Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MIKE PORCARO - Brotherly Love (2011)

MIKE PORCARO - Brotherly Love (2011)

{SHM-CD Edition With Bonus CD}

For almost a half century, the name Porcaro has been synonymous with musical greatness.
It began with Papa Joe Porcaro, whose roots go back to gigging in Connecticut before transplanting and continuing his music career in Los Angeles. Soon to follow were three amazing prodigies who embraced the L. A. music scene in the mid to late 70’s and didn’t let go.
Jeff, Mike and Steve Porcaro’s talents transcended their band TOTO and touched thousands of recordings for more than 4 decades.
But their success in the music industry is only a small part of what makes the Porcaro family so special.

When you consider the loss of Jeff in an accident in 1992 and the impact this had on the world of music and his fans - even to this day - I can’t imagine how this impacted the Porcaro family.
“Brotherly Love” is a 2 CD set that was recorded live in Koblenz, Germany in 2002 as a tribute to Jeff.
It features an all-star cast of musicians, including ex TOTO's Bobby Kimball, David Paich, Joseph Williams, rock legends Glenn Hughes, Alex Ligertwood, David Garfield, Greg Bissonette and more, and of course brother Steve Porcaro and father Joe Porcaro.
The songs on this project cover many Porcaro influenced selections, including ones by TOTO, Boz Scaggs, Los Lobotomys, Al Green, Steely Dan, etc.

The overall performance is simply outstanding.
It's curious to listen the voice of rock Glenn Hughes singing (with Bobby Kimball) the TOTO classic "Rosanna". This version is spectacular, with more than 10 musicians involved. Killer guitar solo by Doug Bossi.
But where Glenn Hughes really shines is on Hendrix's "Manic Depression", where his vocals really explodes, literally. Screaming guitar on this track and excellent drumming by Greg Bissonette.
All songs are superb and are performed with class, featuring new arrangements and beautiful melodies.
Mike’s groove is so deep-in-the-pocket-tight, but loose enough that his bass parts always seem to blend so nicely with everything.
CD 2 features more jammin', where all are freely to show their virtuosity.
Particularly "Big-Bone", an instrumental written by Jeff, is terrific. Drummer Steve Gadd did a great job fitting Jeff's shoes.

According to Bobby Kimball, the musicians who were on the show hadn't realized it was being recorded, which adds freshness to this awesome double set.
We now have come to realize that Mike Porcaro is struggling with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) on a daily basis and has been for a few years.
Considering his condition, it was such a wonderful surprise to see “Brotherly Love” released and that Mike spearheaded this project.

Anyone who wants to get their hands on this first-class double CD, do it soon. Not only will you enjoy the album, but you'll be helping Mike by showing your love for him for all of the great music and 'Master Grooves' he brought forth onstage with TOTO for many years.
Only available as import, it was pressed at the very end of 2010 and released on January, 2011, Japan only.
As with all Japanese titles, this one's only for a limited time so get it while it lasts. It isn't cheap, but worth every cent, trust me.

Disc 1:

1. Rosanna (7:08)
2. Manic Depression (4:43)
3. Georgy Porgy (9:38)
4. Lowdown (8:07)
5. E Minor Shuffle (8:05)
6. English Eyes (7:21)
7. Human Nature (5:24)
8. Straight No Chaser (8:52)
9. Africa (6:52)
10. Let's Stay Together (Bonus Track) (8:37)

Disc 2:

1. Stuffy (1:31)
2. Jeff's Strut (8:06)
3. Babylon Sisters (7:31)
4. Big-Bone (7:44)
5. Corbitt Van Brauer (10:43)

Mike Procaro - Bass
David Garfield - Keyboards
Steve Porcaro - Keyboards
Michael O'Neill - Guitar
Lenny Castro - Percussion
Glenn Hughes - Lead Vocal (1, 2, 10)
Alex Ligertwood - Lead Vocal (3, 4, 9, 10)
Bobby Kimball - Lead Vocal (1, 6, 9, 10)
Steve Gadd - Drums (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15)
Gregg Bissonette - Drums (1, 2, 5, 9, 13, 14)
Robin DiMaggio - Drums (4, 9)
Chase Duddy - Drums (6)
Joe Porcaro - Drums (8), Percussion (9)
John Robinson - Drums (10)
Bernard Purdie - Drums (13)
Larry Klimas - Sax, Flute
Ralph "Mosch" Himmler - Trumpet
David Paich - Piano (9), Additional Vocals (9)
Doug Bossi - Guitar Solos (1), Additional Guitars (6)
Joseph Williams - Backing Vocals (6, 9)



Monday, May 30, 2011

JIMI JAMISON - The Restless Kind CDs (2011)

JIMI JAMISON - The Restless Kind CDs (2011)

Legendary vocalist JIMI JAMISON (Survivor, Cobra) will be releasing in June 11 a new single, "The Restless Kind".
The song, a tune with a really Survivor feel, was voted #1 on HEY RADIO 88.8 FM, Berlin, Germany, in their song contest for the Second Week in a Row.
The 'b-side' is a beautiful ballad entitled "Tears In My Eyes".

Besides, Jamison has recorded - for a Japan benefit video compilation - acoustically live in the studio a cover of the classic "Can't Find My Way Home", penned by S. Winwood, originally performed by Blind Faith (the supergroup with Eric Clapton), and later covered by many bands, including House Of Lords.
This track won't be available on any format.

1 - The Restless Kind
2 - Tears In My Eyes

3 - Can't Find My Way Home (acoustic)

CDsingle samples:


LIBERTY N JUSTICE - Chasing A Cure LP (2011)

LIBERTY N JUSTICE Chasing A Cure LP (2011)
Limited Edition

Near the end of 2010, in order to create awareness towards epilepsy and raise money for a cure, Justin Murr, the man behind all-star project Liberty N Justice, rounded up a bunch of rock star friends to put together a digital download only EP entitled "Chasing A Cure" including 5 songs.

Now Liberty N Justice is releasing "Chasing A Cure" on physical CD, this time around adding in 7 new songs consisting of covers, unreleased material and alternate versions of a couple of songs featured on previous LNJ albums.
This CD re-entitled "Chasing A Cure LP" will be available for a short time in a very limited quantity of only 500 copies being pressed.
Once these are gone, they are gone and will not be reproduced.

The first five tracks are exactly as they appeared on the digital EP. All are co-written by Vic Rivera.
Paul Shortino and Ron Keel lend their massive voices to the lead track "Say Uncle", a song about finally giving in, letting go, and letting God take over by "saying uncle". This track also features a very nice solo and outro from Twisted Sister guitarist, Eddie Ojeda.
Donnie Vie of Enuff 'Z Nuff is in excellent form on the track "Throwing Stones", which also features King Kobra guitar-slinger, JK Northrup. This is a nice mid-tempo rocker, again featuring smoking little solo in the middle and an incredibly catchy chorus. While probably a bit blusier and more modern than anything most Enuff Z' Nuff fans will recall Vie working on in the past, I think this is a style that suits him extremely well. This song is as radio-ready as it gets, and I would love to hear this get some airplay somewhere.

"Paige's Song" was written it tribute to Justin's daughter, and is a big piano-driven ballad featuring the talents of ex Unruly Child Philip Bardowell on vocals and Tony Palacios of Guardian on guitar. This tune really showcases Bardowell’s vocal power.
"Playing God" features Terry Ilous of XYZ on vocals, along with AOR legend Jeff Paris and Richard Kendrick of Near Life Experience. A very sweet melodic rocker with a very catchy refrain and nice backing vocals.
The final original EP track is the title cut, "Chasing A Cure". Benny Mardones turns in a powerful vocal performance and Firehouse's Bill Leverty adds a killer solo to this AOR semi-ballad.

On this newly expanded LP version of the album, Justin teases his fanbase by giving them hints of the upcoming LnJ double disc release. Two cover songs are included here.
Skid Row's "Quicksand Jesus" is handled very well by Kelly Keeling on vocals and is a nearly dead-on performance of the Skid's classic ballad.
The inclusion of Michael Jackson's "Black Or White" will set a lot of people to scratching their heads, but it works surprisingly well... up until Justin gets hip-hop-happy one more time and includes a rap from D.O.C.'s Alton Hood. Nowhere near my favorite moment of the album, but Ilous handles the non-rap portion of the vocals and Northrup rips off a nice little solo and handles the poppy guitar riff perfectly.
Also teasing the listeners is the track "Butterface", which is a sampling of the more modern rock-sounding original tracks that will also be included in the upcoming LNJ double disc release. This track features a monster guitar job from Joshua "When Mullets Ruled The World" is a smirk-laden ballad about the hairy excesses of the 1980's and early 1990's. Check out the video link below to be time-warped back to the days of spandex, leather, hot chicks, and guys who tried to look like hot & cool.

Probably the most unique song on this album is "Ground Zero", a huge, progressive track featuring none other than Kerry Livgren of Kansas fame, Carmen Appice on drums, and Kelly Keeling on vocals. This is, not surprisingly, a very Kansas-esque prog-rocker that simply has to be heard to be appreciated. Livgren is in excellent form here, tearing through a huge minute-long solo, and I don't know that I have heard Keeling sound this powerful before. An excellent, multi-layered and textured track that adds an entirely different dimension to this album.
"Snake Eat Snake" is a plugged-in version of a song that Reeves and Webster, both of Neon Cross, had contributed to the LNJ 'Independence Day' release a couple of years ago.
"Eve" and "Damascus Road" are demos of material that had not made previous releases featuring maestro Tommy Denander, with "Eve" being a modern-sounding up-tempo rocker and "Damascus Road" being a piano-driven power ballad.

I’m unsure who did all of the bass and drums for the album (I’m assuming Justin did the bass), but the backbone of the songs is solid throughout. The same can be said for the places where keyboards are added in.
Vic Rivera of AdrianGale / Crunch contributes heavily to the songwriting to this album (his name is actually featured alongside Liberty N Justice on the cover), and I believe he also supplies the vocals to both "Eve" and "Damascus Road".
Line Of Fire’s Shawn Pelata also getting writing credits on the title cut of the album.
"Chasing A Cure LP" is the most commercial, melodic rock oriented album of Liberty N Justice, there are really no weak songs here at all, and certainly nothing that would deter any fan of the project or any of its contributors from picking up this album.
The line up on the original EP alone is enough for the melodic rock fan to want to purchase this CD.
This Ltd. Ed. will be a collector's item in near future, get yours quickly.

01 Say Uncle (Paul Shortino of Quiet Riot / Rough Cutt, Ron Keel of Keel & Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister)

02 Throwing Stones (Donnie Vie of Enuff Z Nuff & JK Northrup)

03 Paige’s Song (Philip Bardowell of MAGDALEN/Unruly Child/The Beach Boys and Tony Palacios of Guardian)

04 Playing God (Terry Ilous of XYZ, Jeff Paris and Richard Kendrick of Near Life Experience)

05 Chasing A Cure (Benny Mardones, John Pine and Bill Leverty of Firehouse)

Bonus 'LP' tracks:
06 Black Or White (Terry Ilous of XYZ, Alton Hood of D.O.C. & JK Northrup) Originally Recorded by Michael Jackson

07 Quicksand Jesus (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge) Originally Recorded by Skid Row

08 Snake Eat Snake ‘Electric Version’ (David Raymond Reeves & Don Webster of Neon Cross)

09 Butterface (Mark Allen Lanoue of Biloxi & Joshua Perahia of Joshua)

10 When Mullets Ruled The World (Philip Bardowell of MAGDALEN/Unruly Child/The Beach Boys)

11 Ground Zero (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge and Kerry Livgreen of Kansas/Protokaw & Carmine Appice)

12 Eve (Tommy Denander)

13 Damascus Road (Tommy Denander)



Saturday, May 28, 2011

ROCK FOR JAPAN - Various Artists (2011)

Just over two months ago, on March 11, 2011, one of the biggest natural disasters hit Japan.
The earthquake, the tsunami and the ensuing nuclear crisis, linked to the incomprehensible pictures on TV, left all of us extremely sad around the world, but just some of the artists who had been touched by the immense generosity and wonderful friendliness of that country’s people felt beyond anything, that something needed to be done to help.

The original idea simply was to release a Melodic Rock / Hard Rock charity album for Japan and to donate all profits from the sales of this double CD to the Red Cross.
An e-mail was sent out to just some of the bands mentioned here in order to find out if any of them would be interested in participating in this project, but what came back from the international community was astonishing.
Within 24 hours of the message being sent, more than 20 high profile bands and artists from all over the world had offered to take part by contributing previously unreleased material… and the replies just kept coming and coming.

Since many of these bands have got a long history, which is heavily connected to the Japanese country and to it’s wonderful people who have often become loyal friends to many of these musicians, it’s time to release this special double album that shows that a simple song can convey so much.
Participation means a lot for all of these artists. The songs you hear come deep from their hearts and even though this seems to be just a small thing, it is hoped that all these little pieces – and this also includes the income from this project and the donations as a result of it – will be one part of an over-all puzzle that may just help in the end.

Most of tracks here are previously unreleased or new recordings and will not be found anywhere else.
The booklet makes clear which version of each song is included and all of the acts give comment on their contribution to this excellent compilation.
Full marks, not only for the good cause, but also for the great quality on offer.

ROCK FOR JAPAN - Various Artists (2011)

1. FM - Kissed By An Angel (previously unreleased in Europe)

2. Tommy Heart (Fair Warning) - And I Know (previously unreleased)

3. Grand Illusion - Yumi's Eyes (previously unreleased, recorded during the ‘Brand New World’ sessions)

4. Harlan Cage - Sinner‘s Groove (new recording)

5. Fiona - Loved Along The Way (new recording)

6. Dan Reed - I Don’t Mind (previously unreleased, recorded during the ‘Coming Up For Air’ sessions)

7. Tony Harnell - One Way Ride (previously only released on a digital only, self-released EP)

8. Grand Design - Love Will Shine The Way (new recording)

9. Doogie White / Pontus Norgren - Message Of Love (previously unreleased cover of the Journey song of the same name)

10. Hartmann feat. Tobias Sammet - Brother’s [Live] (recorded at the Colossaal, Aschaffenburg, Germany 2009, prev. unreleased in Europe)

11. Brian McDonald - In Too Deep (new recording)

12. Shotgun Symphony - The One (new recording)

13. Brett Walker - Good Enough (new recording)

14. Peter Beckett - Too Many Reasons (new recording)

15. Poison Sun - Russian Racketeers (previously unreleased; from the ‘Virtual Sin’ sessions)

16. Big Nature - One Way Ride (feat. Chandler Mogel from Outloud & Talon on vocals; previously unreleased)

17. Legs Diamond - Missing A Part (previously unreleased; from the sessions for the album ‘Diamonds Are Forever’)

ROCK FOR JAPAN - Various Artists (2011)

1. Soul Doctor - You’re All That I Want [Single Remix] (2011 shortened remix of the song which originally appeared on the album ‘Soul Doctor’; this version previously unreleased)

2. Crown Of Thorns - I Won’t Wait (prev.y available on ‘Crown Jewels’; from the recording sessions of the album ‘Crown Of Thorns’)

3. Harem Scarem - Easier (previously unreleased song)

4. Robin Beck - The One (previously released on the 2011 album 'The Great Escape')

5. Torben Schmidt - Run Away (previously unreleased on CD)

6. Mark Spiro - Say Your Prayers (previously unreleased)

7. House Of Lords - Spirit Of Love (previously released on the album ‘Demons Down’)

8. Mitch Malloy - Anything At All [Live] (recorded at Firefest 2008; previously unreleased on CD)

9. Dogface - Fired (previously unreleased)

10. Kane’d - Rock Against The D.J. (previously unreleased)

11. Royal Hunt - Back To Square One [Live] (recorded in Atlanta, USA in 2009; previously unreleased)

12. M.ill.ion - What I Want (previously unreleased; from the sessions for the album ‘Kingsize’)

13. Johnny Lima - Nowhere Left To Go (previously unreleased)

14. Tommy Denander - Where Is The Fire (previously unreleased on CD; feat. Mikkey Dee on drums and John Leven on bass)

15. Chris Laney - Coming Home (previously unreleased)

16. Bulletrain - Take Me To The Sun (previously unreleased on CD; from the self-financed EP of the band)

17. Subsignal - Wingless (previously unreleased demo version)



VICTORY - Don't Talk Science (2011)

VICTORY - Don't Talk Science (2011)

VICTORY was one of the most interesting German bands of the '80s releasing such melodic hard rock gems as 'Culture Killed The Native (1989)' and 'Temples Of Gold (1990)'.
The group remained active during the nineties, but after 'Voiceprint (1996)', they somehow fell into oblivion quite a while and even dissolved.
For many years it was quiet around Victory's camp until 2003, when the comeback album 'Instinct' was released featuring the new vocalist Charlie Huhn (ex Ted Nugent).

Now, Victory is back stronger than ever, with a new CD entitled "Don't Talk Science".
With new singer Jioti Parcharidis on the mic, the band proves once again that they are still one of the most competent bands of the German hard rock scene.
After listen this new album entirely, I'm pretty sure this is one of the best albums in this genre in recent years.
While Victory has been always very melodic (and they still are), on many tracks of "Don't Talk Science" the approach is quite hard 'n heavy, but in a good way, displaying a great variety of arrangements, very good songwriting with no song sounding the same.

The powerful hard 'n heavy rocker "Restless" blows the listener right from the start with an unexpectedly large amount of in-your-face energy. The has a fantastic driving groove, razor yet polished electric guitars and great vocals from new singer Jioti Parcharidis. Everything sounds fat and big as you would expect from a hard rock album.
Follower "Speak Up" has the same vibe as the opener: golden '80s uptempo rocker with crunchy riffs and a monster rhythm section. This track reminds me the most commercial Accept (maybe 'cos guitarist Herman Frank used to play on that band) but much more accessible and catchy.
"Rockstar" is another melting hardrocker, this time with some american influences and a nice guitar duel at the end.

"Love Kills Love" slows downs the pace a little, sounding a lot like late '80s Whitesnake, specially on the vocals. Jioti Parcharidis was a great find, this is a serious singer with an incredible range and volume, he has the ability to change his vocal expression between each track. The chorus on this track is really infectious.
"Burn Down The City" has an intense hard bluesy groove, while "Down Load Down" puts the pedal to the metal again (Accept), rocking in you face with class.
"Right Between The Eyes" is absolutely american, with multi-layered backing vocals and a muscular riff. This track is one of the highlights, this band knows how to write a good song!

The anthemic "Blinded By Darkness" offers again more variation on this very good album, both guitars have a different sound than on the previous tracks, and Jioti sings his heart out here. This guy is a terrific singer. Excellent guitar solo here as well.
"Victim Of Lies" is another strong song, an emotional trip back to the eighties glory. This is some kind of a midtempo but powerful and meaty.
"Waiting For The Wind" was originally written by a band called Spooky Tooth, this is a retro rocker with a very, very original guitar work by the duo Tommy Newton / Herman Frank.
Last track is a cover of disco/pop band Pointer Sisters. Victory has added adrenaline and guitars to the song and what we have is a killer melodic rock extremely catchy. This is the only track including keyboards (nice touch) that increases the melody. Big backing vocals and hot guitar solo makes this tune another winner.

VICTORY has returned with one of the best albums of their entire career.
The band has managed to unite the magical moments of the golden '80s with modern sounds but faithful to their pedigree.
There's no weak track on this disc, varied and always entertaining.
The band sounds powerful, fresh, plenty of ideas and with an astonishing musicianship. Both axe-men offer a monster wall of guitars and vocalist Jioti is one of the best I heard in recent years.
Production is first rate, crisp and big, I mean; BIG.
Think the last TREAT album in terms of quality and energy. Yes, it's that good.

01 - Restless
02 - Speak Up
03 - Rockstar
04 - Love Kills Love
05 - Burn Down The City
06 - Down Load Down
07 - Right Between The Eyes
08 - Blinded By Darkness
09 - No Return
10 - Victim Of Lies
11 - Go To Hell
12 - Waiting For The Wind
13 - I'm So Excited (Pointer Sisters cover)

Jioti Parcharidis - Vocals
Tommy Newton - Guitars
Herman Frank - Guitars
Peter Knorr - Bass
Achim Keller - Drums



Friday, May 27, 2011

OLE BORUD - Keep Movin' (2011)

OLE BORUD - Keep Movin' (2011)

Ole Børud is far from a newcomer in the Norwegian music scene. Few artists are as widely experienced.
Starting his singing career at the age of five, Ole appeared on his first record already the year after. From the age of sixteen, he has been a full-time musician, both singing and playing guitar, with numerous bands and artists in a variety of genres and settings.
Ole has toured every continent, and starred on almost twenty album releases.

He has previously released two solo albums, and they're both high class releases.
The first one was "Chi-rho" (2000), delivering melodic pop/rock cover songs with one foot in the modern way of producing them, while still remaining with the other foot in the world of AOR. It contained songs by the likes of White Heart, PFR and others, performed in a flawless way.
However, Ole then headed for self-made songs and turned into the westcoast style with his follow-up "Shakin' The Ground" (2008). The album was absolutely one of the best ones in this genre to see the light of day in the past few years.
I've also been told he's got a metal band that's supposed to be great - it seems this Norwegian can handle any kind of music... and this new "Keep Movin" album might be his best to date.

For anyone into high quality classic Westcoast AOR mixed with smooth, catchy, stylized funk overtones, Ole Borud is all what you need.
He's got it all: one of the best voices in the circuit, fantastic songs, clever arrangements and a luxury set of session musicians.
From the first track "High Time" you know this gonna be a perfectly produced album. This is a really catchy and vibrant funk-rock/soul peppered with explosive horns and a great slap bass.
"Rock Steady" is very american sounding, melodic and organic, with a foot-tappin' infectious chorus. Excellent vocal harmonies and feel good vibe.
"Awaiting Your Reply" is the first pure Westcoast track on the album, complete with organ and a night-drive groove. Very classy tune in the earlier Chicago style.
"Keep Movin" is a dynamic commercial R&B inspired in the best Earth, Wind & Fire motto but with a modern sound and production. Again, awesome vocal arrangements and excellent guitars reminiscent of TOTO.

And now... the highlight (amongst many) of the CD: "Broken People" is just an instant classic. A wonderful, pure westcoast/AOR ala PAGES or AIRPLAY. This is a magical tune, one of the best of the year without a doubt. The harmony vocals are perfect, period.
If you don't have enough, next "Make A Change" is another little masterpiece. Real L.A. scene feel on this one, it's like a trip to an '80s lounge surrounded with its smooth and velvety melody. The Jay Graydon-like guitar solo is perfect.
"She's Like No Other" is Ole's tribute to his mother, and it's a soul/westcoast melody somewhere in the neighborhood of GINO VANNELLI and EDIN/ÅDAHL.

"Souls In Chains" is one of the most original tracks on this CD, featuring a complex backbeat in the TOTO vein. The guitar and bass picking in the verse is nicely executed and shows the wide variation that Börud presents in his arrangements. This song gives you westcoast and fusion in one and the same song.
Do you like Tommy Funderburk? Then you'll love "Step Into My Light". Borud vocals here are simply marvelous (to be honest, that's it all over this great album).
Final track is another incredible smooth and high class song, a terrific ballad influenced by PAGES or NIELSEN/PEARSON's self-titled album. Borud is so integral as musician... the guitar solo on this particular track delivered by himself is so good that both Jay Graydon and Tim Pierce or Michael Landau would have been proud of.

Børud’s music is a result of his diverse background, and is just as exciting.
Exquisite harmonies and sophisticated arrangements bears proof of his love for late '70s / '80s Westcoast, whereas the rhythms are deeply rooted in smooth funk and classic R&B.
The album is in many ways a musical encounter between west coast sunshine and a gritty east coast urbanity, where you can hear inspiration from artists as different as Jay Graydon, Pages, Steely Dan, Airplay.
It all gets so vivid when you get real instruments all the way on a CD like this one.
But what really gives the album its distinctive stamp, is Ole Børud’s incomparable voice: as crystal clear as it is, it leaves a unique personal signature, carrying the tunes with nerve, heart and soul.
Did I mention Ole is also masterfully producing "Keep Movin" himself? And in a very dynamic way.
With some of the best Norwegian musicians in the back-up band, the stage is set for one of the most groundshaking musical experiences of the year.
Highly Recommended

01 - High Time
02 - Rock Steady
03 - Awaiting Your Reply
04 - Keep Movin
05 - Broken People
06 - Make A Change
07 - Heaven Is On My Side
08 - She's Like No Other
09 - Souls In Chains
10 - Step Into My Light
11 - Resting Day

Ole Børud : vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
Ruben Dalen : drums, percussion, keyboards
Lars Erik Dahle : bass (2, 5, 6, 8, 11)
Frode Østang Mangen : Rhodes piano, wurlitzer, hammond, synths
Jens Petter Antonsen : trumpet, flugel horn
Børge Are Halvorsen : sax, flute
Even Kruse Skatrud : trombone
Markus Lillehaug Johnsen : guitar (solo on 5)
Hilde Stavnem Børud : backing vocals



THE RODS - Vengeance (2011)

THE RODS - Vengeance (2011)

Some fires are just not extinguishable.
Classic traditional heavy metal band The Rods, who got their start in the late 1970s and made their mark through the early 1980s, have returned with their first studio album in a quarter century titled "Vengeance".
Reunited is the core trio that drove the band through those years; guitarist and lead vocalist David 'Rock' Feinstein, bassist and vocalist Gary Bordonaro, and drummer Carl Canedy.

The band’s album comes on the heels of Feinstein’s solo effort 'Bitten By the Beast', which was released last November.
That album, like "Vengeance", features a song performed by legend Ronnie James Dio, who also happens to be Feinstein’s cousin and former bandmate in ELF way back in the early seventies.

"Vengeance" is a true hard rock / traditional metal effort, a very retro sounding album. You won't find sweet melodies or heavenly harmonies here.
David 'Rock' Feinstein's vocals aren't the most dynamic or impressive, but works for this kind of material.
Some tracks are pretty weak imho, but we can find some respectable and even cool old school crunch songs as "Raise Some Hell", the catchy "I Just Wanna Rock" or the 'denim & leather' "Runnin' Wild".
Another interesting song is "Let It Ripp", which begins with a neat percussive effect where drummer Canedy used some jazz drum sticks on plastic cafeteria seats. When the song kicks in it is unrelenting and ruthless and delivered with an energy that proves that the band is not merely going through the motions.

But we are presenting this album here merely for the highlight on this disc: the song "The Code" sung by Ronnie James Dio.
The song itself, which explores meaning of truth in a philosophical way, is the gem of the CD, especially with its haunting march outro that brings shivers when one thinks that this is the last we will hear from a legend that has been performing for us musically for over 50 years (Ronnie James Dio got his start as a trumpet player with The Vegas Kings in the late 1950s)
It doesn't matter if you like The Rod's style or not, you must have this album for this track alone.
We miss you Ronnie.

01 - Raise Some Hell
02 - I Just Wanna Rock
03 - Rebels Highway
04 - Ride Free Or Die
05 - The Code (feat. Ronnie James Dio)
06 - Livin' Outside The Law
07 - Let It Ripp
08 - Fight Fire With Fire
09 - Madman
10 - Runnin' Wild
11 - Vengeance

from 'David Feinstein's Bitten By The Beast' :
12 - Metal Will Never Die (feat. Ronnie James Dio)

David 'Rock' Feinstein : Lead Vocals, Guitars
Gary Bordonaro : Bass, Vocals
Carl Canedy : Drums
Ronnie James Dio : Lead Vocals (5, 12)



KEN HENSLEY & Live Fire - Faster (2011)

KEN HENSLEY & Live Fire - Faster (2011)
bonus track edition

London born Kenneth (Ken) Hensley wrote rock history with Uriah Heep during the era of albums such as ‘Salisbury’, or the acclaimed ‘Demons And Wizards’.
‘Lady In Black’, ‘Easy Livin’, ‘Look at Yourself’, ‘Free Me’ or ‘Stealin’ – were all written or co-written by Hensley.
There is little doubt that the Hammond-organist, guitarist and singer played a key role in the success story of the band he finally left in 1980, not happy with the musical directions they were choosing at the time.
After trying to put a new band together, the short lived UK act Shotgun, he formed the first Ken Hensley Band in the US, before joining Jacksonville's southern rockers Blackfoot for a two album stint.

By the mid-90s, Hensley was ready to push forward and since then he has been weaving the old magic once again
His new album "Faster" is proof positive of that. Hensley has lost nothing of his magical touch.
Live Fire is the Norwegian live backing-band Hensley has been working with for five years now and is comprised of Tom Arne Fossheim on drums, Sid Rinsby on bass, Ken Ingwersen on guitar, and Eiríkur Hauksson next to Ken Hensley as singer.
Recorded in Riga, Latvia, "Faster" offers everything you would expect from a classic Ken Hensley record – and more.

Opening up with the mystical and mesmerizing melodic rock of "Set Me Free (From Yesterday)", Hensley & Live Fire deliver the goods as well as setting the tone for an album that is nothing short of strong songwriting, excellent harmonies, hooks and pure playfulness.
Songs like the classic rock ballad "I Cry Alone" or "Katrine" also shows Hensley's songwriting approach as a serious storyteller.
"My friend and co-producer Danny has lost in a house fire his wife and three year old son. I was wondering, how will he cope with that. It was then that said that to properly process it at all this may just have to cry alone for themselves. This sentence no longer get out of my head and that was the trigger for this song" says Ken.

Title track "Faster" is a good-humored speed rocker, driven by Hensley's secret passion; Formula One races. "The engine noise you can hear at the beginning of the song come from genuine Ferrari engines, which was taken by our sound man a few years ago at the Hockenheim Ring."
"The End Of Never" and "(At) The Last Minute" are both catchy and melodic tunes, while "Slippin’ Away (The Lovers Curse)" is a great midtempo with excellent backing vocal arrangements.
"Beyond The Starz" is the only track on the album with some progg influences, featuring an amazing punchy guitar solo at the end of the song.
"Somewhere In Paradise" has tons of melody, with very good guitars by Hensley and Ingwersen, and shows clearly Hauksson abilities as vocalist.
An expression of energy and driving force is also the final piece of the album, the melodic rock anthem "Fill Your Head (With Rock)". "I read many comments from people who say that rock'n'roll is dead, on the other side I play on so many festivals, where people rocks out like crazy. Rock is far from dead. I like the energy of this song and its message: Let's just purely the Rock".
Bonus track "Circle Of Hands", recorded live with The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, is a superb sympho infused composition full of class and good taste.

"Faster" is a very good melodic rock album, with great melodies and an organic sound.
Ken himself said that he wanted to make an album with a 'band feel', the way it used to be, and with this new recording he has achieved it.
All the musicians of Live Fire are terrific and energetic, production is crisp and clear with a very classy approach.
"Faster" shows that Hensley’s head and soul are still full of rock, and hopefully will be for quite some more albums and shows to come.

01 - Set Me Free (From Yesterday)
02 - The Curse
03 - I Cry Alone
04 - Katrine
05 - Faster
06 - Slippin' Away (The Lover's Curse)
07 - The End Of Never
08 - Beyond The Starz
09 - (At) The Last Minute
10 - Somewhere (In Paradise)
11 - Fill Your Head (With Rock)
12 - Circle Of Hands (with The Norwegian Radio Orchestra) [bonus]

Ken Hensley – vocals, keyboards, guitars
Eirikur Hauksson – vocals, guitar
Ken Ingwersen - lead guitar, backing vocals
Sid Ringsby - bass, backing vocals
Tom Arne Fossheim - drums
The Norwegian Radio Orchestra (12)



Thursday, May 26, 2011

THE OUTFIELD - California Sun CDs (2011)

THE OUTFIELD - California Sun CDs (2011)

With original drummer Alan Jackman back in the fold, it looks to be a banner year for fans of '80s band The Outfield, setting the stage for a major comeback.
John Spinks and Tony Lewis have been carrying on as 'The Outfield' off and on after their heyday. But now that all three original members are together again, things seem a bit more exciting.

"California Sun", from their forthcoming new album 'Replay', is a careful blend of melodic brilliance and intricately woven vocals that will illuminate the radio airwaves this summer.
The single also includes an extra track; "Malibu Beach" an exclusive companion not to be included into Replay's tracklist, which was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.

"A Little Piece of Paradise" is a previously unreleased track from the 1993 Strongroom Sessions, while "Mystery Man" is the '84 demo version of the 'Scarf sessions', different from the one included into the band's breakthru debut 'Play Deep'.

01 - California Sun
02 - Malibu Beach (non album track)
03 - A Little Piece Of Paradise (1993 unreleased track)
04 - Mystery Man (1984 demo version)

John Spinks - Guitars
Tony Lewis - Vocals, Bass
Alan Jackman - Drums
David Kahne - Keyboards



RUBICON CROSS (CJ Snare) - Limited Edition EP (2011)

RUBICON CROSS (CJ Snare) - Limited Edition EP (2011)

When looking at the band FireHouse over the last eight years (since their last studio album Prime Time) the band’s guitarist Bill Leverty has released three side projects in the form of solo albums yet when looking at the voice behind the band, CJ Snare, there were rumors of him working on solo material ever since 2004.
But with every passing year since, then people began to wonder if he had decided to put such a idea on indefinite hold.

It wasn’t until the last six months that CJ began talking about the idea he was putting together as he had teamed up guitarist Chris Green (of UK bands Pride and Furyon) whom he met when FireHouse was doing a European tour back in ’04.
It might have taken seven years to get off the ground but the project now known as RUBICON CROSS is a hard rocking mega force to be taken very seriously.

The sound of the EP is modernized and edgy hard rock (think '90s TNT - Tony Harnell years) but with all the melody that both have had in their other bands.
Lead track “Movin’ On” starts off with acoustic guitar and C.J. Snare’s familiar vocals but then kicks-in with an aggressive guitar riff and Snare’s soaring vocals are all over the place.
“Next Worst Enemy” is up next, a track with a modern rock feel and production, quite heavy and groovy. There is some serious six-string work by Chris Green with a monster guitar sound.

“R U Angry” is a killer mid-tempo hard rocker with a powerful chorus that reminds you the latter FireHouse album but with an edge. This song has a huge wall of sound and a pounding rhythm section.
The EP ends with “Shine” and for the first time these guys take a breather and offer up an acoustic ballad typically FireHouse. It’s done with class and you get to hear Snare on a bit more familiar ground. Fans will love this one.

20 years since breaking into the music industry and CJ Snare is still wowing people with his incredible range as every time he belts out a lyric you can feel it impacting your soul. This new project isn't the exception.
Chris Green's great musicianship offers intense riffage and very melodic guitar solos.
Hope they bring on a full length album as each one of the songs on this EP play off one another extremely well.
RUBICON CROSS is definitely a welcomed surprise, a project to check out and keep an eye on, as this is some seriously well-done modern hard rock from a couple veterans of the melodic rock scene.
This "Limited Edition EP" is available in physical (CD) format at www.rubiconcross.net (quantities are extremely limited so act fast). The EP is also available on iTunes and Amazon MP3.
Thumbs Up!

1 - Movin' On
2 - Next Worst Enemy
3 - R U Angry
4 - Shine

C.J. Snare - Lead Vocals
Chris Green - Guitars



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LEGION (Phil Vincent) - Code Of Honour (2011)

LEGION (Phil Vincent) - Code Of Honour (2011)

Barely five months after the well received self-titled debut (already presented here on 0day), LEGION have returned with a follow up that, incredibly, does not seem to have suffered at all from the relatively short gestation period.
The pairing of Phil Vincent and Vince O’Regan is certainly coming up trumps, with the band set to repeat their studio success.
Whilst everything Vincent has been involved with has had definite Dokken influences in there somewhere, Legion have even more.

The dense George Lynch-like riffs and arrangements from O'Regan are definitely more 'Tooth And Nail' than 'In My Dreams', the hard rocking guitars of songs like opener "Steal The Show", "Long Way Down" and "Hard Times" taking them more in a hard 'n heavy direction than the melodic hard rock you would expect.
However, Vincent's trademark vocal melodies are all over the choruses, giving most of the songs more melodic parts than the heavier verses.
That's not to say there isn't any variation, the stop-start riffs and Dokken-esque chorus of "Riding In The Wind" is another highlight, as are the classy power ballad "Love Ain't The Same" and the highly commercial "Take Your Time", which is probably the catchiest tune here.
There are other notable tracks in the excellent rockers "Down In Flames" and "All Is Forgiven".

It would be entirely fair to say that if you enjoyed Legion’s self titled debut then you will enjoy "Code Of Honour" just as much.
This isn’t to say it lacks any spark or creativity, because once again it appears that Phil Vincent is a natural fit for O’Regan, who managed to work wonders with Bob Catley.
I guess you just have to find the right person, and although Vincent is no Bob Catley, he’s an accomplished vocalist in the tradition of 80’s and 90’s melodic hard rock, suiting O’Regan’s writing style nicely.
The rhythm section by bassist Gavin Cooper and drummer Steve Hopgood is tight and perfectly recorded, and the overall production / mix is perfect for this genre.
LEGION have come up with a release that's strong from start to finish and even eclipses their well-crafted debut.
If great hard rock anthems are your thing, don't miss this one.

01 - Steal The Show
02 - Long Way Down
03 - Riding On The Wind
04 - Down In Flames
05 - Living With The Past
06 - Love Ain't The Same
07 - All Is Forgiven
08 - Freight Train
09 - Taking Your Time
10 - Liar
11 - Hard Times

Vocals, Keyboards – Phil Vincent
Guitars – Vince O’Regan (Kooga, No Sweat, Bob Catley, Eden)
Bass – Gavin Cooper (Lionsheart)
Drums – Steve Hopgood (Jagged Edge)



Monday, May 23, 2011

WARREN HAYNES - Man In Motion (2011)

WARREN HAYNES - Man In Motion (2011)

Considering Warren Haynes hasn't released a solo studio record since 1993, it is not surprising that, these days, he is best known for his efforts with The Allman Brothers Band and/or Gov't Mule.
Tasteful guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, he has collaborated with everyone from Blues Traveler, The Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton to rockers Peter Frampton, James Hetfield of Metallica or contemporary progressive metal group Coheed and Cambria.
To say that his chops are accomplished and eclectic would be an understatement.

His new album "Man In Motion" is a snapshot of a creatively restless musician who is constantly in artistic motion himself.
"Musicians are students for life. We have to continually take new approaches," affirms Haynes.
The album harks back to another theme of his young life: Haynes started out as a singer before he began playing guitar. "The vocal is more of a centerpiece on Man In Motion," he says.
Haynes' singing shines on the album, with a bold and emotive delivery that shimmers with his smoky vibrato.

Kicking off with Warren Haynes' unmistakable and masterful guitar over a soaked piano, the title track "Man In Motion" functions as a mission statement for the legendary musician and his signature brand of classic rock, blues and soul. A driving powerful organ punctuate some of the most soulful guitar playing and singing that Haynes has ever recorded.
Warren wisely allows back-up singer Ruthie Foster to wail rather than indulge himself in any vocal histrionics, the kind of restraint that earmarks the reading of William Bell’s "Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday". Here legend Ivan Neville’s presence on vocals and keyboards (oddly more prominent than George Porter Jr. on bass) are essential to a fairly authentic cover.

On "River’s Gonna Rise", the lyrics move from the personal to the universal and back again, as drummer Raymond Webber hammers out a portentous rhythm.
"On a Real Lonely Night" adds substance with Ron Holloway’s saxophone moments, while "Your Wildest Dreams" slow down the tempo and the guitar takes a backseat, and Haynes really shine as a vocalist.
But the passion in this man’s singing on "Save Me", the final cut, borders on desperation: arguably the most confessional vocal he’s ever done, this single performance alone worth this album.

"Man In Motion" demonstrates the relentless creative drive of Warran Haynes as musician, with honesty, great guitar playing, emotionally powerful vocals and lush, vivid writing.
Haynes keeps the vocals in direct proportion to his guitar playing throughout an album crafted as homage to classic rock, R&B and soul.
Backed by a stellar world-class players as bass legend George Porter Jr. of The Meters, keyboardist-singer Ivan Neville and drummer Raymond Webber, veteran Faces and Rolling Stones pianist Ian McLagan, new sensation Ruthie Foster and tenor sax Ron Holloway, all helped Haynes nail Man In Motion's soaked grooves.
Foster and Neville are perfect vocal foils for Haynes' own blend of sugar and gravel, and as a threesome they conjure beautiful harmonies.
"Man In Motion" is in whole a fairly mellow, emotional and soulful album. It has a polished contemporary feel that all music fans with a mature palette can find rewarding.
Very Good.

01 - Man In Motion
02 - River's Gonna Rise
03 - Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
04 - Sick Of My Shadow
05 - Your Wildest Dreams
06 - On A Real Lonely Night
07 - Hattiesburg Hustle
08 - A Friend To You
09 - Take A Bullet
10 - Save Me

Warren Haynes : guitars, vocals
Ivan Neville : background vocals and organ
Ian McLagan : Wurlitzer, piano
Ruthie Foster : back-up vocals
George Porter Jr. : bass
Raymond Webber : drums
Ron Holloway : sax



Friday, May 20, 2011

ROD KINNY - Higher Self (2010)

ROD KINNY - Higher Self (2010)

A native of Minnesota, Rod Kinny has what can be described as a unique musical style.
“Higher Self” is the first full length album by this independent artist, displaying a mature sense of melody and taste leaning towards an Adult Contemporary / Westcoast style.
It’s kinda Ambrosia meets America with a taste of Steely Dan in it, but in the end you realize he’s got his own great melange.
Fresh and groovy songs, a timeless labour of love, regardless of current trends and other distractions.

The music of “Higher Self” and the manner of Rod Kinny performing and singing reminded me of the legendary Al Stewart.
But Rod definitely has his own established style. His acoustic guitar playing and vocal harmonies are truly enjoyable.
The colorful layers of bass and electric guitars, drums, percussion, keyboards, occasional violin and horns are perfectly added to Rod Kinny’s songs.
There are times on this disc that he brings to mind some of the classic sounds of the late '70s / earlier '80s, such as “Beyond The Impossible”, which, as many tracks on this CD, has an Ambrosia feel.
That's because the album is produced by the talented Joe Puerta (Ambrosia, Bruce Hornsby & The Range) who also plays guitar, bass, keyboards, etc.

Other standout tracks on the album include the soothing “Between Two Worlds” and the well-written “Water Into Wine”. Kinny penned all the songs himself and shows to be a quite competent songwriter.
As a tunesmith, he shines brightest on tracks like “Old Into New”, and “London Town”, which features some nifty drum work from John Calarco.
Sometimes catchy and radio friendly, sometimes laid back and smooth, this album has wonderful tunes you want to hear over and over again.

We get hundreds of new CD submissions a year.
Sadly, most of them do not require a great deal of listening. In fact, I can pretty much tell by the middle of the first song if the material meets the 0dayrock criteria.
We consider production, songwriting skills like melody, lyrics, musicianship and, of course the abilities of the lead singer. If these skills grab us as positive, it will be here.
Occasionally a submission grabs us from the ‘git go’ and by the 3rd song in we're hooked.
Rod Kinny's "Higher Shelf" is one of them. It took us no time to get our foots tappin’, to get us to want to listen to that song again, and to make us want to sing along these sweet melodies.

01 - Beyond The Impossible
02 - Higher Self
03 - Between Two Worlds
04 - Old Into New
05 - Infinite Love
06 - Water To Wine
07 - London Town
08 - Infinite Love (Be Free)
09 - Competition
10 - Prime Mover

Rod Kinny : vocals, bass, acoustic & electric guitars
Joe Puerta : acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion
Keith Pulvermacher : electric guitars
John Calarco : drums
Ryan Schiedermayer : percussion
Sam Steffke, Dave Adler, Matt Fink : keyboards
Johnny Padilla, Matt Attonowicz : horns
Jason Wolf : violin
Barbara Stephan, Rochelle Lockridge, Joe Puerta : backing vocals



RIVERSIDE - Memories In My Head [EP] (2011)

RIVERSIDE - Memories In My Head [EP] (2011)

"What a great debut" said hundreds of people around the world in 2003, when the first Riverside record came out.
This progressive rock band from Warsaw, Poland was founded in 2001 by friends Mariusz Duda, Piotr Grudziński, Piotr Kozieradzki and Jacek Melnicki, who shared a love for classic progg acts.
Since then, they have released a series of both critical and public acclaimed albums that can be described as a stylistic blend of atmospheric rock and neo-prog elements, resulting in a sound similar to Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree and the very first Marillion.
On the last album, the band's sound has morphed into a more commercial prog-metal style.

For their 10th birthday the band have prepared a special release which will be available during the forthcoming tour.
The EP entitled "Memories In My Head" will be a pleasant surprise for those who have missed the specific kind of melodies and space known from the band's early releases. Riverside consciously gone back to their beginnings to create a certain kind of a circle.

This mini-album contains three long compositions resembling those from their first two albums.
The result is a quite interesting, spacious, film-soundtrackish, nostalgic, and most of all rock mixture, summing up the band career's first decade quite well.
Riverside makes dynamic and alternating progressive rock with one key element: Emotion.
From mellow and melancholical climates (wonderful vocals) to the compelling Gilmourian-drenched prog rock atmospheres, each track is so diversified and has so many tempo and mood changes and technical highlights, that this seems a full length album than an EP.

The colouring of the compositions with the keyboards is amazing, so tasteful and varied, from tender piano and soaring strings to sumptuous organ floods and some spectacular synthesizer sounds.
Vocals are more Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson-esque than anyone else, are dreamlike and impossible not to appreciate. Mariusz Duda even dips into the Hogarth (Marillion) vocal style, without the gimmicks.
The bass is very deep, played and mixed pretty separated with a distinctive sound (a real Bass-Guitar), and drums are elaborated and complex, especially the cymbals patterns. Both instruments are essential part of the band's sound.

Pink Floyd was probably the most evident influence of Riverside, since the whole EP have that space rock feeling, that gloomy and quiet desperation that Floyd translated so well in their music, with moody / spacy keyboards and guitar melodies filled with emotion and feeling.
Riverside offer pristine art of the very highest caliber here, a must have for every serious progg fan out there.
The concerts at which it will be possible to buy this minialbum and hear the new songs live will begin on 5th of May in Prague (CZ) and finish on 29th of May in Warsaw (PL).

1. Goodbye Sweet Innocence 10:40
2. Living In The Past 11:59
3. Forgotten Land 09:57

Mariusz Duda - vocal, bass, acoustic guitar
Piotr Grudzinski - guitars
Piotr Kozieradzki - drums
Michal Lapaj - keyboards, hammond organs, theremin



Thursday, May 19, 2011

DANGER AVENUE - Long Overdue (2011)

DANGER AVENUE - Long Overdue (2011)

Danger Avenue was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2006.
After a couple of self-released EP's, finally they have ready a full-length album with "Long Overdue" (again, published by themselves).
They had, and still have, a vision of playing classic, melodic Rock N Roll. A genre of music that has stood the test of time, and will continue to do so.
All in this band is definitively retro. These guys look like a cool L.A. band from the early '80s, with white jackets and neon signs behind. Even the CD cover takes you back to the eighties.

Logically, their music is late 70’s and 80’s inspired melodic rock with some AOR touches.
But while the Swedish bands in this genre were more keyboard orientated, Danger Avenue has 2 guitarists in their line-up, so their material is more guitar orientated, although the hooks and choruses are definitely pure classy Melodic Rock.
Some tracks previously appeared on their EP's, but here are completely re-recorded.
As opener "Avenues And Boulevards", which immediately leads us back to the late eighties with great melodies and a strong chorus, at times reminding me the first Harem Scarem.

The uptempo rocker "The Guilty And The Innocent" has a very good riff and a catchy chorus in the style of the American guitar oriented radio-rock from the mid eighties like Night Ranger. "There For None To See" sounds pretty american too but more classic rock oriented.
"Boarding Pass" is a calm acoustic song featuring nice melodies ala REO Speedwagon and a refrain with a big hook.
There's an obvious late a '70s Kiss influence on "Melting The Polar Ice", a cool song with melodic guitars.

I hear some Phil Lynott in Jimmie Lee Cooper's voice in "Beat The Night", specially on the vocal melodies and the Thin Lizzy-like guitars.
"Please Mr. Saturday Night" is a track built on '80s clichés but I do not mind it at all. Sounds like some Enuff 'Z Nuff material.
"West Coast Angel" is one of my favorite songs of this album. Sounding a lot as Danger Danger, this is damn fine melodic rocker: catchy hooklines and happy melodies with a brilliant chorus.
"Trying To Catch The Sun" is another good melodic tune, which slows down the tempo in the middle and the guitar solo has an eastern feel.
On "Bigger Than All Of Us" the band sounds really retro, with a melodic line in the vein of the old Thin Lizzy.
Final track "Til Early In The Morning" is an acoustic piece with lovely lyrics.

"Long Overdue" is like stepping back in time 30 years. This five piece from Sweden has entered into a serious time warp.
Danger Avenue play classic '70s - 80's melodic rock with catchy riffs and melodies under girded by the customary keyboards and accented by zippy guitar solos.
This album is filled with tight, contagious melodies and good vocal harmonies, lyrics are above average and never come across cheesy.
Singer Jimmie Lee Cooper has the right voice for this kind of material (although sometimes flaws a bit), while both guitarists DiCola and Van Shaw deliver good performances and the rhythm section also does its job well.
Production by Roberth Olausson (Hardcore Superstar, Evergrey) is good with an early '80s feel over it. Sounds nice but with a bigger budget would be better.
Danger Avenue's strength is in their exceptional ability to interpret and present the melodic rock of yesteryear for the current generation.
Good one.

01 - Avenues And Boulevards
02 - The Guilty And The Innocent
03 - There For None To See
04 - Boarding Pass
05 - Melting The Polar Ice
06 - Beat The Night
07 - Please Mr. Saturday Night
08 - Exile From The Land Of The Broken Hearts
09 - West Coast Angel
10 - Trying To Catch The Sun
11 - Bigger Than All Of Us
12 - 'Til Early In The Morning

Jimmie Lee Cooper: Vocals
Thomas Van Shaw: Guitars, Backing Vocals
Victor DiCola: Guitars
Viktor O'Malley: Bass, Backing Vocals
Criss David: Drums



FAITHSEDGE - Faithsedge (2011)

FAITHSEDGE - Faithsedge (2011)

2011 has proven to be a strong year in terms of debut releases, and California’s FAITHSEDGE continues this much-welcomed trend by delivering a strong and melodic 11-track album that will please just about every fan of melodic hard rock.
Even though this is a debut CD, the members of Faithsedge are not newcomers to the music scene.
Lead vocalist Giancarlo Floridia may be the least recognizable member of the band, but he is the founder of the group and primary songwriter. He has worked with producers Mike Talanca (David Bowie, Foreigner) and Juan Croucier (Ratt).
His voice is clear with a very good range and an awesome high falsetto. Unlike many newcomers, Floridia does not use the falsetto as a crutch or gimmick – it is just another tool in his vocal arsenal and is used sparingly but effectively.

Well-respected producer and bass player Fabrizio Grossi (Steve Lukather, Alice Cooper, Starbreaker) contributed not only his production talents, but also his powerful bass skills.
Veteran guitarist Alex De Rosso (Dokken, solo) provides some awesome lead and rhythm licks, and proves he’s one of the best in the business. Drummer Tony Morra (Van Zant, Rebecca St. James) is no slouch either. His fine drum work complements the music perfectly, whether big and booming or calm and intricate.
The album was even mastered by a true metal stalwart – Tom Baker, who has worked with Judas Priest and Motley Crue.

Eleven songs fill Faithsedge debut: excepting one ballad, they're all strong rockers.
Sweeping riffs open “Another Chance”. The lead track easily sets the tone for the rest of the album – big hooks, upbeat lyrics, rapid fire drums, intricate bass, crisp vocals and bubbling with energy.
Intense guitars and a great sing along chorus power “There’s Still Hope” – influences of Dokken and Ratt abound.
A cool bass groove, big guitars and great vocals make “Let It End This Way” one of the bast tracks on the album.
The band ramps up the power again on “World Keeps Falling Down” – another fine sing-along chorus, a bouncy bass line, and a bit of double bass push this one along.
“Even If” features some of the best rhythm work and slickest groove on the album – the coordination between Grossi’s bass, Morra’s drums and de Rosso’s guitar is clockwork-precise.

Faithsedge tips a hat to the '80s with the great and emotional power ballad “Hold On” – a vocal showpiece for Giancarlo Floridia. Appealing guitar work by De Rosso too.
“Take You Away” has a great high energy rock groove, again with a bit of a late-'80s, early '90s feel to it, and De Rosso’s best guitar work.
An intense prog-metal riff opens “Somewhere In Your Heart,” while some great bass and strong vocals push it over the top.
A great Ratt-influenced riff drives the upbeat and kicky “That’s What Happened To Us,” while the semi-midtempo “Faith-Anne” is rich with a thick and smoky bluesy-rock groove.
The CD wraps with the very up tempo “When It Rains” – perhaps the leading contender for Faithsedge’s arena rocker tune.

Faithsedge is more than a solid debut album for the band – one they can be proud of.
Strong melodies, interesting and timely lyrics and fine performances all contribute to making this release a success. Lyrically positive, faith is the keystone of most of the songs – whether faith in one’s self, faith in another, faith in mankind, or faith in something/someone beyond.
Singer Giancarlo Floridia has a voice to be reckoned with -- he has all the power and prowess to impress even the most cynical of fans of this genre. The rhythm section, consisting of bassist Fabrizio Grossi and drummer Tony Morra are so tight that you can't even breath.
Of course let's not forget the signature licks and laser sharp stylings from former Dokken guitarist Alex De Rosso -- who pushes this release to a place of honor amongst even the most relished of hair-metal staples from back in the day.
Mix and engineering has a really warm tone and a very polished sound.
The more I listen this CD the more I'm impressed. It's not enough to say that this is simply derivative melodic hard rock with some metal edge. It's authentic and quite well done, and so also quite entertaining.
Very Good.

01 - Another Chance
02 - There's Still Hope
03 - Let It End This Way
04 - World Keeps Falling Down
05 - Even If
06 - Hold On
07 - Take You Away
08 - Somewhere In Your Heart
09 - That's What Happened To Us
10 - Faith-Anne
11 - When It Rains

Giancarlo Floridia - Vocals, Guitar
Alex De Rosso - Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Fabrizio Grossi - Bass
Tony Morra - Drums & Percussion



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PARADISE INC. - One Step Into Paradise (2011)

PARADISE INC. One Step Into Paradise EP (2011)

PARADISE INC. is a new international band featuring Brazilian musicians Rick A. (bass), Allan Juliano (drums), Marcos Peres and De Grigo (guitars), and German vocalist Carsten 'Lizard' Schulz (Evidence One, Midnight Club, Domain).
After many years playing in cover bands, the Brazilian musicians decided to get together to compose their own music, with a courageous proposal embracing melodic rock in a country like Brazil, playing a sound that has direct references to names like Europe, Bon Jovi, Harem Scarem, Jaded Heart and Danger Danger.
Without fear of failure, nor concern for the competition or current musical trends, the band opted for playing from the 'heart and soul' rather than selling out and Paradise Inc. was born.

The band is putting finishing touches on the production of their debut album "Time" featuring ten songs and renowned musicians like the aforementioned vocalist Carsten Lizard Schulz, keyboard player Alessandro Del Vecchio (Glenn Hughes, Ian Paice, Eden’s Curse, Edge Of Forever, Moonstone Project), as well as Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Cornerstone), who appears as a guest lead vocalist on the track "Not In Paradise".
Recorded in Brazil, Germany and Scotland, “Time” was produced and mixed by Eden’s Curse mainman Paul Logue, while the mastering was handled by Pink Cream 69 bassist Dennis Ward (Krokus, Primal Fear, Place Vendome).
Logue also contributes some songs as does Schulz and his Evidence One partner Robby Boebel (Evidence One / Frontline / State Of Rock).

As an advance, the band is releasing as an advance the EP "One Step Into Paradise" (only as promo, not for sale) with the tracks “Close Your Eyes”, “I Will Wait”, “Set Me Free” and an acoustic version of “Steel Or Stone” from the forthcoming full album.
Musically, all these songs shows that Paradise Inc. would not venture away from the 'magic formula' that worked so well with the great, classic Melodic Rock / AOR of the '80s.

All the tracks on this advance are solidly crafted and expertly recorded & produced.
The band developed intense riffs / choruses, catchy licks and very good melodies. Their lyrics talk about themes such as beliefs, loves won or lost as well as social commentary with a positive message.
"We are negotiating with several record companies in Europe and Japan, and we hope to announce the release of the album soon", says drummer Allan Juliano.
Recommended, classy stuff.

01 - Close Your Eyes
02 - I Will Wait
03 - Set Me Free
04 - Steel Or Stone (Acoustic Version)

Carsten Lizard Schulz: Vocals
Marcos Peres: Guitars
De Grigo: Guitars, Backing Vocals
Rick A.: Bass, Backing Vocals
Allan Juliano: Drums

Doogie White: Vocals on 'Not In Paradise'
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards



Monday, May 16, 2011

STAMPEDE - A Sudden Impulse (2011)

STAMPEDE - A Sudden Impulse (2011)

Arising originally from the ashes of NWOBHM hopefuls Lautrec, Stampede came together when the Reuben Archer (vocals) and his stepson Laurence Archer (guitar) split from one of the later incarnations of Wild Horses, the band originally put together by ex-Rainbow and Thin Lizzy members Jimmy Bain and Brian Robertson in 1978.
Taking with them journeyman drummer Frank Noon (he of the original Def Leppard EP), hooking back up with ex-Lautrec keyboard player Alan Nelson and recruiting the then unknown bassist Colin Bond, the Archers had Stampede up-and-running by the end of 1981, touring with the likes of Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Gary Moore.

Polydor Records quickly picked up on them and released two albums (The Official Bootleg '82 and Hurricane Town '83) of seriously impressive british melodic hard rock, tough on delivery yet sweet enough to suggest that the band weren’t just a one trick pony.
Compared to the earthy swagger of UFO, Thin Lizzy and Fastway, the group’s sound made much of its british roots and yet hinted at the sort of vibe that was making Def Leppard a household name in North America.
Following the demise of Stampede, Laurence Archer released the now much sought after only-Japan album 'L.A.', was hired by Phil Lynott for his new band 'Grand Slam' and later by UFO, recording and co-writing on their album 'High Stakes And Dangerous Men' and 'Lights Out In Tokyo Live'.

Fast forward some 25 years… with the band’s catalogue back in print, the interest generated prompted Rueben to consider a reformation of the original band. He floated the concept by Laurence and received a surprisingly warm reaction, resulting in the two main offenders buckling down to a period of writing, rehearsing and recording.
Together with original bassist Colin Bond and a handful of helping hands – including new hot shot guitarist Rob Wolverson and drummer Steve Graystone - the band have crafted a worthy and impressive, long lost follow-up to ‘Hurricane Town’, a new record harnessing all the promise of the original band but with the experience of years crafting their art in numerous studios and on the live circuit.

"A Sudden Impulse" is the result of two years worth of hard work, a very 'UK classic hard rock' sounding affair indeed.
The thing that first grabs my attention about this long awaited second album from these reformed UK rockers is the large sticker on its cover that bears the legend 'Classic NWOBHM'.
Well, to me NWOBHM is a term I would never have associated with Stampede, they were always much more of a refined beast, with something of a unique sound (due largely to Reuben Archer's vocal style), as anyone who has ever heard their classic album 'Hurricane Town' will surely agree with.
Stampede had much more in common with the big boys, the likes of UFO and Thin Lizzy, than the bullet belts, denim and leather of the NWOBHM scene.

In fact it is very much the aforementioned spectre of UFO and Co. that underlies the grooves of 'A Sudden Impulse', not in a plagiaristic way you understand, but definitely in the style and delivery of tracks like "Having Fun", "Shame on You" and "Natural Disaster". The latter in particular featuring some searing Raymond/Schenker type guitar interplay.
Album opener "Send Me Down An Angel" has Laurence Archer peeling off licks that could only have been come after years of experience working with the likes of Mogg / Way and Phil Lynott, whilst "Humble Pie" comes over all Southern, with Reuben adopting an almost Skynyrd-like drawl over a white-hot display from the band's 3 guitarists.

The overtly commercial Lynott-esque melodic rocker "Homeward Bound" is one of the highlights of this album, with a catchy refrain and very, very melodic guitars.
"This Road" is a real old school winner, featuring a hot guitar riff and superb 'Les Paul' solos.
The calm, retro "Flaming Gold" is one of my favorite tracks here. The band themselves must also like this song as it makes the track listing for a second time via an acoustic version as one of the album's two bonus tracks.

"A Sudden Impulse" treads a familiar path to their classic '80s albums, boasting a strong running order of melodic British melodic hard rock in the vein of UFO and Thin Lizzy, bolstered by a muscular production that really brings out the best of the band; check out the guitar sound and the vocal harmonies – two of Stampede’s trademarks – and you’ll hear what I mean.
Intervening years haven’t blunted the band at all. Archer Snr’s vocals are as strong as ever, he always was a cut above the average histrionic hard rock goon.
And Archer Jr’s guitar work is as fluid as it was back in the day – don’t forget that in his subsequent stints with Phil Lynott's Grand Slam and UFO Laurence Archer was following in the footsteps of some of the best known guitarists in the world.
Supported by a solid rhythm section and some material seemingly mined from the classic age of rock, "A Sudden Impulse" marks a welcome return for Stampede.
And it’s great to have them back.

1) Send Me Down An Angel
2) Jessie
3) Having Fun
4) Make A Change
5) Hard Rock Hell
6) This Road
7) Homeward Bound
8) Shame On You
9) Natural Disaster
10) Humble Pie
11) Flaming Gold

Bonus Tracks:
12) Recharged
13) Flaming Gold (Acoustic)

LAURENCE ARCHER - Guitar / Backing Vocals
COLIN BOND - Bass / Backing Vocals
CHRIS CLOWSLEY - Guitar / Backing Vocals



Saturday, May 14, 2011

MARK CLARKE - Moving To The Moon (2010-11)

MARK CLARKE - Moving To The Moon (2010-11)

The name Mark Clarke should be quite familiar with anyone into 70's hard rock, as the bassist spent time with acts such as Colosseum, Natural Gas, Rainbow, Uriah Heep (where he co-wrote the classic 'The Wizard'), Ken Hensley, Mountain, Ian Hunter and Billy Squier, among others.
After 40 years in the business, Clarke is finally getting around to his first solo album, which is finally here and called "Moving To The Moon".
This is perfect example of something being worth the wait.

Clarke is a unique songwriter mixing hard rock, '80s rock&pop and classic rock.
Opening cuts "One of These Days" and "A Cowboy's Song" rocks, and rock hard, with Clarke's vocals somewhere in between Magnum's Bob Catley and John Wetton. Mark plays bass and keyboards, and he's assisted here by Ray DeTone (guitars, keyboards) and an assortment of drummers.
He shows his penchant for Eric Carmen styled ballads on "Without You" and the AORish "Modeleine", two catchy rock&pop tracks that in a perfect world could easily see radio play.
"You Saved the Day" sounds like something that should be on a Pink Floyd album with Roger Waters singing it. It’s a big song that seems to get only bigger as it goes along. Mark’s vocals are both haunting and comforting in sound.

"The Falling" has a majestic, almost prog rock feel to it, until the anthemic hard rock guitars kick in, while the soaring "Heaven and Hell" could have easily been a leftover from an 80's Queen album. Clarke's vocals are truly inspiring on this one. Both tracks are amongst the best of the album.
A return to blistering hard rock can be heard on the title track "Moving To The Moon", complete with some nasty riffs from Ray De Tone, and "Then Tomorrow Comes" has a rootsy, almost southern rock feel to it, with Clarke's muscular bass grooves playing off DeTone's layers of electric & acoustic guitars.
Last song on this album runs only 49 seconds long. It’s called "A Little Something" and it is just Mark and a guitar. It is so pure classic rock that drug dealers should be trying to sell it as the new 'Feel Good' medicine.

"Moving To The Moon" is a straight rock album that mixes-in 40 years of Mark’s musical wisdom to create layer upon layer of goodness.
Clarke set out to release a true classic rock album and he has succeeded.
This is a breath of fresh air as the songwriting is crisp, the lyrics thoughtful and the vocals and musicianship sublime yet stirring, a very tough combination to achieve. Mark has released some great music with bands in the past this album shows that he has saved the best for himself.
"Moving To The Moon" is throwback album to a time when the artist cared what an entire album sounded like.
It is a return to a time when pride was taken at an entire work and not just a pop single to make money or score chicks.
Originally available as digi-download, now has a proper CD release.
Good Stuff.

01. One Of These Days
02. Cowboy's Song
03. Without You
04. Modeleine
05. You Saved The Day
06. The Falling
07. Heaven And Hell
08. Movin' To The Moon
09. Then Tomorrow Comes
10. A Little Something

Mark Clarke - Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Guitar
Ray De Tone - Guitars, Banjo, Keyboards
Greg Morrow - Drums
Eric Darken - Drums
Richie Gajate Garcia - Drums
Chris McHugh - Drums



Friday, May 13, 2011

NEAL MORSE - Testimony 2 (2011)

NEAL MORSE - Testimony 2 (2011) 2 cd

Shortly after Spock's Beard released its epic opus 'Snow', singer and multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse shocked fans by quitting the up-and-coming LA prog band to follow a Christian calling.
The first fruits of his faith have surfaced in his magnificent solo album 'Testimony', in 2003.
Now, the time has come to "Testimony 2"

Joined by the legendary Dream Theater's drummer Mike Portnoy and the excellent bassist Randy George, this breathtaking double album is a progressive / classic rock epic that recalls aspects of Kansas, Genesis, Kerry Livgren, Brian May, Pink Floyd … an extraordinarily open and honest expression by a talented musician.

CD1 tells us the poignant story of Neal's life from the beginning of Spock's Beard through when his leaving the band in 2002.
The brilliant conceptual piece consists of 13 songs in three sections each over twenty minutes long.
This album is no less than brilliant. Musicianship is top notch and Morse goes to everything you can think: stylized prog, classic rock, sympho and even Rock & Pop.
There's plenty of euphoric moments with all the strong melodies and instrumental interplay that we have come to expect from Mr Morse and more besides. Randy George's prominent bass is a joy to hear and of course Portnoy's busy percussion lifts the music way up high.
Production wise this a great sounding album too with an excellent mix and sound quality. It's also worth mentioning that Neal's guitar playing is better than ever.

CD2 consists of 3 great tracks. Two shorter songs and one 26:00 minute prog epic, "Seeds of Gold".
This album marks the audio reunion of Spock's Beard as it contains a "tribute" to Spock's where Neal and the guys sing an elaborate vocal section that is reminiscent of the early days of the band.
You can hear some ferocious guitars, marvelous synth solos, beautiful vocal melodies and superb arrangements.

"Testimony 2" is a masterpiece in its genre. I am talking specifically about progg, but Morse has no boundaries, this terrific recording embraces all genres: just Great music.
No matter if you are into religion or not, "Testimony 2" works lyrically because it is Neal's own story and of how religion helped turn his life around.
Whatever you do, don't let the religious aspects put you off - the music on "Testimony 2" is just too magnificent to miss.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Mercy Street
02 - Overture No. 4
03 - Time Changer
04 - Jayda
05 - Nighttime Collectors
06 - Time Has Come Today
07 - Jesus' Blood
08 - The Truth Will Set You Free
09 - Chance of a Lifetime
10 - Jesus Bring Me Home
11 - Road Dog Blues
12 - It's for You
13 - Crossing Over / Mercy Street Revisited

01 - Absolute Beginner
02 - Supernatural
03 - Seeds Of Gold

Neal Morse : Vocals, All Instruments
Randy George : Bass
Mike Portnoy : Drums, Percussion

Guests Include:
Nick D'Virgilio
Alan Morse
Dave Meros
Paul Bielatowicz
Matthew Ward
Eric Brenton
The Nashville Symphony



D DRIVE (Phil Naro) - 3D (2010)

D DRIVE (Phil Naro) - 3D

D Drive began rocking the Northeast in 2004 when guitarist Don Mancuso (Lou Gramm Band, Black Sheep, Cheater) put together his second solo recording effort after finishing tracks for singer Phil Naro’s (Talas, Peter Criss & 24K) 'Glass Mountain' project.
Mancuso and Naro joined forces as D Drive and started to write down songs for the debut album 'Don Mancuso D Drive' (2005), followed 2 years later by the release of 'Straight Up The Middle', a work made by a five-piece always enduring in walking its way with great and steady quality, nonetheless the several line-up changings, even thanks to the special guests (Lou Gramm, Jessie Hamilton and Brian Egglestone).

For this 3rd album entitled "3D", Phil and Don play side by side with the ax-man John Naro, the bass player John Taylor and Bobby Bond at the drums...and last but not least, the special guest Billy Sheehan, 'Mister Bass' (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth, Talas).
"3D" clearly highlights how tight this band has become over the years.
D Drive doesn’t waste any time starting out the CD with the opening tune "Next Train" which definitely starts you moving. The band gets right into rocking the house as they say, a classy melodic rocker with a catchy chorus that hits between your eyes and a solo which enforces the charming atmosphere.

At the same level is the involving "Dig Down", where John Naro and Dan Mancuso have fun and give you fun, snapping their fingers during the final refrain.
Reo Speed Wagon-style for "Kiss The Ground"; this track recalls just to the Kevin Cronin band either for another song that follows a very catching groove, "Chains On You", 4 minutes as fast as you can.
Then, just to relax and take a breath, the sweet tunes of "Never Had A Chance" with which you can imagine yourself in a small club countryside where the bands play country music and, at least in my opinion, it’s the same with the next song "Last To Fall", a little bit slower but very groovy.

Back to the rock with the shaking "Down Deep" where Phil Naro gives all he can do; his vocal cords a great charisma and the same mood of Lou Gramm, a reason that makes me full of joy as a Foreigner fan.
The very soft the ballad "Always Done What I Want" makes blow the wind of country one more time with the help of the Mancuso’s six-strings and then rock ’n’ roll high speed again for "1 To 7 Rock 'n' Roll Heaven", where the band pays homage to some of the rock masters.
"Tumblin" is an amazing track, with some hard-funk overtones and a cool rhythm.
Closing track is an acoustic song called "Welcome To My World" that reaches out its own climax in its first minute, with an enchanting keyboard work sided by an elegant guitar solo.

"3D" is a very good melodic hard rock album from the songwriting team of Don Mancuso and Phil Naro.
With his four octave range and powerful voice, Phil is certainly the ideal vocalist for this genre. This is the best album in Mancuso's career, his riffs, solos and tone are immense and tasteful.
Very well produced by Steve Major, D Drive are stepping it up to some high powered levels in terms of the sounds they are creating on this new recording.
"3D" has great significance as well, not only as the band's best release to date but the CD is also housed in a special edition tridimensional cover with 3-D glasses to watch the booklet.
Very Good.

01 - Next Train
02 - Dig Down
03 - Kiss The Ground
04 - Chains On You
05 - Never Had A Chance
06 - Last To Fall
07 - Down Deep
08 - Always Done What I Want
09 - 1 to 7 Rock-N-Roll Heaven
10 - Tumblin'
11 - Welcome To My World

Phil Naro (Vocals/Guitar)
Don Mancuso (Guitar/Vocals)
John Naro (Guitar/Vocals)
Andy Knoll (Keyboards)
Bobby Bond (Drums)
John Taylor (Bass/Vocals)

Special Guest:
Billy Sheehan bass on "Dig Down"



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

LOST IN THOUGHT - Opus Arise (2011)

LOST IN THOUGHT - Opus Arise (2011)

Lost In Thought, from Swansea, Wales, was formed in 2007 by guitarist David Grey and bassist Simon Pike with the desire to create fresh progressive metal.
They found like minded conspirators in Nate Loosemore (v), Greg Baker (k), and Chris Billingham (d).
Rather grand and impressive are two words I would use for their debut "Opus Arise".
Between the caliber of song composition and musicianship, one would expect to hear this quality from a band with several albums under their belt. Other words to describe "Opus Arise" would by intense, powerful, and melodic.

Right from the first note of the opening song, “Beyond The Flames”, I could hear that Lost In Thought is full of musicians that make full use of their talents, but don't go so far overboard that the average listener gets lost in confusing musical concepts. The song started with a drum intro ala Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy and entered to a very 'Arabian Nights' kind of riff that lead into a very groove based verse, then a break and a chorus that just got stuck in my head. Afterwards, the song just kept on getting better. An excellent opening song that just shows what these guys are all about.
“Entity”, the following song, kept the same line, a bit more straightforward and heavy.

“Blood Red Diamond” starts with a piano melody that reminded me of a lot of '80s acts. This is a great track, the harmonies reverberates with melodic hooks that tickle your ears.
“Seek To Find” and “New Times Awaken” showed a more soften side of the band with a more melodic and mellow, especially the latter that reminded me a lot of Dream Theater's 'Prophets Of War' because Loosemore has a very similar vocal pattern as James Labrie's. I could also see how great Grey's guitar playing is with an amazing full of soul guitar solos.
“Delusional Abyss” turns on a more conventional melodic heavy track with softer segues, while “Lost in Thoughts” starts with subtlety but quick turns to blistering, hard-metal finish.
“Assimilate, Destroy” is, perhaps, the most elaborated piece: beginning with some mideastern notes it burns into powerful composition that blends progressive metal with some modern nuances.

As to the prog nature of "Opus Arise" it's not overly complex: Lost in Thought is not trying to trick or confound you in their arrangements. Rather, they're hoping to draw you in and entertain.
In the sense they are like their peers Threshold, Seventh Wonder and even the legendary Dream Theater.
The five young Welshmen were helped by Jacob Hansen at the production desk and he was able to build a perfect sound for them.
Final words to describe Lost In Thought and "Opus Arise" are skillfulness and passion. To the former, these guys are really, really good and play well together.
To the latter, the enthusiasm and energy of this band explodes from every performance.
The words together easily define Nate Loosemore superb vocals; this guy is huge, talented singer. But the words apply to all things: band, musicianship, songwriting.
Lost in Thought's "Opus Arise" is genuinely exciting progressive metal, an impressive debut from a promising band.

01 - Beyond The Flames
02 - Entity
03 - Blood Red Diamond
04 - Seek To Find
05 - New Times Awaken
06 - Delusional Abyss
07 - Lost In Thoughts
08 - Assimulate, Destroy

Nate Loosemore - Vocals
David Grey - Guitars & Vocals
Greg Baker - Keyboards
Simon Pike - Bass
Chris Billingham - Drums



DEF LEPPARD - Mirror Ball Live & More (2011)

DEF LEPPARD - Mirror Ball Live & More 2 Cd

DEF LEPPARD, with more than 65 million albums sold worldwide and two prestigious Diamond Awards (they are one of only 5 rock bands to have two consecutive 10 million plus selling albums in the U.S., the others are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Van Halen.) to their credit, continue to be one of the most important forces in rock music.

Def Leppard remain one of the world’s biggest and most successful live acts.
The band last played the UK and Eire in 2009 – headlining Download festival that year after a hugely successful sold out UK Arena tour in 2008.
2011 will see Def Leppard headline Download Festival for the second time in three years. The band will also play Arena shows in both Dublin and Belfast with legendary special guests Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy.
Besides, the band is releasing this summer their first-ever official live album, “MIRROR BALL”. The live album was recorded across the world over the course of many of the band’s sold-out dates during 2008 and 2009.

The live recordings are very well done and the mix and post-production have the typical Def Lepp lush and polished sound.
But the good thing is they have preserved the instrument separation, which gives the songs a real live feel. Joe Elliot sounds really good, although he has lost some of his vocal power.
The real winners here are the guitars by Phil Collen & Vivian Campbell, that luckily both are very up in the final mix.
All the classic hits are present with good versions, most of them faithful to the originals with minor changes.
The best, to me, are the awesome take of "Bringin' On The Heartbreak", complete with the audience involvement, and surprisingly; the instrumental "Switch 625" where both guitars find room to shine along.

The album includes three new studio songs: "Undefeated" composed by Joe Elliott with the classic Def Lepp style, the excellent "Kings Of The World" by Rick Savage, a big, epic anthem that brings you back to Queen II , and finally "It's All About Believin` " penned by Phil Collen, a melodic and catchy melodic rocker.

Better than I expected, "Mirror Ball" is a good live recording, capturing the band's essence, 'the' official live album after +30 years.
Plus, the new songs are good enough to enjoy some new material.

Disc 1
1. Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)
2. Rocket
3. Animal
4. C’Mon C’Mon
5. Make Love Like A Man
6. Too Late For Love
7. Foolin’
8. Nine Lives
9. Love Bites
10. Rock On

Disc 2
1. Two Steps Behind
2. Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
3. Switch 625
4. Hysteria
5. Armageddon It
6. Photograph
7. Pour Some Sugar On Me
8. Rock Of Ages
9. Let’s Get Rocked
10. Action
11. Bad Actress
12. Undefeated (new studio track)
13. Kings Of The World (new studio track)
14. It’s All About Believin’ (new studio track)

Joe Elliott (vocals)
Phil Collen (guitars, backing vocals)
Rick “Sav” Savage (bass, backing vocals)
Vivian Campbell (guitars, backing vocals)
Rick Allen (drums)



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WHOCARES - Out Of My Mind / Holy Water CDs (2011)

WHOCARES (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends) - Out Of My Mind / Holy Water CDs (2011)

Rock fans surfing the internet are already aware of the many rumours and semi-official news about WhoCares, a new music project - one that simply seemed "too exciting to be true".

What hides behind this new band name is in fact the renewed musical union between legendary Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan, with none other than Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi: the undisputed master of heavy guitar riffs.

The duo has recorded two brand new songs with the intent to support the rebuilding of a music school in Gyumri, Armenia.
Both Gillan and Iommi have spent a lot of time in Armenia, fallen in love with the country and the people and have dedicated a lot of work to a nation still shocked after the earthquake that struck Armenia on December 7, 1988 at 11:41am.

The collaboration of Gillan and Iommi, who have worked together before on the Sabbath album "Born Again", is in itself an incredible news for all rock and metal fans and will be the best of surprises to get to know who is completing the band:
None other than Jon Lord on keyboards ("Mr. Hammond", partner with Gillan on all the Deep Purple classics), Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain, legendary bass player Jason Newsted (Metallica) and guitar player Linde Lindstrom are also featured on the two new songs.

There is no doubt that this is the biggest ever super-band to release new material in 2011.
WhoCares will release the 2 new songs on digital download and limited edition CD single: "Out of My Mind" (and epic hard rock classic, destined to remain in time as a hard rock milestone) and "Holy Water".

Ian Gillan said: "The idea came as Tony and I flew back from Yerevan together after being inspired by the enthusiasm of everyone there to get this thing done.
It was brilliant working with Tony again after all these years; he makes life easy for a singer. The other guys need no introduction... do they?"

Support this cause. Worth It!

01 - Out Of My Mind 5:15
02 - Holy Water 6:59

Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH) – Guitar
Mikko 'Linde' Lindström (HIM) – Guitar
Jon Lord (DEEP PURPLE) – Keyboards
Nicko McBrain (IRON MAIDEN) – Drums

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