Thursday, 4 December 2014

DONNIE VIE (Enuff Z'Nuff) - The White Album (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - Cargo Records
Track listing:
Disc One:
01. I Wanna Do It To You
02. Handy Dandy
03. For Your Pleasure
04. Happy Days
05. Crash And Burn
06. Light Shine On
07. Better Love Next Time
08. My Love
09. When Will You Love Me Again
10. Haunted
11. Unforsaken

Disc Two:
01. 25 Or 6 To 4
02. You're My Favourite Thing To Do
03. Almost Home
04. Imagine
05. Angel Eyes
06. Without You
07. Big Brother
08. Freaky Deaky
Enuff Z'Nuff singer/songwriter DONNIE VIE is releasing his brand new solo album "The White Album" via Cargo Records UK. The double CD album contains seventeen all new classic Vie cuts as well as covers of the Chicago classic "25 Or 6 To 4" and John Lennon's "Imagine".
At the present time Enuff Z'Nuff tour still and get out to their audiences playing shows but without Vie at the helm. He's been replaced most admirably by another fine talent in the form of Johnny Monaco. This situation only applies to live responsibilities as Vie remains firm favourite for studio-related activities.
On this weighty double album we find Vie in his comfortable studio surroundings showcasing the various well-trodden musical paths he has travelled in the past.
The Enuff Z'Nuff vibe is still here, as for me, this is an Enuff Z'Nuff record... maybe not in name but certainly on the songwriting aspect for sure. All are lovable pieces of melodic music, with the typical Donnie Vie's melodic power pop and classic rock touches.
As example, "'Better Love Next Time" is a glorious slice of Donnie Vie in his prime, writing a song full of life, love and musical hope, as far I'm concerned anyway. "Handy Dandy" gets back on track with what Donnie does best - melody and harmony all inside that Donnie musical intelligence.
There's an obvious piano ballad included here in the shape of "My Love" (a highlight), something Donnie has perfectly executed musically over the years in one way or another and this track is up there alongside some more of his other balladry masterpieces.
CD 2 starts with the first of two cover versions on the record, this initial one a live rendition of Chicago's classic "25 or 6 to 4" in a very classic rock vein with lots of guitars.
A pair of songs follow on, "You're My Favourite Thing To Do" and one of Donnie most perfect compositions, "Almost Home" - beautiful musical creations that stand up there alongside so many tunes that litter his unique songbook of life.
The second cover crops up, this time a rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" - yeah of course, Donnie sure took his time getting to this point and it's worth the wait. In all honesty I was unsure on first listen but once I opened up and shrugged off my lazy tiredness I accepted the brilliance of the version.
"Angel Eyes" and "Without You" continue the musical intelligence: maybe not everybody will get this record or for that matter Donnie Vie as an artist, but if you simply listen intently to the songs here in front of you, you cannot doubt the ability of the man as a songwriter.
The opus ends with "Big Brother" and "Freaky Deaky"', more tunes that yet again remind me just why I have adored the songs and the vision of Donnie Vie for a quarter of a century.
Donnie Vie has created a wonderful double album in "The White Album", a true musical delight.
The melodies throughout are so exquisite and admirable, an almost jealous attitude comes over me for the man who seems to make this ever so easy to achieve his musical standards.
The record is co-produced by Donnie and Lewis John - a Donnie fanatic - who has also mixed the double opus and added additional guitars rather elegantly. The mastering is at charge of Andy Pierce, from the Rock Candy headquarters.
This release is absolutely essential for all Enuff Z'nuff and melodic / classic rock fans. It may be Vie's last release for some time... who knows? But for sure it's a really nice 2014 Christmas present.
Rating - 9/10

Note: incredibly, the album was badly submitted to digital retailers, with most tracks wrongly tagged / named. Besides, there's cuts on many track intros. So be sure to get (at least for the moment) this physical CD version at Cargo Records.

Ginger Wildheart - G.A.S.S. Month 8 EP (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Punk / Powerpop
Label - Self Released

Track listing -
01 - The Last Day Of Summer
02 - Toxins & Tea
03 - Adrenalina

Bonus Demos
04 - American Man
05 - Signs

So here we are at month eight of Gingers twelve month G.A.S.S. project, and what can say? It just keeps getting better! Then it dawns on me, shit in four months time this wonderful experiment will come to a grinding halt! No, surely after its unprecedented success G.A.S.S. must continue in some shape or form. Well I'll have to worry about that next April, but I have no idea how the hell I will able to get by with out my monthly fix of G.A.S.S.!
Well lets get to this months additions.
This moths new tracks open with the beautiful The Last Day Of Summer. This song features the talents of, Robin Guy on drums, Chris Catalyst on guitar (and vocals), Matt Nasir on  piano and Hammond organ and David Ryder Prangley, Thea Ford, Jason Knight, Saffron Sprackling and Hollis Mahady on vocals. The track is a beautiful piano and acoustic guitar led track that really showcases the softer side of Gingers writing ability. Absolutely a cracking song that has not only become one my favourites songs to come out of the G.A.S.S. project, but also one of the best songs that I have heard all year!
Next up we have Toxins and Tea. this song features the talents of, Jon Poole on bass, Denzel on drums, Chris Catalyst on guitar and vocals,  Dave Roberts on trumpet and vocals, Andy Riley on cornet and vocals, Catherine Roberts on tenor horn, Chris Harrison on tuba and vocals, and Jasmine Adams, Taylor Graley, Jake Adams on  vocals.
Again this song is a melodic acoustic based number that really builds in to something rather quirky and excellent. Lyrically it provides a rather accurate description of the state of life in the Uk at the moment.  This again is one hell of a song, and is quickly becoming one of my favourite Ginger tracks of all time!
 The last of the new songs on offer this month is the mighty Adrenalina. This track features the talents of, Kelii Compulsive, Jake Szufnarowski , Taylor Graley, and  Oliver Sekunda on vocals.  This is a monster of a track, opening with a sort of stop start riff before launching into a pure riff fest. This could easily have been a Wildhearts song, as it is very reminiscent of something from the Fishing For Luckies era. One for the fans who like things a little louder (count me in!), and sure to be a blast live!

and now we have the two bonus tracks,

Ginger says -
"AMERICAN MAN – My good friend Jake Szufarowski, asked me to write a chorus for a beer commercial he was working to get. As a (very) tongue-in-cheek idea I thought I’d write the ultimate American Beer song, and the idea blossomed from this into a full song, with world famous photographer (and Satanicide front man) Dale May on vocals and Scott Metzger on guitar.
I love Dale’s voice, and Scott is such an amazing guitar player, some people will remember him from an acoustic tour I did with him a few years back. We didn’t get the beer commercial but ended up with a fun song.
Sit back, crack open a cold one and listen in the party spirit with which it was conceived."

 "SIGNS – Recorded by Jase Edwards as part of a set of songs I wrote for a Japanese artist wanting to go a little more rock. Typically they said the songs sounded too much like me, a complaint that has followed me around like a comforting insult.
This was reworked for a song on 555%, although I can’t for the life of me remember which one. Was it Baby Skies? Yeah, I think it was. Not sure which one I prefer, to be honest. Which one do you like better?"

American is a great fun song, and again showcases a different side of Gingers songwriting. Love it
Signs is the original demo to Baby Skies from the 555% project. This is a great little track in its own right, and like last months Its Only Natural, its hard to say which version I prefer.

So that's it, month eight, two thirds of the way through folks, and G.A.S.S. is just going from strength to strength. I really do hope that it continues in some form after its twelve month run, even if they have to reduce releasing the number of new songs down to one a month and maybe the odd demo and outtake. The artwork on the website is awesome and something that will be missed in its own right.

Come on folks jump on board, don't miss out on this amazing G.A.S.S. experience!

Rating - 10/10

You can now try the G.A.S.S. experience for free here!

The Dowling Poole - Kiss On The Ocean EP (2014)

Genre - Melodic Rock / Powerpop
Label - Self Released

Track Listing:
01 - A Kiss On The Ocean
02 - Fuck You, Goodbye (Previously Unreleased)
03 - The Straw Man (Previously Unreleased)
04 - Hey Stranger (Live In Manchester)

Here we have the second official release from the excellent if rather eclectic new out fit The Dowling Poole, put together by music scene veteran's (if not legends!) Willie Dowling (of Honeycrack, Jackdaw4 and The Grip fame) and Jon Poole (of Cardiacs, The God Damn Whores, and Wildhearts fame).
This rather excellent little Ep features the title track, which is a brilliant little melodic track that even the Beatles would be proud of. This track also features on the bands debut debut album, Bleak Strategies, which was reviewed by the site previously. The other three tracks are all previously unreleased numbers, two studio tracks and one a rather touching live track, which is dedicated to legendary Cardiacs leader Tim Smith.
The two new studio tracks include, Fuck You Goodbye, a brand spanking new track written specifically for this Ep. Again this a rather melodic song, propelled along by its acoustic framework before building into quite a powerhouse of a song. Its a great track and if the bands second album is heading in this musical direction then we are all in for a treat. The other track, The Straw Man was recorded during the Bleak Strategies sessions, and for some reason left off of the album. Despite its rather dark subject matter, the nasty Jimmy Saville business, this is a great little track.
All of the songs here have both Willie Dowling's and Random Jon Poole's legendary quirky sense of humour stamped all over them, making for a fun ride for the listener.
This is a great little Ep, and good introduction to the band. Available at the bands bandcamp page for
 just 99 pence this really is something that you should be checking out!


Rating 10/10

Saturday, 29 November 2014

ROMEO'S DAUGHTER - Alive (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / AOR / Melodic Rock
Label - RD Enterprises/Cargo

Track listing:
01. Trippin' Out
02. Attracted To The Animal
03. Keep Walking
04. Lightning
05. Perfect Plan (Previously Unreleased)
06. Talking Love
07. Bittersweet
08. Dancing Slow
09. Velvet Tongue
10. Cannot Be The One
11. Alive
12. Stay With Me
13. Will Be
14. Inside Out
15. Cry Myself To Sleep
16. Heaven In The Backseat
17. Wild Child

"Romeo's Daughter are one of Britain's finest AOR mainstream rock bands fronted by Leigh Matty, recently voted Number 5 Lady Rock Singer of all time in Classic Rock Magazine. Alive is a live DVD filmed at the Derby Guildhall and is packaged with a live CD. The fans have been requesting a live DVD for years and they can finally get one! The band's last album Rapture , was released in 2012, has been critically praised worldwide for its astounding song writing, performance and production and the first single from the album, 'Bittersweet', is in Classic Rock Magazine s 'Top songs of 2012' chart. The band's pedigree is second to none, with each member having previously worked at the highest levels with artists such as: Bonnie Tyler, Whitney Houston, Roxette, Meatloaf, Tom Jones, John Parr, Dexy's Midnight Runners' Kevin Rowland and, Ex GoGo, Jane Wiedlin! Their eponymous debut album released in 1988 was produced by Mutt Lange and John Parr and released on the Jive label. During a promotional tour of the U.S.A the first single Don't Break My Heart, leaped up the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. The calibre of their songs attracted many established artists; Heart covered the single Wild Child on their 3 million selling album Brigade, achieving No. 2 on the Billboard Rock All Play chart. Eddie Money, Bonnie Tyler and the recently reformed Steps too, have had recording successes with other Romeos' titles. Their track Heaven in the Backseat was also the opening track for the film, Nightmare on Elm Street 5 . This album has subsequently been remastered to 24 bit standard from the original source tapes and released on Rock Candy records. It includes 3 bonus live tracks, the story of the making of the album, previously unpublished photos, all spread out over a 16 page full colour booklet. Their second studio album, Delectable was released in 1993 on Music for Nations and was much more like a live album in its feel. It was produced and recorded by the band and Andy Reilly, and was later mixed by Steve Brown (The Cult, Manic Street Preachers and Wham). Delectable too has been remastered to the same quality and released again by Rock Candy records. It includes one bonus track, details about the making of the album, an interview with the band and additional photos spread out over a 12 page full colour booklet. Their 4th album, Spin, will be released in 2015 to coincide with their performance at HRH. The DVD is NTSC Region 0 Power and Sophistication Kerrang! / Romeos Daughter trample most of Britain's melodic rockers underfoot and deserve success on their own terms. Steve Beebee, Kerrang! 14th November 2014 Yardbirds, Grimsby 15th November 2014 The Railway, Bolton 21st November 2014 - The Borderline, London 22nd November 2014 - The Rescue Rooms 14th March 2015 HRHAOR Festival May 2015. "

Regarded as one of Britain’s finest AOR mainstream rock bands, ROMEO'S DAUGHTER are releasing "Alive", the first full live concert footage of Romeo's Daughter on stage, available as a double pack containing both a DVD and a live audio CD of the show.
Fronted by the sexy Leigh Matty - recently voted Number 5 ‘Lady Rock Singer of all time’ in Classic Rock Magazine - “Alive” was recorded at Derby Guild Hall in October 2013 as part of the 'Rapture' tour, their great comeback album.
The band’s pedigree is second to none, with each member having previously worked at the highest levels with artists such as Bonnie Tyler, Roxette, Meatloaf, John Parr and more.
Romeo's Daughter eponymous debut album released in 1988 produced by ‘Mutt’ Lange and John Parr was a big success, followed by the wonderful 'Delectable' in 1993.
After a long hiatus, the band’s last album 'Rapture' was released in 2012 and has been critically praised worldwide for its astounding song writing, performance and production.
“Alive” is not the typical live record, it's more like a greatest hits played live, as there's few crowd noises and the overall sound is pristine and clear.
The band struck out early with material from last album Rapture, which still captures all of Romeo’s Daughter’s style and verve with a little more besides. The easy charms of the melodies and Craig Joiner’s understated guitar worm their way deep inside your brain.
The new songs as the tuneful "Bittersweet", the jumpin' "Keep Walking", the catchy "Talking Love" and the superb ballad "Lightning" (played in a more mid-tempo AOR manner here) are mixed with the classics like "Attracted To The Animal".
There's also a previously unreleased track called "Perfect Plan", a melodic rocker with a contagious chorus. The set also included the rarely played "Dancing Slow" from album Delectable, and one of my favourites from the band.
We have an intimate, acoustic version of "Will Be", just with Joiner on guitar and Leigh delivering an emotive vocal performance.
The back end of the set is chock full of gems from the wonderful, heart-wrenching "Cry Myself to Sleep" to the hit "Heaven in the Back Seat", all played in a more rocking versions than the originals.
The last song was the full-on rock of "Wild Child" which drew a fanatical response as it reminded us how it was ‘poached’ by Heart for their Brigade album.
"Alive" is a very good release by Romeo's Daughter, where more than a 'live crowd' record the band offers different versions of their songs into a live stage context. They are so polished that at places sound like a studio album.
However there's a different vibration emerging from these great songs, a rocking spirit which fit the melodies really well. An enjoyable CD from start to finish while we wait for the new studio album 'Spin' to be released next year.
"Alive" is available with the first 200 copies housed in a unique limited edition presentation box, so be quick.

Very Highly Recommended.

Rating 10/10

Friday, 28 November 2014

New Video from - Ginger Wildheart & Courtney Love - Honour

Here is the video for the G.A.S.S single Honour, a collaboration between Ginger Wildheart and Courtney Love!

Ginger Wildheart & Courtney Love duet on Honour, from Ginger's online project GASS (Ginger Associated Secret Society)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

This weeks most played artist according to

This weeks most played tracks acording to Last.FM

GEOFF TATE's QUEENSRYCHE - Frequency Unknown [Billy Sherwood's Mix] (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Label - Cleopatra Records

Track listing:
01. Cold
02. Dare
03. Give It To You
04. Slave
05. In The Hands Of God
06. Running Backwards
07. Life Without You
08. Everything
09. Fallen
10. The Weight Of The World
"Frequency Unknown", the only album released the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE following his dismissal from the band, arrived in April 2013 amidst a swarm of controversy. The group had just split in two, with Tate leading an all-new group of musicians while the remaining members of QUEENSRŸCHE carried on with a new vocalist, Todd La Torre.
Tate's version of QUEENSRŸCHE included longtime associate Kelly Gray plus former Quiet Riot / Ozzy bassist Rudy Sarzo and legendary AC/DC and DIO drummer Simon Wright. This group quickly recorded and released "Frequency Unknown", and though the album earned some praise from critics, complaints began to surface about the quality of the album's mix.
In response, Cleopatra Records commissioned multi-instrumentalist and producer Billy Sherwood (of YES) to remix the entire album.
However, due to schedule restrictions, Sherwood was never able to complete his mix... until now.
Then, this is it: Cleopatra Recs is presenting a special limited deluxe edition reissue of "Frequency Unknown" with a slightly different coloured artwork, including the original album plus a full-length bonus disc of Sherwood's complete reimagining of the record.
Many of the songs were rearranged almost from scratch, with Sherwood adding orchestral arrangements and his own unique spin on these compositions.
I liked "Frequency Unknown", really. But it's true there were some mixing and mastering flaws.
Now Billy Sherwood has done a clean mastering, at the point we can call this release a 'remastered reissue', while his mix made all instruments more audible, transparent. Many guitar solos have been edited for better result, and the drums sound much, much better now.
But Billy also has added 'some stuff' not heard in the original release (just listen "Everything" as example). And I like it a lot. This sounds almost like a completely different album.
Judge by yourselves...
Rating - 8/10

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Tony Wright (Terrorvision) - Thoughts 'n' All (2014)

Genre - Rock / Acoustic
Label - Pledge Music / Woodcut Records
Track listing:
01. Self Portrait (Rock a Boogie Merchant)
02. Love Hold On
03. You Changed
04. Little Things
05. Great Horton
06. Shallow Pool (Train Wreck) 
07. Roll Over
08. Do You Love Me?
09. Gunner Getcha
10. All Of My Love

###### The following review is not my work, but I simply couldn't find a better way to describe things, therefore all credit must please go to the original author! #######

"For some reason, Terrorvision have never been a particularly cool band to like, although, it has to be said, “Tequila” did make them flavour of the month for a short while. However, from the moment I heard “Pretend Best Friend” and “Oblivion” back when I worked in a record shop in 1994, I was hooked on the Yorkshire band's material and have followed their career ever since, quietly resenting and trying to educate the people who seemed to think that the band's quasi-novelty hit was the only thing they'd ever really done. When I happened to stumble on Tony Wright's PledgeMusic solo album project, helping that happen was something I definitely wanted to get on board with. I've had “Thoughts 'n' All” for a few months now, have had plenty of time to get to know it and it's a rather fine acoustic album from Tony and Milly (Milton Evans, also of Terrorvision). I have to confess that I wasn't sure just how much Tony's material and voice would suit an acoustic-based record, but it instantly won me over. This is a collection of well-written, likeable, lovingly performed songs which have many characteristics of Terrorvision's work, but with a greater subtlety and finesse.
The album kicks off with the very decent autobiographical “Self Portrait” which sees Tony taking a bit of a critical look in the mirror, followed by the tender “Love Hold On” relating the often told story of one person loving the other when the feeling is no longer mutual. “You Changed”, with a nice bit of slide guitar, continues the subject where the previous song left off and it's most definitely something that many listeners will be able to relate to. “Little Things” is a fairly pleasant song, but, if I'm honest, the lyrics in the chorus could have been slightly better. The first truly great song of the album is “Great Horton”, describing a typical night out in a suburb of Bradford, including drinking, covers bands, pool, club and curry; seriously, it's worth the price of the album alone. “Shallow Pool” has some great lyrics and an excellent light and shade character to the verse and chorus, whereas the mellow “Roll Over” is probably the most catchy, instantly likeable piece on the whole record. “Do You Love Me” is dramatic, pained, tortured and utterly brilliant, “Gunner Getchta” almost sounds like Terrorvision unplugged and would really benefit from the band's rock treatment, although it does boast a rather fine Spanish guitar solo, and final song “All Of My Love” is a passionate piece featuring some excellent acoustic guitar work. All-in-all, a gratifying forty minutes worth of music.
I don't think that many people who have followed the band over the years will be too surprised by how good “Thoughts 'n' All” is and, perhaps, they will be the main audience for this album anyway. However, it would be a crying shame if this album was only listened to by such a limited circle of music lovers; Tony's début solo effort deserves to be heard by a much wider range of people, as it is a bloody good singer-songwriter album, boasting a high level of musicianship and a great deal of heart. For those not quite sure about the acoustic nature of the release, I would strongly recommend that you leave any of those reservations aside and give it a chance, as many of the elements that make up a classic Terrorvision song are all present and correct here, just in a slightly more refined form. With songs about drinking, nostalgia, love, longing and heartbreak, Tony has released a piece of work that most of his fans will be able to relate to, sing along with and will, most likely, love."
(Reviewed By Andy Sweeney)

Very highly recommended!

Rating 10/10


Badger - Time Will Tell

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Self Released / Pledge Music
Track listing:
01 - Whatever Happened 2 Us
02 - Inside Out
03 - Lie Behind My Eyes
04 - Losing Faith
05 - When It Rains
06 - Time Will Tell
07 - Freak Me Out
08 - Suicidal Sunday
09 - Lost And Found
10 - Into The Light
11 - C'mon C'mon

Time Will Tell is the debut album from Extreme bassist Pat Badger, (hence the Badger moniker / title!) and its a pretty impressive affair.
"With all due respect to Pat Badger he’s really pushing his own personal boundaries here and putting himself out there in a way that he’s never done before in the past. Having never really been able to break through the Cherone / Bettencourt song writing stronghold that was Extreme, Pat has enlisted the help of songwriter/producer extraordinaire Bleu in order to produce this, his first solo album, though the Pledge Music platform. As you might expect from a Badger/Bleu collaboration the songs here are rocky, poppy, melodic and very, very catchy."
An important thing to note here is that Pat is singing lead vocals for the first time here, and I have to say that he puts in a pretty damn impressive performance. In fact, if you compare this album with Gary Cherone’s ‘Van Halen III’ and you’ll find that this underdog wins single every time!
With a sound that brings to mind Sixx A:M's more melodic rockers this album doesn't have a bad track on it. Opening with the powerhouse duo of Whatever Happened 2 Us and Inside Out, before slowing things down slightly with Lie Behind My Eyes, things get off to a great start.
Losing Faith is a great piano led ballad, whilst When It Rains proves to be a tricky little track. With a string section that almost fools you into thinking that this is going to be the third ballad in a row before kicking into a mid tempo-ed little rocker of a track.
Title track time will tell is up next and whilst proving to be a nice little melodic rocker it seems to lack some of the magic and energy of its predecessors. The same can be said of Freak Me Out, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this song, it just seems to lack that certain little umpth that the albums earlier tracks have. Things pick up again with Suicidal Sunday, which is a darker moodier track, a great little rock track.
Lost And Found is almost a full blown Extreme studio reunion, featuring Gary Cherone and  Kevin Figueiredo and proves to be another great little mid paced rocker.
Into The Light is a beautiful little acoustic guitar track that leads nicely into the albums closer, C'mon C'mon, which in itself is a great track and see's the album returning to the form that was set by its opening couple of tracks.

A great debut effort, and a solid album even if it does seem to loose some energy in the second half.

Well worth checking out!

Rating - 8/10

Arcade Messiah - Arcade Messiah (2014)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Metal / Hard Rock / Progressive Rock / Instrumental
Label - Stereohead Records

Track listing:
01 - Sun Exile
02 - Your Best Line Of Defence Is Obscurity
03 - Traumascope
04 - Aftermath
05 - Everybody Eating Everyone Else
06 - The Most Popular Form Of Escape
07 - Roman Resolution

Arcade Messiah is the latest project from KingBathmat front man John Bassett following hot on the heels of his debut solo album Unearth. With Arcade Messiah, John Bassett manages to combine elements of stoner rock, prog rock, metal, doom and hard rock into a beautiful blend of instrumental music that paints lush soundscapes with brooding atmospheres and great metal guitar workouts within the mind of the listener.
John has been quoted as to saying, "After writing and producing numerous KingBathmat albums and more recently the acoustic solo album Unearth, I decided I wanted to create my first instrumental album. I wanted it to be set audibly and visually is a dark, bleak and apocalyptic aura of despair and anger." Well he has almost managed to pull that off  perfectly, the only problem is that the songs are a touch too melodic and multidimensional to come off as really bleak and apocalyptic, but that's not a bad thing. Here with Arcade Messiah we John has produced a great instrumental album that can be enjoyed on so many levels.
Instrumental albums are not for everyone, but if you want to test the water so to speak then you could do far worse than Arcade Messiah!

Rating - 8/10

ARCADE MESSIAH have today released their self titled 7 track debut album as a Free (pay what you want) download on bandcamp.
The entire album can now be streamed/downloaded from their bandcamp site at

AC/DC - Rock Or Bust [full album] (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock

Track listing:
01 - Rock or Bust
02 - Play Ball
03 - Rock The Blues Away
04 - Miss Adventure
05 - Dogs of War
06 - Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder
07 - Hard Times
08 - Baptism By Fire
09 - Rock The House
10 - Sweet Candy
11 - Emission Control

Well "Rock Or Bust", its been a long time coming, and boy, its been a little eventful as of late in the world of AC/DC!
It has surely been a turbulent time for AC/DC. Guitarist Malcolm Young recently suffered a stroke, which left him with a case of dementia. Also, drummer Phil Rudd is currently facing charges of 'threatening to kill' along with meth and weed possession.
Regardless, AC/DC march forward, promising that neither dilemma will affect the band’s new album nor their upcoming touring plans.
Produced by Brendan O'Brien who was on board for the hugely successful Black Ice in 2008, "Rock Or Bust" opens with the title track declaring: "You hear the guitar sound/playin' nice & loud… in rock we trust, it's rock or bust".
These aren't just musicians, they're rock'n'roll soldiers. Confirmation from the band that Malcolm Young had retired due to the ongoing health issues came with an assurance the band would carry on and that Malcolm and Angus Young's nephew, Stevie Young, would fill Malcolm's role.
"Turn the amps up high ... the crowd's gonna hit the sky"... Brian Johnson howls on the opening title-track, while Phil Rudd's utterly dependable, familiar rock-solid beat is there and Angus' guitar solo kicks in at the two-minute mark like a surgical strike. It's meat and potatoes stuff for one of the biggest, loudest band's in the world, but after a difficult period for them internally, it's a mighty solid start.
"Play Ball", the lead single from the album features a typically solid, unmistakable groove with Rudd and Williams locking into an unshakable rhythm and Angus noodling over the top. Despite being a simple song, Johnson's ferocious wail helps hit this one out of the park, while "Rock the Blues Away" leans more towards a cleaner, gentler (if that's possible) AC/DC; less rocking and more rollicking.
"Miss Adventure", like all 11 songs here punches in around three minutes and comes not just with a cheeky title, but Stevie playing a shuffle that would make Malcolm proud. A hard to forget, catchy chorus has everyone joining in on the 'nah nah nahs' before its all over and hurriedly onto the next track.
"Dogs of War" continues the idea found with the chanting War Machine off Black Ice, while "Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder" sounds less fully realised than other simpler, more immediately attractive tracks on the album.
There's very little if any fat on "Rock Or Bust", it's deliberately lean, the result of a band (or Angus at the very least) knowing exactly what's wanted upon entering the studio and wasting precious little time.
As such, there's also little in the way of the unexpected appearing around a corner, there's no real surprises and certainly no deviation from the formula that's made AC/DC one of the most popular and widely respected rock'n'roll bands of their generation.
In short; this legendary band won't waste your time. "Rock Or Bust", indeed, Rocks.

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10



Soundgarden - Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path [3CD] (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Grunge / Alternative
Label -
Track listing:
Disc one - Originals
01. "Sub Pop Rock City" (Sub Pop 200)
02. "Toy Box" (Flower single b-side)
03. "Heretic" (Loudest Love EP) 
04. "Fresh Deadly Roses" (Loudest Love EP) 
05. "HIV Baby" (Room a Thousand Years Wide single b-side) 
06. "Cold Bitch" (Spoonman single b-side)
07. "Show Me" (No Alternative)
08. "She's a Politician" (Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas EP) 
09. "Birth Ritual" (Singles soundtrack)
10. "She Likes Surprises" (international version of Superunknown) 
11. "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" (Fell on Black Days single b-side) 
12. "Exit Stonehenge" (Spoonman single b-side)
13. "Blind Dogs" (The Basketball Diaries soundtrack) 
14. "Bleed Together" (Burden in My Hand single b-side) 
15. "Black Rain" (Telephantasm compilation)
16. "Live to Rise" (The Avengers soundtrack)
17. "Kristi" (Previously unreleased)
18. "Storm" (Previously unreleased) 

Disc two - Covers
01. "Swallow My Pride" (Fopp EP.) 
02. "Smokestack Lightning" (Ultramega OK) 
03. "Everybody's  2:27 Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (John Peel Sessions)" (Previously unreleased)
04. "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (John Peel Sessions)" (Previously unreleased) 
05. "Come Together" (Loudest Love EP)
06. "Stray Cat Blues" (Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas EP) 
07. "Into the Void (Sealth)" (Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas EP) 
08. "Girl U Want" (Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas EP)
09. "Touch Me" (Rusty Cage single b-side)
10. "Can You See Me? (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)" (Outshined b-side) 
11. "Homicidal Suicidal (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)" (Outshined b-side) 
12. "I Can't Give You Anything (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)" (Outshined b-side) 
13. "I Don't Care About You (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)" (Outshined b-side) 
14. "Waiting for the Sun (Live)" (Before the Doors: Live on I-5 Soundcheck)
15. "Search and Destroy (Live)" (Live on I-5)
16. "Big Bottom (Live)" (Louder Than Live)
17. "Earache My Eye (Live)" (Louder Than Live)
Disc threes - Oddities
01. "Twin Tower" (Previously unreleased) 
02. "Jerry Garcia's Finger" (Pretty Noose single b-side) 
03. "Ghostmotorfinger" (Fell on Black Days single b-side (as "Motorcycle Loop") 
04. "Night Surf" (Previously unreleased)
05. "A Splice of Space Jam" (Blow Up the Outside World single b-side) 
06. "The Telephantasm" (Telephantasm compilation)
07. "Black Days III" (Superunknown 2014 re-issue) 
08. "Karaoke" (Burden in My Hand single b-side)
09. "Fopp (Fucked Up Heavy Dub mix)" (Fopp EP)
10. "Big Dumb Sex (Dub version)" (Loud Love single b-side) 
11. "Spoonman" (Steve Fisk remix)" (Black Hole Sun single b-side)
12. "Rhinosaur (The Straw that Broke the Rhino's Back remix)" (Ty Cobb single b-side)
13. "Dusty (Moby remix)" (Blow Up the Outside World single b-side)
14. "The Telephantasm (Steve Fisk 2014 remix)" (Previously unreleased) 
15. "One Minute of Silence" (Ultramega OK)

Soundgarden have released their fair share of compilations over the years, but this, their latest release, proves to be a little different. Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path,’ is a 3 disc set that brings together many of Soundgardens rarer and hard to find tracks, be they from the various soundtracks that they have contributed to or single b-sides. 
As stated, the collection is broken down into three discs and fans will be able to get their hands on this massive set at the end of November. The three albums are titled ‘Originals,’ ‘Covers’ and ‘Oddities’ and while it’s a rarities set, there are 7 previously unreleased tracks that are part of the release
"Echo Of Miles: The Originals" mostly consists of B-sides, though "Kristi" and "Storm" are among the new songs that turn up on the effort.
The new tracks were recorded with producer Jack Endino in Seattle back in May.
Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has been dedicating his time to curating ‘Echo of Miles’ and he says of the set: “As album sets go, this one has been fun to collect and compile over the decades. I personally may have referenced this project a number of times over the years, going back almost twenty of them to the mid-nineties”.

"Echo Of Miles: The Originals" is plenty of Soundgarden B-sides along with some soundtrack and compilation selections, which go back as far as "Sub Pop Rock City," originally included as part of the 1988 compilation, Sub Pop 200.
The two unreleased tracks on this disc are "Kristi," a 1996 outtake from the Down On The Upside sessions which is reportedly drummer Matt Cameron's favourite Soundgarden song, and "Storm" a brand-new track recorded earlier this year.
Although these songs were released in the past, all are rare B-sides and really hard to find.

The other two discs bring together the various covers and odd tracks that the band have recorded over the years.

This really is a great release with plenty of great tracks to make it appeal to the general rock fan not just the Soundgarden die hards.

Highly recommended.

Rating - 10/10


Friday, 21 November 2014

MAGNUM - On Christmas Day (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - Steamhammer / SPV
Track listing:
01 - On Christmas Day 2014 (radio edit) [4:13]
02 - Born To Be King 2014 [5:30]
03 - On Christmas Day 2014 [7:14]

British melodic hard rock legends MAGNUM are releasing tomorrow the EP “On Christmas Day” on Steamhammer / SPV. “On Christmas Day” is a 2014 re-recorded new version of the song which appeared on the original version of the 1994 album Rockart.
The single contains a long version of the song, a shorter radio edit and on top, a brand new version of “Born To Be King”.
“On Christmas Day” is about commemorating 100 years since Xmas Day 1914, when both the Germans and English called temporary truces so that they could mingle and play football matches in ‘no man’s land’ during World War 1.
Guitarist and songwriter Tony Clarkin reveals how it all happened; "It was Olly Hahn at SPV/Steamhammer who said if could I write a Christmas song? I replied we had already had done that in the past and told him about ‘On Christmas Day’ and that it was on the ‘Rockart’ album, so if he wanted to check that out to see if it was suitable, because it's not the normal Christmas song that people would expect.
I had not heard it myself for a long, long time. We were in Germany at the time and so we all sat round the computer to listen to the track; we were all impressed, and I was really looking forward to redoing it.
That's really the story of how it came about; but I also thought a new recording of "Born To Be King" (originally appeared on 1990’s Goodnight LA) could also fit with On Christmas Day as a strong B-side for the whole package!"
Bass player Alan Barrow, who created the single’s artwork, explains that the idea for the cover "was based on some documented facts about the men in the trenches around Christmas in 1914. Carol singing was said to have been heard going back and forth between the trenches from both sides.
Some documents state that on Christmas day a small amount of soldiers ventured in to ‘no mans land’ where they exchanged food, cigarettes and souvenirs. There are unconfirmed reports that a game of football was also played."
“On Christmas Day” precedes MAGNUM's another European Tour starting 23/11 in Switzerland
The digital version will be available worldwide (except UK) on November 14th, the 10″ vinyl version in Germany on November 14th and Europe (except UK) on November 17th.
Great Britain will have to wait until December 1st to see “On Christmas Day”, released on a 3-track MCD.
Rating - 9/10

VALENTINE - The Queen Album (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop
Label -
Track listing:
01 - Bohemian Rhapsody
02 - Crazy Little Thing Called Love [2014 version]
03 - Save Me
04 - Flick Of The Wrist
05 - Lily Of The Valley
06 - Don't Stop Me Now
07 - Killer Queen [previously unreleased]
08 - Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
09 - Ogre Battle
10 - All Dead, All Dead [previously unreleased]
11 - Mustapha [previously unreleased]
12 - Fat Bottomed Girls
13 - Jealousy
14 - Bicycle Race
15 - '39
16 - Tie Your Mother Down
17 - Dear Friends [2014 version]
18 - Seven Seas Of Rhye
19 - Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon [prev. unreleased]
20 - Under Pressure
21 - Somebody To Love [previously unreleased]
22 - We Will Rock You
23 - We Are The Champions
24 - God Save The Queen
Ok, so first things first, anyone who knows me will testify that I am a die hard, died in the wool Queen fan, and as such I generally find the prospect of listening to someone cover a Queen song, with very few exceptions to be sacrilegious, and here is a full album of no less than twenty four Queen covers, so here goes!
In the recent years, Dutch master ROBBY VALENTINE has been done an amazing Queen Tribute Show with a great full-band performance and at the same time recorded his own studio versions of these timeless songs. Because his first two Queen tribute albums 'A tribute to Queen 1' (2011) and 'A Tribute to Queen 2' (2012) are sold out, Valentine has decided to combine them together with 5 brand-new recorded songs into his ultimate Queen tribute record: "The Queen Album".  
Apart from his incredible take on Queen hits like "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Will Rock You" or "We Are The Champions", Robby offers a set that has not only covered the classic songs, but also some lesser known gems from the Queen catalogue.
"The Queen Album" also features new, 2014 versions of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Dear Friend", plus 5 previously unreleased tracks not present on the previous Tribute CD's.
To be fair Mr Valentine has done an amazing job,  all the covers on "The Queen Album" have been meticulously crafted to recreate Queen's unique sound, showing that Robby Valentine not only got a real knowledge of these compositions, he also nails the essence, the spirit from how these songs were created. On "The Queen Album" he has again played and recorded all instruments himself, as done all vocals. All arrangements have been recorded in full detail, thus succeeding in delivering the perfect Queen sound.
Indeed, all versions are faithful to the originals, except the quite modern take on "We Will Rock You" akin Def Leppard, which in my honest opinion is the only low point of the album!
"The Queen Album" not only is recommended to Queen fans, but also lovers of quality music in general.
Robby Valentine is the perfect musician, and even has managed to put these 24 tracks / 78 minutes into one single disc.
Another point to consider is the actual track listing of this album, what an amazing selection of some of Queen's best tracks, better in my opinion than the track listing of some of the compilations that Queen have put out themselves !
Very Highly Recommended.
Rating - 10/10


LAWLESS - R.I.S.E. (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label -
Track listing:
01. 1914 (Ghosts of No Man's Land)
02. Pain
03. Rise
04. Twisted and Burned
05. Song for a Friend
06. Kiss My Glass
07. Dead Man Walking
08. Heavens Raining
09. How Long
10. Diamond in the Rough
11. Is This the End of the World
########################## The following review is not my work but I reproduce it here as I couldn't agree more. All credit to the original author ####################################

Both stalwarts from legendary act Demon, Paul Hume and Neil Ogden, decided a couple of years ago to try something different, still hard rocking and classic inspired but more modern & dynamic, and LAWLESS born. After a very good debut, they are back with their sophomore release "R.I.S.E." released today.
So, what have the Lawless boys served up for their second effort? Can it live up to the first record?
Well it's a resounding YES from me.
As with their debut Rock Savage, "R.I.S.E." is another mission accomplished for Lawless, but better and augmented. Sharp riffs and a brisk rhythm section keep things heavy and steady, significantly forgoing a powerful sound but not without significant groove and melody.
Lawless mix classic hard rock with classic British metal, something that blurs the lines between the two, always with melody as main focus.
Opening the album with an anthemic rocking tribute – full of passion and genuine pride called "1914 (Ghosts of No Mans Land)" honouring the brave soldiers who fought during the Great War which ties the album into the centenary celebrations - Lawless head into the what would once be classed as NWoBHM, yet more modern.
But as heard later in some songs in this style - like "Pain" or in "How Long, Lawless cannot escape adding strong a melody to each track and, somewhat surprisingly at times, rich vocal harmonies. Notable for this is the ballad "Song For A Friend".
There's also a very good classic Brit metal in "Dead Man Walking", akin '80s Black Sabbath / Tony Martin, awesome track for sure.
But there's another side of Lawless; classic hard rock.
"The End of the World" is very classy with a distinct bass line you hear from the start, alongside another clever vocal arrangement. This is a remarkable Lawless strength; the vocals are consistently good and don't follow the same formula, they change to suit the music.
Another standout cut in this vein is "Kiss My Glass", significant for it's American groove wrapped in a liveliness in the Damn Yankees style. A highlight.
Then "Diamond In The Rough" brings some 'US Whitesnake' to the table with a terrific chorus and a pump recalling as well Thunder.
"R.I.S.E." is a killer, solid heavy rock album with bits of classic British metal thrown in and a stadium hard rock feel here and there.
Lawless stays the course of their debut but this time more meaty, consistent, and succeeds with their melodic and metalish hard rock. The vocals are top notch, Howie G's delivers blistering guitar solos in the vein of Dave Meniketti (Lawless has much of Y&T in their sound) and production is crisp, punchy as it should be for this kind of material.
I think any classic hard rock / metal fan would find something to appreciate here. Definitely worth getting hold of.

Highly Recommended.
Rating - 8/10

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Eureka Machines - Remain In Eighties (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Punk / Power Pop
Label - Pledge Music
Track listing:
01 - Walk Like An Egyptian (Bangles Cover)
02 - Kids In America (Kim Wilde Cover)
03 - Goody Two Shoes (Adam Ant Cover)
04 - We Didn't Start The Fire (Billy Joel Cover)

So the mighty Eureka Machines kick off their pledge campaign for album number four, tentatively titled Brain Waves, with a free Ep for pledger's, Remain In Eighties. The Ep contains four covers, all of classic pop songs from the 1980's (yes I was there, just about).  The Ep see's Chris Catalyst and the guys run through classic like Walk Like An Egyptian (The Bangles), Kids In America, (Kim Wilde), Goody Two Shoes, (Adam Ant) and We Didn't Start The Fire (Billy Joel), and you wanna know something, they are simply awesome! The band are tight, and whist remaining faithful to the originals they manage to make the songs their own, this is never more apparent than on Walk Like An Egyptian and Goody Two Shoes.
This is just a thank you Ep to those who pledge towards the new album, which if this and the previous three albums are anything to go by is likely to be a stonker!

Come on guys get pledging, support one of the best British bands out there on the scene!

Rating -10/10

Pledge link - Here

Monday, 10 November 2014

DIRTY THRILLS - Dirty Thrills (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Self Released
Track listing:
01 - No Resolve
02 - Burning Bridges
03 - Rock N Roll
04 - Resume Regret
05 - Is This Home
06 - Reign
07 - Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
08 - The Man Who Lost His Way
09 - Follow Me Home
10 - Sigh

Straight out of the London grind, new quartet DIRTY THRILLS is the band of singer Louis James, the son of ex- Moody Blues singer Nicky James. But this does not supposed a major label back up, Dirty Thrills are releasing their self-titled debut by themselves and making a strong fan base playing the UK clubs circuit.
The name of this band pretty much sums everything up itself. It practically goes hand-in-hand with the music, as this is thrilling classic rock with a dirty rock n' roll attitude fitting of a dessert road biker bar. But despite the approach, the sound of the band is pretty clean and polished.
Faintly tipping their caps to past rock masters, Dirty Thrills have skewed their sounds into something fresh, original and youthful. Calling upon the fervour of Led Zeppelin or Thin Lizzy, the guys add a strong Bad Company bluesy touch to the songs.
Born in late 2012 by four brothers in arms, the quartet instantly bonded, all sharing a mutual passion for edgy rock 'n' roll. Their connection rings loud and clear at every song where you'll witness the powerfully vibrant vocal talents of Louis James (reminiscent of Davey Pattison of Gamma, Robin Trower), coupled with strong guitar riffs from Jack Fawdry, all aided and abetted by the solid, low-end rhythmic backbone of Jamie Hopkins and Stevo Corrigan.
Together, they unleash a colossal sound that pitches ballsy rock 'n' roll with classic bluesy hard rock.
Some of the track titles describe things quite straight: "Burning Bridges", "Rock N Roll" or "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing", all are rockers to the bone.
One of my favorite cuts is the moving "Reign", with drums pounding from the outset, guitars and bass combining into a wall of sound before the rapid vocals so easily delivered at a breath-taking pace, showing just how tight the band is.
"Resume Regret" is full of edgy riffs, a more modern tune and one of the most melodic with lead and backing vocals sounding on top form and crowned by a classic solo.
Dirty Thrills only slow thing down on "Is This Home" which really brings to the fore just how talented the band are, being able to strip back to a more gentle ballad before erupting into a crescendo of sound.
Another highlight arrives with "The Man Who Lost His Way", one of the catchiest songs on the CD with a broken riff inviting to some serious foot-tapping.
Moving onto "Follow Me Home", the powerful vocals, tight rhythm and dirty guitars sound amazingly 'live', as this is a song that is just made for this, to be played at full volume on stage. "Sigh" is the final track, starting more slowly before switching tempo to full on rock.
Born in late 2012 by four brothers in arms, the quartet instantly bonded, all sharing a mutual passion for edgy rock 'n' roll. Their connection rings loud and clear at every song where you'll witness the powerfully vibrant vocal talents of Louis James (reminiscent of Davey Pattison of Gamma, Robin Trower), coupled with strong guitar riffs from Jack Fawdry, all aided and abetted by the solid, low-end rhythmic backbone of Jamie Hopkins and Stevo Corrigan.
Together, they unleash a colossal sound that pitches ballsy rock 'n' roll with classic bluesy hard rock.
Some of the track titles describe things quite straight: "Burning Bridges", "Rock N Roll" or "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing", all are rockers to the bone.
One of my favorite cuts is the moving "Reign", with drums pounding from the outset, guitars and bass combining into a wall of sound before the rapid vocals so easily delivered at a breath-taking pace, showing just how tight the band is.
Dirty Thrills are generating a lot of interest in the British club circuit due to their unique sound and going on their electrifying performance on their debut CD, it is not going to be long before they are playing at far bigger venues.
Yes it's time for a Classic Rock revival, but I think Dirty Thrills are much more fresh and original than many other bands in the same trend right now.
Currently unsigned… it’s probably a safe bet that Dirty Thrills will get picked up before the year is out… such quality simply speaks for itself.
In the mean time, grab a glass, pour some whiskey, sit back and enjoy. Let’s all grow young together.
Cracking Album!

Rating - 9/10

VINCE O'REGAN - Temptation (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Blues Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - Z Records
Track listing:
01 - Temptation
02 - Something to Believe In
03 - Woman
04 - Restless Heart
05 - Crash and Burn
06 - Slave to the System
07 - Heroes in the Night
08 - Neon Liights
09 - Time Stands Still
10 - Fire in the Sky

Finally the time for a solo album has arrived for the highly underrated guitarist VINCE O'REGAN, called "Temptation" and released through Z Records.
O'Regan is currently in Legion with singer Phil Vincent, but the man has a terrific pedigree. He was the co-founder of melodic rock cult group Pulse and has been previously involved in bands such as Kooga (another cult AOR outift) and acclaimed Irish rockers No Sweat. Vince's big break came in the year 2000 when he was inducted into Magnum vocalist Bob Catley's band for the co-headlining tour with Ten.
For "Temptation", Vince O’Regan called 'some singers' to provide the vocals on his truly well crafted melodic rock songs here. No other than Paul Sabu, of course Bob Catley and Phil Vincent, talented young Nick Workman (Vega), ex partner in Pulse Simon Abbotts, and the great Rick Chase (Mama's Boys, Graffiti and also singer for O’Regan's stupendous project Alibi).
On the musical front we see the other Legion's Gav Cooper on bass, Irvin Parratt (Lost Weekend) on keyboards, Andy Pierce on drums, and master Eric Ragno, who lends his usual fluent keyboard skill to a couple of tracks. 
So does those involved promise what you think? The answer is a outstanding yes.
"Temptation" is classic British melodic hard rock, with pumping guitar chords and powerful rhythms, rounded off with great lead vocals and strong songwriting.
From the opener and title track "Temptation", you know O’Regan has put together the right band for this album. With Catley laying down his unmistakable tones, this hard edged rocker is the perfect opening barrage, which takes us back to Catley’s solo albums where the pair produced some great tunes.
Next up to the mic is the legend that is Paul Sabu, who delivers it in spades on the solid "Something To Believe In", with O’Regan at his riff-building best, along with Ragno who really makes those black and whites sing.
Then it's time for Simon Abbots to make his mark on the album with the more melodic inclined "Woman". This time the driving licks are left behind for a more soaring guitar sound. The melodic rock vibe continues with "Restless Heart", the second of the tracks featuring Catley on vocals, another rocker showcasing some wonderful melodic guitar work that really drives the cut throughout.   
The tempo is picked up once more as Vega's Workman and O’Regan unleash the hard rock again with "Crash and Burn", before the Legion combination of Vincent and O’Regan bring a touch of class with the thumping "Slave To The System".
The second track featuring Paul Sabu is "Heroes In The Night", another hard affair as O’Regan brings in the six string heat, while Ragno delivers some great keyboard flurries that compliment the riffs superbly.
The partnership of Workman and O’Regan shines bright on the stunning "Neon Lights". This is one of my favourite tracks off the album, with an epic feel about it with its Middle Eastern tones. A real delight.
It's back the more traditional hard rock for the excellent "Time Stands Still" upon which the Legionnaires join forces once more with Vincent leading the vocal charge, although it's O’Regan's guitars that really bring this one home, as a semi-acoustic guitar is mixed with the big riffing electrics to great effect.
The album closes with "Fire In The Sky". Now it's Rick Chase who delivers the goods and rounds off what is a great album from one of the most underrated British guitarists around.

"Temptation" was a a long awaited solo project for Vince O’Regan, and you can hear he took the time to polish this material and selected the best songs for his debut. If your going do a project like this, then do it right, and O’Regan has done just that.
The songs are crossing the borders between edgy melodic rock and classic hard rock, with melody as a rule and some pumping groove all over. The band and the vocalists all deliver strong performances, backed by a powerful and bright production.
Well Worth Checking Out

Rating - 9/10

The Players:
Vince O'Regan - guitars
Gav Cooper (Legion) - bass
Andy Pierce - drums
Irvin Parratt (Lost Weekend) - keyboards
Eric Ragno - keyboards
Bob Catley (Magnum)
Paul Sabu
Simon Abbotts (Pulse)
Nick Workman (Vega)
Phil Vincent (Legion)
Rick Chase (Mama's Boys)

GAELERI - Gates Of Rome (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - TBM Records / Roastinghouse Records
Track listing:
01 - Ready Or Not
02 - Queen Of Time
03 - Wannabe
04 - Gates Of Rome
05 - Let Your Love Bleed
06 - One Touch
07 - Entertain You
08 - No Boundaries
09 - One Step Closer
10 - Time Has Come
GAELERI is a Swedish hard rock act which founded way back in 1992. Originally known as Shooting Gallery, the band decided to drop 'Shooting' and change 'Gallery' to [gaeleri] - between brackets - before the 1996 debut album release.
Their sound has been often described as a mixture of '90s Whitesnake and Thunder and that exactly hits the nail on this new record. Thinking of present bands, House Of Lords, Newman and alike come to mind. I also hear a typical Scandinavian touch here and there, akin Swedish bands like Nation or Germans Domain.
Since the groovy, bluesy meaty hard rock opener "Ready Or Not" the band offers 10 solid songs in very classic vein of traditional hard rock. At places Gaeleri's overall sound and delivery reminds me Doug Aldritch's Burning Rain in the way of 'build the songs'.
Other highlights to mention are the very Eighties "Let Your Love Bleed", "No Boundaries" or " Time has Come", all plenty of catchy melodies, big guitar hooks and great vocals reminiscent of the 'good old days'.
GAELERI flirt with AOR in the midtempo "Wannabe", a really good atmospheric tune with some Dare influences in the harmonies.
Then, cuts like "Entertain You" and the slow "One Step Closer" have a melodic hard rock feel, where some acoustic guitars appear in the mix and even some piano.
As you see, [gaeleri] is a complete band and play all these related genres with ease, and very well indeed.
Don't let "Gates Of Rome" pass you by, it's a more than solid - the songwriting is fabulous - CD that will please traditional hard rock / melodic rock / AOR fans equally.
Production is truly bright, with an excellent mix handled by maestro Anders "Theo" Theander to Roastinghouse Studios in Malmo.

Very Recommended.
Rating 9/10

AGE STEN NILSEN's AMMUNITION - Shanghaied [Japanese Edition] (2014)

Genre -Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Track listing:
01 - Silverback
02 - Give Me A Sign
03 - Shanghaied
04 - Tie Me Down (Outro Version)
05 - Road To Babylon
06 - Take Out The Enemy (Hallelujah)
07 - Hit Me With Your Bombs
08 - Do You Like It
09 - Wild Card
10 - Another Piece Of Me
11 - Heart's Not In It
12 - Strung Out
13 - Access Denied (Japan Bonus Track)

Norway rockers Wig Wam disbanded some time ago and their lead singer Åge Stein Nilsen decides to start his own band, AMMUNITION. Things started to turn really interesting when Åge teamed up with Swedish wonder Erik Martensson (WET, Eclipse) to write the songs, and soon he agreed to join the group.
Add to this Robert Brooks (Eclipse) on drums, Hal Patino (King Diamond, Pretty Maids, Maryanne Cotton) on bass, Lasse Finbråthen (Circus Maximus) on keyboards and Jon Pettersen (Bad Habits) on guitar and we have some kind of Melodic Hard Rock super group.
And it is; AGE STEN NILSEN's AMMUNITION "Shanghaied", the CD debut from the combo just appeared in Japan (worldwide soon) is a terrific, fantastic Melodic Hard Rock record in best Scandinavian vein of the genre.
Let's start backwards: the production on "Shanghaied" is superb. The crisp, bright sound is courtesy of magician Erik Martensson of course. All is big, clear and polished, and I have to mention the high definition of a large and majestic drum sounds, the best I've heard in a long time.
Musically, we have a cavalcade of squeaky songs that will slam your ears with no mercy.
It's all extremely melodic and polished, yes, but with a punch and energy that leaves you breathless.
Thirteen songs in 48 minutes, so you have short tracks, instant, ridiculously catchy and all with a hit potential.
There is also a great variation between the songs, and all are good, believe me. Perhaps my favourite is "Sucker For Anything", but I have to say that "Take Out The Enemies" is a very original mix of hard rock and heavenly harmonies, or the chorus "Silverback" will raise your fist in a second.
"Give Me A Sign" has a very sing-along, radio-friendly main melody and another strong chorus. The title track has an outrageously killer verse and "Tie Me Down" is a monster heavy rocker with a riff to die for.
Japanese bonus track "Access Denied" worth the purchase, an infectious melodic hard rocker akin Brother Firetribe, pretty anthemic and ready for the arenas.
"Shanghaied", simply put, is one of the strongest Melodic Hard Rock albums appeared recently, and without a doubt, the best coming from Norway in a long time.
In fact, this comes from Scandinavia in general, with Swede Erik Martensson virtually turning into gold everything he touches.
A must for fans of the genre.
Absolutely cracking album!

Rating - 10/10

Friday, 7 November 2014

RATED X - Rated X (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Records

Track listing:
01. Get Back My Crown
02. This Is Who I Am
03. Fire And Ice
04. I Don't Cry No More
05. Lhasa
06. Devil In Disguise
07. You Are The Music
08. Peace Of Mind
09. Maybe Tonight
10. On The Way To Paradise
11. Our Love Is Not Over
12. Stranger In Us All

The label contacted singer Joe Lynn Turner asking for a band of highest calibre musicians should be assembled to create an album of classic hard rock music. Turner, the former lead vocalist for both Rainbow and Deep Purple and a solo artist in his own right, agreed, and the search for the right players was on.
And what a bunch of players.
Alongside with Turner, we have living legend Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, Blue Murder), Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder, Whitesnake) and Karl Cochran (Ace Frehley) collaborating together. The album was made under the guidance of an aulic Frontiers’ producer, the omnipresent (and perhaps omnipotent, considering the vast amount as well as quality of his work) Alessandro Del Vecchio.
Do the iconic names in the band’s camp equal the fulfilment of the great expectations a listener should have?
Oh yeah.
Starting with thunderous drum roll that develops into the first track “Get Back My Crown,” Rated X is, to paraphrase an old adage, the best of four worlds. From the fiery drumming being the trademark of legendary Carmine Appice to Joe Lynn Turner’s powerhouse singing and charisma, it’s having all the key ingredients of hard rock masterpiece blended into one.
And although there might have been some Purple-esque flavors to the opening song on the album and you might have caught yourself thinking about Turner-fronted Purple album Slaves And Masters at times – the music is every inch contemporary, meaty rock sound that screams 2014 rather than the ‘80s or ‘90s.
The second track “This Is Who I Am” continues in a feisty, bluesy manner enhanced by the flawless modern-day production, with the infallible Turner belting out a powerful self-independence manifesto.
The mellow intro and slow-ish verses of “Fire And Ice” may have suggested there’s a ballad coming on, but it’s just the opposite with fiery choruses and fine guitar solo. Next is a groovy, Hammond-flavoured “I Don’t Cry No More” that has the reunited Blue Murder rhythm section of Appice and Franklin squeezing the blood, sweat and tears from their instruments – almost literally.
“Lhasa” begins with an eerie, mysterious intro that might have made your hair stand on end – only to develop into a monumental, slow, lumbering piece with some distant echoes of or Dio-era Rainbow. “Devil In Disguise” is another Purple-esque track that may remind you of Joe Lynn Turner’s work in either Purple or Stuart Smith’s Heaven & Earth.
It precedes a fine melodic mid-tempo “You Are The Music” enriched with what is perhaps the best guitar solo on the album. “Peace Of Mind” stands out because of the pounding bass sound and well-crafted choruses, while “Maybe Tonight” slows down a bit, a charming AOR / melodic rock piece much in Turner’s usual style (think Sunstorm or his solo albums).
“On The Way To Paradise” gets much feistier, bringing a solid dose of straight-in-your-face ‘70s-flavoured riffs against some powerhouse drumming. “Our Love Is Not Over” is a ballad-esque, AOR-ish mid-tempo featuring some tasteful guitar licks, again a nod and a wink to JLT’s melodic rock roots.
This being the next-to-last song on the album, the final one is a keyboard-laden, monumental track “Stranger In Us All” with many interesting changes of pace.
With Rated X, you may start to wonder what secret potions or magical practises keep the musicians in such a good shape – like a fine wine, they’re getting better and better with time, still able to amaze the listeners and release another milestones of their respective careers.
And even though the eldest of the pack, Carmine Appice, will celebrate his 68th birthday this year, there’s still no competition to the iconic drummer – none of the youngsters being able to rise up to such a challenge! If you have any doubts, check out the pounding drumming that’s been the backbone of Rated X and the core of their first album, against Karl Cochran’s tasteful guitar playing, Tony Franklin’s fretless-bass chops and the immaculate vocal talent of Joe Lynn Turner.
With such a line-up overseen by Alessandro Del Vecchio himself, you couldn’t simply have gone wrong. If you’re a Rainbow staunch aficionado or an avid Blue Murder fan, you know you can’t miss Rated X anyway, but if you’re just into the contemporary melodic hard rock that has its back-to-roots moments too – be sure to include it on your list of must-haves.
Highly Recommended.

Rated - 9/10

Thursday, 6 November 2014

ROBBY VALENTINE - Bizarro World (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock

Track listing:
01 - Interlude Bizarre
02 - Bizarro World
03 - Rockstar
04 - You're Tearing Me Down
05 - Deadbeat Boy
06 - Schizophonicated
07 - Trip To The Moon
08 - Close The Door
09 - From Dusk Till Dawn
10 - Save Our Souls
11 - Black Rain
12 - The Mistake

Multi-talented Dutch phenomenon ROBBY VALENTINE is presenting his 10th studio album "Bizarro World" which has been made via an online direct-to-fan system similar to PledgeMusic. The CD is available at selected music stores only.
It was already a little more than five years ago that Robert Kempe, probably better known under his artist name ROBBY VALENTINE, had brought his own original material to market. After the double compilation CD ‘Androgenius’ Robby has devoted himself to the music of Queen for a couple of years.
Yes, he was involved in the excellent 'Aniday' band / record, but now luckily Valentine realized just in time that also his own work has more than enough quality to be heard and as such he has in the recent period fully focused on writing and recording "Bizarro World".
The Dutch genius has (apart from some additional harmony vocals) done everything himself which is a testament to his latent talent but also his tireless work ethic, also this release sees Valentine releasing this album by himself, without record label pressures.
Of course "Bizarro World" has some Queen influences all over but this is pure Robby Valentine, big, epic, multi-layered and bombastic.
There's trademark RB melodic hard rock gems in the crazy "Schizophonicated" and title track "Bizarro World", a pumping, epic and bombastic number. This anthem is exactly what can be expected when you buy a Robby Valentine album, who, by the way, has returned to the 'Robby Valentine' moniker as performing artist after almost 20 years of using just 'Valentine'.
There's more modern sounds in "From Dusk Till Dawn" and "You're Tearing Me Down", a classic Robby Valentine song with his proprietary cadence, a beautiful orchestrated slow tune with a commercial melody and a radio approach.
"Rockstar" is slick and super melodious, and the Dutch is a master of ballads complete with incredible pianos as heard on "My Mistake" and the more midtempo "Close The Door", that will delight fans of Robby first album, a terrific melodic rock tune driven by an sharp guitar riff and plenty of keys and harmony vocals.
Robby Valentine has recorded another masterpiece (he owns some in the bag), as "Bizarro World" is close to perfection. Inventive, original songwriting, top class musicianship and a brilliant production.
Yes, a 'one man band' shining like 1000 suns... One of the best albums of the year. Period.

Rating - 9/10