In what could be his best release since Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Bruce Springsteen has returned with a magnificent album fueled by anger, poignant with insight, and offering a glimmer of hope for the future. That album is Wrecking Ball, and it is the first album Springsteen has recorded since the death of his dear friend, and founding E-Street Band member, Clarence (Big Man) Clemons.
While the last Springsteen album (2009’s Working On A Dream) was criticized as being too rushed, too polished, and too pop oriented, none of those comments can be regurgitated for this record. Wrecking Ball is the antithesis of Working On A Dream. Musically, the album is heavier. Lyrically, the album is angrier. Spiritually, the album is much more uplifting and inspiring. Wrecking Ball is a request to a nation; regain the fire that once burned bright in their belly.
If Working On A Dream was themed with hope, opportunity, and a chance for change, Wrecking Ball is a call to action for that change to happen now. The frustration and demand is felt in these songs written by a man mired in blue collar roots who is saddened by the current state of his America. The current situation has cheated us with empty promises and side mouth talking. The time to act upon those promises is now. It’s time for people to rebound and put in the hard work, as a group, not as individuals, required to take back the strength we all once commanded. There is hope in the future. The hope comes with a price though. We have to be willing to put in the sweat required today in order to receive a brighter tomorrow.
While not as patriotic as Born In The USA, Wrecking Ball speaks to the American public. The cynicism of modern day Bruce is immediately felt on opening track “We Take Care Of Our Own.” The lyrics cry out that we feel cheated. The promises of a better today have not arrived and need to. Springsteen sings that “the road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone,” letting us know that the time for talk is behind us and the time for immediate action is upon us. If we join together and take care of our own, we will be able to accomplish anything that we desire.
Calls of unity and group action (“We Take Care Of Our Own”), overcoming tragic loss and still moving forward (“This Depression”), taking the worst that comes and conquering (“Wrecking Ball”) and seeing hope in the future (“Land Of Hope And Dreams”) dominate this record. Springsteen has reached back to a style of writing reminiscent of his early, mid-70s career and composed music with a message and a meaning. The time to stand up and fight for what we believe in is now. There can be no tomorrow if we don’t take action today. The challenge is laid forth. We can overcome it and become greater than we ever imagined.
Recording this album also found Bruce Springsteen in the studio without his best friend and longtime band mate, Clarence Clemons. The trademark saxophone has been replaced by trumpets and horns, electronic drum tracking and plenty of fiddle. Songs like “Rocky Ground” and “This Depression” contain dual messages that not only center on the current state of our nation, but also describe the pain of moving forward after losing someone that has meant so much for so many years. How does a man move forward from that? Strength, determination, and remembering what the friendship stood for are some of the key ways.
Blending his 70s style blue collar rock with his more recent Irish folk flavor, and mixing in some good old fashioned classic guitar rock, Bruce Springsteen has struck gold with his latest release. There is something for everyone on Wrecking Ball. From ballads to blues, from guitar solos, to foot stomping folk songs, Wrecking Ball has it all. That is what makes it such a great treasure. After 40 years, Bruce Springsteen still knows how to rock and roll and Wrecking Ball is the current proof of his lasting musical genius.
Rating: Out of 10
- We Take Care Of Our Own
- Easy Money
- Shackled And Drawn
- Jack Of All Trades
- Death To My Hometown
- This Depression
- Wrecking Ball
- You’ve Got It
- Rocky Ground
- Land Of Hope And Dreams
- We Are Alive
Reach deep into the memory banks and recall such classic Survivor hits as “The Search Is Over” and “Burning Heart.” Once that image/sound is conjured into the cerebrum, the brain will be in tune with the sound of Mecca. Mecca is a strong band that performs Album Oriented Rock (AOR) and was considered to be one of the best in the business when their debut album was released in 2002.
Mecca is a melody waiting to erupt. Keyboard driven rock with blistering guitars serve as the footprint for Undeniable. There is a lot of passion to be felt on the songs contained within Undeniable. Strong vocals combined with solid guitars and layers of keyboards are what make Mecca’s Undeniable an enjoyable album. What’s most enjoyable about this disc is the positive, uplifting hope that the lyrics and melody provide.
Opening track, “Perfect World,” sets the stage for the good vibes that can be felt throughout the record. Lead singer Joey Vana sings of how a perfect world would contain harmony and bliss. There would be no war, no crime, and no anger. In a perfect world there would be no need for money or time, because everyone would have all that they need. The message in the song is clear—if we all try hard enough, we can live in this peaceful, perfect world.
“From The Start” is decidedly the best song on Undeniable and the real gem of the record. Vana’s voice sounds exceptional and the guitar work from both Vana and Mark Alano provides an incredible musical backdrop. The song can transport the listener back to the days of youth, when getting over a heartbreak was the worst thing in the world. If I were a lovesick teenager once again, “From The Start,” would be at the top of my playlist. A passionate song sung with power and feeling, dealing with heartache and loss, “From The Start,” is an incredible song that has “hit” written all over it.
It is absolutely clear that Joey Vana has a solid voice. His strong vocals and high octave range are worthy of a melodic rock lead singer and may even leave other singers in the genre a little jealous. Vana’s vocal chords deliver the goods in a most enjoyable way. Basically, the man can sing with the best of them. While it may have taken Mecca nine years to record and release this album, it was well worth the wait. Vana’s vocals never falter, the guitar solos are blistering and fantastic, and the keyboards/synthesizers tie the melodies together in perfect harmony. What more could you ask for in a record?
If you are a fan of the heavier side of rock (speed metal, thrash), then Undeniable is probably not for you. However, if you are looking to discover some darned good music from a band that you may not be familiar with, then you should definitely give Mecca’s Undeniable a try. It’s a solid record that will bring your ears some joy.
Rating: Out of 10
- Perfect World
- Closing Time
- Ten Lifetimes
- Life’s Too Short
- I Know
- Did It For Love
- From The Start
- Deceptive Cadence
- As I Walk Alone
Joey Vana – Vocals and Guitars
Brian Moritz – Keyboards
Paul Pisciotto – Synthesizers
Wally Hustin – Bass
Rick Vitek – Drums
Mark Alano – Guitars
Elegant, melodic rock is the first impression garnered when listening to On Top Of The World by Coastland Ride. On Top Of The World is the second release from Sweden’s Coastland Ride. Their self titled debut was released in 2003 and the band was finally able to release their sophomore effort late last year thanks to signing a new record deal with Avenue of Allies.
On Top Of The World contains all of the general flavor that one would expect from a melodic rock band. Leaning toward the softer side of rock, Coastland Ride and similar bands of the genre create a sound driven by keyboards and melody. While this is not something a listener will bang a head to, it is still good music to jam when the mood strikes.
Embracing the soft rock sound, Coastland Ride have gone heavy on the keys and melodies for On Top Of The World. Opening track “Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons)” sets the stage for what’s to come. Vocalist Markus Nordenberg’s voice hits the ears immediately and causes a slight smile to form. The smile grows as the album plays on. Songs like “Made Up My Mind” and “Lodestar” are bound to be regular spins once they’ve been heard just once.
“Made Up My Mind” is a terrific song of destiny and overcoming hard times and difficult challenges to achieve goals. There are always times when we want to give up and forget the goal we have in our hearts, but songs like “Made Up My Mind” are a great reminder that we shouldn’t give up and we should always give our all to achieve what our heart desires. A great track, with a solid guitar solo and a strong message, “Made Up My Mind” is one of the best cuts on this album.
The funk and groove of “Lodestar” makes it a stand out track from On Top Of The World. The beat is different from most of the other tracks and really has feet tapping. “Lodestar” is an enjoyable treat with a crisp bass line, tight vocals, and dancing keyboards that make the song come alive. “Lodestar” is certainly a favorite that may find you dancing along while the song plays on.
While it’s been a long time in between albums for Coastland Ride, it hasn’t made the quality of their music suffer. If you’re a fan of the softer side of rock, melodic melodies, or album oriented rock, Coastland Ride’s On Top Of The World is a good addition to your collection.
Rating: Out of 10
Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons)
On Top Of The World
Made Up My Mind
Save You From Yourself
Nail Me To The Cross
Coastland Ride Are:
Anders Rybank – keyboards, guitars, bass, & drums
Mikael Bohlin – keyboards, guitars
Markus Nordenberg – vocals
On their debut CD, Will Wallner & Vivien Vain have recruited some of hard rock’s finest musicians to help craft their songs. The end result is a remarkable hard rock CD that I can’t stop listening to. Will Wallner may not be a guitarist whose name you recognize. One listen to this CD, and I think he could possibly become an overnight sensation. Wallner delivers some of the best hard rock riffs I have heard in 2012, and that includes the recent works from Eddie Van Halen & Vinnie Moore (in UFO). Wallner’s style reminds me of a cross between Randy Rhoads & Jake E. Lee. That is pretty good company to be in, in my opinion.
Vivien Vain, where have you been hiding? Vain is easily one of the best new female hard rock vocalists that I have heard in quite some time. Her powerful pipes are a very good match for Wallner’s heavy riffs. Of course it doesn’t hurt when you attract the likes of Carmen Appice, Tony Franklin, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain, Tony Carey, Brian Tichy and Derek Sherinian to play on your songs. These hard rock legends help to craft some very cool tunes. I can’t begin to tell you how good it is to hear Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice (two-thirds of Blue Murder) playing on some songs together again. This is very cool stuff indeed!
The best songs on the CD are “Dreamstealer”, “Streets of Rage” & “Miles Ahead”, but there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
If you are a fan of 80’s hard rock, you ought to check out this CD. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
- The Dream
- Streets Of Rage
- Fourteen Twenty Eight
- All That I Want
- Miles Ahead
- Soul Monster
Vivien Vain – Vocals
Will Wallner – Guitar
Tony Carey – Keys on Tracks 1, 2, 8, 9
Jimmy Bain – Bass on Track 2
Vinny Appice – Drums on Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6
Carmine Appice – Drums on Tracks 3, 5, 9
Tony Franklin – Bass on Tracks 3, 5, 7, 9
Rudy Sarzo – Bass on Tracks 4, 6
Brian Tichy – Drums on Track 7
Derek Sherinian – Keys on Track 7
Royal Hunt is back with their eleventh long player Show Me How To Live. Show Me How to Live features the return of D.C. Cooper (Silent Force) on vocals. DC Cooper’s parting from Royal Hunt was not an amicable move back in the late 90’s, so I am glad the gentleman in Royal Hunt could mend the fences. D.C. Cooper has an outstanding voice, and after giving Show Me How To Live a few spins, I can clearly say, it sounds like he never left.
Don’t misunderstand my excitement with D.C. Cooper returning to Royal Hunt. I thought Mark Boals and John West both did a great job singing for this band. I liked Royal Hunt’s last album X a lot. I don’t know what it is, but there seems to be magic when André Andersen and D.C. Cooper record together.
Show Me How To Live is a tight record packed with melodic, and progressive edged tunes that are a pure pleasure to listen to.
The album starts off with a powerful rocker “One More Day” which is also the main chorus of the song. With Jonas Larsen’s excellent guitar work, and the catchy lyrics, I have found this song to be extremely infectious.
“Another Man Down” (See video below) is a duet with Michelle Raitzin. Raitzin’s vocals are a very good match for D.C. Cooper.
Every time I play “Hard Rain’s Coming” I want to hit repeat. Not only is this one of the best songs on Show Me How To Live, it may also be one of Royal Hunt’s best.
The album’s title track “Show Me How To Live” is a ten minute melodic monster. The musicianship is so incredible you forget that you are listening a song this long.
With only seven songs, I wish Show Me How To Live had a few more tunes, but with 42 minutes of music that is THIS good, I am still quite satisfied.
Royal Hunt fans, do yourself a favor and pick this CD up. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Out of 10
01. One More Day
02. Another Man Down
03. An Empty Shell
04. Hard Rain’s Coming
05. Half Past Loneliness
06. Show Me How To Live
07. Angel’s Gone
Royal Hunt is:
André Andersen – keyboards
D.C. Cooper – vocals
Allan Sørensen – drums
Andreas Passmark – bass
Jonas Larsen – guitars
Hair Metal Core...that is how I have heard the band Blessed By A Broken Heart described, and that pretty much fits them perfectly. On the band’s third album, they have relaxed the metal core vocals, and that is a good thing. I have never been a fan of the hardcore/metalcore style of vocals. To me, that style of vocals sounds like Cookie Monster vomiting his cookies, while he tries to spit out a sentence. I prefer clean vocals, and Feel the Power has more clean vocals than either of Blessed By A Broken Heart’s previous two albums.
From a music perspective, this album is rifftastic! Blessed By a Broken Heart has crammed as many riff’s as possible on this album. Shred Sean & Sam Ryder have impressed the heck out of me with their guitar playing on this CD. Most of the songs on Feel the Power are up tempo, and give off a positive vibe. The sound varies from the retro 80’s hard rock style, to the more modern guitar offerings of bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Black Tide.
“Shut Up and Rock” features the vocals of Dallas Taylor from Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. This song is easily one of my favorites on the album.
“I’ve Got You” reinvents the 80’s power ballad, while “Scream It Like You Mean It” and “Forever” (See video below) might be the most melodic tunes on the album. All of these songs will likely have appeal to melodic rock fans.
Overall, I enjoyed this album, but I wish the band would lose the metal core vocals. That is the only thing that held this album back from being a great one. If you enjoy the clips below, you should give this one a chance.
You can purchase Feel the Power at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
2. Shut Up and Rock
3. Love Nightmare
5. Thunder Dome
6. Holdin’ Back for Nothin’
7. I’ve Got You
8. Rockin’ All Night
9. Scream It Like You Mean It
10. Skate or Die
11. Innocent Blood
12. Sleepless Nights
Blessed By a Broken Heart is:
Tony Gambino (lead vocals)
Shred Sean (lead guitar)
Tyler Hoare (bass guitar, backing vocals)
Slater (drums, backing vocals)
Sam Ryder (rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
Dallas Taylor (Maylene and the Sons of Disaster) (vocals on “Shut Up and Rock”)
In 2011, Metallica did the unthinkable. They released music that nobody on earth (in their right mind) would want to download legally or illegally. That CD was called Lulu, and it is considered by many (self included) one of the worst releases of 2011. So how does Metallica cleanse the palate of their long time listeners? They release four left over tracks from the 2008 Death Magnetic sessions in the form of their new EP, Beyond Magnetic. This EP has been available to folks for download on iTunes for a few weeks, but it received its official release on CD on 1/31/2012.
So how is Beyond Magnetic? The four songs on this EP equates to twenty nine minutes of music. The four songs are heavy, yet very long compositions. The songs are good, but they were probably too long to fit on Death Magnetic or to get radio play. I have listened to this EP several times, and would say that the EP is a bit of a grower. The songs wouldn’t stack up against any of the bands hits, but they are not throw away songs either. It gets better after a few plays. The songs are so long that takes a few extra listens to fully absorb what you are listening to.
My favorite of the four songs is “Hell and Back”. This song has a heavy but infectious riff, which to my ears, is easily as good as anything on Death Magnetic.
I am glad Metallica gave these songs an official release for fans to enjoy. If you are looking for some songs to hold you over until the next Metallica CD, you could do a lot worse than Beyond Magnetic.
Rating:Out of 10
01. Hate Train
02. Just a Bullet Away
03. Hell and Back
04. Rebel of Babylon
James Hetfield – vocals and guitar
Lars Ulrich – drums
Kirk Hammett – guitars
Robert Trujillo – bass
It is finally here! The album you have been waiting for since 1984…….. A Different Kind of Truth. It seems like I have been waiting for ages to hear David Lee Roth sing with Van Halen again. I enjoyed the tunes from the brief, but short-lived reunion in 1996, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”, and “Me Wise Magic” . A Different Kind of Truth is exactly what I have been waiting for…… An album that sounds like classic Van Halen. While I enjoyed the Sammy Hagar years in Van Halen, I have always longed for Van Halen’s return to their classic sound. That is exactly what A Different Kind of Truth sounds like. Classic Van Halen! This album has a massive production, and will please most audiophiles out there.
I am sure there are many of you that would love to have an album that is on a par with Van Halen I. This album isn’t it. If you want a heavy Van Halen album, with tons of guitars and that fun party rock that Van Halen is known for, A Different Kind of Truth will put a big smile on your face.
I read where many folks were slamming the song “Tattoo”, and while I can understand other people’s opinions, I like the song. It kind of reminds me of David Lee Roth’s song “Sensible Shoes” from his 1991 album, A Little Ain’t Enough. It is a catchy song, but it is one of the lesser songs on this CD.
I have to admit that I like the original demo version of “She’s The Woman” better than this latest version. I miss Michael Anthony’s background vocals. This version is good, and if you haven’t the original unreleased version of this song, you will probably love it.
Alex Van Halen makes his presence felt on the song “China Town”. I have always though of Alex as an incredible drummer. He continues to show just how awesome he is by pulverizing his drum kit, with a super fast tempo, and pounding rhythms. This isn’t a song that would be used as a radio single, but it is one of those deep Van Halen tracks that long time fans of the band will appreciate.
“Blood and Fire” screams radio hit. This song isn’t super heavy, and this song could have easily worked in the Hagar years, but David Lee Roth owns this one.
“HoneybabySweetiedoll” has a strange intro, but this is the kind of aggressive VH tune I have been waiting to hear for years! I love this! “The Trouble With Never” is a catchy, heavy rocker that Van Halen should release as their second single. Those fans on the fence after hearing “Tattoo” will certainly jump on the Van Halen train, after hearing “The Trouble With Never”.
“Stay Frosty” has that same type of acoustic guitar style as the Van Halen classic “Ice Cream Man”, but nowhere near as good as that song (which is one of my Van Halen favorites). The song gets a little heavier towards the middle, but even with Eddie Van Halen’s awesome riffs, this song is still one the weaker tracks.
A Different Kind of Truth closes out in strong fashion with two heavy rockers back to back with “Big River” and “Beats Workin”. It often sounds like to be me that David Lee Roth is singing “Big Trouble” in “Big River”, but it is a cool song nonetheless. Eddie tears it up on “Beats Workin'” and rest assured, but the time this song ends, I am hitting repeat to listen to this CD again.
Thanks to the Van Halen clan and David Lee Roth for releasing the Van Halen album, I have been longing for. A Different Kind of Truth is a tremendous comeback album that I can’t stop listening to. All Van Halen fans should pick up immediately. Highly Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
02. She’s The Woman
03. You and Your Blues
04. China Town
05. Blood and Fire
07. As Is
09. The Trouble With Never
10. Outta Space
11. Stay Frosty
12. Big River
13. Beats Workin’
Van Halen is:
Eddie Van Halen – Guitars
Alex Van Halen – Drums
Wolfgang Van Halen – Bass
David Lee Roth – Vocals
Irish band Glyder recently released their fourth album, Backroads To Byzantium. This was my first exposure to the band and what stood out immediately was Glyder’s 70s style rock sound. While there is not one 70s band in particular they can be compared to, Glyder’s sound is an amalgamation of all 70s rock, from Fleetwood Mac to T-Rex. The band certainly falls into the soft rock category much more than the hard rock side.
While Backroads To Byzantium didn’t wow me out of the gate, it still has its moments and gems. “Even If I Don’t Know Where I’m Gonna Go” is a great highway cruising song and the slide guitar by Bat Kinane and Pete Fisher are stupendous. In fact, the guitar work throughout Backroads To Byzantium is in the upper echelon of greatness. Kinane and Fisher are both expert guitarists and their ability is stamped all over this album.
At the center of the songs is lead singer Jackie Robinson. His smoky voice is a blend of Skynyrd and Allman. Robinson solidifies the 70s style rock and roll that Glyder performs and his voice, while limited in range, is a unique and memorable force. Robinson is the perfect singer for Glyder as his vocal style is an exceptional accompaniment to the music Glyder performs.
The best song on Backroads To Byzantium is easily the last one. “Motions Of Time” is the big ballad and final track of the record. Armed with a memorable hook and fantastic guitar picking, “Motions Of Time,” is as emotional as a ballad should be and left me wanting to hear more songs like this. Obviously Glyder didn’t want to put out an album of ballads, but it appears to be one of the bands strengths. “Motions Of Time” is a blissful mix of blues and acoustic rock.
If you are a fan of the softer side of rock, then Backroads To Byzantium is something you are bound to enjoy. The guitar work alone makes the album worthy of a few spins. However, if you are looking for something a little heavier, then it’s best to pass this one by.
Rating: Out of 10
- Chronicled Deceit
- Long Gone
- Fade To Dust
- Even If I Don’t Know Where I’m Gonna Go
- Don’t Make Their Mistake
- Down & Out
- Something She Knows
- Two Wrongs
- End Of The Line
- Motions Of Time
Jackie Robinson – Vocals
Bat Kinane – Guitars
Pete Fisher – Guitars
Graham McClatchie – Bass
Des McEvoy – Drums
Riot is easily one of the most under rated metal bands in the world. In 2011, the band has reunited with their classic Thundersteel and The Privelege of Power lineup to release their fifteenth slab of blood-pumping, fist-throwing metal, Immortal Soul. While I have enjoyed the Riot releases with singer Mike Dimeo, I have always regarded Thundersteel as one of Riot’s best albums. I am glad that Tony Moore has returned to sing for Riot once more.
If Tony Moore has lost any range in his voice, it isn’t evident on Immortal Soul. On the opening song “Still Your Man” he quickly establishes that he is still very much the powerhouse vocalist from Riot’s Thundersteel days! This song easily could have been on that album. It is an impressive beginning to an excellent metal album.
If “Still Your Man” doesn’t trip your trigger, “Wings Are For Angels” definitely will. This powerful tune is easily one of the best on Immortal Soul. Moore’s voice soars to new heights, and Reale and Flyntz tear it up on guitar.
“Sins of the Father” is the type of song that makes me want to jump in the car, and drop the pedal to floor. This song is blazing fast, and will definitely get your heart racing. Bobby Jarzombek sounds like he is having a lot of fun playing the drums in this song.
“Fall Before Me” is one of the slower tunes on the album. This song has more of a modern feel, with more toned down riffs. It wouldn’t sound out of place with the stuff they are playing on rock radio today.
Mark Reale’s guitar work on this album is beyond incredible. He rips out those blazing fast metal riffs like a man possessed. Any fan of metal guitar playing will love what Reale is doing on Immortal Soul.
Sadly, Immortal Soul is the swan song for guitar Mark Reale who passed away from complications with Crohn’s disease on Wednesday (1/25/12). Mark has been the one constant member throughout all of Riot’s lineup changes over the years. Mark’s contributions to heavy metal music will be greatly missed. Mark’s Immortal Soul has now been carried on to Heavy Metal Heaven. He left us will some killer tunes to enjoy as his parting goodbye. I am sad that I will never get to see Mark perform these songs live, but I am very glad that I picked this CD up.
If you are a metal fan, you should check out Immortal Soul, you won’t be disappointed. You can purchase a copy of the CD at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Still Your Man
04. Wings Are For Angels
05. Sins of the Father
06. Fall Before Me
08. Immortal Soul
10. Whiskey Man
Tony Moore – Vocals
Mark Reale – Guitar
Mike Flyntz – Guitar
Don Van Stavern – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
The Scorpions have returned with Comeblack, their last studio album before the band retires. Comeblack is one half re-recorded originals, and one half cover tunes.
How does it stack up? Comeblack shows you just how good the Scorpions original songs are. The versions on Comeblack are not quite as aggressive as the originals. Klaus doesn’t push his voice as much as he did on the original tunes. I have found that the songs are slightly different. The tempo may be a little different on some of the songs. I have heard the original versions of these tunes hundreds of times, so some of the nuances stand out to me quite a bit. To the average fan, they may not notice much of a difference, if any. The cool thing is…all of the songs still work. I prefer the original versions of the songs, but the versions on Comeblack are still very good.
I have never been a big fan of cover song CD’s, but I have to admit the cover songs on this CD, are really good. My favorites of six covers are “Tainted Love”, “All Day and All of the Night” and “Ruby Tuesday”. All of the cover songs are very good. I am convinced that Klaus Meine could sing anything, and make it sound good. To my ears, “Tainted Love” and “All Day and All of the Night” are easily as good, if not better than the originals versions.
Is Comeblack worth picking up? If you are a fan of the Scorpions, you should definitely get this. It is the last studio album the band will ever do. The cover songs are pretty good, and are definitely worth adding to your collection.
My only wish is that someone could talk the Scorpions out of their retirement talk. Comeblack shows me that the band still has plenty of fuel in the tank.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Rhythm of Love
02. No One Like You
03. The Zoo
04. Rock You Like A Hurricane
06. Wind of Change
07. Still Loving You
08. Tainted Love
09. Children of The Revolution
10. Across the Universe
11. Tin Soldier
12. All Day and All of the Night
13. Ruby Tuesday
Klaus Meine – Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Guitars
Matthias Jabs – Guitars
Pawel Maciwoda – Bass
James Kottak – Drums
Later this month (January 20th in Europe, January 24th in the U.S.), Heavy Metal band Primal Fear will be releasing their 9th studio album, Unbreakable. If you are a metal head, you need to mark this date on your calendar, as Primal Fear has crafted a metal album that no fan should be without.
Unbreakable is packed with great vocals, blazing guitar solos, thundering drums and crank-worthy metal anthems that will blow your mind.
The album starts off with a majestic intro Unbreakable (part 1) that doesn’t come close to preparing you for the next eleven tunes that will fill your head with metal happiness.
“Strike” is a fist-pumping, heavy metal anthem that ought to be a staple in Primal Fear’s live set. What a great tune!
Chances are you may have heard the first single “Bad Guys Wear Black” (see video below). While this is a great tune, it isn’t the best song on Unbreakable. To my ears, the best song is the powerful number “Where Angels Die”. This is an eight minute tune that is arranged with amazing guitar work, excellent keyboards, and the powerful vocals that Ralf Scheepers is known for. This is an amazing tune that needs to be played multiple times to be fully appreciated.
I thought “Metal Nation” would be another blazing rocker in the vein of Primal Fear’s song “Metal is Forever”. Much to my surprise, this is a mid tempo rocker, but another great tune, and a radio worthy rocker at that.
When many people thought heavy metal was deal, Primal Fear continued to fly the Metal flag, and have been doing so for over a decade. The band seems to get better with each album it releases, and Unbreakable is no exception. If Primal Fear’s Unbreakable is a reflection for all of the music that will be released in 2012, this will be a great year for hard rock & metal. It may be too early in 2012 to tell, but I would be surprised if Unbreakable didn’t make a lot of Top 10 lists at the end of the year. Don’t miss this!
For more information on Primal Fear, please visit the band’s website.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Unbreakable (Part 1)
03. Give Em Hell
04. Bad Guys Wear Black
05. And There Was Silence
06. Metal Nation
07. Where Angels Die
08. Unbreakable (Part 2)
09. Marching Again
10. Born Again
11. Blaze of Glory
Primal Fear is:
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Magnus Karlsson – Guitar, Keyboards
Randy Black – Guitars
Mat Sinner – Bass & Vocals
Remember the Chicago based band D’Molls? Their first two CD’s D’Molls & Warped are harder to find than a Bengals Superbowl ring. If you are one of the lucky folks to have heard their music, or see them perform, you already know how cool this band is.
Long time D’Molls Singer and guitarist Desi Rexx has worked with the fine folks at FNA Records to release D-Sides, a collection of -b-sides, unreleased material & demos, never released before now. Desi has recorded songs with a bunch of famous hard rock musicians over the years. Songs on D-Sides were recorded with Andy Parker (UFO), Chip Z’nuff (Enuff Z’nuff), Bobby Barth(Axe), John Thomas(Lita Ford), Danny Johnson(Alice Cooper), Mick Sweda (Bulletboys & King Kobra) and more. It would have been impossible for him to bring all of these folks back together to record this album properly. With that being said, the audio quality is good on some songs, and lacking on others. Don’t mistake the audio quality for bad songs, as D-Sides has a collection of songs that 80’s rock fans are sure to love.
The album starts off the catchy rockabilly number “Snazzy Shoes”, the extremely cool Stones like number ‘Hi N Lo”, the glamtastic “Crimes of Fashion”. The song “Ladies Stall” is one of the most infectious tunes I have ever heard. If this song would have been released in the 80’s, it could have been a hit for D’Molls. The same can be said for the song “Love Don’t Come Easy”. With a proper recording, this song could have been huge.
“1944”, “Old Tyme Picture” and “The Answer” are also amongst my favorites on this CD.
If you are a fan of D’Molls or Desi Rexx, you owe it to yourself to check out these newly unearthed classic tunes. I enjoyed D-Sides, and I think you will too.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Snazzy Shoes
03. All I Want
04. Hi N Lo
05. Crimes Of Fashion
06. Mr. Conductor
07. Ladies Stall
08. Drums of Love
10. Love Don’t Come Easy
12. Heroes N Kings
13. Queen Bee
14. Olde Tyme Picture
16. The Answer
17. Town So Square
18. Knock On Wood And Pray
In 1977, legendary guitarist Rory Gallagher went into the recording studio and laid down an entire album that was never released. Unsatisfied with the songs, he scrapped them and went on to record another album (with a lot of the scrapped songs being re-worked). Fans thought that “lost” album was gone forever. In 1995, Rory Gallagher passed away due to liver complications. There was much mourning throughout the rock world over the loss of this guitar God. Earlier this year, an archival recording was released to help further celebrate the musical genius of Rory Gallagher. This two-disc collection contains the “lost” album that fans thought they would never hear, as well as an exceptional live recording.
Boogie-woogie, bar beating, foot stomping, down and dirty, fun rock and roll! Notes From San Francisco is all of that and more. Notes From San Francisco is a 2-disc treat for the fans that mourn the loss of Gallagher. Disc one contains unreleased material recorded in 1977 that never saw the light of day until now. Disc two is a smoking live performance recorded at the Waldorf in San Francisco, CA, back in 1979. This collection is out to help preserve the memory of Rory Gallagher as well as promote his good time rock and roll to a whole new generation of fans.
While most of the songs on disc one have been heard in a different format, the unreleased versions are classic enjoyment. Gallagher lets loose his inner demons on the guitar solos and embraces the hard rocking blues style of these songs. At times it sounds eerily reminiscent of a lost Steppenwolf album, until the guitar solos. Those are unquestioningly Rory Gallagher’s. It’s easy to see why he was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s greatest guitarists of all time. The man can play the guitar like few before (or after) have.
Notes From San Francisco is certainly your daddy’s rock and roll, and that’s a good thing. The spirit of the 70s is alive and well on both the disc of unreleased material and the live disc. Rory was a man who knew how to rock and this historic 2-disc set really drives that point home. Close your eyes tight and listen to the live disc at a decent volume, and you will swear that it is Jimi Hendrix in both the sound of the guitar and the lead vocals. Rory Gallagher was a legend that other legends looked up to.
Performing riffs that would make Eddie Van Halen envious, Rory Gallagher was a master of the guitar. His talent truly shows on Notes From San Francisco. Listening to the live tracks, one can’t help but wonder how uniquely awesome it must have been watching him play his six string in a live setting. The way his fingers massaged the guitar and plucked those strings, it was simply astonishing. Blistering solos never sounded better. Hearing the live disc after a disc full of unreleased studio material is a real treat for music fans all over. If you’ve never heard Rory Gallagher live or if you’ve never heard him at all, then Notes From San Francisco would be an excellent introduction to this legendary axe genius.
Rating: Out of 10
- Rue The Day
- B Girl
- Mississippi Sheiks
- Wheels Within Wheels
- Overnight Bag
- Cruise On Out
- Brute Force & Ignorance
- Fuel To The Fire
- Wheels Within Wheels (Alternate Version)
- Cut A Dash
- Out On The Tiles
- Follow Me
- Off The Handle
- Bought And Sold
- I’m Leavin’
- Tattoo’d Lady
- Do You Read Me
- Country Mile
- Calling Card
- Shadow Play
- Bullfrog Blues
- Sea Cruise
Rory Gallagher Band Is:
Rory Gallagher – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Gerry McAvoy – Bass
Ted McKenna – Drums
Is it possible for an AC/DC like band to outdo AC/DC? If there was a band up to the challenge, ’77 would be the act. ’77 recently released their sophomore effort, High Decibels, and they show no sign of the dreaded sophomore slump.
Singer Armand Valeta continues to show his near perfect vocal mimicry of AC/DC’s legendary singer Bon Scott. His brother, LG Valeta, has Angus Young’s sound and style down to perfection. Sure the music or style isn’t very original, but what ’77 lacks in originality, they show in the pure passion they devoted to the music. Their latest effort High Decibels is a another hard rockin’ affair that will please those that enjoyed the band’s debut album, 21st Century Rock. Some of my favorites on this CD are the high octane title track “High Decibels”, “Let’s Beat It Up” and “Gimme A Dollar”.
If you need an AC/DC like fix to hold you over until Brian Johnson & Angus Young record another album, High Decibels is an album, you will want to purchase. I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.
You can listen to the song “High Decibels” below! The album is available for purchase at this link.
Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
01. High Decibels
02. (Gotta Go) Gotta Hit the Road
03. Are You Ready For Rock ‘N Roll
04. Let’s Beat It Up
05. Back Door Man
06. Give Me A Dollar
07. This Girl Is On Fire
08. Melting In A Spoon
09. Since You’ve Been Gone
10. Promised Land
11. Things You Can’t Talk About (Bonus Track)
Armand Valeta – Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
LG Valeta – Lead Guitar
Johnnie Dolphin – Drums
Raw – Bass
Any time that a band covers a much beloved, obscure 80s metal song like “Atomic Playboys,” they are bound to get my attention. Such is the case with Sinner who’s latest release, One Bullet Left, is some solid rock and roll in the vein of glamorous heavy metal. Rocking the world since 1982, Sinner is a veteran hard rock act that hasn’t received a ton of attention outside their home country of Germany. While they’ve always been a big hit in Europe, their success never translated over to the states, which is a shame. Sinner is a solid hard rock band and their latest effort, One Bullet Left, is an enjoyable record, especially if you are tired of all the same whiny modern rock that currently rules the US airways.
The title track on One Bullet Left is a foot stomping, hard rocking, heavy beating, good time song. With a sing-along, chanting chorus and some wicked leads by guitarist Christof Leim, “One Bullet Left” is pure fun. Isn’t that what music is supposed to be anyway—a muse that puts a smile on your face? Once you are singing along with Sinner on “One Bullet Left,” you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.
Sinner’s cover of “Atomic Playboys,” originally done by Steve Stevens in 1989, is magnificent. Sinner’s version of the song is a perfect replica of the original, an homage to the art of an amazing tune that never got it’s recognized due. Sinner performs this deep classic to perfection and it was a real treat hearing this song covered properly. Sinner gets their due for replicating such an obscure, yet enjoyable, metal treat.
Although he’s been leading the microphone since the early 80s, lead vocalist Mat Sinner still sounds like a young, hungry rocker at heart. His voice has not deteriorated over the decades, and while he won’t wow you with overpowering metal scream high notes, his dark, gritty voice is a perfect complement to the hard rock music that the band lays out. Doubling as the bassist (and lead songwriter) for the band keeps Mat Sinner very busy. One Bullet Left is mostly his creation, and it’s a good one. It’s been three years since the band’s last release, but the wait for a new album was worth it. Sinner has delivered a rocking record.
Overall, One Bullet Left is a solid album for fans of hard rock. If you are seeking out a banging album that isn’t overplayed and mainstream, then veteran act Sinner’s One Bullet Left is a disc you will enjoy. Their latest album is a hard rocking good time for the ears. It’s definitely worth a few listens.
Rating: Out of 10
- The One You Left Behind
- Back On Trail
- Give & Take
- One Bullet Left
- 10 2 Death
- Atomic Playboys
- Suicide Mission
- Wake Me When I’m Sober
- Mind Over Matter
- Mend To Be Broken
- Rolling Away
Mat Sinner – Vocals, Bass
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Christof Leim – Guitars
Alex Scholpp – Guitars
Andre Hilgers– Drums
The Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is such an iconic release, it would almost seem sacrilegious to try to reproduce or cover it. When I first ready about Any Timmons latest release, I was more than leery of him covering such a monstrous album. I have been a fan of Andy’s since his days with Danger Danger, so needless to say, I had to check it out.
First and foremost, Andy Timmons Band plays Sgt. Pepper is an instrumental album. There is no singer to mess things up, and that works well in Timmons favor. The music is so good, you may find yourself singing along anyway.
Timmons guitar tones on this CD would make Eddie Van Halen, and Joe Satriani proud. His speed and technique are excellent. You can tell that Timmons truly loves this music, and put his heart into this recording. I really like his take on these Beatles classics. Some songs have a somewhat harder edge than the originals, but are highly listenable, and very enjoyable. The song “When I’m Sixty Four” has an almost rockabilly feel to it.
An interesting song that is included in this set is “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which was originally intended to be released on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but was later released as a single, and then on the Magical Mystery Tour EP. To me, this song is a cut above the rest, and is just a pure pleasure to listen to.
You can purchase Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper at this link. This CD will appeal to all fans of great guitar rock, and Beatles fans alike. Don’t miss out on one of the best instrumental albums of 2011!! For more information on this release and Andy Timmons, please visit this website.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
02. With a Little Help From My Friends
03. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds
04. Getting Better
05. Fixing a Hole
06. She’s Leaving Home
07. Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
08. Within You, Without You
09. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning, Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In the Life
14. Strawberry Fields Forever
Andy Timmons Band is:
Andy Timmons – Guitar
Mike Daane – Bass
Rob Avsharian – Drums
After a decade of music, and five albums to their credit, Disturbed has amassed a good bunch of “b-sides”, rarities, cover tunes. The band has finally put them all on one album, The Lost Children, for their fans to enjoy.
Some of the songs on The Lost Children are better than the majority of the tunes on Disturbed’s previous release, Asylum, but some I can also see why some tunes were b-sides.
The album opener “Hell” is pretty good, and one of the better tunes on the album. I could live the rest of my life without hearing “A Welcome Burden” again. This former b-side from The Sickness probably should have stayed in the Disturbed vaults. “This Moment” was originally on the CD, Transformers: The Album. It is a solid tune, but not one of my favorites.
“Run” and “Parasite” are both b-sides from my favorite Disturbed album, Indestructible. Both songs have that classic Disturbed sound with with David Draiman’s chant like vocal delivery.
The album’s only unreleased tune “Mine” has a creepy intro that would be right at home in a Saw movie. It is an interesting listen with its intertwined news audio clips. I completely understand why this wasn’t released before now though. It just doesn’t seem to fit in with Disturbed’s previous releases.
The Lost Children concludes with two back to back cover tunes. Disturbed blasts out faithful versions of Faith No More’s “Midlife Crisis” and Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”. They do a good job on both songs, but don’t really add any Disturbedism’s to the songs.
With Disturbed taking a well deserved break in their touring and recording schedule, The Lost Children may be the last Disturbed release to hit the streets for a few years.
The Lost Children stands up as a decent follow up to Asylum, and is worth picking up if you are one of the Disturbed.
Rating: Out of 10
- A Welcome Burden
- This Moment
- Old Friend
- Leave It Alone
- Two Worlds
- God Of The Mind
- Midlife Crisis
- Living After Midnight
David Draiman – Vocals
Dan Donegan – Guitars & Electronics
Mike Wengren – Drums
John Moyer – Bass Guitar
Any time a new album is released that causes fists to fly in the crisp night air, legs to pump at Olympic athletic speed, and rock screams to unleash in howling yowls, it has to be grand. Megadeth’s latest album Th1rt3en is exactly that. Once again, Dave Mustaine and company came to the party and showed all the other so-called metal bands how heavy metal is meant to played. It’s just one of the many reasons why Megadeth is as high in the hard rocking ranks as bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and WASP.
Th1rt3en is an amazing collection of blistering metal songs for those who love to bang their heads, or just feel the energy that heavy metal music brings. With bassist Dave Ellefson providing a signature classic sound to the bass lines, Megadeth has taken their music creation to the next level. Galloping bass lines dominate Thirt3en and provide a steady backdrop along with Shawn Drover’s incredible drums, keeping the rhythm section sturdy.
Overlaying the phenomenal combination of bass and drums is some stellar guitar work by both Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick. Broderick and Mustaine not only remind us what guitar solos are, they also remind us why we love them so much. Songs like “New World Order” and “Fast Lane” feature blazing solos that scream magnificence. It would be pure pleasure to see these amazing solos performed in concert. The wizardry that Mustaine and Broderick highlight in their effective finger picking mastery is nothing short of astonishing. If every guitarist focused this much time and effort into their song crafting, the metal world would be a much better place.
What’s most interesting about Megadeth’s Th1rt3en is how the second half of the album is so much greater than the first. Upon spinning the first five songs of the record, I was worried that we had a dud on our hands. It’s not that the opening five tracks are horrible (except maybe “Guns, Drugs, & Money” – which is a bad song), but they aren’t up to the excellence that comes later. The beginning of the album had me concerned. Fortunately, Megadeth showed that they still know how to rock like no one else’s business beginning with the sixth cut of the record, “Never Dead.”
Themes of fast, muscle cars tearing down the highway, women destroying the well made niche of man, and the over-involvement of government in the daily life of citizens all run rampant throughout the record. Constructed as only the genius of Megadeth could, the band has compiled lyrics on topics that make the listener think and perhaps want to learn a little bit more about their country and their place in politics. If that wasn’t enough for the average fan, the band threw in some songs about hot babes and slick driving machines. All walks of life are covered and all parties get to go home happy.
Thirt3en is one of Megadeth’s strongest albums to date. At this stage of their career, the band could have phoned it in, released a record of re-recorded material, or decided to try some experimental path, but they didn’t. They instead decided to focus and produce an album worthy of the fans and the band’s moniker. Make no mistake about it— Th1rt3en is a lucky number if you are a Megadeth fan.
Rating: Out of 10
Notable Tracks: New World Order, Fast Lane, 13
- Sudden Death
- Public Enemy No. 1
- Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
- We The People
- Guns, Drugs, & Money
- Never Dead
- New World Order
- Fast Lane
- Black Swan
- Millennium Of The Blind
- Deadly Nightshade
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Chris Broderick – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Dave Ellefson – Bass Guitar
Shawn Drover – Drums
Five Finger Death Punch shows no signs of slowing down in 2011. The band has cranked out another tasty slab of metal with their new release, American Capitalist. Typically, I am not a fan of bands with vocalists who scream more than sing. In the case of Fiver Finger Death Punch’s singer, Ivan Moody, he does quite a bit of both. For that reason, I have found Five Finger Death Punch’s music much more to my liking. I have seen them live a few times, and they always put on a great show.
Their latest CD American Capitalist does see the band breaking any new ground, but if you have a been a fan of the band’s screaming groove metal in the past, you are going to find plenty to like on the band’s latest CD. American Capitalist is packed full of songs with screaming vocals, excellent guitar solos and plenty of blast beats to get your blood pumping.
The first two songs “American Capitalist” and “Under and Over it” starts this CD off on a high note with two massive metal anthems that will likely be a fixture in future 5FDP live set lists.
What amazes me about Five Finger Death Punch, is Ivan Moody’s ability to transition from the heavy screams and growls, in pitch perfect clean vocals. The band can craft super heavy songs like the ones I mentioned above, and then have a song like “Coming Down” or “Remember Everything” which could easily be played on the radio. Zoltan Bathory’s blazing guitar solos are second to none on this album. Between Moody’s vocals, the outstanding guitar work of Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook, and the über tight rhythm section of Jeremy Spencer and 5FDP newcomer Chris Kael, I have been greatly enjoying American Capitalist.
Is the best Five Finger Death Punch CD yet? My response to that would definitely be yes. I thought the first two CD’s were good, but I have already listened to American Capitalist more than the first two CD’s combined. If you are a fan of metal, or Five Finger Death Punch, you should definitely seek out American Capitalist. I recommend it!
Rating: Out of 10
1. American Capitalist
2. Under and Over It
3. The Pride
4. Coming Down
6. Generation Dead
7. Back For More
8. Remember Everything
9. Wicked Ways
10. If I Fall
Five Finger Death Punch is:
Zoltan Bathory – guitars
Jason Hook – guitars
Ivan Moody – vocals
Jeremy Spencer – drums
Chris Kael – Bass
On their latest release, Big Money, House of Lords reminds us yet again what an underrated band they are. Their last release (2009’s Cartesian Dreams) was so grand that it ranked on my top ten hard rock records of the year list (no easy feat). With singer James Christian still sounding magnificent on the microphone and his current bandmates following suit on their respective instruments, House of Lords prove once again that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Big Money opens with the hard rocking title track that immediate reminds the listener of why House of Lords is such a great band. Packed with strong guitar riffs, a heavy handed drum beat by B.J. Zampa, and some solid vocals by James Christian, “Big Money” is as strong an opener for a record as they come. James Christian can still pack a wallop when singing a tune. His voice sounds as magnificent today as it did back in 1989 when the band debuted. Father time has been very kind to James Christian’s voice.
Proving they can still belt out a ballad with the best of them, House of Lords included “The Next Time I Hold You,” on this record. A powerful love-fest of a song, cigarette lighters will be out in full force if the band decides to play this in concert. House of Lords was kind enough to remind us all what a power ballad should sound like and delivered a superb one in “The Next Time I Hold You.” With exceptional vocals, a solid guitar solo, and a classic arrangement, this is a fantastic ballad and one of the best tracks on the disc.
Synthesizers dominate the music throughout Big Money, making it sound like a harder edged Europe. While House of Lords has always had keyboards in their music, I can’t recall an album where they dominated the landscape of the music as much as they do on Big Money. The added element doesn’t take away from the music, but the disc may have benefited from more guitar solos and less synth work. There are areas on the record screaming for a guitar solo, only to be filled in by some keyboards. That’s not to take away from the great work that keyboardist Jeff Kent has done, but some more solos from Jimi Bell would have helped on certain songs.
Following the mantra of “always leave them wanting more,” House of Lords waited for the final track of the disc to unleash their best song. “Blood” is a hard rocking masterpiece that includes outstanding vocals, a ripping guitar solo, and arena pounding drums. The synthesizers were reduced to a background rhythm section, making “Blood” a much heavier song than most of the album.
Overall, House of Lords have produced another solid record that is worth seeking out and adding to your collection. With any luck, we may see this band on some of the festival bills in 2012. A stop at M3 would be real nice! With new music to support, I suppose that anything is possible.
Rating: Out of 10
- Big Money
- One Man Down
- First To Cry
- Someday When
- Livin’ In A Dream World
- The Next Time I Hold You
- Run For Your Life
- Once Twice
House Of Lords Is:
James Christian – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jimi Bell – Guitar
Chris McCarvill – Bass Guitar
B. J. Zampa – Drums
Jeff Kent – Keyboards
Sebastian Bach is back with a new album, a new(er) band, and a whole new attitude. Fans expecting to hear a new incarnation of hair metal should keep on walking. This is new Bach, and it is highly transformed from old Bach.
The first exceptionally noticeable trait on Sebastian Bach’s latest CD, Kicking And Screaming is how unique the sound is when compared to past Bach. While Sebastian mentioned in several interviews that the new disc was going to be decidedly different from anything he’s previously recorded, it’s hard to know what that means until actually hearing the disc. Bach was not kidding. Fans purchasing Kicking And Screaming hoping to hear regurgitated hair metal from days gone by are in for a big disappointment. Kicking And Screaming is a Sebastian Bach solo record like none that has been heard before and that is great news for metal fans.
Bach’s voice has changed for this release. Known for his primal metal screams and magnificent yowls that ruled the hairspray rock back in the day, Bach has followed more of a modern trend for Kicking And Screaming. The yodeling has been pushed aside for more of an alternative rock sound. Blend together the sounds of Seether, Three Days Grace, Shinedown, Soundgarden, and a lot of London LeGrand, and the end result will be Bach’s voice on Kicking And Screaming. It’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but it is different. So different that it is immediately noticeable and after a couple of spins through the disc, it’s likeable. The lengths that Bach went to be more than a cliché of his former self shows and it is a welcome breath of fresh air.
After seeing Sebastian Bach live at this year’s M3 Festival, I knew that young guitar wizard, Nick Sterling, was an exceptional talent. However, once I heard his work on Kicking And Screaming I was reminded of Steve Vai on David Lee Roth’s Yankee Rose. Sterling is close to being that elite and his chops on the album are astonishing. Layered with intense solos and spectacular finger picking, Nick Sterling is every bit as good as Sebastian Bach proclaimed him to be. As lead guitarist for Bach’s band, he provides a fresh and invigorating style of guitar that brings out the best in each song. Nick Sterling is the future sound of hard rocking guitarists, and if he keeps up this great work, he is going to be remembered forever. Like Johnny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd before him, this young superstar can be the next IT guitarist. Let’s just hope he keeps his head on straight and doesn’t fade away into the fold.
Overall, if you are seeking a great hard rock album with a modern spike, purchase a copy of Kicking And Screaming. However, if you are looking for old school Bach ala the Skid Row days, you might want to take a pass. There is no Aqua Net required to enjoy this album.
Notable Tracks: Dance On Your Grave, Long As I Got The Music, Dream Forever
Rating: Out of 10
- Kicking And Screaming
- My Own Worst Enemy
- Dance On Your Grave
- Caught In A Dream
- As Long As I’ve Got The Music
- I’m Alive
- Dirty Power
- Live The Life
- Dream Forever
- One Good Reason
- Lost In The Light
Sebastian Bach Is:
Sebastian Bach – Lead Vocals
Nick Sterling – Lead Guitar
Johnny Chromatic – Rhythm Guitar
Rob DeLuca – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Eagle Rock Entertainment has reissued one of the finest live releases from Rainbow, Live in Germany in 1976. Arguably, the most powerful of all of the Rainbow lineups, Live in Germany captures Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Bain, Cozy Powell and Tony Carey at their finest.
Don’t let the few number of tracks in this 2 CD set keep you from picking this up. Live in Germany captures Rainbow in over 90 minutes of hard rock perfection. If you never got the chance to see Rainbow live (like myself), Live in Germany 1976 is a release you will not want to miss.
Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar playing in this concert is absolutely spectacular. You can almost hear the smoke coming off of his guitar strings. The guitar solos that Blackmore plays in this concert have to be heard to believed.
Ronnie James Dio’s vocals have never disappointed me, and his voice is outstanding in this concert.
The audio quality of this reissue is excellent. If you close your eyes, while listening to this, you almost feel like you are back in 1976, with Rainbow bringing the house down with their electric live show.
From Blackmore’s guitar wizardry, to Dio’s amazing vocals, and the outstanding musicianship of Jimmy Bain, Cozy Powell and Tony Carey, Live in Germany 1976 is one Rainbow live offering that is definitely worth catching. I highly recommend it!!
You can pick up Rainbow Live in Germany at this link!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Kill The King (5:25)
2. Mistreated (16:00)
3. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (7:50)
4. Catch The Rainbow (14:50)
1. Man On Silver Mountain (13:32)
2. Stargazer (17:10)
3. Still I’m Sad (15:00)
4. Do You Close Your Eyes (9:45)
Don’t judge a CD by its cover. Lets face it, the CD cover for Manraze’s sophomore effort, PunkFunkRootsRock is pretty darn ugly. Don’t let the ugly cover stop you for checking this CD out, as the music is good…..damn good in fact.
I have been looking forward to this CD, ever since Phil Collen told Hard Hock Hideout about it back in May. I liked Manraze’s debut Surreal a lot, so picking this one up was a no brainer for this hard rock fan. I can gladly say, this is no sophomore slump for Manraze. PunkFunkRootsRock is every bit as good as its predecessor, if not better.
The album starts off with a very Def Leppard like tune “Over My Dead Body”. This is a great song, and an instant hit in my opinion.
“I C U in Everything” also has a Def Leppard like feel, but Phil sings in a lower register that reminds me of (dare I say) Marilyn Manson. He doesn’t sing this way for the whole song, and I think it gives the tune a very cool vibe.
“All I Wanna Do” has a cool 70’s like feel to it. This pop/rock tune is pretty darn catchy.
The CD takes an unexpected reggae-like twist with the song “Closer To Me “. I like reggae every now and then, and I must admit that I like “Closer To Me ” quite a bit. You wouldn’t think a song like this would work on a CD like this, but it does.
“Lies” is a another great rocker. This is an infectious tune that sounds great cranked at maximum volume.
When I first read that Manraze was covering Jimi Hendrix, I was fearful that this cover might blow. Hendrix is such a hard act to cover. Few bands have pulled it off very well. Needless to say, Manraze knocked their cover of “Fire” out of the park. This is an extremely cool version of this song. I love it!
Phil Collen shows that he has plenty of rock left in him with the song, “I, Superbiker”. Hearing a song like this, gives me hope that Def Leppard can one day return to its hard rockin’ roots. Phil shreds on this track. This is killer stuff!!
If Phil Collen, Simon Laffy and Paul Cook keep making CD’s like this, they are going to be in high demand as a live act. This is really good stuff, and there isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
If you liked the first Manraze album, Surreal, then you should definitely check out PunkFunkRootsRock. I think you will enjoy it.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Over My Dead Body
2. I C U In Everything
3. All I Wanna Do
4. Closer To Me
6. Get Action
7. Edge Of The World
10. I, Superbiker
Phil Collen -vocals, guitar
Simon Laffy – bass, background vocals
Paul Cook – drums, background vocals
I am convinced that in 1998, the Scorpions and producer Peter Wolf were abducted by Aliens and transported to the Planet Suck. From the Planet Suck, the band brought back with them the CD, Eye II Eye. OK, maybe that is not really what happened, and maybe that is a little extreme but I would have never expected a Scorpions CD to be this disappointing. I didn’t pick this up when it was released in 1999, and only found a reasonably priced copy recently. I didn’t read any of the reviews for it, as I knew I would pick it up eventually. Needless to say, I was very let down after hearing Eye II Eye. I totally get it when bands try to do something different, but this disc is just bad. I couldn’t find much music that resembled the band I have loved for many years.
“Mysterious” has a funky rhythm that seems better suited for a pop song. There are parts that resemble the Scorpions of old, but over all it just doesn’t work. I just can’t get into this song. “To Be No. 1” sounds like a regurgitated Prince song. I don’t get why The Scorpions were trying to down the pop road, but I can’t stand this song. (Decide for yourself in the video below.) Luckily, there aren’t too many songs like this, but it doesn’t get much better. “Freshly Squeezed” also falls into this weird pop rock sound.
Eye II Eye is plagued by far too many slow songs. “Obsession”, “10 Light Years Away”, “What You Give You Get Back”, “Skywriter” and “A Moment in a Million Years” if listened in succession might just lull you into a coma. In the Scorpions defense, “What You Give You Get Back”, and “A Moment in a Million Years” aren’t bad songs, but they needed some heavy rockers to break them up.
“Mind Like A Tree” is one of the semi-heavier songs on the album, and I like this one somewhat. “Yellow Butterfly” has some heavy moments and is an ok tune. I have to admit that “Priscilla” is kind of catchy. It is an upbeat rock tune that avoids that pop rock stuff. It is definitely one of the more listenable songs on Eye II Eye. Overall, I am thankful that the Scorpions returned to their classic sound with their follow up effort Unbreakable. Eye II Eye was a complete let down for me. This CD is only for Scorpions die-hards and those looking to complete their collections from the band.
Rating: Out of 10
2. To Be No. 1
4. 10 Light Years Away
5. Mind Like a Tree
6. Eye to Eye
7. What You Give You Get Back
9. Yellow Butterfly
10. Freshly Squeezed
12. Du bist so schmutzig
14. A Moment in a Million Years
The Scorpions are:
Klaus Meine – Lead vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Rhythm guitars, Backing vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead guitars, Backing vocals
James Kottak – Drums, Percussion, Backing vocals
Ralph Rieckermann – Bass, Backing vocals
Ralf Scheepers has had a long career in hard rock & metal. With over 25 years of service in the bands Tyran Pace, Gamma Ray and Primal Fear, I found it surprising that Ralf finally chose to do a solo album. One might think that with this being a solo disc, that Ralf might try some different things, or slow it down somewhat. Ralf did exactly the opposite by putting out a quality solo effort, that is a full fledged metal disc, that is absolutely essential to every fan of the genre.
The metal music on Scheepers reminds me a lot of Nightcrawler era Judas Priest. Dare I say that this is even better than the last Primal Fear album? This is really good stuff!! Scheepers is packed with metal guest stars including Tim “Ripper” Owens, “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (Halford), Snowy Shaw (Therion), Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) Sander Gommans (After Forever), and Victor Smolski (Rage) as well as Ralf’s Primal Fear band mates, Alex Beyrodt, Magnus Karlsson, and Mat Sinner. Each of these musicians help to create an incredible solo effort with Ralf Scheepers.
Some of the highlights include the awesome opening track “Locked in The Dungeon” which features Metal “Mike” Chlasciak’s blazing guitar work. “Remission of Sin” features Tim “Ripper” Owens singing a duet with Ralf Scheepers. It is amazing how similiar their voices are, and how well their voices blend together. “Before the Dawn” is a really cool cover of the classic Judas Priest tune from their classic disc, Hell Bent for Leather. On this cover, Ralf played all of the instruments, and Victor Smolski from Rage added the excellent guitar solos.
One of my absolute favorites on this CD, is the song “Doomsday”. The guitars, the double bass drumming and Ralf Scheeper’s soaring voice make this songs one of the best on the CD.
While most solo efforts tend to fall short of the bands the artists came from, Ralf Scheepers solo effort simply does not. This CD is an impressive metal offering that will appeal to fans of Primal Fear, Judas Priest, Halford, and heavy metal music. If you haven’t checked out any of the bands Ralf Scheepers has sang with, I highly recommend check out Scheepers. This CD will make you a new fan without question!
1. Locked In The Dungeon
2. Remission Of Sin
4. The Fall
6. Saints Of The Rock
7. Before The Dawn
8. Back On Track
10. The Pain Of The Accused
11. Play With The Fire
Ralf Scheepers band is:
Ralf Scheepers – Lead & Backing Vocals; Acoustic Guitar; Keyboards; FX Sounds
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Lead Vocals on “Remission of Sin”
Magnus Karlsson – Lead Guitars, Guitars, Banjo, Accordion, Keyboards
Sander Gommans – Lead Guitar, Guitars
Mike Chlasciak -Lead Guitar
Alex Beyrodt – Lead Guitar
Kai Hansen – Lead Guitar
Victor Smolski- Lead Guitar
Mat Sinner: Bass, Keyboards
Snowy Shaw: Drums
Stryper’s new album, The Covering is finally here! This album has been heavily hyped for close to a year now, and finally has received a proper release. Typically, cover albums are not really my cup of tea. In the case of Stryper, I have been a huge fan of the band since the ’80’s. I was definitely willing to give this CD a shot.
The Covering shows Stryper paying homage to all of the bands who influenced their career. Stryper didn’t try to reinvent the wheel when doing these songs. They did the songs in their traditional forms. The major difference on the Stryper version of these songs, are the awesome guitar tones of Oz Fox, and the excellent vocal harmonies of Michael Sweet. They did a terrific job with the songs, and The Covering shines as a result. Did Stryper pick the best songs to cover from the artists who inspired them? Probably not. There are better songs from Van Halen, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden that Stryper could have covered. With that being said, the versions of the songs on The Covering, are handled with such grace, that I can find much fault with this CD at all.
I found it ironic that one of the choices on the CD was Black Sabbath’s “Heaven & Hell”. I was pleasantly surprised how good the Stryper version is. Michael Sweet has always been an incredible singer, and his vocals just blow me away on this song. It is awesome! One of my other favorites is the cover of UFO’s “Lights Out”. This version is so good, even Eddie Trunk will love it! Van Halen’s “On Fire” requires a lot of screaming, and Michael Sweet nails it perfectly on this one too!
To close out the album, there is a great new studio track “God” that has me clamoring to hear more new Stryper material. Hopefully 2012 will bring us another new Stryper disc. Until then, I will definitely be rocking out to The Covering. If you are a fan of Stryper, you gotta get this CD!! You won’t be disappointed!
For more information on Stryper, check them on the web at Stryper.com, or on Facebook at this link. If you have been having trouble finding a copy of The Covering in your local stores (as did I), you can purchase it here! You can check out previews of the songs below!
1. Set Me Free (Sweet)
2. Blackout (Scorpions)
3. Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath)
4. Lights Out (UFO)
5. Carry on Wayward Son (Kansas)
6. Highway Star (Deep Purple)
7. Shout it Out Loud (Kiss)
8. Over the Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne)
9. The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
10. Breaking the Law (Judas Priest)
11. On Fire (Van Halen)
12. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
13. God (new studio track)
Michael Sweet – Vocals
Robert Sweet – Guitars
Oz Fox – Drums
Timothy Gaines – Bass
Wow! What is happening over in Ireland?! There has been some seriously cool hard rock acts coming out of there as of late. The Answer, Glyder, Million Dollar Reload and now Jaded Sun are amongst the pack of new rock bands that are on knocking on the door of success.
The first song I heard from this Irish five piece, was their tune “Hey You” (see the video below). I liked the song and video quite a bit, so I immediately sought out this CD.
There is no question that “Hey You” is a good tune, but it is far from the best song on this disc.
“Gypsy Trip” has a real 70’s classic rock vibe. Singer John Maher reminds me a lot of a young Paul Rodgers. I love his vocals on this disc. Jaded Sun not only has a great vocalist, but also excellent musicians. Seann Gosker and Eorann Stafford serve up some wickedly delightful six string action.
Gavan Murry serves up an almost tribal drum beat to get the tune “Breaking Free” started. This is a hard driving tune with a killer upbeat rhythm. In my opinion, they couldn’t have started off “Gypsy Trip” any better than this.
“Crazyman” has some killer slide guitar and excellent blues harp action. I love the groove of this catchy tune.
One of my absolute favorites on this disc is the tune “Can’t Stop”. This tune has a cool blend of piano, slide guitar and catchy lyrics. This rocking tune is type of stadium anthem that ought to help make “Jaded Sun” famous.
“Positive” is an upbeat bluesy foot stomper with a cool lead guitar/slide guitar duo in the middle of the tune.
“She’s Got Class” has a cool Aerosmith-like groove to it. This is the best album closing song that I have heard all year!
Jaded Sun has a superb debut record on their hands. No classic rock fan should be without this disc.
Jaded Sun is:
John Maher – Vocals
Sean Gosker – Guitar
Eorann Stafford – Guitar
Damien Kelly – Bass
Gavan Murry – Drums
In case you don’t know Syrym is a Bay Area based band made up with former Babylon A.D. members Ron Freschi on guitars and Jamey Pacheco on drums, along with vocalist Jeffrey Winslow and bassist Rich Talley. Back in the day I was split in my opinion on Babylon A.D. I loved their debut album but “Nothing Sacred” had a few good songs but nothing special. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this album. Much to my surprise Syrym has a pretty damn good album on their hands. Let me say first that Freschi’s guitar playing on this disc all the way through is outstanding.
“Foul Mouth Blues” gets us started with a heavy throbbing groove from the rhythm section of Pacheco and Talley with Winslow singing in a slow almost growl. Freschi’s solo here is the first of many impressive solos on this album, a good way to open the album up.
The guys pick up the pace a little bit more on “Warpath”, once the song kicks in it has a great hard driving groove. I think you’ll find it very hard to resist playing a little air guitar or drums on this song.
“Torn in Two” finds us getting a little more heavier but still maintaining the ability to sing along with the band. Freschi puts on another great display of his guitar skills.
While the first three songs remind me a lot of early Lynch Mob songs “Ugly on the Inside” drifts more in Babylon A.D. territory and it is easily one of the best songs on the album. It has great sing a long chorus and the whole band sounds in sync with one another. I hope this song finds it way to radio
“30 & Dirty” has a sleazy groove to it that hearkens back once again to Babylon A.D. and you can’t help but want to tap your foot along to it.
“Foul Mouth Blues” was a good song to open the album but “While America Sleeps” would’ve been a great song to open this album up. If Freschi never got to flex his guitar playing muscle on any Babylon A.D. albums he definitely does with Syrym, he definitely earned my respect for his playing here.
“What I’m Trying To Say” is a ballad that not only closes the album, it completely changes the direction of this album. It is a pretty emotional song about a parent trying to explain to their child that the parents divorce is not the child’s fault. Acoustic guitars and piano fill this song and it has a very Journey like feel to it. Another very good song.
As far as the rest of the album is concerned “Brokedown”, “the Sky is Falling”, “Alive in the Real World”, and “Bring It On (Go Down Fighting)” are all good songs with “Bring It On” being my favorite.
Any fans of Lynch Mob, Babylon A.D., or Lillian Axe will find plenty of reasons to love Syrym, but fans of heavy and melodic late 80s/early 90s rock will also find plenty of reasons to pick Syrym up. Definitely worth the price of admission.
- Foul Mouth Blues
- Torn In Two
- Ugly On The Inside
- The Sky Is Falling
- 30 & Dirty
- While America Sleeps
- Alive In The Real World
- Bring It On (Go Down Fighting)
- What I’m Trying To Say
- What I’m Trying To Say (Reprise)
Ron Freschi – Guitars
Jeffrey Winslow – Vocals
Jamey Pacheco – Drums
Rich Talley – Bass
Former Darkness bass player Richie Edwards took over the lead vocals and Toby MacFarlaine joined the band on bass. The Darkness name was jettisoned, and band carried on under the new name, Stone Gods.
The Darkness got a fair amount of airplay on XM Radio’s The Boneyard over the last couple of years, but they were never a band that I could get into very much. Justin Hawkins vocals were a little over the top, in my opinion. I wasn’t sure what to expect with The Stone Gods, and much to my surprise, I found this new band much more to my liking.
“Silver Spoons & Broken Bones” starts off with a heavy metal rocker, “Burn the Witch.” This song sounds like it is left over from the NWOBHM era.
“Don’t Drink the Water” fuses together a catchy mesh of classic hard rock sounds and that brings bands like The Who to mind. The song fuses together classic rock guitar riffs with a punk rock vibe, and even sprinkles in a dash of reggae. It sounds like a band combination, but this is a really good song.
There are some Black Sabbath like jams on the rocking tune “Defend or Die“. Richie Edwards vocals keep this song from sounding to sludgy, but the metal riffs are well appreciated by this listener. This is one of those songs that you may not get into on the first listen. My recommendation is to play it again a few times. You may grow to appreciate this one as I have.
The Stone Gods show their sense of humor with the tune “You Brought A Knife To A Gun Fight“. This is another catchy upbeat rocker that would not sound out of place on the radio today. The guitar riffs could have been taken right off of any Buckcherry CD, but that is OK. I like this style of rock.
“Magdalen Street” is a mid tempo number that has a mix of southern rock styling and some guitar sounds that would more at home on a Chris Isaak album. It is a good song, but the sound here is completely different from the rest of tunes on this disc up to this point.
“Where You Coming From” is a modern rock tune with a southern rock flair. This is another song that grows on you.
Is is just me, or does “Lazy Bones” sound like a lost Soul Asylum track? I haven’t listened to Soul Asylum for a long time, but this song reminded me of them quite a bit.
“I’m With the Band” and “Wasting Time” both have infectious sing along choruses that will get in your head.
The album closes out with a tongue in cheek rocker “Oh Where ‘O My Beero“. This song sounds like a lost cut from Def Leppard.
It took me several listens to figure out who I thought Richie Edwards sounded like, and I finally figured it out. Remember Tommy Paris from Britny Fox? Edwards has that same raspy vocal style as Paris. The style of music may be different, but the similarities are there.
“Silver Spoons & Broken Bones” mixes together a variety of genres including hard rock, classic rock, heavy metal and alternative. For me, the harder tunes are definitely the best ones on this disc, but less heavy tracks are solid as well. From the songs I have heard from the Darkness, this album does have a different style, and the name change to Stone Gods is quite appropriate. This album joins a crowded list of solid albums in 2008.
- Burn the Witch
- Don’t Drink The Water
- Defend or Die
- You Brought A Knife To A Gun Fight
- Magdalen Street
- Where You Coming From
- Lazy Bones
- I’m With the Band
- Start of Something
- Making It Hard
- Wasting Time
- Knight of the Living Dead
- Oh Where ‘O My Beero
Stone Gods are:
Richie Edwards – Lead Vocals/ Guitar
Dan Hawkins – Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Toby MacFarlaine – Bass/Backing Vocals
Ed Graham – Drums