Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vega - What the hell

Vega - What the hell (2013) Ninetone Records
Produced by Vega
Tracks : 1.Carnival of lost souls 2.White knuckle ride 3.What the hell 4.Not there for you 5.Cry 6.Raise ya game 7.Fade into flames 8.You can´t run 9.Bless my soul 10.She walks alone 11.Turn it on 12.Saviour 13.It´s gonna be alright 14.Hand in the air
3,5 out of 5

The British AOR band Vega featuring Nick Workman - Lead Vocals, Tom Martin - Guitars, James Martin - Keyboards and Daniel Chantrey - Drums, are back with their 2nd album "What the hell" in January 2013. This is the follow up to the critically acclaimed debut "Kiss of life" from 2010, Vega takes the safe route and continues where the debut left off with traditional 80´s AOR where each song could be released as a single. This time they´re also signed to their new label Ninetone Records that has focused on modern rock and metal till now, the first taste of this album is the single "White knuckle ride" which is a really great AOR smash. If you´ve heard that song, you know what to expect from the rest of the album. There are no surprises along the way but a bunch of quality AOR that could´ve been featured in the Rock of Ages musical. The title track "What the hell" is a personal fave but I also dig "You can´t run" a lot, the Def Leppard vibes are all over this album. Nothing new under the sun but what the´s damn good.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Crown The Empire - The Fallout

Crown The Empire - The Fallout (2012) Rise Records
Produced by Joey Sturgis
Tracks : 1.Oh, catastrophe 2.The fallout 3.Memories of a broken heart 4.Makeshift chemistry 5.The one you feed 6.Menace 7.Graveyard souls 8.Two´s too many 9.Evidence 10.Children of love 11.Johnny´s revenge
3 out of 5

I expected more from Crown The Empire´s debut full length "The Fallout", I was impressed by their first "Limitless" EP that showed a very promising and hungry band. Unfortunately their new album feels a bit safe and less artsy, CTE is caught in the mainstream and has lost a bit of their unique sound from the EP. This is still a good album with some great songs like "Makeshift chemistry" and "Menace", but I can´t stop thinking about how good it could actually have been. The production sounds expensive and I bet they will still make a name of themselves, however I want some more of those unpredictable songstructures on the next record.

Woe, is me - Genesi(s)

Woe, is me - Genesi(s) (2012) Velocity / Rise Records
Produced by Woe, is me
Tracks : 1.D-day 2.F.Y.I 3.A story to tell 4.With our friends behind us 5.Nothing left to lose 6.The walking dead 7.I saw I came I conquered 8.Call it like you see it 9.I´ve told you once 10.Family first 11.Nothing left to lose (acoustic version)
3,5 out of 5

Atlanta based Woe, is me released their debut album "Number(s)" in 2010 and everything was looking good for the band but due to personal indifferences between the two singers Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn and the band, Tyler and Michael left and started their new band Issues. Would that be the end of Woe, is me? Not by far, because they´re back with a bang and two new singers in Hance Alligod and Doriano Magliano. Their new album "Genesi(s)" sounds like a destroyer, the guitars walk you over like a caterpillar and when you think it couldn´t get any heavier, they turn it up to 11. I really love their mix of metalcore and pop punk, and I´m not alone since "Genesi(s)" is currently on the top 10 on the iTunes rock chart in U.S.A. The song "Nothing left to lose" gets stuck in the head like superglue and I also enjoy the acoustic version at the end of the record. Woe, is me ROCK!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Strangers - Persona Non Grata

Strangers - Persona Non Grata (2012) Permanent Records
Produced by Tom Larkin
Tracks : 1.Red brick 2.Closer to nowhere 3.Bred for breathing 4.Medication 5.Persona non grata 6.Far too late 7.Searching the low 8.Heiress 9.Glitter kids 10.The yearly drag 11.Long snake moan
3 out of 5

Strangers is a new cool band from Sydney, Australia with roots in 90´s rock where their biggest influence must be Foo Fighters. The debut album "Persona Non Grata" will also appeal to fans of Aussie rock a la Shihad and Grinspoon, it´s a good album where the highlights are "Heiress", "Bred for breathing", "Medication" and "Persona non grata". What I miss though is a killer track that I want to hear over and over again, on the other hand, I can´t find any fillers either. If you want a well performed rock album and don´t care that much about the high Foo Fighters factor, you should look no further because Strangers rock. However, Dave Grohl play in a much bigger league.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sonic Boom Six - Sonic Boom Six

Sonic Boom Six - Sonic Boom Six (2012) Xtra Mile Recordings
Produced by Peter Miles
Tracks : 1.For the kids of the multiculture 2.Virus 3.Karma is a bitch 4.S.O.S 5.Gary got a gun 6.The high cost of living 7.Who will survive 8.Keep on believing 9.Flatline 10.Karma is a lady
4,5 out of 5

The U.K based dance rock act Sonic Boom Six formed in 2002 and has released 4 albums but I believe their new self titled album will be their ticket to success, this band could very well be the next big thing from U.K. They deliver groovy riffs, dance beats, rap and melodic male/female vocals on their first album for Xtra Mile Recordings. This is fun music and I just can´t enough of songs like "S.O.S" or "For the kids of the multiculture", imagine t.A.T.u meets Extreme with an 80´s party flavor and we´re close to the sound of their new album. The new single "Virus" is a smash, not to mention the rocker "Karma is a bitch". That songs rocks. Good heavens, what a great band!

Urban Cone - Our Youth

Urban Cone - Our Youth (2012) Universal Music
Produced by Urban Cone
Tracks : 1.Kings and queens 2.Urban photograph 3.Searching for silence 4.Burned 5.Kids and love 6.The prom 7.Freak 8.We should go to France 9.Winter´s calling 10.Our youth
4 out of 5

The debut "Our youth" from Swedish indie pop band Urban Cone is very charming and quite irresistable, the songs are infectious and their sound has that feel-good factor all over. Think of them as a mix of Keane, Owl City, The Killers and Salem Al Fakir. A lot of Salem Al Fakir too. They´re right on spot with the electro pop flavored indie songs "Kings and queens", "Urban photograph" and "We should go to France". This is a perfect soundtrack for the next summer, but why wait? Listen to it during the winter as well.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Khoma - All erodes

Khoma - All Erodes (2012) Independent
Produced by Khoma
Tracks : 1.In ruins 2.Just another host 3.Dead seas 4.Give it meaning 5.Death throes 6.Winter came upon us 7.Armo 8.Eyes to the sun 9.All like serpent (remix)
3,5 out of 5

I´m a sucker for melancholic rock and a huge fan of the Swedish band Khoma, their 3 previously released albums "Tsunami", "The second wave" and "A final storm" are all excellent and a must if you´re into heavier Kent-esque rock. The new album "All erodes" features 7 unreleased songs written between 2002 and 2012 plus a remix of "All like serpent" from "A final storm" and "Death throes" from "The second wave". The tracks that caught my attention are the unreleased ones such as "Winter came upon us", "Eyes to the sun" and the hauntingly beautiful "In ruins". This is a great collection but not as great as their 3 official studio albums.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Killbot - Sound Surgery

Killbot - Sound Surgery (2012) Dim Mak Records
Produced by Killbot
Tracks : 1.Sound surgery 2.Feel alive 3.Wrecked 4.I´ll fuck it
3,5 out of 5

Killbot is a new side project from Jonathan Davis (KoRn), Tyler Blue and Nick Suddarth (aka Sluggo). I remember Matthew Bellamy of Muse saying dubstep is the new metal and I bet Jonathan Davis is heading the same way since KoRn worked with Skrillex on their latest album "The path of totality" (2011). Still, it was pretty much a numetal album so with Killbot, Jonathan Davis went all the way with heavy dance beats and a huge dose of metallic electronic sounds. This is an exciting trio so let´s hope it doesn´t end with their debut "Sound Surgery" EP because I can see myself listening to a full length album of these Transformers-like sound effects. "Wrecked" is really heavy even though there are no guitars in sight.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Slowdown - A

The Slowdown - A (2012) Independent
Produced by The Slowdown
Tracks : 1.Acting strange of late 2.Wanderlust 3.Runaway 4.A mirror A torch 5.Tears from the compound 6.Left home 7.Segue 1 8.To wonder 9.Visitor 10.Aim for the heart 11.Wardance 12.Segue 2 13.All gone 14.Keeping you 15.Unable to 16.Whispering lights
3 out of 5

Kansas city based The Slowdown ain´t your average rock band, even though they´re influenced by bands like Radiohead, Killing Joke and Led Zeppelin, I think The Slowdown´s got a unique sound. There are traces of psychedelic 70´s rock on their debut album "A" but also a huge dose of 90´s postrock and pieces of experimental music. The lead vocals feels a bit low in the mix but it´s kinda cool anyhow, the opening track "Acting strange of late" bring thoughts to Ken Andrews and Failure. It´s also the best track on the album along with the single "A mirror A torch", which takes the listener all the way back to the glory days of Cream and Led Zeppelin. The more artsy "Tears from the compound" is the most prog-ish track on the album and I would´ve loved to hear more of this style because some songs on the 2nd half of the album feels a bit too complex. It´s a lengthy but solid album.

Sticky Boys - This is rocknroll

Sticky Boys - This is rock´n´roll (2012) Listenable Records
Produced by Francis Caste / Sticky Boys
Tracks : 1.This is rocknroll 2.Rocknroll nation 3.Bang that head 4.Great big dynamite 5.Girls in the city 6.Big thrill 7.Miss Saturday night 8.The world don´t go round 9.Night rocker 10.Fat boy Charlie 11.The way to rocknroll
2,5 out of 5

One thing for sure, without AC/DC there would be no Sticky Boys. The French hard rock trio has done a decent debut album with "This is rocknroll" and I bet they´re a great party covers band at the local pub if you want your daily dose of AC/DC rock. Sticky Boys has recorded a few really cool 3 chord rockers like "Rocknroll nation", "The world don´t go round" and "Girls in the city", well performed and catchy rocknroll.
But "Bang that head" sounds like a carbon copy of AC/DC´s "Jailbreak" and some of other tunes cannot match the greatest AC/DC clones in the world like Krokus, Airbourne and Trash. I wouldn´t mind seeing Sticky Boys live since they know how to rock but whenever I´m in the mood for some straight ahead rock on CD, I think I´ll go for the real thing instead.

Music is Love - A singer songwriter´s tribute to the music of CSN&Y

Music is Love - A singer-songwriter´s tribute to the music of CSN&Y (2012) Hemifran Records
Produced by Peter Holmstedt / Ermanno Labianca / Fransesco Lucarelli
Tracks : CD 1 1.Ron LaSalle - For what it´s worth 2.Steve Wynn - Triad 3.Judy Collins - Hopelessly hoping 4.Liam O Maonlai - Lady of the island 5.Sucarcane Jane - Bluebird 6.Elliot Murphy - Birds 7.Bonoff Cowan Szczesniak and Waldman - Guinnevere 8.Sony More - You don´t have to cry 9.Bocephus King - Down by the river 10.Venice - After the gold rush 11.Sadie Jemmett - Teach your children 12.The Coal Porters - Fallen eagle

CD2 1.Willie Nile - Rockin´ in the free world 2.Cindy Lee Berryhill - It doesn´t matter 3.Clarence Bucaro - Out on the weekend 4.Neal Casal - Hey you (looking at the moon) 5.Carrie Rodriguez - Cortez the killer 6.Marcus Eaton - Bittersweet 7.Eileen Rose and The Legendary Rich Gilbert - Just a song before I go 8.Nick Barker - Long may you run 9.Michael McDermott and Heather Horton - Southern cross 10.Andy Hill and Renee Safier - Thrasher 11.Louis Ledford - Wasted on the way 12.Mary Lee´s Corvette - Tracks in the dust 13.Jenai Huff - I´ll be there for you 14.Ian McNabb - Music is love
3 out of 5

Music is love is a song by David Crosby from his solo album "If I could only remember my name" (1971) but it´s also a 2 CD tribute album to the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The legendary folk rock band well known for their classic concert at Woodstock Festival 1969. They only released 3 studio albums as CSN&Y and 5 studio albums as CSN (without Neil Young), but the members released plenty more solo albums where Neil Young has had the most successful solo career of these 4. This tribute album is packaged with a beautiful 36 page booklet with lots of info about the artists performing the songs and the albums the songs are taken from, a real treat I must say. You can tell CSN&Y started their careers in the summer of love in the late 60´s because these songs are filled with hope and love, something we truly need in these hard times of economic crisis and wars. I won´t go into each and every song on this 27 track double album but the tracks I enjoy the most are "Music is love", "Hey you (looking at the moon)", "Rockin´ in the free world", "After the gold rush", "Hopelessly hoping", "Love the one you´re with" (performed by Stephen Stills daughter Jennifer), "For what it´s worth" and "Guinnevere".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vera Mesmer - Orphans

Vera Mesmer - Orphans (2012) Heart Chord Records
Produced by Christopher Mesmer / Sean Beavan
Tracks : 1.It takes one to know one 2.Back from the dead 3.Over and out 4.The starlet 5.Logical song
3,5 out of 5

Hollywood based Vera Mesmer is made up of the married couple Christopher Mesmer - Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards (Reveille) and Nadia Mesmer - Bass (Coal Chamber). Their debut "Orphans" EP is a very classy modern rock affair where my thoughts go to Kill Hannah and Lostprophets, we´re talking quality here where the first single "Back from the dead" stand out but I also love the beautiful "The starlet". It comes as a surprise that VM has picked the Supertramp classic "The logical song" to cover, and they do it good too. The only complaint I have is that this should´ve been a full length album instead, 5 tracks passes by too fast and I want to hear more.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Issues - Black Diamonds

Issues - Black Diamonds (2012) Velocity / Rise Records
Produced by Kris Crummett
Tracks : 1.Black diamonds 2.King of Amarillo 3.The worst of them 4.Princeton Ave 5.Love sex riot 6.Her monologue
3,5 out of 5

"Black diamonds" is the debut EP from Issues that features Woe Is Me members Tyler Carter - Clean Vocals and Michael Bohn - Screamo, plus AJ Robello - Guitars/Bass and Tyler Acord - Keyboards/Programming. You better be prepared for a musical ride and mish mash of electronica, hardcore, numetal, hip hop and pop/rock. This is a very entertaining EP where the songs are varied and rich of nuances, the production is crispy but really heavy too. The band deliver both groovy rhythms and melodic choruses along with megaheavy riffs and deathmetal growls. It´s hard to get tired of hearing tunes like "Love sex riot" and "Princeton Ave", not to mention the single "King of Amarillo". Thumbs up!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rhyme - The seed and the sewage

Rhyme - The seed and the sewage (2012) Bakerteam Records
Produced by Rhyme
Tracks : 1.Manimal 2.The hangman 3.Blind dog 4.Slayer to the system 5.Fairytopia 6.Party right 7.Brand new Jesus 8.World underground 9.Nevermore 10.Victim of downturn 11.Wrong
4 out of 5

Rhyme is a hard rock band from Milan, Italy that is heavily influenced by 90´s metal, grunge and melodic rock. There are lots of traces of 80´s sleaze rock in their sound a la Tesla but performed with the suit of grunge in the same vein as Alice in Chains and the melodic metal of Soulbender. "The seed and the sewage" is the follow up to their debut album "Fi(r)st", but the new album is the first one I get to hear from this promising band. They rock, indeed, they rock. The track "Blind dog" could´ve been featured on Kings X´s "Dogman", brilliant tune. The opener "Manimal" is another highlight with some hard hitting riffs, just turn it up.
There are moments when Rhyme bring thoughts to Jason Bieler´s bands Saigon Kick and Super Transatlantic, well I´m glad I listened to this album because there aren´t any fillers on it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nektar - A spoonful of time

Nektar - A spoonful of time (2012) Purple Pyramid Records
Produced by Jorgen Engler / Chris Lietz
Tracks : 1.Sirius 2.Spirit of radio 3.Fly like an eagle 4.Wish you were here 5.For the love of money 6.Can´t find my way home 7.2000 light years from home 8.Riders on the storm 9.Blinded by the light 10.Out of the blue 11.Old man 12.Dream weaver 13.I´m not in love 14.Africa
2,5 out of 5

The English progrock band Nektar has been around since 1969 but parted ways in 1982 until they got back together in 2000, they have released 11 studio albums and are still just as active. The original members Roye Albrighton - Vocals/Guitar and Ron Howden - Drums have teamed up with Billy Sheerwood - Bass and Klaus Henatsch - Keyboards (Jane) and recorded a covers album of classic 70´s hits except for Toto´s 1982 hit "Africa". There´s also an amazing list of guest performers on "A spoonful of time" like Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Geoff Downes, Rod Argent, Ian Paice, Jerry Goodman, Derek Sherinian, David Cross and many more. I often find these covers albums rather boring but this one´s ok, it´s hard to fail with such classic tunes from bands like Alan Parsons Project, Manfred Mann´s Earth Band, Rush, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, The Doors, Steve Miller Band, Gary Wright etc.
Nektar doesn´t do anything extra to these versions, they are very close to the originals and it works quite well except for the Rush song "Spirit of radio". Not a good version, no no. But thumbs up for the Alan Parsons classic "Sirius" and Gary Wright´s hit "Dream weaver", I like it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

All That Remains - A war you cannot win

All That Remains - A war you cannot win (2012) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Adam Dutkiewicz
Tracks : 1.What if I was nothing 2.You can´t fill my shadow 3.Intro 4.Just moments in time 5.Not fading 6.Calculating loneliness 7.A war you cannot win 8.Down through the ages 9.Sing for liberty 10.Stand up 11.A call to all non believers 12.Asking too much
3,5 out of 5

"A war you cannot win" is the 6th studio album from metallers All That Remains and this band doesn´t really need any introduction since they sold more than 900,000 albums and played at both OzzFest and Download. The new album is once again produced by Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz who has worked with the band on all their albums except one, "A war you cannot win" contains 2 instrumental pieces, a few really melodic songs and the rest is thundering metal. I love their mix of metalcore and active rock, one moment they sound like Breaking Benjamin and in the next, more towards In Flames. The best tracks are "What if I was nothing", "Not fading" and "Stand up", but on the other´s a bloody great record.

Otep - Sounds Like Armageddon

Otep - Sounds like armageddon (2012) Victory Records
Produced by Otep
Tracks : 1.Battle ready 2.Filthee 3.Crooked spoons 4.Blood pigs 5.Confrontation 6.My confession 7.Rise, Rebel, Resist 8.T.R.I.C. 9.Ghostflowers 10.Fists fall 11.Breed
3 out of 5

"Sounds like armageddon" is the first ever live album from numetal queen Otep Shamaya, it was recorded in 2012 and features the line up of Otep - Vocals, Markus Estrada - Guitar, Rani Sharone - Bass and Gil Sharone - Drums. Otep is not only a singer/songwriter, she also writes poems and handles both growls, rapping and clean vocals excellent. She has released 5 studio albums where the major part of the songs on "Sounds like armageddon" are taken from the Capitol Releases "Sevas Tra" (2002) and "The ascension" (2007), we only get one song, "Rise, Rebel, Resist" from the successful "Smash the control machine" (2009) and one song, "Fists fall" from the latest album "Atavist" (2011). Her vocal style reminds a bit of Perry Farrell (Jane´s Addiction) and when the band takes on their rapmetal suit, Otep bring thoughts to Rage Against The Machine. Especially with the political lyrics. The production is raw and the band sound really tight, the album ends with the Nirvana cover "Breed" but it´s not the best song here. I prefer tracks like the punk-flavored "Rise, Rebel, Resist" and the doom-ish "Blood pigs".
This is good stuff!

The Seeking - Yours Forever

The Seeking - Yours Forever (2012) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Colby Wedgeworth
Tracks : 1.Only a moment 2.Yours forever 3.Restless 4.You won´t bring me down 5.Narrow lines 6.So cold 7.Change my ways 8.Take it from me 9.How did you know? 10.Alone
3,5 out of 5

California based The Seeking has made an impressive debut album with "Yours forever", this album is filled with infectious choruses and mammoth strong riffs. They blend melodic metal with hardcore and pop, the first single "Restless" is just one fine example of their strength in quality songwriting. Another great song is "How did you know?" that is available on youtube, that songs show pretty much how The Seeking sounds like. One of my personal faves is the title track where the chorus gets stuck like superglue in your head, and don´t worry - they´re more metal than pop.
Highly recommendable!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Skrog - The Global Elite

Skrog - The Global Elite (2012) Independent
Produced by Jay Reiter
Tracks : 1.The revelation 2.MK - Ultra 3.Military industrial complex 4.Submit 5.End of the world as you know it 6.Dark metamorphosis 7.The hunter 8.The hunted
2,5 out of 5

Skrog? What kind of bandname is that? Anyway, Skrog is led by Jay Reiter who writes about anything from the rise of the undead to nuclear war and the lives of the elite. Jay finds inspiration from the music of Frontline Assembly, Slayer and Ministry. The new album "The global elite" can be described as mish mash of styles from thrash to industry and techno to death metal, Skrog´s sound is very aggressive and quite insane but at the same time also capturing. Other critics have compared Skrog to Strapping Young Lad and White Zombie which aint entirely wrong either, not all tracks are good but do enjoy "Submit" and the two part song of "The hunter" and "The hunted". One thing for sure, this isn´t your average industrial metal album.

Royal Hunt - 20th Anniversary

Royal Hunt - 20th Anniversary (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Royal Hunt
Tracks : CD1 1.Flight 2.Kingdom dark 3.Stranded 4.Clown in the mirror 5.Wasted time 6.Epilogue 7.Time 8.Far away 9.1348 10.River of pain 11.Tearing down the world 12.Message to god
CD 2 1.Cold city lights 2.Follow me 3.Surrender 4.The mission 5.Can´t let go 6.Paper blood 7.Season´s change 8.The first of rock 9.Tears of the sun 10.The well 11.Shadowman 12.Hard rain is coming 13.Half past loneliness
CD 3 1.Save me 2.One by one 3.Bodyguard 4.Restless 5.Bad luck 6.Double conversion 7.U-turn 8.Sixth sense 9.Day is dawning
4 out of 5

It´s 20 years ago, Royal Hunt released their debut album "Land of broken hearts" and to celebrate this the Italian label Frontiers Records release the best of compilation 20th Anniversary 3 CD/DVD set in December. This is not the first best of to be released this year, Scarlet Records released "Heart of the city" earlier this spring but it was just one CD with songs only from the first 5 albums. This triple album contains songs from all their 11 studio albums plus one CD with some nice goodies. We get the brand new song "Save me", and unplugged versions of 3 old tracks "Bodyguard", "Restless" and "One by one" plus bonus tracks like "Bad luck" (Royal Hunt EP 1993), the instrumental "Double conversion" (Far away EP 1995), "U-turn" (Intervention EP 2000), "Sixth sense" (X bonus track 2010) and "Day is dawning" (Eyewitness bonus track 2003).
CD 1 rule with the major part of songs taken from the early era with DC Cooper on lead vocals, CD 2 has it´s moments with songs taken from the albums with John West and Mark Boals on lead vocals. Except the two last tracks "Hard rain is coming" and "Half past loneliness" that both are taken from the reunion album "Show me how to live" (2011), DC Cooper shows he´s the boss here. A few songs on CD 2 are recorded live in St.Peterburg, they sound just as good live.

CD 3 is the most interesting one, "Bad luck" sounds like a leftover though. The unplugged versions are way better, but the real highlight is the brand new song "Save me" where Royal Hunt shows they´re one of Denmark´s premier hard rock bands.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Asia - Resonance, Live in Basel

Asia - Resonance, Live in Basel Switzerland (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Asia
Tracks : 1.I believe 2.Only time will tell 3.Holy war 4.Never again 5.Through my veins 6.Don´t cry 7.All´s a chord 8.The valley of rocks 9.The smile has left your eyes 10.Open your eyes 11.Finger on the trigger 12.Time again 13.An extraordinary life 14.End of the world 15.The heat goes on 16.Sole survivor 17.Go 18.Heat of the moment
3 out of 5

If you´re a collector of Asia live albums, you´re always busy because this band has released 20 live albums which seems rather ridiculous. I mean, do we really need 20 different live versions of Heat of the moment? The 2007 live album "Fantasia, live in Tokyo" was a bit fun because it was the first live album in a long time with the original line up, however they did sound a bit unrehearsed but they truly had fun playing the old classics so I don´t mind. The 2009 live album "Spirit of the night" was mediocre though, the band sounded like another day at work, really uninspiring and the production sucked. The new live album "Resonance, Live in Basel, Switzerland" is better, the setlist features songs from the previous 2 studio albums "Phoenix" and "Omega" along with classics from the first 3 albums. The surprise is "Go" from "Astra" mostly because Steve Howe didn´t play guitar on that album, it was Mandy Meyer (Krokus). I also like the soft version of "Don´t cry", a whole new way of performing that upbeat pop hit. Steve Howe pull off 2 acoustic pieces in "All´s a chord" and "The valley of rocks", he´s amazing when it comes to acoustic guitar. Carl Palmer´s drumsolo on "The heat goes on" is tiresome, but I guess the audience needs time to get refreshments. Thumbs up for a good production and I never get tired of hearing "Only time will tell", what a lovely song.

Y&T - Live at the Mystic

Y&T - Live at the Mystic (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Y&T
Tracks : 1.Prelude 2.On with the show 3.Black tiger 4.Dirty girl 5.Mean streak 6.Girl crazy 7.Shine on 8.Blind patriot 9.Winds of change 10.Straight thru the heart 11.Gonna go blind 12.Surrender 13.I´m coming home 14.Hungry for rock 15.Don´t wanna lose 16.Don´t bring me down 17.Hurricane 18.I believe in you 19.Eyes of a stranger 20.Rescue me 21.Squeeze 22.Forever
3 out of 5

"Live at the Mystic" is the 5th live album from Y&T, it was recorded in 2011 at the Mystic in Petaluma, California on the 30th anniversary tour of the 1981 album "Earthshaker". Bassist Phil Kennemore passed away in cancer in 2011 and is replaced by Brad Lang, the rest of the line up is original guitarist/singer Dave Meniketti, guitarist John Nymann who´s been with the band since 2001 and drummer Mike Vanderhule who joined Y&T in 2006. The setlist is made up of songs from the latest studio album "Facemelter" and the classic "Earthshaker" along with a few selected tracks from albums like "Mean streak", "Black tiger", "Contagious" and "Ten". I´m not a big fan of their latest studio album but the song "Shine on" do feels like a classic Y&T song, Dave Meniketti is a solid singer and sounds just as vital as he did 30 years ago. The best tracks are "Straight thru heart", "Black tiger", "Eyes of a stranger" and "Forever" of course, that song is one of their best songs ever. You can always count on Y&T, this double CD will do just fine in your collection.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gene The Werewolf - Rocknroll Animal

Gene The Werewolf - Rock´n´roll Animal (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Gene The Werewolf
Tracks : 1.Wicked love 2.I only wanna rocknroll 3.Superhero 4.Heart of steel 5.Rocknroll animal 6.I´ve got the love 7.Ruffneck woman 8.Light me up 9.Firecracker 10.Give it up 11.The ballad of Gene
3,5 out of 5

When I was in London a few weeks back, I went to see the Rock of Ages musical that is based on 80´s rock with that party time flavor. The international debut album "Rocknroll animal" from Pittsburgh based Gene The Werewolf is filled with feel good rocknroll that should be perfect for Rock of Ages, this band is heavily influenced by bands like Kiss, AC/DC, Def Leppard and Motley Crue. I also welcome the traces of powerpop in "Superhero" and the AOR flirt in the splendid "Give it up", I think The Darkness is full of envy that they didn´t write "I´ve got the love". Put the singalong chorus of "Heart of steel" on your next mixtape and you´re home, what the can use the entire album for the party time mix.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Perfect Day - A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day - A Perfect Day (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by A Perfect Day
Tracks : 1.Another perfect day 2.Now and forever 3.Long road to ruin 4.Alone and free 5.Silent cry 6.Under the same sun 7.Here we are again 8.Waiting on the edge 9.Warm embrace 10.We only say goodbye
2,5 out of 5

A Perfect Day is a power trio from Italy, led by Robert Tiranti on Vocals/Bass and he´s joined by Andrea Cantarelli on Guitars from Labyrinth and Alessandro Bissa on Drums from Vision Divine.
Their debut album contains 10 tracks with a blend of grunge and melodic rock, they´re influenced by Alter Bridge but to me they sound more like a mix of Framing Hanley and Beggars and Thieves but not as good. It´s a well performed album but they do miss one important thing, the killer track. All 10 tracks are decent but there´s not a single chorus that moves me, the 2nd track "Now and forever" has a nice riff though.
Spend your money on something else.

Rick Springfield - Songs for the end of the world

Rick Springfield - Songs for the end of the world (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Rick Springfield
Tracks : 1.Wide awake 2.Our ship´s sinking 3.I hate myself 4.You and me 5.Gabriel 6.A sign of life 7.My last heartbeat 8.Joshua 9.Love screws me up 10.I found you 11.Depravity 12.One way street
4,5 out of 5

I just gotta start with this opening phrase, "Songs for the end of the world" is Rick´s best album since "Rock of life" from 1988. The 63 year old rocker shows he can still rock and deliver a load of upbeat melodic rock tracks that will please every fan of his 80´s albums "Working class dog" and "Living in Oz". The new album is also one of his most rocking records and I´m truly glad to see his old friend Tim Pierce on guitar again, it´s actually the first time Tim perform on a Rick album since "Karma" (1999). Lately, Rick has written the autobiography "Late, late at night" (2010) and also recorded a cover of Paul McCartney´s "Jet". Although, I really loved his 2008 album "Venus in overdrive", I think "Songs for the end of the world" is much stronger. The opening track "Wide awake" is Rick in finest form and "Our ship´s sinking" sounds like a given hit on radio, the single "I hate myself" could´ve been an outtake from "Shock, Denial, Anger, Acceptance" (2004) but way better. "Love screws me up" flirts with Bon Jovi and the working class rock of "Joshua" is one of my personal faves on the album. This is classy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gabriel The Marine - Stars collecting

Gabriel The Marine - Stars Collecting (2012) Sun Pedal Recordings
Produced by Jim Wirt
Tracks : 1.Stars collecting 2.In tension 3.Honest 4.Like a child
4 out of 5

The constant search for unique bands is rewarded sometimes, especially when a beautiful piece of work like Gabriel The Marine´s new EP "Stars collecting" shows up in the e-mail inbox. This band was formed in Long Island, New York in 2008 and I bet they´ve got bigger problems right now than to worry about incoming reviews regarding this EP, hurricane Sandy hit the coastline hard last weekend so I´m gonna give the guys a moment to smile. I love this band, I welcome the violin melodies with the biggest warm embrace possible because it suits their sound just perfect. We´re talking atmospheric, slightly progressive and pop flavored indie rock here. The songs are well crafted and quirky, 4 songs aren´t enough either because I want to hear more NOW!

Attila - Party with the devil

Attila - Party with the devil (2012) Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie
Produced by Attila
Tracks : 1.Party with the devil 2.Soda in the water cup
3,5 out of 5

Death metallers Attila formed in Atlanta in 2005 and their 2011 album "Outlawed" debuted at #7 on the Billboard independent chart, they´re heading out on tour this fall with bands like Make Me Famous, Asking Alexandria and Memphis May Fire. So they´re giving their fans 2 brand new tracks for the tour with "Party with the devil" and "Soda in the water cup", the title track is a smash in the 90´s metal vein with a real groovy chorus that can be described as death metal party rock. It´s really cool. The 2nd track "Soda in the water cup" is a bit more punkish but with a thrash metal attitude, that song sounds like it was written for the stage. Thumbs up for the riffs!

Hearts and Hands - Hearts and Hands

Hearts and Hands - Hearts and Hands (2012) Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie
Produced by Hearts and Hands
Tracks : 1.Revenge 2.Gravity proof 3.Choices 4.We´re not alone 5.Memories
3 out of 5

Salt Lake City based Hearts and Hands features Chelsea Grin singer Alex Koehler along with Garrett Garfield and Alex Lyman, their debut EP is available now and it´s a good one too. I think Hearts and Hands combine hardcore with emo in a cool way, their choruses bring thoughts to Fall Out Boy while the heavier verses have more in common with extreme metal. The opening track "Revenge" is really strong and energetic while the melodic "Choices" is perfect for the airwaves, the only thing I can complain about is that the songs soundalike. A bit more varied full length album would do the trick for this trio.