Monday, 29 June 2015

Delta Deep - Delta Deep (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Hard Rock
Track listing:
01. Bang the Lid
02. Whiskey
03. Down In the Delta
04. Treat Her Like Candy
05. Miss Me
06. Burnt Sally
07. Private Number (feat. David Coverdale)
08. Shuffle Sweet
09. Black Coffee (feat. Paul Cook & Simon Laffy)
10. Feelit
11. Mistreated (feat. Joe Elliott)

Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen has just released the self-titled album of his side band DELTA DEEP, a super-group featuring terrific singer Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Forrest Robinson (Bob Baldwin Band), featuring stellar guests such as Whitesnake’s David Coverdale, Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) and Joe Elliott (Def Leppard).
Delta Deep’s debut features a mix of covers and originals, and stylistically it isn’t confined to any one genre, however it's a strongly blues-infused material with some electrifying moments.
The CD begins with the enticing rock-fueled ‘Bang the Lid,’ which features a jolting introduction that mixes compelling guitars and percussion. The track’s vocals are then dynamically jump-started with the strong and intense lyrics from Blackwell-Cook, a superb singer. It's very uptempo with a stomping bass drum beat from Forrest Robinson with added handclaps and some cool bass. A song impossible to listen to without tapping your feet.
'Whiskey' is quieter, a slower song but not a ballad, full of bluesy atmospheres. The album’s third entry, ‘Down in the Delta,’ reverts back to the group’s classic hard-rock guitar introduction, energetic and moving.
‘Treat Her Like Candy’ is an interesting blues-infused rock song that features a calming electric guitar and bass line, where Blackwell-Cook passionately duets with Collen on lead vocals.
‘Miss Me’ features a dynamic, hard-rock drum and guitar beat that’s reminiscent of Collen’s other side band Manraze, and why not, Def Leppard. Delta Deep’s two lead singers emotionally reveal that they’ll miss each other when they’re gone from each other’s lives. The song is a nostalgic tribute to classic hard-rock love songs from the '80s, but with a twist.
The record’s next track, ‘Burnt Sally,’ features the first guest in the form of Jeffery "CJ" Vanston on Hammond B3 Organ. Phil's bluesy playing is great on this track, and Robert Deleo provides solid deep bass lines.
David Coverdale shares vocals with Blackwell-Cook on 'Private Number', a soul classic written by William Bell and Booker T. Jones. Originally, Collen had his eye on having Coverdale contribute vocals to their version of Deep Purple’s Mistreated, but those plans were revised once he learned that Coverdale had already recorded a new version of the song for his own album.
But the legendary singer wanted to be a part of the project and suggested that they give 'Private Number' a shot.
I hadn’t heard Coverdale sing like this for years, very soulful, like in the very early Whitesnake records, or in the underrated Restless Heart album. His vocals were recorded pretty straight, appropriately raw without any added effects. Great version and an album's highlight.
The next several songs on Delta Deep, including ‘Shuffle Sweet,’ ‘Black Coffee’ (featuring Simon Laffy which Collen played in the band Girl before Def Leppard) and ‘Feel It,’ deliver more enthralling rocking vocals. The tracks also emphasize their captivating instrumentals, including moments of up-tempo guitar notes that are set against gritty bass and drums.
Then the band covers Deep Purple's classic ‘Mistreated’. There's a great guitar work by Collen, the rhythm section is stupendous, and the vocals are shared between Blackwell-Cook and Def Lepp's Joe Elliott. Joe does a nice part, but Blackwell-Cook blows him out of the water.
Delta Deep is a project made up of some rock and roll super stars to create music that revives an appreciation for classic rock, rocking blues and traditional hard rock. I think the mission is more than accomplished.
I would say this is album will surprise many people, especially anyone who thought it would feature a lot of very traditional or old sounding blues songs. Instead this is very much a Rock album but with more of a pop / melodic sound mixed in with the obvious blues / soul / funk influence. A couple of blues song included and lots of lead vocals from Debbi Blackwell-Cook who has an amazing voice, but there is plenty of Phil collen in here too.
It is different enough to be nothing like Def Leppard but not different enough that it won't appeal to Def Leppard and Manraze fans alike. It rocks, the musicianship is first rate, and production, handled Phil Collen, and mixed & mastered by expert Ronan McHugh, is really crisp.
Highly Recommended.
Rating - 10/10

Line Up
Phil Collen - Guitars, Vocals (Def Leppard)
Debbi Blackwell-Cook - Vocals (Luther Vandross, Michael Buble)
Forrest Robinson - Drums (Bob Baldwin Band)
Robert DeLeo - Bass (Stone Temple Pilots)

Special guests:
David Coverdale (Whitesnake) - vocals
Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) - drums
Simon Laffy (Girl) - bass
Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) - vocals
Jeffery "CJ" Vanston (Toto) - Hammond B3

BOHEMIAN LIFESTYLE - Madame Libertanah (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock
Track listing:
01 - Libertanah
02 - Fool's Mask
03 - A Brighter Day
04 - Woodlands
05 - Coming Back Around
06 - Wake up Call
07 - Wayward Hearts
08 - Superman
09 - Third Longstreet Groove
10 - Horror Show
Hailing from Stockholm, BOHEMIAN LIFESTYLE have released some singles and an EP in the last two years, and now "Madame Libertanah" is their first full length album.
"Madame Libertanah" is 100% melodic hard rock energy throughout with contrasts in tempo and heaviness.
Their songs are contagious, traditionally structured and predictable in a way that is wholeheartedly gratifying. A combination of '90s loud melodic guitars, '80s energy and a bit of '70s glam.
Songs like "Libert├ínah" and "A Brighter Day" are really good old-fashioned power-pop gems with a rocking sound. Then "Fool’s Mask", is a more powerful and rhythmic track. The band’s frontman, Pontus Klas Viberg, has a very charismatic and characteristic voice, very clean and precise.
"Woodlands" and "Coming Back Around" are high-quality melodic hard rock tracks, then the harder "Superman" is guaranteed to satisfy you riff cravings.
The songs on "Madame Libertanah" have a certain staying power that you won't find with most artists in this genre. This is one of those recordings I feel crosses all boundaries in the world of rock music. 
Like other hard rocking European bands that have came before them, Bohemian Lifestyle know the power of a good riff, and this album is chock block full of enough to keep air guitarists around the world throwing the windmill shape until their arms are ready to fall out of their sockets.
Additionally, the guys provide hooky melodies and catchy choruses to keep your body moving.
"Madame Libertanah" is unapologetically radio-friendly melodic rock and a hell of a lot of fun. It's vibe is so contagious, it practically yanks you out of your seat and commands you to move.

Well worth checking out

Rating - 8/10

Friday, 19 June 2015

Duff McKagan - How To Be A Man E.P. (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Pop / Punk
Track listing:
01 - What It Takes To Be A Mam
02 - Punker
03 - Kill The Internet

I can't believe that I very nearly missed this one! Its been out for a couple of months now, but hey, better late than never!
"How To Be A Man" is a three track E.P.(and first true solo effort?) from the former Guns 'N' Rose, Velvet Revolver bassist, Duff McKagan.
the E.P. opens up with the title track, 'How To Be A Man', an acoustic driven rocker / rockabilly number. A great song and a great start to the E.P.
Next up we have 'Punker'. A harder edged song, that see's Duff drawing more on his Punk influences, once again a great track.
Album closer, 'Kill The Internet', is a hard edged track. A menacing riff grinding away throughout, with some very topical lyrics. Once again another cracking track.
If Duff is in this form, Id love to hear a full album from him!

Very Highly Recommended

Rating 10/10

GRAHAM BONNET BAND - My Kingdom Come E.P.(2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / melodic Rock
Track listing:
1 - My Kingdome Come (5:32)
2 - The Mirror Lies (5:10)
After many years, talented English vocalist and songwriter Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri) finally has been able to form his own band with expectations of recording new material and touring extensively over Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA.
The first release from GRAHAM BONNET BAND  the  EP titled "My Kingdom Come", a really good effort from the legendary shouter.
The band includes Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass, Chase Manhattan on drums and skilled guitar player Conrad Pesinato who also has produced the recording.
However, during the recording sessions some renowned cats were used; highly requested drummer Mark Zonder (ex- Fates Warning) and terrific keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex- Dream Theater) perform on the title track.
The cut is an elaborated piece blending hard rock and progressive elements, with stupendous arrangements and a very tight Bonnet vocal work. The song was co-written by Russ Ballard, who has had a long association with Graham dating back to Rainbow's Down To Earth album and its hit 'Since You Been Gone'.
The other track on the EP, "The Mirror Lies", is a strong classic hard rocker that will certainly please fans of Graham's '80s recordings. This one features the full Graham Bonnet Band, with the excellent Eric Ragno contributing the keyboards as guest.
The whole EP was mixed & mastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio, so expect a bright, polished sound.
Graham's voice may sound a little worn live (as heard / seen on Axel Rudi Pell's recent live album), but in the studio he sounds great.
And what really surprises on "My Kingdom Come" are all the environs; both songs are really good, his band is strong, and production first rate.
Seriously, this EP leaves you hungry for more. Very well done Graham.
Well Worth Checking Out!

Rating - 9/10

Motorhead - Thunder & Lightning (Single) (2015)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Rock 'n' Roll
Track listing:
01 - Thunder & Lightning
Lemmy and Motorhead return with a brand spanking new single in the form of 'Thunder & Ligtning', a high octane tribute to his love of his rock n roll life style,
'Thunder & Lightning' see's Motorhead hitting a really good vein of form, a great song with all the motorhead trademarks. If this is anything to go by, things are looking good for a new album!
Now lets just hope Lemmy gets his health concerns under control!
Rating - 10/10

Iron Maiden - Powerslave (2015 iTunes Remaster)

Genre - Heavy Metal / NWoBHM
Label - Parlophone Records (BMG/INgrooves Music Group for the USA)
Track listing:
01 - Aces High
02 - 2 Minutes To Midnight
03 - Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)
04 - Flash Of The Blade
05 - The Duellists
06 - Back In The Village
07 - Powerslave
08 - Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
As previously featured here, let's continue with IRON MAIDEN catalog albums which have been Remastered for iTunes, encoded from 24-bit / 96 khz high resolution masters. All these albums have been freshly mastered with iTunes in mind, delivering the music to listeners exactly the way the artist and recording engineer intended.
These are brand new 2015 remasters from their original analog sources, exclusively produced for iTunes.
Now it's time for "Powerslave".
The third in a trilogy of legendary Iron Maiden albums, "Powerslave" is frequently ranked as the fan favourite of the bunch, capping off a stellar run that sealed the band's genre-defining status. If "The Number of the Beast " was the all-time metal landmark, 'Powerslave' is perhaps the quintessential Maiden album, capturing all the signature elements of the band's definitive era in one place.
The album opens with Maiden at their catchiest, turning in a pair of metal classics right off the bat with the British hit singles "Aces High" (a high-speed ode to a WWII air battle) and the apocalyptic "2 Minutes to Midnight".
Next we get an instrumental, "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)," of the sort that Maiden periodically deployed to keep fans in awe of their technical chops. A pair of their best and most overlooked album tracks follows; "Flash of the Blade" and "The Duellists" exemplify the glory-minded battle hymns that made up such an important part of their lyrical obsessions, even if both are about sword fighting rather than modern military history.
By the end of the album, we're seeing Maiden at their most progressive and ambitious. The seven-minute title track, "Powerslave",  builds on the previous album's "To Tame a Land" with its use of Middle Eastern melodies, delving into Egyptian mythology for a rumination on power and mortality.
This leads into the biggest, most grandiose epic in the Maiden catalogue: "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," a multi-sectioned, thirteen-and-a-minute prog-fest adapted from the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem. Though it isn't exactly what you'd call hooky, its shifting moods and lofty intellectual aspirations made it a live favourite.
Steve Harris continues; "Now with this fresh mastering, the guitars are louder, the drums more substantial and the overall tone is so very much improved, in my opinion.
Tony Newton and Ade Emsley, who worked closely with me on the project, did a terrific job recapturing everything from the original masters, and together we've re- mastered them all digitally and I'm really happy with the results."
Tony Newton adds: "The process started with locating all of the original album mix tapes (or whichever format they were mixed to). Then the choice of analogue to digital convertor was chosen for the most accurate capture to make it as close as possible to the sound of the mix as it was intended by the band.
When a lot of these tapes were last captured it was in the 1980s, early days of digital and only 44.1khz/16bit files were possible. On top of this, the new A/D convertors are far superior now, and, of course, it is possible to produce files of far higher resolution.
The result of this is that the songs now sound more defined with added depth and warmth.
And you can tell it: on this new remaster of "Powerslave" there is definitely a difference with the previous versions of this album, perhaps the most notorious of this new batch of remasters.
Its clearer, fully sounding and well, just bloody well awesome!
Very, Very Highly Recommended!!!
Rating - 10/10

Simply A Classic!!

Iron Maiden - Peace Of Mind (20105 iTunes Remaster)

Genre - Heavy Metal / NWoBHM
Label - Parlophone Records (BMG/INgrooves Music Group for the USA)
Track listing:
01 - Where Eagles Dare
02 - Revelations
03 - Flight Of Icarus
04 - Die With Your Boots On
05 - The Trooper
06 - Still Life
07 - Quest For Fire
08 - Sun And Steel
09 - To Tame A Land

Parlophone Records (BMG/INgrooves Music Group for the USA) have released 19 IRON MAIDEN catalog albums which have been Remastered for iTunes, encoded from 24-bit / 96 khz high resolution masters. All these albums have been freshly mastered with iTunes in mind, delivering the music to listeners exactly the way the artist and recording engineer intended.
These are brand new 2015 remasters from their original analog sources, exclusively produced for iTunes.
Now lets take a listen to "Peace Of Mind".
"Piece Of Mind" marks the debut of what many regard as the definitive Maiden line up, with the arrival of new drummer Nicko McBrain. McBrain's ability to duplicate the complex patterns of the guitar and bass riffs gives the band a seamless ensemble unity.
Even Steve Harris, whose busy bass lines were never exactly groove-oriented, has never felt more integrated into the overall sound. Perhaps part of that feeling comes from the less frantic pace; the average tempo has slowed somewhat from the preceding album, and the NWOBHM influences still present there have been slightly changed to a more 'international sound'.
Instead, we get a few moodier, heavier pieces (especially "Revelations") that make the album darker-sounding overall. We also get greater involvement in the song writing from Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, whose themes are perfectly in tune with Steve Harris' epic storytelling.
Nearly every song here was inspired by movies or literature, whether it's history, mythology, sci-fi, or fantasy; this approach got them tagged as a thinking-man's metal band.
Of course, 2Peace Of Mind" gave us such Iron Maiden classics as 'Where Eagles Dare', 'Revelations', 'Flight Of Icarus', 'Die With You Boots On', 'Still Life' and the ageless anthem, 'The Trooper'!
With the remasters you really can hear just how intricate the guitar work is on 'Revelations', the previously buried sound effects in 'Where Eagles Dare', the texts and atmosphere in 'Still Life'. I also have to say that one of my favourite Iron Maiden tracks of all time, 'To Tame A Land', sounds even more of a monster now!

I know that many fans get irritated with the constant re-releases and remaster's that many of the bigger bands put out, but this is one set that really is worth having!
Very, Very Highly recommended!