Saturday, October 30, 2010

FABRI KIARELI's F.E.A.S.T. - Rise (2010)


F.E.A.S.T. is the brain child of Italian born singer and guitarist Fabri Kiareli, who got infected with the Rock N Roll virus at an early age when he heard The Who’s “Pinball Wizard”.
Spending some of his teen years in Mexico the first musical influences came mostly from the nearby USA.
Returning to Italy, since the mid-80s he has been playing in Heavy Rock bands, when he got to the attention of Pino Scotto, the former lead vocalist of Vanadium, one of the most successful Rock bands in Italy at that time.
With his own project Pino still had a big following and so Fabri had the fortune to play in front of larger audiences.
Over the course of the years he earned himself a solid reputation as a guitar player and background vocalist for studio sessions and live concerts.

His solo project F.E.A.S.T. is pure 80's melodic hard rock as he draws heavily from bands like Dokken, Ratt, White Lion and Def Leppard (to a lesser extent).
On this first album "Rise", Kiareli handles the lead vocals and most of the instruments, excepting the drums by friend Mao Granata.
Mr. Kiareli is a fine vocalist (sounding like a cross between Bloodgood's Les Carlsen and David Coverdale) an accomplished guitarist and a wise songwriter.

He can punch it up with harder melodic rock on "Fire And Dynamite" and "Burning Fever" (great guitar licks here) or lay down some catchy hooks as on "Shock Me".
You get a solid rockin' blues rock feel ala Coverdale and Whitesnake on "Dangerous Love" and the impressive "(Ain't Done) 'Til It's Over", the latter one of the highlights of the album.
He pairs up with fellow Italian singer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Eden's Curse, Axe) for the melodic rock anthem "Follow The Way".
Of course, being a prodigy of those heady eighties days, Fabri delivers some serious and sugary power ballads with "Cold Hearted" and "Broken Dreams".
Kiareli can also delve into a traditional epic metal/rock on the ten minute "The Meaning Of Life".

"Rise" is well-crafted classic melodic hard rock, sometimes with a hard edge, sometimes with a smoldering rocking bluesy feel.
A strong first effort from Fabri Kiareli, who has handled all of the instruments himself, except for the drums and some guest musicians, but this recording sounds like a 'real band', and the production / mix is big and crispy.
If you dig Eighties-style melodic hard rock, you should definitely check it out.

01 - Fire And Dynamite
02 - Feed The Hunger
03 - Love Renegade
04 - Dangerous Love
05 - Follow The Way (duet with A. Del Vecchio)
06 - Cold Hearted
07 - (Ain't Done) 'Til It's Over (feat. Luke Ballabio)
08 - Win Or Lose
09 - Stormwind
10 - Broken Dreams
11 - Shock Me
12 - Burning Fever
13 - The Meaning Of Life

Fabri Kiareli : vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Mao Granata : drums
Alessandro Del Vecchio : co-lead vocals on “Follow The Way”
Luke Ballabio : middle guitar solo on “(Ain’t Done) Til It’s Over”



Friday, October 29, 2010

STRATOSPHERE (Goran Edman) - Fire Flight (2010)

STRATOSPHERE Goran Edman Fire Flight

There is definitely something in the water over in Gothenburg, Sweden, that encourages the creation of good music.
Masterminded by well-respected keyboardist Jeppe Lund, STRATOSPHERE blends elements of neoclassical style together with a huge dose of classy melodic hard rock to come up with a tight and polished sound that is sure to impress anyone who likes this genre.
Fronted by the familiar and distinctive voice of Goran Edman (Malmsteen, Street Talk, John Norum), Stratosphere makes classically influenced metal that is not overly pretentious or highbrow and is easily accessible to the casual listener.
The music from start to finish is dominated by vocals, guitar and keyboards, and each song is well crafted and performed.
The engineering is crisp and clear giving the entire album a pristine and unified sound no matter the intensity or musical arrangement.

Goran Edman’s vocals are solid as usual whether singing softly or pushing the limits of his range. He gets to sing with varying levels of intensity across a broad range of rock styles and handles everything well.
Guitarist Jonas Larsen is a fine guitar player, he can lay down wonderful Malmsteen-esque classical fills, and just as easily blast out some super heavy lines. He is a fine soloist and is not hung up on playing “fast” and adjusts his style to suit the music.
Jeppe Lund's keyboard work is awesome without doubt. His job is a solid counterpoint to Larsen's guitars and is as important to the overall feel and structure of the music as any other member of the band.

"Russian Summer" opens the disc and sets the tone for the balance of the album. The keys dominate the intro while the guitars lay down a simple but hooky rhythm line. Once Edman’s vocals kick in there is no doubt that this is scandinavian hard rock.
"The Battle Within" is a high-energy track with a very classical feel that provides an introspective look at a soldier’s post-duty life and the problems he may face.
The intro to "Enemy Of My Soul" is a quiet and haunting symphonic passage that breaks out into a huge vocal chorus.
The band switches to a melodic hard rock style when they visit the "Streets Of Moscow", a shining commercial tune where Edman’s vocals are particularly strong and expressive.
The instrumental "Rendezvous" gives Edman a breather and lets the other guys really show their chops. It is very classical and very intense, allowing everyone to blend together in layer upon layer of music.

"Shining Star" opens the second half of the disc. It is a very arena friendly melodic AOR love song, with Edman at his best throughout, and Larsen laying down some great guitar fills. One of the best tracks of the album.
"China Girl" has a 'catchy pop metal' feel to it, in the vein of Malmsteen's 'Eclipse' material. Good stuff.
"Princess Of The Night" is a very soft ballad built around the vocals but featuring amazing guitar and keyboard teamwork underneath it all.
"VIP" starts off light and melodic, but quickly becomes a very gritty song that paints a less that flattering look at the 'celebrity' lifestyle and gives Goran a chance to growl a little.
The sweeping instrumental "Fire Flight" wraps the album in fine style – big keyboards, soaring guitar riffs, great bass and drum rhythm lines, and is musically the strongest track on the release.

"Fire Flight" should be on the “must have” list of every commercial neoclassical fan.
The big hooks and catchy rhythms will easily appeal to any melodic hard rock fan as well, and will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever listened to Yngwie 'Eclipse' / "Fire & Ice" albums.
The quality of performance, great teamwork, good production and overall enthusiasm make Stratosphere’s debut a solid and entertaining album.

1. Russian Summer
2. The Battle Within
3. Enemy Of My Soul
4. Streets Of Moscow
5. Rendezvous
6. Shining Star
7. China Girl
8. Princess Of The Night
9. VIP
10. Fire Flight

Goran Edman (vocals)
Jeppe Lund (keyboards)
Jonas Larsen (guitar)
Anders Borre Mathiesen (bass)
Jim McCarty (drums)

Mixed and Mastered by Martin Kronlund at JM Recording Studio's Gothenburg, Sweden.



Sunday, October 24, 2010



Mickey Thomas may forever be associated with STARSHIP, the 1980s-era hitmakers that cranked out such chart-topping guilty pleasures as "Jane", "Sara" and "We Built This City", but his musical roots go back much further than that.
Thomas began his career singing gospel music, moving on to Southern Rock when he stepped up to sing the stunning lead vocal in 1976 on bluesman Elvin Bishop Band surprise Billboard #3 hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love".
Thirty years and counting into his ongoing tenure with STARSHIP, the amateur cook now turns his sweet and sour voice to a selection of choice covers and creates a spectacular musical statement with THE BLUESMASTERS, testifying with sweaty fervor to his rock audience while making true believers of blues fans.

Guitarist and producer Tim Tucker put together THE BLUESMASTERS in 2007 with pianist Sean Benjamin. The guys were just having fun, cranking out old blues classics, when somebody had the bright idea to bring in Thomas to sing with the band.
Using his vast experience and contacts, Tucker assembled a tight, tough ensemble behind Thomas with the fatback drumming of british legend Aynsley Dunbar who has worked with everybody from JOHN MAYALL and JEFF BECK to FRANK ZAPPA and JOURNEY.

As if to acknowledge his years of preparation and knowledge of the material, Thomas recorded all his vocals in one take.
That's clear since the first track, the band's smoky, slow-burning take on the Big Joe Turner boogie-blues classic "Cherry Red". With pianist Sean Benjamin providing some mighty fine honky-tonk keyboard tinkling, harmonica ace Doug Lynn’s blows out the dust Little Walter style, with a blustery lead accompanying Thomas’ swaggering vocals.
The Bluesmasters’ raucous cover of the Muddy Waters’ classic "Rock Me Baby" is pure gold.
As Thomas belts out his vocals in the best Chicago blues tradition, he’s joined by Lynn’s raging harp play, Tucker’s rolling fretwork, and veteran drummer Aynsley Dunbar’s blunderbuss percussion. This is houserockin’ music at its very best, and Thomas clearly relishes the role, mugging the lyrics with reckless aplomb and no little glee.

Shifting moods, genres and eras, Thomas revisits his signature ballad #3 hit "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" bluesed up a bit, mostly by Tucker’s subtle guitarplay. Thomas has been singing the tune most of his adult life, so it’s no surprise that he knocks it out here; the addition of female vocalists Stephanie Calvert (Thomas’ colleague in STARSHIP) and Darlene Gardner is a welcome addition to the song, their angelic voices proving a sublime counterpoint to Thomas’ masculine growl.

It takes a big man to walk in Etta James’ shoes, but Thomas does exactly that with an inspired reading of the James’ romantic classic "I’d Rather Go Blind". Thomas applies a bit of gospel fervor to his vocals, wrapping the song's bittersweet pain with a potent dose of Southern soul.
The Muddy Waters songbook is a familiar play for any blues-rock band, and The Bluesmasters dip into that deep blues well with a rocking cover of Waters’ "Can’t Get No Grindin’", with the accompanying vocals of the legendary Magic Slim (who also lays down a little red-hot guitar for the fans). The combination of their opposing timbres and styles lends variety and texture.
Another amazing track is strutting cover of Delta legend Robert Johnson’s "Walking Blues", with Tucker and guest John Wedemeyer laying down some tasty rattletrap guitar riffing as the foundation, harpist Lynn providing the heart and soul of the song with his blustering harmonica notes. Thomas’ vocals are appropriately dusky, and dusty too.

Contrasting tempos, the band falls into the subtle and classic slow blues "Third Degree" as sung by Eddie Boyd in 1953. Taking his cue from the original, Thomas turns the heat down to a smoldering glow, drawing out his phrasing that seems to slow time after the barely contained explosive licks played by Tucker in the intro. Both Tucker and keyboardist Ulsky are given generous solo space and they take advantage of it to pour out their hearts in league with Thomas. Aynsley Dunbar percussion shines here too.
The driving blues rock of "Get Your Business Straight" from the catalog of the late “Master of the Telecaster” Albert Collins, provides Thomas with the opportunity to strut and jive his stuff while Magic Slim plays a credible tribute to the “Ice Man” with razor sharp fills and a whiny, punchy solo.

Keeping the tempo up, Thomas chooses Elmore James’ "Over Yonder Wall" that finds Tucker replicating the slidemeister’s patented signature riff. As the band locks into a chugging boogie shuffle, Thomas sings out with the same type of passion that “Elmo” brought to his landmark performances. Organist Ulsky offers a tasty and understated Hammond B-3 solo preceding Tucker’s slashing chorus of blues, as both serve to encourage Thomas to reach deep inside his soul for a howling final verse.
The Bluesmasters featuring Mickey Thomas closes with Tucker’s original R&B tearjerker "Long Time", and the title could be applied to the journey Thomas has taken to reach this glorious point in his career.
Addressing the classic theme of how long it takes to heal a broken heart, he again utilizes the occasion on the dramatic, anthemic composition to express his indomitable will to survive and go on. Tucker, as always, accompanies sympathetically and with utter authority, playing a soaring, melodic solo and engaging in a vocal/guitar duet with Thomas.

"The Bluesmasters featuring Mickey Thomas" is a fantastic recording, thanks to the talent, enthusiasm and obvious reverence that everybody involved has for the blues - rock.
Tucker is a solid guitarist and bandleader, and his slidework on Johnson’s "Walkin’ Blues" should make any blues fan sit up and take note.
He's put together a fine band as well, starting with the talents of monster drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and the magic harpslinger Doug Lynn, a skilled instrumentalist that brings to mind the best of Charlie Musselwhite's early work.
Thomas’ vocals speak for themselves, and he's at his best here, almost clocking 60 years-old and sounding better than ever.
Just check the 2 video-songs below (especially "Rock Me Baby" entirely, until the end).

Maybe you're wondering what this kind of album is doing here.
Bluesy music, when it's well crafted, rocks bigtime.
And this is the case.

01 - Cherry Red
02 - Rock Me Baby
03 - Fooled Around And Fell In Love
04 - Sick And Tired
05 - I'd Rather Go Blind
06 - Can't Get No Grindin' (duet with Magic Slim)
07 - Walkin' Blues
08 - Third Degree
09 - Get Your Business Straight (duet with Magic Slim)
10 - Over Yonder Wall
11 - Long Time

Mickey Thomas : Vocals
Tim Tucker : Guitar, Production
Danny Miranda : Bass
Ric Ulsky : Keyboards, Hammond B-3
Sean Benjamin : Piano
Doug Lynn : Harmonica
Aynsley Dunbar : Drums & Percussion
Magic Slim : Vocals, Guitar
John Wedemeyer : Guitar
Stephanie Calvert (ex - Starship) : Background Vocals
Darlene Gardner : Background Vocals



Saturday, October 23, 2010

MICHAEL BORMANN - Different (2010)


Multifacetic artist, Michael Bormann is a busy man.
Best known as founding and long time member of Germany's melodic hard rock band JADED HEART, while still maintaining involvement in countless projects (CHARADE, ZENO, BISS, THE RAIN) as musician, producer, engineer, songwriter... everything.

This year it's time for a his own solo effort.
Bormann: " I am very happy with "Different". It really took me a while (on and off within the last 10 months….) to accomplish the album."
Except few contributions, Micheal did everything on this recording, a true 'solo' album.

The opening track "Life Is A Miracle" starts off with a knockout punch that has a beat that will be burnt into your memory. This is one of those tracks that you can be anywhere in the world and you will hear that beat in the back of your mind and start to chant. Good.
"To The Top" has the essence of a classic nineties rocker yet adds some classy piano and slicing guitar which makes this more than just a rock tune.
"Think Twice" is a subtle ballad with acoustics and keyboards that makes a sentimental journey through your thoughts. A Jaded Heart-style song. Very Good.
"Somebody", a simple song filled with acoustic guitars, has an american feel and good vibe.
I was expecting a rocker now, but "Mr Rock 'N Roll" is a little and insipid short fiddle, followed by "My Favorite Time", a cool melodic track, but lacks power and essence.

Luckily Michael hits with some rock on "Breathless". This one is in the style of his last project RAIN, with strong rhythm guitars and a nice solo, and the multilayered chorus works well.
"Don't You Tell Me" sets down the pace again, but in a good form. Intimate ballad ala Bon Jovi with an '80s feel.
"Wouldn't Let You Down" is a generic midtempo, not bad but nothing spectacular.
"Who Really Wants To Get Older" it's a in-your-face rocker with Bormann’s vocals taking total command.
"No Way Out - It Hurts" is another up-tempo rocker, but with a clean mix, pretty commercial, in the vein of Jaded Heart's earlier recordings.
"Was Mir Fehlt" closes the album, a soft piano-acoustic guitar-only ballad sung in german, it's very nice and one of the best vocal performances here.

Mostly melodic soft tunes peppered with some fresh rockers, "Different" as the title indicates, it's not the usual material that you expect from Michael Bormann.
Surely he has put together all the stuff he can't do into other projects.
His voice is sweet and melodic here, a mix of Michael Voss of MADMAX with some vintage JON BON JOVI for a good measure.
A cool album, although generic and a bit boring. Maybe an external producer would have given more life to these songs.
Anyway, it's a pleasant listening, especially the ballad "Think Twice" and the opening track, both very well crafted songs.

01 - Life Is A Miracle
02 - To The Top
03 - Think Twice
04 - Somebody
05 - Mr Rock 'N Roll
06 - My Favourite Time
07 - Breathless
08 - Don't You Tell Me
09 - Wouldn't Let You Down
10 - Who Really Wants To Get Older
11 - No Way Out - It Hurts
12 - Was Mir Fehlt

Michael Bormann : Vocals, All Instruments
Additional musicians;
Andreas Rippelmeier : Guitar
Lanvall : Guitars, synthesizers, piano.
Chris Ivo : Keyboards
Eric Ragno : Keyboards
Marco Grasshoff : Keyboards

Produced, Recorded & Mixed by Michael Bormann



Friday, October 22, 2010

STAR ONE - Victims Of The Modern Age (2010)

Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age retail

This is the real one (retail), not the promo

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen has firmly established himself worldwide as driving force in progressive hard rock.
While best known for his rock opera project Ayreon, the multi-talented Dutchman also regularly embarks on musical side projects which explore different aspects of his musical personality.
As his previous project (Guilt Machine's 'On This Perfect Day' 2009) was a relatively relaxed and subtle affair, Lucassen's muses responded by urging him to record something loud, powerful and anything but subtle for this new release.
Thus it was a perfect opportunity to launch his musical spacecraft towards the galaxy of bombastic sci-fi rock by revisiting his STAR ONE project.

The result is the album "Victims Of The Modern Age", the follow-up to the Star One debut album, 'Space Metal (2002)'.
Compared to Space Metal, the overall sound of the new album is heavier, bombastic, more guitar-oriented, and slightly less "spacey".
The guitars are thicker and solos abound, but Broek's keyboard solos are equally abundant and engaging.
Arjen has also raised the bar significantly when it comes to the album's sound:
"I think it's my best sounding album to date; it's a huge difference compared to the first Star One. For the guitars I spent weeks experimenting with different amps and settings in every combination imaginable -- and it was worth it.
The drums sound fantastic, and the vocalists all outdid themselves, putting in even stronger performances than they did the first time around
Again, as with the previous work, "Victims Of The Modern Age" is a concept album. Yet, this one is set on earth rather than space.
The songs are based on dystopian and post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies. Typical of Lucassen, he wouldn't divulge which films inspired, leaving it for our speculation.

The album starts off with a little instrumental leading into "Digital Rain", a clear example of this album temper: the melody, the rhythm, everything just sort of falls into place creating a really good palette of sound. There is a guitar and keyboard face melting solo battle to die for. And the 4 vocal arrangement at the end is amazing.
"Earth That Was" starts brutally heavy. Again the guitars / keys rip through solos but this time leading into an almost somber moment before exploding into a massive epic ending. The keyboard work of Joost van der Broek is awesome.

"Human See, Human Do" boasts some brand new sounds like nothing Arjen has done to date, bluesy, with a groove that is both jolting and seemingly simple when (if you're a musician who counts) you know it's not. Right off the bat you can tell it's going to be a fun song. You aren't let down.
"24 Hours" is some sort of epic ballad, but not your typical cheesy one.
"Cassandra Complex" opens with some extraterrestial synths and then go into a cool riff and a very nice chorus, the most commercial song of the album.
"It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive" features very good melodies and keyboard arrangements accompanying the vocals, it kind explains the whole story in a nutshell by recapping and if you're an advocate of concept albums, you'll find a lot of clarity here.
Finally, "It All Ends Here", a 3 part song action packed and conclusive to the story at hand. Dark and complex composition.

Fundamentally, "Victims Of The Modern Age" is pure Arjen Lucassen, and one of his finest works to date.
And while Arjen stepped up to the plate and delivered some of the best keyboard and guitar parts of his career the all-star roster of vocalists lived up to their reputations and gave 110% to the album. Each singer has their own moments to shine, specially Russell Allen (what a year!).
In addition guitarist Gary Wehrkamp and keyboard wiz Joost van den Broek (terrific job) provided thrilling solos which are sprinkled throughout the album, and drummer Ed Warby opened up a new dimension in his playing to compliment the new musical ideas that were thrown into the mix.

"Victims Of The Modern Age" is a powerful recording in general but I would go as far as to say it is a staple in what modern progressive genre is becoming.
It's also a good album for listeners who might not be all that into your typical prog music.
I was surprised how the album easily flows, and not being a big fan of this style, how much enjoyed it. Production quality is one of the best I've heard in the last 20 years.
This album delivers grand and bombastic melodic prog hard / metal that intrigues, overwhelms, but most importantly; entertains.

1 - Down The Rabbit Hole
2 - Digital Rain
3 - Earth That Was
4 - Victim Of The Modern Age
5 - Human See, Human Do
6 - 24 Hours
7 - Cassandra Complex
8 - It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive
9 - It All Ends Here
----a) I Think Therefore I Am
----b) Four Years
----c) It All Ends Here

Russell Allen (Symphony X, Allen - Lande)
Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace)
Floor Jansen (ReVamp, ex-After Forever)
Dan Swanö (Nightingale, Second Sky, ex-Edge Of Sanity)

Ed Warby (Lana Lane, Ayreon) : Drums
Peter Vink (Ayreon, Finch) : Bass
Joost van der Broek (After Forever) : Keyboards solos (2,3,5,8)
Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) : Guitar Solos (2,3,5,7)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen : Guitars, Hammond, Mellotron, Analog Synths



Monday, October 18, 2010

EBC Roxx (Tony Carey) - Winners Vol.1 (2010)

EBC Roxx Tony Carey Winners

Overwhelming power and incredible energy are the basic elements in motor racing and in rock music.
At the end of November 2009 Mercedes announced that after 55 years they will return to the motor racing champions league, Formula 1, with their own racing team.
For the multitalented Tony Carey (ex-RAINBOW) this was the spark he had been waiting for quite some time.

Having played live at one of the Formula 1 races before, the time had come for Carey to start a motor racing project: a 'silver arrow' anthem to accompany the first race of Mercedes Formula 1 pilots Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
In order to put together a proficient team for the project he got fellow german female singer ELA sharing the vocals and Ritchie Blackmore's son Jürgen on guitars.
The single “Silver Arrows” was released in March 2010.

They had so much fun that they decided to do a whole album together.
Now the musical racing project EBC ROXX is really taking off with 11 brand new songs: “Winners”, a pedigreed rock ’n’ race album.
Musically this is classic Hard Rock influenced by both RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE, with an updated sound.
You can hear that Carey's groovy organ is originated from the classic RAINBOW album “Rising” while it is obvious that Jürgen have taken impression from his fathers last session in DEEP PURPLE and albums like ”Perfect Strangers” and ”The Battle Rages On”.
They manage to create a really fine groove on several tracks and you can find both strong melodies and great guitar riffs, and there is no doubt that some tracks have a really strong potential.

The songs of the album not only talk about Formula 1 (“Silver Arrow” and “Big Livin”), but generally about living in the fast lane on two or four wheels.
Opener “Rolling”, a really 'drivin' tune, depicts the intoxication caused by speed.
“Fly” is dedicated to the legendary speed weeks of the Bonneville salt flats (USA).
“Red Dirt Devils” is about the thunderous motocross bikers.
Title track “Winners” talks of the bright side while “Your Last Dance” is about the dark side of motor racing.

Carey’s harsh pipes has aged well and ELA’s voice is mature, Jürgen got some of the same riff genes as his father (even if it sounds like he steals a little bit from him) and it seems like they can write some pretty interesting tunes.
Drum sound could be better produced, and maybe focus an entire album on fast cars and dangerous highways is a bit repetitive, but this is a fun collection of songs with no other pretension than entertainment.
And it does.

01 - Rolling
02 - Fly
03 - Red Dirt Devils
04 - Drivin Song (It's Rock)
05 - Big Livin
06 - Your Last Dance
07 - Drivin Song (Let's Go)
08 - Silver Arrows (Rock & Racing Edition)
09 - Winners
10 - Winners (Special Mixx)
11 - Silver Stomp (Special Mixx)
12 - Out Of Time (Special Bonus Track)

Tony Carey : Vocals, Bass
JR Blackmore : Guitars
ELA : Vocals


Sunday, October 17, 2010

FM - City Limits EP (2010)

FM City Limits EP

2010 has been a tremendous year so far for FM.
His acclaimed album "Metropolis" (released in March) continues to gain approval from fans and critics.
The band toured extensively the UK and were invited to play the main stage of Download Festival in June 2010 along with Aerosmith, and will be doing a main stage appearance at the Hard Rock Hell IV in Prestatyn on December 3.
All this in addition to launching a mini-album with nine tracks!

"City Limits EP" no doubt will please new and old fans.
The title track "Bring Back Yesterday (Radio Edit Version)" from "Metropolis" released this year, has been performed on BBC Radio 2, and receiving airplay on shows of Chris Evans and Steve Wright, among others.
Fans will rejoice when they hear the brand new song "Start It Up" (this fantastic track will only be available on this EP, not on the band's next studio album) and the chilling new acoustic version of "That Girl" (originally released on the debut album "Indiscreet" and yet one of their most popular songs, regularly included in the band setlist).

During the band's recent live activity selected shows were recorded and the EP features "Wildside", "Hollow", "Metropolis", "Over You" and "Flamingo Road" - all from the acclaimed Metropolis album.
The mini-album closes with an extended mix of "Bring Back Yesterday", written by DJ Juppy (in fact, drummer Pete Jupp given it a knob-twiddling treatment).

1 - Bring Back Yesterday (Radio Edit)
2 - Start It Up (Exclusive New Track 2010)
3 - That Girl (Acoustic Version 2010)
4 - Wildside (Live)
5 - Hollow (Live)
6 - Metropolis (Live)
7 - Over You (Live)
8 - Flamingo Road (Live)
9 - Bring Back Yesterday (City Limits Extended Mix)

Steve Overland – Vocals & Guitars
Jim Kirkpatrick – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass & Backing Vocals
Pete Jupp – Drums & Backing Vocals
Jem Davis – Keyboards



Friday, October 15, 2010

STRYPER - Heaven And Hell (2010)

STRYPER - Heaven And Hell

STRYPER have set "The Covering" as the title of their new album of covers, to be released in February, 2011.
The CD will feature the band's original lineup of Michael Sweet on vocals, Robert Sweet on drums, Oz Fox on guitar and Timothy Gaines on bass, including STRYPER's renditions of the classics: "Breaking The Law" (JUDAS PRIEST), "Shout It Out Loud" (KISS), "Heaven And Hell" (BLACK SABBATH), "Highway Star" (DEEP PURPLE), among others.

The advance single, BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven and Hell" is a long-running song by Stryper standards, clocking in at 6 minutes 13 seconds (47 seconds shorter than the original).
STRYPER's version is powerful, a slow-moving crowd rouser.
Begins with a sort of Gregorian chant - it will catch you off guard - but it's very cool.
The production on "Heaven And Hell" is the best Stryper have done to date. Clean separation of instruments.
Robert's Drums sound like you're sitting on the drummer's throne with him. Cymbals, snare, kick and toms sound big and "live".
Tim's Bass guitar is tight and punchy.
The guitars are crisp and biting, and yes, there is a sweet Oz Fox solo.
And your going to be in for a nice surprise when you hear Micheal's vocals!

Stryper has changed the lyrics of course.
It's interesting to listen this christian band performing a 'strong secular' song.
Lyrics sheet included, also "Peace Of Mind" (BOSTON cover) remixed, not to be included into "The Covering"

01 - Heaven And Hell
02 - Peace Of Mind [remix] (non album track)
00 - Lyrics sheet

Michael Sweet: vocals
Robert Sweet: drums
Oz Fox: guitar
Timothy Gaines: bass



Thursday, October 14, 2010

SARAYA - ST remastered + bonus (2010)

SARAYA - ST remastered + bonus

Founded in 1987 by by raven vocalist Sandi Saraya and keyboardist Gregg Munier (who passed away in 2006), and originally known as Alsace Lorraine (the title of a short instrumental on the album), the line-up expanded to include guitarist Tony Rey aka Teddy Bruno (the original axeman in Danger Danger), bassist Gary Taylor and drummer Chuck Bonfante.

All 3 had been playing with ex Foreigner and Spys Al Greenwood in diverse projects, previously Rey and Bonfante were members of the Joe Lynn Turner Band.

SARAYA released this self titled album in 1989, a melodic and highly polished collection of AOR numbers characterized by Sandi's infectious vocal style.

The swaggering opener "Love Has Taken It’s Toll" starts with a bluesy acoustic guitar giving way to a huge riff from Rey, the driving rhythm propelling the song along, and topped with Sandi’s husky vocal delivery.

"Healing Touch" has mesmerizing vocals and a very well-developed melody progression, as does "Runnin' Out Of Time" with that conquering main riff.

There isn’t a bad track on the album, from the commercial "Back To The Bullet" through the hard rock of "One Night Away" and the pulsating "Get U Ready"

"Gypsy Child" and "St. Christopher’s Medal" shows the band's moody side, while "Fire To Burn" has maybe the most erupting scream from Sandi, it's pure amazement with that metallic riff.

After more than 20 years, finally this long time out of print gem gets the deserved reissue, with an amazing remastering job.

As for bonus tracks, two songs from the slightly heavier sophomore release "When The Blackbird Sings" are included, and the track that originally only appeared on the "Seducer" single, the fiery "Chainsmokin".

Also present is the power ballad "Timeless Love" which originally appeared on the soundtrack to the movie ‘ Shocker ’, featuring a great guitar solo by Steve Lukather.

It's a great opportunity to get hold of a rockin' AOR classic.

Every home should have one.

01 - Love Has Taken Its Toll

02 - Healing Touch

03 - Get U Ready

04 - Gypsy Child

05 - One Night Away

06 - Alsace Lorraine

07 - Runnin' Out Of Time

08 - Back To The Bullet

09 - Fire To Burn

10 - St Christopher's Medal

11 - Drop The Bomb

12 - Seducer [bonus track]

13 - In The Shade Of The Sun [bonus track]

14 - Chainsmokin' [bonus track]

15 - Timeless Love [bonus track]

Sandi Saraya : Lead Vocals

Gregg Munier : Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Tony Rey / Bruno : Guitars, Backing Vocals

Gary 'Skid' Taylor : Bass, Backing Vocals

Chuck Bonfante : Drums



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

VIRGINIA WOLF - Push [remastered] (2010)

VIRGINIA WOLF Push remastered

VIRGINIA WOLF's self-titled album introduced rock audiences to the vocal talents of british AOR legend Chris Ousey (HEARTLAND.
Besides, its place in rock history is assured, since it features a young Jason Bonham (the son of Led Zeppelin legend John Bonham) on drums.
The band followed the debut with a second album, "Push" in 1987, recorded and produced in San Francisco, USA, by Kevin Elson (JOURNEY, EUROPE) with a lush, polished sound.

Just like the self-titled debut, "Push" remains as a classic in AOR history, featuring great vocal harmonies, punchy guitar / keyboard work and catchy song structures.
"Don't Break Away", "Standing On The Edge Of Time", "Let It Go", "You Don't Know What You've Got", "Can You Feel The Fire" are pure classy AOR '80s AOR tunes in the vein of LOVERBOY, FOREIGNER an alikes.

Recently reissued with an excellent remastered job, it's the new generations opportunity to discover an amazing classic, and to the old school rockers, to enjoy this refreshed version including 2 bonus tracks never released before on CD.
A Highly Recommended Classic.

01 - Don't Break Away
02 - One Night
03 - Standing on the Edge of Time
04 - Open Door
05 - Man in the Moon
06 - Let It Go
07 - You Don't Know What You've Got
08 - Can You Feel The Fire
09 - Tables Have Turned
10 - The Strangest Thing (It's Called Love)
11 - Tearing Me Down [from Don't Break Away EP] (bonus track)
12 - Matter Of Time [from Don't Break Away EP] (bonus track)

Chris Ousey : vocals
Nick Bold : guitars
Jo Burt : bass
Jason Bonham : drums



Monday, October 11, 2010

FALLING RED - Shake The Faith (2010)

FALLING RED Shake The Faiths

FALLING RED may have a fairly contemporary sounding name, but calling your album "Shake The Faith" is a pretty naked nod to the fading glamour of big-budget cock-rock and poodle-metal as it staggered into the early nineties.
Lucky for them, then, that the packaging matches the product this time out.

You know where you are right from the outset, as 'Shake The Faith' opens with stadium reverb on the drums, Slash-esque riffs and flourishes.
You've sleazy road-house rawk'n'roll with gang choruses about predatory women, generous bartenders, and all the frontman swagger and excess of the eighties.
Falling Red aren't saturday evening family entertainment, they are a glimpse back to the heady, rebellious days (or daze) '80s Sunset Strip life-style.
Songs such as "How You Feel (on me)", "Out Of Control" or "You Were Out To Get Me" are screaming to hit Rock Radio's playlists.
This four piece band should be really hot live, and in upcoming shows they are confirmed supporting Sebastian Bach (ex Skid Row) on stage.

While comparing "Shake The Faith" to Guns N' Roses "Appetite…" is a bit of a long stretch, it's worth remembering that sleaze-rock as a retro genre surprisingly difficult to do well, and Falling Red are doing a decent job of it here.
This album breaks no new ground in the genre but what it does is lay down the foundation of what could become quite a legacy for this band that has a bright future. Their hearts are obviously in this.
They aren’t just being 'retro' for the sake of being retro and don’t become a parody of the scene.
This group has the charisma, energy, riffs and sneering attitude that it takes to ascend to the top of the sleaze rock trash heap.

So if you like super-charged high octane dirty anthems in the vein of Crashdiet, Sebastian Bach or Guns N' Roses go out now, buy it, support this band, 'cause it's a refreshing piece of classic '80s retro-rock you all need to hear.

01 - How You Feel (on Me)
02 - Thrive
03 - Out of Control
04 - You Were Out to Get Me
05 - Sue You for Your Soul
06 - Immoral Heights of a Lowlife
07 - No Good, So Wrong, So Right
08 - Shake the Faith

Rozey – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Shane Kirk – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Millsy – Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Sanders – Drums, Backing Vocals



Saturday, October 9, 2010

TOD HOWARTH - Opposite Gods (2010)

TOD HOWARTH Opposite Gods

Tod Howarth, a highly respected veteran who has played with Frehley's Comet, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, 707, and others, has been making music for over twenty-five years with some of rocks best and brightest stars.
When asked why he continues to branch out on his own rather than accept the many interesting offers that come his way, he responds:
"I hear songs in my head all the time, and this was another way to rid them of my cranial prison as it were... and I have to complete my projects hell or high water, money or not, fame or not."

Like a fine wine, Howarth demonstrates with his new CD in 10 years, "Opposite Gods", that he has improved with age, becoming ever more nuanced and complex.
A long time coming, this new recording was truly a labor of love:
"Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered under dire conditions by me… the variables took their toll."
And he does mean by him. As with his prior releases, being the extremely talented musician that he is Tod once again is responsible for everything you hear coming from your speakers: guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, all vocals… the man is literally a one man band.
And a damn good one at that!

As with any rock album worth its salt, Opposite Gods opens with an absolute burner: "Drown" is a scathing, yet lyrically playful, indictment of the cult of personality in America.
Title track is about conflicts between faith and religion. Definitely a heavy hitter.
"Jimbo's Bunk" is Tod’s tribute to his best friend, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.
"The Artist" is a message from Tod to his artist son, this hauntingly beautiful song explores the frustration that a deeply passionate artist experiences. A floating, airy keyboard acts as the song’s subtle road map allowing the acoustic guitars to wander and explore.
"Layne" is tip of the cap from one musician to another, the late Layne Staley of Alice In Chains.
"On Your Own" is a traveling acoustic song, another offering of fatherly advice, this time for his daughter Tara.
The instrumental "October Son" close the album with a soothing, atmospheric keyboard driven landscapes. Exquisite track.

With "Opposite Gods" Tod Howarth demonstrates in no uncertain terms that while one hit wonders and flavors-of-the-month will always flame out, true talent will burn brightly forever.
A well balanced recording, sometimes hard hitting, sometimes melodic, with meaty lyrics.

01 - Drown
02 - Way Down South
03 - Opposite Gods
04 - Jimbo's Bunk
05 - The Artist
06 - Layne
07 - Alfi's Torment
08 - Tell Me
09 - Change
10 - On Your Own
11 - Veterans
12 - Dancing Through The Pain
13 - October Son

Tod Howarth : everything



ERIC MARTIN - Love Is Alive, Works Of 1985-2010

ERIC MARTIN Love Is Alive Works Of 1985-2010
Japan Only

Eric Martin's talents as a vocalist and a songwriter have been highly evaluated since his solo debut back in 1985, and this was even before he joined the super rock band, MR BIG.

The year 2010 marks his 25th Anniversary as a solo singer, and all his japanese fans have the luck to enjoy the new compilation album ;
"Love Is Alive 〜Works of 1985-2010〜"
Includes 14 songs;
- 7 songs highlighting Eric's 25 years of his magnificent career
- 4 brand new melodic rock songs 2010
- 3 rare bonus tracks

1. Love Is Alive (2010, KOI SURU NAPOLITAN soundtrack)
2. Fly (2002, from "I'm Goin' Sane")
3. You're Too Good For Him (2003, from "Destroy All Monsters")
4. Bigger Man [acoustic version] (2002, from "Pure")
5. Wink And A Smile (1998, from "Somewhere In The Middle")
6. Eyes Of The World (1985, from "Eric Marin")
7. Every Time I Think Of You (1987, from "I'm Fooling Myself")
8. Everyday (2002, from "I'm Goin' Sane")
9. All Cried Out (2010 - new song)
10. Let's Get It Over With (2010 - new song)
11. Sleepwalking (2010 - new song)
12. Can't Take My Eyes Off You (prev. unreleased)
13. Tell The Truth (Masahiro Ando Project feat. E.Martin, 2007, from T-SQUARE album “33”)
14. To Be With You (2009, from the DVD "MR. VOCALIST -
A Special Night In Tokio-")



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SOUTH OF EDEN (Mitch Malloy) - ST (2010)

SOUTH OF EDEN Mitch Malloy

Mitch Malloy and Casey Thompson both made their own separate ways to Nashville, TN, a common destination for so many talented small town kids looking to chase a musical dream.
What is less common is witnessing how their simple meeting at a Nashville club turned out to be a perfect fit, and how the spontaneous combustion from two perfectly matched talents deciding to share their dream resulted in the formation of Nashville's hottest new indie duo, SOUTH OF EDEN.

Mitch released two albums on a major label and scored three Top-20 hits.
Malloy was tempted by the possibility of fronting the third incarnation of legendary group Van Halen and went so far as to accept an invitation from Eddie Van Halen to record a series of demos with the band – who could pass up that opportunity?
However, Nashville producers offered him to make it real his bigger dream : writing, performing and producing americana music.
Mitch wrote songs with and for Dennis Morgan, Desmond Child, Mike Reid, David Rosenthal to name a few.

Casey Thompson also had to pull up the small town roots of Marion, Ohio, to chase her dream of making it as a performing artist.
She entered a reality contest sponsored by the NBC “Today” show entitled, “Today’s Next Superstar” and found herself handpicked by NBC producers and Warner Brothers Music as one of only seven contestants to compete for the title of America’s next singing sensation.
Casey placed third in the competition, but still found herself with national press exposure and the chance to work with talents like musical director Jim Brickman and Grammy award-winning producer Guy Roche.

Today, Mitch Malloy and Casey Thompson are chasing their dream together as SOUTH OF EDEN.
And from the overwhelming reactions they are getting from both fans and the industry, it’s already a dream come true.
Their live performances introduce you to a vocal blend that is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.

A really cool album, refreshing, Country-Rock-Americana tingled yes, but extremely melodic.
And has Mitch Malloy singing, writing, mixing, producing... anything with Malloy's talent involved sounds pretty damn fine... quality guaranteed.
Indie recording, only available via iTunes.

01 - Love Made A Liar Out Of Me
02 - What A Day
03 - Places Only Love Can Go
04 - Breathless
05 - Roll
06 - When The Smoke Clears
07 - All The Way
08 - Close To You

Casey Thompson : Vocals, Guitars.
Mitch Malloy : Vocals, everything else



Monday, October 4, 2010

ROBIN BECK - The Great Escape (2010)

iTunes - Pre-release
ROBIN BECK - The Great Escape

Having floored the world back in 1989 with her awesome chart breaking album, the seminal "Trouble Or Nothin", it seems like Ms Beck is about to do it all over again with her forth-coming release "The Great Escape".

Written by Robin in partnership with husband James Christian (House Of Lords) and Tommy Denander (everyone), the latter also supplying sumptuous guitaring, this new recording sees Robin back to her grandiose best, with massive, towering songs and a vocal performance to bring tears to the eyes.
Featuring the guest star appearance of Joe Lynn Turner singing a duet in 'That All Depends' and the wonderful 'Till The End Of Time' (co-written by ALIEN's Jim Jidhed) sharing lead vocals with her husband James Christian, this album is a really classic in the making, and in my opinion might even be a more complete album than that fantastic debut.

Robin says:
" I have never had more fun or more excitement making a record before this one... every single song means something to me and is straight out of my own journals.
I should have named the album "The Plain Truth" straight from the heart - Hope you get as much enjoyment out of listening to it, as I did making it! "

The actual hard copy of the cd isn't available until Feb 2011 but you have here the ' iTunes only ' version to check it out.
Pre-Order your advance copy now at a special low price from and get it PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED by Robin.
Support this wonderful talented singer!!!

01 - The One
02 - Got Me Feeling Sexy
03 - Inside Of Me
04 - That All Depends (duet with Joe Lynn Turner)
05 - Baby I'm Not A Bitch
06 - Everything Is Alright
07 - The Great Escape
08 - Don't Think He's Ever Comin' Home
09 - Cross My Heart
10 - All The Rivers
11 - Till The End Of Time (duet with James Christian)

Produced by James Christian and Tommy Denander


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