Friday, August 31, 2012

The Burning of Rome - With us

The Burning of Rome - With us (2012) Surfdog Records
Produced by Adam Traub / Tom Biller
Tracks : 1.Ballad of an onion sprout 2.Little piranhas 3.Cowboys and cut cigars 4.Norman Bates 5.Wake up Edamame 6.Island 7.Why can´t I stop killing my friends 8.Audrey II 9.Opus for sleepwalking 10.The universe is made of nonsense
3,5 out of 5

Singer Adam Traub started his career in the punkrock band Nobody´s Hero that was signed to Arista Records, but playing punk wasn´t enough for Traub that had a vision of bringing out the influences from 60´s pop, psychedelic 70´s rock and punk. The result of his new band The Burning of Rome can be described as artsy bubblegum pop, the new album "With us" sounds like a clash between Pink Floyd´s The Wall, Danny Elfman´s soundtrack to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Bowie´s Ziggy Stardust. You have not heard anything like this before, I can tell you. They were voted the best alternative act at San Diego Music Awards this year so keep an eye on this band further on. "With us" is such an entertaining album that grows for each spin, the supercool "Island" is a personal fave of mine. But ask me again next week and I´ll probably have a new favorite track.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Am War - Outlive you all

I Am War - Outlive you all (2012) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Mike Kenney
Tracks : 1.Don´t worship assholes 2.Hold this sword with your face 3.Call me slugger 4.Uninvite me to your facebook party 5.The poisoning 6.Plug me in 7.Bat out of hell 8.Hunting me 9.Chipped shoulders and heart attack 10.I don´t know anything 11.A nightmare 12.Lead by liars 13.My love affair with disaster 14.Nihilistic motivation 15.Feel the same
3 out of 5

Atreyu frontman Alex Varkatzas started planning this album while on tour with Atreyu, he wanted to make an old school super aggressive hardcore/metal album with no singing and only screamo. So he got in touch with Bleeding Through guitarist Brandan Schieppati and they collaborated on what would become I Am War´s debut album "Outlive you all". Don´t bother to wait for melodic choruses or slow and heavy rock songs here, the music on "Outlive you all" is fast, raw and angry. The listener gets his share of double kick drums and razorsharp guitar attacks. In fact, you can sense a bit of black metal and punk in the sound as well. The album contains 15 songs but they´re all around 2 minutes long so after 30 minutes, you get back to the first track again. Songs like "Call me slugger" and "The poisoning" gets me going for sure, and I do like the title of "Uninvite me to your facebook party". I am pretty certain this won´t be an one album band, I Am War has a void to fill. There is too much pop on the charts these days.

John Schlitt - The Greater Cause

John Schlitt - The Greater Cause (2012) 4K Records
Produced by Dan Needham
Tracks : 1.Live it loud 2.Take me home 3.Love won´t leave me alone 4.One of these days 5.Faith and freedom 6.End of fear 7.Where I wanna be 8.Hope that saves the world 9.Run 10.The gift 11.The cross remains
4 out of 5

John Schlitt is one of my top 10 favorite singers, I have seen him live twice, once with his former band Petra back in 1990 and solo a couple of years ago. Recently he released his 4th solo album "The greater cause" and it´s a classic hard rock album with a great vocal performance from Schlitt, what else? I think the music goes in the same vein as the Petra album "Jekyll and Hyde" from 2003 mixed with his first solo albums "Shake" and "Unfit for swine". The album opens with a few riff rocking gems such as "Live it loud", "Take me home" and "Love won´t leave me alone" but there are also songs in the melodic rock/AOR style like "End of fear" and "Where I wanna be". Lyrically, Schlitt sings out the message of hope and love with songs co-written by producer Dan Needham. With an album like "The greater cause", it´s real easy to get hope and love.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Corroded - State of disgrace

Corroded - State of disgrace (2012) Ninetone Records
Produced by Patrik Frisk
Tracks : 1.Oderint Dum Metuant 2.Let them hate as long as they fear 3.More than you can chew 4.I will not 5.Uncommon sense 6.I am the god 7.Believe in me 8.Beautiful revolution 9.Dirt 10.As I am 11.Clean my guns 12.Stop me from screaming
4 out of 5

Corroded is one of Sweden´s best metal acts right now, their debut "Eleven shades of black" landed like a meteor crash while the 2nd album "Exit to transfer" invaded the charts like an unstoppable army of zombies. They have supported Avenged Sevenfold and their single "Age of rage" was featured in the video game Battlefield. Now do we have to worry that the band has gone commercial on their new album "State of disgrace"? Not really, because the riffs stand in line like hurricanes in the hurricane season in the Mexican Gulf. If you have heard the first single "I am the god", you know what to expect! After the short intro of "Oderint Dum Metuant", the band explode into the metal euphoria of "Let them hate as long as they fear" and the level has been set. I almost feel like runover by track 4 "I will not" that sounds like an avalanche of rocks coming down a rumbling mountain. The riff of track 10 "As I am" should make Tony Iommi proud, great song. There is only one word to comment this album, BRAVO!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Night Flight Orchestra - Internal affairs

The Night Flight Orchestra - Internal affairs (2012) Independent
Produced by The Night Flight Orchestra
Tracks : 1.Siberian queen 2.California morning 3.Glowing city madness 4.West Ruth Ave 5.Transatlantic blues 6.Miami 5:02 7.Internal affairs 8.1998 9.Stella ain´t no dove 10.Montreal midnight supply 11.Green hills of Glumslöv
4 out of 5

Soilwork singer Björn Strid and Mean Streak guitarist David Andersson started The Night Flight Orchestra to reclaim the 70´s/early 80´s sense for classic melody, they were joined by Arch Enemy bassist Sharlee D´Angelo, Von Benzo keyboardist Richard Larsson and Mean Streak drummer Jonas Källsbäck. And the result is the impressive debut album "Internal affairs" that any fan of classic rock should have in their collection. The opener "Siberian queen" sounds like Camel meets Led Zeppelin with Eric Clapton on guitar and it´s awesome, 2nd track "California morning" sounds like a collaboration between Kiss and Boston and it´s without doubt one of the best tracks on the album.
"Glowing city madness" can be described as a southern rock version of Steely Dan, real groovy. 4th track "West Ruth Ave" is a 70´s disco rock song, totally irresistable and the following "Transatlantic blues" bring thoughts to Whitesnake in a late 70´s AOR mood. "Miami 5:02" is a classic hard rock a la Rainbow while the title track is more of a funky westcoast song. "1998" could´ve been a lost Bob Seger song and up to here the album is stunning. But track 9 and 10 are a bit weaker, "Stella ain´t no dove" is The Night Flight Orchestra in their Björn Skifs mood. The last song "Green hills of Glumslöv" takes the album back to a higher plateau again, what an AOR smash! Buy or die!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fang Island - Major

Fang Island - Major (2012) Sargent House Records
Produced by Fang Island
Tracks : 1.Kindergarten 2.Sisterly 3.Seek it out 4.Make me 5.Never understand 6.Asunder 7.Dooney rock 8.Regalia 9.Chompers 10.Chime out 11.Victorinian
4 out of 5

Whenever there´s time for a party, you have your favorite party albums that will be the soundtrack for the evening. Well, sometimes it´s nice to pick out new ones instead of the same ol´ same ol´.........and here´s a record that works just perfect as a party starter. The Brooklyn based trio Fang Island´s new album "Major"!
I don´t usually listen through the entire album sampler that comes along with every classic rock magazine issue but this time I did and found a new favorite band with Fang Island. The song "Asunder" from their new album totally shook me up, I love the upbeat rocking twin guitar harmonies that should please any fan of early Thin Lizzy. I bought this album, hellyeah! I normally write reviews of albums that I get from promoters, record labels and artists but this time I need to have this album straight away. And it´s soo good! This kinda rock music makes me happy, it´s so far away from grunge and aggressive metal you can get. That doesn´t mean it´s not heavy because Fang Island knows how to rock too. Their guitar sound is similar to CKY, just listen to "Seek it out" and you´ll know what I mean. "Major" goes right into my Top 20 list of 2012.

Ben Taylor - Listening

Ben Taylor - Listening (2012) Sun Pedal Recordings
Produced by Ben Taylor / David Saw / Larry Cianca / Ben Thomas
Tracks : 1.Listening 2.Oh brother 3.Not alone 4.Giulia 5.Worlds are made of paper 6.Vespa´s song 7.America 8.Dirty 9.Burning bridges 10.You could be mine 11.Next time around
3 out of 5

Some might think it must be easy to be a child to a celebrity and you get everything served with a silver spoon but imagine all the expectations people have on you, that can be a pretty heavy burden to bear. Ben Taylor is the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon and he´s taking everything real cool, he makes music like a true talent and sings like he was born with that lovely voice. I guess he has nothing more to prove after 4 albums and it´s up to you to start listening to his songs. You can´t put Ben Taylor into a certain category because he choose to show his love for different genres like folk, soul, reggae, country and pop. There are moments when I think of Billy Ocean and other moments when my thoughts go to Seal, my favorite track is the Hall and Oates-like "Oh brother" but I also like the smooth "Not alone" very much. The groovy "Dirty" sounds like MuteMath meets Christina Aguilera, an odd mix I know but it´s true.
"Listening" is a warm record.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Urbane - Glitter

The Urbane - Glitter (2004) Inside Out Music
Produced by John Mitchell
Tracks : 1.Chain smoking a way to your heart 2.12 3.Glitter 4.Beautiful sun 5.Parachute 6.Dont say 7.Time after time 8.Hate my radio 9.In-between 10.Cut the wire 11.Something missing 12.Give it away 13.Something 14.Suffocate
3,5 out of 5

This will be my final "old but fresh" review for a while, or perhaps a really long time. New albums are waiting around the corner to be reviewed, hehe. But first, the British rock band The Urbane that has released 2 albums with "Neon" in 1999 and "Glitter" in 2004. The band features John Mitchell - Vocals/Guitar (It Bites, Kino, Arena), Paddy Darlington - Keyboards, Martin Raggett - Bass and Scooby - Drums. Now you might expect a progressive rock album but The Urbane is more of a powerpop band with traces of postrock, sure there are some progressive parts but not much. The opening track "Chain smoking a way to your heart" can be described as grunge-pop, the title track is a fave of mine and it bring thoughts to Bleu and Ken Andrews. "Parachute" is another cool song that sounds like PFR meets Kings X, we also get a nice cover of Cyndi Lauper´s "Time after time". I really dig this album!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Third Ending - The Third Ending

The Third Ending - The Third Ending (2007) Progrock Records
Produced by The Third Ending
Tracks : 1.Eleven 2.Back home 3.Tungsten blues 4.Can you hear me? 5.Fingerprints Suite A.Fingerprints B.Digital sunrise C.Cold light of day D.Falling E.Part V F.Coming around G.Fingerprints Reprise
3 out of 5

The Third Ending is a progrock quartet from Australia, formed in 2002 and released their self titled debut in 2007. They´re influenced by Porcupine Tree and Spocks Beard, the album is solid where tracks like "Eleven" and the instrumental "Tungsten blues" stand out. The 28 minute suite "Fingerprints" is a bit uneven but the last two parts are excellent, you can also check out 6 new songs that the band has released every month this year between March-August on
I´m not really an expert when it comes to progrock from down under, Unitopia is a great band but then again, that´s pretty much everything I´ve heard in this genre from the Kangaroo land.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thirteen Senses - Contact

Thirteen Senses - Contact (2007) Mercury Records
Produced by Anton Supple
Tracks : 1.Contact 2.All the love in your hands 3.Animal 4.Call someone 5.Follow me 6.A lot of silence here 7.Spirals 8.Talking to sirens 9.Under the sun 10.Spark 11.Ones and zeroes
3,5 out of 5

Earlier when I wrote for, I hardly ever turned down any offer of reviewing an album and I got lots and lots of tip´s from friends to check out new bands all the time but it got out of hand. Around 2006-2007, I found myself sitting with a couple of hundreds of CD´s that I hadn´t listened to yet so I had to stop. I continued to listen to new albums but this pile should start collecting dust till recently when I decided to listen to all of those 5 year old albums. Therefor, all of my reviews of old releases here but there´s only 2 left after this one and then back to new albums again.
The British rock band Thirteen Senses released their debut "The invitation" in 2005 and followed up with "Contact" in 2007 which is a really good Britrock album in the same vein as Embrace, Aqualung and Keane. Both piano driven and guitar oriented rock, the single "All the love in your hands" is one of the highlights along with the title track and "Animal". The band also released the 3rd album "Crystal sounds" in 2010.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Thrills - Teenager

The Thrills - Teenager (2007) Virgin/EMI Records
Produced by Tony Hoffer
Tracks : 1.The midnight choir 2.This year 3.Nothing changes around here 4.Restaurant 5.I came all this way 6.Long forgotten song 7.I´m so sorry 8.No more empty words 9.Teenager 10.Should´ve known better 11.There´s joy to be found/the boy who caught all the breaks
3 out of 5

The Irish band The Thrills were active between 2001-2008, their debut "So much for the city" reached #1 in Ireland but their 3rd album "Teenager" was more or less a commercial fiasco and EMI dropped the band after the poor sales. This album is not bad though, I think it´s a charming record with sunny and bright 60´s pop mixed with Britrock and a touch of folkrock. Highlights are "Long forgotten song" plus the two singles "The midnight choir" and "Nothing changes around here", there are moments when my thoughts go to The Adventures and Gregg Alexander. Very cool. Their drummer Ben Carrigan released his solo album "The greatest narrators" in 2011, but I have no clue how that one sounds like.

The Silent League - Of stars and other somebodies

The Silent League - Of stars and other somebodies (2007) Something In Construction Records
Produced by Justin Russo
Tracks : 1.Canary in the coalmine 2.Victim of aeroplanes 3.Kings and queens 4.Before you started 5.Let it roll 6.Character assassination 7.The tolka, not the liffey 8.Untied 9.Out of reach 10.Second canary test 11.Prayer for the nihilist 12.A dry hallway
2,5 out of 5

It´s not easy to describe the sound of The Silent League, but take a piece of psychedelic 60´s pop and blend it with ambient orchestral music and you´ll get their 2nd album "Of stars and other somebodies" from 2007. The band was founded by Justin Russo of Mercury Rev, their debut "The Orchestra, sadly, has refused" came out in 2004 and this album was followed by "But you´ve always been the caretaker" in 2010. The song "Out of reach" sounds like Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys singing with The Polyphonic Spree performing the music of Mercury Rev, the song "Before you started" bring thoughts to Stars of Track and Field meets Pink Floyd. Quite nice but the best tracks are "Victim of aeroplanes" and "Kings and queens", beautiful songs indeed.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Feds - A touch of panic

The Feds - A touch of panic (2007) Tribunal Records
Produced by Alex Gerst
Tracks : 1.Saturday girl 2.Hollywould 3.Bigfoot goes to heaven 4.You, Euphoria 5.Apartment song 6.Jenny 7.Stop 8.Housefire 9.Whiskey sour kiss 10.Alive 11.Seven (if you run) 12.The four hoursement of confusion 13.A touch of panic 14.From you to me
4 out of 5

Why some bands make it and other band´s don´t is a mystery, I guess it´s a matter of luck and having the right connections in the music business because Dallas rockers The Feds last album "A touch of panic" is a big one. They should be playing in the big league with artists like Foo Fighters, Papa Roach and Slash. This album is way better than their debut "From hell to breakfast" (2003) which was good too. We´re talking 3 words here, attitude, honesty and passion. You will find it all in "A touch of panic" and I just love their mix of 80´s hard rock and modern rock. Perhaps as a support act to Motley Crue would just do it for these guys?
Great album!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Everyday Visuals - Things will look up

The Everyday Visuals - Things will look up (2007) Independent
Produced by The Everyday Visuals
Tracks : 1.Just like me 2.Said and done 3.Watertown yard 4.Two birds 5.I´ll take it all in a stride 6.Why would you say these things to me 7.How to hurt the ones who you love the most 8.Dance and holler 9.Headstrong and heartweak 10.Driving 11.I want the lie 12.Why would you say these things to me (reprise)
1,5 out of 5

You know how boring those grey and rainy days in November can be, nothing to do, no books to read, no friends to call because they´re either busy or just won´t answer the phone and no good on tele. That´s exactly how The Everyday Visuals 2007 album "Things will look up" feels like, these 12 tracks took like forever to get through except for two tracks that are quite smooth and nice such as "Watertown yard" and "Driving". The band is led by Christopher Pappas and released their debut "Noise/Room" in 2002, they formed in Boston but moved to Los Angeles where they have recorded their 5th album that will be out later in 2012. Nah, this wasn´t my cup of tea at all.

The Box Social - Get going

The Box Social - Get going (2007) No Karma Records
Produced by Dave Rieley
Tracks : 1.Ginger Ale 2.Easy does it 3.Big T 4.Coming around 5.Why oh why 6.Galoshes 7.KCMO 8.Hot damn 9.Pay attention 10.A new low 11.Happy little mistake
2 out of 5

Wisconsin, USA is the home for The Box Social, a band that released the "Blown to bits" EP in 2005 and the full length album "Get going" in 2007 before they split up in 2008. We´re talking alternative rock with traces of powerpop and punk here, it´s a decent album with a few fillers but I do enjoy the punk-ish song "Coming around". If you think a mix of The Format, Saves The Day and Over It sounds interesting, then you should check out The Box Social. They´re a bit average to me though but I they´ve got a great production.

The Blackout - We are the dynamite

The Blackout - We Are The Dynamite (2007) Fierce Panda Records
Produced by The Blackout
Tracks : 1.Tick Tick BOOM 2.I´ve got better things to do tonight than die 3.I know you are but am I 4.Spread legs not lies 5.The Beijing cocktail 6.Murder in the make believe ballroom 7.Prepare for a wound 8.It´s high tide baby 9.Tops off party 10.She is macho 11.Life and death in space
3,5 out of 5

The Blackout is a great melodic post hardcore band from Wales, their debut full length "We are the dynamite" truly created a buzz in the music industry where they got rave reviews in magazines like Kerrang and RockSound. This album contains 2 songs from the 2006 "The Blackout! The Blackout!" EP along with 9 new tracks where my favorite is "It´s high tide baby" featuring Ian Watkins from Lostprophets on guestvocals. The single "The Beijing cocktail" is another kick ass rocker, not to mention the powerful "I´ve got better things to do tonight than die" that I just love. The Blackout is touring a lot and has supported bands like My Chemical Romance, Blink 182 and Funeral For A Friend, this is a band that I would like to see live. Their sound bring thoughts to A, Lostprophets and Young Guns. Other albums available are "The best in town" (2009), "Hope" (2011) and in January 2013, their 4th album comes out.
Highly recommendable!

The Trademark - This Island Earth

The Trademark - This Island Earth (2007) Independent
Produced by The Trademark
Tracks : 1.Taste of sin 2.Qualified for living amongst the dead 3.This isn´t a social call 4.The arson 5.Conscience exit stage left 6.Letter of resignation 7.Regret is constant 8.I will try and refrain from thinking out loud 9.The broken 10.I´m taking on hell
2,5 out of 5

What´s this? You might wonder, with me only writing about old albums from 2007. Well, don´t worry because I only have 10 albums left to review from my pile of unheard CD´s. Then back to reviewing new music again which is just as fun. Utah based The Trademark blend emo, rock and pop punk on their one and only released album "This island earth", too bad the production is a bit lowbudget because their songs aren´t bad at all. They sound like a mix between Key To Arson, Saosin and Social Code, I have no info at all about the bandmembers and couldn´t find any useable websites either.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Nines - Gran Jukle´s Field

The Nines - Gran Jukle´s Field (2007) Independent
Produced by The Nines
Tracks : 1.Insanity 2.Don´t be a fool 3.Dance just for me 4.She hijacked me 5.Chantel Elizabeth 6.I am lost 7.Virginia 8.Safe 9.Monotony´s song 10.Find our way back home 11.Eileen 12.Gran Jukle´s field
4 out of 5

If you´re a huge fan of 70´s pop a la E.L.O, Wings and Motors, you most certainly must get yourself a copy of The Nines album "Gran Jukle´s Field" from 2007. The band has released 6 albums where the latest one is "Polarities" from 2011, that´s a collection of unreleased songs. The Nines also released one album "Wonderworld of colourful" on EMI in 1998 and has collaborated with Bleu and Jason Falkner (Jellyfish). The line up features Steve Eggers - Vocals/Bass, Sam Tallo - Guitar and Aaron Nielson - Drums. That Eggers guy is phenomenal, just listen to "Insanity" or "Don´t be a fool" that both are perfect orchestral pop songs. Just amazing! I totally adore the Bee Gees-like "I am lost" but don´t really like the Irish folk influenced "Chantel Elizabeth". I wonder if Steve Eggers is related to Paul McCartney, well he could fool me!

The Idoru - Monologue

The Idoru - Monologue (2007) Edge Records
Produced by The Idoru
Tracks : 1.Monologue 2.When the morning comes 3.Refused day by day 4.Last raindrop 5.Monochrome 6.Prison of dead 7.Encounter 8.Kill 9.Shelter of empty souls 10.The better one
3 out of 5

You can never guess that The Idoru comes from Budapest, Hungary. They have an international sound and there are no signs of any Hungarian accent at all, they formed in 2003 and has released 4 albums where "Monologue" is their 2nd album. The latest album "Time" came out in 2011, but back to "Monologue" which is a solid pop punk album where a big part of their sound is straight ahead rock. Imagine a mix of Cauterize, SR 71 and with traces of Iron Maiden (Dianno era) and you´ll close to The Idoru. The track "Monochrome" stand out a bit more than the rest but I can´t find any mediocre songs at all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Hot Puppies - Blue hands

The Hot Puppies - Blue hands (2008) Thp Music
Produced by The Hot Puppies
Tracks : 1.King of England 2.Clarinet town 3.Somewhere 4.Where the werewolves meet 5.Orphans of the storm 6.How to choose a wife 7.Secret burial 8.The word on the street 9.Dear Brutus 10.Blue hands
3 out of 5

The Hot Puppies were a new wave/artpop band from Wales, they released 3 albums between 2006-2008 where "Blue hands" is their last one. The band is fronted by Becky Wood and her husband Bert Wood is playing drums, they are now playing together in a band called Barefoot Dance of The Sea. The Hot Puppies were influenced by bands like Blondie, Pretenders, P.J Harvey and Kate Bush. I think this is a charming album where one of my favorite tracks is "Orphan of the storm" that sounds like Peter Gabriel singing with Pink Floyd. The opener "King of England" has Kate Bush written all over it, irresistable indeed. The 2nd half of the album is a bit weaker though, but it was a nice discovery.

The Hot Lies - Ringing in the sane

The Hot Lies - Ringing in the sane (2007) Liberation Music
Produced by Phil McKellar
Tracks : 1.Emergency! Emergency! 2.Burn for me 3.Can´t stand the heat 4.Tokyo 5.Sharks swim everywhere 6.Poison arrow 7.For the restless 8.Running low 9.Diamond eyes 10.In a shadow 11.Down and out 12.Under your skin
3,5 out of 5

Another great Aussie rock band, here´s The Hot Lies and their only full length album "Ringing in the sane" from 2007. The band has also released 2 EP´s but parted ways in 2010, guitarist Luke Szabo is now playing in the new band Grass Taylor. Soundwise, The Hot Lies comes from the same neighborhood as Foo Fighters. Energetic rock with edge and melody so to speak, they kick ass in songs like "Emergency! Emergency!", "Burn for me" and "Tokyo". The definition old but fresh, most certainly fit this album like hand in glove. For fans of Grinspoon, Shihad and Birds of Tokyo.
You can always count on bands from down under.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jackdaw4 - The eternal struggle for justice

Jackdaw4 - The eternal struggle for justice (2010) Too Many Robots Music
Produced by Willie Dowling
Tracks : 1.The eternal struggle for justice 2.Everyone becomes the road they take 3.Wire to the wire 4.Sold it all 5.Waiting to die 6.Someone who cares 7.Wonderful 8.Pornography 9.The great unknown 10.Baby I´m a killer
3,5 out of 5

Jackdaw4´s latest CD "The eternal struggle for justice" dropped in my mail this week and I´m glad I finally got to hear it, this is such a talented band led by Willlie Dowling on vocals/guitar/keyboards and also the main composer. Excellent harmony vocals and a top notch production that feels both rich and warm at the same time. The opening track which is the title track, sets the standard right away with 70´s artrock in the same vein as Godley/Creme. The 2nd track "Everyone becomes the road they take" sounds like Paul Carrack in a 60´s Motown mood, bright pop on the menu here. "Someone who cares" and "Wonderful" will please all fans of Jellyfish, the band saves the best for last with the great songs "Pornography" that sounds like a mix between Mott The Hoople and Queen plus the amazing "The great unknown". 10cc would´ve been proud to have written a song like that one.

M.I.C - On all 4´s

M.I.C - On all 4´s (2012) Independent
Produced by Yvon Serre
Tracks : 1.Can´t take anymore 2.Chemicals 3.Happy days 4.Milley 5.Cookin´ 6.Anything 7.Long long way 8.Dancing with the light 9.You tonight 10.Pressure 11.Reunite
3 out of 5

The Canadian band M.I.C, led by singer/guitarist Yvon Serre, has spent a few successful years in China but are now back in Canada. I have reviewed all of their albums over at and thought the music´s been more of a roller coaster ride but I´m pleased to say their new album "On all 4´s" is pretty good. We´re talking party time classic rock with traces of 80´s AOR, the opening track "Can´t take anymore" bring thoughts to AOR band Autograph while the groovy "Chemicals" can be described as The Tubes meets Max Webster. A cool song, I like it. One of my favorite tracks is "Anything" that sounds like 70´s Kiss, the Ace Frehley style. Nice. Songs like "Milley", "Long long way" and "Dancing with the light" could´ve been unreleased tracks with Eddie Money. They are already working on their 5th album, busy band indeed!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Hoosiers - The trick to life

The Hoosiers - The trick to life (2007) Sony Music
Produced by Toby Smith
Tracks : 1.Worried about Ray 2.Worst case scenario 3.Run rabbit run 4.Goodbye Mr.A 5.A sadness runs through him 6.Clinging on for life 7.Cops and robbers 8.Everything goes dark 9.Killer 10.The trick to life 11.Money to be made
3,5 out of 5

Just like The Feeling, the British pop/rock band The Hoosier are also influenced by 70´s artrock such as 10cc and Electric Light Orchestra. Their debut album "The trick to life" is very entertaining with Mika-like falsetto vocals and smart song structures where the single "Worried about Ray" reached #5 on the U.K singles chart. This album was a big success in 2007 where it reached #1 on the U.K album chart, the first half is very strong but the album falls a bit at the end. However, it never gets boring. My favorite is "Goodbye Mr.A" which is a perfect AOR song that brings out the best of City Boy and E.L.O.
The band followed up with the 2nd major label release "The illusion of safety" in 2010 but has gone independently with their 3rd album that will be out in late 2012.

The Contact - Canvas tears

The Contact - Canvas tears (2007) 7 Spin Music
Produced by Quinlan
Tracks : 1.Black sea 2.Canvas tears 3.If I fall 4.Wait for light 5.Major Tom 6.Where do we go 7.Could this be the end of hiding? 8.Easy to die and hard to live 9.My divine 10.Anthem of a refugee 11.Daylight 12.Return of the sea 13.Wake up
3,5 out of 5

Here´s another band that falls into the category "one released album and then silence", The Contact from Halifax, Canada. The line up features Geoffrey Fifield - Vocals/Guitar, Tim Fifield - Bass, Chris Gilks - Drums and Jordan Allen - Keyboards, and among their influences we find Muse, The Smashing Pumpkins and Keane. I also think they remind a bit of another Canadian band called Pilot Speed, they do a really great cover of Peter Schilling´s 1983 hit "Major Tom" which is a highlight along with the strong opening track "Black sea" and the Led Zep-ish "Return of the sea". This is quality folks!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Birthday Massacre - Walking with strangers

The Birthday Massacre - Walking with strangers (2007) Metropolis Records
Produced by Dave Ogilvie / The Birthday Massacre
Tracks : 1.Kill the lights 2.Goodnight 3.Falling down 4.Unfamiliar 5.Red stars 6.Looking glass 7.Science 8.Remember me 9.To die for 10.Walking with strangers 11.Weekend 12.Movie
4 out of 5

I have written about Canadian synthrock band The Birthday Massacre a few times on my blog but have actually never listened to an entire album until now, I have only heard a few songs with this female fronted band but always thought they sounded cool. The band debuted with "Nothing and nowhere" in 2002 and will release their 5th album "Hide and seek" in October 2012, I do have a copy of their 3rd album "Walking with strangers" and thought it was about time I listened to the whole album. Shame on me!
This is a really great album for fans of Shiny Toy Guns, Orgy and Mindless Self Indulgence. The production is excellent and I just adore the layers of synthesizers, without Ultravox - no TBM! Every track is strong and I must say that this kind of music sound even better in headphones.

Tele - Tele

Tele - Tele (2007) Independent
Produced by Tele
Tracks : 1.Hello Hello 2.Notice 3.- 4.Where ever you are 5.Choose 6.- 7.Monster 8.Try again 9.Lullaby 10.Don´t break the girl 11.All I need 12.Leaving 13.Shame
3,5 out of 5

The Winnipeg based rock band Tele only released one album in 2007, not to be confused with the German indie rock band Tele, if you care to look for this band on the internet. You´re lucky if get your hands on a copy of Tele´s self titled album because it´s really good. The line up features Derek Allard, Zack Antel, Brendan Berg and Matt Worobec. Their sound can be described as a mix of electro rock, powerpop and even British 70´s punk. Muse meets Lovedrug with a touch of 30 Seconds To Mars and even a slight trace of The Clash. I recommend tracks like "Hello Hello", "Leaving" and "Lullaby", lots of memorable melodies in there. Track 3 and 6 are without titles if you wonder...........

Ted Leonard - Way home

Ted Leonard - Way home (2007) Independent
Produced by Ted Leonard
Tracks : 1.Way home 2.Submerged 3.Once a week 4.Thank you 5.Hold the wind 6.Just for me 7.Who do you say he is 8.Not me 9.Broken tools 10.See no evil 11.Take this cup 12.Resolve 13.The name of god 14.Ghost pains
2,5 out of 5

Progressive rock singer Ted Leonard is most known for his work with Enchant where the latest album "Tug of war" came out in 2003 but to many fans joy, Enchant signed with Inside Out Music this year and are currently recording a new studio album. Ted Leonard is also a member of Spocks Beard and performed on their 2011 Live X Tour Album, other bands Ted has been involved in are Thought Chamber (2007) and Affector (2012). Since he is christian, Ted wanted to record a solo album with christian lyrics and the result is "Way home" from 2007. This is completely different soundwise compared to Enchant, we´re talking groovy rock here with a jam feel to it like a mix of Phish, Eric Gales Band and Dan Reed. Many tracks are acoustic driven but always performed with Leonard´s amazing voice. However, there are just too many average rock songs on this album and too few standout tracks. I would like to point out "Submerged" and "Broken tools" as two really good songs though. Leonard´s friend Nick D´Virgilio from Spocks Beard is guesting on drums.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Such Gold - Misadventures

Such Gold - Misadventures (2012) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Steve Evetts
Tracks : 1.Two year plan 2.Committee circus 3.Storyteller 4.Keyhole M.O 5.Another day 6.Survival of the fondest 7.Tell yourself 8.Higher places 9.Understand and forget 10.Locked out of the magic theater 11.You are the greatest threat
3 out of 5

I like the energy of this band, Such Gold´s debut album "Misadventures" is a varied affair of old school punk, hardcore and indie rock. They´re a bit technical but not too complex, they´ve got some cool twists and turns but still deliver rather simple punk-ish hardcore songs with melodic choruses. The first single "Storyteller" is fine example of the edgy sound Such Gold deliver, a great song for sure. I also dig "Another day" that is even more melodic than the single, and songs like "Locked out of the magic theater" and "You are the greatest threat" bring thoughts to Story of the year and Thrice, cool! Also thumbs up for the great bass sound, I love it. A promising band.

American Me - III

American Me - III (2012) Rise Records
Produced by American Me
Tracks : 1.Dark days 2.Broken moral compass 3.Submissioner 4.Natural enemy 5.Zyklon B 6.Veni Vidi Vici 7.Narcota night life 8.Son of a machine gun Part 3 9.One free kill 10.The Montreal screw job
3 out of 5

American Me started as a side project to It Prevails a few years ago and by 2012, they have already released 3 albums. This is heavy as fuck, pop freaks - stay out! American Me sound like they eat bricks and shit steel, you don´t get to catch your breath even once during the 10 tracks of the new album "III". If you´re into the most aggressive metalcore with traces of punk/hardcore, tracks like "The Montreal screw job" and "Veni Vidi Vici" will do the job for sure. There is a reason why metal should be played loud, crank up the volume to max to "Natural enemy" and you will understand what I mean. Background music? Not a chance, buy a Barry Manilow album if you want to be cozy. I like this shit!

Rachel Farris - Above The Rug

Rachel Farris - Above the rug (2012) Independent
Produced by Rachel Farris / Ric Web
Tracks : 1.Sweetest thing 2.IMA lady 3.Stick your tongue in my mouth 4.Never mind 5.Don´t listen to me 6.Seventeen 7.Could I be your angel 8.He´s so into her 9.Need a change 10.Empty
3,5 out of 5

You look at the album cover of "Above the rug" and then read that Rachel Farris is living in Nashville, then you might think that this is a country pop album and that´s where you´re wrong. Oh, it´s a pop album without doubt but this is a more of a charming pop/rock album with plenty of upbeat songs. "Above the rug" reminds more of her debut album "Soak" (2003) than the previous "Fairytale" (2008) that had a few more ballads. The two songs "Seventeen" and "Need a change" gets a new chance on "Above the rug", both tracks were also on "Fairytale". Good songs. But I prefer to listen to the new material like the irresistable "Sweetest thing" that sounds like a cousin to her first hit "I´m not the girl", two other songs that I enjoy very much are "Don´t listen to me" and "Could I be your angel" that can be described as Natalie Imbruglia meets Sixpence None The Richer. But the best track is the super cool "Stick your tongue in my mouth" which more or less is a flirt with the 80´s new wave band Missing Persons.
Great work!

Camera Can´t Lie - The Album

Camera Can´t Lie - The Album (2012) Independent
Produced by Ron Aniello
Tracks : 1.Shut up and show me 2.Call me crazy 3.Last dance 4.Standing still 5.Not everyone leaves 6.I´ll wait for you 7.The one that got away 8.Losing you 9.Casualty 10.Dakota 11.Over and over 12.What´s on my mind
3,5 out of 5

Contemporary rock band Camera Can´t lie signed to Atlantic Records in 2008 and recorded 40 songs for their major label debut and then silence.........and so Eric Arjes and Kyle Lindsay of the band started to realize the album wouldn´t come out. They managed to get the rights for the tapes and with support from fans at pledgemusic, the band now releases the album independently. If you have followed this band from the beginning you will recognize several tracks that has been re-recorded from their previously released EP´s. But we also get 5 new tracks in "Standing still", "Dakota", "Over and over", "Shut up and show me" and "I´ll wait for you". This is good stuff no doubt, for fans of The Fray and Augustana.
The album will be out on iTunes later this fall.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers - Glassjaw boxer

Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers - Glassjaw Boxer (2007) Everfine Records
Produced by Mike Daly
Tracks : 1.Sweet Sophia 2.Glassjaw boxer 3.A cabin in the woods 4.4th of July 5.Sweetest goodbye 6.In front of the world 7.Milwaukee 8.Father´s day 9.Hearts in pain 10.Why are you talking to me? 11.Big easy
3 out of 5

Stephen Kellogg has released 5 albums as a solo artist before he formed Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers in 2003, after the debut "Bulletproof heart" (2004) they were signed to Universal Music and got the self titled major label release in 2005. Their time at Universal was short and independently released "Glassjaw boxer" in 2007, 2 more albums came out with "The bear" (2009) and "Gift horse" (2011) before the band decided to go on hiatus in 2012. If you´re a fan of adult alternative pop and roots rock, you´re gonna dig this band because their music goes in the same vein as Counting Crows, The Jayhawks and Soul Asylum. The title track can even be described as working class rock, songs that stand out are "Sweet Sophia" and "4th of July". This is a nice album indeed.

The Farewell Circuit - In our bones

The Farewell Circuit - In our bones (2011) Princess Records
Produced by The Farewell Circuit / Brett Bullion
Tracks : 1.In our bones 2.Make it right 4.Guard 5.KDL 6.The light 7.Appliances 8.Exodus 9.Oh my god 10.Run for the hills 11.In our bones (Pick up a plow)
3,5 out of 5

The music scene in Minneapolis keep producing great bands and the latest one for me to discover is The Farewell Circuit, this 5 piece band released their debut "Birdless sky" in 2009 and followed up with "Brother´s eyes" in 2010 but it´s their latest album "In our bones" I will focus on in my review. Their songs are like velvet to your skin, very beautiful produced and almost space rock-like in some moments. Critics before me have compared them to Death Cab For Cutie and I won´t argue, just listen to "The light" and you will understand. They deliver magic melodies in songs like "Guard" and "Oh my god", close your eyes and daydream away.

Certain People I Know - Certain People I Know

Certain People I Know - Certain People I Know (2012) Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Produced by Certain People I Know
Tracks : 1.Neverlasting 2.Our lady of Guadalupe 3.Strongsuit 4.All you gotta do is show 5.NYE 6.King of shots 7.Rowdy - Pivotal 8.Make it up 9.How was the show
3 out of 5

The self titled album from Chicago based Certain People I Know might be a debut album but they´re hardly newcomers in the music business, frontman Robert Nanna and drummer Damon Atkinson played together in Hey Mercedes that released a couple of albums on Vagrant Records between 2001-2003. Nanna shares the lead vocal duties with Lauren LoPiccolo on this new album that is not entirely a 100% emo record, you will find traces of indie rock and punk in their sound as well. Imagine Gatsby´s American Dream meets Copeland on a picnic with Saves The Day and you´ll get Certain People I Know, anyhow, it´s a solid album where my faves are "Strongsuit" and "King of shots".

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson - Small changes we hardly notice

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson - Small changes we hardly notice (2012) Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Produced by Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson
Tracks : 1.All I remember is punk rock 2.Hearts and consequence 3.But now you know 4.Swim team philosopher
2 out of 5

Oslo, Norway is the home for post-rockers Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, a band that makes moving and colorful music like the leaves on the trees in mid-October. There are lots of harmonies flowing in their songs but the complex song structures makes it hard to take it all in at once, they´re a bit psychedelic with a touch of emo and at the same time you get a taste of noise rock on the side. "But now you know" is a grower and I tend to like it more and more, "Swim team philosopher" is just grey and depressive like a flirt with Joy Division and even Radiohead. I do enjoy "Hearts and consequence", it´s a beautiful indie rock song and the highlight of this EP. Also available with the band : "Unnoticeable in a tiny town, invisible in the city" (2005) "Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson" (2010).

Steel Train - Trampoline

Steel Train - Trampoline (2007) Drive Thru Records
Produced by Mark Trombino
Tracks : 1.I feel weird 2.Black eye 3.Kill monsters in the rain 4.Dakota 5.Alone on the sea 6.Firecracker 7.A magazine 8.Diamonds in the sky 9.Leave you traveling 10.I´ve let you go 11.School is for loser 12.Women I belong to
3,5 out of 5

New Jersey based rock band Steel Train is fronted by singer/songwriter Jack Antonoff who writes music like a combination of 70´s pop, Britrock and folk rock. Their debut "Twilight tales from the prairies on the sun" was released in 2005 and followed up with this really great album "Trampoline" in 2007, their self titled 3rd album came out in 2010. The piano driven "A magazine" bring thoughts to Ben Folds while the Britrock-like "I´ve let you go" and "School is for loser" sounds like a mix between Beady Eye and Supergrass. The songs that appeal more to me are the 70´s pop flavored "Kill monsters in the rain", "Alone on the sea" and "Firecracker", definitely for fans of Matthew Sweet.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Split Fifty - Swing from her fingernails

Split Fifty - Swing from her fingernails (2007) Masquerade Recordings
Produced by Split Fifty
Tracks : 1.Overture in a minor 2.Kiss the corpse 3.Inpatient out 4.Concerto dei morti 5.Let´s dance 6.Weight of these two souls 7.Diablo serenade 8.Libertine 9.Playing with fire 10.Rooftops and razor blades 11.Even the skeletons dance for her 12.Pray for all the souls that sin and fall 13.Forever and forever farewell 14.Swing from her fingernails
2 out of 5

Split Fifty is a rock band from Pennsylvania that was offered a deal with Universal Music in 2007 but the band and management disagreed and they ended up not signing. The band released their debut "We live forever" in 2005 and followed up with the sophomore album "Swing from her fingernails" in 2007, they started working on their 3rd album in 2008 but major personal issues rose between the bandmembers and they split up in 2009. The guitarist Ted Felicetti is playing with the new band Don´t Panic, singer Zach Neill, guitarist Josh Bodwell and drummer Mike Lucchetti went on to form American Sixgun. Their last album "Swing from her fingernails" sound like a 2nd division SR 71 with traces of Offspring, we´re talking straight ahead rock in a pop punk suit. The title track is actually pretty good as well as the opener "Overture in a minor", but the album contains lots of fillers.

Sons of William - What hides inside

Sons of William - What hides inside (2007) Red Lick Records
Produced by Justin Tocket
Tracks : 1.The message 2.Darkest secret 3.Easy to love 4.Dreaming 5.Smile 6.Lucifer hands 7.Independence day 8.Vicious world 9.Sympathy 10.Savannah 11.Count on me
3,5 out of 5

Sons of William is a roots rock trio from Louisiana formed by the two brothers David Stark - Drums/Keyboards/Vocals and Joe Stark - Guitar/Vocals, the third member is Jen Janet - Bass/Vocals. They have released 2 Ep´s and 2 full length albums where "War carnivals" from 2009 is the latest one, their debut "What hides inside" is a must for fans of John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and The Wallflowers. This is a strong album filled with groovy and southern flavored midwest rock, I just love passionate rock tracks like "Smile" and "Savannah". Sons of William sound so professional, I can´t recommend this album enough.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Simon Wilcox - The charm and the strange

Simon Wilcox - The charm and the strange (2007) Universal Music
Produced by Ron Lopata / Simon Wilcox / Samm Hashemi
Tracks : 1.Bored 2.Awful badly 3.Beatbox 4.Eyes on you 5.Anyone close 6.Disaster strikes 7.Mother´s ruin 8.Sad fool 9.Nobody´s sweetheart 10.Too pretty 11.Stars are gone 12.Les yeux Sur Toi
3 out of 5

It´s fun to discover "new" albums even though they´re a few years old like the Canadian singer/songwriter Simon Wilcox and he´s a she but with a boy´s name. She has co-written songs for Three Days Grace, Ten Second Epic, The Trews and The Ready Set etc. But Simon Wilcox has also released 5 albums where "King" from 2011 is her latest album, the one I´m listening to this evening is "The charm and the strange" from 2007 that features Tomi Swick as one of the guest guitarists. The sound of this album can be described as Britrock with Nordic indie rock flavor, imagine The Cardigans meets Echo and The Bunnymen with a touch of The Cranberries and you´ll get "The charm and the strange".
The music feels a bit romantic and I do enjoy songs like "Eyes on you", "Disaster strikes" and "Mother´s ruin". The song "Sad fool" even bring thoughts to Sixpence None The Richer. Nice.

Sieges Even - Paramount

Sieges Even - Paramount (2007) Inside Out Music
Produced by Sieges Even / Kristian Kohlmannslehner
Tracks : 1.When Alpha and Omega collide 2.Tidal 3.Wide eyes open 4.Iconic 5.Where our shadows sleep 6.Duende 7.Bridge to the divine 8.Leftovers 9.Mountain castles in the blood red sky 10.Paramount
3 out of 5

It has taken too long for me to listen to German progrock band Sieges Even last studio album "Paramount" from 2007, I was a big fan of their 2005 album "The art of navigating by the stars" but somehow forgot to check out this album. I have no good explanation either.
The band also released the live album "Playgrounds" in 2008 before they parted ways, the Holzwarth brothers went on to form Brutal Godz and the remaining members formed Subsignal.
You can of course count on quality when it comes to their dynamic prog sound, the songs are filled with nuances and they are really super melodic too. But only a few tracks lift the album such as "Tidal", "Wide eyes open" and "Bridge to the divine", I think the previous album is stronger but I don´t regret listening to "Paramount" because this is good stuff.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Siddharta - Rh-

Siddharta - Rh- (2005) Finis Mundi Records
Produced by Peter Penko
Tracks : 1.Rh- 2.Japan 3.My dice 4.Insane 5.Sim Hae 6.Kloner 7.Rooskie 8.Rave 9.Rain 10.Core 11.T.H.O.R 12.You betray 13.Venom E 14.Marslander 15.Etna 16.Y more 17.Mad Lee
2 out of 5

Siddharta is mighty popular band in Slovenia, they formed in 1995 and released their debut EP "Lunanai" in 2000. This album "Rh-" was first released in 2003 with Slovenian lyrics and later released in 2005 with English lyrics plus a few bonus tracks, their latest studio album "Saga" came out in 2009 and last year Siddharta put out the live album "VI". They´ve got an odd sound I must say, anything can happen along the way when you´re listening to this band from progrock to 90´s alternative rock and even celtic folk music. The album is a bit uneven but there are a few cool songs like "Insane", "Kloner" and the heavy "T.H.O.R". The more soft "Rain" bring thoughts to Mike Oldfield in his 80´s era while the experimental "Rooskie" can be described as Talking Heads meets System of a down. The song "Core" is quite weird, imagine Faith No More with the Red Army Choir and you´ll get this funky Cossack song.

Evershine - Renewal

Evershine - Renewal (2012) Bakerteam Records
Produced by Cristian Ice
Tracks : 1.Evershine 2.Angel/Killer 3.Run 4.Demon´s ride 5.The storm 6.A chance to be free 7.Here we come 8.Faith and dreams 9.Where heroes lie
2,5 out of 5

Evershine ain´t your average power metal band, this Italian band has taken influences from AOR, Japanese metal and progressive rock like a mix between Stratovarius, Rising Force and Loudness. Musically, they´re really good but I´m not a big fan of the vocal part. The singalong choruses tend to get a little too eurometal-like, there just ain´t enough muscles in the vocal performance. I do enjoy songs like "Run" and "Where heroes lie", and you can´t complain about the musicianship. A nice debut for a band with a promising future.

Hollow Haze - Poison in black

Hollow Haze - Poison in black (2012) Bakerteam Records
Produced by Nick Savio
Tracks : 1.Rise above 2.Tears of pain 3.Never turn back 4.Haunting the sinner 5.Lords of world 6.Hit in time 7.Chained 8.Pray for you 9.Remorse 10.Voodoo rites 11.Snowblind 12.Headless cross
3 out of 5

The Italian heavy metal band Hollow Haze´s 4th album "Poison in black" contains a great cover of Black Sabbath´s classic "Headless cross", I really love this version. But their own original songs are good too like "Chained" that bring thoughts to Queensryche (early era) or not to mention "Remorse" which is classic Judas Priest metal. If you´re looking for razorsharp guitars and high pitched vocals in the same vein as Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), this is the album for you. They´re not the most revolutionairy band out there but they do it good.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bob K - Noir / Blanc

Bob K - Noir / Blanc (2012) Jono Records
Produced by David Larring
Tracks : 1.The escape 2.Burden 3.Angel 4.Mayday 5.Dear Thom 6.For Ash 7.My kingdom 8.Amazing grace 9.Rest 10.Forever
4 out of 5

I was very impressed by the Swedish band Bob K´s previous album "Fragile" from 2010, and it was with pure joy I opened a package this week with their new album "Noir / Blanc". This one is recorded in Los Angeles and Oslo by David Larring (Kevin Max) and it´s truly a luxurious production that will take you through various soundscapes, the best way to describe the album is.....the melancholic rock of Kent meets the stadium pop of Snow Patrol with a touch of the raw Britrock of Feeder and the beauty of Mew´s colorful harmonies. Bob K should be one of the premier rock bands from Sweden, let´s hope this album will take them out in the world. I adore songs like "Angel", "Mayday" and "For Ash".

Wind Rose - Shadows Over Lothadruin

Wind Rose - Shadows Over Lothadruin (2012) Bakerteam Records
Produced by Cristiano Bertocchi
Tracks : 1.Awakening 2.The endless prophecy 3.The tournament 4.Siderion 5.The grand march 6.Son of a thousand nights 7.The fourth vanguard 8.Dark horizons 9.Majesty 10.The havoc 11.Oath to betray 12.Led by light 13.Sacred fount 14.Moontear sanctuary 15.Vererath 16.Close to the end
2,5 out of 5

The Italian band Wind Rose started out playing covers by bands like Dream Theater, Blind Guardian and Symphony X in 2005, a few years later they started writing their own material where the result is the debut album "Shadows Over Lothadruin". This is a concept album in the style of Lord of the rings, and the band describe their sound as symphonic progressive power metal which suits the album just fine. It´s well performed where 7 tracks are short pieces and the other 9 full length songs, but I think the music gets a little too pretentious and over ambitious at times which is a shame since they write some really good stuff too such as "Close to the end" and "Led by light". A decent album anyhow.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thy Majestie - ShiHuangDi

Thy Majestie - ShiHuangDi (2012) Scarlet Records
Produced by Thy Majestie / Giuseppe Orlando
Tracks : 1.Zhoongguo 2.Seven reigns 3.Harbringer of a new dawn 4.Siblings of Tian 5.Walls of the emperor 6.Under the same sky 7.Farewell 8.Huanghun 9.Ephemeral 10.End of the days 11.Requiem
3,5 out of 5

The Italian power metal band Thy Majestie have this thing for concept albums, they did one in 2005 about "Jeanne D´arc" and this year their 5th album "ShiHuangDi" tells the story about the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC. The music is more epic and orchestral compared to their latest albums and a return to the sound of their first albums "The lasting power" (2000) and "Hastings 1066" (2002). The band also change lead singers quite a lot, their 4th vocalist Alessio Taormina make his debut on "ShiHuangDi" and he´s good too. When I did an interview with Thy Majestie back in 2005, they told me Iron Maiden was their biggest influence but the music of this new album has more in common with Sonata Arctica and Iron Mask.
It´s bombastic and melodic, a really great album if you ask me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Triumph - Live at Sweden Rock Festival

Triumph - Live at Sweden Rock Festival (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Triumph
Tracks : 1.When the lights go down 2.Lay it on the line 3.Allied forces 4.Never surrender 5.I live for the weekend 6.Blinding light show 7.Rocky mountain way 8.Magic power 9.Rocknroll machine 10.Fight the good fight
3 out of 5

Not many people would´ve thought Triumph would perform live again with the original line up but the ones who had a ticket to Sweden Rock Festival in 2008 had the opportunity to witness this historical event. For the first time since 1988, the original line up played a set of their most classic songs and now in 2012, the show is being released on CD and DVD. It´s a good performance but not as great as how they sounded back in the 80´s, just listen to the live versions of these songs on the "Stages" live album from 1985 and you will clearly hear the difference. They do pull off great versions of "Blinding light show" and "Rocknroll machine" but I´m no fan of their bluesy side with songs like "I live for the weekend" and "Rocky mountain way". I bet though that this album is a nice reminder for the fans who was there that night.

Hotel Diablo - The Return to Psycho, California

Hotel Diablo - The Return to Psycho, California (2012) Scarlet Records
Produced by Gilby Clarke / Matt Starr
Tracks : 1.Taken 2.All these years 3.What you do to me 4.Psycho California 5.Bury you 6.Set it off 7.Wicked lines 8.Wonderwall 9.Trigger 10.What you do to me (alternate version) 11.Bury you (alternate version)
3 out of 5

Singer Rick Stitch and guitarist Alex Grossi quit Adler´s Appetite and formed the new band Hotel Diablo last year, the recruited the rhythm section of Mike Duda and Mike Dudke and headed into the studio with former GunsNRoses guitarplayer Gilby Clarke to record their debut album "The return to psycho, California". An album that will please fans of Velvet Revolver, Buckcherry and GunsNRoses of course. It´s a solid album featuring the strong single "Bury you", a nice cover of Oasis "Wonderwall" and the melodic "All these years" which is my personal fave. I prefer the alternate version of "What you do to me" which is included as a bonus track, the acoustic version sound so much better. The music doesn´t give me the goosebumps but it´s definitely a good hard rock album.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Eclipse - Bleed and scream

Eclipse - Bleed and scream (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Erik Martensson
Tracks : 1.Wake me up 2.Bleed and scream 3.Ain´t dead yet 4.Battlegrounds 5.A bitter taste 6.Falling down 7.S.O.S 8.Take back the fear 9.The unspoken heroes 10.About to break 11.After the end of the world
4 out of 5

The Swedish hard rock band Eclipse has taken 4 years to follow up their latest record "Are you ready to rock" (2008) and this time they´re back with a bang, the new album "Bleed and scream" is the real deal and without doubt their strongest effort so far. Bandleader/songwriter/singer Erik Martensson and lead guitarist Magnus Henriksson was highly involved in the great AOR project W.E.T in 2009 so we by now that they´re well respected songwriters. We´re talking 80´s hard rock here where the razorsharp guitar riffs shouts out attack and melody. My thoughts go to bands like Pretty Maids, Ozzy and Thin Lizzy (the John Sykes era).
I am truly impressed by this album and crank up the volume real loud to songs like "Battlegrounds", "After the end of the world" and "Bleed and scream".