Day 5 of the 10 Days of Jorn, brings us the debut disc by the power metal group Masterplan.
Masterplan has a supergroup type roster for their debut effort including Jorn Lande on Vocals, Roland Grapow (Helloween) on Guitars, Uli Kusch (Gamma Ray, Helloween) on Drums, Jan-S. Eckert (Iron Saviour) on Bass and Axel Mackenrott on Keyboards.
The one thing I really enjoy about this Masterplan disc is, it sounds different from all of Jorn’s past work, while staying familiar enough to appeal to all of his fans.
Masterplan starts out with 4 blistering tracks right out of the gate. Spirit Never Dies claims hold of you very quickly with its crashing double bass drums, awesome melodies, and its impressive guitar work. Enlighten Me was released as a single off of this disc (in the UK). This bang-up song is one of my favorites on this CD.
Kind Hearted Light is another melodic powerhouse of a song. This song has a good mix of keyboards and guitars. Jorn’s vocals shine here. Crystal Night is another excellent (neckbrace optional) heavy rocker.
Soulburn is the first track to bring the tempo down from the first four lightspeed paced rockers. It took me a couple of listens before I really got into this track. I started recognizing some Black Sabbath and DIO like elements with this track after a few listens.
Heroes cranks the pace back up to 10. I could not get into this song, but its not bad. Sail On continues that pace, but I believe this is a better written song between the two.
Into the Light is the track that I was waiting for. Masterplan slows it down and Jorn’s powerful voice takes over. Great song!
This must be the horror fan in me taking over, but I really like the heavy track Crawling From Hell. How can you deny a lyric like “Monsters and Demons Crawling From Hell“?
The bass heavy Bleeding Eyes has some moments to it, but it fails to deliver. On the otherhand, When Love Comes Close is centered around the acoustic guitar, and is a one of my favorite tracks here.
Through Thick and Thin could have easily been a Whitesnake track. It seems that their wasn’t enough focus on the chorus on this track. With a little bit of reworking, this track could have been a hit.
Jorn sound a lot like Coverdale on The Kid Rocks On. This is a very good song to close out this disc with.
As a whole, this is a very solid power metal offering from Masterplan. Jorn Lande’s vocals are a highlight on every track. A little better writing, and these guys could be an unstoppable force in the heavy metal scene. This is a very good disc that should appeal to Jorn Lande, Helloween, and power metal fans.
Check out the videos below. If you like the tracks below, you will definitely want to pick this up!
Spirit Never Dies (Live)
Kind Hearted Light
When Love Comes Close
Rating: Out of 10
- Spirit Never Dies
- Enlighten Me
- Kind Hearted Light
- Crystal Night
- Sail On
- Into the Light
- Crawling from Hell
- Bleeding Eyes
- When Love Comes Close
- Through Thick and Then
- The Kid Rocks On
Day 4 of the 10 Days of JORN brings us to Jorn Lande’s 2nd disc as a solo artist, Worldchanger.
Worldchanger also features Tore Moren (Rain) on Guitars, Sid Ringsby (TNT) on Bass, and Jan Aksel “Hellhammer” (Mayhem) on Drums.
To me, Worldchanger is the finest piece of music Jorn Lande has ever recorded. This CD is one of my all time favorite discs and gets regular play to this day.
Worldchanger moves Jorn one step closer to mainstream acceptability while maintaining the heaviness and progressive feel that Jorn Lande has become known for. I don’t find it surprising at all that Jorn chose to re-release 6 of the tracks from Worldchanger on the January 2007 disc, The Gathering.
One word describes this disc, stellar!
I could give you a song by song breakdown of Worldchanger, but this is one instance where I will let the music speak for itself. I have included 3 videos from Worldchanger below. Go check them out, and then go buy this! You can thank me later! :)
This disc is essential for all hard rock and Jorn Lande Fans. It will appeal to most Whitesnake fans as well. This is the only disc that I have reviewed that has received a perfect score from me. Yes, it is that good!
Bless the Child
House of Cards
Rating:Out of 10
- Tungur Knivur
- Sunset Station
- Glow In the Dark
- House of Cards
- Bless the Child
- Bridges Will Burn
Day 3 of the 10 Days of Jorn, brings the 2nd disc, Burn The Sun, by the progressive metal group, Ark.
Ark’s already amazing roster grew for their sophomore effort. The bass playing virtuoso Randy Coven (Holy Mother, Steve Vai, Blues Saraceno) and longtime Yngwie Malmsteen keyboardist Mats Olausson, joined guitarist Tore Ostby, drummer John Macaluso, and lead vocalist extraordinaire Jorn Lande .
Not only did the band lineup improve, so did the production on Burn the Sun. The muddy production that hurt the over all sound on the debut disc is gone. Former Victory guitar player Tommy Newton came in to produce this disc and did a hell of a job. The sound quality on Burn the Sun is nothing short of superb.
It seems that everything about Burn the Sun improved over the debut. This disc has better production, writing, and songs. Jorn Lande’s singing has improved over the first disc as well.
Heal the Waters is an amazing song to start this disc off with. Jorn Lande sings this song in a lower register, before breaking out in his powerful raspy goodness. It doesn’t take long for newcomers Randy Coven and Mats Olausson to bust out and show the power of this enhanced Ark lineup.
Everytime I listen to Torn I hear something different. The ghost like guitars of Tore Ostby swirls between your speakers. Randy Coven’s bass sounds amazing here.
Burn The Sun is a very cool track. Jorn sings in a lower register on this track. When Coven’s heavy bass matches Jorn’s lower range, this track takes on a Black Sabbath like feel to it. Nonetheless, this track could have been huge in the U.S., had any radio stations picked up on it.
Jorn shows off his impressive range on Resurrection. This song has a bunch of cool tempo changes, and Tore really tears it up this track. Very cool!
Absolute Zero is kind of an odd track to me. The bass and drumming is fast but light, and Jorn’s vocals seem to be at a slower pace. For some reason, this doesn’t mix together well for me. When the song picks up, it sounds great, but in the slow places it is a little weak.
Tore Ostby breaks out the Spanish Guitar on Just A Little. Jorn sounds great on this song, but I couldn’t really get into it. Its just a little too jangly for my tastes.
Waking Hour shows the world why Jorn Lande has one of the most amazing voices in rock today. Musically, this track has a Rush like sound, before moving into a harder edged direction. Once the tempo shifts, Jorn brings down the house with his incredible vocal range.
The composition of Noose is amazing. The crushing bass on Noose sounds very much in the vein of Dream Theater. Jorn’s voice on Noose sways between David Coverdale and Robert Plant. Tore Ostby smokes on the guitar. Mats Olausson keyboards remind me of Yes on this track. This is a killer progressive track, but needs a couple of listens to be fully appreciated.
Feed The Fire has Jorn singing in a range and style that I don’t think he has ever covered anywhere else. He sounds a whole lot like Steve Perry from Journey, and just about hits the range of Sting on this track. This track is a radio worthy hit!
Jorn breaks out his best David Coverdale like voice on I Bleed. Tore Ostby sounds great on this track.
Missing You ventures back into the Pink Floyd like territory of Can’t Let Go from the Ark debut. This track clocks in at over 9 minutes in length. I can almost see the laser light show while listening to the howling guitars of Tore Ostby. This is a very moody song, but it has an excellent sound quality to it, and the guitars are pristine on the track.
The Japanese Bonus Track, Silent Is the Rain is a quiet track in comparision to the other 11 on Burn the Sun. Jorn sings in a low register on this track. It is an interesting listen, but it is not good enough to merit spending a bunch of extra cash to get it.
Burn the Sun is much better than the debut by Ark, but a couple of weaker songs in the middle of the disc keeps it from being perfect. This disc is essential to Jorn Lande fans. Progressive rock fans need to get this too!
Rating: Out of 10
- Heal the Waters
- Burn the Sun
- Absolute Zero
- Just A Little
- Waking Hour
- Feed the Fire
- I Bleed
- Missing You
- Silent is the Rain (Japanese Bonus Track)
Day 2 of the 10 days of Jorn introduces the debut of Jorn Lande as a solo artist.
With ten songs, five of which are cover songs, one might think Jorn has no song writing skills, or doesn’t have the talent to back up a solo career.
I would have to say wrong on both counts. Most of the covers songs on this discs, are not well known tracks by the average person. After hearing Jorn rearrange these tracks, one will forget that they are cover tunes very quickly. I bet many people will break out their discs by the original artists to discover Jorn’s versions far superior.
Starfire is a brilliantly produced CD, with a good mix of Metal and AOR tracks, all featuring the powerful vocals of Jorn.
How do the songs stack up? Fantastic. Jorn enlisted the help of some amazing, all-star caliber musicians on this disc. You can tell by the quality of each track, that he was trying to put out an excellent disc for his fans.
The title track, Starfire starts this disc off with pure AOR goodness. This track is melodic, yet it exudes such power. There are not enough tracks that come out today that sounds this good.
Edge of the Blade is a cover of the Journey track from the 1983 disc Frontiers. This song features the very Neal Schon like guitar work of Millenium’s Ralph Santolla. I think Jorn’s vocal is definite improvement over Steve Perry on this track.
Whether you remember, the Foreigner track Break it Up from the 1981 disc 4, you will recognize the music styling almost immediately. This is a very good cover by Jorn Lande featuring Millenium’s Shane French on guitar. This group has the Foreigner down to a science. (Now If Jorn would only sing, Dirty White Boy, that would be something extemely cool to hear.)
I did not realize The Day the Earth Caught Fire was a cover by City Boy. That band may have been before my time, but nonetheless I found this track very enjoyable. This is another pure AOR track featuring the flying fret work of TNT’s Ronni Lé Tekrø
Ark band mate Tore Ostby andJorn absolutely smoke on the Deep Purple cover Burn. This is one hell of a cover, that sounds as good, if not better than the original. You will hear this track again on a new cover album coming out in 2007. (Hint, Hint)
I had a hard time getting into End Come Easy, but I have listened to this multiple times and it has grown on me somewhat. This track has an experimental Led Zeppelin orAerosmith kind of feel to it. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it exactly. It has a Middle Eastern style about it.
The Jefferson Starship track, Just the Same from the 1979 release Freedom at Point Zero is well covered by Jorn and his all-star group featuringTore Ostby (Ark) on guitar, and TNT band members Jon Macaluso on drums and Dag Stokke on keyboards.This track features an awesome bass groove, and has melodic keyboards that are empowered by Jorn’s commanding vocals.
If Zakk Wylde were to play with Jorn Lande, it would sound just like Abyss of Evil. After the other AOR tracks on Starfire, Abyss of Evil kicks you in the head with its excellent 80’s style hard rock heaviness. Abyss of Evil is my favorite track on Starfire, and luckily this track will also show up on a new Jorn disc in 2007.
After the heaviness of the previous track, Forever Yoursalmost seems out of place. This is an acoustic driven number on which Jorn sounds a lot like Jeff Scott Soto. It is a beautiful song, but it seems out of place sandwiched between Abyss of Evil and the monster closing track Gate of Tears.
Jorn breaks out his best Ronnie James Dio voice for Gate of Tears. This monster of a track sounds like it could have been on a Dio era Black Sabbath disc. This is an awesome heavy track, and killer one to close out Starfire. I don’t find it surprising at all that this will be the 3rd track from Starfire to show up on The Gathering!
Bottomline, Starfire is an awesome disc, with a good mixtures of AOR, metal and Hard Rock. This disc gives you a good taste of the amazing talent of Jorn, and should be in everyone’s music collection!
Rating: Out of 10
- Edge of the Blade
- Break It Up
- The Day the Earth Caught Fire
- End Come Easy
- Just the Same
- Abyss of Evil
- Forever Yours
- Gate of Tears
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Tore Ostby – Guitar, Bass
John Macaluso – Drums
Dag Stokke – Keyboards
Ralph Santolla – Guitar
Ronni Le Tekrø – Guitar on track 4
Tore Moren – Guitar
Willy Bendiksen – Drums
Jon A. Narum – Drums, Guitar, Bass, Sampling, Melotrone
Day 1 of the 10 days of Jorn starts with the self titled debut by the progressive metal band Ark. This is the disc where people really started noticing Jorn Lande. He did have prior releases with the Snakes, and Vagabond ( very hard to find discs, that get big dollars on EBay and GEMMto name a few), but this is the disc where Jorn started perfecting his craft. The end result is a classic progressive metal disc that is still a very good listening experience in 2007.
Ark also features the amazing playing of Tore Ostby (Conception) on guitars and progressive rhythm master John Macaluso(TNT and Yngwie Malmsteen) on drums.
Burning Downestablishes the tone and pace of this CD immediately. Jorn’s amazing voice takes hold of you quickly. The tempo changes and power of this track will kick you in the ass, and Tore Ostby’s flying fretwork will set your hair on fire.
Where the Winds Blowis a progressive masterpiece by any standards. This is one of the many tracks that Jorn chose to rework for his new release, the Gathering.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a track that is hard to describe. It has parts with Spanish guitar and jazz like piano. It is an interesting track but not my favorite by any means.
Singer’s at the World’s Dawnis a heavy prog rocker, with excellent guitars and Deep Purple like keyboards. Jorn really belts this song out. The power and raspiness of Lande’s voice on this track is amazing.
The bass drumming by John Macaluso on Mother Love will amaze you. The track is what I would consider another progressive masterpiece. There lots of timing changes, killer drumming, great keyboards, and more amazing fretwork by Tore Ostby.
Center Avenue was an odd track to me. It starts off sounding like a Dream Theater track, but the pacing of the music doesn’t seem to fit the vocals to me. It was the lone track on this disc, that for some reason did not really work well for me. The guitar parts are pretty cool, but lyrically it didn’t seem to fit together right.
Can’t Let Go on the other hand has oodles of redeeming qualities. This 9 plus minute track has a Pink Floyd like sound to it, and is an awesome track to end this disc with. The epic track needs to be heard to be appreciated.
This is a very solid debut Ark. The musicianship on these songs is superb. The production quality sounds a little muddy at times, but it does not distract from the power of the music. Jorn Lande’s powerhouse vocals are worth the price of admission. This is a disc that progressive rock and Jorn Lande fans can’t afford to miss.
Rating:Out of 10
The video below is Ark performing Burning Down at a rare U.S. appearance at the Prog Power U.S.A. festival in Atlanta, Georgia. The sound is kind of muddy on the video, but you will still be able to hear the power of Jorn Lande’s voice. This video doesn’t capture the power of the studio track, but its still worth watching.
- Burning Down
- Where the Wind Blows
- Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Singer’s At the World’s Dawn
- Mother Love
- Center Avenue
- Can’t Let Go
This is a pretty good disc that sounds like a cross between Accept and AC/DC. This is a straight forward 80’s style hard rock disc.
Frontman Leon Goewie does a great job belting these tunes out, while Peter Bourbon dishes out the killer guitar hooks.
There are a bunch of excellent songs on this CD. The tracks start off with the title track, Back In the Ring. This rocking track is going to be in my playlist for a long time. No Mercy is exactly the kind of track that I am afraid to play while driving. This is a pedal to the medal, jamming rock track!
Plenty of chugging guitars and crashing drums can be found on Captain Moonlight, Holy Water. Bad Attitude is a head banging delight.
Just when you think a wimpy power ballad is on the way, Had Enough comes along and hits you upside the head with another loud rocker.
Now & Then is a fun party rock song with keyboards added in giving this song a sound similar to old of Autograph.
Cowboy Style may be the silliest songs I have heard in a while, but it comes across sounding like Party Rock. As silly as it may be, but this would go over well live. A few beers and the whole audience would sing around with this one. Who can deny the lyrics, “Shut the Fuck Up, Do it Cowboy Style“!
This disc ends in good fashion with a fun rocker, Rip It Off. This track has a hidden bonus track at the end of it.
80’s Hard Rock fans will love this CD. Back In the Ring is a fun disc, and is a blast to listen to. It makes this listener happy that there are some bands out there that still know how to rock out in 2007! Buy this disc!!
Rating:Out of 10
- Back In the Ring
- No Mercy
- Mind Over Matter
- Captain Moonlight
- Holy Water
- Bad Attitude
- Had Enuff
- Now & Then
- Cowboy Style
- Rip It Off
Back in the late 90’s when most of the Big Hair bands went into hiding, and fans of the genre were struggling trying to find new music to listen to, one band from Germany, PC69, threw caution to the wind and released a killer Hair Metal CD, Electrified.
Sadly, this went largely unnoticed in the United States, as interest in this music just wasn’t there at the time.
Pink Cream 69 as they are known as in Germany consists of David Readman on vocals, Alfred Koffler on guitars, Dennis Ward on bass and Kosta Zafiriou on Drums.
Readman has a voice that sounds like a cross between Kip Winger and David Coverdale. Judging from this disc, Alfred Koffler is an amazing yet very under rated guitarist.
Electrified has several stand out tracks including Shame, Stranger In Time, Break the Silence, Electrified, Over the Fire and Burn Your Soul.
This album rocks hard until you get all the way to Rocket Ride, which is the album’s lone power ballad.
This disc is a nice little gem in my collection. When I play this disc for my friends who into the old hair metal scene, their initial reaction is usually, “Oh My God, Who is this band?!”
You can find most of the Pink Cream 69 releases on ITunes now. I have included some videos below so you can hear how good this band is for yourself!
Rating:Out of 10
Over the Fire
Stranger in Time
- Stranger In Time
- Break the Silence
- Over the Fire
- Losing My Faith
- Higher Kind of Love
- Burn Your Soul
- Rocket Ride
- Best For You
- Gone Again
I recently read some good things about the Lizards so I decided to check them out myself to see what they were like.
The Lizards features former Riot, and current Masterplan singer Mike DiMeo on vocals, and former Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult Drummer Bobbi Rondinelli.
I enjoyed Mike’s vocals on the last couple of Riot albums, but that didn’t prepare for me what I was about to hear on Against All Odds.
This disc is more like a 70’s classic rock disc than the progressive, power metal of Riot. The cool thing about this disc is, it sounds great but not too dated. This is a very polished and well produced disc. Mike DiMeo’s voice sounds better here than I have ever heard him anywhere else. He shows more style and range than he has on anything else I have heard him on. Rondinelli’s drums are heavy and very thick. I forgot how good of a sound he had behind the skins. Patrick Klein’s guitars have a sound not unlike Ritchie Blackmore. Randy Pratt has such a good bass grove combined with Rondinelli’s drums, you would think these guys have been playing together for decades.
I’m the One features an almost David Coverdale like vocal by DiMeo. Randy Pratt’s fat bass sound is mixed really well with DiMeo’s vocals.
Can’t Fool Myself is a 9 minute classic that ventures into Deep Purple like territory. This is a very up tempo track with some killer guitar work by Patrick Klein, and super fast bass licks by Randy Pratt. Words can not tell you how cool this track is.
On A Wire is a funky song that features a killer duet with Mike DiMeo and Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath).
Planck Time is an instrumental track that strangely enough has a Dave Matthews blues harp sound to it, with guitars by Klein that rock once more.
Ariel is a short instrumental track with DiMeo on the harpsichord and Klein’s howling guitars, with a brief vocal by DiMeo. This track leads into the next track My Dark Angel, seemlessly.
When I heard My Dark Angel the first time, I was pretty astounded. This is an amazing song that starts off slow and builds into this monster rock track with a heavy bass rhythm. DiMeo’s vocals here are amazing. He is approaching Jorn Lande territory in this song. Rondinelli’s drums sound so damn good here, and Randy Pratt is playing the bass like a demon possessed by the need to set the strings on fire. This is a killer track that you play again and again. Excellent!
Bad Luck Is Come To Town is a short and funky rock track. DiMeo shows the soulfulness of his voice here. This is another track where Rondinelli’s drums absolutely rock.
Revelation #9 features another duet with the howling vocals of Glenn Hughes and Mike DiMeo. This Piano driven track almost has a Beatlesque feel to it, before moving into a heavier guitar driven sound.
Take the Fall is another funky track that could easily have sounded at home on any Deep Purple disc. This track has the third duet with Hughes and DiMeo. This is lengthy rocker that clocks in just shy of 9 minutes. The middle of this track has a heavy jam session done The Lizards way.
Up The Stairs features the 4th and final duet between Glenn Hughes and Mike Dimeo. This song almost has a funky disco feel to it, with much heavier over tones. There are lots of horns and heavy guitars on this track, but this one does not work for me.
Eleven is a keyboard driven ballad, with a funky bass lick by Randy Pratt. This track is just OK to me.
The Arrival of Lyla finishes off Against All Odds with an upbeat track with Patrick Klein’s howling guitar licks.
From beginning to end, Against All Odds is a very well crafted disc. The sound is extremely deep on every track while, each track offers something sonically different. The Lizards pull this music off in a effortless Hard Rock flair that is sonically pleasing and leaves you wanting more. This is a new classic rock disc for the masses and is nothing short of a musical masterpiece. Not too many discs come across my player as good as this one.
Deep Purple fans and Classic Rock fans both need to pick this up! You can hear more of these tracks at the Lizard myspace page here.
Rating:Out of 10
- I’m No Good
- Can’t Fool Myself
- On A Wire
- Planck Time
- My Dark Angel
- Bad Luck Is Come to Town
- Revelation #9
- Take the Fall
- Up the Stairs
- The Arrival of Lyla
Judging from the strength of The Erotics 4th release, Rock N Roll Killing Machine, they will be a band to watch in 2007.
This is a short release. 7 tracks, 1 cover tune, 1 song is a clean version of the same song (probably made for radio). This is a hard rock release that oozes punk, glam and sleaze, and just rocks the house. The Erotics remind me of early L.A. Guns and maybe a little bit of old Motley Crue. Their lead singer Mike Trash has a sound similar to Alice Cooper at times, but his delivery is much quicker paced giving the Erotics a totally unique sound.
The songs on RNRKM are all pretty solid. Rock N Roll Killing Machine is a great rocking track that has to translate well live. I Like It The Way That You Hate Me oozes sleaze, and is catchy enough to sing along with it. Drop the Bomb is another energetic track that I find myself playing over and over. Drink, Fight and Fuck is a great rock anthem, and is easily the best song on this disc. You will not get this song out of your head…..Ever!! Only A Fool shows that the Erotics can slow it down a little bit, and still sound great. I Wanna Be Somebody is a cover of the W.A.S.P. track. The Erotics make this version a fusion of Punk and Metal. I think I like their version better.
Rock N Roll Killing Machine is a tasty appetizer that will have you wanting more. The good news is the Erotics next disc, 30 Seconds Over You, is coming out in 2007.
You can grab this very reasonably at ITunes and at CDBaby. CDBaby has it set up so you can listen to all of the tracks here:Rock N Roll Killing Machine. You can also listen to some of their new tracks at their MySpace page here.
Rating:Out of 10
- Rock N Roll Killing Machine
- I Like It The Way That You Hate Me
- Drop the Bomb
- Drink, Fight and Fuck
- Only A Fool
- I Wanna Be Somebody
- Drink, Fight and F*ck (clean version)
Its been a long time since there has been any new material by Leatherwolf. 1989 to be exact.
This lineup is missing original vocalist Mike Olivieri who decided to leave the band in 2000.
The vocals on World Asylum were filled by former Crimson Glory and Seven Witches singer, Wade Black. Drummer, Dean Roberts and Guitarist, Geoff Gayer are the lone holdouts from original Leatherwolf lineup. Rounding out this quintet are Riot bassist, Pete Perez and former Helstar guitarist, Eric Halpern.
There are a few quality metal tracks on World Asylum that are worth hearing. I Am the Law, King of the Ward, Behind the Gun. At this point in the record, the songs start sounding the same to me. It is solid well sung and well played Power Metal, but I keep looking for a track or two to grab me the way several tracks did on Dream Evil’s United release, and it never seems to happen.
I have given this disc multiple listens over the last 3 weeks, and each time I find that I have a hard time making it through the whole disc in the same sitting.
I liked the initial releases by Leatherwolf, but I just couldn’t get into this disc. Some hardcore metal fans may find this disc more enjoyable than I did. I would suggesting listening to some tracks first before picking this one up.
Singer Wade Black has left the band since this disc has come out, so maybe he didn’t get into it either.
Rating: Out of 10
- I Am the Law
- King of the Ward
- Behind the Gun
- Live or Die
- Dr. Wicked (Rx O.D.)
- The Grail
- Never Again
Quite possibly one of the best discs of 2005 is Lipservice, the 10th release by Swedish rockers Gotthard. Gotthard is well known in the UK and Europe, but continue to go unnoticed in the United States. It is really a shame, because a record this good should really be heard by the masses.
“Lipservice” has gone Double Platinum in Switzerland and continues to sell well everywhere but in the United States.
Gotthard has a sound that falls somewhere between Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, but”Lipservice” is a stronger release than either of those bands have put out in years.
Whether you want some rocking pop metal songs or some power ballads, “Lip Service” has it all.
“All We Are”, and “Dream On” start this disc off right by rocking. “Lift You Up”, should have been a massive hit here. “Everything I Want“, is an awesome Def Leppard like power ballad, and “Cupid’s Arrow” sounds a lot like a Whitesnake track musically.
“I’m Alive” is an excellent heavy track with a killer vocal by Steve Lee. “Stay For the Night” and “Anytime Anywhere” could have both been radio hits. Both tracks have a sound that is similar to House of Lords.
“Said and Done” is another quality rock track with excellent guitars of Leo Leoni and Freddy Scherer.
“Nothing Left At All” is an acoustic guitar, piano based ballad that could have been another big hit.
There is a lot to like on Lip Service. This is a very upbeat and clean sounding record. It has a good mix of excellent vocals, and great sounding guitars, crafting one of the best Hard Rock/Melodic metal discs I have ever heard. Fans of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and the Scorpions are going to like this disc a lot. All other should at least give this a listen too.
Here are a couple of videos from Lip Service for you to check out!
Lift You Up
- All We Are
- Dream On
- Lift You Up
- Everything I Want
- Cupid’s Arrow
- I Wonder
- I’m Alive
- I’ve Seen An Angel Cry
- Stay For the Night
- Anytime Anywhere
- Said and Done
- The Other Side of Me
- Nothing Left At All
- And Then Goodbye
Steve Lee – vocals
Leo Leoni – guitars
Mandy Meyer – guitars
Marc Lynn – bass guitar
Hena Habegger – drums
One of the many bands lost in the shuffle of the grunge movement of the early 90’s was Indianapolis natives Sweet F.A.
I had the pleasure of seeing these guys live a few times before they broke up, and they always put on a good show.
Stick To Your Guns is the debut disc by this 5 piece unit of Steven David DeLong on vocals, Jon “Lightning” Huffman and James Thunder on guitars, Jim Quick on bass and Tricki Lane on drums.
This band has a great sound, which is a cross of sleaze metal and a dash of southern rock. They seemed ripe to make it big back in the early 90s but they never seemed to get the marketing push they needed by MCA to get them over the hump. They had the look, the swagger, the sound to get them there, but MCA didn’t really know how to market Hard Rock artists very well, and their success was cut short, way too early.
There are some excellent tunes on this disc that still hold up pretty well today. Prince of the City is a great high energy track to start this disc off with. Nothin’ For Nothin’ is another sleazy rocker that reminds me of the Bullet Boys quite a bit. The beat and groove of Rhythm of Action is killer. Whiskey River is a powerful rocker in the vein of Skid Row. The acoustic power ballad Heart of Gold is easily as good as anything you heard from the more successful bands of the era (Warrant, Poison, Cinderella). This disc ends with the acoustic track Southern Comfort. This is a very cool song to end this disc with.
This is one of those CD’s that 80’s hard rock fans can break out at any time and still enjoy. Great vocals, and musicianship by the Sweet F.A. guys. This is one of those discs that is out of print and is becoming harder to find, so pick one of these up if you can get your hands on it!
Rating: Out of 10
Here is the video for Rhythm of Action:
- Prince of the City
- Nothin’ for Nothin’
- Rhythm of Action
- Do A Little Drivin’
- Daily Grind
- Stick To Your Guns
- Whiskey River
- I Love Women
- Breakin’ The Law
- Heart of Gold
- Devil’s Road
- Southern Comfort
Sweet F.A. is:
Steven David DeLong – vocals
Jon “Lightning” Huffman – guitars
James Thunder – guitars
Jim Quick – bass
Tricki Lane – drums
I passed by the Dream Evil’s United disc in my local record shop several times over the last few weeks. Each time, the cover on this disc would catch my eye, but I haven’t ever heard a single track by this band in my life, so I wasn’t will to lay the bucks to check it out. My local store has a demo copy sitting out, and let me listen to the first couple of songs. This CD went home shortly thereafter. The real bonus is, I picked up one of the first pressings of this disc, that comes with a second CD, with 5 extra songs (at the same price).
What does Dream Evil sound like? If there was a 2nd New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Dream Evil would be one of the bands leading the pack. This is very much in the same vein as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, without sounding like either of those two bands. This isn’t power metal or progressive rock, this is heavy metal, the way it is supposed to be done!!
Lead Singer Niklas Isfeldt has the pipes to really belt out these tunes, and drive them home. At times he hits notes in the Rob Halford range, which is really cool to hear. Dream Evil has a fiery axe attack of Mark Black on lead, and Frederick Nordstrom on rhythm guitars. The heaviness of this guitar duo reminds me quite a bit of Accept, but the intensity of Peter Stalfors bass really gives this band a different sound. The commanding double bass drums of Pat Power tops off Dream Evil’s powerful yet melodic sound.
United is a very heavy disc, with no filler tracks. There are plenty of stand out tracks:
Fire! Battle! In Metal! is as good as metal anthems come. United, Evilution, Let Me Out, Higher on Fire and Back From the Dead are all impressive. When the band slows it down on Love is Blind, I was blown away. This is one killer heavy track that has to be heard to be appreciated.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the video and the 3 mp3’s below, and discover this awesome band for yourself. Fans of British Heavy Metal would be crazy not to pick this up! If I had heard this disc in 2006, it would have cracked my 2006 Heavy metal Top 5 list for sure.
Rating:Out of 10
Fire! Battle! In Metal!
Let Me Out
Back From the Dead
- Fire! Battle! In Metal!
- Blind Evil
- Let Me Out
- Higher On Fire
- Kingdom At War
- Love Is Blind
- Back From the Dead
- My Number One
- Calling Your Name
- Into the Unknown
- I Will Never
If you like your music full of sleaze, punk and in your face heavy rock and roll, you may want to check out North England Rockers, Kid Ego.
The first three tracks Ignite the Tide, Lady Conniver and Till I Die kick you in the head repeatedly and keep you asking for more. Ignite the Tide starts to loose speed about midway through the disc and picks back up again with the infectious Heartbreak Hooker. Deathrow, Flirtin’ with Suicide, and Long Time Runnin’ will have you break out your air guitar and leave you needing a neck brace.
Ignite the Tide is a powerful debut by Kid Ego. There are elements of their music that reminds me of early Motley Crue, L.A. Guns and a maybe a dash of Bad Religion. It is hard rock with one foot firmly implanted in punk. Kid Ego is a band that you will be hearing about for years to come.
This debut is positively worth your money. I had a hard time tracking this one down, but was able to get it from ITunes. Check it out!!
Rating: Out of 10
Here is the video for Flirtin’ With Suicide
- Ignite the Tide
- Lady Conniver
- Till I Die
- Magic Candy
- Sweet Bectoria
- Heartbreak Hooker
- Flirtin’ with suicide
- Long Time Running
While strolling through my local music store, I found this lost gem that I once had in my collection several years ago. Before, I picked this up again, it had been well over 10 years since I have last heard Loudness, so I didn’t remember their music at all.
Thunder in the East was originally released in 1985 and reissued in 2003. This was the first album released in the U.S. in the english language. After a little digging, I found that this disc peaked at #74 on the Billboard charts. Quite an accomplishment for a virtually unknown Japanese metal band.
How does this music stand up today? Pretty well. This is still a pretty good metal disc. I can hear Stryper and Iron Maiden like elements. (It sounds nuts, but it works for this band.)
The opening track Crazy Nights is a catchy heavy rocker with an excellent guitar riff to open the song.
There are a bunch of other quality tracks on this disc including Like Hell, Heavy Chains, Get Away, and The Lines are Down.
Lead singer, Minoru Niihara does an pretty good job vocally on this disc. Lead Guitarist, Akira Takasaki reminds me of Oz Fox quite a bit, but plays much heavier than that.
I enjoyed this disc quite a bit. This band may look like a 80’s big hair band but they were actually quite heavy for their time. Metal fans who haven’t heard this should certainly give this a look. There are some above average metal tracks that are worth discovering!
Enjoy the videos I found from Thunder in the East! If these don’t take you back 20 years, nothing will. :)
Rating: Out of 10
- Crazy Nights
- Like Hell
- Heavy Chains
- Get Away
- We Could Be Together
- Run For Your Life
- Clockwork Toy
- No Way Out
- The Lines are Down
- Never Change Your Mind
Very few bands in 2007 surprise me. One listen to a couple of tracks by The Answer, not only was I surprised, but my jaw dropped. This is the kind of CD that takes an unknown band and makes them superstars. Yes, its really that good!
The Answer is a 4 piece act hailing form Northern Ireland. This amazing band isn’t afraid to show their influences in their music. Name a 70’s rock act, and they have them listed as an influence.
Putting a finger on their music, and comparing them to another group really wouldn’t be fair, but I would say a cross between the Black Crows, and a heavy dose of (old) Aerosmith, and maybe a dash of AC/DC. I honestly don’t think the Black Crowes or Aerosmith have released a disc as strong as this one in a long time. This is a pure hard rock CD from beginning to end.
Usually, you will at least get some filler material with new rock acts, but this is a CD that is truly kick ass from beginning to end.
Singer Cormac Neeson, has a raspy Chris Robinson voice, with the melodic range of Robert Plant. The vocals are great here, but I have to give credit where credit is due. It isn’t just the vocals that make this music so great. The band backing up Neeson is pretty damn good too. Paul Mahon has some wicked skills on the guitar. Throughout Rise, the guitars are all amazing. You can hear hints of southern rock, blues and some slide guitar as well. The rhythm section of Michael Waters on Bass, and James Heatley on Drums would do most bands proud.
There are some definite stand out tracks on Rise. Under the Sky, Come Follow Me, Into the Gutter and Leavin’ Today are great songs that rock out.
Bottom line: If you want to hear a new band with a classic rock sound, that contains great vocals and music, you need to get this. You can hear some of their new songs at The Answer Myspace page. If you are looking to pick this up quickly, can you find on ITunes.
I have also included the video below:
Under the Sky
Come Follow Me
You can also see the new video for Never Too LateHere!
Rating:Out of 10
- Under the Sky
- Never Too Late
- Come Follow Me
- Be What You Want
- Memphis Water
- No Questions Asked
- Into the Gutter
- Sometimes Your Love
- Leavin’ Today
- Always On My Mind
Former Savatage vocalist Zak Stevens and company returns with their 3rd release, Burden of Truth.
This band seems to get better with each new disc, and Burden of Truth is no exception.
Burden of Truth features the hard driving guitar tandem of Andy Lee and Evan Christopher. The Savatage like keyboards are all but gone on Burden of truth. This is more of a heavy guitar driven album. The sound is much better than the bands sophomore effort, the Middle of Nowhere.
One listen to this disc, and you will realize quickly that you are hearing some absolute classic Metal songs.
Heal You is one of the best tracks that I have heard within the last year. Great Stuff!
The Black is a classic metal track that will go down as a band favorite for years to come.
The guitar shredding and double bass drumming on Messiah is very cool.
The title track, Burden of Truth, has to be heard to be appreciated. This is one of those well written and performed songs that people will break out their lighters (or cell phones with today’s concert goers) it they see this played live in concert.
Bottom line, this is an excellent Metal CD, and very worth picking up. Zac Stevens has a killer voice, and he lays down excellent vocals on every track on Burden of Truth. His voice alone, merits a purchase of this disc.
Those looking for a Savatage sound-a-like CD, may do better with the new Jon Oliva’s Pain release Maniacal Renderings.
Rating:Out of 10
- Who Am I To Be?
- A Matter of Time
- Heal You
- Your Reality
- The Black
- Burden of Truth
- Live As One
Put Cinderella, Kix, Britny Fox and dash of Def Leppard in a blender, and you may come out with something that resembles Miss Crazy.
You can easily hear similarities to all of these groups on Miss Crazy’s debut CD.
This a rocking affair that is going to appeal greatly to 80’s Hard Rock Fans! Miss Crazy may not win any awards for being original, but with so few of these bands putting out any quality music today, its nice to find a new group to carry the torch.
No Compromise has elements of all the bands I mentioned above. It is a heavy track which features the very Tom Keifer like vocals of Markus Allen Christopher. The track Billie treads down Kix street with another upbeat rocker.
Hide Island is more more in the vein of Def Leppard. This track features some killer guitar work, and is one of my early favorites.
Dizzy Dean Davidson shows up to sing Life’s Been Gone. Ok, not really, but it sure does sound like it.
You’re Blue sounds like it could have been performed by Night Songs era Cinderella. Scream is reminiscent of Blow My Fuse era Kix.
So Long is another with Britney Fox like song, with a Def Leppard style chorus. Now is another Cinderella like track.
Shut Eyes has elements of AC/DC, Def Leppard and Cinderella. Baby Let’s Go ends this disc on a high note with more Cinderella like elements.
Bottom Line: This is a all killer no filler kind of disc. All of the tracks are mid to high tempo to rockers. This is the kind of music that you want to put into your car CD player and play very LOUD! My only problem with this disc is that it didn’t end up my hands sooner! This is 80’s style hard rock/ hair metal that is as good as it gets today!
If you haven’t heard Miss Crazy yet, pay a visit to the band’s website at www.misscrazymusic.com.
They have a jukebox on their site where you can listen to these tracks.
Warning! You may find yourself running to the record store to pick this up!
Rating:Out of 10
- No Compromise
- Hide Island
- Life’s Been Good
- You’re Blue
- So Long
- Shut Eyes
- Baby Lets Go
Desperado is the band that Dee Snider put together after Twisted Sister broke up back in 1988.
Elektra Records wanted a new disc, and strangely shelved this disc before it ever seen the light of day.
This was finally released under the moniker, Bloodied, But Unbowed in 1996. Poor sales sent this disc back to the closet it came out of. Luckily, Cleopatra Records released Ace in its original format as it was intended for release in 1990.
Desperado features the unmistakable vocals of Dee Snider, the guitars of former Ozzy guitarist Bernie Torme, Marc Russell (Widowmaker) and former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr. Three of these guys are well known musicians that could have propelled this disc on their own.
Why Elektra buried this is a mystery. It could have been the grunge movement (shudder) or the lack of a huge hit. Bernie Torme was quoted as saying “Well, it took years out of all our lives, though for me 99.9% was pure pleasure. It was a great album, great singer, great band, but unfortunately for us, a shit record company. Hey, its just my opinion. “
How good are the tunes here? Read on!
Immediately, one would think to compare this band to Twisted Sister, but Desperado sounds nothing like Twisted Sister at all. Sure, its Dee Snider singing, but that is where the comparison ends.
Desperado is a more strait forward hard rock offering than the hair metal releases of Twisted Sister. Quite a few of these songs have a western hard rock flair, that brings something new to the table. Dee Snider sings more often than he screams on this disc, and the sound and production is surprisingly good.
Ace starts off with Hang ‘Em High which has an Aerosmith kind of flair to it. Each time I listen to this track it gets a little better. Gone Bad is a quick head banging rocker with some excellent guitar work by Torme.
Run Wild Run Free (The Maverick) has a twinge of southern rock going for it. Snider puts down a great vocal here.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter clocks in at over 7 minutes in length. This is a low to mid tempo track that takes a few listens to appreciate. Torme’s guitar has a bluesy flair here, and really shines. This is one of those songs that you hear at first and you don’t really get into, but slowly creeps up on you and sucks you back in.
Calling For You is a mid tempo track that could have been a hit, if it was released back in the early 90’s when this disc was originally intended for release.
More amazing fretwork can be found by Torme in See You At Sunrise, another song that is a gem on Ace.
Something about parts of There’s No Angels Here sounds like a cross between a Poison and Van Halen song, but as a whole, it is a very good track.
Made for Trouble is a radio ready track that is in the vein of Tesla.
Probably the best track on the disc is Emaheeval (I’m I evil). This is a hard driving catchy rocker that is just an amazing song to close this disc with.
It is a shame that this disc didn’t see the light of day back in the earlier 90’s. It could have spawned 2 or 3 hits, and kept this band together for another release. This disc is a no brainer for Dee Snider fans. Hard Rock fans ought to give this a look!
Rating: Out of 10
- Hang ‘Em High
- Gone Bad
- Run Wild Run Free (The Maverick)
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
- Calling For You
- See You At Sunrise
- There’s No Angels Here
- Made For Trouble
- Ride Through the Storm
- Son of a Gun
Bang Tango returned with another solid rocking disc in 2006 with From The Hip.
The opening track It’s All Ok, is better than Ok. It is an upbeat jamming rocker that will get your blood pumping. This track sets the stage high for the rest of the up and coming tracks .
Ain’t Nothin’ Better sounds like a cross between AC/DC and Guns ‘N’ Roses, and keeps the pace going nicely. Go, Go, Go is another killer track that has more of that AC/DC feel to it.
Carry Me Up is a slower song that almost seems out of place after the punch and delivery of the first three tracks. Mother Mary on the other hand, has a pretty cool bass groove, and is a catchy song to boot.
Get Use To It fails to deliver and feels like filler to me. I’m the One is a punchy track oozing with sleaze and ventures into Faster Pussycat territory.
Simple is sonically pleasing and vocally revolting all at the same time. One More Spin reminds me of old school Bang Tango. It has a crunching bass lick that is infectious as hell.
Angel Devil finishes this disc with an acoustic number that sounds out of place here.
From the Hip rarely sounds like older Bang Tango material and may repel some fans of the band’s earlier work. Joe Lesté’s voice is one you will either love or hate. Many times throughout this disc, his voice sounds raspier than ever. On some songs it works, others it does not. The music on most of the tracks are top notch, and makes this worthy of a listen. While this disc may not be essential to your collection, I enjoyed it, and I am sure those of you with an open mind will too!
You can hear some of the new tracks at Bang Tango’s Myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
- It’s All Ok
- Ain’t Nothin’ Better
- Go, Go, Go
- Carry Me Up
- Mother Mary
- Get Use To It
- I’m the One
- One More Spin
- Angel Devil
Take one listen to Brother Firetribe’s False Metal and you will likely start to reminisce of a time when popular 80’s hard rock acts had catchy songs, with fun sing along choruses, and great keyboard/guitar driven rock.
Elements of this CD reminds me of Journey, Bon Jovi, Survivor, Diving for Pears, and Blue Tears. On False Metal, you will find the excellent vocals of Pekka Ansio Heino, the Neal Schon like guitars of Emppu Vuorinen, and the melodic Van Halenish keyboards of Tomppa Nikulainen.
The first track Break Out is a hard Journeyesque melodic track that screams radio hit. Valerie sounds like it could have been at home on any Survivor disc. I’m On Fire has that big AOR sound of Blue Tears. Love Goes Down is another track that has radio potential. Devil’s Daughter could have been a much bigger track if the guitar sound was beefed up a little bit. The keyboards are way too over powering on this track.
Midnight Queen and One Single Breath could be potential hits as well. Lover Tonight is a little heavier number. This is a pretty good song. Spanish Eyes is a nice melodic track, but it is a bit boring to me.
Kill City Kid is the heaviest track on this disc. This song treads down the Survivor road again. It is one better tracks on False Metal, and is a good way to close out this disc.
Brother Firetribe is the most AOR friendly rock I have ever reviewed at the Hard Rock Hideout. This is very upbeat, happy music. Whether you will enjoy this or not truly depends for your tastes in AOR keyboard driven rock. Fans of bands like Journey and Survivor will eat this up.
Here is a video I found from the False Metal CD. This will give a taste of the Brother Firetribe sound.
One Single Breath Video
Rating: Out of 10
- Break Out
- I’m on Fire
- Love Goes Down
- Devil’s Daughter
- Midnight Queen
- One Single Breath
- Lover Tonight
- Spanish Eyes
- Kill City Kid
If you want to hear an amazing CD, with awesome vocals, and melodic but heavy metal to match. Run, don’t walk to pick up the Jorn Lande release, The Duke.
For several reasons, the Norwegian Jorn Lande is not very well known in the United States. Lack of promotion, and no radio airplay are a few problems Jorn faces in the U.S. It is really too bad, because most people are missing out on one of the top singers in Metal today.
For those of you who have not been exposed to Jorn Lande, He has a voice that falls somewhere between Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale. If you know how amazing those two singers are, you will know what to expect from Jorn.
Musically and lyrically, the Duke is a superb effort from start to finish! This is melodic metal in its finest form. The guitar tandem of Tore Moren and Jørn Viggo Lofstad do an amazing job on this disc.
Take one listen to the heavy Blacksong which sounds like Lynch era Dokken and you will be hooked.
Another stand out song is Stormcrow, which sounds like a heavy Whitesnake track. The guitars on this song blow me away every time. Awesome!
Duke of Love could have easily been on the Whitesnake, Slide it In Album.
Jorn Lande truly shines on the low to mid tempo Burning Chains. You have to hear it, to appreciate it.
The cover of Thin Lizzy’s Are You Ready may be the best cover song I have heard in 2006. It is very well done here.
The final song, Starfire, is a remake of the same track from his debut disc and sounds even better than the original.
The Duke is certainly one of the top Metal discs of 2006, and a favorite of mine.
If you would like to hear some of the tracks off the Duke, You can listen to a few songs off of this disc at:Jorn Lande’s Website
Rating: Out of 10
- We Brought the Angels Down
- End of Time
- Duke of Love
- Burning Chains
- After the Dying
- Midnight Madness
- Are You Ready
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Jorn Viggo Lofstad – Guitars
Tore Moren – Guitars
Willy Bendiksen – Drums
Morty Black – Bass
When I picked up this new Sweet Cheater disc, I must admit that I had low expectations. Just the name of this disc made me think I was going to regret picking it up. Much to my surprise, Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ is far better than I ever could have imagined.
There are elements in every song that remind of just about every popular 80’s Big Hair Hard Rock act you can thing of. One might complain that they are a copy cat band, but they sound like so many different ones, its actually refreshing to hear.
Take one listen to All Fired Up and see if this doesn’t remind you of old L.A. Guns.
Summer kind of sounds like old school Kix. The keyboard driven One Love is a cool L.A. Guns meets Poison sounding ballad.
The very Kix like Money’s Tough is a killer track, as is the slower paced It’s Our Love.
One listen to Dancin on My Grave, and I thought singer Mike Chappel started sounding like Steven Pearcy.
Holding Out on Love is like a fusion of Poison and L.A. Guns. I’ve Got You sounds like a Poison track as performed by Kix (if that is possible).
Ratt shows up again on the very cool Romina. (Ok…its Steven Pearcy’s vocal clone Mike Chappel ;) )
Subway Train is a good rocker and a great way to end this disc. This track actually sounds better than anything that was on the last Ratt CD.
This disc has to be the surprise of 2006. Perris Records has found one hell of a band in Sweet Cheater. Fans of the 80’s Big Hair sound, and pop metal in general, are going to eat this up. I expect that this will be in my play list for many years to come.
I have added a couple of videos below. You can also hear a few of their songs on their myspace page at: www.myspace.com/sweetcheaterband
Check these guys out! You will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
All Fired Up (Live)
- All Fired Up
- One Love
- Money’s Tough
- It’s Our Love
- Dancin On My Grave
- Holding out on Love
- I’ve Got You
- Subway Train
Sweet Cheater is:
- Charlie Leger – Guitar
- Tom Flaherty – Guitar
- Mike Chappel – Vocal
- Mark Rahilly – Bass
- Tommy Leger – Drums
Big Cock features former Lynch Mob, and Cry of Love vocalist Robert Mason, and former King Kobra guitarist Dave Henzerling a.k.a. David Michael-Philips.
Sonically, this music reminds me of a cross between Lynch Mob and Mr. Big, with a dash of sleaze thrown in for good measure.
There are quite a few catchy numbers on this somewhat short disc. 12 songs and a 25 second filler track to close this disc for a total run time of under 36 minutes.
Bad Motherfucker is immediately infectious and will set your hopes high for the rest of the disc. I Want It All has a very Lynch Mob feel to it. I like this track a lot.
Cinnamon grates on my nerves every time I hear it. I do not like the lyrics at all. I usually skip to King of Cool which is a (no pun intended) a very cool track.
Carrie’s In Love slows it down, and sound a lot like a Mr.Big track. I never cared for that band much, but I do like this track pretty well.
Mean Street Machine kicks it into gear. This is a great track.
I had to look at the credits to see if George Lynch was playing on Take It Off. The layered guitars on this song sound exactly like an older Lynch Mob track.
Dynamite rocks pretty heavy, but lyrically could have been a little better.
My first reaction when hearing Hard To Swallow was wtf is this crap. It sounds like a fusion of 50’s music, and Mr. Big. I still skip this track.
Thank God, Old No. 7 didn’t follow the pattern of the last track. It is a pretty good song, but no where near as good as You Suck the Love Out of Me. Some of the vocals remind me of Axl Rose’s growliness on a old G N R track.
Year of the Cock closes this disc with a mid tempo rock song. It is an ok song, but certainly not classic.
As a whole, this is a pretty decent debut effort from these hard rock veterans.
Both Big Cock discs are getting released to wider distribution in January, so you should be able to find these in more retailers soon.
- Bad Motherfucker
- I Want It All
- King of Cool
- Carrie’s In Love
- Mean Street Machine
- Take It Off
- Hard To Swallow
- Old No. 7
- You Suck the Love out of Me
- Year of the Cock
- Thank You, Good Night
Vocalist Rich Lewis could be a Blackie Lawless clone vocally.
Chris Laney also lent his producing talents, so this is one great sounding disc, from beginning to end.
The track “Violent New Breed” will grab you immediately. This is one kick-ass, hard rocking tune.
The heavy pace continues on “Morning After”. I can hear some Zan Clan like backup vocals on this one. This track is very cool!
“Hey You” cranks it up again. This song reminds me of a KISS song, both sonically and lyrically.
“Eye of the Storm” may be my favorite song on this disc. This is a well written song and the guitars are absolutely killer.
The tempo slows way down on “Turn and Walk Away”. This power ballad really delivers. Rich Lewis delivers an excellent vocal on this track, and Randy Piper’s guitar shines greatly. This song screams radio hit!
Lyrically, “Animal In Me” could have used a little more work. The music is good, but it is my least favorite track on this disc.
“Hellchild” sounds like a W.A.S.P. anthem. The keyboards on this track kind of give it that screechy horror type of feel, but are strangely annoying at the same time. The rest of the song is very good though, and would translate well live.
“Salt” is another excellent, heavy track with Zan Clan like backing vocals. This track sounds as if could have been at home in the late 80’s. It is very cool!
“In The Mirror” is a low to mid tempo number that seems to get better with each listen. The guitar work here is superb.
Just the title of “B.O.O.M.” seems to carry the W.A.S.P. spirit. The keyboards return in a minor fashion on this track, and I think they should have left them out. It would have sounded better. Aside from that, this is a cool hard driving track and it ends “Violent New Breed” in good fashion.
There is more to like on this disc than I expected. Chris Laney’s addition to this group takes it over the top. Many of these songs would translate well live. For W.A.S.P. fans, picking this disc up is a no-brainer. For all other Hard Rock, and metal fans, you ought to stop by the band’s myspace page (www.myspace.com/randypipersanimal) and give some of these tracks a listen. I think this is a great disc, and well worth the price of admission!
Rating: Out of 10
- Violent New Breed
- Morning After
- Hey You
- Eye of the Storm
- Turn and Walk Away
- Animal in Me
- In The Mirror
Randy Piper’s Animal is:
Randy Piper – Guitar
Rich Lewis – Vocals
Chris Laney – Guitar
Jackie Livengood – Bass
Johan Koleberg – Drums
It has been a long time since I have heard any new material from former MSG lead singer, Robin McAuley. I enjoyed the MSG albums he sang on, so I was kind of excited about this release.
The first thing I noticed is how short this CD is. Only 8 tracks, under 35 minutes in length.
Luckily, this CD does out perform quite a few other 2006 releases with more tracks.
There are quite a few solid tracks. Movin On sounds like a very heavy MSG track, and is the best track by far. Let’s Dance and Gonna Get It are both pretty good as well. Gonna Get it has very Schenker like guitars on it. Let’s Dance cranks the tempo up with driving guitars and drums to match. This is a fun track.
Victoria also sounds like that a track that could have been left off of an MSG album. This is 80’s pop/metal that is as good as it gets. I love the guitars on Promise, and We Belong.
Won’t Let It Go is my least favorite track here. I don’t know if it is McAuley’s vocals or the lyrics that do not work for me here, but I just couldn’t get into this song.
Freedom is another decent track that sounds like it could have been at home in the late 80’s.
Sadly, Robin McAuley has left Demon Angels to go sing for Survivor. I am sure its a higher paying gig, but he left a potential band on the rise. Its a shame based on this hard rocking release. This band has loads of potential. I can only hope that Demon Angels can find a new singer as talented as McAuley and put out a follow up release to this excellent hard rocking disc.
Here is the lone video from Time of Confusion:
Rating:Out of 10
- Gonna Get It
- Movin’ On
- Let’s Dance
- We Be Long
- Won’t Let It Go
I didn’t think I would hear too many new quality releases to close out 2006, but I could not have been more wrong. Jon Oliva’s Pain, is one Heavy Metal release that took me by surprise.
This disc starts off with a very strong track, Through the Eyes of the King, which is unmistakably Savatage in style! This track is one of the best metal songs I have heard all year.
The title track Maniacal Renderings is a progressive number that stretches past 7 minutes. Parts of this song remind of Queensryche, in a good way.
The Evil Beside You starts off slow and kind of reminds me a little of Queen in style, but then breaks into another Savatage style rocker. Time to Die turns up the heaviness, and at times sounds like Black Label Society backing up Oliva. ( At this point, this reviewer has a big evil grin on his face ).
Push It To the Limit cranks the tempo way the hell up. I can see people in a mosh pit, slamming to this song. The bass rhythm on this song reminds me of Anthrax at times.
Who’s Playing God returns to more of a Progressive Metal style. This almost reminds me of a heavy Queen song. Timeless Flight also starts off with that Queen styling, but in a very heavy sense. This is one of those progressive tracks that is technically brilliant. It is one of those songs that make you wonder if you are hearing a CD that may one day be considered classic.
Holes is another heavy track that could easily fit on any Savatage CD. Lots of heavy guitars, rhythm and bass. At first I didn’t like this track, but I had to give it a couple of listens. You have to hear the way this song ends. Awesome!!
End of Times is another prog rocker with plenty of crunching guitars and heavy bass. This is another decent song with excellent guitar work. I didn’t care for this song too much.
Still I Prey For You Now is a slow short number that fails to excite me. I was hoping for something a little more powerful at this place in the record.
The Bonus track features 2 tracks in 1. Reality’s Fool is another slow tempo number that almost seems out of place. A few seconds later another instrumental track continues the fantastic solo work of the late, great Chris Oliva.
As a whole, this is a very strong effort from Jon Oliva’s Pain. Savatage fans should be rushing to pick this up. Progressive Metal fans will likely enjoy this too. If you don’t like either of those, this disc may not appeal to you. I have always liked Savatage, and felt they were very under rated. This disc stands up to any of the Savatage records out there, and is one of the best new releases of 2006.
Rating:Out of 10
Below are a couple of live videos of songs that are from the Maniacal Renderings CD. If you like these, you are going to love this CD!
Evil Beside You
- Through the Eyes of the King
- Maniacal Renderings
- The Evil Beside You
- Time To Die
- Push It To the Limit
- Who’s Playing God
- Timeless Flight
- End Times
- Still I Pray for You Now
- Reality’s Fool (Bonus Track)
Occasionally, I will plug a new band in my music reviews, if they fit in the Hard Rock and Heavy metal genre. When I read that the influences of Violent Divine, were Motley Crue, and Guns ‘N Roses. I had to give them a listen.
I listened to 3 tracks, one time each on myspace and I said, ok, where can I get this…..NOW! I don’t buy much from ITunes, but they actually had this, so I said why not, besides, it beats going to the local record store on December 24th.
This kind of sounds like a fusion between 80’s Hard Rock and today’s current hard rock scene. This comes across as a fusion of Metal and Punk and a dash of sleaze with big drum beats, great guitars and catchy lyrics. There are a few immediate stand out tracks: Let’s Go, Rush You, and Levitate, but there honestly isn’t a bad song on this disc. I dare you try to listen to this disc, and try not to head bang! It is a well produced, fun to listen to debut effort by this Swedish based 4 piece.
This is definitely worth your money if you are looking for a new band that kicks ass!
Here are a couple of video’s to give you a taste of Violent Divine!
Rating:Out of 10
- Let’s Go
- Love Revolution
- The Morning Show
- Rush You
- Ghost in the Machine
- Down the Line
Mark Reale of Riot may be an Army of One. He is lone founding member of Riot, and has held this band together for over 30 years now.
Why Mark or Riot, hasn’t received more recognition in the music community is a mystery to me. With a style that falls between Joe Satriani, and Michael Schenker, you don’t have to listen to Army of One very long before you say “Wow”!
With that being said, how do the songs, on Army of One stack up. In my best Guiness Stout voice, they are “BRILLIANT!!“.
With Mark Reale’s and Mike Flyntz guitars and Mike DiMeo’s amazing vocals, I can’t imagine any hard rock or metal fan not enjoying this CD. This is melodic metal as good as you are going to find it anywhere! It is hard for me to pick out highlights on this disc, as I truly enjoy the whole thing. The Bonus Track of Road Racin’ Live, a track that was on the 1979 release Narita, is excellent. It sounds better now than it when it was first released. Johnny the Seal has something to smile out about when he hears this disc. :)
Check out this video of Reale and Flyntz dualing guitars….awesome!!
Rating:Out of 10
- Army of One
- Knockin At My Door
- One More Alibi
- It all falls down
- Helping Hand
- The mystic
- Stay Alive
- Alive in the City
- Stained Mirror (Instrumental)
- Darker Side of Light
- Road Racin’ (Live)
Here is an excellent hard rocking release that came out in January of 2006. I stumbled on this by accident when I was looking for some Twisted Sister news.
I heard a couple of songs on myspace, and had to pick this up.
Axes 2 Axes starts out with a heavy number Tonight, sung by Ronnie James Dio, and followed up with a blistering instrumental, Axes 2 Axes. Please Remember is a pretty good rock number sung by Eddie.
Dee Snider does a good job covering the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, with some backing vocals by Terry llous from XYZ. This is a far superior cover than the torrid, Leader of the Pack, cover from Twisted Sister’s Come Out and Play album.
Evil Duz is a pretty heavy track where Eddie just about sounds like Lemmy from Motorhead on this track. (Well sort of, maybe not as gravelly) .
Crosstown is another kick ass instrumental from Eddie.
Senorita Knows is a mid tempo track. It is my least favorite track, but it isn’t a bad song by any means. Love Power is a funky track with some slap bass playing by Rudy Sarzo. Eddie sounds like he is having fun on this song.
Funky Monkey is the third instrumental track on this CD. It is another great track. Eddie really struts his guitar work here.
The Reason is the sole ballad on this disc, and a good one at that.
Axes 2 Axes closes out with another great vocal by Joe Lynn Turner on Living Free.
Overall, Axes 2 Axes is a pretty quick disc to listen to. It clocks in under 39 minutes long. If you want to discover a good rock CD, and an excellent guitar player that deserves more credit than what he gets, check this disc out! The Dio and Dee Snider tracks almost make this disc worth picking up just by themselves.
Rating: Out of 10
- Axes 2 Axes
- Please Remember
- Eleanor Rigby
- Evil Duz (What Evil Knows)
- Senorita Knows
- Love Power
- Funky Monkey
- The Reason
- Living Free