Mississippi isn’t exactly well known for its rock heritage. Aside from the band, 3 Doors Down, not too many famous rock acts have come out of the Magnolia State. The five gentlemen from Saving Abel may not be famous, but with their new cd, they could change that soon.
The band already has a radio hit with their song, Addicted, and judging from the other songs on their debut, this is just the first taste of success for Saving Abel.
At first, I was ready to dismiss, Saving Abel, as another Nickelback clone, but after a couple of spins, I thought their music has a slightly heavier edge. Some songs fall into that safe radio ready rock area, but as a whole I found this CD highly listenable.
Jared Weeks has a very clean sounding voice, and it really starts to shine on some of the slow to mid tempo numbers. I can hear some southern rock influences in Saving Abel’s music, although it isn’t predominant throughout the record, it is obviously a factor in the songs 18 Days and Drowning (Face Down).
The record has several hit worthy tunes include the heavier numbers, New Tattoo, In God’s Eyes, and 18 Days.
If you are a fan of mainstream rock, you will probably like this record a lot. If you are an old school 80’s rock fan, this album may not excite you as much. There really isn’t a band song on this disc, and it is available for the paltry sum of $7.99 at Amazon.com. You can listen to several of the tunes here at the Saving Abel myspace page. Check ’em out.
Rating:Out of 10
Warning: The following video is an uncensored version of Addicted. This video is not work safe, nor is it appropriate for minors.
1. New Tattoo
3. She Got Over Me
4. 18 Days
5. Drowning (Face Down)
6. In God’s Eyes
7. Sailed Away
8. Beautiful Day
9. Out Of My Face
10. Running From You
11. Beautiful You
Saving Abel is:
Jason Null – Guitar
Jared Weeks – Vocals
Scott Bartlett – Guitar
Blake Dixon – Drums
Eric Taylor – Bass
After coming off of the Ozzy Osbourne, Ultimate Sin tour, Jake E. Lee, formed Badlands with singer Ray Gillen.
If you were a fan of Jake E. Lee’s awesome metal guitar licks on Ozzy disc, The Ultimate Sin, then you may have found his work on Badlands a surprise, as on this disc, he moved in a more bluesy, hard rock direction.
As much as I enjoyed Lee’s work with Ozzy, it wasn’t until his work with Badlands where he truly shined. Jake E. Lee’s awesome guitar licks, combined with Ray Gillen’s incredible voice is one potent combination, and it shows on the brilliant debut record from Badlands.
This record didn’t chart as high as some of other hair metal acts at the time, but Badlands sound nothing like the majority of the acts from the 80’s. If anything their music was ahead of its time. It is excellent, bluesy hard rock that still sounds incredible to this day. I still consider this one of my top ten records of all time.
Sadly, this record is out of print, and prices for it are starting to soar on the internet. Hopefully, this record will get reissued, as music this good needs to be heard by rock fans who would like to check it out. Grab this if you can find it! Happy Hunting!
Rating: Out 0f 10
1. High Wire
2. Dreams In The Dark
3. Jade’s Song
4. Winter’s Call
5. Dancing On The Edge
6. Streets Cry Freedom
7. Hard Driver
8. Rumblin’ Train
9. Devil’s Stomp
11. Ball & Chain
Ray Gillen – Vocals
Jake E. Lee – Guitars
Eric Singer – Drums
Greg Chaisson – Bass
If the the four gentlemen in Northern Ireland’s Soundstone have their way, they will soon be following their countrymen The Answer, into the mainstream.
Their three song EP, Scratchin’ At My Door is a modern rock CD that has a sound with elements of 70’s classic rock, and a small bit of 80’s hard rock. The tunes are good enough for current rock fans to digest, and could easily work on rock radio today.
Adrian McAleenan has some very cool guitar solos. Declan Bannon’s vocals are pretty good. His sound reminds me of a cross between Andrew Stockdale from Wolfmother, and a small dash of Ian Astbury from the Cult.
Scratchin’ At My Door shows a lot of promise for this Irish four piece. I hope they put out a full length disc for us to listen to soon.
To here these songs, and ton find more information on Soundstone, check them out on their myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Still I Wake
2. Everybody Knows
3. Good For the Soul
Declan Bannon – Vocals
Guitar – Adrian McAleenan
Bass – Ryan Lilly
Drums – Nicolas Pascual
If you were to poll the average comic reader, and ask them who the biggest asshole in comics today is, 9 out of 10, would like respond, Tony Stark, a.k.a, Iron Man.
Lucky for this movie watcher, Marvel’s latest big screen sensation, Iron Man doesn’t dabble with the character’s current history, but does do a pretty solid job portraying Tony Stark, and his origin of Iron Man.
When I first read that Robert Downey Jr. was cast as the millionaire, playboy Tony Stark, I had my doubts that he could pull of the role.
Much to my surprise, and to my liking, Downey does a wonderful job as Stark/Iron Man. Not only does the pull the role off, he actually made me care about the character again. Quite a feat for any actor.
The Iron Man cast also features Gwenyth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Terrence Howard (James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes), and Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane). Each one of these actors does a solid job, but Downey Jr. is most certainly the star here.
The special effects are as good as they come, and the music (AC/DC, Black Sabbath) couldn’t be better. The story is good, and the action is fantastic.
Most comic book movies are hit and miss, in the case of Iron Man, Marvel has another sure fire hit on their hands, and easily their best movie since Spider-man.
This is a great film to see on the big screen, and a must see flick for sci-fi and comic book fans everywhere.
Rating: 4 Shellheads out of 5
HRH favorite Airbourne, Saving Abel and Theory of A Deadman rolled into Cincinnati at Bogart’s on Thursday Night. After seeing Airbourne’s excellent live show in Lexington, KY for the first time, I wasn’t about to miss them when they came back to my area.
Like the meat in a good sandwich, Airbourne took the stage between Saving Abel and Theory of a Deadman Thursday Night. Much to my surprise, Saving Abel was already done performing and had their packed off the stage before we arrived at 8:00 P.M. We didn’t even realize that they had played, until Theory of a Deadman thanked Saving Abel and Airbourne during the final songs of their set.
I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get to see Saving Abel, but I came to see Airbourne, and once they took the stage, any disappointment I may have had for the evening was easily dissipated.
Airbourne took the stage at approximately 8:30. They performed several songs off of their album Running Wild including: Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll, Hellfire, Fat City, Diamond in the Rough, What’s Eating You, Cheap Wine Cheaper Women, Girls in Black, and Running Wild. Airbourne’s set was not quite as energetic as their Headlining show in Lexington, KY had a few short weeks ago. Part of the problem on this night was the audience that came to see the show. Most of the twenty something crowd was there to see Theory of a Deadman, and, in my opinion, could care less to see Airbourne. Whatever promoter put these two bands together must have a real sense of humor, as both bands have a completely different style, that are not very complimentary of each other.
In Lexington, KY, Airbourne fed off of the crowd, and the crowd fed off the band. In Cincinnati, the T.O.A.D. crowd was certainly energetic. Their was crowd surfing during Airbourne’s set, but the vibe was no where near the same. This didn’t seem to matter to Airbourne front man Joel O’Keeffe, as he turned in an another amazing live performance. Airbourne started winning the crowd over towards the end of their set, and did receive plenty of applause before they gave up the stage to Theory of A Deadman.
With T.O.A.D., I found myself in a strange position, as I was one of the few in the crowd that did not know the majority of the songs that they performed. Usually, I know a band’s music fairly well before I go to see them, but with Theory of a Deadman, they only came onto my radar with their new CD, Scars & Souvenirs. I like the new CD, fairly well, but I am not familiar with their earlier material. The majority of their set, was their older stuff.
Theory of a Deadman’s singer, Tyler Connolly commands the stage, and has a pretty good voice, that is somewhat like Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. I don’t think I have seen a hair do like his, since the last time I watched old reruns of Happy Days. The music is by far the most important thing, and their set was pretty tight. They played the tunes Nothing Could Come Between Us, Hate My Life, Santa Monica, Hating Hollywood, Got It Made, Bad Girlfriend, So Happy and two or three other songs, whose names escape me. Even though the sounded great, they were no where near as entertaining as Airbourne, and didn’t have half of the energy. Airbourne is a hard act to follow, and although Theory of a Deadman was good, I thought Airbourne was the better of the two.
I am glad I caught this show, even though it is not the best one that I have seen in 2008.
Enjoy the live clips of Airbourne and Theory of a Deadman below!
Airbourne – Hellfire
Airbourne – Fat City
Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild
Theory of A Deadman – Bad Girlfriend
Theory of A Deadman – So Happy
In 1993, Takara released their debut album through the now defunct, Now and Then Records.
This release was largely not know in the U.S. as this disc was primarily released in Europe and Japan. I may not have found this disc myself, but saw that this was one of the earlier works by Jeff Scott Soto, and I was on a mission to find it.
Those of you not familiar with Soto’s work would be surprised at how many acts and bands he has been involved with over the years, including most recently, Journey. I have always been a fan of his vocals and he was the main draw for me to pick up Takara’s Eternal Faith.
On Eternal Faith, Soto works as both producer and singer, and he does a pretty good job in both roles. He wasn’t supposed to sing on this record, but Takara’s original singer flaked out in the studio and Soto took over.
Soto has a keen ear for great melodic rock, and Takara’s Eternal Faith is a fine example of this. This record is filled with ten upbeat keyboard laden tunes, that melodic rock fans will truly enjoy.
While Eternal Faith isn’t the best disc I have ever heard, fans of Jeff Scott Soto will certainly want to pick this up. The best tracks are Spotlight, Two Hearts Together, I Don’t Believe, and Fallen Angel.
Rating:Out of 10
Jeff Scott Soto – lead vocals, keyboards
Gary Schutt – bass
Neal Grusky – guitar
Robert Duda – drums
Van Halen’s reunion tour came to Cincinnati Tuesday night. This show has been long awaited by myself and many of the fans in the area, especially since this rescheduled show was originally supposed to take place on March 5th. This show was postponed so Eddie Van Halen could take care of an undisclosed medical condition. ( Turf Toe?, Male Pattern Baldness?, Erectile disfunction? the world may never know.)
I never had the chance to see David Lee Roth with Van Halen, back in the early 80’s and I have always regretted it. I wouldn’t dare miss this reunion show, especially with how volatile the bands’ relationship has been over the years.
The questions I had going into this show were the following:
Will Michael Anthony be missed? Can David Lee Roth still sing?
Can Eddie Van Halen still get it done live? Is Van Halen worth the over inflated ticket price?
I have heard and read a lot of good and bad things about this tour, from the cities where it took place prior to Tuesday Night’s Show.
I opted for the cheaper seats for this show, and by cheap, I mean the $49.50 ticket before Ticketmaster added their extortion rates to the ticket price. With the huge video screen behind the stage, there truly wasn’t a bad seat to be had for this show. U.S. Bank Arena was at near capacity. If this wasn’t a sell out, it was damn close.
The Stage set up for Van Halen was quite cool. The stage was set up in a Giant S configuration. The bottom part of the S reached out into the stands, and circled the people in the pit close to the main stage. The lighting, and monsterous video screen were pretty cool, in fact the video screen greatly enhanced my view from my nosebleed seats.
So as far the Answers to my questions…….
Michael Anthony was definitely missed. At times I thought they may have used his recorded back up vocals. Michael always was one to run around the stage and get the crowd going. Wolfgang Van Halen is not. The kid can certainly play bass, and his Frankenstein paint scheme was pretty cool. The bad thing is, the kid doesn’t have any stage presence. None, zero, zilch. This will come in due time, but it isn’t there in 2008.
David Lee Roth was the surprise of the night for me. Diamond Dave sounds great. He can’t hit all of those high notes he used to, but his vocal performance was spot on.
Eddie Van Halen was pretty impressive and boring all at the same time. While his fretwork was second to none, he didn’t move from his position on stage. I don’t know if his legs were chained down to a certain area, but Eddie was center stage for 99% of the show. He moved very little, and certainly did not make use of the cool ramps they had on stage. His playing and solos were awesome, especially when he played Eruption, but his lack of energy was extremely disappointing.
Aside from David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen had the most energy. His drumming was excellent all night, and his drum solo was very cool.
As a whole, Van Halen sounded awesome all night, they just didn’t have any energy on stage. Maybe I have been spoiled by seeing Airbourne’s high energy live show recently. Van Halen had about a tenth of the energy in their show that Airbourne had.
The energy from the crowd at U.S. Bank Arena was quite a different story. Tons of people were singing along and dancing. As a whole most people seemed to leave happy, and quite a few were hooting and hollering as they exited the arena.
So the Bottomline…..was Van Halen worth the ticket price. In my estimation, yes they were. I wouldn’t have paid the mega bucks required to sit on the floor ($150.00), but I was glad that I went. David Lee Roth called the band three quarters original, one quarter inevitable.
Maybe it was inevitable that Van Halen’s live performance would not quite live up to my expectations. The band is certainly past their prime. Van Halen is still one of the biggest hard rock bands to ever come from the United States. Past their prime or not, I am glad I got to see them with Roth as the singer for the first time. Even though they were not at their best, they still sounded great. The live music is what matters the most!
Jani Lane’s side project has finally seen the light of day, and has been released by Warrior Records. The timing of this release is kind of odd, with Jani recently reuniting with his former band, Warrant.
Nonetheless, The Saints of the Underground new disc is here, and I believe that this is Jani Lane’s most solid effort since the Warrant CD, Dog Eat Dog from 1992.
On this disc, you get two cover songs and eight original tunes. The first is American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. SOTU has increased the tempo on this song by a half step or so, and I like their version quite a bit, although it is very true to the original.
The second cover song is Moonlight Mile by the Rolling Stones. I didn’t really care for the Stones’ version of this song, and SOTU didn’t do anything to improve upon it. Their version is o.k. but It seems like an odd song for them to cover, especially when the Rolling Stones have so many great upbeat songs in their catalog.
The opening track, Dead Man Shoes sounds like a lost Warrant hit from the early 90’s. I like this tune a lot. Tomorrow Never Comes is another solid tune, and a good follow up to keep the pace going on this record. Good Times has a decent intro, which gave me high hopes for this song. It is a mid tempo number that came across as semi-average tune. It took a few listens for me to get into this tune more. I wish they would have made this one a little heavier, but it is, what it is.
The song Exit, didn’t really excite me too much. This sounds like an extra tune that was cut off of a Warrant album. Just when I was starting to lose faith in this record, Signs of Life came at exactly the right time. This tune has a heavier edge that some of the other songs on this record are lacking. It is a cool tune.
Bobby Blotzer’s drums stand out a little more to me, on the tune Bruised. I like the music on this tune, a lot more than the lyrics. Jimmy is a solid closer for this album. This song has a guitar lick that reminds me a whole lot of some old Thin Lizzy tunes.
All in All, Saints of the Underground have released a pretty good CD for the most part. Their are a couple of weak spots, but there are great songs here too.
Warrant and Jani Lane fans will eat this record up! For more information on Saints of the Underground, and to preview six of the songs from Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner, please visit the SOTU myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
Saints of the Underground is:
Jani Lane – Vocals
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
Robby Crane – Bass
Kerri Kelli – Guitars
Whitesnake has returned with their first new studio album since the 1997 album, Restless Heart.
Before I go any further in this review, I will admit, I am biased towards Whitesnake. They have been one of my favorite bands for years, and I have been anxiously awaiting this disc. I am also a long time fan of guitarist, Doug Aldrich. I am quite familiar with his work prior to joining Whitesnake (Lion, Bad Moon Rising, House Of Lords, Hurricane, Burning Rain) and am also a little biased towards him as well.
With that being said, I have played Good to Be Bad several times, and have found it quite to my liking. Aldrich’s guitar sound on this record is fairly close to that of John Sykes playing on the Slide It In, and the multi-platinum, self titled album from 1987. John Sykes is not an easy guitar player to imitate, and I am not sure if that is what Adrich was trying to achieve with his playing. Nonetheless he shreds on this disc, and his guitar work is absolutely killer! He has achieved that signature guitar sound that was present on the two most successful Whitesnake albums of all time.
David Coverdale is no spring chicken at 56 years old, and yet his vocals are excellent as always.
The band could have a bunch of hits on their hands, especially with the tracks, Best Years, All I Want All I Need, All For Love and Good To Be Bad.
The song All For Love sounds so much like a lost Thin Lizzy tune, it is scary, and yet, incredibly cool. This is an amazing new song, and one of my new favorites.
I can hear some 70’s style Whitesnake in the songs, Summer Rain and ‘Til The End of Time. Both tunes have more of a bluesy feel to them. It is good to hear Whitesnake revisting their roots, even if it is an different set of musicians for this record. I can see the lighters and cell phones coming out, if the band chooses to play either one of these songs live.
The cool thing about Good To Be Bad is, I hear different things each time I listen to it. I will not tire of hearing guitar work this good in a long long time. This album is already on top of my play list and is going to take a monster of an album to surpass this disc in 2008!
Don’t hesitate to pick this one up! This is an awesome return to form for Whitesnake, and is easily one of their top discs ever! Good Job Whitesnake! Now bring your tour to the U.S. soon please!!
You can buy a copy of Whitesnake’s Good To Be Bad CD, at this link.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Best Years
2. Can You Hear The Wind Blow
3. Call On Me
4. All I Want All I Need
5. Good To Be Bad
6. All For Love
7. Summer Rain
8. Lay Down Your Love
9. A Fool In Love
10. Got What You Need
11. `Til The End Of Time
1. Burn-Stormbringer (live version)
2. Give Me all Your Love Tonight (live version)
3. Walking In The Shadow…. (live version)
4. The Deeper The Love (live version)
5. Ready & Willing (live version)
6. Don t Break My Heart Again (live version)
7. Take Me with You (live version)
8. Ready To Rock (enhanced video)
David Coverdale – Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Lead Guitar
Reb Beach – Rhythm Guitar
Chris Frazier – Drums
Uriah Duffy – Bass
Timothy Drury – Keyboards
The glam scene in Sweden continues to churn out quality new bands for the hard rock masses to check out. The band Leaded Fuel has the image that will send your memories of the 80’s glam metal scene on the Sunset Strip into a tailspin.
What I like about Leaded Fuel is they don’t come out sounding exactly like peers in bands like Hardcore Superstar, Crash Diet or Crazy Lixx. They have a sound that is one part 80’s sleaze metal, one part Ramones style punk, and a hint of 70’s glam. The guitar riffs and style remind me of Appetite era Guns N’ Roses, and yet, their sound is different enough without sounding like a rip off.
Your enjoyment of Inhale and Get Pale will probably depend on your appreciation of those fore mentioned acts. I have to admit that Liz Lascivious’ vocals are an acquired taste. Personally, I like his sound, as it is quite different from so many of the acts coming out of Sweden as of late.
Inhale and Get Pale is somewhat of a grower. I didn’t immediately take to this one the first spin. Successive listens uncovered a few gems on this disc, and I find myself liking this more with each play. This music is raw, sleazy, and most importantly, good!!
Give Leaded Fuel a chance, and I think you will like what you hear. You can check them out on their myspace page. You can but their new CD, from Costa Ovest Records at this link.
1. Leaded Fuel
2. Dirty Bitch Boogie
3. Southern Belle
4. Max Rear Traction
5. 231 Miles
6. Hotstage Situation
7. Yeah! You Bother Me
8. Side Effects
9. Rip It Up
10. The Way We Are
Leaded Fuel is:
Liz Lascivious – Leading Vocals
John Priest – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Dallas Chrome – Lead Guitars
Andy Jones – Bass, Backing Vocals
Iron Kongo – Drums
This disc had three songs filled with heavy metal fury, that has me wanting to hear more by this talented three piece band. The tunes on Salvation sound like long lost tracks from the NWOBHM era of rock.
What impresses me most on this disc is how tight the music is. Chris Appleton is a pretty good guitar player and vocally, he reminds me a lot of Armored Saint’s John Bush.
The production on this disc is very good. I love how I can hear the cymbals crash as if drummer Martin McNee was bashing the skins in my living room.
My only complaint is that I need to hear more! Three songs by Fury UK is not enough! If the three songs on this disc are any indication to the future of this band, then Fury UK will be huge before long.
Check ’em out for yourself at the band’s myspace page!
3. Lost in Forever
Fury UK is:
Chris Appleton- Vocals, lead guitar
Adam Cropper-Bass, backing vocals
Michael Schenker returns with a brand new CD, and quite possibly the best MSG lineup since the ’80s.
Gary Barden, who is often considered the best MSG vocalist, returns to the microphone on In the Midst of Beauty.
This disc also features the talent of Neil Murray (Whitesnake), Don Airey (Whitesnake, Deep Purple) and Simon Phillips (MSG, Satriani, Toto).
As always, MSG features the stellar guitar work of Michael Schenker. If you are familiar with any of MSG’s prior albums, you know you are going you are going to hear plenty of guitar riffs with that great Schenker trademark sound.
What is cool about this album, is that it seems to be more of a complete band output, than just Schenker playing over the top. Don Airey’s Purple-esque keyboards are often present adding a whole new layer to MSG’s music. This disc has a 70’s classic rock vibe about it, but the production and sound is top notch.
The last couple of MSG albums have been somewhat disappointing, and this is definitely a return to form for Schenker and company. This is easily the best album by MSG since the Robin McAuley era.
This CD will be released in May, and you will definitely want to add this to your list of discs to purchase soon! In the Midst of Beauty will likely find itself in many top album lists at the end of 2008!.
- City Lights
- I Want You
- End of the Line
- Night To Remember
- Wings of Emotion
- Come Closer
- Cross of Crosses
- The One
- This Time
Michael Schenker Group is:
Michael Schenker – Guitars
Gary Barden – Vocals
Don Airey – Keyboards
Neil Murray – Bass
Simon Phillips – Drums
The United Kingdom has never been short on hard rock talent. The new wave of hard rock bands coming out of Europe, and in the case of Wired Desire, from Scotland, gives me high hopes for the future of rock. One band that is making a lot of noise as of late is the five piece group, Wired Desire. This amazing quintet has the hard edge of AC/DC, the swagger of Guns ‘N Roses, and a great sound that should help pave their path to success.
The band has youth on their side (the average age of WIred Desire’s five members are 21) and are showing a ton of promise with their new EP, Barely Illegal.
This EP has four killer cuts of high energy rock and roll. Music this good can only translate well live. My only complaint after hearing this record, is that I want to hear more. Four songs is not enough, when the tunes are this good.
Daly has a great rock voice. He has that rough edge style that I love to hear. The guitar tandem of Jam and Eddy are already making names for themselves in their young career.
The record labels (what is left of them) ought to be lining up to sign these guys, and get it done quickly.
You can preview all of the band’s tunes at their website, as well as purchase a copy of Barely Illegal. Once you hear these tunes, you will certainly want to own a copy. Don’t miss this!
- No One Sleeps
- The Hard Stuff
- Damn Hard
Wired Desire is:
Daly – Vocals
Jam – Lead Guitar
Eddy – Rhythm Guitar
Darry – Bass
Jeeves – Drums
In 2006, Leatherwolf released a new CD, World Asylum, that featured a new singer for the band, Wade Black. The CD didn’t take off as they expected it to, and Wade Black left the band, in November of 2006.
Fast forward to 2007, and original singer Michael Oliveri rejoined Leatherwolf. The band re-recorded World Asylum, with Oliveri on vocals and re-released the record via Nil8 Records.
I have the original version of the CD, and for whatever reason, I could not get used to Wade Black (Crimson Glory) on vocals. His style was somewhat different from Oliveri’s, and I didn’t get into that disc very much.
I have been a fan of Leatherwolf for years. Their three axe attack was always something to draw me in. The lineup of the band has changed, but the great metal music has not. In fact, New World Asylum is nothing short of killer!!!
Oliveri’s vocals on this record are damn near perfect, and the guitar work is excellent. Whatever tweaks the band made to this new version of World Asylum seems to work, as I like this version much better.
The Best cuts are I Am The Law, Live or Die, Behind The Gun, and Dr. Wicked. I don’t think their is a bad cut on this disc.
If you are a fan of heavy metal music, in the vein of bands like Judas Priest and Accept, you ought to check out New World Asylum. You will be glad you did. You can hear more tunes from New World Asylum, at the Leatherwolf myspace page here. American heavy metal doesn’t get much better than this! The CD is available for purchase through CD Baby.com.
Michael Oliveri – Vocals
Geoff Gayer – Guitars
Cary Howe – Guitars
Pete Perez – Bass
Dean Roberts – Drums
When I first heard songs off of POWND’s Circle of Power, I immediately wanted to know more about them. I was shocked to find out that the band is from Richmond, Kentucky, and most of the tracks were either recorded in Kentucky or Cincinnati, Ohio.
Once I found out that this was a local band of sorts, I immediately ordered Circle of Power. I am quite glad that I did. At certain times throughout this record, singer Michael Duncan sounds like a dead ringer for Queensryche’s Geoff Tate. Pownd’s music is somewhere in the vein of Lethal (remember them?) meets Crimson Glory.
The highlights on Circle of Power are the heavy tune Monster, the awesome melodic metal of The Stand, and the killer closing track, Swatting Flies.
Not every song on Circle of Power is an instant classic, but it is a very solid metal offering. If Pownd tightens up their song structures, they will have the potential to become a major player in the heavy metal world.
After hearing some of the songs on Circle of Power, I wondered to myself why these guys were playing on the main stage at Rocklahoma, instead of the side stage. They really are THAT good. If people take the time out to check out their live performance, they will be amazed at what they hear.
Nightmare Records seems to have a good ear for new talent. I will soon be checking out other acts on their roster, as a result of hearing this record.
Be sure to check out POWND at their myspace page. You will be glad you did!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Still I Bleed
4. The Stand
6. Never Means Forever
8. Slowly Drowning
10. Place in the Sun
11. Swatting Flies
Michael Duncan – Vocals
Ronnie Duncan – Guitars
Rick Sargent – Guitars
Steve Watts – Bass
Clint McMaine – Drums
Back in my high school days, I was exposed to the powerful voice that belongs to Doro Pesch. My first experience was with the band Warlock and their release True as Steel. I discovered this band through the magic of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, and was an instant fan. I wore out the cassette of True as Steel years ago, and the high import prices kept me away, as True as Steel has been out of print in the United States for years. Recently, a used copy turned up in the local Rock Shop, and I could not pass it up.
If you haven’t ever heard Warlock before, their brand of metal music is on the harder side of Dokken, and the Scorpions. This is heavy guitar oriented music, that is loaded with
guitar solos and most importanly, excellent musicianship. Make no mistake about it, few female metal singers can hold a candle to Doro Pesch. Her vocals is what makes this disc
stand out. Her potent metal screams on True as Steel made me a fan of hers for life.
This album has plenty of good metal to crank up. Some of the stand out tunes on this record are Mr. Gold, Fight For Rock, Vorwarts, All Right and the title track, True as Steel.
Warlock is a very under rated band, and it is a shame that this group is not around today. Doro Pesch still tours as a solo act, and performs several tunes from Warlock library. You can find more information on Doro at Doro Pesch.com.
True as Steel is one of the better Metal albums of 1986. It is definitely worth picking up if you can find a copy of it.
Rating:Out of 10
- Fight For Rock
- Speed of Sound
- Midnite in China
- Vorwarts, All Right
- True As Steel
- Lady In A Rock ‘n’ Roll Hell
- Love Song
- Igloo on the Moon (Reckless)
Doro Pesch – Vocals
Peter Szigeti – Guitar
Niko Arvanitis – Guitar
Frank Rittel – Bass
Michael Eurich – Drums
If you are a fan of 80’s style thrash metal, a release that you may have missed the first time around is Believer’s Sanity Obscure.
Singer Kurt Bachman sings like a growling mad Dave Mustaine, after a pack of cigarettes, and fifth of whiskey to wash them down. His vocals take some getting used to, but this will not be a problem for the many thrash metal fans out there.
I have listened to plenty of thrash metal in my time, and still do on occasion, but I never heard of Believer until only recently. What blows my mind is how technically proficient each member of this band is.
Dave Baddorf ‘s guitar riffs are off the hook on this record. Joey Daub’s pounding drum beats keeps the band in time, but assures that their will be headbanging-a-plenty.
If you are a fan of late 80’s thrash, such as early Megadeth, Metallica, Exodus and Slayer, Believer will definitely make a Believer out of you. This CD has been out of print, and was recently re-issued by Metal Mind. Without question, this CD will sell out! Don’t miss getting you copy of a CD, that deserves to be well known in thrash metal history.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Sanity Obscure
2. Wisdom’s Call
4. Idols of Ignorance
5. Stop the Madness
6. Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)
7. Dust to Dust
8. Like a Song
In 2007, the band Mass released their first CD with new material since 1988.
I do not know how a band that has been around since the early 80’s has managed to stay off of my radar for so long. One thing is for sure, I am glad I have found them. Their new disc, Crack of Dawn is a quality piece of melodic rock.
Singer Louis D’Augusta reminds of a cross between Tony Harnell and Johnny Gioelli. He is a very good singer, and his clean vocals are a pleasure to my ears. This album tends to go back and fourth between AOR and hard rock. I prefer the harder edged tunes on this disc. My favorites are It’s You, Sweet Lady Jane, and the bonus track Seven Days.
While I am not familiar with any of Mass’ previously released music, I have enjoyed Crack of Dawn enough to look for other releases in their catalog of music.
You can check out a few tunes off of Crack of Dawn at the band’s myspace page.
Don’t miss them when they take the stage at Rocklahoma on July 12th, 2008!
Rating: Out of 10
1. It’s You
2. Crack of Dawn
4. Empty Soul
6. Magic Train
7. Monkey Brain
8. Sweet Lady Jane
9. Seven Days [*]
11. Leaving You
12. Who Am I
Louis D’Augusta – Lead and Backup Vocals
Gene D’Itria – All Guitars and Backup Vocals
Lou Spagnola – Bass Guitar and Backup Vocals
Joey ‘Vee’ Vadala – Drums
If Lemmy Kilmeister from Motorhead sang for AC/DC, it would have to sound some like Philadelphia’s, American Speedway.
Singer Michael Thursby Speedway has the same style of hard edged course vocals as Lemmy. The one difference I have found on this rocking set of tunes, is that punk vibe that they give off. American Speedway seems to have one foot in hard rock, and the other in the punk world. Either way, it seems to work for them.
Speedway’s coarse voice may not be for everyone, but if you like Motorhead, chances are you will probably like American Speedway as well. Ship of Fools is a short set (less than 30 minutes in length) of high energy, bar room rock. It isn’t original, but it definitely rocks. This is the kind of music, that no matter how hard you resist you will find yourself tapping your foot, and ready to crack open a cold one.
You can check some of American Speedway’s tunes at their myspace page here. For you Vinyl fans, if you act quick enough, you an get a copy of Ship of Fools on LP, that comes with a copy of the CD at the same price. Get it now from SeeofSound.com!
Rating:Out of 10
1. Ship Of Fools
2. American Speedway
3. One Foot In, One Foot Out
4. Far Behind
5. Drinkin’ And Drivin’
7. Don’t Tread On Me
8. Make Some Noise
9. No Control
10. Same Old, Same Old
American Speedway is:
Michael Thursby Speedway – Lead vocals, guitars
Johnny Griswold – Guitars, backing vocals
Billy Angry – Bass, backing vocals
Chris Callahan – Drums
Way back in 1989, I picked up a copy of Vain’s debut, No Respect on cassette. I recollect not caring for this release very much back then. This was one of the many tapes that was stolen out of my car back in the 80’s, and I never replaced it. The recent announcement of VAIN on the bill at Rocklahoma, had me scurrying to find a new copy of No Respect. This disc was out of print for a while, but it was reissued by Gott Discs in 2004.
I hoped my opinion would change the second time around for this disc, and you know what, it has! No Respect is a lot better than I remember it to be.
Davy Vain‘s vocal style is kind of like a whiny Phil Lewis, but it grows on you, and is different enough to give this disc some appeal. There is no question, that VAIN rooted themselves in the Glam Metal scene. One look at their picture (below) and you can easily tell what era of rock they came from. The cool thing about VAIN, is they really don’t sound much like peers from the hair metal era.
The music is a lot more raw, and less pop than many of the bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I would guess that Danny West is influenced by Joe Satriani based on some of his guitar licks on this album. (Listen to his playing in the video Beat the Bullet and you will see what I mean.) The guitar work on this record is quite good, and I have found the songs to be much more to my liking in 2008.
Thanks to Rocklahoma, I am happy to have added this disc back to my collection. I am going to be playing this CD a lot in the coming weeks. If you haven’t ever listened to VAIN before, be sure to check out the videos below. You may find yourself wanting to add this highly under rated disc to your own collection.
For more information on the band check out, their myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
2. Beat the Bullet
3. Who’s Watching You
4. 1000 Degrees
6. Smoke And Shadows
7. No Respect
8. Laws Against Love
9. Down For the 3rd Time
11. Without You
Davy Vain – Vocals
James Scott – Guitar
Danny West – Guitar
Tom Rickard – Drums
Ashley Mitchell – Bass
Panram’s sophomore release, RATS is certainly one of the more rare discs in my collection.
This German metal band sounds like a mixture of Queensryche, Crimson Glory and a little bit of Metal Church all rolled into one band.
Guitarist Ricci Tessalla plays like a madman on this record. His excellent guitar work is a reason to pick up this record all by itself. The instrumental track Break One makes me wonder why I haven’t heard this guitar virtuoso before.
Singer Jack Steen has very good vocal range, but not even a great singer can save average sounding songs, and the song writing on Rats is definitely lacking. When playing through this disc, I keep waiting for a stand out song, and the best moment I can find is the instrumental, Break One. Pack Bites the Last would have to be second. Sadly enough, after spinning this one a couple of times, the band comes across as a second hand Queensryche.
The bottom line is Panram may be one of the more obscure acts of the 90’s and Rats won’t do anything to change that. If you are interested, you can find cheap copies of this disc on Ebay. I have included the song Pack Bites the Last below so you can experience Panram for yourself.
Rating:Out of 10
2. Slip My Skin
3. Rule of the Fun
5. Break One
6. Love Line
7. Hit Bottom
8. Blue Sky
9. Pack Bites the Last
Pan Ram is:
Jack Steen – Vocals
Ricci Tessala – Guitars
Franky Matthes – Drums
Holly Hollander – Bass
If Thrash Metal is your thing, Ultimatum has released a record that you must seek out!
Ultimatum is a Christian thrash metal band that has been around since 1992. Don’t let the Christian thing fool you! This is 100% pure heavy metal.
Into the Pit features the razor sharp vocals of Scott Waters. His style may not be for everyone, but extreme metal fans are likely going to love this. His style is almost Death Metal like, but unlike many singers who fall into the cookie monster trap, you can understand the lyrics. At times, Waters often reminds me of Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies. Often Into the Pit is a heavy record, that compares sonically to 80’s thrash metal. Fans of bands like Overkill, Testament and some early Metallica, may find something to sink their teeth into here.
On Into the Pit, the guitars are fierce, the lyrics and vocals are intense, and the drum beats are driving and sometimes insanely fast.
I don’t recall any recent albums of this style being this good. Retroactive Records has found one hell of a band with Ultimatum. My favorite cuts on this disc are Heart of Metal, Into the Pit and Game Over. This isn’t usually the style of music that I listen to on a regular basis, but when I want to hear some new thrash metal, I will be grabbing for Ultimatum’s Into The Pit.
Buy Into the Pit and Play it Loud! For more information on Ultimatum, check out their myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
- One for All
- Blood Covenant
- Heart of Metal
- Blind Faith
- Into the Pit
- Game Over
The folks at Metal Mind have reissued a classic NWOBHM disc that is one that metal fans will certainly need to check out.
If you haven’t heard of Diamond Head before, what you should know is this is the band that heavily influenced the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, and several more hard rock and metal acts over the years.
Metallica has covered a few of their songs over the years, including their massive anthem, Am I Evil? The amazing thing about Diamond Head, is how so many thrash acts were influenced by this group, that is grounded more in early heavy metal, than anything remotely close to thrash. Diamond Head’s style reminds me a whole lot of the American (and very under rated) band Riot, whose popularity was growing at the same time.
The guitar tone on In The Heat of the Night reminds me a great deal of early Def Leppard. This song seems to get better with every listen.
To Heaven from Hell starts off mid-tempo and seems to be a fairly average tune, then about mid way through goes through a time change that cranks the speed and the guitar solos up to ten! This song will have you breaking out the air guitar for sure.
Call Me is a balladesque tune that mains a raw but heavy feel. This is another cool tune that continues to grow on me.
Lightning to the Nations is another raw rocker that has a Def Leppard meets Iron Maiden style about it.
The title track Borrowed Time is easily my favorite song on this disc. Lots of guitar solos, and good sing along style of lyrics can be found in this classic tune.
Don’t You Ever Leave Me is probably my least favorite song on this record. This song tends to linger on, as it clocks in at close to eight minutes. The guitar work is solid. In fact, the guitar solos are the best part of the song. I think a shorter song would have worked better here. It is a nice jam session, and I can see how many acts tried to emulate the guitar tones here.
Am I Evil? needs on introduction. Metallica made this song famous. The Diamond Head is not as heavy as the Metallica version, but it is every bit as good, just a little different from that version.
The CD was previously unavailable in the United States, and this limited edition (2000 copies) reissue is certainly one worth grabbing, before they are all gone!
This reissue comes with six bonus tracks, and a 13 minute interview to close the CD. Most of the bonus tracks are live cuts. They are a nice addition, and only add to the listening experience Borrowed Time brings.
Borrowed Time is like opening up a hard rock time capsule. It is a very influential piece of music on many of the 80’s bigger metal acts. It is an interesting and very good hard record that is worth discovering again in 2008! You can get a copy of this disc here!
Rating:Out of 10
1. In the Heat of the Night
2. To Heaven from Hell
3. Call Me
4. Lightning to the Nations
5. Borrowed Time
6. Don’t You Ever Leave Me
7. Am I Evil?
8. Trick or Treat
9. Dead Reckoning
10. Shoot out the Lights
11. In the Heat of the Night
12. Play It Loud [Live]
13. Sweet and Innocent [Live]
14. Interwiev with Sean Harris and Colin Kimberley by Tommy Vance Recorded
Diamond Head is:
Sean Harris – Voice, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Vocoder
Brian Tatler – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Colin Kimberley – Bass, Tarus Bass Pedals, Backing Vocals
Duncan Scott – Drums, Percussion
If you have read music reviews at Hard Rock Hideout, you know we give praise where it is due. Black Tide deserves a bunch for this release.
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear a release of this quality from a bunch of teenagers. The young men in Black Tide have released one hell of a new metal disc. This is a disc that will easily compete for top record of the year.
Light From Above has a distinct 80’s style metal to it, but this disc has a heavier edge which will give it mass appeal. Some of the writing on this record reminds me of mid 80’s Def Leppard, but the guitar work is much heavier than that.
Chances are you have already heard the track Shockwave that was released on the band’s 2 song EP. While this is a solid cut, it is far from the best song on this record. This record seems to get better as it progresses.
Black Tide’s cover of Metallica’s Hit the Lights is a nice surprise, and this version ought to put a smile on a lot of faces, including that of James Hetfield.
Black Tide’s new disc hits stores tomorrow. If you want to hear a record with plenty of cool guitar solos, head banging drums, and great vocals, go get your copy of Light From Above, and don’t forget to put your chiropractor on speed dial!
Rating:Out of 10
- Warriors of Time
- Give Me A Chance
- Let Me
- Show Me The Way
- Live Fast Die Young
- Hit the Lights
- Black Abyss
- Light From Above
Black Tide is:
Gabriel Garcia (lead vocals, lead/rhythm guitar)
Alex Nunez(lead/rhythm guitar)
Today marks the return of the Rocklahoma Review Series (2008 Edition). For the next 17 Saturdays, I will be reviewing CD’s by some of the bands that are on the Rocklahoma 2008 roster. There are over 84 bands this year, so their are plenty to choose from. Hopefully this experience will be as eye opening for everyone as it was for me this week. You see, I have not played the debut CD by Beautiful Creatures in two or three years. This band fell off of my radar for a while until the recent Rocklahoma announcement. I decided to give this CD a spin, and was pleasantly surprised with what I found here.
Beautiful Creatures is the band led by Bang Tango singer Joe Leste and Sixx A.M. guitar player DJ Ashba. I guess with Joe Leste as the front man for Beautiful Creatures, I expected this band to be some kind of a Bang Tango clone. I do here some small similarites to Bang Tango, but this CD reminds me a whole lot of the 1994 Motley Crue CD with John Corabi. Quite a few of the songs on this disc, would not have sounded out of place on that record. The tunes on this record, probably have more in common with 90’s grunge, than they do with 80’s glam, but the hard rocking guitar solos are unmistakably 80’s.
My favorite cuts on this disc are Wasted, Ride, Kick Out, and Kickin’ For Days. This is an album that doesn’t really have any filler cuts, although some songs are stronger than others. Most importanly, this disc rocks hard and does it well. After hearing these songs again for the first time in years, I would bet that they would translate well live. This should be a treat to hear for those that will be in attendance for the Sunday afternoon show at Rocklahoma. If you aren’t familiar with Beautiful Creatures music, be sure to watch their videos below, and check out their myspace page!
Rating:Out of 10
1. 1 A.M.
3. Step Back
6. Kick Out
8. Kickin For Days
9. Time And Time Again
10. Goin Off
11. New Orleans
12. I Got It All
Beautiful Creatures are:
Joe LeSte – vocals;
Dj Ashba – guitar, background vocals
Anthony Focx – guitar, background vocals
Kenny Kweens bass, background vocals
Glen Sobel – drums, background vocals
What happens when you take three former members of Saxon, and put them together with Thunderhead singer Ted Bullet? Well, it sounds like a pretty good idea on paper at least, but I honestly did not hear a single note before I picked this disc up.
With that being said, this CD exceeds all of my expectations.
Victim You is like two CD’s in one. The band sounds very much like Saxon on a few songs, and then have a sound more reminiscent of late 80’s pop metal. Bottomline, hair metal fans will LOVE this disc! After giving this disc a couple more complete listens, I would compare the band’s sound as a cross between Dokken and a little bit of Krokus.
This style of metal was about as popular in 1996, as peanut butter and tofu sandwiches, but former Saxonites Peter Gill, Steve Dawson, and Graham Oliver forged ahead anyway. Sadly, this disc went largely unnoticed when it was released. It took 12 years for me to discover it, but I find it to be a great undiscovered piece of music.
Ted Bullet has a vocal style that falls somewhere between Paul Stanley from KISS, and Biff Byford from Saxon. His voice is melodic yet raspy enough to give these tunes here a harder edge. The superb guitar work of Haydn Conway and Graham Oliver is a pleasure to hear. Lots of George Lynch like solos are all over this record!
There isn’t one song on this disc that I do not enjoy. Copies of this disc can be found for less than $10.00 and it is worth every penny. Check it out!
Rating:Out of 10
- Bitch of A Place To Be
- Drivin’ Sideways
- Past the Point
- No-One’s Gettin’ Over
- Treacherous Times
- Love Your Misery
- I Still Care
- Old School
- More For Me
- Evil Sweet Evil
- Victim You
Son Of A Bitch is:
Haydn Conway – Guitar
Peter Gill – Drums
Steve Dawson – Bass Guitar
Ted Bullet – Vocals
Graham Oliver – Guitar
Sleaze metal is a genre of rock that wont ever be forgotten, and will certainly not die.
New bands from all over the globe are putting out new releases all of the time. Case in point is France’s Aesthesia.
France isn’t known for its sleaze metal, but Aesthesia could change that soon.
One listen to Serious Conspiracy, and you will quickly find a band that is heavily influenced by Guns N’ Roses. Singer Nico Marlyn has a vocal style that is similar to Axl Rose. It isn’t exact, and his French accent makes him sound similar to some of the sleaze/glam singers coming out of Sweden.
Aesthesia lacks the swagger of G ‘N R, but they are still pretty good. Some of the songs on Serious Conspiracy are a little on the repetitive side, but I have found a tracks that I like quite well.
The best songs on this record are Cold Case, 11:00 One Way Express, Bad N’Pretty and Hungry Dog.
Aesthesia is a very promising band, and hopefully more rock acts from the land of wine, art and fashion will follow their path. For more information on Aesthesia, and to get your own copy of Serious Conspiracey, check out their website, Aesthesia Rocks!
Rating:Out of 10
1. Cold Case
2. 11:00 One Way Express
4. Poison Dice
5. Hit A Snag
6. Burned Macadam Road
7. Your Snazzy Side
8. Bad N’ Pretty
9. No Flowers From My Friend
10. Hungry Dog
11. One Way Step Ahead
12. Too Bad Too Sad
Nico Marlyn – lead vocals
Julien Gatter – Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals
Voodoo – Rhythm Guitar and Backing Vocals
Dim Obolensky – Bass and Backing Vocals
Mike Marcia – Drums
Make no bones about it! There is a new rock revival coming from Ireland. The land that brought us acts like Van Morrison and Thin Lizzy, is at it again with groups like The Answer, Million Dollar Reload, and Glyder.
Glyder is often compared to their countrymen, Thin Lizzy. This isn’t without reason as Glyder’s singer, Tony Cullen has a style similar to the late, great Phil Lynott. Nonetheless, Glyder is not without their own merits, and Playground For Life is one fine hard rock album.
Playground for Life is an album that didn’t hit me immediately. It took several listens before this one grew on me. The one thing that did hit me right away, was the excellent guitar playing of Bat Kinane and Pete Fisher.
The first two cuts are Gambler’s Blues, and Sweets are quite heavy, and much to my liking. After the first two songs, Glyder tends to move into more of a classic rock direction. The tunes are less heavy, but are still quite solid. The title track, Playground for Life is quite good, and the tune Over and Over is also quite cool.
As a whole, Playground for Life is very good album that will please most classic rock, and hard rock fans. For more information on Glyder, check out their myspace page.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Gambler’s Blues
3. Puppet Queen
4. Playground For Life
5. For Your Skin
6. Walking My Own Ground
7. Dark Meets Light
8. Sleeping Gun
9. Over and over
10. The Merrygoround
Tony Cullen – Vocals and Bass
Bat Kinane – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Pete Fisher – Guitars
Davy Ryan – Drums
Disturbed is giving fans an early taste from their new album “Indestructible” which hits the streets June 3, 2008. Click here (http://disturbed1.com/ ) to hear their new track “Perfect Insanity”. Also, This Monday the 10th at 11am PST / 2pm EST Disturbed will be playing a live show from Kuwait that is being streamed free via MySpace. Click here () for more info.
Fastway is the band started up by former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clark and ex-UFO bass player Pete Way.
I used to like Fastway fairly well, but it has been a long time since I have given their self titled debut any plays. I thought I would dust the cobwebs off this disc, and see what I think about it in 2008.
There are two must play songs on this disc, Easy Livin’ and Say What you Will. Say What You Will is easily Fastway’s biggest hit. This hard rock anthem was a staple on the radio for many years, and is still favorite of mine.
Digging deeper into this record, and you can easily hear the influence of Led Zeppelin in the music. There are several heavy tunes with that same style of Zeppelinesque groove.
While the music isn’t very original, it is a very good piece of 80’s metal.
Dave King has a very unique voice which is well suited to the music. “Fast” Eddie Clark plays some wicked guitar riffs all over this album. Pete Way’s heavy bass on this record is unmistakable.
Some additional tracks that I like on this disc are Feel Me, Touch Me, Heft!, and Give It All You Got.
This isn’t a perfect album by any means, but still deserves a few spins from time to time. It is a solid disc and is one that I still think is worth having in my collection. You can check out the video for the tune, Say What You Will below!
Rating:Out of 10
1. Easy Livin’
2. Feel Me, Touch Me (Do Anything You Want)
3. All I Need Is Your Love
4. Another Day
6. We Become One
7. Give It All You Got
8. Say What You Will
9. You Got Me Runnin’
10. Give It Some Action
11. Far Far From Home
Fast Eddie Clark – Guitars
Dave King – Vocals
Pete Way – Bass (uncredited)
Jerry Shirley – Drums