Friday, 30 November 2012

FM - Only Fooling EP (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / AOR / Melodic Rock
Label -

Track listing:

01. Only Foolin' (new single from the forthcoming album)
02. Rainbow's End (new track - exclusive to this EP)
03. Shot In The Dark (new track - exclusive to this EP)
04. Let Love Be The Leader (live)
05. Don't Stop (live)
06. Does It Feel Like Love (live)
07. Tough It Out (live)
08. Hot Legs (live)
09. Only Foolin' (Extended Mix by Pete Jupp)

Legendary British AOR act FM are busy preparing their seventh studio CD, and as the band have been doing with the last albums, we have an advance with "Only Foolin' EP".

In time-honoured FM fashion this 9-track mini-album (running time approx. 51 minutes) features a mixture of tracks from the forthcoming album, live classics recorded at the 'Indiscreet 25 Live' shows March 2012 and new tracks exclusive to "Only Foolin' EP" that will not be available anywhere.

Really good material with FM's typical smooth style.

Rating - 9/10

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Gaskin - Edge Of Madness (2012)

Genre - NWoBHM / Melodic Hard Rock / Bluesy Rock

Track listing:

01. Just Before Dawn
02. Damnation
03. Heart Like Thunder
04. Mans’ World
05. Wake Up Dead
06. Lost & Lonely
07. The Contract
08. Bedlam
09. Te Amavi
10. Edge Of Madness

##N.B.- The following review is not my own, but one with which I agree, therefore I am reproducing it here. The author is unknown to me, but all credit for this review should go to them.##  
"GASKIN, even if credited as NWOBHM participants back in the early '80s, had a more bluesy Hard Rock orientated taste.
Sadly, the band rounding extraordinaire guitarist Paul Gaskin did not find the road to commercial breakout with its two full length LPs released in 1981 and 1982 respectively. A silently released, good comeback album in 2000 put a wide smile on the band's fan base.
Now in 2012, Gaskin is back again with the new CD “Edge Of Madness”, and their flirt with traditional, vintage British melodious Hard Rock will not let down fans of the genre.

First thing to be said about this new album is that the production / sound is totally old-school and with a big late '70s / early '80s eerie feel that shall make you memorize the times rock music was nothing more and less than a message from the heart. Secondly, in this album the band - and Paul in specific - show a great sense of touching melody.
Being the classic rocky UK breeze or some more melodic moments that will even bring old Whitesnake to mind, the quartet has put lots of effort into writing songs that can tug the listener’s heartstrings in ease.“Edge Of Madness” is totally Hard Rock as this specific term was firstly announced in the UK in the beginning of the genre, added with the bluesy guitar playing of Paul Gaskin himself, you will certainly feel entrapped in a series of numbers that celebrate the times when Hard Rock music had its dynamics lurking in the touching solos or warm deep vocals.
The hardest yet melodic numbers include "Damnation", the lovable "Heart Like Thunder" (how could you resist to a song with this title?), "Edge Of Madness" and, to some extent, "Bedlam".
Then the trio of songs "Man's World", "Wake Up Dead" and "Lost & Lonely" lean more towards Melodic Hard Rock, all featuring contagious melodies.
The guitar work is one of the great strengths of most every song here. Conversely, Gaskin's vocals can sometimes seem pretty standard. Yet, on a song like "The Contract", there's an unusual difference, a near effortless versatility.
I did not expect such a classy album from this veteran band in year 2012, I have to admit.
Fans of the melodic side of the early eighties Hard Rock movement or devotees of the guitar style of Michael Schenker, Gary Moore or the late Paul Samson will enjoy this CD with open arms.
Definitely classic sounding but with an up to date production and mastering techniques, “Edge Of Madness” proves that traditional guitar-driven Hard Rock is alive & kickin'. And in good health.


Rating - 8/10

Soundgarden - King Animal (2012)

Genre - Grunge / Alt. Rock

Track listing:

01 – Been Away Too Long
02 – Non-State Actor
03 – By Crooked Steps
04 – A Thousand Days Before
05 – Blood On The Valley Floor
06 – Bones Of Birds
07 – Taree
08 – Attrition
09 – Black Saturday
10 – Halfway There
11 – Worse Dreams
12 – Eyelid’s Mouth
13 – Rowing
14 – Worse Dreams (Demo)
15 – Black Saturday (Demo)
16 – By Crooked Steps (Demo)
17 – Bones Of Birds (Demo)
18 – A Thousand Days Before (Demo)

After a monumental 16 year hiatus, Soundgarden return with an all new offering in the form of "King Animal". Now out of all the leading Grunge era bands, Soundgarden, in my honest opinion were one of the strongest, building their sound upon some classic rock and metal foundations, whilst taking rock music into a whole new direction. But are they still relevant? Can they still pull it off? Is this album just another example of a long defunct legend trying to cash in and ride a wave of nostalgia? Well with "King Animal", Soundgarden prove that yes, they are still very relevant to today's music world, and yes, they can still pull it off! Although "King Animal" does at times feel a little formulaic in places to me, Soundgarden are far from riding any waves of nostalgia.
"King Animal" is a strong and solid album, opening with ‘Been Away Too Long’, which serves as a battle cry for the band’s triumphant return. It’s almost as if the band wrote a personal letter to their fans with Cornell’s brooding confessions, “I’ve been away for too long” and “I only ever really wanted a break.”
This album is classic Soundgarden, moody, groove-laden rock. Jam packed with great riffs, hooks and melodies. "King Animal" is a journey that showcases the bands evolution, building upon a legacy that the established over two decades ago, with an ease as though they had never been away.

Highlights include, 'By Crooked Steps', with its explosive drums, the ethereal vocals of 'Blood On The Valley Floor', and the intricate soundscapes of 'Bones Of Birds'.

A good solid album from a band that have been away far too long!

Rating - 9/10

AEROSMITH - Music From Another Dimension (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock

Track listing:

01 - Luv XXX
02 - Oh Yeah
03 - Beautiful
04 - Tell Me
05 - Out Go The Lights
06 - Legendary Child
07 - What Could Have Been Love
08 - Street Jesus
09 - Can't Stop Lovin' You (Duet With Carrie Underwood)
10 - Lover Alot
11 - We All Fall Down
12 - Freedom Fighter
13 - Closer
14 - Something
15 - Another Last Goodbye

The Legendary AEROSMITH return with their first album in eight years in the form of "Music From Another Dimension".
This album sees the veterens attempting to recreate their classic original sound, something that they come close to acheiving in quite a few places such as opener LuvXXX, with its  thick Joe Perry guitar riff and spacey introduction. "Out Go the Lights", "Street Jesus", a song with a 'Toys in the Attic' kind of energy, are other two other songs where the band acheive this lofty aim.
But no AEROSMITH album would be complete without its huge radio friendly ballads that we have all come to love, and "Music From Another Dimension" gives us the likes of "What Could Have Been Love", "Tell Me", "Cant Stop Loving You" and "We All Fall Down", great songs the lot of them.
Other Highlights include "Street Jesus" and "Legendary Child", to be fair "Music From Another Dimension" is a very solid AEROSMITH album and has something to please fans of all stages of their lengthy career.
 "Music From Another Dimension" marks the Aerosmith's 15th studio album and their first set of studio recordings of all-new material in 11 years.

These rock 'n roll veterans are in good form, still delivering the goods, this time with a stronger songwriting than in the previous albums, delivering their best album since "Get a Grip."

As usual the production is first rate, mostly handled by Jack Douglas, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, with the exception of three tracks, the more commercial, produced by Marti Frederiksen & Tyler.

A welcome comeback from some old friends!  

Highly reconmended   Rating - 9/10  

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Demon - Unboken (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / NWoBHM
Label - Spaced Out Music

Track listing-

01 - Prey (Intro)

02 - Prey
03 - Shine A Light
04 - Unbroken
05 - Wings Of Steel
06 - Fill Your Head With Rock
07 - Take Me To Your Leader
08 - Private Lives
09 - We Can Make It
10 - What About The Night
11 - I Still Believe

Founded in UK at the end of the seventies by lyricist/vocalist Dave Hill and guitarist Mal Spooner, DEMON is one of the most musically interesting and socially aware hard rock bands of their age. Breaking through at the heart NWoBHM movement with albums like Night Of The Demon and The Unexpected Guest Demons sound probably had more in common with the likes of Europe and Bon Jovi than Iron Maiden and Saxon. Despite a huge and loyal fan base and critical acclaim over the years things never really took off on the same scale as it did for  their contemporaries, mores the pity because Demon have recorded some great songs over the years and many a great album.

Unbroken is Demon's first new album since 2005’s ‘Better the Devil You Know’ and it sees them back, for the most part, to a classic hard rock/metal sound. There is a little prog in the opener the uptempo Prey, and its intro piece, which shows vocalist Dave Hill is still in fine vocal fettle. Joining Hill on writing duties are keyboards player Paul Farrington (although his keys are often way in the background) and drummer Neil Ogden. Shine A Light continues the powerful dynamic feel as the album starts to form and take a hold of you. The vocals are raucous and the solo is on fire.

Title track Unbroken is pretty much a reference to the band's longevity and unbroken spirit. A bit of a  different animal than the previous, more melodic and harmonic, although the main guitar riff is blistering!
Wings of Steel is a keyboard laden tune which shouldn't come as much of a surprise as Hill wrote it with the keyboard player. It simply has one of the most breathtaking choruses on the entire album,  another great Demon epic  and what a bloody guitar solo!
Fill Your Head With Rock is an anthem about Sweden Rock Festival that the band has played on a number of occasions. It really goes to show that these veterans still know how to rock!
Take Me To Your Leader continues the bands / Dave Hill's fascination with ET life and space. The track is spacey but rocking too, with a big thick, multi-tracked vocal in the chorus that sticks out.

Private Lives is another track that Dave has written with keyboard player Paul Farrington, musically pretty melodic rock oriented and clever lyrics about the whole instant celebrity cult and paparazzi thing. A great polished sound here, a truly great song.
The very melodious and rhythmical midtempo We Can Make It, (If We All Try) tells another beautiful story, followed by What About The Night drenched in luscious keys, a classy 'theatrical' Demon tune deliciously devilish fun.

Finally I Still Believe is a lighters and a hands in the air anthem written in the trademark Demon way, a ballad yes, but ardent and powerful.

Unbroken is one of the strongest albums that Demon have put out in their entire career, and really does deserve some massive mainstream attention.
If you like melodic well written hard rock / metal executed to perfection then check this album out!

Rating - 10/10

Left For Red - Vol 002 - Mercy Flight EP (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Modern Rock / Alternative
Label - Self Released / Independant

Track listing -

01 - Kneel before You Die
02 - Mercy Flight
03 - My Obsession

"Left For Red are a Four Piece Heavy Metal band formed in 2009 with members of Groove Sadistic, ShakeDown and Viable Truth. Left For Red have a wide range of influences from Pantera, Deftones, Tool, Rush, Alter Bridge and Strapping Young Lad to name a few. LFR's sound is a mixture of Punk, Metal and Pop which makes you want to dance, sing and beat the crap out of the person next to you." Well that is what their press says and to be fair I cant really find a reason to disagree. For me Left For Red deliver that perfect blend of hard rock and all out metal. Riffs galore, a vocalist that can sing as well as roar his way through a song, and well talent in abundance.  Are the songs any good? Well considering that these guys haven't been together all that long the songs are bloody great. Despite having to record on a tight budget, this EP being self financed, Left For Red, judging by the evidence on this EP alone, can hold their own with any band out there, and I really can see big things in their future, especially in the USA. Could Left For Red be the best metal band to come out of the midlands since the mighty Black Sabbath, I think they show the potential to be just that!

So come on guys, get behind a great young British band

Rating - 10/10

Silver Horses - Silver Horses (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Blues Rock
Label - 7Hard Records

Track listing -

01. Rub It On Me
02. Run
03. Life And Soul
04. Diamond Sky
05. Secret Service
06. Suddenly Lost
07. Me
08. Silver Horses
09. You re Breaking My Heart (Don t Do It)
10. You
11. Who s Holding On To You

Silver Horses are a brand new 70's style  Hard Rock band featuring the vocal talents of the awesome Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath / Mollo Martin's Cage / Empire / M3 / Giuntini Project / solo). Tony Martin handled the vocal duties for Black Sabbath during the late 80's and early to mid 90's  on such albums as: The Eternal Idol , Headless Cross , Tyr , Cross Purposes , Forbidden , Cross Purposes Live and The Sabbath Stones.This Anglo-Italian band combine the classic style's of Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake and twist it a little by adding a modern touch. Now first off, are they any good? Well musically the band are as tight as you can get, and the songs are pretty darn strong to boot, well written and well executed, but does Martin's voice really suite the more bluesy direction of this collection of tunes? Well he's covered Dazed and Confused, Stormbringer (Cage albums), and a multitude of Whitesnake classics during his days with Cozy Powell's Hammer and M3, so although this music is a little different to his usual hard rock / metal output, yes his voice suites the songs well, especially on tracks like Suddenly Lost (the albums high point for me), Secret Service and title track Silver Horses, this album does show case Martins versatility really well.
There is plenty of variation here, from the uptempo(Rub It On Me) to the stompers (Secret Service) to the atmospheric ballads (Suddenly Lost) and the quality never drops at all throughout the album.
Now here's to hoping that these guys take this project out on the road, and for the love of god follow it up with another album!

Rating 9/10

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Kiss - Monster (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label -

Track listing:

01. Hell Or Hallelujah
02. Wall Of Sound
03. Freak
04. Back To The Stone Age
05. Shout Mercy
06. Long Way Down
07. Eat Your Heart Out
08. The Devil Is Me
09. Outta This World
10. All For The Love Of Rock & Roll
11. Take Me Down Below
12. Last Chance
13. Right Here Right Now (Bonus Track)

Kiss are back, with quite possibly their best album since Revenge, possibly since Destroyer!

KISS's career has spanned almost 39 years and this year they release their 20th studio album titled “Monster”. As with their last effort Sonic Boom the band invited no co-writers and founder and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley co-produced the CD along with Greg Collins.

Paul Stanley, along with co-founder and bassist Gene Simmons have continued to sport the same lineup for the last 8 years with drummer Eric Singer and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer rounding out the quartet.
“Hell or Hallelujah” was released to the airwaves on July 2, 2012. It is an up-tempo song that showcases Thayer’s strong and consistent licks delivered with that traditional Stanley vocal that Kiss fans have come to love.

Sung by Simmons, “Wall of Sound” has some nods to their Revenge album, while Stanley handles lead vocals on “Freak” and shares in the collective effort on the choruses and some of the verses.
“Back to the Stone Age” was co-written by all four members and all 4 have their imprint on this song vocally. Pretty good one.
“Long Way Down” is Kiss trademark, is a flowing track that bares everything that Kiss encompasses; a strong Stanley vocal performance and good harmonies.
“Eat Your Heart Out” starts out with the group doing an a Capella chorus, during which, you can really hear Eric Singer who has an underrated voice. Simmons takes lead vocal on this track, and if any song stands out as unique, I would say it’s this one.
Thayer commands lead vocals on “Outta This World”, nothing outstanding but he sounds natural and fresh.
Eric Singer has a song called “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”. As noted, his vocals are underrated andnster  he shows what he can do with his voice on this song. His style of playing is a little different here, which earns some added attention.
Simmons’ bass pummels through the track “Take Me Down Below”. He locks in with Singer and leads this track on its way, later accompanied by Stanley. A potential single.

"Monster" is a more solid and consistent album than the previous 'Sonic Boom'.
Even though this band has been together for 8 years now, this is only the 2nd studio effort between them. Seems the band is becoming more comfortable with one another and the results show on some tracks.
"Monster" does not pace itself: it's a full-on aural assault from the first note, and doesn't let up until Stanley lets out a final jarring wail on 'Last Chance'.
It's Kiss, and you know what to expect.

Monster really is a true return to form for one of rock n rolls most iconic and long lasting bands.

Rating 10/10

Danko Jones - Rock and Roll Is Black and Blue (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label -

Track listing:

01. Terrified
02. Get Up
03. Legs
04. Just A Beautiful Day
05. I Don’t Care
06. You Wear Me Down
07. Type Of Girl
08. Always Away
09. Conceited
10. Don’t Do This
11. The Masochist
12. I Believed In God
13. I Believed In God (Reprise)
14. In Your Arms (Bonus Track)

Danko Jones return with the follow up to 2010's excellent album, Below The Belt, (which in my opinion was their best all around album of their carear til that point!) with Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue. Forteen tracks of debauchery, rebellion, angst and well, Dank Jones doing what this Canadian trio do best! Opening up with Terrified, before blasting into Get Up and Legs (which is thankfully not a cover of the ZZ Top song!) all with no let up in tempo. Lead single, Just a Beautiful Day is up next, slowing things down a little, before hurtling into the best track on the album, I Dony Care. You Wear Me Down and Type Of Girl follow, again in the all too familar Danko Jones groove. We're not really likely to see the guys wander too far from their familar lyrical themes, but thats all the better as I love these guys, partly for their cliched lyrics lol.
Always Away has a kind of ACDC opening riff, before launching into rather a commercial little number thats laden with vocal harmonies throughout the chorus, a great song. Conceited is a typical Danko blast, where as Dont Do This is more of a typical Danko Stomp. The Masochist is an uptempo blast that could have quite easily fitted onto any of the bands previous releases. I Believed In God is a bit of a curve ball, with  vocal refrain somewhat akin to Danzig in places, yet still a great song, would make for a brave single and an awesome video! In Your Arms, again to me has a Danzig feel to it, slower and doomier than the usual Danko track, but still a bloody great song.

This entire album is fantastic, and a contender for album of the year for me, but if I had to pick out a few highlights then I Believed In God, I Dont Care, Legs, Just A Beautiful day and Always Away would have to be included.

A great fun rock n roll album that deserves the worlds attention.

Rating - 10/10

Saturday, 6 October 2012

STEVE HARRIS - British Lion (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Label - EMI Records

Track listing -

01. This Is My God
02. Lost Worlds
03. Karma Killer
04. Us Against The World
05. The Chosen Ones
06. A World Without Heaven
07. Judas
08. Eyes Of The Young
09. These Are The Hands
10. The Lesson

Iron Maiden main man Steve Harris brings us his debut solo album, British Lion, a decade in the making, with asoud that is as far away from Iron Maidens as you could get. The album is a solid effort but not as good as one could have expected considering the pedigree involved. The following review is not my own words but I couldnt agree more with what has been said, so I have reproduced it here.

"STEVE HARRIS, the 'Boss' of Iron Maiden is busy touring the States, reliving some of his main band’s most glorious moments at this time.

He's chosen the same time to release his decade in the making – tracked whenever he could get time, on the backburner of Maiden activities - solo album, which is not entirely him flying solo, but more of a collaborative effort, titled "British Lion".
Apparently, Steve was managing this band in the early '90s and kinda liked them a bit too much and while the project really went no-where at the time and his solo company 'Beast Records' went into limbo, he kept in contact with them and decided to salvage the material which he also got involved with, playing the bass and co-writing some of the songs by issuing it under his name, as a solo album.
"British Lion" is not being pushed as a metal project. Singer Simon Dawson and guitarist Grahame Leslie have recorded in many rock&pop sessions, including The Outfield, so expect vocals quite away to the typical metal stuff.
Without being too long, the songs tend to dwell in mid-tempo territory mostly, and sound a bit long winded. The entire band is fine and British as it comes, but there's a bit of lack of fire and bite.
Repeated spins, make the album grow, but you’d really expect something more upbeat from Harris than an average to good album.
“This is my God” really reminded me a bit of Thunder and Zeppelin and while it has a nice groove and generally good ideas, it's a paint-it-by-numbers hard rocker, while “Lost Worlds” has hints of Maiden, in the form of a really long expressive part.
“Karma Killer” is almost how things should have been. It’s got a nasty, groovy and instantly recognizable riff and grooves. Taylor even convinces thoroughly on this one. Good chorus.
“Us Against the World” is one of the best moments here, mixing Maiden with UFO and the Scorpions quite nicely. Taylor’s melodic ideas are very smooth and nice, and there are some very smart guitar flourishes.
“The Chosen Ones” is very Lizzyesque, and simply quite good. But even here, in such a feelgood song, there seems to be a bit of uncertainty. Taylor, exclaims a 'yeah' at some point and it almost sounds forced and not that spontaneous. Another great song, but a little more flair, would have made it an anthem.
On “World Without Heaven” the guitars are lower in the mix than they should, really battling with the bass at point, not because of volume, but because they are just not as fat and sharp as they should.
“Judas” is darker, with a very abrupt drop out in the middle and some acoustics, “Eyes of The Young” is a more carefree, almost a ballad that rocks hard.
The real ballad is final track “The Lesson”, rich in strings that bears resemblances to Dio and maybe even Marillion.
Steve Harris really takes a chance by lending his name to this project, when he could have called it just “British Lion” and be done with, possibly making some people expect something-or-other that’s not a million miles away from Maiden.
What we get is an album with decent songwriting, but a bit lack of bite in the performances & production that ends up being detrimental to the overall result.
A more aggressive sound, tighter playing and more spirited vocal performances in certain songs would have benefited the CD strongly. Even some double vocals, or gang choruses here or there would have worked better.
Harris can do anything he wants and it would do nothing to dent the man's reputation. “British Lion” is just a fine, uncommon hard rock album with some good moments to enjoy."

British Lion is a good album, just not as good as I had hoped for to be honet. Highlight tracks include, Karma Killer, Lost Worlds and Us Against The World.

Rating - 7/10

Peepshow - Brand New Breed (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Modern Rock
Label - Independant?

Track listing:

01 - Wake Up Call
02 - Let Go
03 - Live Free Or Die
04 - Trouble
05 - Only A Dream
06 - All Or Nothing
07 - Feed On Me
08 - Irreversible
09 - Suffer
10 - Romance Is Dead
11 - Star Eyes
12 - Brand New Bree
13 - Waking The Dead
14 - Follow Your Instincts

Scottish rockers PEEPSHOW debuted in 2009 with a self-released CD that quickly sold out largely through word of mouth, and drew instant praise from UK press.

It has been three plus long years since that, and now we finally have their new album "Brand New Breed".
Unlike the bands debut album which had a very sleazy sound, "Brand New Breed" is fused with blasts of synths, modern light speed dual guitars and textured, flexing rhythms, all wrapped by a modern and sometimes bombastic production.

First single "Let Go" with its huge hooks is tailor made for the bigger venues, while the intensity of "Feed On Me" and the sky high emotions and god-sized riffs of "All Or Nothing" will drive their way straight into the guts and heart respectively.

"Live Free Or Die" is a great track that chugs along with the keyboards just topping things off, a little reminiscent of Babylon Bombs but with bigger production.
"Trouble" hearkens back to Peepshow's roots as explode through the speakers with hot riffage and attitude, but sonically is really polished, as the whole album. The title track and "Waking The Dead" are crunchy scorchers that speed into Shotgun Messiah's Second Coming era with singer Johnny Gunn growling and screaming for all he is worth, resulting in one the album finest moments.

Today so many bands may shy away from keyboards but Peepshow embrace them, and use them to add depth and that brings a fuller, more complete sound to the songs. Check out the slower yet dark "Only A Dream", with some Alice Cooper phrasing and a killer guitar solo.

They are not afraid to ballads as well, being "Irreversible" a modern oriented one, that type of songs that could give them their best shot at radio airplay and hopefully stardom.
Peepshow comes right back with "Suffer", which is a hard rocking tune that will once again make you stand tall. Drummer Hammy shows his chops on this one and makes himself noticed.
Ending the disc is "Follow Your Instincts", an tribal, anthemic modern track adorned with synth strings destined to arenas.

Peepshow have been brave enough to reinvent themselves and their sound despite the critical acclaim that came with their debut album, and they have managed to pull it off wonderfully. Brave New Breed is just that, a great album from a band that could quite easily be filling stadiums in the future given the right breaks!

Rating - 9/10

ZZ TOP - La Futura (2012)

Genre - Classic Rock / Southern Blues Rock
Label -

Track listing:

01 - I Gotsta Get Paid
02 - Chartreuse
03 - Consumption
04 - Over You
05 - Heartache In Blue
06 - I Don't Wanna Lose, Lose, You
07 - Flyin' High
08 - It s Too Easy Mañana
09 - Big Shiny Nine
10 - Have A Little Mercy
11 - Threshold Of A Breakdown (Bonus Track)
12 - Drive By Lover (Bonus Track)

After nearly a decade's wait, fans of 'that little ole’ band from Texas' called ZZ TOP are finally rewarded with the trio's 15th album, "La Futura".
Co-produced by Rick Rubin and the band's ever-so-stylish guitarist and singer Billy Gibbons, La Futura sees the band return to much more stripped down and basic sound, pretty much a direct-to-the-amp sound, trying to recapture the magic of their early 's releases. Does it manage it? Well I think it does, this album sounds bloody great, but then again I have always loved Billy Gibbon's tone, and I am quite thankful that the keyboards, electronics and over production of the late 's and 90's are nowhere to be found!
The three beards here give us some cracking bluesy rock songs, do they reach the heights of their previous classics, well probably no, but hell, its new music from ZZ Top and its pretty damn good ta boot!
Highlights include, Over You, Flyin' High Big Shiny Nine and threshold Of A Breakdown, although the guys do manage to completly miss the target with their cover of Its Too Easy Mañana, which simply doesn't work.

On a whole a petty amn ine album if your a an of the band check this one out!

Rating - 8/10

RIVAL SONS - Head Down (2012)

Genre - Classic Hard Rock / Blues / Retro Rock
Label - Earache Records

Track listing:

01 - Keep On Swinging
02 - Wild Animal
03 - You Want To
04 - Until The Sun Comes
05 - Run From Revelation
06 - Jordan
07 - All The Way
08 - The Heist
09 - Three Fingers
10 - Nava
11 - Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)
12 - Manifest Destiny (Pt. 2)
13 - True

"The Long Beach, California, quartet RIVAL SONS made a big splash in 2011 with their breakthrough album 'Pressure & Time'. It put the rest of the retro-rock scene on notice: rehash the past all you want, but we're the future. And with their brand new album "Head Down", they're here to prove it.
Precious few revivalists possess that old black magic to set them apart. But to a fusion of the Classic Hard Rock and progressive blues of the seventies, genuine soul and a gutsy groove, Rival Sons add the real X Factor: great, great songs.

Such an obvious ingredient, but it's truly unbelievable just how many others miss it.
Recorded in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb and Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell, "Head Down" takes the band's electrifying blend of Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Free, Deep Purple, The Doors and a dozen others to exhilarating new heights.
Kick the door in, take no prisoners, ask no questions, play it loud; as plans go, it's hard to fault.
Opener "Keep On Swinging" pretty much sums it up: big, bold, swaggering and totally badass, it sets the tone for an album which raises the bar across the board.
The breezy "Wild Animal" and "Until the Sun Comes" contrast nicely with the raunchiness of "All The Way" and "Three Fingers", themselves preludes to the sheer girth of "You Want To" – which recalls Zep at their raucous best – and the mighty "Manifest Destiny Pt. 1", a shadowy, smouldering epic that broods like a black hole.
Although the required ballads aren't the group's strong suit, both "Jordan" and "True" are carried off with confidence and without resorting to slush or schmaltz. Actually, these are superb slow tunes.
Both as performers and songwriters Rival Sons have upped their game, and "Head Down" puts them well ahead of the pack.
It takes a degree of skill to make music that ticks all the Classic Rock boxes without sounding like a shameless exercise in nostalgia, but despite impeccable retro credentials, Rival Sons are doggedly establishing themselves as a vital force for the modern age, too.
A more adventurous beast than the previous album, "Head Down" is a riotous carnival of classic-saluting riffs, sunkissed psychedelia and irresistible hooks, with the band's soul, funk and blues influences thrust joyously to the fore.
"Head Down" honours half a century of Classic (Hard) Rock with reverence, respect and the realisation that this music's still happening, right now.

"Head Down" is a truly remarkable album and its unbelievable that its only the bands sophmore release as it shows such a depth of maturity in both the playing and songwriting that you could be forgiven for thinking that these guys had been at it since the 70's!

Rating - 10/10

Babylon Fire - Dark Horizons (2012)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - Rocksector Records

Track listing:

01. The Clarion Call
02. Darkness Draws Me In
03. Blood In Blood Out
04. Stripped Away
05. Demonocracy
06. Shattered Crown
07. Gates To Oblivion
08. Wrath Of The Fallen
09. Cycle Of Addiction
10. Within The Mouth Of Madness
11. Rise Through Babylon
12. I Still Remember

Released on 12th November through Rocksector Records, Dark Horizons is the debut full length release from Manchester based four piece heavy metal band Babylon Fire. Dark Horizons contains twelve solid tracks which showcase the bands talent and diversity as songwriters. having to adapt to being a four piece following the departure of former guitarist Will Reece the band have honed both their sound and their songs to bring us a very solid debut. From the opening riffs of The Clarion Call the quality is never in doubt, and the intensity never really lets up throughout the entire duration of the album. in fact the tempo doesn't really ease off until track four, Stripped Away, which is a great little rocker, a little more commercial than the onslaught and intensity of the three previous tracks.Demonocracy continues to mix things up a little, the intensity returns but its mixed some melodic guitar sections and some great melodies. Shattered Crown is pretty much a great traditional heavy metal track which leads nicely into a great little instrumental, The Gates Of Oblivion. Gates....sets up the mighty Wrath Of the Fallen, which is probably my favourite track on the album. Here we see the intensity return, but its tempered with plenty of melody, a truly great song. The intensity continues with Cycle Of Addiction, which is a great metal / rock song. Within The Mouth Of Madness sees the intensity continue, a great track some great lyrics and its Charlie Manson intro. Penultimate track Rise Through Babylon, sees the tempo mixed up a little, a great song. The album closes out with I Still Remember, an epic song.
Its hard to believe that this album is the bands debut, it really does sound so accomplished as though the guys have been at this game for years!
To be honest Dark Horizons is a really strong debut album from a very promision British band. Proof that the British Rock and Metal scene is truly alive, and has a great home on Rocksector Records!

Rating - 9/10

Absolva - Flames Of Justice (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Metal / Modern Metal
Label - Rocksector Records

Track listing:

01. Flames Of Justice
02. Hundred Years
03. Code Red
04. It Is What It Is
05. Breathe
06. State Of Grace
07. From Beyond The Light
08. Free
09. Love To Hate
10. Only When Its Over
11. Empires

Absolva are a Manchester based Classic Metal band born from the ashes (?) of the promising Fury Uk. As well as featuring Chris Appleton (Guitar and vocals) and Martin McNee (Drums) from Fury Uk, Absolva also features the talents of Tom Atkinson (Lead Guitars and backing vocals) of Vice fame and Dan Bate (Bass and backing vocals) of Point Black Fury fame. Theses guys are tight! Solid songs, with amazingly tight performances combined with an excellent production makes Flames Of Justice one of the best metal albums that I have heard in years, and I honestly mean that!

The twin guitar attack is reminiscent of the genre's legends such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but Chris and Tom take their slant to an all new level, the riffs are brutal at times, heavy yet melodic, and every lick seems to be so perfectly placed, nothing ever sounds contrived, just a natural flowing sound that just develops and flows along with each song.

This album has everything that a great metal album should have, brutal grinding tracks suck as It IS What It Is, duelling guitar lead tracks suck as on Breathe, great rocking along up tempo tracks such as title track Flames Of Justice, short sweet acoustic segments like State Of Grace and epic songs like Free and Only When Its Over, stompers like Beyond The Light, as I said everything a great metal album should have!.

This album is proof positive that Absolva are a seriously talented band with all the potential of becoming the new kings of the metal scene. They could well be the rightful heirs to the crowns of legendary bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest! Yes they really are that god damn good!

Flames of Justice is released on 5th November through Rocksector Records and you guys really should check it out!

Rating - 10/10

Catch Absolva on tour on the following dates:

Oct 27th  - Machester (UK) Radcliffe Civic
Nov 2nd  - Newcastle (UK) Trillians
Nov 3rd  - Grimsby (UK) Yardbirds
Nov 4th   - Bristol (UK) The Croft
Nov 7th   - Sheffield (UK) Corporation
Nov 9th   - London (UK) Underworld
Nov 10th - Birmingham (UK) Asylum 2
Nov 11th - Southamptom (UK) Talking Heads
Nov 15th - Ipswich (UK) The Railway
Nov 16th - Herdorf (Germany) Rattenloch
Nov 17th -  TBC (Belguim)
Nov 18th - Roeselare (Belgium) De Verlichte Geest
Nov 30th - Belfast (N.Ireland) Voodoo
Dec 1st    - Strabane (N.Ireland) Diceys
Dec 2nd   - Dublin (Ireland) The Pint

Friday, 14 September 2012

Zen Motel - We Want Your Blood (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Punk / Pop / Alternative / Modern Rock
Label - Under Dog Records (Independent)

Track listing:

01 - Superhuman Colosseum
02 - The Pit
03 - Kill Your Radio (Feat CJ and Si Fricker)
04 - Trust Your Instincts
05 - Death Rock City (Feat CJ)
06 - Cut And Run
07 - Bone Deep In Trouble (Feat CJ)
08 - Curse Of the Girlfiend (Feat Si Fricker)
09 - I Will End This
10 - House Of The Dying Sun

Formed back in 2003, Zen Motel release their third studio album in the form of We Want your Blood. Coming hot on the heals of the awesome Cranked Ep released earlier this year.
I bloody love this album, a worthy follow up to Cranked and the bands previous two albums!
Ten tracks, clocking in at just under half an hour, of angst driven hard rock with some great melodies.
Opening with the mighty Superhuman Colosseum, a weighty peice that delcares that they have given up giving in before crashing into the The Pit which first saw the light of day on the Cranked EP, still an awesome track, full of energy and angst. Kill Your Radio is up next, a slighty more commercial song that features CJ from the Wildhearts as a guest on guitars and vocals (the first of three tracks to do so!) as well as Si Fricker. This is a great song that debuted via the internet last year, but still sounds great in its finished form. Trust Your Leader follows, again a typical Zen Motel song, filled with twists and turns, another great addition to the back catalogue.
Death Rock City follows, again featuring CJ on vocals and guitars. Here the guys turn the tempo upa little, yet this song still has a very commercial feel to it, a great song that should be a huge hit, again a song that debuted a year or so ago via the internet. Cut and Run is up next, a little more atmospheric to my ears, yet retaining all the punk angst and rock elements. A great song.
Next up is the last of the three songs to feature CJ, Bone Deep In Trouble, a song that takes the album off on a little tangent with its acoustic guitars and almost country feel, this really is a great song!
Curse of The |Girlfiend follows, again a song that originally saw the light of day a year or so ago via the internet, darker and moodier than its predecessors, great fun and has a great video too!
The albums penultimate track comes in the form of I Will End This, a song that sees the tempo pick back up together with some some great lyrics and riffs. House Of The Dying Sun closes out the album, a slower more epic track but more importantly,another great song song rounding off a great album!
There is so much energy and diversity presented on this album that it truly showcases the bands abilities as both song writers and performers!
We Want Your Blood gives us six songs that we havent heard before ( and four that have been available for a while in some form), and is possibly a little too short forin my opinion, but still I absolutely bloody love it!

We Want Your Blood is another great album by a blood great British band that your really do need to check out. Lets just hope that we dont have to wait as long for album number four! Now where are those tour dates?

Rating - 10/10
Website - www.ZenMotel.Co.UK

Romantic Rebel - Romantic Rebel EP (2012)

Genre - Melodic Rock / Hard Rock
Label - Independant

Track listing:

01 - Waste My Mind

02 - Dirty Love Song
03 - On My Own
04 - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (Rainbow cover)

"ROMANTIC REBEL is a new Chicago based Hard Rock band presenting their self titled debut EP recently recorded.

The trio is fronted by pinup model Cherri Bomb, whom apart from wearing sexy black fishnets and furious red lipstick, owns a killer voice to boot.

At first glance I was expecting some kind of modern rock in these four tracks, but Romantic Rebel surprises us with late '80s sounding female fronted styled Hard Rock.
Cherri Bomb's vocals spreads tons of personality and solid pipes over the meaty and sustained guitars delivered by Alex Vincent. This guy has a thunderous sound reminding me of Billy Duffy's work on The Cult's albums at the tail end of the eighties.
Romantic Rebel could recall more recent acts such a Halestorm as well, but their musical approach is much more classic metal / hard rock in style.
First track "Waste My Mind" is driven by a melting six-string riff and a contagious refrain, followed by "Dirty Love Song", which is the most modern oriented track in the EP and is the bands chosen single / video.
"On My Own" adds some acoustics and nice tempo changes but the song has a heavy electric riff too, including wah wah and a mix sounding quite vintage.
For the end, Romantic Rebel blows a stronghold take on Rainbow's "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll". I can't remember any other female fronted act covering this tune, but the band does justice to this classic tune with an incendiary version.

Romantic Rebel is a more than promising Female Fronted Hard Rock trio in a genre where doesn't abound bands playing this style with a sound firmly planted in the late '80s.
Cherri Bomb certainly can sing (and she's got the looks) while Alex Vincent fills the music with hot chops and a solid-rock sound. Production is really good - recorded & mixed by Steve Weeder (Michael Thompson's 'Future Past', Styx) - with a vintage feel in places, balanced with an updated vibe.
Late eighties / early nineties Female Fronted Hard Rock fans will embrace this EP with open arms.
Let's wait for a full length release to see if Romantic Rebel is able to jump into the major league. They have the potential."

Promising stuff.

Rating - 7/10

Lovebite - Lock 'N' Load (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Glam / Sleaze / Metal
Label - Independant

Track listing -

01 - No Turning Back
02 - Sin City
03 - Breakin' The Rules
04 - Love/Hate
05 - Hey Baby
06 - Gonna Love You Anyway
07 - Lock 'N' Load
08 - Queen Of Hearts
09 - Can't Fight Your Love
10 - Striptease
11 - Mr. Lonely
12 - Too Much Is Never Enough

Where do I start?
Lovebite, (love the name by the way!), are a Birmingham (Midlands, UK) band that claim they are destined to be one of the hottest glam-metal bands to arrive on the UK scene, and to be fair I have to disagree. I feel that that particular statement sells the band short, as there is so much to these guys than being just a glam band. Sure, Lovebite's music is '80s Melodic Hard Rock influenced, not only in style / songwriting, but also in the way that they pull it off sonically. The guitars are loud and we have gang vocals all over, all wrapped with an intense and dynamic rhythm section, complete with cowbell and all.Yes there you can hear the influence of the genre legends such as Motley Crue, Skid Row or L.A Guns all over the place, but the songs are also more melodic and polished with infleneces such as Firehouse and Danger Danger clearly there to be heard.
A perfect example being Breakin' The Rules, a song that could quite easily be coming right off of Firehouse's debut in the way its composed and arranged.
With vocalist Johnny Sparks coming across as a blend of a young Vince Neil and Mike Tramp and the riffs coming loud and fast this album really does take me back, yet despite the clear 80's influence on the bands sound, the production brings that same said sound band upto date, leaving us with a great contempory sounding album.
For a band that have only been together for a relativly short time these guys show a helluva lot of promise.

Great debut, very highly reconmended!

Rating - 10/10
Website -

Tygers of Pan Tang - Ambush (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Melodic Rock / NWoBHM Label -
Label - Rocksector Records
Track listing:

01 - Keeping Me Alive
02 - These Eyes
03 - One Of A Kind
04 - Rock & Roll Dream
05 - She
06 - Man on Fire
07 - Play to Win
08 - Burning Desire
09 - Hey Suzie!
10 - Mr. Indespensable
11 - Speed

Its been a long time since these guys released their debut album "Wild Cat" back in 1980, a period of thirty two years that has seen them disband and reform twice and release countless classic NWoBHM master peices. Its a sad fact that Tygers of Pan Tang are criminaly overlooked by the majority of fans of the NWoBHM era, with the likes of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Diamond Head, Praying Mantis and Def Leppard taking the spot light, leaving some truly great songs undiscovered.

Ambush is the second full length release from Tygers... since they reformed for the second time back in 2001 and is a solid album to be fair. Founding member, Robb Weir (Guitars) is joined by Jacopo Meille (Vocals), Dean Robertson (Guitars), Gavin Gray (Bass) and Craig Ellis (Drums & Percussion) for this outting, and together witha strong clear production and some great songs they turn in a brilliant performance, with Ambush reinforcing the point that Tygers.... really do deserve your attention, and are still relevent and capable of putting out some great music after all these years.

The album seems to be the perfect ballance of Classic Melodic Rock and NWoBHM, with Jacopo's vocals dancing tantalisingly over the top of some great rock riffs. As I have already said the songs are strong, full of life and energy with great riffs and some awesome hooks taboot.
The first five songs have a more melodic leaning where as the rest are definetly more in NWoBHM vein, creating a solid and diverse album!

Stand out tracks for me have to include the opening track, Keeping Me Alive, Play To Win (which is a pure NWoBHM classic!), Burning Desire and Hey Suzie, a song that not only ressurects the character ftom the bands debut single but also has a feel very reminiscent of their debut album Wild Cat.

A Great album for a veteren band that is well worth checking out!

Rating - 9/10

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Fozzy - Sin And Bones (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Century Media

Track listing -

01 – Spider In My Mouth
02 – Sandpaper (feat M. Shadows)
03 – Blood Happens
04 – Inside My Head
05 – Sin And Bones
06 – A Passed Life
07 – She’s My Addiction
08 – Shine Forever
09 – Dark Passenger
10 – Storm The Beaches
Bonus Tracks:
11 – Walk Amongst The Dead
12 – Fairies Wear Boots

Fozzy, the hard rock / metal band featuring WWE wrestling superstar Chris Jericho (vocals) and Stuck Mojo's Richard Ward (guitar) return with their fifth studio album and the follow up to 2010's awesome and hugely successful Chasing The Grail. So how does this new album compare?Very well to be honest, Fozzy manage to match if not surpass the quality of Chasing..... without repeating any formula's.
Opening track, Spider In My Mouth has an intro that would fit any Alice Cooper album well, dark and atmospheric, and is somewhat a bit of a misfit on the album, a curve ball, opening the album with a track that no one would have expected!
Next up is Sandpaper, the albums lead single that features M Shadows on vocals with a notably more radio friendly sound, before Blood happens kicks in with its contrasting grinding riffs. The emotional Inside My Head follows before giving way to the riff laden title track, Sin and Bones that has one of those sing along chorus's that the live crowds are going to love.
The Unhurried A Passed Life follows which will either be loved or hated! People who buy the album for the driving Fozzy Rock, have to wait it out a bit - what we have here is a venture into  (slightly over) radio length progressive rock with a haunting metal undertone. Next up is the blues rocker She's My Addiction, which features one Phil Campbell of Motorhead on lead guitar. This track is surely one of the highlights of the album, if not Fozzy's entire recorded output!
Shine Forever is up next, and is probably the closest sounding track to the tracks on the previous album, a powerhouse stomper.
Then we get Dark Passenger, which in my honest opinion is the albums real standout track, its awesome, that's all I can say, I absolutely love this song, a contender for song of the year!
Then we get the albums closing track, the epic Storm The Beeches, a song told from a soldiers point of view that clocks in at just under 12 minutes long. Here Richard Ward has his Iron Maiden moment, and he does it bloody well!
There are two bonus tracks available on some formats, the brutal and grinding Walk Amongst The Dead and the Black Sabbath Cover Fairies Wear Boots which the band perform faithful to the original.

Sin and Bones is a fantastic album and one that I would highly recommend!!

Rating - 10/10

LostAlone - I'm A UFO In This City (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative Rock / EMO
Label - Graphite

Track listing -

01. Obey The Rules You Lose

02. Love Will Eat You Alive
03. Paradox On Earth
04. UFOria (The Dark)
05. Vesuvius
06. Creatures
07. Orchestra Of Breathing
08. Put Pain To Paper
09. Do You Get What You Pray For?
10. We Are The Archaeology Of The Futures Past
11. The Downside Of Heaven Is The Upside Of Hell
12. Sin and Sinners
13. History Romanticises Traitors
14. Escape
15. Dead Man Walking

It's really no often that a band can cite such diverse influences, and then back it up by producing an album within which are discernible notes of all of them. This album is a real treat for anyone who likes rock in any of it's forms, but especially those who like the richly layered vocals and soaring lead-guitar of Queen, or who appreciate a good, solid, ground-stomping riff played on guitar and bass in tandem. "Love Will Eat You Alive" is a finehold honed, highly melodic and masterfully delivered wall-of-sound experience, "Vesusius" is the kind of slow-starting epic that promises much with it's long, suspenseful intro and then bang!
Lostalone have been cited in some quarters as a 21st century Queen, which is a little unfair, as after listening to this cd a couple of times, (and it takes a few listens as there is so much here to sink in!), I think that it would be fairer to say that LostAlone are a 21st century LostAlone, unique in all the good ways! LostAlone's style is very much centred on melody and tight harmonies between the group, and this sets them apart from their peers; no-one else sounds like these guys.
I cant really pick out any standout tracks as all fifteen are really great songs, but some of my favorites are Orchestra of Breathing, We Are The Archaeology Of The Futures Past, The Downside of Heaven..... Dead Man Walking and Love Will Eat You Alive, truly stunning tracks.
These guys are threatening to become massive, so check em out and fall in love with them now before the  rest of the world crashes the party. I can honestly say that I havent been this excited by a band since I first heard the Wildhearts way back in 1992!

You must check this album out!

Rating - 10/10

website -

FM - Tough It Out [Rock Candy remaster] (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock / AOR Label - Rock Candy

Track listing -

01 - Tough It Out

02 - Don't Stop
03 - Bad Luck
04 - Someday (You'll Come Running)
05 - Everytime I Think Of You
06 - Burning My Heart Down
07 - The Dream That Died
08 - Obsession
09 - Can You Hear Me Calling?
10 - Does It Feel Like Love?
11 - Feels So Good
12 - Hurt Is Where The Heart Is (bonus track)
13 - This Could Be The Last Time (bonus track)
14 - Someday (You'll Come Running) [Extended Version] (bonus track)
15 - Alibi (bonus track)
16 - Everytime We Touch (bonus track)

FM's debut album, ‘Indiscreet’, set the scene perfectly for the bands follow up.

This was a British band with their eyes set firmly on the American market, playing music equal to, if not superior, than masters of the craft such as Foreigner, Journey and Survivor.
That they had not earned a significant sales foothold was shocking but it only fuelled their resolve to come back out swinging with their sophomore album, the stoically titled "Tough It Out".
This time around they were taking no chances. Arming themselves with new management (REO Speedwagon's representative) a top notch producer in Neil Kernon and topping off their determination by collaborating with some of the best songwriters (including Desmond Child) of the day they constructed an album of serious potential.

Originally issued in 1989, "Tough It Out" takes all the excitement of their first album and infuses it with top class production and an energy that suggested they weren't going to take any prisoners.
Mixed by Nigel Green (Def Leppard), the album contains eleven stunning slices of melodic AOR, including such crowd pleasers as "Don't Stop", "Bad Luck", "Burning My Heart Down" and "Someday (You'll Come Running)".
As always, Steve Overland must be credited for his superlative performance - outstanding vocals that turn quality songs into exploding supernovas of melody and sophistication.
The end result is truly, one of the greatest AOR albums of all time.

This Rock Candy 24-bit remastering from the original source tapes sounds excellent as usual, plus 5 bonus tracks originally appeared as b-sides, including the rare and really hard to find "Everytime We Touch", making this the definitive edition of this classic album.
The rematering is excellent, really giving these AOR classics a new lease of life.

this is a must have for any FM fan, and an essential release for fans of the AOR / Melodic Rock genre's in general.

Rating 9/10

The Darkness - Hot Cakes (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Glam Rock Label -

Track listing -

01. Every Inch Of You
02. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us
03. With A Woman'
04. Keep Me Hangin' On
05. Livin’ Every Day Blind
06. Everybody Have A Good Time
07. She Just A Girl Eddie
08. Forbidden Love
09. Concrete
10. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
11. Love Is Not The Answer
12. I Can't Believe It's Not Love (Acoustic Demo) (Bonus Track)
13. Love Is Not The Answer (Acoustic Demo) (Bonus Track)
14. Pat Pong Ladies (Demo Mix) (Bonus Track)
15. Cannonball (feat. Ian Anderson) (Long Version) (Bonus Track)

After initially splitting in 2006 after their excellent second album, Ticket to Hell, to go and form two excellent bands, Justin with his Hot Leg and the other guys with the mighty Stone Gods, the guys decided to reform the band back in 2011 and low and behold here they are with their third studio album.
If you are reading this then you should know what The Darkness are all about musically, Justin's unique vocal style, Dan amazing guitar work, and great songs with at times quirky lyrics.
So how does this new album stand up when compared to its predecessors? Quite well to be honest, granted there may not be many instant classics here, but it does show the guys stretching themselves as songwritters a little more than they have done in the past, which can only be a good thing. If you are already a fan of the band then you are not going to dissappointed with Hot Cakes, if you're not, then this album maybe a littlre more accessable than the previous two as i find Justin to be a little more restrained on here.
Standout tracks for me include, Street Spirit, Forbidden Love, Livin' Every Day Blind, Cannonball, and the semi autobiographical Every Inch Of You.

A welcome return guys, yet I'm still hoping that the already recorded but unreleased second Stone Gods album will eventually see the light of day.

Rating - 9/10
website -

Daniel Trigger - Infinite Persistence (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label -


01. Sell My Soul
02. Losing My Faith
03. Alone Tonight
04. Rain
05. Take Control
06. Breathe Again
07. Screaming At The Enemy
08. Gemini
09. Synthetic Celebrity
10. One Way Mirror
11. Promised Land
12. Lay It On The Line
13. Pendulum
14. Last Breath

Daniel Trigger is an experienced hard rock artist from the Midlands UK with spells with Full Tilt, Easy and Trigger.
Daniel's vocals come across as a cross somewhere between Steve Lee (Gotthard) and Claus Lessman (Bonfire) and both the songs and the musicianship are top notch. Infinite Persistence really does have songs to suite everyones taste, from rocjers like Sell My Soul and Losing My Faith to out and out AOR like Alone Tonight. To be honest the only thing that lets this album down is the production, which whilst not being terrible does leave the songs lacking a certain amount of power, with a top producer behind it this album could be a real killer, but it just, and only just misses the mark for me.

Still well worth checking out!

Band Line Up:

Daniel Trigger – Lead & backing vocals, bass guitar, keyboards
Sally Trigger – Backing & lead vocals
Jez Trigger – Bass guitar
Adam Bennett – Bass guitar
Dave D’Andrade – Lead & rhythm guitars
Jerry Sadowski – Drums

Rating - 8/10

Website -

JD & The FDC's - Recognise (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Punk / Powerpop
Label - Delerict Records

Track listing -

01. Recognise 
02. Ujpest Dozsa
03. Mirrors & Wires
04. Burn This City Down 
05. From the Shadows 
06. The Secret
07. No Way Out
08. This Town of Infamy 
09. Never Gonna Stop 
10. Anti-Destination League

Based in the East Midlands in the UK, JD & the FDCs are a rock ‘n' roll band. And then some.… Comprising Panic, Teenage Casket Company, The Dangerfields, Patchwork Grace and DIP alumni, the quartet released their award-winning debut “The FDCCDEP" in August 2010, with Recognise being their debut full length album, and its a stonker!
 Ten yes I said ten great songs, performed by a band that really know what they are doing. Its fun to spot the influences throughout this album, aside from the obvious comparisons to the band members "other" bands, there are also moments reminisent of The Wildhearts, Beastie Boys, Michael Monroe, Green Day, Offspring, Kitty Hudson, well the list goes on.
Any song on this cd could hold its own against any of the major mainstream acts out there today, with the band having an knack for finding a catchy melody, whilst injecting the songs full of life and energy.
This album is full of potential radio friendly hits such as Mirrors & Wires, Recognise, Burn This City Down, The Secret, yet all the while the songs maintain their independant integrity.
A great debut album, showcasing the fact that these guys really could conquer the world!

Check this one out!

Rating 10/10

Website -

Monday, 23 July 2012

IAN GILLAN & TONY IOMMI - Who Cares 2CD (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Heavy Metal

Track listing -

CD 1 :

01. WhoCares - Out Of My Mind (first time on an album) Featuring Jon Lord, Linde Lindström (HIM), Jason Newsted (Metallica), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)
02. Black Sabbath - Zero The Hero
03. Ian Gillan feat. Iommi, Ian Paice & Roger Glover - Trashed
04. M. Rakintzis feat. Ian Gillan - Get Away (first release on a Gillan album, only released in Greece before)
05. Tony Iommi feat. Glenn Hughes - Slip Away (Rare Track first time on CD)
06. Gillan - Don’t Hold Me Back
07. Ian Gillan - She Thinks It’s A Crime (Limited 7" vinyl B-Side, First Time on CD)
08. Repo Depo feat. Ian Gillan - Easy Come, Easy Go (previously unreleased)
09. Deep Purple feat. Ronnie J. Dio - Smoke On The Water" (live with the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra)

CD 2 :

01. WhoCares - Holy Water (first time on an album) Featuring Jon Lord, Linde Lindström (HIM), Jason Newsted (Metallica), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)
02. Black Sabbath - Anno Mundi
03. Tony Iommi feat. Glenn Hughes - Let it Down Easy (Rare Track first time on CD)
04. Ian Gillan - Hole in My Vest (7" vinyl single B-side, first time on CD)
05. Gillan & Glover feat. Dr. John - Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave Me
06. Ian Gillan & The Javelins - Can I Get A Witness (old recording)
07. Garth Rockett & The Moonshiners aka IG - No Laughing in Heaven (Rare Track)
08. Ian Gillan - When A Blind Man Cries (Live at Absolute Radio, previously unreleased)
09. Deep Purple - Dick Pimple (Previously Unreleased Studio Jam)

Deep Purple's IAN GILLAN and Black Sabbath's TONY IOMMI took everybody by surprise in 2011 by releasing a the 2-track single under the WHOCARES moniker. With these two legendary heavy weights of the rock circuit ot really having worked together since 1983's Black Sabbath album BORN AGAIN this was a real treat for rock fans the world over.For the occasion, the two rock legends called a few friends and were soon joined by the sadly recently deceased Jon Lord (Deep Purple) on keyboards, Jason Newsted (ex Metallica) on bass and Nicko McBrain (ex Iron Maiden) behind the drum kit.

Not only jamming together for the sheer fun of things, this new project has united for a cause — rebuilding and helping the music school in Gyumari, Armenia. The single was an inspired moment and a reminder of what these guys were easily capable of producing, and more impotantly it left the fans hunrgy for more!.
Gillan & Iommi have now decided to make "WhoCares" an album for their devoted fans. Classic songs, a lot of rarities and unreleased material in two CDs of fantastic rare music.

Among the tracks are the two original WhoCares songs; Deep Purple's unreleased studio jam "Dick Pimple" and a song from Repo Depo (a band Ian Gillan formed before the Deep Purple reunion which never released any material) We also find two previously hard to obtain songs from Tony Iommi featuring Glenn Hughes, that originally were only available as selected bonus tracks to the various formats of the FUSED release, obscure collaborations, B-sides lost on seven-inch vinyl and exclusive live versions recorded on radio.
The sound quality is truly outstanding, especially considering that these are mostly unreleased material or have not received previously a digital treatment.
"WhoCares 2CD" is much more than a compilation or a cash-in anthology, this is a real collector's item and a must have for every Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi, Purple, Sabbath - in short; Rock music fan.
the biggest gripe that I have with this release is that it feels a little one sided, with a lot of the tracks coming from Gillan and only 5 tracks (not including the WHO CARES single tracks) actually featuring Iommi, id have loved to have seen a few moew obsure Iommi tracks featured!
On the whol;e a really strong release, and well worth shelling out for as most people will have never have heard most of the tracks that are spread over these two discs.
Now if only Tony Iommi can make a full recovery and put out a full album of new material with Ian Gillan.......

Rating - 9/10

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Savage - Sons Of Malice (2012)

Genre - NWoBHM / Hard Rock / Heavy metal
Label -

Track listing -

01 - The Rage Within
02 - Black N Blue
03 - Sons Of Malice
04 - The Hanging Tree
05 - Monkey On My Back
06 - Junkyard Dogs
07 - Blow
08 - Waking The Dead
09 - Choose Revolution
10 - NOW
11 - Look At Yourself
12 - Master Of War
13 - Fallen Idols

History lesson, Savage will always be remembered for 'Let It Loose' hit song that was originally included in the British band's 'Loose ‘N’ Lethal' (1983) debut. In their heyday Savage were right up there with the best of them, Iron Maiden, Saxon and Diamond Head to name a few, spearheading the NWOBHM movement as it took the world by storm. Their early works receiving great acclaim and well deserved media coverage.
The band folded in 1986, resurrecting themselves in 1995 for a further 3 albums before disbanding again in the early 2000's.
Now after a ten year break Savage is back with this, their new studio release "Sons Of Malice".
Their NWOBHM origins are still present in their music but in minor quantities, as instead of balls to the wall metal, Savage now basically plays British Classic Hard Rock. With a more early Whitesnake, meets Thin Lizzy meets Rainbow meets Judas Priest sound the band give us a new album in the form of Sons Of Malice, which sounds remarkably contemporary given the aforementioned influences!
The line-up for this album has the two original members Chris Bradley (vocals and bass) and Andy Dawson (guitars), plus Kristian Bradley (Chris' son) and long time friend Mark Nelson on drums.
"Sons Of Malice" is a fine set of thirteen songs that have their roots set firmly in what many of us remember as a golden era of Brit Classic Hard Rock.
This is no messing, meaty classic stuff and the delivery is just spot on. Following the instructions of UFO, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and some of the ‘just rocking’ side of the NOWBHM days (e.g. early Saxon), "Sons Of Malice" is ideal for those who adore the past and praise those times’ magic, although I have to admit occassionally the songs can come across as a little pedestrian, lacking that little spring in their step that a slightly faster tempo would bring.
 A solid if not ground breaking album well worth checking out if you get the chance.

Rating 8/10

Maryann Cotton - Free Falling Angels (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Shock Rock
Label - Pure Steel Records

Track listing -

01 - Heaven Send For Me
02 - Never Waste Land
03 - Crazy
04 - Get It On
05 - Free Falling Angels
06 - Night Train To Paris
07 - Die In Britain
08 - Miss Misery
09 - Shock Me
10 - The One
11 - "Maryann"

"Free Falling Angels" is the debut CD of MARYANN COTTON, a new rock act from Denmark combining former members of King Diamond's band with a young and promising Scandinavian singer one Jackie Patino, also known as the shocking Maryann Cotton.
Jackie took the name Marryann Cotton from a disturbed British woman who killed over 20 people in London back in the 1850. Mary Ann Cotton was found guilty of poisoning many people including various lovers and husbands. She was convicted and hung in 1873 at the age of 40, ohh well thats enough history, what about the music?
Well featuring the likes of his father, Hal Patino, the fairly famous bassist from who has been in King Diamond, Force Of Evil and Pretty Maids.and various other well known names from the Danish metal scene such as Snowy Shaw (drums), Pete Blakk (guitar) Andy LaRocque (guitar) and Sebastain Sly (guitar), the band is filled with some pretty heavy weight metal hitters, but the strange thing is that Free Falling Angels isnt a metal album at all! It has more of a classic hard rock, old school Alice Cooper feel to it, in fact Marryann's vocals bear more than just a passin resemblence to the vocals of the aforementioned Mr Cooper, as can be heard from the albums opening track "Heaven Send For Me"!
Among the interesting tracks on this CD we have the first single "Shock Me", a punchy Hard Rock number with nice orchestration and rhythm. "Night Train To Paris" is heavier than the average rock ballad yet also commercial and catchy at the same time. Easily delivered, this song puts a smile on you face.
I can say nearly the same on "Get It On", which is more snappy and energetic, and "Miss Misery" that took a bluesy turn and patched it up together with little shards of Metal and Rock.
Anyone who has ever heard an Alice Cooper album from late seventies will instantly recognize many of the musical components, but that is really awesome because no one is doing that these days, not even Alice himself. If you listen carefully you can find as well bits of Kiss, Queen and Meatloaf scattered in the album.
With "Free Falling Angels" Maryann Cotton is trying to revive the lost days of theatrical, shocking rock, and success for the most part.

Jackie Patino graces his 'Maryann Cotton' character with multi-facted and multi-dimensional vocals - not in the sense of wide range or power - just in the way this kind of material needs; sometimes sings, sometimes whispers, sometimes croons, but always in a precise retro fashion that suits the song perfectly.
The musicians backing Cotton are also doing a fine work on this recording, and altough all come from a metal background they are experienced and play this style with ease.
Production is really top notch, there really is a lot going on in the music and the production captures it all so very well. The sound is very polished and crafted to create the spooky atmosphere.
"Free Falling Angels" is a very interesting release framed into the almost disappeared shock rock, with a 2012 updated sound but containing all the roots from the famous '70s and '80s bands in this genre.
If you are fan of early Alice Cooper albums, and wonder why he just isnt putting albums out like that anymore then check this beauty out, you are going to love it!

A great solid debut album well worth checking out!

Rating - 10/10

Future Shock - Future Shock EP (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label -

Track listing -

01 - Not Defeated
02 - Beside Me
03 - Life Goes On
04 - Hard Times
05 - Someday
06 - When Reality Strikes

FUTURE SHOCK is a new UK hard rock band founded in early 2011 by vocalist Luka 'Twitch' Ravase and guitar player Andy Basiola.
Their debut EP aims to re-introduce the power and the vitality of '80s and '90s rock music together with a personal touch.
Future Shock's debut EP showcases truly good musicianship delivering some entertaining hard rock. According to their bio, Future Shock is influenced by the likes of Whitesnake, Mr. Big, Bad Company and Ozzy, and indeed the root of the band's music can be found there; big riffs, strong sense of melody, nice hooks and, notably, a strong hard rock groove.
"Not Defeated" and "Hard Times", both very catchy rockers. "Beside Me" is darker and a bit more nineties oriented. The slower tracks "Life Goes On" and "When Reality Strikes" have a melancholy hard rock groove yet never sound too down and morose.
Guitarist Andy Basiola churns out riff-after-riff and if that's not enough, throws in a good few groovy solos, whilst vocalist 'Twitch' Ravase rounds things off perfectly with a fantastic Paul Rodgers kind of vibe.
this is a great debut Ep from a very promising band that are already creating a stir on the London rock scene and are well worth checking out.

Rating 9/10

The Answer - Rise EP (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - TAP

Track listing -

01 - Rise (Radio Mix)
02 - Lost
03 - Rise (Acoustic version)
04 - Rise (Full version)

The "Rise 2012 EP" follows last year's release of The Answer third consecutive Top-40 studio album ‘Revival’.After years supporting some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll, The Answer fully deserve their place at the top of the bill as a major headline act.
Interesting to note that the title track from this EP was originally recorded as the title track for their 2006 debut album. Up until now (6 years later) the track remained unreleased."Rise" has been re-surrected, re-written and re-recorded and offered in three different ways.
The tender opening of the Cormac Neeson's lyrics and Paul Mahon's acoustic guitar work is a departure from what we would normally expect from these seasoned hard rockers.
However, the crescendo builds with the introduction of violins then explodes into life as the rhythm section of James Heatley's drums and Micky Water's bass thrust us back in familiar territory of a record that will have you thrashing your hair around wildly with your fists in the air.
The B-side "Lost" is very much a thunderous, riff-heavy offering that we have come to expect from a rock band whose roots are deeply imbedded in electric bluesy hard rock and the extravagant excess of the '70s.

Cormac growls and sneers his way through a story of self-awareness and rediscovery over a thumping rhythm and wailing guitar. This song would sit comfortably on any of the previous three albums and it's almost a shame that it is only appearing as a B-side in this EP.
The remaining songs on the EP are the 'Full long' and the 'Acoustic version' of the title track, the latter giving the listener a mellower ride with the emphasis more on the lyrics which tells a poignant story of loss and recovery.

A great stop gap release whilst the band get album no4 finished off. Well worth checking out!

Rating 10/10

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Manowar - The Lord Of Steel (2012)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Lable - Magic Circle Music

Track listing -

01. The Lord Of Steel
02. Manowarriors
03. Born In A Grave
04. Righteous Glory
05. Touch The Sky
06. Black List
07. Expendable
08. El Gringo
09. Annihilation
10. Hail Kill And Die

The mighty Manowar return with The Lord Of Steel, their eleventh studio release and the follow up to 2007's Gods Of War, ( 2010's Battle Hymns MMXI being a re recoding of the bands 1982 debut).
Now to be honest I have given this album a fair few listens, and well I find it dissapointing. Over the years Manowar have recorded some great, even classic albums, Kings Of Metal, The Triumph Of Steel, Warriors Of The World to name but three, but this album doesn't count amongst them. Sure, this album has a few high points, Righteous Glory, Expendable, Black List and Hail Kill Die, but on a whole The Lord Of Steel really does come across as Manowar by numbers. Pity really as I have always been rather partial to a little Manowar, but do we really need yet another variation of Brothers Of Metal (Manowarriors).
 The production also lets the album down a little too in my opinion, especially with regards to the bass, that are just overly distorted and fuzzy. I am sorry to say that dispite having a track (or is it two?) feaqtured in the new Expendables 2 movie, this album isn't going to add any new fans to the legions, and Im not sure as to whether the existing "Manowarriors" are going to love this release.
Reconmended for Die Hard fans only!

Rating - 6/10

Lita Ford - Living Like A Runaway (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock

Track listing -

01. Branded
02. Hate
03. The Mask
04. Living Like A Runaway
05. Relentless
06. Mother
07. Devil In My Head
08. Asylum
09. Love 2 Hate U
10. A Song To Slit Your Wrists By

The Queen of Rock, (and living wet dream for most young male rockers throughout the late eighties and eraly ninties if they're honest!) returns with her latest album, and the first since the much documented and tormented split in her personal life with her ex husband, something that fuels much of the lyrics throughout this release. Whereas Litas former Runaway partner in crime Joan Jett has enjoys major comercial success, Lita has always stayed true to her rock roots and despite some major high points in the late eighties she has always remained somewhat of an underground artist.
Living Like A Runaway see's Miss Ford return to the style of rock that bought her to the table in the first place, hard hitting guitar driven hard rock music, over laid with that sultry amd at times husky voice of hers.
There are some really good songs on here, title track Living Like A Runaway has some U2 esque moments, Mother has some truly heartfelt lyrics directed towards her sons, and to be honest that maybe the albums only real weakness, whilst the songs are all excellently written maybe the lyrics are just a little too personal at times, do we really want to know the ins and outs of her personal life?
Living Like a Runaway isnt an album of the same standard of Dangerous Curves, Lita, or Dressed To Kill, buts its still a very strong album with many high points, including the stand out tracks, Living Like A Runaway, Devil In My Head, Branded and Luv 2 Hate U.

A great return to the music that she does best that should be well recieved by the legion of existing fans, but Im not sure if its going to win Lita any new fans.

Rating - 7/10