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