Thursday, April 11, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Having tried their luck in bands like Gift and Blackfoot Sue, British brothers Tom & David Farmer and guitarist Eddie Golga decided to go for a more Melodic Rock approach and adopted the moniker OUTSIDE EDGE.
At the beginning of the '80s they lived and played in France for a while and it was the French department of WEA that picked them up for the release of a self-titled debut album in 1984. At the time the band was criminally ignored elsewhere in the Melodic Rock world, but things changed for the better when they gained the support slot for a Bryan Adams UK tour a year later.
These live presentations resulted in a record deal with 10 Records (a subsidiary of Virgin), and two albums worthy of your attention.
The label put a lot of money into the production of Outside Edge's debut with them and recommended Terry Manning to produce, a man who already worked with Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top.
Under his experienced guide the band recorded "Running Hot" in 1986, a wonderful slice of Melodic Rock AOR in the classic British mid-eighties style very similar to Airrace, Virginia Wolf and Shy, plenty of soaring melodies and catchy choruses.
So it's no wonder that the album includes such memorable tracks like opener "Hearbeat Away", the rocking' MR blast of title track "Running Hot" or the soulful "Wait".
There's other gems in the keyboard-driven "Louella", the atmospheric "Don't Be A Hero", the elegant "Heartbreaker" or the AOR diamond "You".
German label AOR Heaven Classix is releasing digitally remastered for the first time both classic Outside Edge albums (the other is 'More Edge', to be featured here soon).
This "Running Hot" remaster sounds more warm in frequencies and slightly 'reverbered', well balanced in all the sonic aspects.
Some kind of a Melodic Rock AOR underground classic, "Running Hot" is a must have in any fan collection.
01 - Heartbeat Away
02 - Wait
03 - Louella
04 - Don't Be A Hero
05 - Running Hot
06 - Don't Leave Me Tonight
07 - You
08 - Heartbreaker
09 - Hold On
Tom Farmer - vocals, bass
Eddie Golga - guitars, vocals
Peter Giles - keyboards
David Farmer - drums
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Today, on April 9, 2013, Purple Pyramid (a subsidiary of Cleopatra Records) is releasing a special CD/DVD combo by CONSPIRACY, the project masterminded by the giants of prog rock CHRIS SQUIRE & BILLY SHERWOOD.
Sherwood met Squire when he entered in YES at the beginning of the '90s, since then the pair had been writing songs together but the fruits of those labors would be sprinkled over a series of Yes projects, and Sherwood himself wouldn't become an official member of the group for years.
After Sherwood's eventual departure in 2000 they finally issued a two albums as Conspiracy, but there remained a star-crossed sense of unfinished business. So they recorded this private show in 2004.
First of all, "Conspiracy Live" is not a live CD in the typical way: there's no audience claps and screams, nor a stage-like sound. This is like a studio album, just with all musicians playing live together.
Of course it has that special vibe and chemistry of these truly virtuosos playing 'at once', including Billy's bro Michael Sherwood on keyboards & vocals, Scott Walton also on keys, and awesome rockin' drummer Jay Schellen (Unruly Child, Hurricane).
This was a very special and unique event, as apart of Conspiracy material, it features two Yes songs: "The More We Live" (appeared on the 'Union' album) but for the first time here featuring Squire and Sherwood on vocals sharing a soaring duet. The other is "Universal Garden", performed with a more warm feeling than the original.
Of course there's material from Conspiracy's 2000 self-titled debut ("Days of Wonder" and "Red Light Ahead), and three cuts ("Conspiracy", "New World" and "Confess") from the project second and last album The Unknown, each of them representing their trademark sound.
"Conspiracy Live" showcases as well renditions of " Hold Out Your Hand / You By My Side", songs from Squire's 'Fish Out Of Water' - the bassist's first and so far, only solo release - which as he says, 'have hardly ever been played live'.
"Conspiracy Live" shows the abilites and musicality of these seasoned monster musicians with a nice, sweet melodic sound.
The arrangements are quite accessible, enhancing the unmistakable vocals of Chris Squire and the exceptional musicianship spearheaded by Billy Sherwood. Great drum sound as well, you can clearly appreciate Schellen's precise beats.
Very Good stuff.
01 - Conspiracy
02 - Days Of Wonder
03 - New World
04 - Red Light Ahead
05 - Confess
06 - The More We Live
07 - Hold Out Your Hand / You By My Side
08 - Universal Garden
Chris Squire - bass, vocals
B. Sherwood - guitars, keys, vocals
Jay Schellen - drums
Michael Sherwood - keys, vocals
Scott Walton - keys
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Swedish axe-slinger, former Europe guitarist KEE MARCELLO seems to be a very busy man lately, decided to recover his place into the international Rock scene.
After releasing his controversial Europe own-versions album 'Redux: Europe', the 'humbly' entitled biography 'The Rock Star God Forgot' and his performance in the well known musical Rock Of Ages in Scandinavia, Marcello has just released a brand new CD.
"Judas Kiss" is his third solo album featuring original material since the last almost nine years ago.
Decidedly into a full rocking territory, "Judas Kiss" is basically a traditional Hard Rock album with an updated sound & style.
Sometimes really melodic, quite hard n' heavy in others, this new offering finds Marcello in great form, both musically (he has undoubtedly inspired many players since Europe's Superstitious back in the late '80s) as well as in the songwriting.
"Judas Kiss" as a whole is a solid piece of kickin' Hard Rock. 13 tracks about love, loss, road weariness and betrayal (there's some good lyrics to be found) wrapped by potent riffs, incendiary solos and a groovy rhythm section.
Kee is singing better, his slightly raspy style fit with good feeling these bluesy inspired hard rockers. His playing is out of question, displayed here in abundant variations.
On the melodic side, "Starless Sky" is the highlight, somehow a midtempo rocker with excellent verses both in the vocals and the instrumental arrangements. Killer solo and layered chorus.
Despite its uptempo rhythm and some gritty vocals, opener "Zombie" is a melodic hard rock song in essence, while the bone-dry, groovy yet melodious "Dead End Highway" (love the solo here) and title track "Judas Kiss" recalls his ex-bandmates circa Start From The Dark years.
Another nice track which adds variation is the melodic march of "And Forever More", featuring female singer Akane Liv dueting with Kee. The main melody is inspired by one of Europe's best tracks ever; Girl From Lebanon.
"Coming Home" is the album's token ballad, slowing things down a bit with an earthy guitar work and modulated vocals. Good one.
But also we find in this CD some truly hard hitting numbers such as "Get On Top", the dark "Metal Box", "The Harder They Come" (with a riff dangerously close to Metallica's Enter Sandman, but cool), and the crunchy "Dog Eat Dog". "I'm Stoned" features some down-tuned guitars and a refrain akin Alice In Chains working well on all levels.
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a cover of Joy Division, at first glance certainly an odd choice, but Marchello has cleverly arranged the song in Melodic Rockin' way, adding even more balance to the album. I liked a lot this one.
Kee Marcello proves with "Judas Kiss" that there's life for him after Europe.
Perhaps it has taken too many years to find his own musical identity, but never it's too late, and this new recording is by far the best of his solo career.
Well written, arranged and superbly played, "Judas Kiss" has a dynamic production - I would preferred a more crispy sound - but seems Kee wants to attack with more bite and this matter is amply accomplished here.
02. Dog Eat Dog
03. Starless Sky
04. I'm Stoned
05. Dead End Highway
06. Judas Kiss
07. And Forever More (duet with Akane Liv)
08. Coming Home
09. Get On Top
10. The Harder They Come
11. Dead Give Away
12. Love Will Tear Us Apart
13. Metal Box
Kee Marcello: Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Jonny Scaramanga: Guitar
Ken Sandin: Bass
Tim Brown: Drums
Akane Liv: guest Vocals
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If you're used to the big sounds which defined MIKE TRAMP through his platinum days with White Lion or the heavier Freak Of Nature, then his hew album released today, "Cobblestone Street", will take you by surprise.
According to Tramp, this is the album he always dreamt about doing.
This place, a location oft walked by singer/songwriter types, is where he finds himself today and, bravely it has to be said, has influenced him into making a quite remarkable record.
Recorded by Mike himself together with his good friend - talented Soren Andersen (multi-instrumentalist and co-producer) - in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, not far from the cobblestone streets Mike grew up on, the album is described as a journey akin to viewing a movie of his life, its end providing you with details of just who Mike Tramp is.
It's hard to disagree with him. The lyrics that wrap themselves around a clutch of songs that most listeners will instantly warm to are heartfelt, love letters to a past, possibly even a catharsis in song form: the ten songs that make up "Cobblestone Street" combine to form the finest all-round release of Tramp's career.
The title track, lyrically, appears highly personal to the artist, setting the scene nicely being about his childhood and where he grew up. The album as a whole obviously so, if a little more subtly, but listeners will pick much from the bones of the tracks as they swirl and seduce.
This is a simple, yet simply effective, recording that is easy to listen to yet not easy listening.
So when on "We'll Be Alright" he says that few would appreciate what it's like to walk a thousand miles with him, Tramp is telling you the truth. But in suggesting that you don't get what he's all about, Mike is challenging you to listen more attentively than you've ever needed to in his career.
These beautiful songs draw from his soul, exploring moral confusion in "Angel Or Devil" and being at the mercy of fate in the acoustic White Lion-like "What Are You Gonna Do".
Throughout the album Soren Andersen adds-in just the right musical backing, be it the subdued keys on the title track or the electric guitar solo on "Revolution".
Listen to "Find It In Your Heart" or "New Day" and it's clear Tramp Tramp has not lost his Melodic Rock symphaties, his knack of penning a potential chart topper is intact.
On "Once" Mike's vocal is set to a crackly background bringing to mind an old movie and you can hear the reel of the imaginary film spooling out at the song's end.
"Ain't The Life I Asked For", the album's standout track for me, perhaps sums the record, and where Tramp is today, up perfectly: "This ain't the life that I wanted to live / Now it is what I've become".
This album feels less of a reinvention, more of an acceptance of where he is today, and revels in its honesty.
Since the first note of "Cobblestone Street", I was hooked. This album is in no way hard rock or brash as White Lion, but that's the beauty of it. This is one of those songwriting accomplishments that define an artist's career.
These are deeply personal tunes that take the art of storytelling to the highest levels. 'Now everyone can see, it ain't the way it used to be', Tramp sings on "New Day", a line I find hard to beat to close a review of one of the year's most surprising albums; surprisingly good it has to be noted.
Tramp followers should adore "Cobblestone Street", however, this album shouldn't be the sole possession of old school fans: listeners new to Mike Tramp will find a truly deep, well written, emotional performed recording of amazing tunes.
There simply is not a bad note on this record. It would be absolutely criminal if this is not recognized for a ton of awards this year, and most importantly, true music lovers respect.
01. Cobblestone Street
02. Caught In The Storm
03. New Day
04. Ain't The Life I Asked For
06. We'll Be Alright
07. Angel Or Devil
08. Find It In Your Heart
09. What Are You Gonna Do
Mike Tramp - vocals, guitar
Søren Andersen - keyboards, drums, guitar, bass, production
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Sunday, April 7, 2013
Female fronted Swedish band MISTH may be new in name, but all members are veterans of the Swedish music scene.
The sextet are presenting debut "Rise Of A New Day", just released on CD in Scandinavia and for the moment, digitally only worldwide.
If you noticed above, I said 'music scene' and not metal because extraordinary lead singer Maria Rådsten has never been in a metal-related band before. Die hard fans of Swedish pop music and Eurovision may recognize the name Maria Rådsten as she was a member of the group One More Time which actually placed 3rd in Eurovision in 1996.
After listening Maria's incredible performance on Misth's debut album "Rise Of A New Day", I would say she definitely has made the right choice moving into the rocking territory.
To form Misth, Maria teamed up with members of the band Mercury Fang, noted for playing hard rock ala Whitesnake with a distinct metal edge.
Although "Rise Of A New Day" certainly has its roots in progressive metal, the music definitely has some hard rock influences, spiced with accessible riffs, catchy choruses and some very nice harmonies.
The prog metal recipe developed by Misth infusing more traditional hard elements is certainly quite original, as the melodies fly sharp and bouncy over the elaborated heavy-prog arrangements. Maria Rådsten's melodious vocal variations work equally well on the progressive metal portions of the album as well in the more hard rocking numbers.
"Rise Of A New Day", "Something Better Change", the rhythmically rich "Unknown" and the quite heavy "Into The Void" are plenty of prog metal overtones.
But as said, Mysth does not get stuck on just one sound. Cuts like "Life's Arena", "Something Better Change" or the slower "Everyday" are definitely in the hard rocking side of things, featuring choruses even flirting with Melodic Hard Rock.
Taking the best of both worlds, opener "I Call Your Name" and one of the highlights; "Day Of Retribution", clearly express the band's quality and versatility mixing the genres.
New Swedish outfit Misth tries to blend two different styles in their debut CD "Rise Of A New Day", and I must say the band emerges victorious from their purpose. This a progressive album in two directions: Prog Metal and progressive Hard Rock, and both work really well for Misth, sounding homogeneous, solid as a rock.
Although Maria stands out on vocals and is very high in the mix, don't despair as the musicianship on "Rise Of A New Day" is excellent. The twin guitars construct the main musical sound whether playing the melodic solos, heavy progressive layers or even some straight Hard Rock crunchy riffs.
Keyboards have an important role too creating nice atmospheres, and the rhythm section is flexible to the style chosen in each occasion.
Impressive, very recommended debut.
01 - I Call Your Name
02 - Life's Arena
03 - Rise Of A New Day
04 - Everyday
05 - Something Better Change
06 - Into The Void
07 - Unknown
08 - Sending Down An Angel
09 - In Or Out
10 - Day Of Retribution
Maria Rådsten - Vocals
Håkan Granat - Guitar
Fredrik Glimbrand - Guitar
Jorgen Schelander - Keyboards
Olle Brodén - Bass
Martin Larsson - Drums
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Complete Version 16 tracks
Finally, and after so many years claiming for official reissues, some longtime out of print and sought after Hard Rock and Metal albums from the Swedish scene will be released by EMI Music Sweden.
Although some of these bands have received recent re-releases, like Dalton's Greatest Hits or Alien's debut (both featured here), these were licenced editions.
The EMI campaign includes the first digital edition ever of very good albums / bands like Clown, Bad Business, Red Baron, Proud, or first time official reissued CD's from Alien, Thomas Vikström, Talk Of The Town and more.
"Swedish Metal Classics ; Lost, Hidden & Forgotten" is the reissues' beachhead, a compilation containing tracks from all the bands included in the campaign.
The complete list of bands / albums to be reissued by EMI Sweden are:
01. Swedish Metal Classics;Lost, Hidden & Forgotten
02. Clown - Clown
03. Biscaya - The Eternal Masterworks
04. Proud - Proud
05. Bedlam - Beauties And The Beast
06. Bad Business - No Business Like...
07. Dalton - The Race Is On
08. Dalton - Injection
09. Red Baron - Rock 'n' Roll Power
10. Red Baron - Rock The Highway
11. Talk Of The Town - Talk Of The Town
12. Swedish Erotica - Swedish Erotica
13. Alien - Alien
14. Alien - Alien (US-mix)
15. Alien - Shiftin’ Gear
16. Alien - Best And Rare
17. Jim Jidhed - Jim
18. Thomas Vikström - If I Could Fly
19. Landlords - Mentality
20. Singer - Fill In the Blanks
21. Mustasch - The True Sounds Of The New West
22. Mustasch - Above All
23. Mustasch - Ratsafari
24. Mustasch - Powerhouse
Some of these will be featured here soon.
Meanwhile enjoy the first one, "Swedish Metal Classics ; Lost, Hidden & Forgotten", a very good compendium of the Swedish rockin' scene from the last 30 years.
01 - Clown - Lovely Liza (1981)
02 - Biscaya - Howl In The Sky (Restored Demo 1983)
03 - Proud - Fire Breaks The Dawn (1984)
04 - Bedlam - Deal With The Devil (1985)
05 - Bad Business - Stealin' My Best Friend's Woman (1986)
06 - Dalton - Can't Stop Loving You Now (1986)
07 - Bedlam - Gotta Get Away (from unreleased 2nd album 1986)
08 - Red Baron - Rock'n'oll Power (1987)
09 - Talk Of The Town - Livin' For Lovin' (1988)
10 - Swedish Erotica - We're Wild Young and Free (1989)
11 - Alien - Touch My Fire (Polar session outtake 1989)
12 - Jim Jidhed - Dangerous (1990)
13 - Thomas Vikström - Into The Fire (1993)
14 - Landlords - Liar (1994)
15 - Singer - 24 (1996)
16 - Mustasch - Muddy Waters (2002)
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