Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ginger Wildheart & Ryan Hamilton - Fuck You Brain (Charity EP) (2016)

Genre - Rock / Pop / Punk / Blues
Label - Round Records

Track listing:
01 - Fuck You Brain
02 - Ode To The Idiots
03 - Dogbreath

Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton, too immensely talented musicians who have made no secret of their long running battles with depression have decided to get together to record and release a charity single, with the proceeds being donated to The Samaritans to help with the support that they provide to so many, especially around this time of year.
Lets discuss the music first before I post what those involved have to say about the project.
The lead track, Fuck You Brain is a great up beat rocker, that sees the lead vocal being shared by all those involved. The perfect blend of rocking guitars and pop melodies, with some wicked pedal steel guitar courtesy of Maurice Hipkiss
The Ep's second track, Ode To The Idiots, is written by Ryan Hamilton, and recorded during the sessions for his recent pledge campaign (more on that album to follow). Its short and sweet, but a great pop punk song non the less.
the Ep's final track Dogbreath is an instrumental, and about as mental as it gets. coming across as a mix of Patience and Gratitude and Mutations Wham City.
A great little Ep that's well worth having in your collection, even more so considering the cause that its raising money for!

Rating: 10/10

The EP is available HERE

Now over to those involved to tell you about this project:

Ginger Wildheart - Drums/Bass/Guitar/Vocals.
Ryan Hamilton - Guitar/Vocals.
Givvi Flynn - Vocals.
Emily Ewing - Vocals.
Matthew Colley - Piano.
Maurice Hipkiss - Pedal Steel.
Dave Draper - Percussion/Guitars.

A message from Ginger Wildheart:
"Ironically I struggled even getting to the studio to record my parts for this single, deep as was in my current battle with depression. The same attack that almost killed me a week ago.

My depression wants me dead. So far I'm winning on weight advantage, but the battle is never over.

This is a very vulnerable time of year for sufferers of mental health issues, and suicide sees a marked increase over Christmas and New Year. So the help provided by The Samaritans is invaluable, especially over this period.
Please help us in helping someone this year.

Obviously severe depression is not seasonal, but the reminder that you yourself are 'not doing so bad' is reinforced over this Festive holiday. If you have a healthy family, loved ones who are safe, a warm home, a job and a hot meal staring at you at some point, then you are doing better than many people this Xmas

 To simply say "thank you" for what you have, please donate for those suffering from suicidal thoughts, struggling with depression/anxiety, or for those helping such a person through this holiday period."

  message from Ryan Hamilton:
"Ginger and I have both been very vocal about our struggles with depression and anxiety. Mental health issues like these deserve much more attention, and respect, than they get.

After we wrote "Fuck You, Brain" we weren't quite sure what to do with it. Ginger had the idea to use it as a charity single, and asked if I was ok with that. I couldn't say "YES!" fast enough.

I hope everyone enjoys the new music and fun collaboration. I also sincerely hope we can raise a good deal of money to raise awareness, and do some good, for an issue very important to us." 

A message from Givvi Flynn:
"When Ginger asked me if I'd like to get involved with this single, it was a no-brainer. My own mental health requires daily management (as does that of many friends and colleagues) so I fully appreciate how dark some days can be - why wouldn't I want to do something which might help those suffering similarly?

I hope the song raises money and awareness for a great cause, it was a pleasure to be part of such a positive, rewarding venture."

A message from Emily Ewing:
"It has been a real honour to have my vocals feature on this track. The song has such an important message. One that speaks to me personally as well.

My anxiety is an on-going battle, some days are certainly worse than others. There are times when I can't see light at the end of the tunnel. Panic attacks have also played a major role in my life. As a society we need to stop saying "Get over it", "You have nothing to be sad about". Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there or happening. It's hard to pretend everything is fine when it's not.

I hope this song raises awareness and lets anyone going through a hard time with mental illness know you are brave to face it everyday and you not alone!!!"

Again the Ep is available HERE

The Dowling Poole - Bright Spark (EP)

Genre - Pop / Psychedelic / Power-pop
Label - Self Released / 369 Music

Track listing:
01 - Bright Spark
02 - The Sun Is Mine (Acoustic Live In Manchester)
03 - Where The Memories Fester (Acoustic Live In Manchester)

Following hot on the heels of their Miles Checks Out Ep released earlier last month The Dowling Poole release the Bright Spark Ep, a new three track EP that pretty much closely follows the formula of its predecessor with one brand spanking new studio track accompanied by a further two live acoustic tracks recorded in Manchester.
First I'll briefly speak about the two live acoustic tracks. The sound quality is once again tremendous, and once again they capture the very essence and quirkiness of this outfit perfectly in their live environment, especially the little bit of banter at the beginning of Where The Memories Fester.
And as for the new studio track Bright Spark, well what can I say, maybe not as instant as Miles Checks Out or some of the groups other tracks, but an absolute stonker all the same. Musically Bright Spark has Willie Dowling written all over it, but both vocally and lyrically it feels very much like a Random Jon Poole track, especially with Random tacking the lead vocals throughout the verses.
Bright Spark, together with Miles Checks out does the tremendous job of leaving the listener longing for the group to get around to record their third studio album, please hurry, I'm loving the vibes on the new songs!

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock- Live In Germany (2016) (Live)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Eagle Rock Entertainment

Track listing:
CD 1:
01. Over The Rainbow / Highway Star (Live At Loreley)
02. Spotlight Kid (Live At Stuttgart)
03. Mistreated (Live At Stuttgart)
04. 16th Century Greensleeves (Live At Stuttgart)
05. Since You’ve Been Gone (Live At Stuttgart)
06. Man On The Silver Mountain (Live At Loreley)
07. Catch The Rainbow (Live At Loreley)
08. Difficult To Cure / Toccata & Fugue In D Minor (Live At Loreley)
09. Perfect Strangers (Live At Stuttgart)
10. Stargazer (Live At Loreley)

CD 2:
11. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (Live At Stuttgart)
12. Child In Time / Woman From Tokyo (Live At Stuttgart)
13. Black Night (Live At Stuttgart)
14. Smoke On The Water (Live At Stuttgart)
15. Spotlight Kid (Live At Loreley)
16. Man On The Silver Mountain (Live At Stuttgart)
17. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (Live At Stuttgart)
18. Stargazer (Live At Stuttgart)

###### Not My review, all credit to the original author ######

Last Summer 2016 legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made many long-held dreams come true for his fans as RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW played three concerts in Europe, two in Germany and one in England. The two German shows at Loreley and Bietigheim were caught on tape & camera to produce "Memories In Rock : Live In Germany", released via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Ever since Ritchie Blackmore speculated about doing a couple of Rainbow shows in 2016, hopes and expectations have lead to very emotional discussions between fans. To the disappointment of those hoping for one of the former line-ups to reunite for the gig, Blackmore didn’t go the easy way and – as often – assembled a new team of musicians to accompany him on this adventure.
The band finally announced consisted of current Blackmore's Night drummer David Keith, former Blackmore's Night bass player Bob Nouveau, the great Jens Johansson on keys (also Blackmore's Night contributor) and Lords Of Black singer Ronnie Romero, which lead to even more discussions between fans and even former Rainbow members with Joe Lynn Turner claiming the planned lineup will be “a Ritchie Blackmore band, but certainly not Rainbow” overlooking the fact that Rainbow has always been what Ritchie Blackmore wanted it to be.
Three shows took place, two open air shows in Germany at Loreley and Bietigheim while the third show was staged at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, UK. While the two German shows were recorded on audio and video for this release, the UK show wasn’t recorded, which is unfortunate as it did not only feature the most consistent band performance of all three evenings but also was the only show featuring “Soldier Of Fortune” and “Burn”.
Despite all the discussions about the musicians on stage, the setlist had been the major point of criticism, including way too many Deep Purple songs while leaving out a bunch of Rainbow classics.
Is “Memories in Rock – Live In Germany” an album worth buying? That’s a question hard to answer. It’s a good live album, although for me is more a Ritchie Blackmore solo album than a Rainbow one.
If you are curious how Blackmore sound in 2016 (yes, he still can rock, and really well), the audio CD's offers an enjoyable sound with clear dynamics and a well-balanced mix between each instrument.

Rating: 8/10

SISTER - Stand Up, Forward, March! (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Sleaze
Label - Metal Blade

Track listing:
01 - Destination Dust
02 - Carved in Stone
03 - Lost in Line
04 - Trail of Destruction
05 - Carry On
06 - Unbeliever
07 - Let It Bleed
08 - Liberation Song
09 - Dead Man's Dirt
10 - Endangered Species
11 - Piece of Shame

###### Not My review, all credit to the original author ######

Sister is all about classic sleaze / glam without the dirt. Yeah, they sound incredibly clean and bright, and despite they have a somber, dark image, their songs are darn catchy.
Of course sister has that ol' sleaze punkish attitude in the way that early Motley Crue was, if opener 'Destination Dust' isn’t enough to get you looking for your Spandex pants, then 'Carved In Stone' probably will. Essentially because it boasts a hook so huge that it’s like taking a wrecking ball to a Wendy House.
The feeling that is just hedonistic fun, is rather re-enforced by a line in its lyrics: “you’ll pray for mercy to whatever gets you off” sings Jamie Anderson, and this is the soundtrack to whatever night you feel like letting go.
Some tracks may you remind of Crashdiet or Shotgun Messiah, but it is worth saying that "Stand Up, Forward, March!" isn’t some retro bullshit made by a load of blokes who should know better.
'Lost In Line' for example adds some modern flourishes to its work, “Carry On” is a ballad-ish thing which has more than an echo of Backyard Babies and an updated poppy feeling.

Largely, though, this is about slammers. 'Unbeliever' might do a kind of power metal fists in the air power metal, but it knows where its bread is buttered too, and when they do let things breathe a little like on 'Let It Bleed' it is only so they can make things even more ominous than they were.
I really like Sister when it's about balls out rock 'n roll / hard rock, like “Dead Man’s Dirt” and the positively punky sleaze nihilism of 'Piece Of Shame' which ends things.
Then the fact that Sister keeps just enough diversity of sound in their tracks as it’s not the same exact thing eleven times over but nothing drastically different, it shows that Sister has a real understanding of the sound they were going for, and it ends in pure excellence in this scenario.
Jona Tee of H.E.A.T has done a terrific job focusing Sister to catchiness.

Sister's third album "Stand Up, Forward, March!" rocks.
Some say the first albums the only good albums from a band, others claim third time’s the charm, and others like myself believe that any album can be great. Both the latter and the second prove to be true with this record, and it shows that Sister isn’t by any means a band to put out one decent record and then immediately face plant creatively, but quite the opposite.
“Stand Up, Forward, March!” demonstrate how much of a killer power house Sister is as a whole, and it’s very hard to deny that after hearing this ravenous piece.
Rating: 8/10

Metallica - Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Genre - Thrash Metal / Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Label - Virgin EMI

Track listing:
CD 1:
01. Hardwired
02. Atlas, Rise!
03. Now That We're Dead
04. Moth Into Flame
05. Am I Savage?
06. Halo On Fire

CD 2:
01. Confusion
02. Dream No More
03. ManUnkind
04. Here Comes Revenge
05. Murder One
06. Spit Out The Bone

Deluxe Edition CD 3: 01 - Lords Of Summer (2016 version)
02 - Ronnie Rising Medley
03 - When a Blind Man Cries
04 - Remember tomorrow
Live at Rasputin Music;
05 - Helpless
06 - Hit the Lights
07 - The Four Horsemen
08 - Ride the Lightning
09 - Fade to Black
10 - Jump in the Fire
11 - For Whom the Bell Tolls
12 - Creeping Death
13 - Metal Militia
14 - Hardwired (Live in Minneapolis)

Eight years have passed since Metallica's last album 2008’s well received Death Magnetic which repaired damage the band did to its reputation in the early ’00s — first with the horrible 'St. Anger' an album that offended long time fans with its lack of guitar solos, then with 'Some Kind of Monster' a documentary that captured the group’s childish infighting.
Truly, the road to what would become "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" has been a long and patience-wearing one for all involved. With ventures like the bizarre Through the Never (2013) film and the band starting (and stopping) their own festival called “Orion Music + More”, it seems that the Californian quartet has been doing everything bar making a record for the best part of the last decade.
Opening with the thrashing title track ‘Hardwired’, the record truly picks up steam early. At roughly three minutes, ‘Hardwired’ is all-killer-no-filler, refusing to relent in its speed and aggression for even a second.
Follow-up ‘Atlas, Rise!’ maintains a small portion of its predecessor’s speed but, for the most part, is closer to mid-paced, setting the precedent for the rest of the record to follow.
That’s right: "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" is NOT a thrash metal album.
Rather, it is a release that utilises the conventions of a number of heavy styles, from NWOBHM and modern melodic metal, to classic metal, of course with a pinch of thrash which is the band's trademark - they created the genre - but only in a minor degree. Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" sound encompasses the entire range of Metallica's mighty back catalogue.
Metallica 2016 sounds strong. Hetfield’s vocals are doubtlessly at a peak right now. The front-man lays out a near-flawless performance on Hardwired…, creating some truly empowering melodies over the course of the record’s two discs. From power shouts to soaring clean notes to even some pulse-pounding growls, Hetfield can do no wrong here.
There's a lot to digest in "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", but the album flows easily. All tracks are pretty solid and even there's a loving tribute to fallen rock god Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead in ‘Murder One’, and that fact comes across unabashedly as Hetfield bellows 'Aces high!' in a distinct and unbridled unleashing of harmonic emotion during the chorus. In fact, vocally, this is Hetfield’s best track, mixing powerful highs with dark lows.
"Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" is one of Metallica’s most versatile works, predominantly mixing classic metal styles to make an enigmatic concoction that is guaranteed to draw fans back again and again.
It's an album that I am sure with each listen, it will only get better.
But there will be as well a Deluxe Edition with different artwork including a bonus disc featuring 4 new studio tracks plus a killer concert at Rasputin Music with the band playing all their classic songs.
The four bonus studio tracks include, Lords of Summer, the single released earlier this year, the awesome Ronnie Rising Medley, taken from the Ronnie James Dio Tribute album This Is Your Life, When a Blind Man Cries from the White Snake / David Coverdale tribute album and Iron Maiden Remember Tomorrow, taken from an Iron Maiden tribute album, all of which sound amazing.
A very solid album and quite possibly the best Metallica release in years!

Rating: 9/10

Sixx:A.M - Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2 (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative / modern Rock
Label - Eleven Seven Music

Track listing:
01. Barbarians (Prayers For The Blessed)
02. We Will Not Go Quietly
03. Wolf At Your Door
04. Maybe It's Time
05. The Devil's Coming
06. Catacombs
07. That's Gonna Leave A Scar
08. Without You
09. Suffocate
10. Riot In My Head
11. Helicopters

SIXX: A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx along with guitarist DJ Ashba and vocalist James Michael release the second half of their 2-part blazing hard rock albums, Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2.
“Vol. 1, Prayers For The Damned” and “Vol. 2, Prayers For The Blessed” were both written and recorded at the same time, they are companion pieces carefully structured to kick the bands own sound print upstairs to its fullest tilt and it brings the demand to the fans of Nikki Sixx.
You can not ask for much more hard rock swagger from the heart and soul to the fans than this. Sixx et al deliver. Coming off their 2015 tour Nikki Sixx had stated that being onstage really influenced the way they connect and write, and you can really hear the effects throughout the two albums, having a much more solid consistent and band sound to them than the bands previous releases.

This monster album kicks off with “Barbarians (Prayers for the Blessed)” a fist pumping anthemic track that sets the tone for the rest; big vocals and a blistering lead really make this track stand out. “We Will Not Go Quietly” is next up. There is more of a groove on this one. It hits hard, but the melody continues to be the focus.
Stepping into the grooving motion of “That's Gonna Leave A Scar” to the 'rockpertic' show of “Maybe It's Time” showcases the diversity that lives and breathes deep within the talents of Nikki Sixx.
“Wolf At My Door” has some dirt and grit breathed in, while the heartfelt ballad “Maybe It's Time” strikes the emotive. Guitarist Ashba really delivers his skills on “Catacombs” and the hardest rock sound to come from the album falls on track, “The Devils Coming.” Opening acoustically “Suffocate” leads to a hailing crunch when the chorus kicks in.

The songs are brilliant, the production is excellent, bringing the best out of each song, and the band are performing at the peak of the talents, Go and buy it now. Simply A Must

Rating: 10/10

Queen - On Air (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Virgin EMI

Track listing:
DISC 1: 1. "My Fairy King" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
2. "Keep Yourself Alive" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
3. "Doing All Right" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
4. "Liar" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
5. "See What a Fool I've Been" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
6. "Keep Yourself Alive" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
7. "Liar" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
8. "Son and Daughter" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
9. "Ogre Battle" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)
10. "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)
11. "Great King Rat" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)
12. "Son and Daughter" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)

1. "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" (Session 4: 3rd April 1974)
2. "Nevermore" (Session 4: 3rd April 1974)
3. "White Queen (As It Began)" (Session 4: 3rd April 1974)
4. "Now I'm Here" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
5. "Stone Cold Crazy" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
6. "Flick of the Wrist" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
7. "Tenement Funster" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
8. "We Will Rock You" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
9. "We Will Rock You (fast)" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
10. "Spread Your Wings" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
11. "It's Late" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
12. "My Melancholy Blues" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)

On Air is the latest release from British Rock legends Queen, featuring for the first time ever officially (almost) every track that Queen recorded in session for broadcast by the BBC in the early 1970's. I say almost every track as one track from Session 4, 3rd April 1974 appears to be missing, that being March Of The Black Queen, but this is due to the fact that the band have always maintained that it was the album version of this song that was broadcast, therefore a BBC session track is not available to release, although this fact had been contested at times by various knowledgeable fans.
Queen’s meteoric ascendancy during the 1970s has been well documented. From their gloriously ambitious self-titled debut album of 1973 through to the album that put them in the superstar bracket, 1975’s A Night At The Opera, and beyond, this unique group carved out a singular path as the most visionary, inventive and charismatic band of that epic decade.
But there is another side to Queen’s rise that has been largely overlooked. Between February 1973 and October 1977, the band recorded six radio sessions exclusively for the BBC. The twenty four recordings these landmark sessions produced include alternate versions of the debut single, unique takes of classic album tracks and even a radically reworked reimagining of one of their best known anthems that has never previously appeared on any Queen studio release.
Now, for the very first time, all six Queen BBC sessions - meticulously restored by Queen engineer Kris Fredriksson and mastered by Grammy Award winner Adam Ayan - have been brought together on Queen On Air, released by Virgin EMI. North America through Hollywood Records. Available as a 2-CD set and a 3-LP vinyl edition, plus a Deluxe 6-disc edition featuring a CD of live broadcasts and 3 CDs of radio interviews, Queen On Air is an essential addition for connoisseurs of the band.
Back in 1989 the band did release a single disc album, Queen At The Beeb which featured the eight tracks from Sessions one and three, but this is the first time that all six BBC session have been made available for official commercial release. And before I go any further I have to say that Kris Fredriksson and Adam Ayan have done a fantastic job here, as the sound quality throughout every song on this two disc set is fantastic!
Queen’s very first session for the BBC, which opens Queen On Air, dates from February 1973, five months before the release of the band’s debut album and single. Imagine that you are listening to the radio in early 1973; no-one in the world has heard any Queen recordings EVER! John Peel plays My Fairy King, the very first Queen song to be broadcast on radio anywhere, and the story begins. He follows with Keep Yourself Alive (the song which later became their first single), the laidback Doing All Right and the epic rock operetta Liar (one of my all time favourite Queen songs!)– all of which serve notice of the arrival of a major new musical force.
The band returned to the BBC for their second session in July 1973, the same month their debut album was released. Revisiting Keep Yourself Alive and Liar, this time they also covered the heavy-as-lead Son And Daughter and the bluesy See What A Fool I’ve Been. The latter, which has never appeared on any Queen studio album, would later be re-recorded and become the B-side of their breakthrough hit single Seven Seas Of Rhye in 1974. In fact See What A Fool I’ve Been is one of the most interesting tracks here as it is performed in a straight serious manner and not with the overtly camp lead vocal that Freddie chose to use for the only other official release of this rare Queen song!
By the time Queen recorded their third BBC session in December 1973, they had already begun work on their second album, Queen II (eventually released in March 1974). The band premiered a new song which would feature on that album, Ogre Battle, which bares a stunning similarity to the live version of the song, alongside three classics from its predecessor, the galloping Great King Rat, the Roger Taylor-sung Modern Times Rock’n’Roll which seems to be performed at a faster tempo than any other available version out there, and a new version of Son And Daughter. Two more Queen II songs were recorded during a subsequent session in April 1974 – the epic White Queen (As It Began) and the delicate ballad Nevermore, which is another of the most interesting tracks on this release with its addition percussion that never made the album version of the song,  alongside a re-recorded Modern Times Rock’n’Roll.
Queen’s penultimate session for the BBC took place in October 1974, a month before the release of their classic third album, Sheer Heart Attack. The session saw the debut of four songs from that record: the dazzling Now I’m Here, the proto-heavy metal thrash attack of Stone Cold Crazy, which would covered by non other than thrash titans Metallica in years to come, the caustic Flick Of The Wrist and Tenement Funster, their celebration of the rock’n’roll lifestyle.
It would be another three years before Queen returned to the BBC for their sixth and final session, by which time the success of Bohemian Rhapsody had turned them into a global phenomenon.
On October 28th 1977, they recorded some radically different versions of four songs from the brand new News Of The World album, on the same day as it was given its UK release: the epic power ballad Spread Your Wings, the steel-plated rocker It’s Late,with this versions mid section morphing into elements of Get Down Make Love,  the dusky jazz number My Melancholy Blues and two significantly contrasting renditions of the global hit We Will Rock You – the ‘regular’ version and the ‘fast’ version, a full-tilt guitar-heavy take on the song. The accelerated version on Queen On Air is the only known studio recording of this live favourite.  “’We Will Rock You’
These two discs alone are must haves for any Queen fan, as they showcase the bands early development, along with their true hard rocking classic rock roots!

To complete the full picture, the 6-CD Deluxe Edition includes Queen Live On Air – a single disc featuring highlights of three live concert broadcasts: Queen live at the Golders Green Hippodrome, from September 1973, their first concert to be transmitted on radio anywhere in the world. Also, Queen performing in Brazil at Sao Paulo’s gigantic Morumbi stadium to a record-setting audience of 131,000 originally relayed live on radio and TV in March 1981 on the Badeirantes network during the band’s infamous South America Bites The Dust tour. Finally, Queen’s penultimate live concert radio broadcast. Aired less than four weeks before their last show with Freddie, this was a live emission from the show in Mannheim Germany, in June 1986 during the mighty Magic Tour.

This really is a great release, long over due!

Rating: 10/10

Drama Club Rejects - Drama Club Rejects (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Punk / Alternative
Label - Self released

Track listing:
01 - King of Second Chances
02 - 1 Day Week
03 - Solarflare
04 - Space Invaders
05 - I Wanna Be Your Everything
06 - Homesick Alien
07 - Destination Anybody
08 - Idiot Brigade
09 - Kickin' A Hole
10 - Hate Song
11- Wish You Were Here

Drama Club Rejects are a new melody driven punk rock band consisting of an amalgamation of artists who have already got... quite a history in the genre. Nick Parsons ( Almighty, Whatever, Supercharger) Stidi (Wildhearts, Whatever) and Nash (Supercharger). Combining edgy riffs, power pop chorus's and down right dirty mood swings, and they are bloody awesome!
The album opens with King of Second Chances, a hearty up-tempo blast of melodic hook laden punk rock n roll, which really sets the tone for what is to come with the rest of the album! Musically the guys are in fine form, churning out solid track after solid track here on their debut. Musically the guys sound like the perfect blend of their previous bands, you can here elements of Whatever, Supercharger and even The Almighty and Wildhearts in places. Blending punk rock attitude with power pop sensibilities and melodies, which makes for an exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable album!
Highlights have to include the aforementioned King Of Second Chances, Homesick Alien, Kickin A Hole and Hate Song, although to be brutally honest there just isn't a bad track on the album!

Well Worth Checking Out!

Rating: 9/10

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Glenn Hughes - Resonate (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music

Track listing:
01 - Heavy
02 - My Town
03 - Flow
04 - Let It Shine
05 - Steady
06 - God of Money
07 - How Long
08 - When I Fall
09 - Landmines
10 - Stumble & Go
11 - Long Time Gone

"Resonate" is the first GLENN HUGHES solo album in eight years, and is to be released via Frontiers Records.
To say that "Resonate" lives up to its name is to understate Glenn Hughes’ pivotal role in hard rock related music. Both his music and his stage performance has always been about the twin pillars of drama and dynamics and he reverts to type here.
From his constant rumbling bass and stratopheric vocal whoops that transform a heavy duty groove into something unexpected, to the bone crunching guitar lines of co-producer Soren Andersen, Hughes and his band move every last air molecule in the studio.
Given that this is his first solo album for 8 years, he works hard to re-confirm his hard rock credentials. There’s barely a tip of the hat to his mid 90′s jive ass funk and blue eyed soul, except for ‘Landmines’, which combines funk and a vocoder break, and the closing rock ballad ‘Long Time Gone’.
The title track ticks all the right boxes as his impassioned phrasing provides a sharp contrast to the booming rhythm track. His sudden vocal swoop into the hook announces that ‘The Voice of Rock’ is back.
‘Resonate’ reveals more with each play as there’s so much going on. From Chad Smith’s bombastic drums on the opening title track - albeit Pontus Engborg puts in the main shift on the album – through Hughes’s pulsating bass to Soren Andersen’s distorted (but clean) guitar lines and the album’s overall enveloping sound, this is hard rock as it was meant to be.
That said, it’s also an album that belatedly leaves the heavy rock template at the three- quarter mark, as it goes in search of other musical directions.
Indeed by the extended blow of ‘How Long’, the heavy approach seems to have run it’s course, as keyboard player Lachy Doley adds a mid-number keyboard break that compared to his impressive riffing on ‘Steady’ sounds like a filler solo.
But there’s plenty of good stuff leading up that point. Hughes adds a trademark vocal on both the booming title track and the hook of ‘My Town’.
He’s also at his most expansive on the catchy ‘Let It Shine’, the Deep Purple influenced ‘Steady’ and the soulful ‘When I Fall’. And it’s on these highlights that the band members complete a reverse arc from the opening bluster to later more restrained approach that allows them to broaden their musical palette.

Hughes vocal performance, which, just like his ripping bass lines, is the cornerstone of a big sounding album. He confidently brings his full range to bear on a wide variety of material that showcases his ability to rock as well as nuance some introspective emotive moments
On ‘Let It Shine’ we have to briefly plough through rumbling bass lines and distorted guitar tones before an uplifting hook resolution that stays long in the memory. Soren Andersen’s subsequent gnawing guitar break drags us over the coals.
This track is the moment when the band is in perfect synchronicity as it counterbalances Hughes’s hard rock credentials with his soulful style vocals.
"Resonate" certainly lives up to its name. It’s an album sculpted by layered parts and shaped by a huge wall of sound that accommodates every element of Glenn’s bristling persona. He’s an indefatigable performer who rocks, grooves and gets just as soulful in the studio as he does while treading the boards.
Ultimately Glenn Hughes imbues the hard rock template with sundry possibilities, but just like a stick of rock the end result comes stamped all the way through with his unique DNA.

An Essential Release!!!

Rating: 10/10

Bon Jovi - This House Is Not For Sale (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Virgin EMI

Track listing:
01. This House Is Not For Sale
02. Living With The Ghost
03. Knockout
04. Labour Of Love
05. Born Again Tomorrow
06. Roller Coaster
07. New Year's Day
08. The Devil's In The Temple
09. Scars On This Guitar
10. God Bless This Mess
11. Reunion
12. Come On Up To Our House
13. Real Love
14. All Hail The King
15. We Don't Run
16. I Will Drive You Home
17. Goodnight New York
18. Touch Of Grey (Exclusive 'Saturn' Edition Bonus)

"This House Is Not For Sale" is BON JOVI’s new album, and in my honest opinion ion is the best album that they have released in years!
This is Bon Jovi's fourteenth studio album in a long and winding musical road that spans more than three decades and total record sales of more than 130 million units worldwide. Bon Jovi is, quite simply, one of the best-selling bands of all time. And, like many other mega-bands, its members have weathered their share of storms.
Opener title track "This House is not for Sale" has an explanation; "The House" described in this arena-ready single is the band itself, and the whole "not for sale" aspect seems to be an extra punch toward the label, as well as a beat toward the future, which the singer assured "is bright."
"Living with a Ghost" is  another straightaway rock banger with a sweeping guitar melody, then "Knockout", the album's eventual second single, felt fairly old-school, '80s in essence.
"Labour of Love" is the album's first ballad, pretty Springsteen-esque for my tastes. "Born Again Tomorrow" is the "we need to sound like 2016" song.
"Rollercoaster", an up-tempo rocker with a fine dynamic chorus, and even much better with "The Devils in the Temple" and its lyrics with a explicit "screw you" to the record label. Its also one of the best songs that I have heard this year!
Lyrically, "Scars on this Guitar" s Bon Jovi's best work in a while, an ode to a lover — presumably wife Dorothea — who sticks around through thick and thin. It's not that the ballad is so poetic, it just feels like more real, from the heart, and not written solely to blare from MetLife Stadium speakers. It also feels like the natural successor to "My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms" from These Days!
"God Bless this Mess" rocks again with a cool melody and nice guitar riffs, and "Come on up to our House" is a decent mid-tempo with a contemporary feel.
The Deluxe Edition featured 3 bonus; the first being the really good (to me) "Real Love". Kudos to Bryan on the bounding, tonally beautiful piano melody for this tune, written in Nashville with longtime Bon Jovi collaborator Billy Falcon, and in the same vein as Bed of Roses.
"All Hail the King" is a typical 2YK light rocker, and "We Don't Run" is taken from 2015's fan album/record label demand Burning Bridges, another big rock chorus ready for large stages.
"I Will Drive You Home" is a slow mid-tempo beautiful song,  "Goodnight New York" picks up the tempo with its catchy rhythm guitars and a fun vibe.
This Saturn exclusive track 'Touch Of Grey' is one of the best tracks form these recording sessions, a mid-tempo with some acoustic guitar into the mix and a feel akin Bon Jovi's These Days album.

A marvellous return to form for one of the worlds biggest selling bands!

Highly recommended

Rating: 10/10

Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) - We Are the Ones (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Red River Entertainment / Ear Music.

Track listing:
01 - We Are the Ones
02 - Over Again
03 - Close to You
04 - Rule the World
05 - We're Not Gonna Take It (2016 version)
06 - Crazy for Nothing
07 - Believe
08 - Head Like a Hole
09 - Superhero
10 - So What

the legendary Dee Snider release's his third solo record titled "We Are The Ones" via Red River Entertainment / Ear Music.
Unlike his previous solo efforts, the rocker Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down or the easy listening lounge album Dee Does Broadway, the latest record is middle of the road. What I mean by that is that "We Are The Ones" rocks ‘less’ than Bastards but rocks ‘more’ than Broadway.
"We Are The Ones" is a some kind of a transformation from ‘rock and roller’ to ‘radio friendly’ or contemporary rocker.
One must approach this new Snider record without any preconceived notions because after all; it’s not a Twisted Sister, Widowmaker or a Dee solo effort like any other before it.
The production is punchy and there’s a lot of emphasis on the choruses and hooks.
Dee Snider himself sounds spectacular on this recording. There’s no question this is the handy work of Grammy Award winning Damon Ranger who serves as album producer & songwriter for the majority of the material on the album.
Ranger was the mastermind who pitched the idea to Snider to record a more ‘current’ sounding effort.
There’s two covers on We Are The Ones. The first is Twisted Sister’s 'We’re Not Gonna Take It' which is stripped down rendition of Dee singing along with a piano. This adds a brilliant twist to a classic song in my honest opinion.
The second is Nine Inch Nails’ 'Head Like A Hole' which is a great song penned by the mighty Trent Reznor but also very much overexposed. Aside from the intro to the song, it’s a ‘color by numbers’ or ‘karaoke’ rendition that you’d hear by a contestant on The Voice or The X Factor. It just doesn't work in my opinion.
Anyway, there are some of great moments — and I wish there would have been more — on the album. Title track 'We Are The Ones' rocks with good energy, the melodic rocker 'Over And Over Again' which boasts a huge chorus, upbeat tempo and excellent hook, and 'Believe',  which would seem to be a great tune to be played in a live setting. Together with the Bon Jovi Esque 'Rule The World'
The modern, acoustically based 'So What' is also quite brilliant, with its angry lyric attitude.
Unfortunately some of the other tracks seem to just fall short, especially 'Close To You' and 'Super Hero', together with the aforementioned 'Head Like Hole'.

Worth Checking Out and nice to see a genuine rock n roll legend continuing to release new music!

Rating: 8/10

Demon - Cemetery Junction (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - Spaced Out Music

Track listing:
01 - Are You Just Like Me (Spirit of Man)
02 - Life in Berlin
03 - Turn on the Magic
04 - The Best Is Yet to Come
05 - Queen of Hollywood
06 - Thin Disguise
07 - Cemetery Junction
08 - Drive
09 - Miracle
10 - Out of Control
11 - Someone's Watching You

DEMON are true British legends, and quite possibly the most underrated metal band of all time! Having originally burst onto the scene as part of the infamous NWoBHM scene back in the late 70's early 80's, Demon have constantly delivered outstanding bodies of work, and are now releasing their brand spanking new album, Cemetery Junction through Spaced Out Music.
Never ones to repeat themselves, Demon have proved time and time again that they are as good as - if not better - than their peers, even if they aren’t a household name.
"Cemetery Junction" may just change this lack of notoriety though, carefully crafted, this 11 track rocking CD is something the band are immensely proud of, and rightfully so, whilst the phrase 'All Killer-No Filler' is thrown around a lot, never has it been more true than in this instance.
From the opening track 'Are You Just Like Me', it’s clear that the band are firing on all cylinders, and demand your full and undivided attention.
Vocalist Dave Hill may be the only constant since the bands inception, but that doesn’t mean the band have lost any of their sound, in fact, they are possibly one of the few bands who have managed to maintain their signature sound but as well as adapting it according to times and keeping the identity of each member intact.
Neil Ogden and Ray Walmsley who provide the rhythm section are clearly identifiable, Paul Hume / David Cotterill both have unique playing styles when it comes to the twin guitar work, Karl Waye has an individual sound on the keyboard that is different to his predecessors, and time itself has been kind to Hill, his voice is as strong as it was in the '80s now with more melodic arrangements.
Closing the CD is 'Some’s Watching You', almost a reprise to the supernatural themes that Demon were known for in their early years, a haunting almost nursery rhyme-esque track that sends shivers down your spine.
This throwback shows that at heart, this is still the band that emerged in the '80s, but now in 2016, they have come a long way, but they’ve still got a long way to go. In their last release Unbroken, Demon's the message was clear; the band are unbroken, they are still standing despite the trials and tribulations.
With "Cemetery Junction", the band have stated themselves that 'The Best Is Yet To Come', these aren’t empty words either, the band have stuck to their guns through thick and thin and only they know what’s around the corner.

Rating: 10/10

The Answer - Solas (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Napalm Records

Track listing:
01. Solas
02. Beautiful World
03. Battle Cry
04. Untrue Colour
05. In This Land
06. Thief Of Light
07. Being Begotten
08. Left Me Standing
09. Demon Driven Man
10. Real Life Dreamers
11. Tunnel
12. In This Land (Acoustic Bonus Track)
13. Light In Darkness (Demo Bonus Track)
14. Money (Pink Floyd Cover Bonus Track)

THE ANSWER are back with the brand new album "Solas" following hot on the heels of their re-mastered and re-released edition of 'Rise' earlier this year.
On "Solas" (the Gaelic word for light) the band have really grown and seem to have made a real about turn in their musical outlook. Less arena-ready blues rockers and more reflective songs and Gaelic influences in some of the music.
There is just so much to take in and enjoy from ‘Being Begotten’, which sounds like a Robert Plant solo song through to ‘Battle Cry’ which is just that, opening with some sweet gentle acoustic and Cormac’s beautifully poetic vocal.
Then a steady bass drum enters, building the song into an intense and deeply layered track, complete with strings and an uplifting chorus sung in Gaelic. An amazing song and one of the best songs this band have recorded.
The vocal arrangements, the uplifting lyrics – they have really nailed it on this one.
Beautiful World’ is a real left-field song, co-written with former Massive Attack producer/composer Neil Davidge, it has a cinematic and epic feel to the music that rises nicely to a full band crescendo.
The title track mixes a little Led Zeppelin with background atmospheres and Cormac Neeson really lets fly on his vocal powers. Listen to the outro you will be suitably impressed.
Oh and listen to ‘Untrue Colour’ for the Cars-like synth breaks – one for a future airplay/single release. They still rock out though, as ‘Left Me Standing’ romps along nicely and features Thin Lizzy approved guitars. There is also ‘Demon Drive Man’ driven by a straight riff..
‘Real Life Dreamers’ sees Cormac joined by Fiona McBride for a slow, haunting number and along with slow blues of ‘Tunnel’, add more variety to the mix. The latter song features Hammond and a blistering solo by Paul Mahon.

'Solas' shows a band truly coming of age and stretching themselves both musically and artistically as song writers.
Quite possibly one of the most important albums that The Answer will ever record, and definitely one of the best albums to be released in 2016!

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating: 10/10

Hand of Dimes - Raise (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - Coda Recordings

Track listing:
01 - Guilty
02 - Moonlight Mile
03 - Stranger in My Home Town
04 - Pinstriped Arrogance
05 - Jacob's Ladder
06 - The Drifter
07 - Looking at You
08 - Angels and Demons
09 - Sail On
10 - Bad Reputation
11 - Come the Hour
12 - Another Sunday
13 - If I Hold You (Bonus Track)

Hand of Dimes are a relatively new melodic hard band fronted by Welsh rock legend Nev MacDonald (Skin, Taste, Kooga) and Raise is the bands debut full length studio album, released via Coda Recordings. In Hand of Dimes, Nev MacDonald is joined by his form Kooga  partner in crime the excellent songwriter / keyboardist Neil Garland.
Hand Of Dimes has a classic rock sound with pulsating guitars, classy keyboards and a bouncy rhythm section guided by MacDonald's enormous bluesy roar. Nev's vocals are powerful, controlled and full of emotion. Just check the incredible 'Another Sunday', a true gem.
Songs like ‘Looking at You’ and ‘Bad Reputation’ were given the spacious arrangements to show that off, much in the way Free and Bad Co. did with Paul Rodgers voice.
‘Angels and Demons’ and ‘Jacobs Ladder’ are both more mid-tempo paced, atmospheric pieces creating a more intimate mood, the for pumping rockers, 'Pinstriped Arrogance' with its classy Whitesnake feel, the kickin' opener 'Guilty' and the funkier 'Come the Hour' are real winners.
Neil Garland adds some great keyboard work on the likes of ‘Stranger in my Home Town’ or the soulful 'Sail On', while hiding behind shades the guitar work of Colin Edwards is really tasteful.
"Raise" is a terrific classic rock debut from Hand Of Dimes full of excellent melodies and some truly awesome songs.

Rating: 9/10

The Dowling Poole - Miles Checks Out EP (2016)

Genre - Psychedelic Pop / Psychedelic Rock / Power Pop
Label - Self released / 369 Music

Track listing:
01 - Miles Checks Out
02 - Saving It All For Saturday (Live Acoustic From Manchester)
03 - Getting A Licence (Live Acoustic From Manchester)

Willie Dowling and Random Jon Poole return with their Dowling Poole project and a brand spanking new Ep, Miles Checks Out Ep. The Ep features one brand new studio track and two excellent live cuts taken from their live acoustic show in Manchester.
The studio track is just brilliant,  quite typical of what we have to come to expect from this rather excellent project, worth purchasing the Ep for alone. The two live acoustic tracks are recorded brilliantly, capturing the band at the hilarious best, I mean the two live songs really do capture the true essence of this project, and the sound quality is amazing, they could very well have been recorded in a studio, the sound is that good!

Well Worth Checking Out!

Rating: 9/10

Zen Motel - Rip It Off (Part One) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Sleaze
Label - Corporate Records

Track listing:
01 - Note To Self Don't Die (Ryan Adams Cover)
02 - Opinion (Nirvana Cover)
03 - Sister (Therapy? Cover)
04 - My Pal (God Cover)

Following quickly on the heels of their Choking on the Chrome EP's, released earlier this year, Zen Motel present us with part one of their new covers album. Featuring just four tracks, and seeing the band tackle the material of some real heavy weights within the hard rock alternative scene with songs originally by Nirvana, Therapy?, Ryan Adams and God (the band not the big man himself!).
I have to say that I generally find cover albums rather hit and miss, but in the case of Rip It Off, Zen Motel have definitely nailed each and every song to perfection! In all four cases the band remain loyal and true to the original versions of the songs, yet still manage to put their own stamp all over them, and if I am honest I have to say that I prefer these four cover versions to the originals, especially Opinion, Sister and My Pal!

Very highly recommended!

Rating: 10/10

Eyes of the Raven - Seasons End EP (2016)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Groove Metal / Hard Rock / Biker Rock
Label - Self Released

Track listing:
01 - Cast The First Stone
02 - Lessons In Blasphemy
03 - Redeemer
04 - Sometimes Bruised, Never Broken
05 - Bury Your Demons

Formed in 2009, Eyes of the Raven are a Groove metal/Stoner band from the Black Country England. Brought up on Black Sabbath, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Entombed and Anthrax to name a few, the collective souls of Eyes of the Raven became solid honest beer drinking musicians with the determination to write and play heavy as hell riffage.
Now to say that this Ep has been a long time coming is major understatement, we are talking Chinese Democracy anticipation here, with the band threatening to drop this EP since 2010! That creates a strange problem though, as most of the fans ever growing fan base will already be very familiar with all of the five tracks on offer here, which to be honest does take a little away from the excitement of the release, but on the other hand it is great to finally have definitive recorded versions of the songs that they have been loving so much at the live show!

So how does the EP sound? Well pretty darn good to be frank. With Seasons End, Eyes of the Raven deliver five great well written and performed tracks, all of them killer with no fillers to be seen anywhere!
One of the bands greatest assets is the plain and simple fact that it is very hard to pigeon hole their sound, yes they are a metal band with many stoner and groove metal elements on display, but there are also some great hard rock sensibilities within their music to, so instead of trying to pigeon hole their sound you just kick back relax and enjoy the bloody music!
Seasons End opens up with Cast The First Stone, a dirty swaggering slab of hard rocking groove metal, pretty much a call to arms, a battle cry as such and therefore a more than fitting opener!
Next up we have Lessons In Blasphemy, the bands thunderous middle fingered salute to organised religion, that sees vocalist Dave Horan showcasing his pipes to great effect. Redeemer follows, with stoner metal styled opening, that opens up in to quick tempo-ed rocker with some Black Sabbath overtones. Sometimes Bruised, Never Broken is the Ep's penultimate track, its also the bands anthem, a great song of defiance and resilience! Seasons End closes out with its heaviest track, the brilliant Bury Your Demons. This thunderous track just seethes with an anger that  sweeps the listener along, leaving them hungry for more as the EP comes to an all too soon end!

Well worth checking out and highly recommended!

Rating: 10/10

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Love Zombies - Passionfruit (2016)

Genre - Pop / Rock / Punk
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01. Oblivion
02. Lighten Up
03. Robots & Aliens
04. Spiders
05. Favourite Song
06. Big and Strong
07. Backwards World
08. Fast & Frantic
09. Birthday
10. Who The Fuck Are They?
11. Love Zombies Theme Song (Bonus Track)

 So finally the wait is over and the Love Zombies pledge final comes to an end with the release of the bands debut album. Not that I am complaining as there have been plenty of pledge bonus pledge's along the way with around six or seven pledge EP's whilst the band have been hauled up recording this little beauty. Now Love Zombies first came to my attention through singer Hollis Mahady's involvement with Ginger Wildhearts Hey! Hello! project, where she fronted the band last year for various live dates and even recorded an album with them only to leave the project on the eve of the albums release resulting in the album being pulled, re-recorded with new vocalists and released last month, some five months after its original planned release.
The album opens up with the fast paced 'Oblivion' which really sets the tone for the bands infectious blend of bubblegum pop / rock / punk. 'Lighten Up' follows and keeps things moving along as does the brilliant 'Robots & Aliens' before 'Spiders' slows the tempo down a little. 'Favourite Song' sees the tempo stay rather relaxed even though it does start to rock things up a little again before 'Big and Strong' throws us a curve ball with its weird laid back feel. A great song though. The tempo picks up a little with 'Backwards World' before 'Fast & Frantic' kicks in, which is a great put down to over eager lovers lol. The fun is at an all time high with 'Birthday', a song about not wanting to dump someone on their birthday,  before the albums closer sends a message to all the bands haters in the form of 'Who The Fuck Are They?'. We have a bonus track in the form of 'Love Zombies Theme' which is a good bit of fun.

Love Zombies are a great band, but they aren't really going to set the world on fire, but their music is a good old dose of solid fun to keep the listeners entertained.

Rating: 9/10

Meat Loaf - Braver Than We Are (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Genre - Rock
Label - Caroline International S&D

Track listing:

01. Who Needs The Young
02. Going All The Way Is Just The Start (a song in 6 movements)
03. Speaking In Tongues
04. Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It)
05. Souvenirs
06. Only When I Feel
07. More
08. Godz
09. Skull Of Your Country
10. Train Of Love
11. I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Wont Do That) (Song Writers Demo)
12. Dirty Water (Song Writers Demo)
13. Prize Fight Lover (Song Writers Demo)
14. Who Needs The Young (Song Writers Demo)
15. Going All The Way Is Just The Start (Radio Edit)

Now Meatloaf albums have always a certain amount of hit or miss about them, but in general whenever Meatloaf has collaborated with song writer / producer extraordinaire Jim Steinman they have been hits. These collaborations have included the mighty Bat Out Of Hell and Bat Out Of Hell Two albums and Dead Ringer release. So I had huge hopes for this album, and even wondered why it wasn't being released as Bat Out Of Hell Four, but upon giving it a few good listens I understand them deciding not to tarnish the Bat Out Of Hell legacy. Don't get me wrong, Braver than We Are is by no means a poor album, in fact it is a bloody good solid album, but when it is compared to the previous collaborative releases of Messrs Meatloaf and Steinman it just falls short. The project also showcases another reunion with vocalists Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito (from the smash hit 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light') on the epic song and first single ‘Going All The Way’.
Put simply... Meat Loaf can't perform like he used to. The man is sixty-eight years old. His last few albums, 2010's Hang Cool Teddy Bear and 2011's Hell In A Handbasket have shown a massive drop in vocal quality. He just can't belt it out like he used to. His voice just simply lacks the power that it used to have, and that is such a pity, because had this album been recorded when Meat's voice was at its most potent then this album could have been truly great.
The ten tracks on the album are mostly songs pulled from musicals Steinman has written, and a rehashing of Bonnie Tyler's hit 'Loving You Is A Dirty Job', and I'm not sure how I can ever listen to 'Skull Of Your Country' without being reminded that it was turned into something so much better in "Total Eclipse Of The Heart". I understand Steinman recycles, but leaving in the "turn around bright eyes" motif, when it's already world famous in another song, is a decision that begs me to compare this album to ones that are worlds better. The larger than life character of Meat Loaf has been reduced to a singer who can't keep up with any of the women guesting on these tracks. He is flat out out-sung not only by them, but in places by his own backup singers. It's shocking how old he sounds, missing notes and lacking any of the power or passion we've come to know from him. And that is such a shame as had his voice been up to  the job then this album could have been something special. I love the fact that I get to hear Steinman tracks that I hadn't heard before such as a song written for the defunct project The Dream Engine, 'Speaking In Tongues' and 'More' which was written for the Batman musical.
Meat Loaf is a legend, but this new album sadly fails to live up to the high standards that Meatloaf and Jim Steinman have set with their previous collaborations.

Rating: 7/10

FREDDIE MERCURY - Messenger Of The Gods; The Singles Collection (2016)

Genre - Rock / Pop
Label - Mercury Records/ Universal / Hollywood Records

Track listing:

Disc 1:
01 - Living On My Own (Single Edit)
02 - The Great Pretender
03 - In My Defence
04 - Love Kills
05 - Barcelona (Single Version)
06 - Made In Heaven (Single Remix)
07 - Time
08 - Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow
09 - I Was Born To Love You
10 - The Golden Boy (Single Edit)
11 - I Can Hear Music
12 - How Can I Go On (Single Version)
13 - Living On My Own (No More Brothers Radio Mix)

Disc 2:
01 - Goin' Back
02 - Let's Turn It On
03 - My Love Is Dangerous
04 - She Blows Hot And Cold
05 - Living On My Own (Julian Raymond Mix)
06 - Stop All The Fighting
07 - Time (Instrumental)
08 - Exercises In Free Love (Freddie vocal)
09 - Exercises In Free Love (Montserrat vocal)
10 - The Fallen Priest (B-Side Edit)
11 - Overture Piccante
12 - Love Kills (Wolf Euro Mix)

The legendary Freddie Mercury was a man of many talents and many different sides. The songs he wrote for and with Queen filled stadiums around the globe and have rightly gone down in history, but he also embarked on a solo career that took him from the clubs of Munich and New York to the great opera houses of the world.
He was the ultimate showman, but he kept his private life away from the prying eyes of the media; a larger than life rock star who loved disco, classical music and ballet. He was a restless spirit, a true chameleon who revelled in his own contradictions.
All the different sides of this iconic musician can be found on Freddie Mercury: Messenger Of The Gods – The Singles. Fittingly released on Mercury Records for the world outside North America, and on Hollywood Records in North America, this box set brings together all thirteen of Freddie’s solo singles on individually coloured vinyl and two CD set.
From his debut solo single "I Can Hear Music", released under the name Larry Lurex, through the dance floor-influenced solo anthems of the 80s and up to his collaborations with legendary Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé including the timeless Barcelona, this is a journey through the career of a unique talent.

Now for a man, no matter how much of a musical genius and legend he was, who only ever released two solo studio albums in his career, this is the seventh compilation release to date, and that included a ten disc box set back in 2000.
But saying that, this compilation is primarily based around the seven inch vinyl option so all can be forgiven.
Freddie Mercury was a unique talent, a soaring, powerful voice and superhuman grasp of showmanship. This was always evident with Queen but also in his solo career, and what you have here is a bumper collection of his seven inch single solo releases. In all, twenty five tracks. Yes, this includes three versions of "Living on My Own", two versions of "Love Kills", the hard to find "Time" and "Exercises in Free Love", but there is still more than enough to justify the asking price. And with "Living on My Own", the versions are different enough to warrant their inclusion. Throughout, Freddie's extraordinary vocal prowess shines through, and even when the material dips a little bit below excellent, his brilliant voice ensures that you remain utterly transfixed.
One thing that I have always admired about Freddie's solo work is the way he kept it fresh and adventurous, pushing musical boundaries (especially as per the Barcelona album that fused pop rock with opera!), and did not revert to using the Queen trademark sound. Very underrated music by a legend who may one day fully receive the credit he deserves.
The only real fault that I have is that I would have liked to have seen a couple of previously unreleased items, but then again this is a compilation of Freddie's singles, so I guess that can be forgiven.
Well worth checking out!

Rating: 9/10


(A) I Can Hear Music - Larry Lurex (1973)
(B) Goin’ Back – Larry Lurex 

(A) Love Kills (1984)

(A) I Was Born To Love You (1985)
(B) Stop All The Fighting

(A) Made In Heaven [Single Remix] (1985) 
(B) She Blows Hot And Cold

(A) Living On My Own [Single Edit] (1985) 
(B) My Love Is Dangerous

(A) Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow (1985)
(B) Let’s Turn It On 

(A) Time (1986)
(B) Time [Instrumental] 

(A) The Great Pretender (1987)
(B) Exercises In Free Love [Freddie’s Vocal]

(A) Barcelona [Single Version] (1987) 
(B) Exercises In Free Love [Montserrat’s Vocal]

(A) The Golden Boy [Single Edit] (1988) 
(B) The Fallen Priest [B-Side Edit]

(A) How Can I Go On [Single Version] (1989) 
(B) Overture Piccante

(A) In My Defence (1992)
(B) Love Kills [Wolf Euro Mix]

(A) Living On My Own [No More Brothers Radio Mix] (1993)
(B) Living On My Own [Julian Raymond Album Mix]  

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Hamerex - Traitor (2016)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - Code 7 - Ix Music

Track listing:
01 - Traitor
02 - The Dark Tower
03 - Dead mountain
04 - The Nameless One
05 - Eyes Of Deceit
06 - The Abyss
07 - The Evil Within
08 - Journey's End

Hamerex return with their brand spanking new album in the form of Traitor, and what an album it is too! Clocking in at just under the fifty minute mark, Traitor is a brilliant slab of pure unadulterated metal!
Opening with the title track, Traitor, the guys start things off with a mighty slab of dark doom laden riffage, that at the same time seems to be uplifting and positive too! Something like the bastard child of a Paradise Lost and Disturbed union! Next up we have The Dark Tower, a song that carries the instantly recognisable Hamerex sound, cool chugging riffs and silk lead guitar work combining with driving drums and soaring vocals. Dead Mountain follows, a tribal influenced slab of majestic metal, there is just something really comforting and familiar to this song. Next up we have The Nameless One, which is quite possibly my favourite song on the album. Think Iron Maidens Still Life and Virus, everything a good classic metal track should be, cool atmospheric sections, exploding riffs, subtle to soaring Dickinson-esque vocals, absolutely perfect! The pace quickens on Eye's Of Deceit, with its catchy rapid fire riffs and rhythm section. This would have made a great album opener as it really does leave you hungering for more!
The Abyss is up next, a great instrumental and a song that begins with a simple melodic riff  that echoes along until the rhythm sections kick's in and builds the songs atmosphere and power until it becomes a true metal giant. The Evil Within is the albums penultimate and longest track clocking in at around the nine minute mark. Imagine Dickinson or Blaze Bayley for that matter, fronting Slayer or Exodus and you get an idea of how this brilliant track comes across, pure unadulterated metal!
The Album closes with Journey's End, with its slower Sabbath meets Maiden like riff, that just keeps growing.

Traitor really is a grand old slab of brilliant unadulterated metal that see's the rhythm section of bassist Marc Hood and drummer Darren Kelsall, laying the solid foundations for guitarist Steve Blower and Andy Firth to build sonic slabs of metal mayhem upon on. All topped off with Steve Blowers solid and at times Bruce Dickinson like vocals.

Vary Highly Recommended!

Rating: 10/10

Saturday, 24 September 2016

AIRBOURNE - Breakin' Outta Hell (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Universal Music

Track listing:
01 - Breakin' Outta Hell
02 - Rivalry
03 - Get Back Up
04 - It's Never Too Loud for Me
05 - Thin the Blood
06 - I'm Going to Hell for This
07 - Down on You
08 - Never Been Rocked Like This
09 - When I Drink I Go Crazy
10 - Do Me Like You Do Yourself
11 - It's All for Rock N' Roll

Since the release of their debut album in 2003 AIRBOURNE have been delivering their brand of Aussie flavoured hard rock.   Airbourne’s heroes AC/DC managed it, as did fellow Aussie icons Rose Tattoo, and sure enough there are times here when Airbourne come close to matching such lofty standards. The album’s title cut, an “anti-bullshit and boredom anthem” is a brilliant opener, the likes of 'Get Back Up', the dirty 'It’s Never Too Loud For Me', 'I Go Crazy When I Drink', 'I’m Going To Hell For This' and the salacious 'Down On You' continuing the exceptional work of no-frills, kick-ass rock n' roll.
Delivered in Joel O’Keefe’s gravel-voiced roar, all tap into the band’s gloriously booze-soaked, expletive-charged modus operandi and are surely destined to become part of their onstage repertoire.
"Breakin' Outta Hell" is a very easy album to review,  simple, effective Rock 'n Roll. If you know Airbourne, you already know what you’re getting.

Rating: 9/10

RAVENEYE - Nova (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music

Track listing:

01. Wanna Feel You
02. Come With Me
03. Inside
04. Hero
05. Supernova
06. Walls
07. Oh My Love
08. Madeline
09. Hate
10. Out Of The Rain
11. Eternity

RAVENEYE are a UK-based trio formed in two years by 25 year old, multi-award winning guitarist & singer Oli Brown, along with Aussie bassist Aaron Spiers plus drummer Adam Breeze.
Recorded as a band as opposed to a passion project of guitarist and vocalist Oli Brown, "Nova" feels really consistent from the go and is a towering statement of how hard rock should sound in 2016.
There’s massive, dirty, bluesy riffs married with Oli’s snarling lyrics alongside his partners in crime; Aaron Spiers delivering meaty bass lines and Gunnar Olsen powering through his drum tracks.
Album opener 'Wanna Feel You' is mired in heavy blues and is a great way of pulling you in. One of the beefiest songs on the album it clocks in just under the six minute mark as it builds into a massive writhing beast before the radio-friendly gut punch of 'Come With Me' hits. It’s a brilliant juxtaposition of the two songs and shows how diverse the band can be whilst managing to retain their identity.
Between riffs and distortion, Oli Brown is proving his mettle with his weapon of choice and with some of the sounds he manages to get out of his guitar shows he’s intent on making a claim on becoming one of rock’s most talked about guitarists.
"Nova" is pretty exhilarating from top to toe, and I do have favourites, but only by a small margin may I add and when you get to ‘Walls’ you’ll know exactly what I mean. The complexity of the song writing blended with moments of outstanding flair that seep through are awesome, and will knock you off your feet while raising the rafters at the same time. ‘Walls’ comes at you all guns blazing from every direction in a bombardment of time changes and riffs that could make a grown man cry.
Oh My Love’ has that wonderful sensuous chunky bass with overlaid bluesy tones and high background harmonies that is just incredible, and I can’t get enough of this one either. Crank the volume, tighten the earphones, close your eyes and feel that damn solo swallow you whole.
The closing tune ‘Eternity’ is another great one. Harmonies are delicate and touching, the melody is captivating and then whoa it just slams you in the heart with an epic virtuoso and uplifting sensation that you just don’t want to come down from.
At this point you now just want to hit the repeat button and do it all over again, because you can’t believe the ride is over. This album gets better and better with every play!
"Nova" is a one of a hell rocking debut full of riffs and grooves, laden with hooks and singalong choruses. It’s exhilarating, it’s fast and furious one moment, and ripping out your heart the next.

Rating: 10/10