Saturday, September 29, 2012

Boy Hits Car - Stealing Fire

Boy Hits Car - Stealing Fire (2011) Independent
Produced by Boy Hits Car
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Intro 2.Move with me 3.A madness called love 4.One kiss away 5.Stealing fire from the sun 6.Embrace 7.Dreams 8.Eager tempos 9.It´s alright 10.Erifsievol 11.Metaphwhore 12.The eagle and the hawk 13.She ran away 14.Rhythmical gestures
www.boyhitscar.com
4 out of 5

Perhaps there should be a BoyTunes Festival with bands starting with the name Boy, I mean there are quite a few such as Boysetsfire, Boys Like Girls, Boys Night Out and Boy Hits Car. And speaking of the L.A based Boy Hits Car, this band should be bigger for sure. They have changed label for each album starting with the debut "My animal" in 1998 and then self titled album in 2001 which was supposed to be their breakthrough album. Wind Up Records dropped the band after the poor sales and the band moved over to Rock Ridge Music for the release of their 3rd album "The passage", all credit to the band for not trying to become mainstream but instead continued to deliver slightly progressive alternative rock. In 2008, Boy Hits Car started working on their 4th album which was completed and released last year. "Stealing Fire" is their best album to date and a wetdream for a fan of pro-musicianship and well crafted songwriting. They should open for Rush so more people discover this brilliant rock band. Take 33% Dredg, 33% Led Zeppelin and the rest with Karnivool´s progressive metal and you´ll get excellent tracks like "It´s alright", "One kiss away" and "Stealing fire from the sun". PHEW!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mixtapes - How to throw a successful party

Mixtapes - How to throw a successful party (2012) Animal Style Records
Produced by Mixtapes
ACOUSTIC POP
Tracks : 1.10 A.M 2.Noon (protest song) 3.2 P.M (how to end something good) 4.4 P.M (Stupid famous quotes) 5.6 P.M 6.8 P.M (the apple barn) 7 10 P.M (safe) 8.Midnight 9.5 A.M (how to successfully throw a party)
www.facebook.com/MixtapesOhio
3 out of 5

Mixtapes is a pop/rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. They released their debut album "Maps" in 2010 and followed up with "Companions" in 2011, the EP "Hope is for people" came out the same year and in 2012 we get 2 more albums from this positive sounding band. First the full length album "Even on the worst nights" and this fall, the acoustic album "How to throw a successful party" will be available on Oct 30th.
They don´t write lengthy songs, mark my words. Most songs have a running time between 1 and 2 minutes, I think this is a good album where my thoughts go to Robby Takac of Goo Goo Dolls collaborating with The Proclaimers ( remember their hit "Walk 500 miles"?) plus fans of Secondhand Serenade might also appreciate this 9 track album. Their music puts me in a good mood. Thank you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Raindance - New blood

Raindance - New blood (2012) Animal Style Records
Produced by Jay Maas
HARDCORE
Tracks : 1.Bottle throated kings 2.Black lungs 3.Dine with the devil 4.To hell with them 5.Bloodlust 6.Heaven knows no hollow road
www.facebook.com/RaindanceHC
2,5 out of 5

New England based Raindance combines hardcore with 90´s metal and even a small dose of punk rock music, they´re influenced by Converge and Every Time I Die but to me they sound more like a mix between Alexisonfire, Blindside (early albums) and P.O.D on berserk. Their brand new EP is heavy as hell but also a bit chaotic, in a good way that is. Raindance sure do want to run over the listener with their 10 ton rock sounding metal, the songs doesn´t move me at first but I really like some of their odd twists and turns. They´re a bit psychedelic and I dig it, "Bloodlust" is the highlight here with some cool rap oriented vocals from Sean O´Brien. This band´s got attitude and a heavy sound, some good moments but it´s not good all the way.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Indian School - The cruelest kind

Indian School - The cruelest kind (2012) Animal Style Records
Produced by Indian School / Shawn Sullivan
INDIE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Elvis 2.Wind you up 3.High low 4.Rob your house 5.Cocktail flu 6.Head right 7.Bowerbird
www.facebook.com/IndianSchoolRock
3,5 out of 5

The new band Indian School features members from the pop punk band Audio Karate that released two albums with "Space camp" (2002) and "Lady melody" (2004) before they split up in 2005. A few years later, 3 members of Audio Karate teamed up with pianist Eric Wood and guitarist Anthony Leach and formed Indian School. Gone with the wind is the pop punk sound and instead, this new promising band deliver a classic rock influenced indie rock EP with the same energy as Bruce Springsteen´s E Street Band mixed with a touch of The Clash and even The Strokes. They´ve got a big sound and I just love the fat distorted bass on tracks like "Rob your house" and "High low", the opening track "Elvis" is perfect for radio and if you´re into Britrock a la Oasis, then you should listen to "Cocktail flu". Great song.
Highly recommendable!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Dying Arms - Boundaries

In Dying Arms - Boundaries (2012) Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie
Produced by Stephen Hawkes
METAL
Tracks : 1.Second best 2.Running out of time 3.The core of my existence 4.Bathed in salt 5.Horizons 6.Blind to the truth 7.My rise and fall 8.Dominius 9.GOREgeous 10.11-11
www.facebook.com/indyingarms
3,5 out of 5

In Dying Arms formed in 2006 and has released 4 albums including the new one "Boundaries" which is their first for Artery Recordings and Razor and Tie, this Baltimore based metal band combine metalcore with deathmetal and even post hardcore and the result is massive but also a bit unique. The listener can expect anything from deathmetal growls to clean vocals and even atmospheric guitar melodies, but mainly this is a superheavy metal album that feels more modern than retro. The production sounds expensive and the songs are well crafted, you can tell there´s a thought behind these songs. The single "Bathed in salt" is a smash but I also dig the space metal of "11-11", not to mention the ten ton metal of "Second best". This band rocks!

Handguns - Angst

Handguns - Angst (2012) Pure Noise Records
Produced by Handguns
POP PUNK
Tracks : 1.Porch light 2.Drag you out 3.Long october 4.Stay with me 5.Early retirement 6.Song about you 7.Capsize 8.The war at home 9.Nice choice, nice life 10.Still running away 11.Fade away 12.Where I belong
www.facebook.com/handgunspa
3 out of 5

Pennsylvania based pop punk band Handguns released their debut "Anywhere but home" in 2010 and followed up with the "Don´t bite your tongue" EP in 2012, this ain´t a lazy band because this fall their 2nd release this year hits stores. "Angst" is their 2nd full length album and it´s filled with 12 short and upbeat tracks that are more punk than pop, you´ll find songs with hit potential like "Song about you" and "Nice choice, nice life". But my personal faves are the opening track "Porch light" and the Zebrahead flirt of "Drag you out", you can catch em on tour with Forever Came Calling this fall.
This band´s got both energy and talent.

Hidden Hospitals - EP 002

Hidden Hospitals - EP 002 (2012) Independent
Produced by J.Hall
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Featherweight 2.The absence of emotion 3.Picture perfect 4.Monsters 5.Lullaby
www.facebook.com/hiddenhospitals
3,5 out of 5

Earlier this year, I reviewed Chicago based Hidden Hospitals debut EP "001" and gave it 4 stars over at melodic.net. The band is made up of members from Damiera and Kiss Kiss, their sound has a lot in common with bands like Thrice, Anberlin and MuteMath. A bit complex, experimental and progressive but also with traces of modern alternative rock. They might not be the first choice for active rock radio because their songs aren´t supercatchy on a first spin, however they grow and once you discover their secret of successful songwriting, you´re a fan!
I think the follow up simply called "EP 002" doesn´t match the first one, but the new one is really good too. The songstructures are even more adventurous on these 5 new tracks, the melodies aren´t in the same heavyweight class as the songs on the debut EP but we´re still talking quality stuff here. If you put these two EP´s together as one album, you´ll get one helluva full length for sure.

Veora - Serenus

Veora - Serenus (2012) Independent
Produced by Dave Petrovic
ALTERNATIVE METAL
Tracks : 1.5 A.M freezing 2.Empty rhetoric 3.Serenus 4.The distance between 5.Stand in line
www.facebook.com/veoramusic
3,5 out of 5

The debut EP from Sydney rockers Veora is a powerful and slightly progressive alternative metal affair in the same vein as Karnivool and The Butterfly Effect, the band features Mat Zammit - Vocals, Michael Refalo - Guitar, James Muscat - Bass and Ryan Sammut - Drums. My good friend Philippe from France introduced me to this brilliant band and I must say that the Aussie rock scene never disappoint, the songs on "Serenus" sound smart and unpredictable but still performed with strong hooks. They go from heavy beating riffs to open wided soundscapes, all 5 tracks are really great and I can´t wait for their next release even though this came out this week.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dead Cowboy´s Sluts - The hand of death

Dead Cowboy´s Slut - The hand of death (2012) M & O Music
Produced by Dead Cowboys Sluts
METAL
Tracks : 1.B.T.K 2.Asylum breakout 3.I will hunt you down 4.Lusk 5.Must be broken 6.Criminal 7.Purify by fire 8.This hate 9.Gates of perdition 10.Skull crusher 11.Life, death, and it´s painful intervening period 12.The hand of death Part 1 13.The hand of death Part 2 14.Backdraft
www.facebook.com/deadcowboyssluts
2,5 out of 5

I wasn´t too much of a fan of 90´s metal like Pantera, Prong and Sepultura when it came and blew wimpy 80´s metal away, but I have come to enjoy this genre today mostly because I got to love numetal and hardcore. Once you start to dig screamo and growls, it´s only a matter of time before you start soaking in death metal and thrash metal. The French metal act Dead Cowboy´s Sluts might not compete with Pantera but they sure put on a fight with some serious guitar shredding from their 2 guitarists LeClerc Mathieu and Plathey Pierre. We´re talking machine gun riffs in the same cascades as the Germans defending Omaha Beach on D-Day. Their debut album "The hand of death" has it´s moments and if you´re looking for some hard ass headbanging music, look no further. A decent piece of work.

Don Felder - Road to forever

Don Felder - Road to forever (2012) Rocket Science Records
Produced by Don Felder / Robin DiMaggio
WEST COAST
Tracks : 1.Fall from the grace of love 2.Girls in black 3.Wash away 4.I believe in you 5.You don´t have me 6.Money 7.Someday 8.Heal me 9.Over you 10.Road to forever 11.Life´s lullaby 12.Give my life
http://donfelder.com
4 out of 5

The former lead guitarist of The Eagles, Don Felder release his first solo album in 30 years on Oct 9th. If you were disappointed over the 1983 album "Airborne", I will assure you that "Road to forever" is a great California rock album where Don Felder is delivering the goods like a westcoast hero. Don turned 65 on Sept 21st and he has truly aged like a good wine, I couldn´t be more happy with his new album where you will find special guests such as Tommy Shaw (Styx), Randy Jackson (Journey), David Paich (Toto), Steve Lukather (Toto) and Crosby Stills and Nash. The production is classy and you will find nothing but quality in the album´s 12 tracks, the opening track "Fall from the grace of love" is classic Eagles for example. The Southern rock-like "You don´t have me" is available as free download at his website and if you dig that song you will be very pleased to hear the upbeat "Money". My favorite is the smooth westcoast AOR gem of "Wash away", pure magic. Another highlight is the superb ballad "Heal me", Don truly hit the right spot with this emotional song. Don Felder also wrote the best seller autobiography "Heaven and hell : My life in The Eagles" (2008), why not purchase this album and listen to it while you read his book?
Fantastic!

Dave Stewart - The Ringmaster General

Dave Stewart - The Ringmaster General (2012) Weapons of Mass Entertainment
Produced by Dave Stewart / Mike Bradford
ROCK / SOUL
Tracks : 1.I got love 2.Just another fall 3.A different man now 4.Drowning in the blues 5.Girl in a catsuit 6.Slow motion addict no.2 7.You took my love 8.God only knows you now 9.The ringmaster general 10.Story of success 11.A new song for Nashville
www.davestewart.com
3,5 out of 5

There´s no doubt Dave Stewart is a maestro of pop music, he was one half of the mighty successful Eurythmics between 1980-1990. Dave continued to release solo albums and also produced albums with artists like Mick Jagger, Jon Bon Jovi and Tom Petty. His 7th solo album "The ringmaster general" is the follow up to last year´s "The blackbird diaries" and like before, Dave is a genre crossing songwriter where his songs find their home in blues, soul, rock and country. The duet with Joss Stone of "I got love" opens the album and it´s a groovy rock song that sounds like a cousin to "Mercenary man". The following "Just another fall" which is a duet with Diane Birch is one of the highlights of "The ringmaster general", a really passionate song, I love Dave´s cool vocal performance here. The more rocking "Girl in a catsuit" is guested by awesome guitarplayer Orianthi, she is a true pro. The slow "You took my love" is one of my favorites too, a beautiful ballad where Dave shows what a gigantic melody maker he is. The slightly prog-ish "The ringmaster general" bring thoughs to Roger Waters, very nice. The Grammy award winning queen Alison Krauss does a memorable performance on "Drowning in the blues", so there are plenty of reasons to check out this album for sure.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Xander Demos - Guitarcadia

Xander Demos - Guitarcadia (2012) Rock N Growl Records
Produced by Xander Demos
INSTRUMENTAL GUITAR ROCK
Tracks : 1.Right angles 2.Nothing major 3.Under a darkened sky 4.White knuckle driving 5.Guitarcadia 6.Woodshed sonata 7.Boys of summer 8.Chase the sun 9.Metagalactic 10.Lady in red
www.facebook.com/xanderdemosmusic
2 out of 5

Xander Demos is a really fast heavy metal guitarist from Pittsburgh, USA. Xander is also a member of the party rock band Into the arena, I bet they took their bandname from the instrumental track by MSG. Xander is influenced by guitarists like Shawn Lane, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai and Jason Becker and has supported artists like UFO, Adrenaline Mob and Kip Winger. The debut album "Guitarcadia" will only appeal to fans of technical guitarplaying in the metal genre, Xander is a better guitarplayer than he is a songwriter for sure. Only 2 songs are performed with vocals, his own "Under a darkened sky" featuring Kavin Rasel on lead vocals and it´s a mediocre heavy metal song. The other one is a hard rock version of Don Henley´s classic "Boys of summer", it´s ok and Mike Sciullo sing well but the original is lightyears better. The album also contains an instrumental cover of Chris DeBurgh´s "Lady in red" and it´s the best song on "Guitarcadia", I prefer the slow and more melodic playing from Xander Demos than the super fast solos that he insists on giving us on each and every song. The production is way too sharp so I get pretty tired of hearing the same wall of sound during these 10 tracks. Not my cup of tea.

Sick / Sea - Moral compass

Sick / Sea - Moral compass (2012) Autumn and Colour Records
Produced by Sick / Sea
INDIE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Parasite 2.Robot 3.Master splinter 4.Mermaid 5.Blinked
www.facebook.com/SickSea
3,5 out of 5

Texas based Sick / Sea was founded by the siblings Cameron and Audrey Scott, they released their first EP in 2011 called "Oh ship" and in October their follow up "Moral compass" comes out. Drummer Cameron and singer Audrey are influenced by bands like Daphne Loves Derby, Copeland and Eisley. You can also throw in a dose of The Cardigans into the mix and we´re close to the sound of "Moral compass", the new EP contains 5 really good dreamlike rock songs where "Robot" and "Master splinter" stand out. The band also features a third member but I can´t find any info of who he is, anyhow I won´t be too surprised if we get to hear the music of Sick / Sea in upcoming movies. I like ´em!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Unchained - Oncoming chaos

Unchained - Oncoming chaos (2012) M & O Music Produced by Unchained
METAL
Tracks : 1.Infernal death machine 2.No scapegoat to blame 3.Freedom through fire 4.Russia 5.Your funeral 6.Death from above 7.Stare in the abyss 8.The god illusion 9.Replicant 10.Cosa nostra 11.Unchained
www.facebook.com/metalunchained
3 out of 5

Unchained is a classic song by Van Halen from their "Fair warning" album but it´s also the name of a new French metal band featuring members from Kragens and Gorgon. Their debut album "Oncoming chaos" has more in common with Slayer than Van Halen if you wonder, this is a strong heavy metal album with death metal growls. I don´t know that much about the French metal scene except for bands like Trust, Gojira and Lyzanxia but I do think Unchained is good enough to make a name outside their country. The album opens with the best track "Infernal death machine" that contains guitar riffs in the Savatage style, very nice. The more melodic "Freedom through fire" would do justice on an 80´s album with Accept, I like it. The national anthem of Russia is the intro of the mighty "Russia", also a track that stands out on the album. Good stuff!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Empires of Eden - Channelling the infinite

Empires of Eden - Channelling the infinite (2012) EOE Records
Produced by Stu Marshall
POWER METAL
Tracks : 1.Cry out 2.Hammer down 3.This time 4.Channelling the infinite 5.Lions for lambs 6.Cyborg 7.World on fire 8.Your eyes 9.Born a king 10.As flames scorch the ground 11.White wings 12.Hammer down (all star version)
www.empiresofeden.com
3 out of 5

Empires of Eden is a powermetal project led by Australian guitarist Stu Marshall, the new album "Channelling the infinite" is the follow up to the sophomore release "Reborn in fire". All music is composed and performed by Stu Marshall except drums by Jasix, each song on "Channelling the infinite" also features a guest lead vocalist that wrote the lyrics for the song they performed on. Some of the names are quite famous like U.D.O, Rob Rock (Driver), Steve Grimmett (Lionsheart) and Mike DiMeo (Riot). Other less famous singers on the album are Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge of Forever), Ronny Munroe (Metal Church) and Sean Peck (Cage), and some new names such as Vo Simpson (Darker Half), Carlos Zema (Outworld), Danny Cecati (Pegazus) and Louie Gorgievski (Crimsonfire). Soundwise, this album lies between Gamma Ray and Avantasia. We´re talking fast and bombastic powermetal here, the production is really good but why do the majority of the singers soundalike? I can´t seperate one from the other except U.D.O, Rob Rock and Mike DiMeo. The best tracks are "Cry out", "Lions for lambs" and "Your eyes".
A solid album!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Simon Walther - Leave the sinking ship behind

Simon Walther - Leave the sinking ship behind (2012) Jono Records
Produced by Simon Walther
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.A bide with me 2.Leave the sinking ship behind 3.My love you are 4.Head back home 5.Running 6.Gloria 7.Try to hide 8.It won´t be long 9.My knees went weak 10.Nevermore sleep alone
www.facebook.com/simonwalthermusic
2,5 out of 5

There are many artists passing by in my head while listening to Norwegian guitarist/singer Simon Walther´s new album "Leave the sinking behind", this postrock/dreampop affair bring thoughts to Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Kent and even Muse. At first, I thought the album was a bit weak but it grows. There are some good songs on the album like the upbeat "My knees went weak" and the Led Zep flirt of "Running", the dreamlike pop song "Head back home" sounds like a mix between Sigur Ros and Kent. The music is very poetic and colorful, just listen to the title track "Leave the sinking ship behind" which is the best song of the album. I have a hard time liking songs such as "A bide with me", "Try to hide" and "Nevermore sleep alone", they are just too psychedelic. But like I said, there are some fine moments here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Deceit - Nine

Deceit - Nine (2012) Scarlet Records
Produced by Deceit
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Wolfman 2.Out of project 3.First father 4.Unreal 5.Around the world 6.Too Fighters 7.Bietto 8.The fall 9.My stupid revenge 10.Last song
www.deceitmusic.com
3 out of 5

Italian rock band Deceit started as a cover band playing 90´s rocksongs from bands like Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Queens of the stone age and Pearl Jam.
The band released their first EP in 2010 and also recorded a cover of Massive Attack´s "Teardrop", this year their debut album "Nine" will be out in October and it contains 10 original tracks heavily influenced by Foo Fighters. It´s a solid album but I kinda misses the killer song, sure their first single "First father" is good and the Queens of the stone age-like "Bietto" is really groovy but none of the other tracks lift the album. The production is edgy and I like their energy, I also think they´re a tight band so they´ve got potential.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Design - Technicolor Noise

Design - Technicolor Noise (2012) Zeta Factory Records
Produced by Enrico Tiberi / Stefano Wosz
INDUSTRIAL ROCK
Tracks : 1.Thinking people 2.Turn off the sun 3.Fail better 4.Optimistic point of view 5.Photograph 6.Hank 7.The painter 8.Introduce myself 9.Straight at you 10.Empty rooms 11.Silent movie 12.Rock and roll anthem
www.designrockband.com
3 out of 5

Just recently, I wrote about Italian rock band Design at my "Under the radar" feature when their first single "Turn off the sun" was released. A pretty cool song from a promising band, now with their new full length album "Technicolor noise" in my headphones I can only say they managed to pull off a good album. The new single "Optimistic point of view" is one of the highlights along with the opening track "Thinking people", they deliver alternative modern rock in an industrial rock suit and I´m satisfied with the result. I think some songs tend to sound monotone but the good stuff is in majority here, just listen to the suggestive "Silent movie" and the rocking "Rock and roll anthem" that closes the album in a fine way.
Thumbs up for the crunchy guitars!

Peter Dolving - Thieves and liars

Peter Dolving - Thieves and liars (2012) Independent
Produced by Peter Dolving / Tue Madsen / Fredrik Reihnedahl
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Meinhof 2.Song for you 3.Hands on 4.One sweet moment 5.Ordinary folk 6.Sunday mornings 7.Cocksucker blues 8.My will to die 9.No solicitors 10.So sick 11.All this beauty
http://peterdolving.bandcamp.com
3,5 out of 5

Peter Dolving (MaryBeatsJane, The Haunted) has had a roller coaster life, the Swede has been threatened to life by a record label CEO, he´s the owner of 2 Swedish Grammys, he has also worked with Scott Reeder of Kyuss, not to mention the act of a prison warden at the Gothenburg Opera. He got tired of living the rocknroll life touring so Peter Dolving decided to work on his solo debut "Thieves and liars", the result is quite surprising with a sound that is rather rare these days. Imagine Jane´s Addiction meets Nine Inch Nails with a touch of King Crimson (Adrian Belew era) and we´re close to the 11 tracks of "Thieves and liars", although Dolving would probably say he is more influenced by bands like Radiohead, The Tea Party and New Order. The listener do get a major dose of experimental, slightly industrial, alternative new wave rock here. I´m fascinated with songs like "Meinhof", "Hands on" and "All this beauty". Highly recommendable!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Process - Through acknowledgement only

Process - Through acknowledgement only (2012) Independent
Produced by Jacob Hansen / Jonas Thygesen
METAL
Tracks : 1.Detached from life 2.Scars remain 3.Fatality 4.Through acknowledgement only 5.Human sacrifice 6.Reason to resist 7.Turning pale 8.Layers of deception
www.facebook.com/processdenmark
2,5 out of 5

Danish metallers Process formed in 2008, they started working on their debut album "Through acknowledgement only" in 2009 with producer Jacob Hansen (Raunchy, Mnemic) but continued to work with Jonas Thygesen in 2011 to finish the album. Process are influenced by bands like At The Gates, All That Remains and Lamb of God. There´s both a dose of death metal as well as classic thrash metal in their sound, the parts with clean vocals reminds a bit of a more aggressive version of Volbeat. The songs "Scars remain" and "Turning pale" catch my attention but most of the other songs only have a few parts that sound interesting, especially the guitarwork. This 8 track album is a bit uneven I´m afraid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mikael Persson - Man with hound

Mikael Persson - Man with hound (2012) Paraply Records
Produced by Peter Holmstedt
FOLK ROCK
Tracks : 1.Man with hound by his cottage 2.What a wonderful world 3.Some 50 roads 4.Sweetest smile
www.myspace.com/mickepersson
3,5 out of 5

It´s not often when you get to hear a rootsy folk rock album with a big sound but Swedish artist Mikael Persson and producer Peter Holmstedt truly nailed it, mostly albums in this genre are quite naked and rather basic but the sound of this new EP "Man with hound" is just lovely. The music is also varied where the EP opens with the upbeat "Man with hound by his cottage" that can be described as a mix between Irish Folk music and old school country and western. The 2nd track "What a wonderful" is slightly prog-ish that bring thoughts to Peter Gabriel, pay attention to the brilliant fretless bass work. The 3rd track "Some 50 roads" is a laid back Crash Test Dummies-like song, it´s ok but check out Mikael Persson vocal performance on "Sweetest smile". He´s a deadringer for Leonard Cohen on this one, great song.
Also available with M.Persson is the debut album "Moving with Mrs. Carter".

State Champs - Overslept

State Champs - Overslept (2012) Pure Noise Records
Produced by State Champs
POP PUNK
Tracks : 1.Tonsil hockey 2.Critical 3.We are the brave 4.Remedy
www.facebook.com/statechampsny
3 out of 5

New York based State Champs released their debut album "Apparently I´m nothing" in 2011 and now follow up with the brand new "Overslept" EP, there´s nothing revolutionary about their music but all records doesn´t have to be unique or groundbreaking. Sometimes it´s just enough to hear good songs in a genre that is filled to max with equal sounding bands, State Champs has written 4 new songs that sound catchy and will put you in a good mood straight away. I read a comment on iTunes that their music works just fine to skate to, well I´m not a skater but I reckon the person´s right about it. This EP is well performed and well produced, the opening track "Tonsil hockey" is really short and I don´t really have an opinion about it but I do like the fast "Remedy" a lot.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Whyzdom - Blind?

Whyzdom - Blind? (2012) Scarlet Records
Produced by Vynce Leff
METAL
Tracks : 1.The lighthouse 2.Dancing with lucifer 3.Cassandra´s mirror 4.On the road to Babylon 5.Paper princess 6.The spider 7.The wolves 8.Venom and frustration 9.Lonely roads 10.The foreseer 11.Cathedral of the damned
www.whyzdom.com
3 out of 5

The French band Whyzdom was formed in 2007 by guitarist/composer Vynce Leff, the ambition was to create a symphonic metal band with orchestral choirs and fronted by a female vocalist. Their debut "From the brink of infinity" was released in 2009 leading the band to support artists like Tarja and Delain, another 3 years went by and there´s a new chapter of the band with new singer Elvyne Lorient replacing Lisa Middelhauve. Their new album "Blind?" will be out in October and it´s truly a bombastic affair of epic metal but my first impression is that the album is way too long with a running time of 80 minutes. 4 tracks are longer than 8 minutes and it can be a little too much of the good here, you can of course draw parallels to Nightwish but also The Murder of My Sweet. Tracks such as "Cassandra´s mirror", "On the road to Babylon" and "Lonely roads" are really good. The guitar solo of "Paper princess" bring thoughts to Alex Lifeson and it´s so cool, the 2nd track "Dancing with lucifer" is a bit boring though and some parts of the 11 minute "Cathedral of the damned" are quite interesting but like I said - it´s just too long.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kill Ritual - The serpentine ritual

Kill Ritual - The serpentine ritual (2012) Scarlet Records
Produced by Kill Ritual
METAL
Tracks : 1.The serpentine ritual 2.Torn down 3.Time to kill 4.Ambush 5.Old school thrasher 6.Coat of blood 7.Cold hard floor 8.Law of the land 9.The day the world dies 10.Prisoner of the flash 11.My neighborhood
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kill-Ritual/192028644161072
3 out of 5

Hungry for some good ol´ Bay area metal? Then you should check out Kill Ritual´s debut album "The serpentine ritual" that comes out in October, the band features members of Imagika, Dark Angel, Eldritch and the powerhouse singer Josh Gibson. This album has been finished for more than a year but is finally released this fall so the band has already started working on album no.2. They sound really tight where the highlights are "Torn down", "Time to kill" and "Law of the land", this is definitely for fans of Anthrax, Testament and Megadeth. Expect no keyboards or no pop choruses in a mainstream radio package. This is in your face metal, and I like it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

WildeStarr - A tell tale heart

WildeStarr - A tell tale heart (2012) Scarlet Records
Produced by WildeStarr
HEAVY METAL
Tracks : 1.Immortal 2.Tranformis Ligea 3.A perfect storm 4.Valkyrie cry 5.Last holy king 6.In staccata 7.Not sane 8.Seven shades of winter 9.The pit or the pendulum 10.Usher in the twilight
www.wildestarr.com
4 out of 5

WildeStarr is a heavy metal band featuring former Vicious Rumours bassist Dave Starr on bass/guitars, London Wilde on lead vocals/keyboards and Josh Foster on drums. They´re from San Fransisco and was formed in 2003, their debut "Arrival" was released in 2009 and became mighty popular in Japan. The band is heavily influenced by bands like Judas Priest, Queensryche (early era) and Savatage, female singer London Wilde sounds like a male with a high pitch and at times reminds a bit of Tony Harnell (TNT). If you´re a fan of razorsharp guitars and pure 80´s metal, you should look no further because WildeStarr´s new album "A tell tale heart" is stunning. The songs are inspired by the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and let me tell you, the music is epic in tracks like "Immortal", "Transformis Ligea" and "Usher in the twilight". London Wilde is one of the best female singers I´ve heard in a long time, turn off the light and enjoy every second of "Last holy king". Highly recommendable!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pride of Lions - Immortal

Pride of Lions - Immortal (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Jim Peterik / Larry Millas
AOR
Tracks : 1.Immortal 2.Delusional 3.Tie down the wind 4.Shine on 5.Everything that money can´t buy 6.Coin of the realm 7.Sending my love 8.Vital signs 9.If it doesn´t kill me 10.Are you the same girl 11.Ask me yesterday
www.frontiers.it
3,5 out of 5

There can be no doubts that Jim Peterik was the main songwriter in Survívor, he is such a creative musician and has a high low level when it comes to writing melodic rock. "Immortal" is the 4th album from Pride of Lions and the first one since "The roaring of dreams" in 2007, although Jim hasn´t exactly been lazy during these years because he and Jimi Jamison released the mighty fine "Crossroads moments" in 2009. How many new Survivor albums can you count in the last decade? Well, Frankie Sullivan and Co released the mediocre "Reach" in 2006 and then silence. Pride of Lions singer Toby Hitchcock also showed the fans he could stand on his own feet with the strong solo album "Mercury´s down" in 2011, I love that album.
I think the new POL album "Immortal" opens a bit safe with 4 ok songs but then things start to happen with the great ballad "Everything that money can´t buy" and the rest of the album is high quality AOR. Just listen to the pompous "Coin of the realm" which is marvelous or the Journey-esque "Sending my love", that chorus is a wetdream for AOR fans. And what about "Vital signs" that Peterik wrote for the Survivor album "Vital signs" (1984) but it wasn´t completed until now, the song is a killer! The vocals from Hitchcock is faultless and I´m glad to see drummer Kelly Keagy´s name on several tracks. Thumbs up!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dokken - Broken bones

Dokken - Broken bones (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Dokken
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Empire 2.Broken bones 3.Best of me 4.Blind 5.Waterfall 6.Victim of the crime 7.Burning tears 8.Today 9.For the last time 10.Fade away 11.Tonight
www.dokkencentral.com
3 out of 5

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed with Dokken´s previous album "Lightning strikes twice" from 2008 so when Don Dokken promised a step back to good old days with the sound of the new album "Broken bones", I wasn´t at all convinced. But it´s stronger than their previous album and certainly a step in the right direction, guitarist Jon Levin make riffs that sound like George Lynch no doubt. The new album which is their 11th studio album, truly sound like their 80´s work like "Back for the attack" and "Under lock and key" but not with the equally great songs. This is a good album where tracks like "Broken bones" and the oriental "Victim of the crime" stand out, Don Dokken must be very pleased with the new line up of Jon Levin on guitar and Barry Sparks on bass since he wasn´t at all interested in getting back to the classic line up with George Lynch and Jeff Pilson. I´m satisfied too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kix - Live in Baltimore

Kix - Live in Baltimore (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Mark Schenker
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.No ring around Rosie 2.Atomic bombs 3.Lie like a rug 4.Don´t close your eyes 5.Girl money 6.Cold blood 7.Cold shower 8.She dropped me the bomb 9.Blow my fuse 10.Kix are for kids 11.Midnite dynamite 12.Yeah Yeah Yeah
http://kix-band.com
2 out of 5

I must admit that I was never a big fan of 80´s hair metal band Kix, I always thought they sounded like a 2nd division Ratt but now with this new live album in my hands. I can also compare them to straight ahead rockers Cinderella, and throw in some L.A rock a la Poison into the mix and you´ve got yourself a dose of Kix. The band celebrate 30 years in the business and with 4 original members left in the line up plus the addition of bassist Mark Schenker who´s been in the band for the past 9 years. Kix released 6 studio albums between 1981-1995 and the setlist of this live album are taken from all albums except "Cool kids" (1983) and "Show business" (1995). Back in the day they worked with some of the best producers like Tom Allom, Beau Hill, Taylor Rhodes and Tom Werman and fans will be very pleased to hear that Kix are working on a brand new album to be out in 2013. The sound of "Live in Baltimore" is pretty good and I do enjoy their 1988 hit "Don´t close your eyes", as a matter of fact, 5 songs are taken from their highest charting album "Blow my fuse" from 1988. The die hard fans will truly dig this live album but I can live without it.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Several Union - Awake from the game

Several Union - Awake from the game (2012) DMB Music
Produced by Riccardo Pasini
ALTERNATIVE METAL
Tracks : 1.Erase the sorrows 2.On my own 3.The game 4.Awake 5.Dream on 6.Best of me 7.One by one 8.Fall and fade 9.Dualized 10.Tonight you´re mine 11.Waiting for
www.severalunion.it
3 out of 5

The Italian band Several Union has created a cool mix of dark modern rock and electro metal, imagine Black Light Burns meets Three Days Grace. They debuted with the "Ressurection" EP in 2006 and followed up with the "A look in the mirror" LP in 2008, now 4 years later their brand new album "Awake in the game" gets an international release and it´s a good record too. All songs are written by frontman Alessandro Montalti and the only thing that I can complain about is that some songs are done in the same key and tempo. For an example, "Best of me" sounds almost like a copy of the single "The game". The single however is a damn good modern rock song, not to mention the strong opener "Erase the sorrows" that should only be played loud. I don´t like their upbeat cover of the Aerosmith classic "Dream on", it´s a different version but not good at all. Anyhow, it´s a solid album.