
Rating: Out of 10
Back From the Dead will be released on November 27th, 2012. You can preorder the CD here!
1. Back From The Dead (Paul, Pilson, Bunton)
2. Own Worst Enemy (Paul, Bunton)
3. Another Version Of The Truth (Bunton, Paul, Pilson)
4. The One That You Hated (Bunton, Paul)
5. Good To Be Bad (Paul, Bunton)
6. Just Don’t Ask (Bunton)
7. Blown Away (Bunton)
8. Waterfall (Paul, Bunton)
9. Habit (Paul)
10. Your Diamonds (Bunton)
11.Dead Wrong (Paul, Bunton)
Jacob Bunton -lead vocals, guitar, mandolin and piano
Lonny Paul – guitar and vocals
Steven Adler- drums, cowbell, shakers, tambourine, crowbar, shovel and screams
Johnny Martin – bass and vocals
Jeff Pilson – bass on all tracks, 6 string guitar, keys and vocals
Slash – Lead guitar on “Just Don’t Ask”
John 5 – Lead guitar on “Good To Be Bad”
Michael Lord – Piano on “Waterfall”
What can you expect on T&N’s new CD Slave To the Empire? How about five cool versions of Dokken songs, and some killer new stuff as well?! Slave to The Empire has
plenty of guest stars (Doug Pinnick, Robert Mason, Sebastian Bach, Tim “Ripper” Owens), and each one of these singers do an outstanding job on the Dokken songs they sing.
The new T&N songs are pretty good too.
I always new Jeff Pilson was a great back up singer to Don Dokken, but after listening to “Into the Fire”, it is clear to me that Jeff Pilson’s voice is superior to Don’s. I like the
extended version of the song on this CD. It is a great update to a Dokken classic. In fact, Pilson’s voice shines on all of the songs that he sings on this album. Give the song “Rhythm of the Soul” a listen and you will understand just how big Mr. Pilson’s voice.
The Dokken song that I was concerned about the most on this album, was “Tooth & Nail”. I wasn’t sure how Doug Pinnick’s voice would translate on this song. Pinnick added a little more soul, but also a lot more power to this song. I love this version!
Warrant singer Robert Mason does a trenmdous job on “It’s Not Love”. I am sure he sang this one a few times during his tenure with Lynch Mob, and it shows, as this version is excellent!
I never thought I would like Sebastian Bach singing a Dokken tune, but I love his voice on “Alone Again”. His vibrato and voice are quite different from Don Dokken. While this version is similar to the original, I think I prefer this version. I like this so much that I would love to see Sebastian perform this song live.
“Mind Control” is my favorite out of all of the new T&N songs. This song really rocks. “Kiss of Death” on the other hand is my least favorite out of the Dokken tunes. Tim “Ripper” Owens does a good job on the song, but I still prefer the original “Kiss of Death” version to this one.
George Lynch takes a more bluesy approach to his playing on “Jesus Train”, and it really works on this song. I am not used to hearing George play like this, and I love his sound on this song.
“Access Denied” is a heavy tune that sounds as if it could have been left over from the George Lynch Kill All Control sessions.
This is not a filler tune by any means. George Lynch plays his ass off.
Overall, Slave to the Empire is a very enjoyable album. Half of it does play like a Dokken cover album, but quite frankly some of the versions on this album are superior to the original songs. They give the album a nice flow.
The new songs show off the crazy talent of George Lynch, Jeff Pilson Mick Brown and Brian Tichy (who handles the drumming on the new T&N tracks). If you are a fan of Dokken, you NEED to pick this up!
You can pick up Slave to the Empire here!
Rating: Out of 10
- Slave to the Empire
- Sweet Unknown
- Tooth and Nail (featuring Doug Pinnick of Kings X)
- It’s Not Love (featuring Robert Mason of Warrant)
- Rhythm of the Soul
- When Eagles Die
- Into The Fire
- Alone Again (featuring Sebastian Bach)
- Mind Control
- Kiss of Death (featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens)
- Jesus Train
- Access Denied
George Lynch – Vocals
Jeff Pilson – Vocals and Bass
Mick Brown – Drums
Brian Tichy – Drums
Doug Pinnick – Vocals (Tooth & Nail)
Sebastian Bach – Vocals (Alone Again)
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals (Kiss of Death
Robert Mason – Vocals (It’s Not Love)
I have to admit that the first couple of times that I listened to Jackyl’s latest effort Best in Show, I wasn’t that impressed. I thought a band that I have often compared to Jackyl, SNEW, out did Jackyl on their latest effort.
I do love the song “Screwdriver”, but I thought the rest of the CD was hit & miss. Last Friday night (at The Inner Circle), I saw the band perform several of the songs live, and my opinion changed 100%. You see, a few of the songs on Best in Show translate better live than they do in the studio. After seeing the band perform the songs live, I have grown to appreciate Best in Show much more than I did originally.
The album starts off with a real face melting rocker with “Best In Show”. This is one of the many songs that translate better live, although I like the version on the CD a lot.
“Screwdriver” and “Better Than Chicken” are a couple of tongue-in-cheek tracks that borrows from the Steel Panther playbook. Jesse James Dupree and company truly deliver these songs live. These may not be the type of songs you want to play around your young children, but I doubt you play Jackyl around your kids anyway.
Jackyl has crafted an almost perfect stripper pole anthem with their song “Encore”. This song came as completely unexpected when I heard it the first time but this one is a real party starter in Jackyl’s live set. I am sure this song will find its way into Gentemen’s clubs nationwide soon.
“Horns Up” is a fun little rocker that has a little Nazareth influence on it. I absolutely love the groove on the song “Golden Spookytooth”. This is quickly becoming one of my Jackyl favorites.
“Walk My Mile” is the longest track on Best in Show, and shows Jackyl taking a more serious approach to their music. This is a heavy tune, and a good one at that.
“Open Invitation” would have had a lot more impact, if it would have been released before Bin Laden’s death. While the man will be hated forever, this song was obviously written before he was killed.
The only band that has successfully pulled off the rap/rock thing was Aerosmith in my opinion. Needless to say, I still question why Jackyl covered “It’s Tricky” on this album. I am not a fan of the rap/rock hybrid, and I thought this cover was silly at best. For me that song ended the album on a down note. Nonetheless, Jackyl has delivered another solid album.
Best in Show is exactly what you would expect from a Jackyl CD. It is raw, raunchy and anything but subtle. Most importantly, it is a hell of a lot
of fun to listen to. The more I have listened to Best in Show, the more I have enjoyed it. It isn’t a perfect CD, but I think it is easily the band’s best effort since their 1992 self titled debut. Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Best in Show
3. Screw Driver
4. Horns Up
5. Golden Spookytooth
6. Cover of the Rolling Stone
7. Walk My Mile
8. Favorite Sin
9. Better Than Chicken
10. Don’t Lay Down On Me
12. What I Do
13. Open Invitation
14. It’s Tricky
Jesse James Dupree- Vocals & Chainsaw
Roman Glick- Bass
Chris Worley- Drums
Jeff Worley- Guitars
It’s amazing that Rush has been around for almost 40 years and are still making significant music. Their last studio album, Snakes And Arrows, was a great disc filled with solid, enjoyable rock songs. Earlier this year, the band released their 19th studio album, Clockwork Angels. This album is a testament to the fact that Rush still has what it takes to make a great record worthy of fan consumption.
Clockwork Angels reminds me a lot of the very underrated Presto, which is one of my favorite Rush albums. While most fans think Presto is a decent record, it never quite got the attention it deserved. Clockwork Angels falls into a similar category. It is an amazing record that may not get the attention it is due.
These days, Rush fans are mostly about the nostalgia of the band. On their last tour, Rush played Moving Pictures in its entirety, and a plethora of their hits that had the crowd ecstatic. When it came time to play the new songs from their forthcoming album (which would be Clockwork Angels) a lot of fans tuned out, even though the songs were fantastic. “Caravan” and “BU2B” were played live for every concert performance and gave us a taste of what was to come. And that taste left me wanting the full meal. Now that Rush has delivered Clockwork Angels, they have not disappointed.
“Caravan” and “BU2B” start the record off and their studio incarnation is even better than their live counterparts. Building in intensity as the songs progress, both “Caravan” and “BU2B” are great openers for Clockwork Angels. Both of these songs are short, enjoyable bursts of hard rock music that could be released as radio singles with no qualms.
The rest of Clockwork Angels is not short and sweet like the opening tracks, and that is great news for Rush fans everywhere. Rush works the rest of the album in their typical style, with much progression, chord changes, multiple arrangements, and mini operatic songs. Acoustic guitars and strings are plentiful, as well as deep, thought provoking, lyrics that can only be written by Neil Peart.
“Halo Effect” is a magnificent ballad. Opening with a nice acoustic riff from Alex Lifeson, the song builds in intensity when the strings arrive for the chorus. The string section blends together with the acoustic guitars to make a harmonious delight. “Halo Effect” is a fantastic song, even though it is one of the quieter moments on Clockwork Angels.
“The Wreckers” is the song that most reminds of Presto era Rush. With strings, acoustic guitars, a simple drum beat and intense lyrics, “The Wreckers” takes me back to the late 80s when I was dissecting Presto for every fantastic nuance that it contained. The lyrics for “The Wreckers” do not reflect the most positive light, but tell a real message. “Sometimes you have to be weary of a miracle that is too good to be true.” Geddy Lee’s voice is at its finest for “The Wreckers.” While he can’t hit the high notes like it was 1974, Lee still delivers the vocals with pure passion that will have fans truly believing in “The Wreckers” as a huge hit song.
“Wish Them Well” is the strongest song on Clockwork Angels. Opening with a great pounding simple drum beat that bleeds into a typical, complex Peart percussion, “Wish Them Well” captures the ear from the first note of the song. “Wish Them Well” is Rush at their finest. Three guys making music and having fun. There are no strings, no acoustics, and no additives. “Wish Them Well” is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart showing what they can still do when the three of them get together to make a great song. This is classic Rush with a modern contemporary twist, and it is beautiful.
With Clockwork Angels, Rush have delivered one of their best albums to date. Even after 38 years of making music, this band still has something to say and it is worth listening to. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Clockwork Angels don’t delay any longer. This could be the best record you will hear all year.
Notable Tracks: The Wreckers, Wish Them Well
Rating: Out of 10
03. Clockwork Angels
04. The Anarchist
06. Halo Effect
07. Seven Cities of Gold
08. The Wreckers
09. Headlong Flight
11. Wish Them Well
12. The Garden
Geddy Lee – Bass, Vocals
Alex Lifeson – Guitar
Neil Peart – Drums
I have been listening to Dokken for over 30 years now, and I have to admit that I have some extremely strong opinions about the band. I chose not to review Broken Bones when it first came out, as I didn’t want to deter or sway those fans that would purchase Broken Bones. I didn’t like the band’s last album Lightning Strikes Again very much, and I didn’t expect Broken Bones to be much better. The video for “Empire” was released, and I have to admit that I had a glimpse of hope for the new album. Jon Levin’s guitar is shredding, “Wild” Mick Brown is sounding great on the skins, and Don Dokken surprisingly pushes his voice in this song. With that being said, I decided to spin Broken Bones, and give the band another chance.
Broken Bones starts off strong enough. The first three songs, “Empire”, “Broken Bones” and “Best of Me” have that classic Dokken feel. It certainly isn’t Back For The Attack era stuff, but it is solid enough to keep me interested.
At this point the album shifts into a bunch of mid tempo songs that honestly work a lot better with Don Dokken’s voice. Don’s voice hasn’t aged well, but the songs were smartly crafted to take advantage of his diminished range. Some of the songs have a more modern approach, but Jon Levin keeps it very Dokken like with his Lynch style noodling.
One song that I typically won’t expect to like at all, “Victim of the Crime” has grown on me the most. The song has a little middle eastern flair, mixed with a little Sabbath like heaviness. Levin throws in a little Dokken style flash to keep the song honest. I think this might be the most creative song on Broken Bones.
The album closes out in good fashion with a flashy rocker “Tonight” that is more in the classic Dokken style. I thought this song helped to bring the whole album together. It is a very smartly mixed album in my opinion. Heavy rockers up front, mid tempo stuff in the middle, and a classic Dokken style rocker to close it out.
Overall, I didn’t expect to like Broken Bones at all, and after giving it a few spins, I have really enjoyed this album. I think it is Dokken’s strongest album since 1999′s Erase The Slate. If you go in expecting Under Lock and Key, or Back For The Attack you may be disappointed. If you listen with an open mind, you might be greatly surprised.
Give Broken Bones a chance! I they can win over this Dokken critic, they can certainly win you over too!
Rating: Out of 10
02. Broken Bones
03. Best of Me
06. Victim Of The Crime
07. Burning Tears
09. For The Last Time
10. Fade Away
Don Dokken – vocals
Mick Brown – drums
Jon Levin – guitar
Sean McNabb – bass
Back with some hard hitting, gritty, modern rock tunes, Three Days Grace delivers Transit Of Venus, the follow up to 2009’s solid Life Starts Now. Returning to give fans more of the same, Three Days Grace’s latest album is another enjoyable collection of modern rock tunes filled with anger, angst, pain, and passion. And while that is the same formula the band has followed since their debut album in 2003, it is not necessarily a bad thing. If some is good, more is better, and if a certain sound and style works, why try to reinvent yourselves? Three Days Grace just delivers more solid rock and roll.
Darker, grittier, and perhaps even more angry than ever before, on Transit Of Venus, Three Days Grace returns to themes of hatred, problems, and the depressing side of life. While hope is offered in songs like “Time That Remains,” the majority of the songs deal with the negative side of life. Themes of oppression, anti-authority, and taking control of your own life run rampant throughout Transit Of Venus.
“Operate” is a hard hitting, rocking song that will find fists in the air and throats raw from screaming. Lead singer Adam Grontier crafted a sing-along anthem with “Operate” that is bound to find a lot of fans screaming to the beat. The chorus is a powerful, bombastic blast of rage fueled anger that explodes out of the song. Hearing this song live in concert would be a real treat.
“Give In To Me,” is another powerful blend of smooth harmony and heavy, anger fueled, rock. This song jumps out at the listener with powerful riffs and commanding vocals. The thrash/grunge infusion helps take “Give In To Me” to a higher level of joyfulness. Add in some expert playing by lead guitarist Barry Stock and the combination adds up to a winning song.
The aforementioned “Time That Remains,” portrays a picture of hope with a look toward the future. Grontier’s lyrics are full of beauty and sage advice, telling that the past should not be relived, and the pain of the past should not be dwelled on. Moving forward with life is all that anyone can do. With a beautiful melody and terrific harmony, Grontier sings like an angel on “Time That Remains.” This is an uplifting song that shows how future achievements in life can be grand, despite what has happened in the past. One should use the time that remains to create great memories, and forget about the pains of the past.
Three Days Grace has once again delivered a solid, enjoyable, album in Transit Of Venus. Fans of the band are going to love this record a lot, but there is plenty for new fans to grab onto as well. With the proper balance between rockers and ballads, nice melodies, deep lyrics, and plenty of energy, Transit Of Venus is a solid record worthy of quite a few plays through the I-Pod.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Sign Of The Times
02. Chalk Outline
03. The High Road
06. Misery Loves My Company
07. Give In To Me
09. Give Me A Reason
10. Time That Remains
12. Broken Glass
13. Unbreakable Heart
Three Days Grace Is:
Adam Gontier – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Barry Stock – Lead Guitar
Neil Sanderson – Drums
Brad Walst – Bass