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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hollow Point Heroes - Hollow Point Heroes


Hollow Point Heroes - Hollow Point Heroes (2013) Independent
Produced by Hollow Point Heroes
ROCK / METAL
Tracks : 1.Wasted time 2.The picture 3.From the inside 4.Cut the ties 5.Sit down, shut up 6.Circus sideshow 7.Someone like you 8.Red light 9.Wake up 10.Calm before the storm 11.Over from the start 12.Better days
www.facebook.com/hollowpointheroes
3 out of 5

Hollow Point Heroes share the same hometown as Story of the year, Stir, Modern Day Zero and Ludo - namely St.Louis. HPH doesn´t really focus on delivering a unique sound of rock, their self titled debut album contains traditional and mainstream active rock with pop punk flavor. Their sound bring thoughts to Mesh Stl, SR 71 and Acceptance. Even though I find HPH a bit average, they still rock with a few good tunes like "Sit down, shut up", "From the inside" and "Wasted time" so there are reasons to check em out. I can think of many bands that are far worse in this genre, I kinda enjoyed this 12 track album and do believe they deserve to be listened to more than once.

Mass Sky Raid - Courage under fire


Mass Sky Raid - Courage under fire (2013) Independent
Produced by Matt Bartlem / Forester Savell / J.R McNeely
MODERN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Awake 2.Reason 3.Gone tomorrow 4.Broken wires 5.Tell me 6.Courage under fire
www.facebook.com/massskyraid
3,5 out of 5

The bad side of the internet for artists is file sharing where it´s so hard to earn any money on selling your records but the good side is that bands don´t need labels any longer to reach out to fans. Because with internet sites such as Youtube and Facebook, you can connect with fans all over the world and build a loyal fan base and get promotion from various websites which would´ve been impossible 20 years ago if you weren´t signed to a record label that is. Take Mass Sky Raid for example, this is a brilliant unsigned band from the Gold Coast of Australia that recently self released their debut EP "Courage under fire". I bet the only expenses for this lovely rock band are the production costs and they have the ability to get their name out to the world thanks to bloggers such as myself. I´ve got the tip from my French buddy Philippe to check out this great band and they rock. Mass Sky Raid formed in 2011 and are influenced by bands like Dead Letter Circus, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Breaking Benjamin. I was completely taken by the opening track "Awake" but the band save the best for last with the amazing title track "Courage under fire", the only way to play it is LOUD!

Future Life - EP


Future Life - EP (2013) Independent
Produced by Future Life
ROCK
Tracks : 1.What are we running for 2.All I know 3.Here´s my love
www.facebook.com/futurelifetheband
3 out of 5

Future Life is a rock band from Pretoria, South Africa. They recently released their debut 3 track EP on iTunes and I think you can describe their sound as timeless rock that really doesn´t belong in a certain decade even if you do hear traces of modern rock in there. The music is very melodic and perfect for stadiums, just listen to "What are we running for" that is my personal fave here. The song is anthemic with nice Aussie rock vibes over it, if the other two songs would´ve been just as great - this EP would´ve gotten 4 stars instead of 3. The other two songs are good no doubt, especially the heavier "Here´s my love" that bring thoughts to Prime Sth. I do think there´s a future life for this promising band.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Acronycal - Showdown


Acronycal - Showdown (2010) Independent
Produced by Acronycal
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Tonight´s the night 2.Naughty boys and naughty girls 3.Bullet in the wind 4.Quarter to 6 5.Lost without a name 6.On my own 7.Dead or alive 8.Unbreakable 9.Bomb child 10.Here´s to you 11.Calm before the storm 12.Because of you
www.facebook.com/AcronycalBand
2,5 out of 5

No, this is not a prescription I´ve got at the pharmacy last week, Acronycal is a rock band from Edmonton, Canada that has relocated to Palm Springs, California. There are some nice moments on their debut album "Showdown" which opens strong with "Tonight´s the night" and "Naughty boys and naughty girls". Both has hit choruses that I love to hear over and over again and the catchy "Lost without a name" is quite good too but the album is a bit uneven with a few mediocre tracks as well. Their sound lies somewhere between pop/punk and alternative rock, for fans of Social Code, Acceptance and Projet Orange.

(published at melodic.net in 2010)


Acroma - Orbitals


Acroma - Orbitals (2003) Universal Music
Produced by Sylvia Massy Shivy
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Careless ones 2.Sun rises down 3.Sweat 4.Wash away 5.Dont think, just move 6.Motive 7.Perfect 8.Big karma now 9.Untitled track 10.Orbitals 11.On that day 12.Slow down 13.Take the pain
https://myspace.com/acromatheband
3,5 out of 5

What do you get if you put together a bassplayer who loves industrial rock, a drummer which is a fan of Tom Waits and weird stuff, a sixstringbender who likes to listen to Smashing Pumpkins and Janes Addiction plus a vocalist that is a sucker for tuneful timeless pop?!.....the answer is ACROMA (pronounced uh-crow-muh) from Salt lake city, Utah!
Jeremy Stanley-Vocals, Brian Christensen-Guitar, Tom Collins-Bass and Joshua Zirbel-Drums formed Acroma in the late 90´s and had their fresh and guitardriven debut out early May.

Acroma spelled with an H (Achroma) is the medical term for a lack of colour but looking at the music, it sure does not lack of good songs on this bands first album titled "Orbitals", it contains very strong modern rock with personality and edge. The closest sounding bands I come to think about are Live, Stir and Cave in but Acroma do have their own personal sound too with a fantastic produced bass. The album gets better and better everytime I listen to it and who knows by the end of the year, how much I will like "Orbitals"?!, you just have to check em out because it opens with the moving "Careless ones" which is a short track but goes over with a beautiful bridge into the tougher "Sunrises down"(a real rocker).
3rd out is my fave "Sweat" that is a guitardriven uptempo affair filled with lots of energy, then after that brilliant start of the album the rest is a nice mix of melodic modern rock songs such as "Wash away"(a song with Stir vibes) and "On that day"(U2 meets Live) plus more massive riff going rockers like "Motive"(nice groove) and "Orbitals" (the title track is made for the party mix tape). This album was a good vitamin cure between all the numetal releases and ordinary modern rock bands that keep coming all the time.

(published at melodic.net in 2003)

Acres - 3 minute movies


Acres - 3 minute movies (2005) Independent
Produced by Acres
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Dirty little secret 2.Entertain 3.15 minutes 4.Rain on you 5.Torn in two 6.Rewind 7.All I need 8.Drive 9.Family car 10.Gold 11.Breakable
https://myspace.com/acresband
3 out of 5

Atlanta based band Acres is led by guitarist/singer Tim Acres, their debut "Pet rocks" was released back in 2002 and now 3 years later the sophomore album is out - "3 minute movies" is a nice affair of rootsy modern rock in the same league as Tonic, Train and Verve Pipe. Their new album is really catchy and groovy and contains lots of possible single candidates perfect for a ride in the car, they blend acoustic guitars with electric ones and the soulful vocals from Tim is absolutely first class. The tempo is varied on all songs and that is a good sign for an album because you won´t get tired of it so soon, this is how many bands sounded like in the late 90´s before everyone thought they should be harder or just split up. The song "Family car" sure sounds like it could be a new collaboration between Rob Thomas and Santana. The atmospheric ballad "Gold" echoes out soundtrack a la 80´s a long way, thumbs up for such a cool composition. Good album!
Highlights : 15 minutes, Dirty little secret, Gold

(published at melodic.net in 2005)

Aces High - Forgive and forget


Aces High - Forgive and forget (2004) GMR Music
Produced by Aces High
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Killing time 2.Forgive and forget 3.Hyde Mr Jekyll 4.Tell me 5.Blinded 6.Judas kiss 7.What I came for 8.The things we´ve done 9.Legacy 10.Listen to fools
www.gmrmusic.se/
3 out of 5

Do you remember the Swedish hard rock band Aces High that released the nice effort "Ten´n´out" in 94?!, well it surely had some strong moments with classy melodic hard rock mixed with AOR and then 4 years later they returned with the follow up "Pull no punches" that wasn´t as good as the debut. Now after another 6 years, this 5 piece hard rocking band is back with a 3rd album in the same style as the previous ones, Aces High play melodic hard rock in the same vein as MSG, Rainbow, Europe and Talisman to mention a few. They do it well and even if they pull off all the cliche´s-it´s performed with class and energy so it never gets boring.
The opening track "Killing time" smells Saxon a long way when they did their excellent "Back to the innocence" album, the title track "Forgive and forget" is one of the best songs on the album with a great AOR chorus. The semi ballad "Tell me" sounds a bit like Europe but singer Bjorn Andersen doesn´t have the same feel and clear pitch as Joey Tempest on it, then they walk in the footsteps of Richie Blackmore on "Judas Kiss" and "What I came for", very much Rainbow meets Purple kinda tracks.....they are ok for what they are but I would have liked to hear a more AOR-ish sounding stuff instead. The faster "Blinded" is only boring and should´ve been the last track instead of being in the middle of the album, the smooth and enjoyable instrumental piece "Legacy" sounds somewhere between the soundtrack themes of Cat People and Top Gun. They end the album with "Listen to fools",an epic song with great drumming and once again lots of Richie Blackmore vibes in the guitarwork.
I still think that the debut is their strongest album up to date but this new one satisfies too.

(published at melodic.net in 2004)

Ace Troubleshooter - It´s never enough


Ace Troubleshooter - It´s never enough (2004) Tooth and Nail Records
Produced by Tim Patalan
PUNK ROCK
Tracks : 1.Ball and chain 2.Anything 3.Jasmine 4.Make it right 5.Seaside 6.Turn around 7.My defense 8.Helen Burns 9.Tempest 10.Hoping 11.Don´t do it again 12.So long
www.lastfm.se/music/Ace+Troubleshooter
2,5 out of 5

Here we have the 2nd effort on Tooth and Nail from Minneapolis punkrockers Ace Troubleshooter. The quartet was formed in the mid 90´s and released 2 albums independently before they were signed to Bec recordings where they made their self titled album in 2000. Their music can be described as a heavier form of skatepunk, like having Jimmy Eat World playing songs by Foo Fighters so you see Ace Troubleshooter is not only a pop punk band........I wouldn´t argue if someone would call them a straight ahead rocknroll band because songs like "Turn Around" and "Anything" have nothing in common with Good Charlotte or Bowling For Soup. Their energetic and pop driven music is of course related to the pop punk genre but these Minneapolis boys don´t feel as *party rocking* as many bands you see on MTV. Nothing outstanding but quite good anyhow.

(published at melodic.net in 2004)

Acceptance - Phantoms


Acceptance - Phantoms (2005) Columbia Records
Produced by Aaron Sprinkle
POP PUNK / MODERN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Take cover 2.So contagious 3.In too far 4.The letter 5.Different 6.Ad astra per aspera 7.This conversation is over 8.Over you 9.Breathless 10.In the cold 11.Permanent 12.Glory us
www.facebook.com/acceptanceband
3,5 out of 5

The major label debut from pop punk rockers Acceptance is a huge facelift compared to their EP "Black lines to battlefields", this new album contains better songs and a better production which isn´t so hard to understand since they had a bigger budget to work with. Producer Aaron Sprinkle has done a remarkable good job as always with his works - so crispy and fresh! It´s also wrong to call their music for pop punk because you can also add some energetic modern rock in there as well,"Phantoms" is a very strong album that contains a bunch of hit single contenders - I don´t think that this Seattle based quintet should worry too much because with songs like "Take cover", "Over you", "The letter" and "Breathless" - Acceptance could very well be the next big thing. The group released an indie EP, Lost For Words, in 1999, and caught the ear of Columbia Records A&R executive (and iconic former host of MTV´s pioneering "120 Minutes") Matt Pinfield with a five-song demo (that would later form the core of Black Lines to Battlefields). Are you a fan of Lit and SR 71 ? - well then this album should be in your collection as well coz this is a band to watch!!

(published at melodic.net in 2005)

AC/DC - Let there be rock The movie

AC/DC - Let there be rock / The movie (2011) Warner Music
Produced by AC/DC
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Live wire 2.Shot down in flames 3.Hell ain´t a bad place to be 4.Sin city 5.Walk all over you 6.Bad boy boogie 7.The jack 8.Highway to hell 9.Girls got rhythm 10.High voltage 11.Whole lotta Rosie 12.Rocker 13.Let there be rock
www.acdc.com/us/home
5 out of 5

Finally, AC/DC´s concert film Let there be rock from 1979 is available on DVD. It was originally released on VHS in 1980 and this concert from Paris was the last show filmed with Bon Scott, he died 2 months later. There are quite a few live DVD´s available with AC/DC such as Live at Donington in 1991, No Bull from 1996, Stiff upper lip live 2001 and the latest Live at River Plate (recorded in 2009). But this legendary concert with Bon Scott is without doubt the best one of them all with Live at River Plate coming in 2nd place, if you remember the energy AC/DC delivered on their classic live album "If you want blood" you will understand what we´re dealing with here. This is the real deal with stuff like Angus playing guitar without straps and getting oxygen before the last song, Rudd changing his brokensnare drum, Cliff Williams tuning his bass between 2 songs and Bon walking around the stage like a matador. This show is a must have for all that appreciates a great time of real rocknroll!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

AC/DC - Black ice


AC/DC - Black ice (2008) Columbia Records
Produced by Brendan O´Brien
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Rocknroll train 2.Skies on fire 3.Big jack 4.Anything goes 5.War machine 6.Smash´n´grab 7.Spoilin for a fight 8.Wheels 9.Decibel 10.Stormy may day 11.She likes rocknroll 12.Money made 13.Rocknroll dream 14.Rocking all the way 15.Black ice
www.acdc.com/us/home
4 out of 5

"Black ice" is the first studio album in 8 years from AC/DC and the below par album "Stiff upper lip" in 2000, the new single "Rocknroll train" is the best single since the 1990 hit "Thunderstruck" from "Razor´s edge". Will this world tour be the last tour with the band?, perhaps you should catch them on this tour just to be safe. What strikes me when I listen to their new album is that the Young brothers and Co sound hungry again, the new album is the most melodic AC/DC album since "Back in black" and their best release in 27 years, it doesn´t beat "For those about to rock" (1981). The first 5 tracks are glowing hot, "Anything goes" sound like a new AC/DC classic but they should´ve left out the 9th track "Decibel" as a b-side instead, it´s a typical "skip-over" track. I just love their background vocals, only ACDC sound like this.

(published at melodic.net in 2008)

Absentstar - Sea trials


Absentstar - Sea trials (2008) Columbia Records 
Produced by Dan Wilson
ALTERNATIVE POP
Tracks : 1.Half life 2.For god sakes 3.Don´t lock me out 4.Life support 5.A year from now 6.Every9one you know 7.Give in to me 8.If what you mean is harm 9.Quietly conceited 10.If you like it 11.For the moment 12.All is forgotten
www.absentstar.com/
3,5 out of 5

Chicago based Absentstar knows exactly how to capture a listener, their emotional rock combined with Derek Ingersoll´s dramatic vocals makes a winning formula on their well crafted debut “Sea trials”. The album is produced by Grammy award winner Dan Wilson (Semisonic) and he has put his touch over some of these songs for sure, but the band is also influenced by artists like Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Travis. The song “Give in to me” bring thoughts to Feeder and Ash while the beautiful “If what you mean is harm” takes the throne of this year´s most emotional songs. You´ll get a fine double package of quality rock if you decide on catching Absentstar on tour as a support act to Third Eye Blind this spring, Absentstar has potential of breaking through.

(published at melodic.net in 2008)

Absentstar - Sea trials EP


Absentstar - Sea trials EP (2007) Columbia Records
Produced by Dan Wilson
ALTERNATIVE POP
Tracks : 1.Half life 2.For god sakes 3.If you like it 4.If you mean is harm
www.absentstar.com/
4 out of 5

This is a band to look out for in 2008, their Columbia debut full length will be out early next year but for now, their 4 track EP is available and I recommend you all to check it out. These 4 songs will be featured on the forthcoming album which can be described as a more rocking Coldplay, the EP was produced by former Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson and he has of course put his touch on these songs as well. "Half life", "For god´s sakes", "If you like it" and "If you mean is harm" are all pearls for the real music lover, my personal fave "If you mean is harm" is epic with a chorus that is breath taking. For fans of: The Fray, Coldplay, Semisonic, One Republic, Augustana

(published at melodic.net in 2007)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eyes on Fire - Victimizer


Eyes on Fire - Victimizer (2013) Independent
Produced by Eyes on Fire
METAL
Tracks : 1.Intro 2.When I die 3.The deceiver 4.Enemy 5.A protest 6.Victimizer 7.In the end 8.Into the abyss 9.Imposter 10.Phantom 11.Hypocrite 12.Venomous  13.Absolution 14.The fall 15.Set the world on fire
www.facebook.com/EOFmusic
3 out of 5

Can´t wait to set your teeth into a slice of modern metal? Then you´d better head this way and take a bite of Indianapolis based Eyes on Fire´s new album "Victimizer", it´s really heavy but still with a crispy sound. Without doubt a great production but 15 songs could´ve been reduced to at least 12 I think, there are some great songs on the album like "In the end", "Into the abyss" and "Enemy" but also a few fillers. A solid album anyhow for fans of Trivium, Bullet for my valentine and Avenged Sevenfold. Also available on Amazon : Anger to ashes EP from 2009.


Absence of Concern - Open letters to a closed mind


Absence of Concern - Open letters to a closed mind (2006) Kik It Records
Produced by Absence of Concern
MODERN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Beast in the beauty 2.American reject 3.Everytime I try 4.Assuming nothing 5.Goodbye 6.Beneath me 7.Ocean of angels 8.Suicide in progress 9.Falls apart 10.All you ever wanted
www.reverbnation.com/absenceofconcern
2 out of 5

Memphis based modern rock band Absence of Concern released their debut "Open letters to a closed mind" in 2006 and then followed up with the Skidd Mills produced self titled album in 2008. This 10 track debut album doesn´t sound as good as the 2nd one, there is too much low budget over this album, just listen to the drums that sounds like a poor demo. The music is ok, the rocker "Assume nothing" works rather well while other songs like "American reject" and "Goodbye" are typical mainstream modern rock songs that you´ve heard a thousand times before. The band has toured with Element 80, Hurt, Seether, Crossfade and 12 Stones but it has been rather quiet from this southern flavored rock band ever since 2008. Guitarist and founder Jon Dray Lee says "We wanted to do an album that exposes the close minded attitude of growing up in the Bible Belt" about the album title.

(published at melodic.net in 2012)

Above The Golden State


Above The Golden State - Above The Golden State (2008) Sparrow Records
Produced by Steve Wilson
CHRISTIAN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Loud and clear 2.Gaze into your eyes 3.Sound of your name 4.Streets 5.I´ll love you so 6.Comeback 7.Love 8.Chapter 13 9.Scared 10.One thirty nine 11.The haunting 12.All my heart 13.Real to reel
www.abovethegoldenstate.com/
3,5 out of 5

The Portland based trio Above The Golden State is led by singer/songwriter Michael Watson and he´s joined by Tim Aylward on keyboards and Brook Mosser on drums (Telecast). Their self titled debut album on Sparrow records is a timeless christian rock/pop affair influenced by bands like Weezer and Delirious?. You can describe their sound as westcoast rock meeting good ol´ powerpop, there´s no doubt this record is done by pro´s - every single melody, music part and song arrangement is classy. This is music to daydream to or just get in the right feel-good mood, I would like to applause Michael Watson´s fantastic vocal performance. For fans of Seven Places, Mainstay and David Crowder Band.

(published at melodic.net in 2008)

Abarax - Blue room


Abarax - Blue room (2010) Cyclops Records
Produced by Abarax
PROGRESSIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Cry out for me 2.Autumn storm 3.Sermons and lies 4.Life 5.As we spoke 6.Arena 7.Red roses and bullets 8.Howard´s end
www.abarax.de/
2,5 out of 5

Abarax is a progressive rock band from Germany that debuted with "Crying of the whales" in 2006 and recently released their 2nd album "Blue room", you could say they play slow progrock in the same vein as Camel, Pink Floyd and IQ but not on the same level songwise. There are some nice moments on their new album but almost an hour of music feels way too much and I find myself staring at the watch. "As we spoke" is the best track that feature some really great fretless bassplaying, well it´s a decent album but I don´t feel any urge of listening to their first album either.

(published at melodic.net in 2010)

Abandon Kansas - You build a wall, I´ll build a ladder


Abandon Kansas - You build a wall, I´ll build a ladder (2008) Independent
Produced by Abandon Kansas
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.When did we change 2.You build a wall 3.I´ll build a ladder 4.What if it´s all in my head 5.Minutes 6.By all means 7.February 8.Eat em while they´re blue 9.Patience 10.The message 11.We´re in this together now
http://abandonkansaslovesyou.com/
3,5 out of 5

I first heard the latest 5 track EP "The Earth Falls Asleep" with this band and immediately knew I had to hear their debut full length "You build a wall, I´ll build a ladder" as well. I was impressed by their frontman Jeremy Spring´s strong vocals, it´s not too often you get to hear a singer this good but Jeremy can carry the songs himself. 4 songs off this album were re-recorded in acoustic versions on the new EP and I loved them so it´s almost like they are getting new life the 2nd time around when I hear these full band versions on "You build a wall". This Christian trio has found a perfect mix between alternative rock and emo, you can describe their sound as a cousin to bands like JamisonParker, Armor For Sleep and The Ataris (their latest album). Great album!

(published at melodic.net in 2008)

Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera


Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera (2011) Gotee Records
Produced by Abandon Kansas
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Heaven come my way 2.Liar 3.Like it or not 4.The golden state 5.A conversation with the sky 6.Where else can we go 7.Take my lead 8.Wings 9.Learn 10.Give and take
http://abandonkansaslovesyou.com/
3,5 out of 5

Piano driven alternative rock and grunge tendencies makes a perfect formula if you ask Abandon Kansas, their new album "Ad astra per aspera" is a real nice combination of atmospheric rock and Chris Cornell-like vocals. Their debut "You build a wall, I´ll build a ladder" from 2008 was quite impressive and the band doesnt disappoint with the new album either, if you want a taste of what this band is all about, you can download a free 4 song EP on Amazon featuring 2 tracks off the new album along with 2 non album tracks. This is great music ,dear friends, just listen to "Heaven come my way" or "Liar". Songs made for the arenas.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Abandon - EP


Abandon - EP (2008) Forefront Records
Produced by Chris Stevens
POP / ROCK
Tracks : 1.Providence 2.Be alive in me 3.All because of you 4.Here waiting 5.Atmosphere
https://myspace.com/abandon
4 out of 5

From San Antonio, Texas comes another great band in the same vein as The Killers and Coldplay. Let me introduce you to Abandon and their new digital EP, I am amazed by how well crafted these songs are - they even have a bigger sound than The Killers and Coldplay. The songs might not be as classic as the hits from these 2 gigantic bands but none of the songs on this 5 track EP would be entirely wrong as an album track with The Killers or Coldplay either. You can easily hum along to these songs and the band sure knows how to aim for the sensitive parts of the body, the heart and mind - most people with an urge to hear infectious radio oriented pop / rock will melt when they hear "Providence" or "All because of you". And the other 3 tracks are just as good, the closing track "Atmosphere" even bring thoughts to MuteMath - how cool isn´t that?! More Arena Rock for the world

(published at melodic.net in 2008)

Aaron Stanley Kronis - Yours forever


Aaron Stanley Kronis - Yours forever (2005) Stamina Records
Produced by Aaron Stanley Kronis
MODERN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Yours forever 2.I´m sorry 3.Gimme a reason 4.Sedated 5.Hands 2 heaven 6.Six girls ago 7.Gone 8.Fear 9.Luck 10.So sedated 11.Without you 12.Weakness 13.Summer song
www.facebook.com/kron3r
3 out of 5

Canadian guitarist Aaron Stanley Kronis new album sounds like nothing he has done before, this time he has recorded an effort that unites the world of guitar rock a la Stevie Salas & Eric Gales and more catchy radio ready modern rock. The result is too good to be left unheard, the album opens really good with the new single "Yours forever" but then it just gets better and better and the second half of the album is a joyride into melodic heaven. His covers of Joe Satriani´s "Summer song" and 80´s band Breathe´s old hit "Hands to heaven" leaves me with nothing more to wish for, truly awesome versions but his own songs "Without you" and "So sedated" rocks big time and with these songs I can only say that Aaron is a damn good songwriter! Highlights : Yours forever, Without you, So sedated

(published at melodic.net in 2005)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Late Cambrian - Peach


Late Cambrian - Peach (2013) Independent
Produced by Late Cambrian
INDIE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Lover´s point 2.The label needed a single 3.The year I cut the cable 4.The wolf 5.Patience on a monument 6.Made for love 7.Ryan Gosling 8.Poetry 9.Resolution 10.Recipe 11.Flowers from an anonymous 12.Hypnotica / Afternoon special 13.The luddite
www.latecambrian.com
3,5 out of 5

The 2nd album from Brooklyn based indie rock band Late Cambrian caught my attention straight away from the opening track "Lover´s point" and all through the album to the closing track "The luddite". They have been compared to bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes and Phoenix but there´s more to this trio than being just another indie rock band from New York. They´re artsy, cool, quirky and blend new wave with bubblegum pop that has Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman´s names written all over some choruses. At times, Late Cambrian bring thoughts to Adam and The Ants and in the next moment, I think of Bangles like in "The wolf" that sounds like a cousin to "Walk like an Egyptian". Other songs like "Ryan Gosling" and "Lover´s point" reminds a bit of Everclear meets Weezer.
Brendan Brown and Gabrielle Sterbenz from Wheatus are doing lead and background vocals on "The luddite" while Tracy Bonham is playing the violin on "Made for love", some major cool guest artists but let´s put the spotlight on the members behind Late Cambrian. Nunzio Moudatsos - Bass, O - Synth / Lead Vocals and John Wlaysewski - Lead Vocals / Guitars. They could be your new favorite band.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kiss - Psycho circus


Kiss - Psycho circus (1998) Mercury Records
Produced by Bruce Fairbairn
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Psycho circus 2.Within 3.I pledge allegiance to the state of rocknroll 4.Into the void 5.We are one 6.You wanted the best 7.Raise your glasses 8.I finally found my way 9.Dreamin 10.Journey of 1,000 years
www.kissonline.com
3,5 out of 5

I was thrilled about the first Kiss album with the original line up in 2 decades, "Psycho circus" is a great record, not a classic Kiss record but it´s really good. I was pleased when it came out, I mean just to hear the title track which bring thoughts to Destroyer and Ace´s contribution "Into the void" that has the typical Kiss trademark. Also Gene wrote some great songs with "Within" and "We are one", we got to hear Peter sing with the band again on Paul and Bob Ezrin´s ballad "I finally found a way". Peter didn´t get any of his songs on the record because producer Bruce Fairbairn thought they were too crappy but Paul wrote some good shit with "I pledge allegiance to the state of rocknroll" and "Raise your glasses".
There were 19 songs recorded with leftovers like "Nothing can keep me away from you" (later released on The Box Set), "Body and soul", "Rear view", "Sweet and dirty", "I am yours", "I wanna rule the world" and "Carnival of souls". Peter only played drums on "Into the void", Kevin Valentine plays on all the rest and Ace only played lead on a couple songs. Tommy Thayer of BlacknBlue played lead on most of the tracks, well so much for a comeback album!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Carnival of souls


Kiss - Carnival of souls (1997) Mercury Records
Produced by Toby Wright
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Hate 2.Rain 3.Master and slave 4.Childhood´s end 5.I will be there 6.Jungle 7.In my head 8.It never goes away 9.Seduction of the innocent 10.I confess 11.In the mirror 12.I walk alone
www.kissonline.com
1,5 out of 5

In 1995, Stanley and Simmons looked at the charts and noticed Grunge was a big thing so they decided on making a dark and real heavy album far from the 80´s party rock they had left already on the previous Revenge album. They worked with Toby Wright (Alice in Chains, KoRn, Sevendust) and planned on releasing it 1996 but it was cancelled when Kiss announced their reunion tour. "Carnival of souls" was released in 1997 and it´s the only album together with The Elder that didn´t reach Gold status. If you ask me, this doesn´t sound like a Kiss album at all. I never understood this sound and I think I only listened to it twice, quite ok as a numetal album but rather crappy as a Kiss album.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Unplugged


Kiss - Unplugged (1996) Mercury Records
Produced by Alex Coletti
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Coming home 2.Plaster caster 3.Goin blind 4.Do you love me 5.Domino 6.Sure know something 7.A world without heroes 8.Rock bottom 9.See you tonight 10.I still love you 11.Everytime I look at you 12.2,000 man 13.Beth 14.Nothing to lose 15.Rock and roll all nite 16.Got to choose
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

Who could´ve guessed that Kiss would reunite with Ace and Peter again? But it was a fact in 1996 for the MTV Unplugged show where the current line up Stanley, Simmons, Kulick and Singer first played a set and then the original members Ace and Peter came up on stage and joined the others for 4 classic Kiss songs - "2,000 man", "Beth", "Nothing to lose" and "Rock and roll all nite". Kulick ofcourse knew that this was the beginning of the end for him, and he was right because Kiss would put on their make up once again and tour the world with the original line up after the release of this album.
This is one of the best unplugged albums I´ve heard and I´m not saying that just because I´m a huge fan of this band, I never thought Kiss songs would sound this good in acoustic versions and there was magic in the air in the performance that night. They played songs they haven´t played in a while like "Coming home", "Going blind", "Plaster caster", "A world without heroes" and "See you tonight". What a way to end a chapter in the history of Kiss!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Revenge


Kiss - Revenge (1992) Mercury Records
Produced by Bob Ezrin
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Unholy 2.Take it off 3.Tough love 4.Spit 5.God gave rocknroll to you II 6.Domino 7.Heart of chrome 8.Thou shalt not 9.Everytime I look at you 10.Paralyzed 11.I just wanna 12.Eric Carr Jam
www.kissonline.com
4 out of 5

By all means, Revenge is the album that Paul and Gene really wanted and tried to do with Hot in the shade but it failed on all areas. They needed an outside producer and who could be more suitable for the job than Bob Ezrin behind Destroyer, ok he also did their fiasco The Elder the band knew what we was capable of. Kiss spent 3 months writing for the album but threw most of it away, this time they wouldn´t go for the second best. Paul knew that Gene had mostly written only garbage for the last albums and told his longtime partner that the songs for Revenge would be the best stuff Gene has written since at least Creatures of the night. During the pre-recordings, Eric Carr started to get ill and was diagnosed heart cancer so the band knew pretty soon he wouldn´t be able to track drums for the album.

They tried Aunsley Dunbar but it didn´t work out so Paul called his old friend Eric Singer to try out, everything went very well and Singer became the new drummer. Eric Carr however did background vocals for the track "God gave rocknroll to you II" so he is involved in a small part of the making of Revenge. Eric passed away in November 1991 at the age of 41 and Kiss dedicated this album to him. He was a great drummer and stayed with the band for more than 10 years. I must say that this kick ass album is just what the fans wanted to hear, it shows Kiss with the same adrenalin as a heavy weight fighter and the same energy as a marathon runner.
I can´t even remember the last time a Kiss album opened with a Gene Simmons track but "Unholy" sets the pace here, gorgeous riffs and demonic vocals from the god of thunder. "God gave rocknroll to you II" is ofcourse one of the highlights along with "Spit", "Tough love", "I just wanna" and "Domino". The band hasn´t been this heavy since Creatures of the night!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Hot in the shade


Kiss - Hot in the shade (1989) Mercury Records
Produced by Paul Stanley / Gene Simmons
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Rise to it 2.Betrayed 3.Hide your heart 4.Prisoner of love 5.Read my body 6.Love´s a slap in your face 7.Forever 8.Silver spoon 9.Cadillac dreams 10.King of hearts 11.The street giveth and the street taketh away 12.You love me to hate you 13.Somewhere between heaven and hell 14.Little Caesar 15.Boomerang
www.kissonline.com
2 out of 5

Hot in the shade is one of the weakest albums from Kiss, the band compromised too much and even used some of the pre-album demos on the final product. Eric and Bruce were very unhappy with the album, some of the songs Bruce wrote were changed in a way that made their lead guitarplayer quite uncomfortable and Eric wasn´t too pleased that Gene used a drum machine on some of his songs. There was no outside producer telling Paul and Gene that 15 songs should be reduced at least 11, this was pretty much their attempt of getting back to the rocknroll sound but without the great songs. Sure it was closer to their roots but there was something missing in the album, variety I say plus the production was awful!
Gene always wrote 100 songs for each album and none were really good, Paul wrote 5-6 songs and used them all but they were always great. This time he managed to come up with their first Top 10 hit in many years with "Forever" that co-written with Michael Bolton. Another fine song is "Hide your heart" that was co-written with Holly Knight and Desmond Child, Gene´s best track is "Betrayed" which was co-written with Tommy Thayer of Black and Blue. "Silver spoon" was Kiss trying to do a Bon Jovi singalong chorus but the song was only annoying. Nah, you can skip this album.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Crazy nights


Kiss - Crazy nights (1987) Mercury Records
Produced by Ron Nevison
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Crazy crazy nights 2.I´ll fight hell to hold you 3.Bang you 4.No, no, no 5.Hell or highwater 6.My way 7.When your walls come down 8.Reason to live 9.Good girl gone bad 10.Turn on the night 11.Thief in the night
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

When Paul Stanley saw which bands that ruled the charts in the mid 80´s, he wanted to ride on the wave and contacted Ron Nevison who produced all those hit records with Heart, Ozzy and Survivor. This was the age of guitar acrobatics and AOR, Bruce Kulick was the right man for the job as their lead guitar since he´s playing on the 2nd album in a row with "Crazy nights". The ones before him only stayed for one album, this is Gene Simmons least favorite record with Kiss and I can see why - Gene is the god of thunder and he gets sick with all those love lyrics. But as a Paul record, Crazy nights is huge!
It´s like a parade of grand melodic rock where the amazing songs stand in line such as "Turn on the night", "My way", "I´ll fight hell to hold you", "Crazy nights", "Reason to live" and "Bang bang you". The great "Sword and stone" was left out and later used for the Shocker Soundtrack, Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean also recorded a version on his solo album of it. However, the success was a fact and the album "Crazy nights" brought back Kiss on the charts once again. This might also be the album where Paul is singing his highest notes, it´s so high the dogs only hear it!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Asylum


Kiss - Asylum (1985) Mercury Records
Produced by Paul Stanley / Gene Simmons
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.King of the mountain 2.Any way you slice it 3.Who wants to be lonely 4.Trial by fire 5.I´m alive 6.Love´s a deadly weapon 7.Tears are falling 8.Secretly cruel 9.Radar for love 10.Uh all night
www.kissonline.com
3 out of 5

Guitarist Mark St John was a short lived member of Kiss and left because of medical reasons right after the Animalize album, they recruited Bruce Kulick who´s brother Bob thought of recommending already back in 1981 when Ace was leaving the band. Bruce would in fact become a long time member of Kiss between 1985-1996 when Ace returned. There are a couple of dreadful things about Asylum, first the artwork which looks cheesy and cheap and then the title of the closing track "Uh all night" that is pretty pathetic. Paul and Gene handled the production which is ok but I think there are too many fillers on this album, it opens really strong with "King of the mountain" and the melodic "Tears are falling" is a Stanley penned pearl. My favorite is "Who wants to be lonely" and I wish there could´ve been more tracks in the same vein as these 3 tracks.
The best track by Gene is "Trial by fire", originally called Live fast Die young and another cool fact you might not know is that the fast "Love´s a deadly weapon" was recorded for The Elder but was pushed aside by Bob Ezrin. It didn´t suit the concept, the problem with these 3 albums Lick it up, Animalize and Asylum is that they all soundalike but are also lacking of classic Kiss rocknroll.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Animalize


Kiss - Animalize (1984) Mercury Records
Produced by Paul Stanley
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.I´ve had enough 2.Heaven´s on fire 3.Burn bitch burn 4.Get all you can take 5.Lovely is the hunter 6.Under the gun 7.Thrills in the night 8.While the city sleeps 9.Murder in high-heels
www.kissonline.com
3 out of 5

In, 1984 I was 19 years old and got my first day time job making my own money as well. So I could buy lots and lots of more records, it was a joy to visit the retail stores and check what was new every week. I´m sorry to say the magic was gone with my favorite band Kiss when they took off their make up and both Peter and Ace had left the band, I bought Animalize when it came out but besides a few good tunes like "Thrills in the night", "Heavens on fire" and "I´ve had enough" - this was yet another day at work for Kiss who had issues with keeping their lead guitar player remain in the band.
Vinnie Vincent left after the Lick it up tour and they found Hollywood son Mark St John who was more of a jazz guitarist but Mark took the job and after only 6 weeks, they started working on Animalize. Gene had his mind on the movie Runaway he was gonna shoot with Tom Selleck so Gene layed down his bass and vocal tracks really fast and then went to do some acting. Paul didn´t keep much of the bass and instead Mitch Weissman who co-wrote 3 tracks had to redo some of the bass, Jean Beauvoir played the bass on "Thrills in the night" and Bruce Kulick that would become the lead guitarist after Mark St John, played solos on "Murder in high heels" and "Lonely is the hunter". Gene´s songs sucks big time but Paul´s songs work really well. A good album, but quite small compared to the gigantic 70´s albums.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Lick it up


Kiss - Lick it up (1983) Mercury Records
Produced by Michael James Jackson / Kiss
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Exciter 2.Not for the innocent 3.Lick it up 4.Young and wasted 5.Gimme more 6.All hell´s breaking loose 7.A million to one 8.Fits like a glove 9.Dance all over your face 10.And on the 8th day
www.kissonline.com
3 out of 5

After the disappointing sales of Unmasked, The Elder and Creatures of the night. Things really started to happen with Lick it up in 1983, it was a whole new chapter for Kiss with a new label, a new line up of Stanley, Simmons, Carr and Vincent. Vinnie played on the Creatures album but wasn´t an official member until the Lick it up album but most important - the band finally took off their masks. The success was a fact with their first platinum selling album since Dynasty, I saw the band for the first time live on this tour and it was a good show but it wasn´t great. Just like this album, it´s a good album but no way as great as Creatures or Dynasty.
The band continued to work with Michael James Jackson and the production is really good, but I don´t think the songs hold all the way. There are a few great songs like "Not for the innocent", "A million to one" (I love this one), "All hell´s breaking loose" and the title track "Lick it up". The rest however felt like clouds on a sunny sky, sure it wasn´t raining but I wasn´t too thrilled either about this album.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Creatures of the night


Kiss - Creatures of the night (1982) Casablanca Records
Produced by Michael James Jackson / Kiss
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Creatures of the night 2.Saint and sinner 3.Keep me coming 4.Rock and roll hell 5.Danger 6.I love it loud 7.I still love you 8.Killer 9.War machine
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

Creatures of the night was a fresh new start for Kiss and a return to their rocknroll sound after Unmasked and The Elder, they recorded the 4 new tracks for Killers and Creatures of the night at the same time and worked with several outside songwriters like Adam Mitchell, Bryan Adams and Mikel Japp. Guitarist Vinnie Vincent had replaced Ace Frehley but it was Ace on the album cover and even if Ace wasn´t playing on any songs, Vinnie only played on a few songs and the rest were session guitarists like Robben Ford on "I still love you", Steve Farris on "Creatures of the night" and Bob Kulick on "Danger". This album is definitely one of their strongest albums with hits like "I love it loud" and the amazing title track, Paul and Gene are proud of this album and I can see why. What band wouldn´t wanna have their name on an album sleeve like "Creatures of the night", this is the Kiss the fans are used to hear!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - The Elder


Kiss - The Elder (1981) Casablanca Records
Produced by Bob Ezrin
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Fanfare 2.Just a boy 3.Odyssey 4.Only you 5.Under the rose 6.Dark light 7.A world without heroes 8.The oath 9.Mr.Blackwell 10.Escape from the island 11.I
www.kissonline.com
3,5 out of 5

1980-1981 must have been really confusing years for Kiss with the pop oriented Unmasked album and then the concept album The Elder that failed really hard on the charts, the band brought in Bob Ezrin from Destroyer to produce this epic album that was planned to be a movie as well. Peter Criss was out of the band and Eric Carr replaced him, but even stranger is that Carr isn’t playing on all tracks on The Elder. Allan Swartzberg who played on Gene Simmons solo album, plays on 2 tracks but he was not credited for it. Eric was devastated when Bob chose to use Allan´s work instead and Eric´s contribution "Carr Jam" was left out and later released on the Revenge album.
The Elder is not a bad album but it´s not a Kiss album, oh it says Kiss on the sleeve but it sounds more like a prog rock record and a good one too. Tracks like "Under the rose", "Only you" and "Odyssey" are really great progrock songs but really not under Kiss standards. The heavier "The oath" is as close as we get to a typical Kiss song. No wonder the band don´t play any songs from this album live, the fans would probably not understand yada if songs like "Dark light" or "Mr Blackwell" wouldend upin the setlist. I like to listen to The Elder once in a while but I wouldn´t include any songs on a best of compilation.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Unmasked


Kiss - Unmasked (1980) Casablanca Records
Produced by Vini Poncia
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Is that you 2.Shandi 3.Talk to me 4.Naked city 5.What makes the world go round 6.Tomorrow 7.Two sides of the coin 8.She´s so European 9.Easy as it seems 10.Torpedo girl 11.You´re all that I want
www.kissonline.com
4 out of 5

Kiss wanted to take off their make up for quite some time just to be recognized when they were out in public but their manager Bill Aucoin said no and when we thought we should see their actual faces on the album cover of "Unmasked", the band fooled us with yet another masked cover. The legend lives on! This album shows a band in crisis, Peter was leaving the band and they didn´t know which direction to take soundwise. Producer Vini Poncia gave them a slick production and looking back at the album today, Kiss really hates this album mostly because the demos were rocking much harder and the final result was a radio ready pop album.
They also scored a hit with "Shandi", this was also the 4th album in a row with a cover. Love Gun had "Then she kissed me", Alive II had "Anyway you want it", Dynasty had "2,000 man" and Unmasked had "Is that you" by Gerard MacMahon. Anton Fig who played on Dynasty also was hired to do the job for Unmasked, the drumming is exceptional! I think Ace contributed with top notch songs in "Torpedo girl", "Talk to me" and "Two sides of the coin". Gene co-wrote one of his best songs ever with Kulick/Poncia/Castroin "Naked city" and Paul showed once again he´s the master of melodies with brilliant songs like "Tomorrow", "Shandi" and "What makes the world go round". This is a really underrated album that beats the shit out of "Hot in the shade" and "Carnival of souls" anytime.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Dynasty


Kiss -Dynasty (1979) Casablanca Records
Produced by Vini Poncia
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.I was made for lovin you 2.2,000 man 3.Sure know something 4.Dirty livin 5.Charisma 6.Magic touch 7.Hard times 8.X-ray eyes 9.Save your love
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

By the time Dynasty came out, Kiss had released 7 studio albums in 5 years which is more than impossible for most bands today. I mean, some bands even take 5 years to write a record and they don´t even become near as classic as these early Kiss albums. After Love gun, the band didn´t want to make the same album over and over again since that one and the previous Rock and roll over felt like twins. When the band think back on this album today, they are not as happy about it as they were in 1979. It is too safe and has no edge, says Stanley. Dynasty was however very successful as a Top 10 album with "I was made for loving you" as a mega hit, the album features only 7 new tracks with the other two being a cover, The Rolling Stones song "2,000 man" and "Dirty livin" which was the 3rd track re-recorded from the Lips days. The other 2 Lips tracks from Penridge and Criss on earlier Kiss albums were "Hooligan" and "Baby driver".
Criss was doĆ­ng his solo album "Out of control" at the same time and was unable to track drums for this album so Anton Fig was hired to do the job, Fig also played drums on Ace Frehley´s 1978 solo album and when you think about it. Ace is singing lead on 4 tracks on "Dynasty" making it half a Ace solo album with Fig drumming. No wonder why I love this album so much, also included on this album is the AOR smash "Sure know something" by Stanley which is one of my all time favorite songs by the band. Killer album!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Love gun


Kiss - Love gun (1977) Casablanca Records
Produced by Eddie Kramer
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.I stole your love 2.Christine sixteen 3.Got love for sale 4.Shock me 5.Tomorrow and tonight 6.Love gun 7.Hooligan 8.Almost human 9.Plaster caster 10.Then she kissed me
www.kissonline.com
5 out of 5

Kiss was the first band in history to have 4 albums on the charts at the same time with Kiss Alive, Destroyer, Rock and roll over and Love Gun in 1977. Most songs were written on the Japan tour of the Rock and roll over album and the album was recorded between May 3rd - May 28th, it was also the first album to feature lead vocal performances from all four band members. The Love Gun artwork was done by Ken Kelly who also did Destroyer, these two are my favorite album covers with Kiss. We can find some of their greatest songs on this album with the title track "Love gun", "I stole your love", "Christine sixteen", "Shock me" and "Plaster caster".
The band thought about doing Jailhouse rock as a cover for the album but ended up doing The Crystals 1963 hit "Then he kissed me" instead, it was changed to "Then she kissed me". Paul was influenced by Deep Purple´s Burn when he wrote "I stole your love" and by Mott The Hoople´s The Golden age of rocknroll when he wrote "Tomorrow and tonight". Ace wrote the song "Shock me" after he was electrocuted in Florida before a show, Paul was working on a song called Christine sixteen when Gene stole the title and beat him to it but it wasn´t the first time they stole from eachother. Before the first album, Gene had a song called Black diamond when Paul stole the title and made it his own. Love Gun is nothing but a classic rock record that never goes out of style!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Rock and roll over


Kiss - Rock and roll over (1976) Casablanca Records
Produced by Eddie Kramer
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.I want you 2.Take me 3.Calling dr.love 4.Ladies room 5.Baby driver 6.Love em and leave em 7.Mr.Speed 8.See you in your dreams 9.Hard luck woman 10.Makin love
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

Kiss continued to deliver albums every six months and since Destroyer came out in March 1976, they band went into the studio in September 76 to record Rock and roll over. It took 2 weeks to record and Eddie Kramer who also produced Kiss Alive produced Rock and Roll Over, Kiss was scared after Destroyer even though it was so successful but they wanted to make a rocknroll record again and the fans hated Destroyer. Eddie had worked with Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin before Kiss so he was perfect for the job on this album, they recorded it at Nanuet Star Theatre in New York which was partly owned by Frank Sinatra.
It´s a classic cover done by Michael Doret who also did the latest Kiss album Sonic Boom, some of Kiss best rockers are on this record such as "Makin love", "I want you", "Take me" and "Calling Dr Love" but my favorite track would become "Love em and leave em" by Gene Simmons. Not many people know that Katy Sagal from Married with children sang background vocals on the demo tracks by Gene. "Baby driver" was written by Stan Penridge and Peter Criss when they played together in Lips before Kiss, Paul wrote "I want you" at a soundcheck on the Destroyer tour and Paul also wrote "Hard luck woman" for Rod Stewart but Eddie Kramer wanted it on the Rock and roll over album and Peter insisted he should sing it so there it is. This is Kiss the way they should sound even though I loved Destroyer more.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Destroyer


Kiss - Destroyer (1976) Casablanca Records
Produced by Bob Ezrin
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Detroit rock city 2.King of the night time world 3.God of thunder 4.Great expectations 5.Flaming youth 6.Sweet pain 7.Shout it out loud 8.Beth 9.Do you love me
www.kissonline.com
5 out of 5

After Kiss Alive, the band felt they needed to do something different and got in touch with producer Bob Ezrin who had worked with Alice Cooper earlier. "Destroyer" was a difficult album to make for Kiss because Ezrin wanted to change a lot of things about the band´s sound, he wanted to be in charge and Stanley and Simmons didn´t feel too comfortable about that idea since Ezrin arranged their songs in a completely different way with orchestra and grand piano.
He told the band, -do you want to make a great record or a 3 chord record? The answer was simple, -We want to make a great record, Stanley and the guys told Ezrin. They worked with several outside songwriters such as Mark Anthony who wrote King of the night time world and Stanley re-arranged it for the record, Kim Fowley and Stan Penridge were also involved with the record but the main songwriter was Bob Ezrin and the band ofcourse. "Destroyer" is the greatest record from Kiss no doubt, it might not be a typical Kiss record but it´s got the best songs and the production still sound awesome to this day.

Some cool info about the album : Alice Cooper guitarist Dick Wagner is not credited but he´s playing lead guitar on "Flaming youth", "Beth" and "Sweet pain" mostly because Ace had partied hard at Studio 54 and had a real hangover those sessions. Stanley and Simmons didn´t want "Beth" to be on the record because it didn´t sound like a Kiss song but their manager Bill Aucoin had the final say in this matter and the rest is history. What can I say, this is without doubt one of the best rock albums ever made!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Dressed to kill


Kiss - Dressed to kill (1975) Casablanca Records
Produced by Neil Bogart
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Room service 2.Two timer 3.Ladies in waiting 4.Getaway 5.Rock bottom 6.C´mon and love me 7.Anything for my baby 8.She 9.Love her all I can 10.Rock and roll all nite
www.kissonline.com
4 out of 5

Kiss were releasing albums every six months in the 70´s so while out on tour with the Hotter than hell album from 1974, their manager Bill Aucoin said they needed to record a new album. Most of these songs on "Dressed to kill" were written in the studio just before the sessions, the rhythm tracks were all recorded live and it´s basically a rocknroll album where they dropped their first real anthem with "Rock and roll all nite". That song was originally called Drive me wild but Gene changed the title which was a good move, Kiss also included 2 songs from the Wicked Lester days with "She" and "Love her all I can" mostly because they were short of songs. And this is not a lengthy album I might add, only 30 minutes long but a true party record with great songs like "Rock bottom", "C´mon and love me", "Room service" and of course the classic "She". Kiss truly layed down the foundation of their career with these 3 first albums, and what a monument it became!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Hotter than hell


Kiss - Hotter than hell (1974) Casablanca Records
Produced by Kenny Kerner / Richie Wise
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Got to choose 2.Parasite 3.Goin blind 4.Hotter than hell 5.Let me go, rocknroll 6.All the way 7.Watchin you 8.Mainline 9.Coming home 10.Strange ways
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

Kiss and producer Richie Wise were never happy with the production of Hotter than hell, the band was out on tour feeling homesick, Stanley´s favorite guitar was stolen, Richie Wise couldn´t get the mix right even how much he worked on it but there were some kick ass songs recorded for sure. When I think about it, Kiss was out on tour when their manager wanted them to record a new album the very same year the first album came out. The band didn´t have enough songs for an entire album so they wrote a few in their hotel rooms and picked the leftovers from the first album, all was done very quickly and with that mind you should think that the result would be an album filled with fillers. But oh my, not only can we find classics like "Parasite", "Hotter than hell", "Watching you" and"Got to choose" but here are also some of their best unknown songs like "Coming home", "Strange ways", "Goin blind" and "All the way". With a better production, this would´ve been 5 stars!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Kiss - Kiss


Kiss - Kiss (1974) Casablanca Records
Produced by Kenny Kerner / Richie Wise
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Strutter 2.Nothing to lose 3.Firehouse 4.Cold gin 5.Let me know 6.Kissin time 7.Deuce 8.Love theme from Kiss 9.100,000 years 10.Black diamond
www.kissonline.com
4,5 out of 5

Although, the self titled album from icons Kiss wasn´t their first album really, that was the Wicked Lester album from 1973 but that one was cancelled by Epic Records and all that was released were 3 tracks on the the Kiss Box set. But the 1974 album Kiss was their first officially released album and it´s also the band´s favorite album, not so strange since it´s the mother of all Kiss albums with 7 tracks ended up on the classic Kiss Alive. The band recorded this album in 3 weeks and even if the production sound a bit dated in 2011, I must say that with songs like "Deuce", "Strutter", "Nothing to lose, "Firehouse", "Black diamond", "Cold gin", "100.000 years" and my personal fave "Kissin time" that the band rarely play live, this album has become the rocknroll bible for most rock bands out there. "Strutter" was later re-recorded on the 1978 Double Platinum album and with 80 million sold albums, you can say Kiss started off with a bang with this 35 minute long album.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Journey - Eclipse


Journey - Eclipse (2011) Frontiers Records
Produced by Kevin Shirley
AOR
Tracks : 1.City of hope 2.Edge of the moment 3.Chain of love 4.Tantra 5.Anything is possible 6.Resonate 7.She´s a mystery 8.Human feel 9.Ritual 10.To whom it may concern 11.Someone 12.Venus
www.journeymusic.com
4,5 out of 5

Being a huge Journey fan since childhood has been a way of life for me, their songs have been inspiring through good and bad times in a way that no other band or artist could match. When Perry was out of the band in 1998, a part of me died but a new love for the band grew with replacement Steve Augeri. A great singer I started to love already in his first band Tall Stories in the early 90´s, three non-Perry albums followed with "Arrival", "Red 13"and "Generations" but in 2005 Augeri´s voice was shut after 7 years of touring singing the tough notes of Steve Perry.

So when they recruited Arnel Pineda for the 2008 album "Revelation", I wasn´t at all convinced that A Perry clone would be the best choice for this band. And the re-recordings of classic Journey hits on the 2nd disc was complete murder in my opinion. My door on Journey was closed just like the case with Perry and the band in 1998. But another part of me said I should listen to their brand new album "Eclipse" because things can change and still, they are the no.1 band for me even though Perry isn´t around anylonger.
Eclipse debuted at #16 in the states but they need a hit single on radio to make it climb higher on the album charts, I´m not sure "City of hope" is the right choice for this. Eclipse is more of an album record filled with stunning Cain/Schon songs in the same fine style as Trial by fire and Arrival plus with traces of the early fusion era. Schon plays guitar like a god on this album and Arnel sings with his own voice this time which is the most positive thing. Eclipse kicks the shit out of Revelation and the song "Tantra" is the best I´ve heard from Journey since the 1996 album "Trial by fire".

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Journey - Trial by fire


Journey - Trial by fire (1996) Columbia Records
Produced by Kevin Shirley
AOR
Tracks : 1.Message of love 2.One more 3.When you love a woman 4.If he should break your heart 5.Forever in blue 6.Castles burning 7.Don´t be down on me baby 8.Still she cries 9.Colors of the spirit 10.When I think of you 11.Easy to fall 12.Can´t tame the lion 13.It´s just the rain 14.Trial by fire 15.Baby I´m leaving you 16.I can see it in your eyes (bonus track)
www.journeymusic.com
4,5 out of 5

I couldn´t believe my eyes when I heard about Journey reuniting for yet another album in 1996 and this time with the awesome Escape/Frontiers line up of Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory and Steve Smith. A long 10 years had passed since Raised on radio but I was still riding on the wave from Steve Perry´s 1994 solo album For the love of strange medicine. You could say Perry´s voice is like fine wine, it gets better with age. They got their first Grammy nomination for the no.1 hit song "When you love a woman" which features one of Perry´s best vocal performance ever. I just love this video to death!
The band rocks hard on songs like "One more" and "Castles burning" and also deliver brilliant AOR tracks such as "Forever in blue", "If he should break your heart" and "Message of love". Beautiful songs like "Colours of the spirit" and the title track "Trial by fire" are among my favorite tracks from this album but I also think the more progressive "Can´t tame the lion" is a true highlight that bring thoughts to Frontiers. This album is almost a masterpiece, if it wouldn´t be for the lengthy album of 15 tracks with a few too many ballads and Shirley´s production that I´m not a big fan of. But it´s certainly a Journey classic if you simply look at the 10 golden tracks Message of love, One more, When you love a woman, If he should break your heart, Forever in blue, Castles burning, Colours of the spirit, Trial by fire, Can´t tame the lion, and the bonus track I can see it in your eyes.

Unfortunately this was Journey´s last album with Steve Perry, they moved on with Steve Augeri and returned to one word album titles like Arrival, Generations and Revelation with current frontman Arnel Pineda. Trial by fire is Journey´s last classic album. Without Perry, some of the magic is lost I´m afraid.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)


Journey - Raised on radio


Journey - Raised on radio (1986) Columbia Records
Produced by Steve Perry / Jim Gaines
AOR
Tracks : 1.Girl can´t help it 2.Positive touch 3.Suzanne 4.Be good to yourself 5.Once you love somebody 6.Happy to give 7.Raised on radio 8.I´ll be alright without you 9.It could have been you 10.The eyes of a woman 11.Why can´t this night go on forever
www.journeymusic.com
5 out of 5

Some albums are meant to be the perfect summer soundtrack or simply given on any day for a long ride in the car, Journey´s Raised on radio is such an album. This is also the first album without long time member Ross Valory who was replaced by Randy Jackson, drummer Steve "machine gun" Smith plays on 3 tracks while the rest of the album features Larrie Londin who also played on Steve Perry´s Street talk, released in 1984. This album was meant to be called Freedom but Steve Perry changed it to Raised on radio, some fans refer this album as a Perry solo album since he produced it as well but to me it sounds just like a true Journey album.

All the right elements can be found here, the masterful ballads "Happy to give" and "Why can´t this night go on forever". The majestic AOR anthems "Suzanne", "Girl can´t help it" and "I´ll be alright without you" plus the band fave "Be good to yourself" that´s always included in their setlists live. Even though I was in heaven when Raised on radio arrived in stores, this was also the end of a magic era because the band split up after the tour. Perry started working on his second solo album "Against the wall", Schon and Cain went on to form the new band Bad English and the remaining former members Ross Valory, Steve Smith and Gregg Rolie returned as The Storm. It would take another 10 years for another Journey album.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)


Journey - Frontiers


Journey - Frontiers (1983) Columbia Records
Produced by Kevin Elson / Mike Stone
AOR
Tracks : 1.Seperate ways 2.Send her my love 3.Chain reaction 4.After the fall 5.Faithfully 6.Edge of the blade 7.Troubled child 8.Back talk 9.Frontiers 10.Rubicon
www.journeymusic.com
5 out of 5

I still remember the day when I got home with a copy of Frontiers, I remember how my room looked like and the expression on my face when I heard the intro of Seperate ways. By this time, Journey had become my ultimate no.1 fave band with Escapespinning both day and night. And also in 1982 they made their way onto the Tron soundtrack with "Only solutions" which was perfect as fuel for my Journey hungry heart, while waiting for the follow up album Frontiers to come out. Little did I know that they replaced Only the young and Ask the lonely with Troubled child and Back talk, I was very satisfied with all 10 tracks. I mean, the whole first side with Seperate ways, Send her my love, Chain reaction, After the fall and Faithfully sounded like a Greatest hits record.
And the second side with Edge of the blade, Rubicon and the title track Frontiers were all so marvelous and progressive. Amazing vocals from Steve Perry and smart arranged songs from the band. I was stunned and so were all their fans because the album was their 2nd best selling record after Escape, it reached #2 on the Billboard album charts. Ask the lonely was released the same year on the Two of a kind Soundtrack, it was recorded for Frontiers but pulled off and so was the case with Only the young that was saved for the Vision quest Soundtrack in 1985 and also reached the Top 10! With those two songs included on Frontiers, it would be even a stronger album than Escape.

However, things would come to an end with this super line up. Steve Smith and Ross Valory left the band after the tour. Neal Schon was busy making albums with Jan Hammer and Steve Perry started working on his first solo album "Street talk" that would be released in 1984.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Journey - Escape


Journey - Escape (1981) Columbia Records
Produced by Kevin Elson / Mike Stone
AOR
Tracks : 1.Don´t stop believin 2.Stone in love 3.Who´s cryin now 4.Keep on runnin 5.Still they ride 6.Escape 7.Lay it down 8.Dead or alive 9.Mother Father 10.Open arms
www.journeymusic.com
5 out of 5

There is a Journey before and after the 1981 Escape album, the band took it to new heights with this masterpiece. And it is truly a masterpiece in it´s own right, if I could give it 6 stars on a 5 star rating I would. This is the best album ever made, Journey reached their peak with Escape and remained on the throne during the 80´s. This album also presented a new chapter in the history of Journey with Jonathan Cain replacing Gregg Rolie who decided to retire for a while.

Jonathan Cain was born in Chicago and started playing piano when he was 12, his first band was The Futuras. He released his first solo album in 1976 and his friend Robby Patten introduced Jonathan to The Babys and soon he auditioned for the band. The Babys ended up as an opening act for Journey in 1980 and they were looking for a keyboard player at that time, talk about perfect timing. Cain is not only a superb musician, he is also a fantastic lyricist and one of the main reasons the band got even more successful after Escape. The album scored 4 top 20 hits with Still they ride, Don’t stop believin, Open arms and Who´s crying now. Cain wrote the melody for Open arms when he was with The Babys but lead singer John Waite didn´t like it, Steve Perry however loved it but they got resistance from Neal Schon who thought it was too syrupy as well. –I won´t play guitar on it, Neal said and left the studio. But he came back and the rest is history.
It´s not the first time Journey gets a big hit with a song that Neal dislikes, the ones that Neal likes the least usually end up as singles and becomes big sellers. This must be the hardest album to follow up but if a band should do it, it would be Journey and they managed to release an equally good album with Frontiers in 1983 but that´s another story.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Journey - Dream after dream


Journey - Dream after dream (1980) Columbia Records
Produced by Kevin Elson
PROGRESSIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Destiny 2.Snow theme 3.Sandcastles 4.A few coins 5.Moon theme 6.When the love has gone 7.Festival dance 8.The rape 9.Little girl
www.journeymusic.com
3 out of 5

Back in 1980, I had to buy Dream after dream as a Japan import first which was a pretty expensive affair but as a huge Journey fan. I bought it without hesitating and not even listened to it in the record store. I was a bit disappointed when I got home just to hear the album was mostly filled with instrumental songs, but after a few days and few more spins I got to like it a bit more. Especially the songs with vocals from Steve Perry, "Little girl" is a true Journey-esque track that could´ve been featured on Departure and the 8 minute long "Destiny" is really cool too that sounds like a sister to 1981 b-side "La raza del sol". I´m sure the band had lots of fun while recording this movie soundtrack but it´s my least favorite record with Journey (the Perry era).

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Journey - Departure


Journey - Departure (1980) Columbia Records
Produced by Geoff Workman / Kevin Elson
AOR
Tracks : 1.Anyway you want it 2.Walks like a lady 3.Someday soon 4.People and places 5.Precious time 6.Where were you 7.I´m cryin 8.Line of fire 9.Departure 10.Good morning girl 11.Stay a while 12.Homemade love
www.journeymusic.com
5 out of 5

If the first 3 albums was chapter 1 in the history of Journey, then the 1980 album Departure was the end of chapter 2. This would become Gregg Rolie´s last studio album of classic Journey songs with the band, they released a soundtrack album of mostly instrumental songs called Dream after dream later the same year plus the live album Captured. So 1980 was a fantastic year for Journey fans, Rolie had been touring non stop for more than a decade and wanted to settle down with his family and quit the band after the tour. Journey wanted to do a more rocking album with Departure and thought Lynyrd Skynyrd´s live sound engineer Kevin Elson would be perfect for the job. Kevin actually survived the plane crash where several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd died in.

This is also the first album to feature Neal Schon as lead vocalist since the 1977 album Next, Neal is singing the lead on the mighty beautiful People and places. The album had 2 hit singles with Anyway you want it and Stay a while, it was also their best selling album so far where it reached #8 on the album charts. The band was inspired by ACDC as their opening act when they wrote Where were you, it became a fan fave that opened many Journey shows.
I also think Steve Smith does some of his best drumwork on this album on songs like Line of fire, Where were you, Precious time and Homemade love. It´s not so strange that Steve Smith was named one of the Top 25 drummers in 2001 by Modern Drummer Magazine when you listen to Departure. The song Natural thing was added as a bonus track on the 2006 remastered version but the song is actually a leftover from the Evolution sessions. My favourite track on this album has always been and will always be Someday soon that is sung by Gregg Rolie, what a fantastic song. The end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Journey - Evolution


Journey - Evolution (1979) Columbia Records
Produced by Roy Thomas Baker
AOR
Tracks : 1.Majestic 2.Too late 3.Lovin, touchin, squeezin 4.City of the angels 5.When you´re alone 6.Sweet and simple 7.Lovin you is easy 8.Just the same way 9.Do you recall 10.Daydream 11.Lady luck
www.journeymusic.com
5 out of 5

Why change a winning formula? After the huge success of Journey´s 1978 album "Infinity", the band continued working with producer Roy Thomas Baker on the following "Evolution". But singer Steve Perry wanted to change the groove in the band´s songs and kept telling Aunsley Dunbar how to play which he couldn´t take and quit the band during the writing of the album. Perry had a different musicalbackground than the others, he was more into R&B when Schon and the others were more of blues and rock players. The right man for the job to play these new grooves was Steve Smith that had played with Jean Luc Ponty, Focus and Ronnie Montrose before joining Journey.
Evolution got as successful as the previous album with 3 million copies sold and their first Top 20 hit "Lovin, touchin, squeezin", even though this album marks an important cornerstone of Journey´s career - it is also the most overlooked album when the band plays live and when there are collections released. Only one more song along with "Lovin, touchin, squeezin" has ever been included on Hits and Best of albums and it´s "Just the same way", the last time we got to hear plenty of songs performed live from this brilliant album was the 1980 live album "Captured". I think it´s a shame since some of their best material can be found here like "Too late", "Sweet and simple", "When you´re alone it aint easy", "Lovin you is easy", "Just the same way" and "City of the angels".

The opener "Majestic" was used on tape to open concerts, a real classic. "Sweet and simple" was written by Steve Perry five years before joining Journey, "Lovin you is easy" was co-written with Greg Errico (drummer of Sly and the family stone and Weather Report). When most people prefer to nanana along to "Lovin, touchin, squeezin", I choose "Just the same way" instead which is sung by Gregg Rolie - truly one of my all time faves with the band!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)

Journey - Infinity


Journey - Infinity (1978) Columbia Records
Produced by Roy Thomas Baker
AOR
Tracks : 1.Lights 2.Feeling that way 3.Anytime 4.La Do Da 5.Patiently 6.Wheel in the sky 7.Something to hide 8.Winds of March 9.Can do 10.Opened the door
www.journeymusic.com
5 out of 5

The record label was gonna drop Journey after the poor sales of the first 3 albums so "Infinity" was going to be a do or die album, manager Herbie Herbert wasn´t gonna lie on the sofa to see the band die so he brought in Robert Fleischman to sing with Journey on tour when they opened for ELP. The band liked his voice and they wrote 4 songs together, Wheel in the sky, Anytime, Winds of March and For you (this song was later released on the Time Collection and also re-recorded for Fleischman´s solo album Perfect stranger in 1979). But Herbie thought Fleischman was too cocky and invited a 2nd singer, Steve Perry from the Alien Project too audition for Journey.

Perry started out as a drummer in his first band The Sullies for 8-10 years before taking over the frontman role completely with Alien Project in 1977, Herbie was the manager for Perry´s band as well and they were about to sign to CBS when their bassist died in a car accident. This could´ve been the end of Perry´s musical career, not only that he was devastated over his best friend´s death but none of the members in Journey were too thrilled over Perry in the band either. Herbie showed who was the boss and convinced them to work with the Sam Cooke-soundalike.
Schon and Perry wrote Lights and Patiently straight away and chemistry seemed to click between them, the band knew a big producer was the only right thing for this album so they hired Roy Thomas Baker who had done Queen before Journey. He immediately got the band to track multiple vocal tracks which became Journey´s trademark for the following albums in the Rolie era. Infinity got as big as they hoped for, it sold 3 million copies and reached #21 on the Billboard album charts. They scored 3 hit singles with Wheel in the sky, Lights and Feeling that way. During the recording sessions, producer Roy Thomas Baker got a little too excited and sprayed a fire extinguisher all over the studio. The owner took Roy into a back room and beat the shit out of him. I think Roy could take that, he had created history with Infinity!

(published at melodic.net in 2011)