Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EDEN - Into The Within (2010)

EDEN Into The Within

EDEN is built around the talents of Nick Workman (ex KICK) and Vince O'Regan (BOB CATLEY).
This UK team plays a strong melodious hard rock wrapped with tight harmonies and good musicianship, with a vaguely proggy edge.
"Into The Within" sees the band treading boards previously stepped on by heavier Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, TEN, Kick and more commercial classic groups. The album boasts plenty of variety.
Big selling point for me is Nick Workman's vocals.

"Anything Goes" opens the disc as a freight train at full steam, with a powerful rhythm section but a melodic chorus. This track reminds me a Queensryche song.
"Revolution Man" is a Led Zep (updated 2010) based song, with a melodic metal solo. Strange and a bit odd.
But then the album suddenly springs into a new direction with the title track. "Into The Within" boasts some beastly guitars and a huge, almost melodic metal chorus. Very good indeed.
"Here Today (Gone Tomorrow)" is a cool upbeat entry with some stunning progressions. There's a '80s keyboard feel in there, but the result is remarkably up to date and classy.

"Strong" is a winding, mellow, Dream Theater-esque piece that really grows on you.
"Lay Me Down" opens with a Jimmy Page riffin'. It takes a while to get going, but boasts an excellent chorus when it does.
The hard rocking "All That's Bad For Me" takes the album up a notch or two. It's a really interesting track with a bunch of leftfield rhythms that make it achingly catchy.
"Once In A Lifetime" is a very good Skid-Row-a-like power ballad with plenty to like. Another '80s touch here.
"Your Symphony" is good, if not quite to the standard of the album's best.
"Fire Me Up" has a cool chorus and very nice rhythm guitar, one of the more 'americanized' tracks of the album.
"Loud & Clear" is the weakest track on offer here, not bad, but pretty generic.

"Into The Within" is a fine release, well recorded and produced.
Maybe the mix of influences looks strange at first glance, but the album is homogeneous and solid.
EDEN waters from different fountains, but sounds like no-other.
Give it a try, worth it.

01 - Anything Goes
02 - Revolution Man
03 - Into The Within
04 - Here Today (Gone Tomorrow)
05 - Strong
06 - Lay Me Down
07 - All That's Bad For Me
08 - Once In A Lifetime
09 - Your Symphony
10 - Fire Me Up
11 - Loud & Clear

Nick Workman : Vocals
Vince O'Regan : Guitars, Bass
James Screaton : Keyboards, Guitar
??? : Drums



Monday, November 29, 2010

Mr. MISTER - Pull (2010)

Mr. MISTER Pull 2010

Mr. MISTER, one of the best American Rock & Pop / Lite AOR bands of the '80s, released three albums before breaking up on 25 September 1990.
A fourth Mr. Mister album, "Pull" , was recorded in 1989-90, but ultimately never released (a major japanese label cancelled plans to release the album in 2001).

However, in December 2008, Richard Page told to a internet radio station about plans to release "Pull" by himself through his own label: "I'm in the process of getting it back from the record company and publish it soon."

Mr. MISTER may be considered as one of the most representative bands of the melodic pop-rock sound of '80s, with innovative songwriting, clever lyrics and superb musicianship.
The band consisted of Richard Page on vocals and bass, Steve George on keyboards, Pat Mastelotto on acoustic and electronic drums and Steve Farris on guitars.

Farris left the band after the 3rd album, but wrote most of these songs with Page, and a conglomerate of top guitarists like Trevor Rabin (YES) or the awesome Buzz Feiten take part of "Pull" recording sessions.
The 20-year waiting is over, and really worth it.
According to Richard Page, "Pull" sums up the group's talent and sound in a very good way; “Stretching the boundaries of pop music, not conforming to the conventional wisdom that you have to write within accepted perimeters, allowing ourselves the freedom to express the musicianship and writing skills we encouraged in each other.”

It's a pleasure to listen the atmospheric "Waiting In My Dreams", with that classic Mr. Mr. stamp.
Both "Close Your Eyes" and "Lifetime" could easily have replicated the success of 'Kyrie'.
"Crazy Boy" is among the freshest thing I've heard in recent years. Was it really recorded 20 years ago?
In the passionate and powerful "No Words To Say", Page rails against the segregation of Montgomery, AL, where he grew up in the late '50s.
The haunting yet urgent "We Belong To No One" is amazing.
On some tracks the band explores new territories, specially the ones featuring Trevor Rabin of YES (like "Surrender"), giving the songs a sound not disimilar to the album 'Talk' by that band.

I would urge anyone that has an ounce of musicality and an interest in what GOOD Lite AOR can sound like to purchase this album.
I think all the songs are fantastic.
As usual with everything Page and Farris wrote together, there's that depth of songwriting, where each song grows after each listening.
Albums with this type of construction are the ones you get stuck on.

01 - Learning To Crawl
02 - Waiting In My Dreams
03 - Crazy Boy
04 - Close Your Eyes
05 - Lifetime
06 - I Don't Know Why
07 - We Belong To No One
08 - Burning Bridge
09 - No Words To Say
10 - Surrender
11 - Awaya

Richard Page - vocals, bass, guitar
Steve George - keyboards, background vocals, sax
Pat Mastelotto - drums, percussion

Buzz Feiten - guitar (5+6)
Trevor Rabin - guitar (1+5+6+11), additional bass (1+6+11)
Doug Makaskell - guitar (3+11)
Peter McRea - guitar (9+10)
James Harrah - guitar (12)
Luis Conte - percussion (1+4+8+11)
John Lang - lyrics

Produced by Paul De Villiers & Mr. Mister



Sunday, November 28, 2010



Only a few years back most people in Sweden didn’t know who Stefan Gunnarsson was.
Only die hard fans of westcoast pop and a number of first class session musicians knew of his fantastic skills as a musician.
This changed almost instantly as he took place in the TV show “Så ska det låta” (“That’s the way it should sound!”) where two teams compete around one piano player each. Stefan was one of them.

His first self-titled solo album however, has been in the making for many, many years.
Maybe we should be happy of Gunnarson’s fame, ‘cause this may have speeded up the finishing touches and the release of this CD.

So what do we have here then?
Well, if you are a big fan of soft AOR and artists like MICHAEL RUFF or TIM FEEHAN – this one’s surely for you.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying Michael Ruff means soft AOR – no at all. But most of the songs on this CD are more light AOR oriented than I expected, while the ones filled with some soul/westcoast vibes do remind me a lot of Ruff.

A perfect example is “Let The Gods Do Their Work”, where the verse could’ve been taken from the 'Full Contact' album by Tim Feehan, whereas the chorus is prime time Michael Ruff. It also has a nice smooth vibe at the end.
All of you who bought the ANDREAS ALEMAN album last year will feel at home in “As you go along”, where there’s also some AIRPLAY and EARTH WIND & FIRE influences as well.
Other recommendations are “Reflections” (like Warren Wiebe meets SADE) and the wonderful upbeat tune “Fine day” (lots of Tim Feehan, Don Henley and CHICAGO here!).

There is not one single weak track here.
The list of musicians will not bring you any names you recognize – but do not fear. These are all Swedish super players, and Gunnarsson is actually involved on ALL instruments you can think of, with the exception of horns.

STEFAN GUNNARSSON's debut is a very good piece of music.
It is a charming WestCoast / Lite AOR / Pop oriented feel-good springtime music that will warm you after this long and pretty cold winter.
And if you aren’t convinced yet – Stefan is an excellent singer too!

01. Better Things To Do
02. As You Go Along
03. All Of My Might
04. Bring Me Down
05. Fine Day
06. Reflections
07. Stop, Look, Listen
08. First In Line
09. Words are Not Enough
10. Gotta Find It
11. Let The Gods Do Their Work
12. Things I Didn't Say

Stefan Gunnarsson: Electric Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Yamaha MotifHS, Percussion, Coke bottle, Background vocals, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammon Organ, Rhodes MkII, Bass, Trumpet, Drums, Yamaha DH7

Eric Bernholm: Electric Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Drum programming
Göran Eriksson: Electric Guitar, Background vocals
Johan Granström: Bass
Rasmus Kihlberg: Drums, Percussion
Anna Alerstedt: Background vocals
Bo Strandberg, Dan Johansson, Peter Dahlgren: Horns
Sigurd Löf: Tenor and Alto Sax



Saturday, November 27, 2010

FAITHEALER - Welcome To The Edge Of The World (2010)

FAITHEALER - Welcome To The Edge Of The World

Heralding the long overdue return of ivory tickler / composer Ivan Gunn (ex BALANCE OF POWER / PRIDE), FAITHEALER sees him team up with former FOREVER / S.I.N. vocalist Jason Marks – perhaps not the most high profile collaboration dallying for your affections this month, but I’ll tell you what, I’m guessing that most melodic hardrock fans will be pleasantly surprised when they finally get to hear the finished results!

Aided and abetted by a small but highly talented cast which includes Gunn’s ex Pride colleagues Matt Mitchell and Chris Green, Walk The Sky’s Rick Hunter-Martinez, and one time Balance Of Power man Paul Curtis, ‘WTTEOTW’ proves to be a textbook example of what can be achieved with little budget and even less outside support if you put your mind to it.
Of course it helps if you have the songs to back up all the inevitable pre release hype, but on that score Gunn has always had a far keener ear for great melodies than most.

Leaning more towards the bombastic melodic rock of the Balance Of Power debut ‘When The World Falls Down’ than the svelte AOR of Pride (although on some of the album's gentler moments there are definite echos of the latter), with a healthy dash of pomp thrown in for good measure (the soaring ‘Just Give Me Tonight’ has a real RED DAWN feel at times for example), ‘WTTEOTW’ has a wonderfully upbeat vibe permeating throughout.

From emotion laden ballads such as the smouldering ‘Lay Down And Die For You’, or the fabulous duet ‘Heaven From Here’, through low slung mid paced numbers like ‘Second Sight’ or ‘Who Will Stop The Rain’, to blood pumping anthems akin to the aforementioned ‘Just Give Me Tonight’, what really stands out for me is the indisputable fact that the melodies have the kind of depth, clarity and (most importantly) longevity that most similar bands can only dream of.

BALANCE OF POWER and PRIDE were two superb bands that should have hit headier heights than they did, and now FAITHEALER is here to follow their roots.
"Welcome To The Edge Of The World" is like a 'new' PRIDE album, as most of the musicians involved are ex PRIDE members.
Well constructed, intelligently arranged songs filled with glorious hooks will always shine through at the end of the day, and that’s exactly what this album delivers.


01. The beginning of the end
02. Who will stop the rain
03. Stronger
04. Just give me tonight
05. Lay down and die for you
06. Last tear drop falls
07. Tell me
08. They say
09. Heaven from here
10. Second sight
11. Still alive
12. Welcome to the edge of the world
13. The end of the beginning
14. Last tear drop falls (acoustic) [Japan bonus]

Jason Marks - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums
Ivan Gunn - Keyboards, Vocals

Chris Green (ex PRIDE) - Guitar
Matt Mitchell (ex PRIDE) - Backing Vocals
Paul Curtis (ex Balance Of Power) - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rick Hunter-Martinez (Walk The Sky) - Backing Vocals




PRIME SUSPECT Liverani melodic rock

PRIME SUSPECT is a new melodic rock combo formed by Daniele Liverani, Tommy Ermolli and Dario Ciccioni, 3 Italian musicians who came to the attention of the Melodic Rock crowd thanks to their performances on the three KHYMERA releases.
Liverani, the most experienced musician of the lot, had a long career in the Italian HR/HM scene releasing albums with the Prog Metal groups EMPTY TREMOR and TWINSPIRITS and also with the GENIUS Rock Opera in 3 chapters, showcasing an international all star cast of singers including Daniel Gildenlow (Pain of Salvation), Mark Boals, DC Cooper (ex Royal Hunt) and many more.

Since the KHYMERA last two albums saw the bulk of the songwriting from the brothers Tom and James Martin, Liverani started to put together some Melodic Rock tracks which could live on the quality of arrangement and performance of the previous KHYMERA releases.
“The awesome songwriting of the Martin Brothers for the Khymera albums I’ve been arranging and producing inspired me a lot and that’s why I decided to accept the challenge of writing some original material in the more Melodic Rock style” says Daniele Liverani presenting the new album.

“ I would say that Prime Suspect is a combination of what I’ve been learining with Khymera and my personal style and I have been thrilled with the result…
It’s been very refreshing to work on this record, and it’s been awesome as usual to work all the musicians involved, that provided great performances and the right sound for this new challenge”.
“Basically there’s a lot of classic melodic rock inside the tunes” tells Liverani.

After a few demos, the three musicians started looking for a suitable singer who could gel with the material written and the search was over when Olaf Senkbeil, fron the german band DREAMTIDE, came into the picture.
The icing on the cake was offered by the Swedish songwriter Christian Wolff (On The Rise, Johnny Lima, Mecca) who contributed with two songs “What Do You Want” and “It Could’ve Been You” for the amazing final result.

A really good debut album which offers a contemporary and European sounding / flavoured Melodic Rock, which is granted to appeal to the fans of KHYMERA, LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM and class Melodic Rock / AOR music.

01 - What Do You Want?
02 - I'll Be Fine
03 - Change This World
04 - I Never Knew
05 - I Would Like To Reach The Sun
06 - It Could've Been You
07 - Hear Me Calling
08 - Deep In My Heart
09 - So Strange
10 - Watch Me

Daniele Liverani : Keyboards, Guitars
Tommy Ermolli : Guitars
Dario Ciccioni : Drums
Mauro Catellani : Bass
Olaf Senkbeil (Dreamtide) : Vocals



Friday, November 26, 2010

7th HEAVEN - Jukebox (2010)

7th HEAVEN Jukebox 2010

Since their start in 1985 (yes, that long ago), 7th HEAVEN has grown to one of the biggest indie bands of the world.
This is the premier Chicago festival act according to prominent talent buyers in Illinois. The critically acclaimed website 'Barstar' refers to 7th HEAVEN as one of the 3 best bands in Chicago.
Not that they sell albums by the truckload, but mainly because they have made a name for themselves as a very active live band.
Playing approximately 200 shows per year is indeed a number that would make many bands jealous.

Mark Kennetz is the bassist. Richard Hofherr is the lead guitarist. Andrew Blake is the lead singer. There is cross-pollination between these three musicians as each demonstrates multiple talents.
Mark and Richard sing. Richard and Andrew play the keyboards. Andrew does a little guitar. Richard even contributes some sequencing.
Dan Miller’s hands are too busy to do anything else. Dan performs whatever duties deal with the drumsticks.
The lead singer, winner of the British TV version of American Idol known as Pop Stars, was brought in straight from Northern Ireland. He owns a gold disc on Jive records.

"Jukebox" is the quintessential collection of 7th HEAVEN’s greatest hits.
Many styles of music are found conglomerating in this compilation, but basically is influenced by many groups of both the eighties and nineties while adding a modern touch.
Think a poppier version of Def Leppard.
Radio-friendly tunes with a lot of hit potential is the best way to describe what these guys have delivered and as such, it’s almost unbelievable to see that they didn’t grow into a mega act by now.
Each song rocks in its own way and the album is laden with a ton of melodic goodies.

01 - The Music Died
02 - Better This Way
03 - Let's Talk
04 - I Can't Find Love
05 - Gravity
06 - I Don't Know
07 - All In You
08 - This Summer Gonna Last Forever
09 - Shapes
10 - I'll Be Waiting
11 - The Time Has Come
12 - Remember Me
13 - Cellophane
14 - I'm In Love
15 - Medicated
16 - Ghost Of Me
17 - Kill The Cycle
18 - War Machine
19 - Boom !

Mark Kennetz - bass, vocals
Richie Hofherr - guitars, keys, vocals
Andrew Blake - lead vocals, guitars
Dan Miller – drums



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UFO - The Best Of A Decade (2010)

UFO The Best Of A Decade

It seems that England's veteran hard rock heroes UFO have had their share of 'best of' colletions over the years, and you can add another one to the stack, this one taking a look at the last ten years and titled "The Best of a Decade".
If you've been following the band at all in recent years, you are probably aware that longtime favorite Michael Schenker is long gone, and in his place stands hot shot guitarist Vinnie Moore.
The guitar ace has recorded with the band on releases 'You Are Here', 'The Monkey Puzzle' and 'The Visitor', as well as the live CD & DVD 'Showtime'.

There's some very good material here, like "The Wild One", "Daylight Goes To Town", "Helldriver" and "Mr. Freeze", all solid contemporary hard rock pieces with the typical UFO bluesy touch.
Phil Mogg is in fine vocal form, and Vinnie Moore does a killer 'Schenker impression' while throwing in his own personality.
The beautiful "Baby Blue" is a clear example how Vinnie Moore, who had been known only as a fret blazing technique freak until he joined UFO, has the adaptability and understanding to use his undoubted talent in a far more subtle manner befitting of his surroundings.

The ten studio tracks included here are a great representation of what UFO in the 00's are all about.
Six of the sixteen tracks are live versions of old UFO classics by the current line-up; "Lights Out" (where Moore shines), "Let It Roll", "Too Hot to Handle", "This Kid ", "Shoot Shoot" and the stainless "Doctor Doctor".
UFO still rock out and can deliver better than plenty of bands half their age.
"The Best Of A Decade" is only the tip of the iceberg to what this current line-up can still offer.

01. The Wild One
02. Hard Being Me
03. Lights Out (live)
04. Saving Me
05. Daylight Goes To Town
06. Let It Roll (live)
07. This Kids (live)
08. Heavenly Body
09. Helldriver
10. Too Hot To Handle (live)
11. Mr. Freeze
12. Shoot Shoot (live)
13. Black And Blue
14. Can´t Buy A Thrill
15. Baby Blue
16. Doctor Doctor (live)

Phil Mogg - Vocals
Vinnie Moore - Guitars
Paul Raymond - Keyboards, Guitar
Andy Parker - Drums
Uncredited, but most bass by Pete Way



Monday, November 22, 2010

RICHARD PAGE - 5 Songs For Christmas (2010)

RICHARD PAGE 5 Songs For Christmas

If the name RICHARD PAGE does not rings a bell in your memory, he was the lead singer and bassist in '80s USA band Mr. MISTER, and the classic #1 hit singles 'Broken Wings' and 'Kyrie'.
In 1977, his was also a founder member of the mythical band / duo PAGES with his long time friend Steve George.
In the middle of the eighties he turned down the opportunity to be lead singer with the groups CHICAGO and TOTO (he did 'Isolation' background vocals).

After 3 successful official discs with Mr. MISTER, and one with the WestCoast project 3rd MATINEE, Page released his first solo album 'Shelter Me' in 1996.
Since then, he focused his artistic career as songwriter. His songwriting clients include Kenny Loggins, Madonna (Golden Globes and Grammy nominated song, "I'll Remember" from With Honors), Celine Dion, Dionne Warwick, Meat Loaf, Hall & Oates, BB Mak, Bill Champlin and many others.
For our pleasure, Richard has returned to the stage a couple years ago as member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, and recorded his 2nd solo 'Peculiar Life'.

Now, Page is releasing a holiday collection; "5 Songs For Christmas" as digital download only.
Includes four traditional christmas songs plus "I Always Cry At Christmas", co-written by Richard and Grammy winning producer Walter Afanasieff.
As a bonus, "I Always Cry At Christmas" live performance video, an intimate beautiful version, just the man and a piano.

All the songs are arranged in the 'Richard Page style', giving to these traditional tunes an incredible aura of magic and presence. His voice is better than ever, velvety and deep.
This is not Melodic Rock or even classic AOR, but this material is top notch, smooth, sweet and perfectly recorded and performed.
A very special gift to this season.

01 - Lo How A Rose e're Blooming
02 - What Child Is This
03 - O Come O Come Emmanuel
04 - Silent Night
05 - I Always Cry At Christmas (studio version)
06 - I Always Cry At Christmas [Live @ home]
I Always Cry At Christmas (Live @ home) VIDEO HQ

Support this Great Artist


Thursday, November 18, 2010

SEVENTH WONDER - The Great Escape (2010)


Progressive metal is a genre which continues to produce so many fantastic bands that consistently release amazing albums just like this one.
In 2008, "Mercy Falls" was unquestionably a hit for the band SEVENTH WONDER; their wonderful concept release impressed the older and won over many new fans for this Swedish group.

"The Great Escape" is Seventh Wonder's fourth album and it's a CD that will once again generate many discussions about how exceptional this band truly is, and of course like their prior recordings receive substantial play time.
So what makes this band so good?
Well, like any of the finest progressive or any top band for that matter, SEVENTH WONDER know how to compose great songs that captivate from the start, in conjunction with their high level of precise musicianship and the charming voice of vocalist Tommy Karevik.
The other point I could make: SEVENTH WONDER isn't the sort of group where one or two members really stand out. Sure there are moments but overall they just perform so well as a complete tight knit unit.

"Wiseman" and "Alley Cat" both have that familiar Seventh Wonder's intricate melodic arrangements, potent and strong sound but very accessible.
"The Angelmaker" is overflowing with Seventh Wonder's wonderful progressive twists and the complex "King Of Whitewater" is also a highlight.
A welcome addition is Tommy's sister Jenny Karevik who is heard on the very inviting song "Long Way Home", where the band explores a new territory. A slow, almost poppy and very commercial tune.

"Move On Through" has more of that Seventh Wonder's magic, as they just lock into each other's playing so well. This is another track with an enormous potential, with a modern melodic rock vibe.
You may be wondering why there are just seven songs on this CD.
Well, this time the band have really gone all out, as the final number "The Great Escape" is a triumphant epic concept track exceeding thirty minutes.
This title song is truly exceptional, the band keeps you engrossed on this substantial musical ride. The story is based on the book 'Aniara' by the Swedish Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson, and as you would expect there are many clever instrumental passages, never boring and spiced with tons of harmonies and amazing vocals.

"The Great Escape" is a terrific album, innovative in the songwriting style for this genre, accessible but consistent and brilliantly produced and mixed, with a crisp and clear sound.
If you're new to this band, or even not a big fan of this genre, you'll be surprised by SEVENTH WONDER: technically advanced progressive metal with hooks and melodies to die for.


01 - Wiseman
02 - Alley Cat
03 - The Angelmaker
04 - King Of Whitewater
05 - Long Way Home
06 - Move On Through
07 - The Great Escape

Andreas Blomqvist - Bass
Johan Liefvendahl - Guitar
Tommy Karevik - Vocals
Andreas Söderin - Keyboards
Johnny Sandin - Drums
Jenny Karevik and Johan Larsson - Additional Vocals
Arto Järvelä - Violin on "King Of Whitewater"



Friday, November 12, 2010

SKIN - Breaking The Silence (2010)

SKIN - Breaking The Silence
available exclusively from the band's site

SKIN were formed in the early '90s by ex JAGGED EDGE members Myke Gray and Andy Robbins (also formerly of TOKYO BLADE & SHOGUN) along with former KOOGA vocalist Neville MacDonald and drummer Dicki Fliszar (from Bruce Dickinson's touring band).
Through Maiden vocalist Dickinson, the band came to the attention of noted American producer Keith Olsen who offered to produce their debut at his 'Goodnight LA' Studio.

Prior to the release of the album, the band embarked upon a 14 date UK tour supporting LITTLE ANGELS.
Another support tour, this time with THUNDER helped swell their growing fan base.
SKIN's self titled debut break into the top 10 and peaking at # 9.
Unfortunately though, the band couldn't capitalize on the success of the album, and after a few more erratic releases, they finally called it a day in 1998.

11 years on, and after an offer to reunite for the '2009 Download Festival' culminated in a great performance, a full-scale successful tour followed, which led to the band being invited back to perform at this years' Download too, and the recording of a farewell album: "Breaking The Silence".

This cd ROCKS.
Neville McDonald’s voice has lost none of it's passion and power, to think this man actually gave up singing!
Myke's riffs and solos are as entertaining as ever, and the rhythm section of bassist Andy Robbins and drummer Dicki Fliszar locks in as if it's never been away.
The rip-roaring opener "Good To Be Back" is a classic rock anthem fueled with big drums and a foot-stomping rhythm.
It's followed by "Don'’t Call It Love" which has a huge groove and catchy chorus, very commercial, with a speeded up ending.
First single "Stronger" is an absolute corker, a singalong anthem that has the 'feel-good factor' through it. This song must be on the radio!
"The Book Of Your Life" has a shuffling beat and another huge chorus and great lyrics about making the most of your life experiences; 'We crash and we burn but sometimes we learn'.

The likes of "Can You Feel It", "Indestructible" and the hard-riffing "Trigger Inside" (which has echoes of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cold Sweat’), are heavier songs that lean towards the later SKIN output in style, but are still hugely enjoyable.
There are also two ballads, the understated "When I'm With You" blends the electric and acoustic guitars to perfection, while the fantastic "Redemption" is a re-working of a song that first appeared on the ‘Up Close And Personal’ acoustic CD, and is one of the finest ballads you'll hear this year, complete with beautiful backing vocals from Jackie Gilbert, and piano work from longstanding keyboardist Colin McLeod.
The album closes with the up-tempo stormer "Born To Rock’n’Roll", featuring another immense chorus, which speeds up to a frantic climax, and does exactly what it says on the tin.

"Breaking The Silence" is a fine way to draw the curtain on one of the best bands the U.K. has ever produced, wich is criminally unknown outside Britain.
The songs rock bigtime, the musicianship is top notch, and there's plenty of guitar solos and flights of artistry.
I absolutely loved the debut album (still do to this day) and it fully deserved to be a success with no less than four Top 40 hits contained within it, and I'm pleased to say that "Breaking The Silence" leans back toward the mighty debut for it's overall atmosphere – even the same logo that adorned the cover is back –

Eleven tracks of no-frills, no-bullshit classic rock’n’roll, catchy, melodic, and very well produced.
For anyone who remembers SKIN from first time, this album will please you to the extreme, for those who are encountering them for the first time, all will be surprised by the quality of this group.
Unfortunately life gets in the way, and as everybody in the band has full-time jobs and families, this December's tour will be the last, but as a thank-you to the fans for remaining loyal, the band have recorded this final album.
And if this is indeed SKIN’s swansong, it couldn't have been any better.

Available exclusively from the band's site.

01 - Good To Be Back
02 - Don't Call It Love
03 - Stronger
04 - Can You Feel It
05 - The Book Of Your Life
06 - When I'm With You
07 - Trigger Inside
08 - Indestructable
09 - Redemption
10 - Bad Reutation
11 - Born To Rock 'N' Roll

Neville McDonald : Vocals
Myke Gray : Guitars
Andy Robbins : Bass
Dicki Fliszar : Drums



Thursday, November 11, 2010

QUEENSRYCHE - Empire 20th Anniversary Edition (2010)

QUEENSRYCHE - Empire 20th Anniversary Edition
the 'Real' one

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its original release, this classic album gets remastered with 13 bonus tracks, among them 10 previously unreleased live performances recorded in 1990 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon.

“Empire” went triple platinum and spawned Top 10 Modern Rock hits as “Silent Lucidity”, “Jet City Woman” and “Another Rainy Night”, the Top 20 single “Anybody Listening?” and the Top 30 singles “Best I Can” and “Empire”.

This 'Deluxe Edition' features:

Disc 1 is the entire “Empire” album with three bonus songs; “Last Time In Paris” (one of my personal favorites), which was never included on the 1990 original full length recording, originally done for the soundtrack to the 1990 movie 'The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane', starring Andrew Dice Clay.
Also “Dirty Lil’ Secret” and the band’s cover version of Simon & Garfunkel's classic “Scarborough Fair”.

In the U.S., the album peaked at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, #10 in UK, and the album's international success led to Queensrÿche's 18-month headlining “Building Empires” world tour, the band's longest trek to date.
Disc 2 contains tracks recorded on November 15, 1990 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
This is the real coup from this release.
Recordings of this show have surfaced before, as a bonus disc to a deluxe edition of “Operation: Mindcrime”, featuring that classic album recorded live in its entirety.
The balance of that show can be found here for the first time.

What more can I say about “Empire - Deluxe Edition” ?
If you're already a QUEENSRYCHE fan, chances are, you already own the original release.
But this 2 disc package with bonus songs and a previously unreleased Live concert, is something you'll truly enjoy. Production-wise, the high end is much more clearer and pristine.
On the other hand, if you're just discovering the band now, then this 2 CD set is a must have.

Disc 1:
01. Best I Can
02. The Thin Line
03. Jet City Woman
04. Della Brown
05. Another Rainy Night (Without You)
06. Empire
07. Resistance
08. Silent Lucidity
09. Hand On Heart
10. One And Only
11. Anybody Listening?
12. Last Time In Paris [bonus track]
13. Scarborough Fair [bonus track]
14. Dirty Lil' Secret [bonus track]

Disc 2:
Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London
November 15, 1990
01. Resistance
02. Walk In The Shadows
03. Best I Can
04. The Thin Line
05. Jet City Woman
06. Empire
07. Roads To Madness
08. Take Hold Of The Flame
09. Silent Lucidity
10. Hand On Heart

Geoff Tate: Lead vocals, Keyboards
Chris Degarmo: Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Michael Wilton: Guitars
Eddie Jackson: Bass, Backing Vocals
Scott Rockenfield: Drums, Percussion



Sunday, November 7, 2010

BEGGARS & THIEVES - Stone Alone EP limited edition (2010)

BEGGARS & THIEVES - Stone Alone EP limited edition
Sold at Firesfest - 500 Copies only

After 10 years of inactivity, BEGGARS & THIEVES are back recording a new album.
"Stone Alone Firefest collectors EP" (sold at their recent show in the Firefest Festival) features an advance of the new material, the single 'Stone Alone', mixed and mastered by Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Hinder).

The EP includes 2 previously unreleased tracks recorded at the 'We Are The Brokenhearted sessions' plus bonus acoustic versions of their classics 'No More Broken Dreams' and 'Beggars & Thieves' (also previously unreleased) and not to be included on any other album.
"Stone Alone Firefest collectors EP" will be a limited edition (500 units), a collector's item.

01 - Stone Alone (New track 2010)
02 - Things We Lost In The Fire (previously unreleased)
03 - Will A Love Survive (previously unreleased)
04 - No More Broken Dreams [Live Acoustic] (prev. unreleased)
05 - Beggars & Thieves [Live Acoustic] (prev. unreleased)

Louie Merlino : Vocals
Ronnie Mancuso : Guitars
Guest Musicians : unlisted



Saturday, November 6, 2010

BANGALORE CHOIR - On Target [remastered] (2010)

BANGALORE CHOIR - On Target remastered
Includes bonus video

What a great time for melodic hard music 1992 was... Danger Danger had just released their best work in 'Screw It!', Kiss returns from the ashes with the good 'Revenge', House Of Lords with maybe their best disc 'Demons Down', blasting new albums from Unruly Child, Fair Warning, Robin Beck... and the release of this underrated melodious hard rocker by BANGALORE CHOIR.

Unfortunately, "On Target" was released in 1992, at the dawn of the grunge movement – during a time where hard rock acts would soon be swept on the back burner.
The band featured the amazing frontman David Reece, his voice is a blend of late '80s David Coverdale with Jeff Scott Soto, the great ex-Razormaid axeman Curt Mitchell and the tight rhythm section by Dan Greenberg and Derek Thomas whom actually recorded the album, although credited as 'additional musicians'.
Production duties were shared by noted studio gurus Max Norman and James "Jimbo" Barton.

"Angel In Black" will grab your attention instantly. This Autograph unreleased track penned by Steve Plunkett was enhanced with the band's uplifting rhythm, and somehow turned out to be surprisingly awesome.
"Loaded Gun" is the band's MTV-hit track, a great melodic bliss commercial midtempo ala Damn Yankees with a late 80's Whitesnake vibe, co-written with another expertise in this matter; Ricky Phillips (Bad English).
"If The Good Die Young" is really a wonderful power ballad, one of their strongest tracks full of emotion.
"Doin' The Dance" (written by Jon Bon Jovi and Aldo Nova) is a nice moody rocker.
The raucous "All Or Nothin' " sounds exactly like a Whitesnakes' Slip Of The Tongue tune, with a sick guitar tone.
"Slippin' Away" is one of their best tracks sounding like King Kobra featuring great hooks and rhythm.
The last track, "Just One Night", is also an underrated gem with unbelievably majestic chorus.

BANGALORE CHOIR's debut is a sanctuary for melodic ears, a killer collection of catchy commercial hard rock that would have made them legends in the Los Angeles music scene and beyond.
All songs had hit potential written all over them and should have been played over rock radio endlessly.

This album was criminally overlooked at his time, if "On Target" is still missing in your collection, then make sure you finally get it now.
If you already have the original, then you should consider buying this reissue as well.
Now comes complete with the promo video of 'Loaded Gun' (which only was aired 2 weeks on MTV), new artwork and superb sound quality, perfectly remastered by the genius Martin Kronlund.
This disc should be on your top-priority buy list if you haven't have it yet.

01. Angel In Black
02. Loaded Gun
03. If The Good Die Young (We'll Live Forever)
04. Doin' The Dance
05. Hold On To You
06. All Or Nothin'
07. Slippin' Away
08. She Can't Stop
09. Freight Train Rollin'
10. Just One Night
11. Loaded Gun (bonus video)

David Reece - vocals
Curt Mitchell - guitar and background vocals
John Kirk - guitar and background vocals
Ian Mayo - bass and background vocals
Jackie Ramos - drums and background vocals

Additional Musicians:
Dan Greenberg - bass
Derek Thomas - drums



Monday, November 1, 2010

PJ RAUTIAINEN - Secret Isle (2010)

PJ RAUTIAINEN Secret Isle 2010
only released in Finland

PJ RAUTIAINEN is coming out of Finland and he just released his first solo album "Secret Isle" independently.
PJ (Pekka) sang on 2 excellent Melodic Rock albums with the band HOUSE OF MIRRORS throughout the 2000s, but left that band to start a solo career, which now resulted in a full-length debut album.

RAUTIAINEN offers on "Secret Isle" high quality hookladen Westcoast / lite AOR in the best early '80s L.A. tradition of acts like DAVID ROBERTS, MARK SPIRO, JOE PIZZULO, JAY GRUSKA, TIME GALLERY, TOTO (first albums) and a Melodic Rock side where URBAN TALE, CROSSFADE, HEARTPLAY come to mind, while CHICAGO and even some DAKOTA similarities can be heard here and there.

The record opens with "Secret Isle" that is a wonderful WC/AOR song with beautiful melodies and a strong chorus.
"Falling For You" reminiscent of CHICAGO mixed with TOTO, soft and easy listening.
"Every Time When It Rains" is a light-weight rocker again strongly influenced by TOTO featuring an effective AOR chorus.
"This Burden" is an awesome mid-tempo that has JOURNEY influences written all over and makes me think of MARK SPIRO best moments.
I got a smirk on my face when listening to the saxophone playing loudly on "Hey Brother", it felt like listening to some classic stuff from HALL & OATES, seriously.
The bluesy laid back style ballad "Show Me The Way" adds a touch of class to the record and PJ’s vocals here are more up in the mix than on other tracks.
The intro of "Burning" reminds me a bit of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition'. A soulful tune, very very groovy.
There's also some songs in the vein of mid-'80s rock&pop acts (like "Promise You", sounding a lot like CHRISTOPHER CROSS), not strictly AOR / Westcoast, but with a high level of musicianship and quality.

The tasteful vocal work of PJ, along with some beautiful harmony vocals, good expertly players (all finnish) and excellent production for an indie release, makes this album an absolute delight for anyone who appreciated quality music and WC/AOR fans will most definitely instantly fall in love with the record.
Perhaps one of the finest Westcoast / light AOR releases of the year, that unfortunately has passed unnoticed to the major audience.
Make no mistake about this and check it out. Worth it.

01 - Secret Isle
02 - Falling For You
03 - Everytime When It Rains
04 - Hey Brother
05 - Show Me The Way
06 - Burning
07 - This Burden
08 - Clarity
09 - Road Song
10 - I Shout
11 - Promise You

Pekka Rautiainen – vocals,backing vocals
Anssi Nykänen – drums
Harri Rantanen – bass
Tuomo Vähä-Pesola – keys
Seppo Tyni, Kari Riihimäki, Jouni Saarinen – guitar
Jukka Perko, Mikko Karjalainen – horns
Mongo Aaltonen – percussion
Kadi Vija – backing vocals

Thanks to VigiAOR


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