Saturday, 17 October 2015

Lazy Bonez - Alive (2015)

Genre - Melodic Rock / Hard 'N' Heavy
Label - E·X·R METAL Records

Track listing:
01 - Evil Mind
02 - Sweet Girl
03 - Alive
04 - Jesus He Knows Me
05 - Overload
06 - Racing Heart
07 - Lonely
08 - Last Rites
09 - Devil's Dice
10 - Hard Times
11 - Final Rhyme

Finnish band, Lazy Bonez  return with their second album in the form of "Alive", a pretty darn solid effort it is too!
Now we have to get some cleared up very early on here, Lazy Bonez have two very distinct sides to them, one hook laden catchy eighties inspired melodic rock, suck as on tracks like the driving 'Evil Mind' which is akin to Pretty Maids, or the AOR-ish "Sweet Girl" with plenty of keyboards and harmony vocals and a catchy Brother Firetribe feel, or the meaty mid-tempo title track "Alive" with some early Nineties Europe on it. And then there is the heavier side to Lazy Bonez that provides an effective balance to the record, such as can be found on tracks like "Racing Heart", a song that was especially composed for the vocal talents of one Mr. Tony Martin who appears as guest on the track, a groovy and at the same time melodic track much in the style of Eightiess Black Sabbath. (The main reason for me looking into this album in the first place!)Then another legend shares vocals on the pretty epic mid-tempo "Devil's Dice",  Uriah Heep's Bernie Shaw,  while "Final Rhyme" sports an '80s Accept spirit to it. There is also the ridiculously catchy melodic rocker "Lonely" (I Love it!), the sweet "Hard Times" or the great "Last Rites". So as you can see, with 'Alive', Lazy Bonez really do seem to cover all of the hard rock bases.

But whilst such versatility is certainly to be commended, it does sometimes leave the listener sometimes second guessing the bands intended direction, and in my opinion stunts the albums continuity a little. With that being said, 'Alive' is still worth checking out, even if only to cherry pick certain tracks into your playlists, such as 'Lonely' and 'Racing Heart'!

Worth Checking Out

Rating - 7/10

Matty James - The Road To No Town (2015)

Genre - Rock / Rock N Roll
Label - Pledge Music / Pirate Heart Recordings

Track listing:
01 - The Road To No Town
02 - Sticks & Stones
03 - Heavy Heart
04 - Oh My Darlin'
05 - Win Or Lose
06 - Gunpowder
07 - Money & The Devil
08 - Hold On
09 - Dissatisfied
10 - Cut With Dust

In similar style that of a certain Dog's D' Amour front man Tyla J Pallas, Matty James delivers his sophomore album in the form of the rather excellent 'The Road To No Town'. With  'The Road To No Town,’ Matty James is building upon an acclaimed debut and showcases just how he is developing as both a performer and more importantly as a songwriter. The album opens with a the foot stomping title track, 'The Road To No Town' before launching into the albums lead single, the defiant 'Stick's & Stones'. Next we have the 50's rock n roll inspired 'Heavy Heart', one of the albums many highlights in my honest opinion. 'Oh My Darlin'' follows which is another beautiful acoustic driven track with an old time rock n' roll, even rockabilly feel to it. 'Win or Lose' come next and is another highlight of the album, purely because of its pure uncomplicated simplicity. 'Gunpowder' increases the tempo a little with its more Celtic folk feel, a really great song. 'Money & The Devil' follows, this time bringing a slightly more sinister if not over dark feel to it, like an old time Chicago gangsta soundtrack, another great song. 'Hold On' is up next, with its acoustic driven ballad feel to it. A really good song. 'Dissatisfied' is a nice up tempo track that leads nicely into what is most definitely the albums crowning glory, its closing track, 'Cut With Dust', which is just a brilliant song, as simple as that.

'The Road To No Town' is a terrific album from an uber talented singer songwriter in the shape of Matty James, perfect for those times when you just want to wind down a little and listen to some soothing music that you know comes straight from the soul!

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Friday, 16 October 2015

Denner / Shermann - Satans Tomb EP (2015)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - Metal Blade Records

Track listing:
01. Satan's Tomb
02. War Witch
03. New Gods
04. Seven Skulls

Mercyful Fate legends, Michael Denner and Hank Shermann join forces once again, several years after the two excellent Force Of Evil albums for this new project, together with drummer Snowy Shaw (Ex King Diamond), vocalist,  Sean Pecks (Cage) and bassist Marc Grabowski.
Seriously, Mercyful Fate fans are going to be going love the sound of this EP, with it only having one real down point, it too bloody short!
Guitar messiahs, Denner and Shermann deliver exactly what you would expect, trading effective riffs and solos, which will delight old Mercyful Fate fans, as well as any classic metal consumer.
When you consider the band members involved its hard not to try and imagine how a certain King Diamond may have sang these songs, and they would have all fitted well into the Mercyful Fate back catalogue, and then how does vocalist Sean Peck compare? Well to be fair, Sean does an amazing job here, really making the songs his own, delivering his own Halford / Owens influenced stamp on them. I'm not going to single any particular tracks out here, if you have any interest in classic metal or Mercyful Fate inspired music I can guarantee that you are going to love this EP.

Very Very Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Bryan Adams - Get Up (2015)

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

Track listing:
01 - You Belong To Me
02 - Go Down Rockin'
03 - We Did It All
04 - That's Rock And Roll
05 - Don't Even Try
06 - Do What Ya Gotta Do
07 - Thunderbolt
08 - Yesterday Was Just A Dream
09 - Brand New Day
10 - Don't Even Try (Acoustic)
11 - We Did It All (Acoustic)
12 - You Belong To Me (Acoustic)
13 - Brand New Day (Acoustic)

The following review is taken off line, but instead of repeating or trying to paraphrase it, I have chosen to reproduce it here as I agree whole heartedly with its sentiments. All credit to the original reviewer!

"Multi-platinum Canadian BRYAN ADAMS long-awaited upcoming 13th studio album, produced by Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra fame, will be titled "Get Up". Due on October 16 in some countries (and at the end of the month in North America), the project was co-written with Adams’ long-time collaborator Jim Vallance, co-maker of his biggest hits.
Of all the skills in his repertoire, perhaps the most effective is Bryan Adams’ ability to keep things similar while never allowing them to become samey. There is a distinctly unique element to his sound – one that is quintessentially Adams-esque – but he is unafraid to alter his sonic signature in increasingly inventive ways.
He is also very clever to permeate the producer's style (always chosen by Adams) on every album. It happened in the past with Bob Clearmountain or Mutt Lange when shaped the sound in a Def Leppard vein.
It's no different now with Jeff Lynne; "Get Up" must be Bryan Adams 'most classic rock' album from his career.
The new songs in "Get Up" have all the hallmarks of the Adams sound: relatable, down-to-earth lyrics, Adams’ whiskey-and-honey tones and some energetic, infectious guitar work. But despite these recognisable elements, it’s not Adams covering Adams, or trying to cash in on the hits of the past.
"Get Up" is a solid collection of well crafted Rock songs, from the uptempo tracks such as lead song "Brand New Day", "That's Rock And Roll", "You Belong To Me" and "Thunderbolt," to the gentler tracks such as "Don't Even Try" and "We Did It All," plus the 4 Adams-produced acoustic versions, highlighting his unique voice and depth.
There is something immediately forward-thinking about the release: it sees Adams combining rock and roll in its purest form with the updated pop conventions of the present, creating a hybrid of past, present and future that immediately gratifies, and even thrills. Fortunately, there's no electronics here or modern touches, everything in "Get Up" is about Rock.
Adams may well be one of the most underappreciated rock&pop stars we have at the moment. He is a consummate professional, a fearless risk-taker, and a distinctive voice in a sea of imitators.
He is resolutely his own artist, and as a timely reminder of his many skills "Get Up" is a triumph."

Well Worth Checking Out!

Rating - 8/10

W.A.S.P. - Golgotha (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Label - Napalm Records

Track listing:
01 - Scream
02 - Last Runaway
03 - Shotgun
04 - Miss You
05 - Fallen Under
06 - Slaves Of The New World Order
07 - Eyes Of My Maker
08 - Hero Of The World
09 - Golgotha

L.A. shock rockers return with their brand spanking new album, Golgotha, their first release in six years. Golgotha's name is taken from the name of the hill upon Jesus Christ was crucified ('Golgotha' is the Hebrew for 'the place of the skull'), and is probably one of the strongest indications to date of band leader's Blackie Lawless' 'born again' change of heart since finding the light!
But lets not hold that against him hey!
The album opens with a great melodic rocker in the form of 'Scream', a tight W.A.S.P. archetype with a blaring hook, humming bass line and terrific vocals from Blackie, who sounds like he's stored something in reserve during his extensive break. The backing vocals and dropped-in organs gives "Scream" added bulk and Doug Blair screeches and skids his guitar solo with gusto, before steaming into the semi autobiographical 'Last Runaway'. A great opening one two by anyone's standards. Next up we have 'Shotgun', a great song that in my opinion would have sat comfortably on either 'The Last Command' or 'Inside The Electric Circus' albums. 'Miss You' follows, this being the albums big ballad so to speak, and what a wonderful song it is too! Blair's guitar solo here is absolutely phenomenal!. One of the best ballads that Blackie has penned in years!
'Fallen Under' has the unenviable task of following that up, but does so magnificently. This song revealing W.A.S.P.'s darker edge, especially during is grinding verses. A great song.
'Slaves Of The New World Order' follows, clocking in at an epic 7 minutes 45 seconds, and coming across as a more polished 'Headless Children' era track. 'Eyes Of My Maker' is quite possibly another instant W.A.S.P. classic, with some great heartfelt lyrics and some great riffs throughout!
With 'Hero Of The World' once again sees Blackie engineering another WHO-fuelled crank-anthem, just as he has done some many times in the past. The albums title track has the honour of closing the album and what a track it is too! 'Golgotha' is the third epic of the album, with some great though provoking lyrics and all the great W.A.S.P. trade marks. A great song and to be fair the only logical choice to close the album.
'Golgotha' is without a doubt the best W.A.S.P. in years, and in my opinion the perfect blend of the raw energy and aggression the Headless Children and the sophisticated textures and layers of The Crimson Idol. Yes Golgotha is a typical W.A.S.P. album, only delivered with a renewed conviction and belief that I fear has been missing since the early nineties!

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Graveyard - Innocence & Decadence (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Stoner / Psychedelic
Label - Nuclear Blast

Track listing:

01 - Magnetic Shunk
02 - The Apple & The Tree
03 - Exit 97
04 - Never Theirs To Sell
05 - Can't walk Out
06 - Too Much Is Not Enough
07 - From A Hole In The Wall
08 - Cause & Defect
09 - Hard - Headed
09 - Far Too Close
10 - Stay For A Song

Swedish stoner's Graveyard return with their fourth release in the form of Innocence & Decadence.
This is an interesting album because although opening track, 'Magnetic Shunk' begins like a run of the mill Stoner track, it quickly switches gear into a bluesy romp, and from then on in the album keeps the listener guessing. The musicianship is tight throughout this album, and the songs rarely falters as it goes off in spontaneous tangents and adventures, taking the listener along for the ride. I imagine that most of this album was written the old fashioned way, whilst jamming together (although I could obviously be wrong!)
Highlights include, ' Exit 97', 'Too Much Is Not Enough' and 'Stay For A Song'.
Graveyard are an interesting band, well worth keeping an eye on!

Rating - 8/10

David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Progressive / Blues
Label - Columbia

Track listing:

01. 5 A.M.
02. Rattle That Lock
03. Faces Of Stone
04. A Boat Lies Waiting
05. Dancing Right In Front Of Me
06. In Any Tongue
07. Beauty
08. The Girl In The Yellow Dress
09. Today
10. And Then...

So this is what last years final album from Pink Floyd, The Endless River, could have sounded like!
Damn, has Mr Gilmour been a little greedy and kept all of his best ideas for his solo album? I think so, as this David Gilmour's forth solo album is absolutely fantastic!
On his first project since Pink Floyd put an end to their long career with The Endless River, Gilmour continues on the path the band laid down decades ago with a concept album about a typical day in the life of a middle-aged man coming to terms with loss, mortality and his varied musical influences.
Written by Gilmour with his wife, Polly Samson, "Rattle That Lock" is both autobiographical and meditative, a look at a life filled with the usual shares of love, hope, hurt and joy.
On “Today,” which comes near the end of the narrative, it’s all pretty much summed up with a Floyd-funky rhythm buoying a live-in-the-moment sentiment. It’s not heavy, and it never goes as deep as Pink Floyd classics like The Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall, but for the 69-year-old Gilmour, it’s where life has taken him.
The journey to this place is what "Rattle That Lock" is all about.
There are three instrumental cuts, which float somewhere between the ethereal and the concrete, but it’s the songs featuring Gilmour’s voice that invite, for better or worse, the Pink Floyd comparisons.
The soaring title track recalls the band’s ’80s and ’90s work, when they were trying to carve out a new identity following Waters’ departure. It's one of my favourites on the CD, and worth the purchase alone.
The biting guitar that caps 'Dancing Right in Front of Me' is vintage Gilmour, and 'Today' chugs along with Animals-era punch.
Although largely steering away from anything too arena-rock, 'In Any Tongue' is steeped in grandeur and sentiment. It's also one of the few orchestrated and epic solos - no impromptu blues here, but the full Gilmour-arsenal of wailing bends and climatic crescendos.
Album closer 'And Then' is delicate, flowing and understated; a whimsical and evocative piece of music that fellow guitarists can only wish to create with such simple techniques.
The whole track has a sense of finality, ending with a fingerpicked nylon string guitar over swelling strings that gently fades out. Simply awesome!
"Rattle That Lock" has some - obvious - Pink Floyd flashes, but it's pure David Gilmour. It's not as majestic or epic as his work with the famous British band, but following the somewhat exasperated exhale of The Endless River, it’s about as close to a classic Pink Floyd album fans are going to get these days.

Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Devil City Angels - S/T (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Century Media Records

Track listing:

01. Numb
02. All My People
03. Boneyard
04. I'm Living
05. No Angels
06. Goodbye Forever
07. Ride With Me
08. All I Need
09. Back To The Drive
10. Bad Decisions

Devil City Angels are yet another super-group, this one featuring the talents of former L.A. GunsTracii Guns on guitar, Quiet Riot‘s Rudy Sarzo on bass, Poison‘s Rikki Rockett on drums and Brandon Gibbs (Cheap Thrill) on vocals.
This their self titled debut follows hot on the heals of last years 'The Devil EP'.
The album is a great mix of classic and contemporary hard rock. The songs are incredibly melodic, catchy and memorable which should come as no surprise when you consider the calibre of the musicians involved here!
Devil City Angels launched the album with “Boneyard” which hit the mark sonically and lyrically. Brandon Gibbs has a powerful soulful voice and a brilliant sense of melody that sets him apart from his contemporaries. The best example of this is heard on “Boneyard,” “I’m Living” and what could quite possibly be one of the best ballads in years, “Goodbye Forever.”
The most unique track is “All I Need” which features Beatlesesque chorus and a super sappy, poppy feel to it — yet it works. Devil City Angels also covered the Mike Chapman penned “Back to the Drive” which was made famous by Suzie Quatro, and the result is very good.
Devil City Angels have come up with an album that is guaranteed to satisfy anyone who is looking for some solid hard rock music, played by guys who actually know what they are doing. There is not a bad song on this disc. Are Devil City Angels going to set the world on fire or re-write the Rock n' Roll history books, unlikely, but they are gonna play some great rock music and provide hours of enjoyment for millions of rock fans all over the world!

Well Worth Checking Out

Rating - 9/10

Hollywood Vampires - S/T (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Track listing:

01. The Last Vampire
Narration: Sir Christopher Lee
Keyboards and Sound Design: Johnny Depp, Bob Ezrin and Justin Cortelyou

02. Raise the Dead
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin

03. My Generation
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Drums: Zak Starkey
Background Vocals: Tommy Henriksen,

04. Whole Lotta Love
Vocals: Brian Johnson, Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp,
Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Harmonica: Alice Cooper
Drums: Zak Starkey
Bass: Kip Winger
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Backing Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen

05. I Got A Line
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Bass: Kip Winger
Background Vocals: Perry Farrell, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin

06. Five to One/Break on Through
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Robby Krieger, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Farfisa: Charlie Judge
Bass: Bruce Witkin

07. One/Jump Into the Fire
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell
Guitars: Robby Krieger, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Dave Grohl
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Keyboard: Bob Ezrin, Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen

08. Come and Get It
Vocals: Paul McCartney, Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp
Piano: Paul McCartney
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Bass: Paul McCartney
Background Vocals: Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Abe Laboriel Jr., Bob Ezrin

09. Jeepster
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen,
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Bob Ezrin

10. Cold Turkey
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen

11. Manic Depression
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Zak Starkey
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Piano: Bob Ezrin

12. Itchycoo Park
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin

13. School’s Out/Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Brian Johnson
Guitar: Slash, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Neal Smith
Bass: Dennis Dunaway
Background Vocals: Kip Winger, Bob Ezrin

14. Dead Drunk Friends
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin,
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Piano: Bruce Witkin, Bob Ezrin
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin, Bob Ezrin

The HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES, are a super-group started by Alice Cooper, actor Johnny Depp and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. This their self titled debut album is produced by legendary Bob Ezrin, features appearances by Paul McCartney, Brian Johnson, Slash, Duff McKagan and Kip Winger, among others.
Most of the album’s 14 tracks are covers, including as a mashup of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2”, although there are a few originals included too. “Raise the Dead” and “Dead Drunk Friends” were both co-written by Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper alongside producer Bob Ezrin, who also provides backing vocals as well as playing keyboards. “The Last Vampire”, meanwhile, features narration from the legendary late Christopher Lee.
Work on the album began in 2012 and took two years to finish.
The project is a salute to Cooper's hard partying L.A. crew in 1973/1974, which included Keith Moon, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Micky Dolenz and others. A plank of wood featuring the legendary musicians’ signature is immortalized at Hollywood's Rainbow Bar & Grill in the club's upper level, known as 'Over The Rainbow'.
Clothing designer John Varvatos created the packaging which resembles an antique book, while the booklet features liner notes from original Hollywood Vampire and Elton John’s writing partner Bernie Taupin.
Other classics covered by the band includes The Who's "My Generation", Badfinger's "Come And Get It", Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", John Lennon's "Cold Turkey", T. Rex's "Jeepster", Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park" and Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression".
It's all good stuff, cleverly produced by Ezrin combining the classic rock vibe with an updated, vibrant production.
This really is an album that is not to be missed. Its a pity that there isn't more original material, but with any luck the guys may have had enough fun making this album to consider a second? Lets hope so because this really is good stuff, but then again when you consider the calibre of the musicians involved, then it should be shouldn't it.

Very Very Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10

The Hollywood Vampire's -
Alice Cooper – vocals, harmonica, backing vocals
Tommy Henriksen – guitar, backing vocals, programming
Johnny Depp – guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
Dennis Dunaway – bass
Kip Winger – bass
Duff McKagan – bass
Bob Ezrin – piano, keyboards, backing vocals
Charlie Judge – keyboards
Perry Farrell – vocals, backing vocals
Brian Johnson– vocals
Paul McCartney – vocals, piano, bass
Christopher Lee – vocals
Bruce Witkin – guitar, bass, keyboards
Robby Krieger – guitar
Orianthi – guitar
Joe Perry – guitar
Slash – guitar
Joe Walsh – guitar
Neil Smith – drums
Glen Sobel – drums
Dave Grohl – drums
Zak Starkey – drums
Abe Laboriel Jr. – drums, backing vocals

Slayer - Repentless (2015)

Genre -  Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal
Label - Nuclear Blast

Track listing:
01. Delusions Of Saviour
02. Repentless
03. Take Control
04. Vices
05. Cast The First Stone
06. When The Stillness Comes
07. Chasing Death
08. Implode
09. Piano Wire
10. Atrocity Vendor
11. You Against You
12. Pride In Prejudice

This month saw the return of one of the titans of the heavy metal and thrash genre's, namely that of Slayer, who released their first new studio album since the tragic death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who sadly passed away prematurely two years ago. Are or can Slayer still be Slayer without one of their integral components and songwriters?  Well to be totally honest, yes!
First let me just say, that this the new album, Repentless, has the best production that I can recall any Slayer album having, the songs are crisp and clear, and packed full with power courtesy of one Mr. Terry Date. (the Wildhearts / Pantera etc.).
Now as for the songs themselves?
Repentless opens with a the instrumental, 'Delusions of Saviour', which is just so unmistakably Slayer that any doubts that the listener may have dissolve away quickly. Kerry King and Tom Araya are in fine form here, providing blistering riffs and brutal lyrics. Just check out the refrain from 'Pride In Prejudice', "Don't give me your power bullshit" or 'Vices', "A little violence is the ultimate drug....lets get high!"
Repentless sees Slayer pulling no punches at all. The title track is a fast as anything that they have ever recorded. New guitarist Gary Holt (Exodus) does a great job. The album features a touching tribute to late guitarist Jeff Hanneman in the form of Jeff penned 'Piano Wire' which was apparently one of the first songs written for the World Painted Blood album.
Repentless is a great album packed full of great Slayer songs, that also sees Slayer in fine form. Is it as good as South Of Heaven, Hell Awaits or even Seasons In The Abyss? Only time will tell, but I honestly believe that this is the best possible album  that Slayer could have put out.
Welcome back guys!

Well Worth Checking Out!

Rating - 9/10

Ricky Warwick - Stairwell Troubadour (2015)

Genre - Rock / Acoustic
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (Dead or Alive cover)
02 - Oops!...I Did It Again (Britney Spears cover)
03 - Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover)
04 - 1000 Dollar Car (The Bottle Rockets cover)
05 - Cocaine Blues  (Johnny Cash cover)
06 - I Don't Want To Grow Up (The Ramones cover)
07 - I Fought The Law (The Bobby Fuller Four cover)
08 - Burning Love (Elvis Presley cover)
09 - Jesus Loves You....But I Don't (The Almighty cover)
10 - Wrathchild (Iron Maiden cover)

So Ricky Warwick returns with his fourth album release of 2015! (the other three are the rather excellent Black Star Riders 'Killer Instinct', and the previous two solo albums, 'Hearts On Trees' and 'When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchel Sang The Blues)').
This album, The Stairwell Troubadour came about as a result of just how well Ricky's previous pledge campaign went over, especially the exclusive performances of songs from the stairwell, hence the albums title!
OK so this album is a covers album, but its a cover album with a unique twist. Firstly as part of its pledge campaign, the fans (or pledgers) got to vote upon what songs would actually be covered for the album, and secondly, Ricky and crew manage to put their definitive stamp upon each of the songs presented here, whilst still managing to remain true to the spirit or essence of the original.
First up the album opens with the Dead or Alive classic, 'You Spin Me Round'. This song features the talents of Ricky on guitar and vocals and Tim Boland on  Electric Guitars, Keyboards and Percussion. Here Ricky really manages to capture the energy and essence of the song, especially with the panning effect on the chorus!
Next up we have a song that Ricky has performed many times at his acoustic live shows, once again Ricky handles the guitar and vocals with Tim Boland again providing the drums. They manage to pull off a really rocking version of Britney Spears' 'Oops! I did it Again' in the process, especially with the electrified midsection!
The cover of the Eddie Cochran classic, 'Summertime Blues' follows, again with Ricky handling all guitars and vocals with Tim Boland once again providing drums and percussion. Here they really do manage to bring this old classic to life, injecting the song with bucket loads of energy. I really love this  track!
Next up we have Ricky's take on The Bottle Rockets classic '1000 Dollar Car'. Again this track is just a two man affair with Ricky providing all guitars and vocals and Tim Boland providing  the Hammond, Vibes and Snare. They guys really do manage to capture the heart and soul of this song, with its seeming to pour out emotion. Another great song. The guys tackle a Johnny Cash classic next with their take on 'Cocaine Blues'. Once again Ricky handles all the guitars and vocals and Tim Boland provides the Upright Bass. Its a great cover and proof positive that Ricky could well be the modern day Johnny Cash!
Up next is the guys take on The Ramones classic, 'I Don't Want To Grow Up'. Once again Ricky covers all the guitars and vocals with Tim Boland providing the songs percussion. Here the guys really do manage to capture the angst of the original, whilst managing to show a certain amount of restraint and slowing the song just enough to make the marching beat work. Love it!
Next Ricky tackles The Bobby Fuller Four classic ' I Fought The Law' in true solo fashion. I love this cover of this anthemic song. Ricky really does seem to tap into the songs soul here!
Ricky tackles the Elvis Presley classic 'Burning Love' again in true solo fashion. A great performance it is too!
Next up we have a strange one, where Ricky covers one of Ricky's own classic's in the form of The Almighty classic, 'Jesus Loves You....But I Don't'. Now this has always been one of my favourite Almighty songs. Here Ricky manages to capture the real power of the song with Ricky once again covering all vocals and guitars and this time Tim Boland providing the Piano and Percussion. The song manages to keep building in tension and atmosphere without ever bursting into that fill blown rock big band section, instead using the piano to provide the power. Absolutely cracking version of the song, quite possibly even better than the original!
The album closes out with a cover of the Iron Maiden classic 'Wrathchild'. Here Ricky who provides all the songs vocals is joined by Mark Thwaite who provides all of the guitars within the song. Its so surprising that this Iron Maiden, famous for its angst power and energy, works so well in an acoustic format!
Ricky and Mark really do manage to capture and convey the true essence of the song here!

Stairwell Troubadour is a great covers album, with Ricky showcasing just how much he understands the songs that he is covering.

Very, very highly recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Richards / Crane - Richards / Crane (2015)

Genre - Rock / Melodic Rock / Acoustic
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - Homeward
02 - Everyone
03 - Here In The Light
04 - Black & White (Feat Myles Kennedy)
05 - Someday
06 - Lost
07 - Waiting On A Prayer
08 - Rainy Day
09 - Don't Cry For Me
10 - World Stand Still

Richards/Crane is a brand new project from Ugly Kid Joe front man Whitfield Crane and Another Animal guitarist Lee Richards. This their self titled debut album is released exclusively through pledge music as part of the pledge campaign for Ugly Kid Joe's latest album, 'Uglier Than They Used Ta Be'.
This album is about as far away from the Ugly Kid Joe release as Whitfield Crane could safely get! In place of raucous rockers we have acoustic driven melodic tunes, which again display an accomplished maturity within their song writing that only comes with experience.
Opener 'Homeward' has a laid back melancholy feel, driven along by the vocal melody and acoustic guitar. 'Everyone' is once again propelled along by the acoustic guitar, only this time augmented by subtle strings. 'Here In The Light' sees the gentle acoustic rhythms textured with some beautifully played electric guitar melodies. 'Black & White', which I guess is the albums lead single, features the vocal talents of a certain Mr Myles Kennedy, and proves to be a great song and solid introduction to the project.
'Someday' has a moody atmospheric feel to the music to accompany its positive lyrics. Quite possibly my favourite song on the album. 'Lost' is up next and is once more a beautiful song, this time the textured vocals driving the song, with a subtle string section augmentation. 'Waiting On A Prayer' quite possibly has the most rock feel to it, yet its still acoustically driven and for some reason it has a Crash Test Dummies feel to it!
'Rainy Day' is another beautiful and delicate little track, as is 'Don't Cry For Me'. Album closer 'World Stand Still' is a really great song.

On this self titled debut from Richards / Crane Lee Richards guitar playing is sublime, restrained and soulful, full of feeling, and Whitfield Crane is in fine voice.

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Ugly Kid Joe - Uglier Than They Used Ta Be (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Pledge Music / Metalville / UKJ Records
Track listing:
01. Hell Ain't Hard To Find
02. Let The Record Play
03. Bad Seed
04. Mirror The Man
05. She's Already Gone
06. Nothing Ever Changes
07. My Old Man (feat. Phil Campbell)
08. Under The Bottom (feat. Phil Campbell)
09. Ace Of Spades (feat. Phil Campbell)
10. Enemy
11. Papa Was A Rolling Stone (feat Dallas Frasca)

Californian rockers, Ugly Kid Joe return with their brand spanking new album, 'Uglier Than They Used Ta Be' on October 16th via Metalville / UKJ Records. (already available to those who pledged via pledgemusic!).
'Uglier Than They Used Ta Be' is the bands first full length studio album since 1996's Motel California, that's a gap of 19 years, (even Axl Rose's Gun's 'n' Roses have shorter gaps in between albums!) so its fair to say that this album is fairly eagerly anticipated by fans of both the band and the 90's hard rock scene. So how does this album fair? Well the first thing that the listener will notice is that the songs have a certain maturity about them nowadays. The angst and anger is still present withing the bands lyrics, but the songs have a more mature, polished and dare I say restrained feel to them. The guys have grown up as song writers, maybe robbing some of the songs of that certain energy that they may have once displayed, but replacing it with a more structured and rounded sound altogether.
Opening track ‘Hell Ain’t Hard To Find’ showcases the heavy funky riffs that Ugly Kid Joe are best remembered for, the song has a mature and polished sound to it with Whitfield Crane’s voice still having that soulful edge to it, as he tells us his story of seeking and finding something different.
‘Let The Record Play’ is a great twist on a relationship breakup, by comparing the emotions to an old record back in the day. It will strike a chord with everyone who has had that bad ending, but retains a great upbeat melody. ‘Bad Seed’ has a great bass line and a great heavy riff ta boot, with the song telling us about a person’s inner turmoil and struggle to fight back, while ‘Mirror Of The Man’ is a slower laid back track, but with dark lyrics observing the state of people’s attitude towards the state of the world today.
‘She’s Already Gone’ raises the tempo again, and as the title suggests, the lyrics are once again about a relationship ending, all told via a sharp, heavy guitar riff.
‘Nothing Ever Changes’ will delight fans with just Whit’s vocals and a soft subtle guitar. Awesome song!
‘My Old Man’ the first song to feature a guest appearance from Phil Campbell (Motorhead), has one of the heaviest guitar sounds on the album, that despite being one of the albums more melodic tracks!
Phil Campbell also guests on the albums next track, ‘Under The Bottom’, which is another stomper of a hard rock track! Phil also features on the bands ripping roaring cover of the Motorhead classic 'Ace Of Spades'!
‘Enemy’ is another slow melodic track, not exactly a ballad, just that type of atmospheric tune that  Ugly Kid Joe do so well. The final track is another cover, this time being ‘Papa Was A Rollin Stone’ with special guest Dallas Frasca. It's a great song, but maybe not the best album closer that they could have chosen.
 Production is excellent, not strange as guitarist Dave Fortman has become one of the most requested producers lately (he has worked with bands such as Superjoint Ritual, Slipknot as well as on both of Evanescence's multi-platinum selling albums).
'Uglier Than They Used Ta Be' is a solid return for one of the nineties best bands and is well worth checking out!

Rating - 9/10

Baby Chaos - Blackbirds EP (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Punk / Alternative
Label - Self Released
Track listing:
01 - Blackbirds
02 - All Quiet
03 - The Logic Dies
04 - Things I Left Unsaid

Hot on the tail of their excellent comeback album, June's Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me the Glory, Scottish brit rock legends unleash a brand spanking new Ep upon the world.
The opens up with the excellent title track, 'Blackbirds', a fantastic song taken from said comeback album and really sets things off well. We then have three previously unreleased tracks, (hey kids remember when that was the norm back in the day!), that the band say were recorded during the  Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me the Glory sessions and only just missed out on being included upon the album. Gratefully they are getting released because they are great songs. 'All Quiet' with its mellow chilled out feel and melancholy vocals, absolutely brilliant song in my honest opinion. 'The Logic Dies' is a rockier song with an electronic feel and beginning. This track is a million miles away from its predecessor, but thats the magic of a good band, the sheer variety and quality that they can produce, one of the many reasons that Baby Chaos' comeback is long over due!
The Ep closes with 'Things I Left Unsaid', a song that builds withslow plodding bass / riff before exploding into something magical. Yet another great song!

The Ep is aavailable exclusivly through the bands web site and is very highly recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Monday, 31 August 2015

Backyard Babies - Four By Four (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Punk
Label - Gain

Track listing:

01 - Th1rt3en Or Nothing
02 - I'm On My Way To Save Your Rock 'N' Roll
03 - White Light District
04 - Bloody Tears
05 - Piracy
06 - Never Finish Anything
07 - Mirrors (Shall Be Broken)
08 - Wasted Years
09 - Walls

Swedish rockers return with a brand new album, "Four By Four", their first new studio album in five long years. "Formed in 1989, and with half a dozen studio albums to their name, the line-up of the band has never changed, and neither has the collective desire to claim a key and colourful chapter in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll." which is a pretty impressive claim to be able to make in todays ever changing revolving door environment of rock 'n' roll. One thing that has changed is that the bands sound has slowly matured and evolved over the years, especially during their recent five year hiatus, that saw various band members involved with various other projects, especially guitarist Dregen with his excellent solo album! So the guys now come back together and put out a rather excellent record in the form of "Four By Four", which see the bands sound slightly more polished than on previous releases, and maybe a maturity within the song writing that can only come with age.
The album explodes into the ears with the recently-released single “Th1rt3en Or Nothing”, which has a funky start and then sort of slides into a slow and groovy wall of sleazy swagger. The vocals are sneering, the guitars are wailing and I love the drum sound. This track kind of brings to mind some of the recent Sixx:AM and possibly even Slash releases, yet maintains the Backyard Babies own identity. Second track “I’m On My Way To Save Your Rock & Roll” is an instant classic. Its dirty riff boils over with attitude, something only Scandinavian bands seem to understand these days, and its sing-along chorus just bounces along, simply brilliant. “White Light District” continues in the same vein, keeping up the energy and swaggering into a potential live classic in my honest opinion.
There’s a total change of pace for “Bloody Tears”, which starts slowly with acoustics then morphs into a massive power ballad. This is an absolutely cracking song. Get your lighters ready for this one.
The album returns to the classic Backyard Babies sound for “Piracy” which is fast and fun, featuring some excellent harmony vocals. “Never Finish Anything” is a potential single too, with a more modern sound with Nicke and Dregen throwing some two-way vocals at each other in the catchy chorus. “Mirrors (Shall be Broken)” is another nice ballad with a more bluesy groove. Final track “Walls” is another interesting cut, slow, but there’s no ballad here. Instead a strong and dominant jazzy bass line that gives it a feel all of its own, and it then becomes an instrumental ending that wouldn’t be out of place as the theme for a Hammer House Of Horror film. There’s creaking doors, doomy guitars and even an evil cackle or two.
It seems that those years doing their other projects have enabled the Backyard Babies to come back with a sound that is stronger than ever.  "Four By Four" is close enough in style to satisfy their die-hard long-term fans but there’s also some interesting new directions to attract a new audience.
A good strong album from some long time favourites, well worth checking out.

Highly Recommended

Rating - 9/10

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Iron Maiden - Book Of Souls (2015)

Genre - Heavy Metal / NWoBHM
Label - Parlophone UK
Track listing:

Disc 1
1. If Eternity Should Fail (Dickinson) 8:28
2. Speed Of Light (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:01
3. The Great Unknown (Smith/ Harris) 6:37
4. The Red And The Black (Harris) 13:33
5. When The River Runs Deep (Smith/ Harris) 5:52
6. The Book Of Souls (Gers/ Harris) 10:27

Disc 2
7. Death Or Glory (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:13
8. Shadows Of The Valley (Gers/ Harris) 7:32
9. Tears Of A Clown (Smith/ Harris) 4:59
10. The Man Of Sorrows (Murray/ Harris) 6:28
11. Empire Of The Clouds (Dickinson) 18:01

Iron Maiden are back, and by god are they back! British heavy metal legends return with their brand new album, the awesome double album (a career first!) "Book Of Souls". Its been five years since Maiden last studio opus, 2010's "The Final Frontier" but judging by the sheer quality of the songs on offer on "Book Of Souls" then its been well worth the wait.

Disc One kicks off with the Dickinson composition, 'If Eternity Should Fail'. The song kicks of with some dark atmospheric keyboard layers and an almost spaghetti western synth trumpet before exploding into one of the heaviest songs that Iron Maiden have ever recorded, yet alone opened an album with! Great start, and its heart warming to hear Bruce in such fine voice!
Next up we have the albums lead single, and in my humble opinion the albums weakest track, the Smith / Dickinson composed, 'Speed Of Light'. Its one of the albums shortest tracks and is destined to become a Maiden classic, with its sing along chorus. Its worthy of noting the energy that both the song and the band seem to posses, something that they have rarely captured in the studio since 1992's "Fear Of The Dark" release.
"The Great Unknown" follows, this time a Smith / Harris composition, and what a song! The song opens with a huge rumbling bass line from Steve Harris before growing into a true Maiden classic, that just keeps on building the atmosphere throughout the songs duration.
"The Red And The Black" is up next. This song is a Harris composition, and to be honest on any other Maiden album this song would have definitely been the album's centre piece. Yet another Maiden classic, so that's four songs in and we have three dead cert new Maiden classics among them!
"When The River Runs Deep", follows, this time being written by Smith and Harris. This song is one of the most metal songs that Iron Maiden have written in years, reminiscent of some early Dio material in places, and at times bringing to mind the Maiden classic's 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' and 'Heaven Can Wait'.
Next up we have the albums title track, 'Book Of Souls', this time being written by Janick Gers and Steve Harris. This song is huge! Filled to the brim with spooky atmospheres, this ode to the Mayans is simply a huge towering track, and well deserving of its status of being the albums title track. Opening with a simple acoustic guitar and a slowly building atmospheric keyboard layer, before exploding into this huge Iron Maiden classic akin to 'To Tame A Land' and 'Alexander The Great'. Simply magnificent. That closes out disc one of the this two disc opus, and would by the standards of any mere mortal band, that would constitute a great album, but this is Iron Maiden, so lets get onto disc two!

Disc Two opens with the Smith / Dickinson composition, 'Death Or Glory'. This tale of World War I fighter pilots is a ripping track, bursting at the seams with energy. This is one of the albums shortest tracks and definitely destined to become a live favourite!
'Shadows Of The Valley' follows, this time the song is another Janick Gers and Steve Harris composition. With an intro that could have just stepped off of the grooves of 1986's "Somewhere In Time" album, this mid-paced song is simply a maze of riffs and hooks, dark hues and a distinct of the supernatural permeate throughout this track. Guaranteed to become another Maiden classic.
"Tears Of A Clown" is up next. This one is a Smith/ Harris composition, and a tribute to the late great comedian, Robin Williams, who sadly committed suicide in 2014 after his long battle with depression. The song simply asks the question, how can someone who brings so much joy, feel so much pain? tragic subject, but a brilliant song non the less.
The next song on this immense opus of an album is 'The Man Of Sorrows'. This is not Iron Maiden version of Bruce's track from 2005, 'Man Of Sorrows' from Bruce's "Accident At Birth" album. No this track features the only writing credit for guitarist Dave Murray on this album, being a Murray / composition. This is a blues-tinged number that sees the guitarists showcasing a slightly different side of the talents. Once again Bruce is fine voice, as he has been throughout the entire album!
Now every Iron Maiden album since time began has featured and epic over blown masterpiece as the closing track, usually written by Steve Harris, and usually the albums centre piece. Well "Book Of Souls" is no different, only this time the master piece has been composed by vocalist Bruce Dickinson, And what a masterpiece it is! Clocking in at a mighty eighteen minutes and one second, 'Empire Of The Clouds' is Iron Maiden's most grandiose and ambitious song to date. To my knowledge this is also the only song that Iron Maiden have recorded that features a piano and cello so prominently! 'Empire Of The Clouds' is Bruce telling the tale of the tragically doomed R101 airship (or Zeppelin) in 1930. A fantastic piece of story telling and a magnificent opus of a song ta boot!

So there you have it, Iron Maiden return with what is quite possibly their best album ever in the form of the double album, "Book Of Souls" and definitely the best album that will be released in 2015. This album would be a great album to bow out on should the band choose to call it a day after their forth coming mammoth world tour next year, but judging by the quality and creativity on display throughout 2Book Of Souls" I hope they choose to record at least one more album, especially considering Bruce's recent victory in his battle with cancer.

Long Live Iron Maiden!

This album is simply a must for any fan of the band, or any fan of any metal genre!

Very, Very Highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10          (Album Of The Year!)

Butcher Babies - Take it Like a Man (2015)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Metalcore
Label - Century Media
Track listing:
01 - Monsters Ball
02 - Igniter
03 - The Cleansing
04 - The Butcher
05 - Gravemaker
06 - Thrown Away
07 - Never Go Back
08 - Marquee
09 - Blood Soaked Hero
10 - Dead Man Walking
11 - For The Fight
12 - Blonde Girls All Look The Same

By God......this is an album!
Now I have to be honest here and admit that I am not the biggest fan of the metalcore and nu-metal genre's. I just don't seem to get it, if you know what I mean. Although over the years the odd band has caught my attention, its usually just the odd song, and rarely could I sit through a full album. But that has changed with Butcher Babies and "Take It Like A Man".
Californian Metal / Metalcore quintet return with their sophomore album in the form of "Take It Like A Man", and what an album it is, with vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey more than proving they do anything any metalcore singer can do, and probably a whole lot better too!
The album opens with the brilliant 'Monsters Ball', before launching into the equally brilliant 'Igniter' and 'The Cleansing'. Furious riffs and demonic vocals abound!
'The Butcher' has a steamroller of a break down, whilst 'Thrown Away' has a brooding stripped down feel to it. 'Marquee' is probably as extreme as metal can get before becoming utter nonsense, whilst 'Never Go Back' and 'For The Fight' bounce along in a rather familiar way. 'Blonde Girls All Look The Same' has a certain ferocity to it with the venom filled vocal lines.
"Take It like A Man" proves Bucher Babies credentials beyond any doubt, they are here and they are here to stay.

Very Highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10

The Burning Crows - Murder At the Gin House (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Burning Crows Records
Track listing:
01. Hell to Pay
02. Come On
03. Shine
04. Alright
05. Goodbye (To the Sunshine)
06. 11:37
07. Little Bit More
08. She's the Summertime
09. Feels Like Home
10. Holding On

British rockers, The Burning Crows, return with their second album in the form of "Murder At the Gin House", and what an album it is too!
The CD kicks into a high gear right from the start with the swaggering and strutting ‘Hell To Pay’, with its great guitar hooks and singer Whippz’ vocals, strong and expressive with that hint of roughness that gives it just the right rock ’n’ roll feel. The band follows that up with the hooky, irresistible rocker ‘Come On’ with its irresistible heavy bass line. Shine’ and the outstanding track ‘Alright’ follow, both just sparking with guitar energy and an air of defiance. Then power ballad ‘Goodbye (To The Sunshine)’ gives The Burning Crows a chance to show off a slightly softer side and some passionate vocals / guitar work, before firing up the hard-rocking hotness of ’11:37’ and delivering some raucous, rollicking riff-magic on ‘Little Bit More’. ‘She’s The Summertime’ is a goose bump -inducing track, with its shiny-happy classic rock sound that brings to mind the best of the '80s, mixed with a big shot of the band’s fiery soulfulness. ‘Feels Like Home’,  a party-fuel track that ramps and amps things up with speeding riffs and infectious chorus. Great song. Closing track ‘Holding On’ is a beautiful piece of music, adding some strings and orchestra, and revealing some real tenderness in both the music and the vocals.
Recorded at the world-famous Rockfield Studios with skilled producer Nick Brine (The Darkness, Bruce Springsteen) behind the desk, this new record sounds clear yet powerful with a kickin' stadium feel. "Murder At The Gin House" proves that The Burning Crows are ready to break into the big leagues, and may just prove to be the game changer that will facilitate such a break through.
Simply one of the best classic rock albums that I have heard, ever!
Very Highly Recommended!!

Rating - 10/10 


Sexy - Shout For Sexy! (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label -  Ambulance Recordings
Track Listing:
01 - Supernova Queen
02 - Drive
03 - Pamela
04 - Baby
05 - Late Night
06 - Fortunate Son
07 - Street Of Sin
08 - Don't Waste My Time
09 - Shout For Sexy!
Sexy are a 'Hot 'n 'Nasty Rock 'n' Roll' band hailing from Zofingen, Switzerland. Now how do I best describe Sexy? Well imagine if you can, a little bit of Kiss mixed with a whole lot of Black Sabbath. Good old fashioned heavy hard rock, with some great pop sensibilities too. For example, 'Pamela' has all of the hall markings of a great seventies era Kiss classic whereas Baby has some great bone crunching guitar work. To be fair I think that Sexy may have just about found the perfect balance between heavy and melodic., and vocalist Pascal Tallarico can hold a tune too!
I have to admit to not really knowing too much about these guys except that they truly rock, and I can see "Shout For Sexy!" becoming a regular on the decks so to speak.
The album was recorded within four days at Soma Studios with the world famous producer Reto Peter, Oakland, California.
Good old fashioned solid hard rock, yes that is the best way to describe this band and album.
There is not a duff track in sight on "Shout For Sexy!", but if I had to pick a couple of stand out tracks then 'Supernova Queen', 'Pamela', 'Baby', 'Street Of Sin' and 'Don't Waste Mt Time' are well worth a mention.
Well worth tracking down and checking out!
Rating - 9/10

Red Sun Rising - Polyester Zeal (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Modern Rock / Alternative
Label -  Razor And Tie Records/Sbme
Track listing:
01 - Push
02 - Amnesia
03 - The Otherside
04 - My Muse
05 - Emotionless
06 - Blister
07 - Worlds Away
08 - Unnatural
09 - Awake
10 - Bliss
11 - Imitation

Red Sun Rising hail from Ohio (USA) and formed when long time friends, vocalist Mike Protich and guitarist Ryan Williams. Guitarist Tyler Valendza, bassist Ricky Miller, and drummer Pat Gerasia  decided to form a band. They quickly made a name for themselves with their tight live performances and well-crafted song writing. Their debut "Polyester Zeal" is a modern rock album, but with some refreshing twists and originality, unlike so many coming out of the USA today.
Produced by powerhouse producer extraordinaire, Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Sebastian Bach), Red Sun Rising’s debut release "Polyester Zeal" is not so much breaking new ground  "as it is re-imagining the past with an eye on nuance and an ear for melody."
Debut single 'The Otherside' offers a glimpse of the band’s melodic and anthemic sound, a good introduction to the band, and yet quite possibly the weakest song on the album!
The album’s opener, 'Push', is an aggressive and addictive kick-start to proceedings. The next track 'Amnesia' come across as a good mix of Alice And Chains and Cheap Trick! Huge melodies combine with strong and driving rhythms to create a retro vibe that culminates with an infectious chorus. Protich’s delivery is outstanding and blends perfectly with Miller’s strong backing vocals. In fact that is probably the best way in which to describe the entire album, huge melodies and driving rhythms.
With "Polyester Zeal" Red Sun Rising manage to successfully blend the best parts of seventies and nineties era rock music through the band’s own modern approach to song writing, something that pay's big dividends on songs like the darkly emotive 'My Muse' and the gritty acoustic swing of 'Emotionless'.
 "Polyester Zeal" is one of the most exciting debut albums that US Rock has experienced in recent years.

Well Worth Checking Out

Rating - 9/10

Praying Mantis - Legacy (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / NWoBHM / Melodic Rock
Label - Frontiers Music
Track listing:
01. Fight For Your Honour
02. The One
03. Believable
04. Tokyo
05. Better Man
06. All I See
07. Eyes Of A Child
08. The Runner
09. Against The World
10. Fallen Angel
11. Second Time Around
NWoBHM vetrens, Praying Mantis, return with a brand new album in the form of Legacy, the first to feature drummer Hans In T' Zandt (Bangalore Choir, Vengeance) and new vocalist John 'Jaycee' Cujipers. It’s been four years since their Metamorphosis release, and that was just an EP of re-recordings. Their last proper studio album – the excellent Sanctuary – was released back in 2009.
Today, Praying Mantis are more of a melodic rock band, a very good one at that, but with a highly polished sound more akin to FM than their NWoBHM contemporaries of yesteryear such as Saxon, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Jaguar Samson and Vardis, but that's no bad thing when the songs are as well written as those on offer here with Legacy. There’s still a bit of their British classic metal roots here, especially in the twin guitars of Tino Troy and Andy Burgess, but it’s the band’s focus on melody that drives the album, and what makes these songs hit home right from the start. What can we say of new vocalist John 'Jaycee' Cujipers? Well he is great to be honest, he has a steady, powerful voice (he sings for a Dio tribute band if that tells you anything) that’s just perfect for this kind of classic Melodic Hard Rock. Even more so when he’s backed by the Troy brothers on the soaring choruses, fitting the songs really, really well.
"Legacy" features eleven new songs, and they’re all very strong, some of them truly awesome.
Leadoff single “Fight For Your Honour” captures the spirit of "Legacy" quite well, but you could pick, “Tokyo,” “Against the World” or “Eyes of a Child” and still seal the deal.
Even the more traditional love song “The One” has pomp and power.
"Legacy" is more than a worthwhile addition to the Praying Mantis discography, it is one of the strongest Classic Melodic Hard Rock albums 2015 has to offered so far.
Existing fans will love this album, as will fans of the melodic rock genre on a whole.
Well worth checking out!!
Rating 9/10


Biters - Electric Blood (2015)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Earache Records
Track listing:
01 - Restless Hearts
02 - 1975
03 - Heart Fulla Rock 'N Roll
04 - Dreams Don't Die
05 - Electric Blood
06 - The Kids Ain't Alright
07 - Low Lives In Hi Definition
08 - Time To Bleed
09 - Loose From The Noose
10 - Space Age Wasteland
Biters are a hard rock band hailing from Atlanta (USA) and are hell bent on reviving the good old days of classic hard rock, together with quite a few other bands today, you could say that there is a nice little scene growing worldwide. Many bands struggle to make an impression with early albums due to lack of direction and personality but this is definitely not the case with Biters. Their songs are focused and have a maturity about them that really should be a young bands debut album, yet clearly isn't in this case.
Electric Blood is packed to the brim with huge catchy chorus's and melodic riffs,  album opener, "Restless Hearts", is a positive, punchy and catchy rock n’ roll number, "1975" follows with its huge chorus and a groove, that although disciplined, will get those feet tapping, I guarantee!
"Heart Fulla Rock N’ Roll" brings with it some nostalgia and an impression of the spirit of what Biters are all about, while the enigmatic and heartfelt "Dreams Don’t Die" adds a real sense of class and sophistication to proceedings. "Low Lives In High Definition" adds some pacey riffs to the mix, whilst "The Kids Ain’t Alright" really mixes things up, starting out as a heart touching ballad before bursting into life in the form of a massive arena-filling anthem. Great song!
 Biters are a great band and Electric Blood is a very good album that manages to cover all the bases, even managing to sound familiar upon the first listen.
Well Worth Checking Out!
Rating - 9/10