Friday, May 19, 2017

Album Spotlight : Radiation Romeos - Radiation Romeos

Radiation Romeos is a new band formed by the amazing singer Parramore McCarty, best known for being the frontman of such legendary US metal acts Warrior and famed Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens' solo project, Atomic Playboys (in fact, the inspiration for the name Radiation Romeos came from a line in the song “Atomic Playboys").

Musically, the band moves in a melodic hard rock direction with solid, metallic edges thanks to the production of Michael Voss (Phantom 5, Casanova, Michael Schenker), who also contributed to the songwriting. In the studio, Parramore sang all vocals with Dag Heyne handling guitars, Jogi Spittka on bass, and Gereon Homann laying down the drum work with gusto!  

Parramore McCarty's career in music started when Robbin Crosby of Ratt gave him his start singing in cover bands. His first major label album was “Fighting For the Earth” on Virgin Records in 1985 for the legendary heavy metal band Warrior. Steve Stevens' Atomic Playboys followed in 1989 on Warner Bros. Records. Then hereturned to Warrior and also started gigging in the LA area with Metal Freqs and Monster Traxx.

Radiation Romeos will take no prisoners with their exciting mixture of muscular hard rock anthems and killer melodic songs!

RADIATION ROMEOS

Parramore McCarty - vocals
Dag Heyne - guitars
Jogi Spittka - bass
Gereon Homann - drums

Produced by Michael Voss

Tracklisting: 1.Radiation Romeos; 2.Ocean Drive; 3.Bad Bad Company; 4.Mystic Mountain; 5.Like An Arrow; 6.Promised Land; 7.Castaways; 8.Ghost Town; 9.Til The End Of Time; 10.On The Tight Rope; 11.Monstertraxx.'

Radiation Romeos is released on June 2nd on Frontiers Music.



Album Spotlight : The Ferrymen - The Ferrymen

Guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall) and vocalist Ronnie Romero (Lords Of Black, Rainbow) have joined forces, together with drummer Mike Terrana (Rage, Axel Rudi Pell, and more), in a brand new project dubbed The Ferrymen.

The songs were written by Karlsson in Sweden during the summer of 2016. Once Romero was sent the music via their main bands' shared label home Frontiers, he immediately wanted to be part of the project. Terrana was the last piece of the puzzle and he recorded his drums in Italy, where he currently resides. The resulting album is a shot of adrenaline for all lovers of melodic metal! Musically, you can expect maximum melodic metal fusing the songwriting and epic structures of the great ALLEN/LANDE records (for which Magnus Karlsson was the main architect of the first three widely praised releases) with the Ronnie James Dio-esque vocal approach of Romero. (Let's not forget that Romero was hand-picked by Deep Purple and Rainbow's legendary guitarist Richie Blackmore to be the lead vocalist for Rainbow's recent reunion shows, so the Dio comparison is more than accurate!)

With stunning artwork courtesy of Stan W. Decker and an outstanding mix courtesy of Simone Mularoni (of Italian prog metal masters DGM), THE FERRYMEN is an album which will take the metal world by storm in 2017!

THE FERRYMEN

Ronnie Romero – Vocals
Mike Terrana – Drums
Magnus Karlsson - Guitars, Bass & Keyboards

Tracklisting: 1.End Of The Road; 2.Ferryman; 3.Fool You All; 4.Still Standing Up; 5.Cry Wolf; 6.One Heart; 7.The Darkest Hour; 8.How The Story Ends; 9.Enter Your Dream; 10.Eyes On The Sky; 11.Eternal Night; 12.Welcome To My Show.

The Ferrymen is released on June 2nd on Frontiers Music.



Album Spotlight : Jorn - Life on death road

Easily one of the greatest rock singers of the 21st century, Norway's very own giant Viking warrior Jorn Lande’s vocals are resoundingly strong once again on his ninth original studio album, “Life on Death Road”! This absolutely brilliant new album sees Lande attacking the microphone with rejuvenated vigor, accompanied by a new band and a bigger and stronger sound.

“Life On Death Road” was not an easy album to make as it took several months of hard work for the songwriting vision to come together. Jorn needed to take the music to a new level to push the concept of the band further than it has ever gone before. The result is a record that is deep, strong, full of groove and powerful with anthemic songs aplenty! Songs like "Man Of The 80's", "Love Is The Remedy", "Life On Death Road", and "Hangman's Robe" capture the essence of Jorn as a singer, songwriter and lyricist.

The album also marks the debut of a new lineup of very experienced and gifted musicians around the Norwegian singer. On bass is Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner, Kiske/Somerville) who needs virtually no introduction to European heavy metal fanatics. On keyboards and production is Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Revolution Saints), who already joined JORN for the recording of his last covers album, “Heavy Rock Radio” and was the glue that helped Jorn to create the feel and the direction for the new album. Francesco Iovino (Primal Fear) is on drums and Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) handles guitar. Truly a recipe for a roaring success!

Jorn had no desire to do "just another" JORN record. The aim was to do the best record possible and it took almost two years of writing, arranging, and producing before wrapping this all up. The performances are thunderous across the board and you can hear the urgency of these songs in Jorn's singing!

Jorn's catalogue is getting too long to include in brief overviews and his innovative and creative skills as a vocalist and music visionary have led to him selling millions of albums worldwide while being a frequent entrant on sales charts around the world including Billboard. Worth a mention here though are his years fronting German based Masterplan, whom he recorded three albums with. Claimed to be the biggest selling Norwegian musical export since the pop band A-Ha, Jorn continues his rock crusade and there are no signs of him slowing down and “Life on Death Road” is a magnificent testament to his abilities!

JORN

Jorn Lande – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt - Guitars
Mat Sinner – Bass
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Keyboards
Francesco Iovino – Drums

Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio

Tracklisting : 1.Life on death road 2.Hammered to the cross 3.Love is the remedy 4.Dreamwalker 5.Fire to the sun 6.Insoluble maze 7.I walked away 8.The slippery slope 9.Devil you can drive 10.The optimist 11.Man of the 80´s 12.Blackbirds

Life on death road is released on June 2nd on Frontiers Music.



Album Spotlight : Primal Fear - Angels of mercy, live in Germany

2016 was a very busy year for German metal masters PRIMAL FEAR. Following the release of their latest killer album, “Rulebreaker” in January, the band embarked on a world tour which shattered all the previously held records for shows played in one year by the band.
“We started in Europe with 11 countries and recorded the concert in Stuttgart for the album and video, which is Primal Fear’s first Blu-Ray release. We continued in the USA and Canada, Japan and for the first time, Australia. Then we played some wonderful festivals in the summer, continued touring in 10 countries in South and Latin America and ended the year with more shows in Europe. It was a fantastic experience for the band and we want to thank every single fan who joined us on this great journey!” says bassist and co-founding member Mat Sinner.
Vocalist and co-founding member Ralf Scheepers adds: “With a handy cam in my suitcase, I have recorded on multiple occasions many behind the scenes shots and funny, candid moments. We recorded an entire show right at the beginning of this fantastic world tour and it gives you an insight to the Primal Fear live experience on stage. You will find a lot of bonus material such as video clips and different additional surprises, so we can easily say that we are very proud to deliver this package to you…please enjoy and do us a favor: CRANK IT UP!”
The last tour unleashed the best Primal Fear performances since the band formed in 1998 - a constant great mix between power, ambition and enthusiasm plus of course great the talent of great players! There is undoubtedly magnificent performances on this release, with great sound and video quality. This live album offers a barrage metal anthems in their full glory that will please any headbanger!
If you are a metal fan you, then you must see this in all it’s power and glory!

PRIMAL FEAR
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Mat Sinner – Bass
Tom Naumann – Guitars
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Francesco Jovino – Drums

Produced by Mat Sinner

Tracklisting : 1.Countdown to insanity 2.Final embrace 3.In metal we trust 4.Angel in black 5.Rulebreaker 6.Sign of fear 7.Seven seals 8.Angels of mercy 9.The end is near 10.Rollercoaster 11.The sky is burning 12.Nuclear fire 13.When death comes knocking 14.Metal is forever 15.Fighting the darkness

Angels of mercy, live in Germany is released on June 2nd on Frontiers Music.



Album Spotlight : DGM - Passing stages, live in Milan and Atlanta

The Passage” (released last August 26th, 2016) was DGM’s eighth studio-album and marked the culmination of almost 20 years of hard work that started back in 1997 and pushed the band into the elite of international Progressive Metal.
During the years DGM managed to tour around the world, taking part in some of the biggest Metal festivals in USA and Japan, and supporting Symphony X on their European tour as well as sharing the stage with Pagan's Mind.
With a strong line-up made up of producer/guitarist Simone Mularoni, singer Marco Basile, bass-player Andrea Arcangeli, drummer Fabio Costantino and keyboards-player Emanuele Casali, DGM can now show their awesome musicianship and class to the international audience with the release of this truly beautiful Live CD/DVD!
CD1 shows the entire performance that DGM held in front of the Frontiers Metal Festival, in Trezzo Sull’Adda (Milano) on October 30th, 2016 and has a set-list centered around the songs included on the latest album “The Passage.”
CD2 instead pictures the band in action at the ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, GA on September 11th, 2014 and sees the band perform in front of the US audience a varied setlist portaying the “Frame” and “Momentum” albums with more emphasis.
This is an unmissable opportunity to witness the superb qualities of the italian quintet in the live environment and also opens the door to the more new fans to their excellent and older repertoire.

DGM
Marco Basile: vocals
Simone Mularoni: guitars, background vocals
Andrea Arcangeli: bass guitar
Emanuele Casali: keyboards
Fabio Costantino: drums

Produced by Simone Mularoni.

Tracklisting : CD 1 The secret part 1 2.The secret part 2 3.Animal 4.The passage 5.Reason 6.Daydreamer 7.Disguise 8.Fallen 9.Ghosts of insanity 10.Hereafter
CD 2 1.Void 2.Reason 3.No looking back 4.Universe 5.Numb 6.In a movie 7.Repay 8.Heartache 9.Enhancement 10.Chaos 11.Trust 12.Brand new blood

Passing stages - Live in Milan and Atlanta is released on June 2nd on Frontiers Music.



Album Spotlight : Secret Sphere - The nature of time

“The Nature Of Time” is Secret Sphere's ninth studio album and celebrates 20 years of hard work that started back in 1997 with the release of their widely praised debut album, "Mistress Of The Shadowlight". Since then, the band has evolved and developed their unique sound that has become a trademark and they have been one of an elite group of bands putting the Italian metal scene on the global map! The addition of extraordinary singer Michele Luppi (also currently serving as keyboardist and background vocalist for the legendary hard rock act, Whitesnake) in 2012 brought the band to the next level, which was evidenced by his first release with the band, "Portrait Of A Dying Heart", receiving wide fan and critical acclaim and landing on many metal journalists best releases of 2012 lists.

The new album, “The Nature Of Time" proves to be the ultimate showcase of the band's skill in composing highly orchestrated songs and introducing their foray into a new age of heavy rock and metal music. High class songs with amazing choruses, big vocals, majestic orchestral arrangements, and amazing, mind-blowing, guitar heroics are the order of the day. "The Nature Of Time" explores the "back to life" concept, an inward looking search of the self that can positively impact everyone's everyday life.

"The long writing process of this album has been a constant "re-living" of memories and feelings, that started with only instrumental pieces that were put together only in order to vent my then current state of mind: a way to express emotions purely, without any kind of "holding back," so to speak. I then talked to Michele and we decided these were the perfect basis for a new Secret Sphere record," states guitarist Aldo Lonobile.
"What can I say about this album? We spent a few months writing songs in a way that opened the doors to our new age of heavy rock...definitely a new beginning for each member of the band, a new approach that got inspired by the concept of the album itself. It's not easy to open and talk about love and kindness. We chose the most direct way, no masks, only passion, energy and light guided each note leaving any kind of fear behind. Eventually, with time, we became US, not individuals...THIS IS US. Some of these songs earned a very special place in my heart," concludes singer Michele Luppi.

SECRET SPHERE
Michele Luppi – Vocals
Aldo Lonobile – Guitars
Andrea Buratto – Bass
Gabriele Ciaccia – Keyboards
Marco Lazzarini - Drums

Tracklisting : 1.Intermission 2.The calling 3.Love 4.Courage 5.Kindness 6.Honesty 7.Faith 8.Reliance 9.Commitment 10.The awakening 11.The new beginning

The Nature of Time is released on June 2nd on Frontiers Music.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Quickbits : Fire From The Gods, Goo Goo Dolls, Dreamcar


Fire From The Gods - Narrative Retold (2017) Heavy music with a heavy message
Texas metallers Fire From The Gods headed into the studio with producer David Bendeth and recorded an energy package that completely shook me up, I kinda missed their 2016 album "Narrative" when it came out so I won´t let it slip through the radar 2nd time around.
Now it gets a deluxe release with 2 new tracks and an acoustic version of "Excuse me", the new tracks are really great where the Jonathan Davis-produced "The voiceless" is beautifully brutal and "The taste" a melodic modern rock knockout that should please fans of Saliva.
This album is the personal narrative of a minority man living in major cities and being American, a story that stems directly from frontman AJ Channer`s life.
When the numetal genre seem to lack of new stunning bands, Fire From The Gods strike down like Thor with the hammer so with bands like FFTG, I can believe in metal again.
Highly recommendable if you like Sevendust, Skindred, P.O.D.
(+) It´s so smart to blend metal with elements of hip hop and reggae.
(-) The non-melodic moments aren´t that many but they´re like a few stains on a white sheet.

Goo Goo Dolls - You should be happy (2017) All we need is something real to believe in
"You´ve got 500 channels distracting your brain" sings John Rzeznik in the opening track "Tattered edge/You should be happy" of Goo Goo Dolls new EP, the chorus goes "All we need is something real to believe in". Some wise words from the Buffalo based duo.
The song is also the best one out of these 5 tracks, I think it´s reminiscent of the sound of their two greatest albums "Dizzy up the girl" and "Gutterflower".
The new single "Use me" is a typical contemporary Goo Goo Dolls song, more radio friendly and quite harmless. Takac sings lead on "30k feet", not one of his most memorable tracks if you ask me.
The EP also contains "Walk away", the bonus track on the Japanese release of their latest album "Boxes" and a remix of the title track "Boxes" that feels rather unnecessary.
They won´t write history with this EP but it´s solid and fans seems to dig it.
(+) Anything that bring thoughts to Steve Perry makes me happy like the EP title which is the name of a song from his solo album "Street Talk", even if it´s not the same song.
(-) Did they forgot to bring the electric guitars when they recorded these songs?


Dreamcar - Dreamcar (2017) A supergroup that makes a first pitch home run
I must say that it was quite unexpected that the new supergroup Dreamcar would turn out to be an adorable 80´s new wave affair, I melt like icecream in the sun when I listen to their debut album.
The band is Davey Havok (AFI) - Lead Vocals and No Doubt members Tom Dumont - Guitars, Tony Kanal - Bass and Adrian Young - Drums, but they don´t sound anything at all like AFI or No Doubt which is a good thing.
They have signed with Columbia Records and recorded the album with producer Tim Pagnotta (Sugarcult), a perfect team just like Def Leppard and Mutt Lange or King´s X and Sam Taylor.
If you love the singles "Kill for candy", "On the charts" and "All of the dead girls", then you´ll probably be stuck with the rest too.
For fans of Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Kajagoogoo.
(+) This should make youngsters wanna start a rockband again instead of sitting in front of a computer and trying to create soulless pop.
(-) Who wants to hear a new AFI or No Doubt album?, when all I want is another Dreamcar album.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Album Spotlight : A Killer´s Confession - Unbroken

Former MUSHROOMHEAD vocalist Waylon Reavis announced his new project, A KILLERS CONFESSION, has signed with EMP LABEL GROUP, and unleash their debut release UNBROKEN.
Said Reavis, “I am so proud of this project, and being able to come back with an absolutely KILLER record, with KILLER musicians. Anyone who has been a fan of anything I have done previously, is absolutely going to be floored by AKC. Seriously, if you have a dick, this record is going to knock it in the dirt.”

UNBROKEN is Co-Produced by Reavis and EMP’s Thom Hazaert, with Engineer/Mixer Richard Easterling (American Head Charge, Doll Skin, Emporers and Elephants) at Richmond, KY’s THIRD SKY STUDIO, responsible for recent releases from American Head Charge (Tango Umbrella), Doll Skin (Furious Fixation), Tantric, and more.
On signing to EMP Reavis had this to say. “I am so thankful to Thom and David for believing in me and getting behind this project the way they have.  I have been watching everything they’ve done the last year, and I am so proud and excited to be part of the EMP family.”

Hazaert, who is no stranger to the Cleveland scene that spawned MUSHROOMHEAD, securing major label deals for Cleveland artists including Chimaira, Switched, and Erase The Grey, adds, “I have a long, great relationship with Waylon, I’ve collaborated with him on projects in the past, (Reavis also appears on a track on the current DEAD BY WEDNESDAY guest vocalist release THE DARKEST OF ANGELS) and he is one of the humblest, hardest working guys in this business. His talent and drive are ENDLESS, and I couldn’t be more excited to help bring this project to the masses.”

REAVIS was co-vocalist for MUSHROOMHEAD from 2004 to 2015, and appears on the albums Savior Sorrow (2006), Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children (2010), and The Righteous & The Butterfly (2014), as well as other projects including TENAFLY VIPER, which also featured former Chimaira bassist Jim LaMarca.

Tracklisting : 1.Awakening 2.Spawn of seven 3.Rebirth explicit 4.A killer´s confession 5.1080P revision 6.Final breath 7.LOL 8.Reason 9.Sympathy 10.I will define 11.Judas kiss 12.Letting go 13.Purification


Friday, May 12, 2017

Review : Kittens Slay Dragons - Big big heart


Kittens Slay Dragons - Big big heart (2016) Independent
Produced by Sarah Donner
ELECTRO POP
Tracks : 1.Gatekeeper 2.Castiel 3.Smile pretty 4.Love is surgery 5.Big big heart 6.Under the waves 7.Queer and square 8.Symbols in the sky 9.Eggs 10.Head down, heart up
http://kittensslaydragons.bandcamp.com
3 out of 5

Kittens Slay Dragons is a new project from singer/songwriter Sarah Donner, it´s easy to believe that we´re dealing with children´s music here just by looking at the album cover of their debut album "Big big heart" but it´s not.
There´s a great story behind this album but I´ll get back to it after a few comments about the music.
I have reviewed her 2012 album "Fossil of girl" and 2014 album "That is a Pegasus" on Palace of Rock but this one is slightly different.
Soundwise, this album is an electro pop affair influenced by artists like Lights, Chvrches and Imogen Heap without sounding like any of these artists.
The band consists of Sarah Donner who cast aside her trusty ukuleles and guitars and picked up a small stack of synths, her husband Michael McLean picked up a variety of drum machines to add beeps with Mike Batchelor helping out on bass.
I can tell they had a lot of fun recording these songs because the music is very uplifting and positive, you might think that the production feels a bit homemade but I only find it charming. Like back then in the early 80´s when the synth-pop genre just started to break through.
I mean, do you remember the first releases from Depeche Mode, Howard Jones and Human League?
They don´t sound too big these days now do they? But they´re all best in class.
Favorite tracks from Big Big Heart : "Castiel", "Love is surgery", "Eggs".

Back to the story behind this album:
Sarah is a cat lover who enjoys fostering kittens and she also runs a kitten rescue in NYC, last winter she was struggling with depression and anxiety and also seeming lack of momentum in her solo music career.
Then into her life came a very special and fragile foster kitten, Sarah and her husband adopted her to make sure that the time she had left was the best of times, they named her Melon.
Melon shook up Sarah in the best of ways, she taught Sarah that sometimes the best way to fight your own dragons is to help small creatures that come into your life.
With Sarah´s creative batteries recharged, she´d like to share a message of hope that kittens truly slay dragons.
Good for you Sarah!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Album Spotlight : Doll Skin - Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the follow up to Doll Skin’s EMP debut, 2016’s IN YOUR FACE (AGAIN), Produced by Grammy Winning Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, which garnered massive Worldwide press, spawned multiple singles including “Family of Strangers”, “Let’s Be Honest”, and “Furious Fixation”, and saw the band tour much of the year with Otep, Lacey Sturm, Fire From The Gods, Hellyeah, Dead Kennedys, Escape The Fate, September Mourning, Through Fire, and more. Doll Skin capped off the year snagging a spot on Alternative Press’s list of “7 of the Best Rising Bands Under 21”, before settling in to record their new album.

If life was a comic book, Doll Skin would be right at home in the larger than life color pages. Four Glitter-fueled, teenage, punk rock superheroes, wielding mighty guitars, as they battle tyranny and oppression with adrenaline fueled rock anthems. But don’t get the wrong idea, Doll skin is just as much The Runaways, as they are Josie and the Pussycats. And in that polarized dichotomy lies the heart of Doll Skin, young, pretty, and dangerous. (Imagine if teenage Harley Quinn started a band.) All that aside, Doll Skin is far from just a gimmick with a pretty face (ok, technically 4), these girls really know how to rock, pounding out heartfelt “glitter punk” crafted with a skill well beyond their young years

Formed in Arizona in 2013, Doll Skin, Vocalist Sydney Dolezal (17), Guitarist Alex Snowden (17), Bassist Nicole Rich (18), and Drummer Meghan Herring (20) came to the attention of Megadeth bassist and co-founder David Ellefson, who took the band under his wing, and together they began a sonic assault on the West Coast, playing shows with the Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion, HELLYEAH, DRI, Escape The Fate, Lacey Sturm and many more throughout the country.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl is released June 16th on EMP Label Group.

Tracklisting : 1.Shut up (you miss me) 2.Daughter 3.Road killa 4.Boy band 5.Rubi 6.Sunflower 7.Sweet Pea 8.Baby´s breath 9.Persephone 10.Puncha Nazi 11.Uninvited



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rumours in the air and reviews

A 40th anniversary of Rush´s 1977 album A Farewell To Kings is in progress, it will be out this fall and will probably be a similar release as the 40th anniversary edition of 2112 last year.
Oh Palace of Rock can´t wait!

Canadian band Lights is working on a new studio album, it´s called Skin and Earth and is coming soon. Yes, we´re excited about a new bunch of charming electro pop tunes.

Progrock maestro Steven Wilson will release his 5th studio album To The Bone on August 18th.
Always a safe bet, because quality comes before quantity with this guy.

Also expect new melodic rock releases this fall from H.E.A.T and Europe and Dare is currently re-recording a 30th anniversary edition of their 1988 album Out of the silence.

I have done reviews of Treat´s live album "The road more or less traveled" and Unruly Child´s box set Reigning Frogs over at melodic.net where you can read at these links.

http://www.melodic.net/?page=review&id=116216
http://www.melodic.net/?page=review&id=116664

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Album Spotlight : Vandenplas - The Seraphic Liveworks

In their long career, Vanden Plas has until now produced only one live album: "Spirit of Live," recorded in Paris at the legendary Elysée Montmartre, was released in 2000.  With the upcoming release of "The Seraphic Liveworks," the wait for another live long-player is finally over.
On many tours and in countless concerts, Vanden Plas has proven again and again that it is among the world's leading Prog-Metal bands. The quintet's glowing reputation carries across the pond to the USA, where Vanden Plas was invited to appear at the renowned Prog Power Festival in Atlanta in 2011. Regardless of a band's fame, an invitation to this prestigious venue is an honor, and their performance will certainly retain an exceptional place in the Vanden Plas history.
It is for exactly that reason that Vanden Plas decided to record that unique moment.
"The Seraphic Liveworks" is the name of the CD and DVD limited edition double pack. It shows unmistakably how extraordinary this gig at Center Stage Theater was for everyone involved.  A performance exploding with energy, a euphoric audience, and the venue's own special flair; the recordings will captivate every viewer.  There is no question that Vanden Plas made the right decision to preserve this performance for eternity.
"The Seraphic Liveworks" fascinates for 9 songs, beginning with the straightforward opener "Postcard to God" through the atmospheric "Far Off Grace" to the brilliant closer "Silently." In this extended live version of the song, Vanden Plas ignites a Prog-Metal-Fireworks-Display that is unparalleled, leading the listener through more than 11 magnificent minutes to a spectacular conclusion.
Vanden Plas is delighted to have fans all over the world. Those who have not yet been able to experience the band live now have the chance to close the gap with "The Seraphic Liveworks." The CD and DVD capture an authentic band that stands out in the Prog-Metal genre.

VANDEN PLAS
Stephan Lill – Guitar
Andreas Lill – Drums
Günter Werno – Keyboards
Andy Kuntz – Vocals
Torsten Reichert - Bass

Tracklisting:
CD - Postcard To God; Rush Of Silence; Holes In The Sky; Far Off Grace; Scar Of An Angel; Quicksilver; Cold Wind; Frequency; Silently.
DVD - Postcard To God; Rush Of Silence; Holes In The Sky; Far Off Grace; Scar Of An Angel; Quicksilver; Cold Wind; Frequency; Silently

The Seraphic Liveworks is released on May 12th.



Album Spotlight : Royal Hunt - 2016

Join the celebration of Royal Hunt's 25th Anniversary!
Following the tradition after two successful DVD releases – “1996” and “2006” – it´s time for a third one: “2016”. Recorded with 9 HD cameras and top-notch audio equipment in Moscow´s “Izvestiya Hall” during the band´s last year´s world tour the video shows “all-fab-things-Royal”: high energy show in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, excellent set list, the band in top form and a stunning stage production… add a stellar audio and this package, celebrating Royal Hunt´s 25th Anniversary, is any hard rock fan´s delight.

ROYAL HUNT
André Andersen – keyboards
DC Cooper – vocals
Andreas Passmark – bass
Jonas Larsen – guitar
Andreas Johansson – drums

Tracklisting:
CD1
Medley: So Right So Wrong / Martial Arts; River Of Pain; One Minute Left To Live; Army Of Slaves; Lies; Wasted Time; Heart On A Platter; Flight.
CD2
May You Never (Walk Alone); Until The Day; Half Past Loneliness; Message To God; Stranded; Medley: A Life To Die For / Epilogue.
DVD / Blu Ray: Medley: So Right So Wrong / Martial Arts; River Of Pain; One Minute Left To Live; Army Of Slaves; Lies; Wasted Time; Heart On A Platter; Flight; May You Never (Walk Alone); Until The Day; Half Past Loneliness; Message To God; Stranded; Medley: A Life To Die For / Epilogue.

2016 is released on May 12th.






Album Spotlight : Snakecharmer - Second skin

The super group Snakecharmer was originally founded in 2011 by former Whitesnake members Micky Moody and Neil Murray along with the perfect mix of high calibre musicians including Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), Harry James (Thunder, Magnum), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne), and Chris Ousey (Heartland). The band’s debut self-titled album was released in 2013 and musically the record showed a finely crafted hard rock style mixed with blues and melodic overtones, akin to Whitesnake (1979-81 era) and Bad Company with hints of early Foreigner as well.
Snakecharmer played live shows regularly in support of the album’s release and built a very solid fanbase all over the UK and Europe. In 2016, Moody left the band and was replaced by the Irish born Simon McBride on lead guitar. Simon was hailed “among the best blues-rock players anywhere in the world” by Guitarist Magazine and has built up an impressive resume playing with outstanding rock, soul, and blues artists.
“Second Skin” is the hotly anticipated second effort from Snakecharmer and brings the listener straight back to the good old days of real rock n' roll played with heart and soul. Slightly harder edged compared to the debut, but with roots still firmly planted in the Bad Company, early Whitesnake with a hint of late 70s AOR, this new record sounds fresh and crisp. Strong, passionate, rocking, and blues-laden, “Second Skin” is quality British hard rock at its very best!  

SNAKECHARMER
Chris Ousey - vocals
Laurie Wisefield - guitar
Simon McBride - guitar
Adam Wakeman - keyboards
Neil Murray - bass
Harry James – drums

Second Skin is released on May 12th.





Album Spotlight : Warrant - Louder, harder, faster

Under their belt, Warrant has eight million records sold worldwide, two Top Ten Billboard albums, five Top 40 Billboard hits, five #1 MTV videos...the list goes on and on. Now, six years after the release of “Rockaholic,” the album that relaunched the band as a force to be reckoned with in the 21st Century, Warrant returns with another slab of muscular hard rock, aptly titled “Louder Harder Faster”.
With a line-up featuring original members, Erik Turner, Jerry Dixon, Joey Allen, and Steven Sweet along with singer Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Cry of Love), Warrant are now stronger than ever. Mason’s vocals remain a breath of fresh air and his swagger on the songs gives new life and a bright future to the band. With production handled by Foreigner and ex-Dokken bass player Jeff Pilson (Last In Line, Starship, Adler’s Appetite, etc.). Warrant is sounding tighter and playing better than ever before. "Louder Harder Faster", true to the band's roots, is full of rockers with some classic ballads thrown in and sure to send their faithful fans into a frenzy.

Warrant was one of the most popular and successful rock bands to emerge out of Hollywood, CA in the late 80's and early 90's. The band was formed in the mid 80's by Erik Turner and Jerry Dixon. In 1989, Warrant released their classic debut “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”, which immediately entered the charts and launched the hit singles “Down Boys,” “Sometimes She Cries”, and “Heaven”, which climbed up to number two on the US charts. With extensive touring for DRFSR, sales exceeded 2 million records in the US only.
In the summer of 1990, their second album “Cherry Pie”, produced by Beau Hill (Alice Cooper, Winger, Europe, and Ratt), was released. The album turned out to be an even bigger success, featuring the Top Ten hits "I Saw Red" and the rock anthem "Cherry Pie”, which received massive airplay on MTV and continues to get millions of plays on streaming services and YouTube to this very day.
WARRANT's signature style of rock is catchy, very melodic, and remains the band's calling card. The band is fired up and more inspired than ever musically! The band will be out touring in support of "Louder Harder Faster", so be sure to catch them when they hit your town!

WARRANT
Robert Mason – lead vocals
Joey Allen – lead and rhythm guitar
Erik Turner – rhythm and lead guitar
Jerry Dixon – bass guitar
Steven Sweet – drums

Louder, harder, faster is released on May 12th.





Album Spotlight : Harem Scarem - United

In 2013, Canadian melodic hard rockers Harem Scarem reunited after a five year hiatus to record “Mood Swings II”, a twenty year anniversary re-recording of their critically acclaimed and fan favorite second album. The three new songs included on that release showed a renewed musical vigor and chemistry. This new energy was confirmed on 2014's “Thirteen” release, which was a definitive return to the sound that put Harem Scarem on the map over 20 years ago. Now, “United” shows that Harem Scarem is stronger than ever! It offers up 11 tracks of trademark Harem Scarem music from Harry Hess (lead vocals, keyboards), Pete Lesperance (guitars, bass, keyboards), long-time drummer Creighton Doane, and backing vocals from original sticksman Darren Smith.
Harem Scarem make it clear they still have something to say right from the start with the title track, "United", a chunky slice of guitar-driven melodic rock nirvana that kicks off Harem Scarem’s strongest studio outing since the early 00’s. From there, the album lifts off with well-crafted songs featuring big choruses with simple and addictive hook-laden themes. Each track carries a power-rock-packed punch, swaggering riffs, and hooks to die for. Hess and Lesperance without a doubt show the world that their partnership still works, that they indeed are still "United".
With sales well over a million records in 43 countries and 12 top 40 hits around the globe, 2017 will see Harem Scarem return and ready to dominate! They'll be touring the world in support of their 14th studio album, “United“!  

HAREM SCAREM
Harry Hess lead vocals, guitar; Pete Lesperance lead guitar, Stan Miczek bass guitar, Darren Smith background vocals, Creighton Doane drums.

United is released on May 12th.



Album Spotlight : Inglorious - II

Inglorious are five young men with a mutual love and respect of the classics of Hard Rock music, big guitar riffs, and soulful vocals.  Their influences stem from iconic rock and roll shrine of Rock albums from the 1970s – many years before the band members were born.

The same albums that have inspired generations of musicians and performers are noticeably evident when you listen to the Inglorious debut album.  This is the music they were born to play together - inspired by bands in the classic rock genre as diverse as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, Bad Company, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, to name a few.

Formed in February 2014, the band is fronted by Nathan James, who made a name for himself having sung for the multi-platinum selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Scorpions guitar legend Uli Jon Roth.  Nathan was looking for like-minded musicians that desired to make incredible rock music in a very honest fashion.

Nathan thought to himself, “Why are those classic albums so awesome?” He realised it was because “the musicians were recording in an organic way; they could track it live and capture amazing energy."

“Not only in rock but in Motown and even classical music they tracked everyone in the room at the same time,” adds Nathan.  “The air movement from a bass drum, that same excitement you get when you perform, and that's exactly how I wanted the album to feel."

Nathan wanted all his fellow musicians in the room at the same time, no click tracks, no auto tune and no overdubs. He wasn't willing to compromise.  Says Nathan - "For so long people have been hiding mistakes, singers using auto tune to make them sound perfect, double tracking to make it sound bigger and using click to play in time. There is none of that on this album.
This record is about vibe, feeling, excitement, energy and performance of songs we all wrote together. That's how it came out that day and it will never be exactly the same again. We captured a series of moments that make up our debut album."

Inglorious is composed of lead guitarist Andreas Eriksson, bassist Colin Parkinson, rhythm guitarist Wil Taylor, and drummer Phil Beaver.

Colin and Phil both hail from Somerset, and have played together in bands for 17 years (at one point, both were signed to Mick Fleetwood’s label while Phil was still at school). Phil's Bonham-like groove, great snare work and exciting fills, combined with Wil's solid bluesy rhythm playing and Colin's fat, gritty bass sound, make for a formidable rhythm section.

Andreas was the final piece of the puzzle - a lead guitar player that shared all the same influences, could command a stage and was able to track the whole album the way Nathan wanted. Guitarist Andreas Eriksson played in bands from his home country of Sweden for many years, and has taken influences from all the greats, making him one of the most musically well rounded guitar players in the contemporary rock scene. His bluesy, melodic, soulful playing compliments Nathan’s soaring vocals.

The musicians bonded during the recording of their first Album, self titled Inglorious, which took the world by storm, earning its self comments from the likes of Brian May who described this young band as “a potent young Deep Purple”. And Kevin Shirley  who mixed the second album said “The best British band I've seen since... I could say the Darkness, but I really mean Led Zeppelin.”
The second album titled Inglorious IIwas recorded in one go at Parr Street Studios Liverpool, a more comfortable setting this time as accomodation was provided, no more sleeping on the studio floors, things are looking up in the world. And as mentioned, mixed by Kevin Shirley at his Caveman Studios.

 The band wrote the whole album with no guest writers this time, they said “It came together very organically after spending time touring together and felt great. We knew we were making an album this time too! We focused on getting our sounds just right so we could get into the studio and out in the least time poss.


Between Adde's flat in Malmö, Sweden and Colin’s family home in Somerset, England, this album came together quickly. We spent three weekends in Somerset, writing in a kind of 9-5 fashion, whereby we knew we were at work. Then after a lovely home cooked dinner we would relax, have a few beers and balance out our hard work, the environment is so important to be creative and we had it good!

The first album was produced well by the band, that they decided to produce this one themselves too. These boys are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Produced by Inglorious
Mixed by Kevin Shirley
Mastered by Tony Draper

Inglorious II features
Nathan James – vocals
Andreas Eriksson – lead guitars
Wil Taylor – guitars
Colin Parkinson – bass guitar
Phil Beaver - drums

Inglorious II is released on May 12th.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Album Spotlight : Mark Slaughter - Halfway There

Legendary Hard Rock vocalist Mark Slaughter (Slaughter, Vinnie Vincent) has announced the upcoming release of his sophomore solo release HALFWAY THERE !
HALFWAY THERE is a stunning return to form for Mark Slaughter, channelling the familiar Hard Rock sensibility of classic-era SLAUGHTER releases like Stick it to Ya and The Wild Life on “Hey You” and emotionally-charged title track “Halfway There”, with a mature, progressive, Metal bent, evidenced on cuts like “Devoted”, “Conspiracy”, and “Reckless”.

Not only is HALFWAY THERE a blistering showcase of Slaughter’s seemingly never-ending vocal abilities, but a glowing testament to his perpetually underserved prowess as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, handling all production, engineering, song writing, arrangements, guitar, and the bulk of the album’s instrumentation himself.
Mark Slaughterwill also play several US dates through 2017, including a performance at ROCKLAHOMA May 26th.

Halfway There is released May 26th.

Tracklisting : 1.Hey you 2.Devoted 3.Supernatural 4.Halfway there 5.Forevermore 6.Conspiracy 7.Reckless 8.Disposable 9.Turn it 10.Not here

Album Spotlight : Aaron English - American (Fever) Dream


Seattle based piano man Aaron English has been steadily building a buzz in the US, thanks to 4 self released albums and regular touring throughout the US as a solo artist and with The Aaron English Band.

In 2012, Aaron scored a Top 5 Italian radio hit in Italy with an epic medley reinvention of The Beatles' and Led Zeppelin's classics "Norwegian Wood" and "Kashmir".
Also in 2012, Aaron formed the side project Boombox Séance with Baltimore singer songwriter Victoria Vox. After writing and touring together in the summer and fall of 2012, they released the album ”Boombox Séance”, produced by Geoff Stanfield, in March 2013.

In 2015, Aaron spent 2 music filled months as a record producer, songwriter, performer in East Africa, where he founded International Youth Music Project, a charity that supports music programs at orphanages.
In 2017, Aaron began a four month tour of Europe to promote his solo album ”American [Fever] Dream”.

Aaron is currently releasing a new single and video each month, a project that will culminate in a new album release at the end of 2017.
The Seattle-based Aaron English Band plays epic, world-beat-influenced rock a la Peter Gabriel and Led Zeppelin, driven by Aaron English's vivid lyrics, acrobatic voice, and deft piano work.

The band's live show is a blend of high-energy rock, pulsing electronics, and instrumentation from five continents, featuring Aaron English on vocals and keyboards, Patrick Strole on guitar and hurdy-gurdy, Aaron Kremer on wind synth and electronics, Brandon Milner on bass and Don Gunn on drums.

American (Fever) Dream is out now.
Tracklisting : 1.Believe 2.Doves 3.Anthem 4.Sleight of heart / outro 5.Peace 6.A northern sort of silence 7.Pale saint 8.God bless you and your man 9.The name of this song is a secret

Lost Gems : Sign - The Hope


In 2007, the Icelandic band Sign released their 4th studio album "The Hope" on R&R Music/IC Records, it´s self produced and their second album in English.
We´re talking big and melancholic riff rock that bring thoughts to Span and Khoma.
This alternative metal band is not to be confused with the melodic rock band The Sign featuring Terry Brock that was signed to Frontiers Records.
Sign from Iceland formed in 2001 and has had various line up´s but the members on "The Hope" are Ragnar Zolberg Rafnsson - Lead Vocals/Guitars/Bass, Arnor A.D Gretarsson - Guitars and Egill Örn Rafnsson - Drums.
The band released another album in 2013 called "Hermd", co-produced by Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames) only available in Iceland.
Stream "The Hope" here.
https://soundcloud.com/iceland-music-export/sign-the-hope

The Hope
1.Dancing in
2.Misguided
3.Hold me alive
4.All gone
5.Beautiful / depressing
6.The hope
7.Moveless
8.Immobilized by fear
9.The lonely boy
10.The lost way of self remedy


Review : Incubus - 8


Incubus - 8 (2017) Island Records
Produced by Dave Sardy / Skrillex / Brandon Boyd
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.No fun 2.Nimble bastard 3.State of the art 4.Glitterbomb 5.Undefeated 6.Loneliest 7.When I became a man 8.Familiar faces 9.Love in a time of surveillance 10.Make no sound in the digital fore 11.Throw out the map
www.facebook.com/incubus
3,5 out of 5

You can´t accuse Incubus for selling out, they have always gone their own way, not paying too much attention to what´s in or out.
What was meant to be the Side B EP of Trust Fall became the studio album "8", it´s their first full length album since 2011 and just as always with this band, they´re a bit quirky on "8" as well.
Skrillex co-produced 4 tracks on the album but there´s no sight of either dubstep or elements of electronica on "8", instead one of the Skrillex produced tracks "When I become a man" is a song you could expect from Freddie Mercury on a 70´s Queen album. Jazzy and artsy to max.
The single "Nimble bastard" is classic Incubus while "Throw out the map" is a heavy rock tune seen through the eyes of the band Dredg, I bet that song will get the crowd going when they´re on stage.
I like the minimalistic production from Dave Sardy (ZZ Top, Crash Kings) and love what he´d done with the bass on "Love in a time of surveillance", so beautifully distorted.
"Make no sound in the digital fore" is an instrumental piece that bring thoughts to Radiohead and it´s a cool track but my favorite is The Police-like "Familiar faces".
The world needs Incubus, that´s for sure.
Some cool facts you might not know about some of the members in the band, guitarist Michael Einziger co-wrote Aviici´s 2013 worldwide hit "Wake me up", bassist Ben Kenney is a multi-musician and plays at least six different instruments and frontman Brandon Boyd´s younger brother Jason was the lead singer in modern rock band Audiovent.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lost Gems : In Case Of Fire - Align The Planets


In 2009, the Northern Irish band In Case Of Fire released their only album "Align The Planets" on Search and Destroy Records, produced by Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Feeder, Jimmy Eat World).
The album will appeal to fans of early Muse, Hundred Reasons and The Cooper Temple Clause.
Definitely worth checking out if you´re into progressive/alternative modern rock.
The band consisting of Steven Robinson - Lead Vocals/Guitar, Mark Williamson - Bass and Colin Robinson - Drums, parted ways in 2011 but reunited in 2016.
A second album was planned in 2012 with the new line up of Steven Robinson, Craig Skene - Bass and Thomas Camblin - Drums and a single was released, "History has taught us nothing".
So with the band heating up things again, perhaps it´s time for the second coming in 2017?
In Case Of Fire released the b-side "Call To Arms" last year on Bandcamp, available here
https://incaseoffire.bandcamp.com/track/call-to-arms

Align The Planets
1.This time we stand
2.The cleansing
3.Do what I say
4.Align the planets
5.Parallels
6.Plan A
7.Enemies
8.Landslides
9.Violence and pictures
10.And sorrow
11.A pale new costume
12.Second revelation



Quickbits : Adrenaline Rush, Crazy Lixx, Labyrinth


Adrenaline Rush - Soul survivor (2017) A blonde who only wanna rock
The Swedish band Adrenaline Rush is louder, harder and faster on their second album "Soul survivor" but fans of melodic rock will of course enjoy a few new tracks like "Breaking the chains", the title track and "Stand my ground".
Tåve Wanning´s voice was a better fit for the 80´s rock of the self-titled debut from 2014 than this Sister Sin-ish heavy metal that dominate the new album.
When I saw that one of the songs had the title "Shock me", I thought it was a Kiss cover which would have been really cool but it wasn´t. Too bad, because Adrenaline Rush´s "Shock me" is rather mediocre.
Overall, I think it´s a solid album but I prefer the debut that has a better production and stronger material.
(+) The opener "Adrenalin" is a bad-ass metal track.
(-) The guitars are too low in the mix, all I hear is drums, drums, drums.


Crazy Lixx - Ruff Justice (2017) Business as usual
Sleaze rockers Crazy Lixx celebrates  their 15th anniversary as a band with the 5th studio album "Ruff justice", not much has happened soundwise because this album is like a carbon copy of their previous albums except it´s their weakest effort yet.
The music is so predictable and feels like a bunch of songs that didn´t make it on the 1987 soundtrack of A Nightmare of Elm Street 3, you know the one with Dokken´s hit "Dream warriors".
So it´s not so strange that the album includes two songs which have appeared on the Friday The 13th videogame soundtrack, they are "XIII" and "Live before I die".
I´m disappointed.
(+) The power ballad "If it´s love" brings back memories of the days when real rock ruled the charts.
(-) It´s about time they hire a lyricist because some of these lines are embarrasing.


Labyrinth - Architecture of a God (2017) Comeback album from the Italian power metallers
I´ve heard of the Italian power metal band Labyrinth before but never cared about listening to their music until now, their 8th studio album "Architecture of a God" is the first one of new music in 7 years so I thought I should hear what they were up to.
Labyrinth in 2017 are founding members Olaf Thorsen - Guitars, Andrea Cantarelli - Guitars, along with Roberto Tiranti - Lead Vocals (who´s been in and out of the band a few times) plus Oleg Smirnoff - Keyboards (Vision Divine), Nik Mazzucconi - Bass and John Macaluso - Drums (TNT).
Singers like Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) and Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen) have come and gone in the band but I believe Roberto Tiranti is the perfect match for the band.
"Architecture of a God" is a good heavy metal album, slightly progressive and very melodic. Just my cup of tea.
For fans of Sonata Arctica, Kaledon, A Hero For The World.
(+) "Still alive" sounds like a prog-metal version of Phenomena, very cool.
(-) It doesn´t always have to be Speedy Gonzalez in every guitar solo.