Monday, 29 August 2016

Zed - Trouble In Eden (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Blues / Stoner Rock
Label - Ripple Music

Track listing:
01. Royale
02. Save You from Yourself
03. The Only True Thing
04. Today Not Tomorrow
05. Trouble in Eden
06. Blood of the Fallen
07. High Indeed
08. So Low
09. Across the Sea
10. The Mountain

San Francisco Bay Area's Zed takes it cues from the greats like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC, and mixes them with their other musical influences such as Clutch, Rage Against the Machine and Queens of the Stone Age. With this mixture, Zed crafts a sound that is new, yet familiar and are bringing back the guts, the grit and the balls to Rock. And they won't stop until they succeed. At least in getting drunk and having a good time. And I have to say at times they do remind me of fellow San Franciscan's Trouble.
“Trouble In Eden” is Zed’s third album, is their first for Ripple Music.
“Royale” starts the album off in grand fashion, and it’s strong yet melodic. Vocalist Pete Sattari really shines from the off set too. “Save You From Yourself” is a riff-heavy, pummelling, brute of a blues song! “The Only True Thing” follows a similar formula, but it has more of a hook to the chorus. “Today Not Tomorrow” which  leans on Black Sabbath’s "Supernaut", has a laid-back feel until the shredding guitar solo toward the end, and then explodes into a real monster of a track. "Trouble In Eden", the albums title track, is darker and more moody than its predecessors, as it builds slowly and has a massive feel with it atheistic lyrical lamentations. “High Indeed” has a  stripped-down feel, as it chugs along before launching into a high-energy chorus. “So Low” really brings the old school, bluesy aura to the forefront, and although it’s brooding, it builds to a snarling chorus. “Across The Sea” is perhaps the heaviest thing here and an excuse for a freak-out, whilst album closer, “The Mountain”, is simply a massive wall of riffs and killer guitar solos!

Zed are a band to watch. They make "old school" sound modern, with their own flair and musicianship. Listening to Trouble In Eden, feels like  reacquainting with a long lost friend, warm and familiar yet new and refreshing, plus it is a killer album from beginning to end.

Rating: 10/10

ZED are:
Greg Lopez – Guitars
Pete Sattari – Guitars/Vocals
Mark Aceves – Bass
Rich Harris – Drums/Percussion

King Company - One for the Road (2016)

Genre - Melodic Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music

Track listing:
1. One For The Road
2. Shining
3. In Wheels Of No Return
4. Coming Back To Life
5. No Man's Land
6. Farewell
7. Wings Of Love
8. Cast Away
9. Desire
10. Holding On
11. One Heart
12. Can't Let You Get Away (Bonus Track)

KING COMPANY are a  new melodic hard rock outfit from Finland, and "One For The Road" is their debut album, released via Frontiers Music. Formed barely two years ago, the band comprises of experienced musicians from the Scandinavian scene, most of whom coming from heavy metal bands.
Drummer Mirka 'Leka' Rantanen (Warmen, ex-Thunderstone, ex-Kotipelto, etc.) had been thinking about forming a new hard rock / melodic metal band for a long time. He wanted to play with people with whom he had worked before and whom he knew both as good musicians and considered friends.
First, he contacted guitarist Antti Wirman (Warmen), who immediately joined the project. Vocalist Pasi Rantanen, was in Mirka's mind from the beginning, as they had played together in a couple of bands before (Thunderstone, Warmen). After keyboardist Jari Pailamo (Kiuas, Ponies To Kill) and bassist Time Schleifer (Enfarce) joined the band, this 'supergroup' was ready to start working.
Broadening the King Company sound beyond classic hard rock, their music has a significant edge thanks to sharp riff's and bristling solos. Still, there's something more, a distinct underlying blues flavour shines through in many places, ala early Whitesnake. 'Shining', the melodic 'Desire', title track 'One For The Road', and 'No Man's Land' (which was the band's original name) are perfect examples of this. The latter song flows more like a hard rock anthem, yet steady almost smoldering like a fire grasping for more air, with vocalist, Pasi Rantanen sounding like the perfect cross of David Coverdale and Dee Snider! Also you can't discount the AOR factor in the bands tunes.
The songs are loaded to the brim with solid melody, good guitar and vocal harmony (Rantanen sings clean yet with a little rawness to his timbre), likable refrains, and catchy hooks. Just take the glorious 'Farewell' and 'One Heart', just two songs delivering that AOR momentum at the right place on the album, one in the middle, the other at the end, resulting in a perfect balance.

Well worth checking out

Rating: 9/10

King Company Are:

Pasi Rantanen (vocals)
Antti Wirman (guitars)
Jari Pailamo (keyboards)
Time Schleifer (bass)
Mirka Rantanen (drums)

Michael Sweet - One Sided War (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Rat Pak Records

Track listing:
01. Bizarre
02. One Sided War
03. Can't Take This Life
04. Radio
05. Golden Age
06. Only You
07. I Am
08. Who Am I
09. You Make Me Wanna
10. Comfort Zone
11. One Way Up
12. Can't Take This Life [feat M. Formica ](bonus track)

It's been a busy couple of years for Styper lead singer, Michael Sweet,  releasing new music with Stryper, George Lynch (Sweet/Lynch) and his own solo music, and now he returns once more with his latest new solo release "One Sided War". Now whilst his previous solo effort was an extremely diverse Rock ‘n’ Roll record, this new release "One Sided War" is pure out and out hard rock.
For this album Sweet has assembled a fine bunch of musicians, guitarist Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Night Ranger), drummer Will Hunt (Evanescence), guitarist Ethan Brosh (Burning Heat, solo work), and bassist John O’Boyle (Tom Ingram Band), and they have pulled off a mighty fine job too!
 “Musically it’s my heaviest solo album. It’s not metal but there are definitely some songs on there that will pop out at you. There are some songs that have a bit of the Iron Maiden / Dio feel to them, as well as some songs that have a little bit of a Van Halen influence to them. It’s a very guitar-oriented, hard rock/metal album with lots of melodies and hooks.” or so says the man himself, Michael Sweet.
The album opens with “Bizarre” a high-speed track that really sets the tone for the album.  The title track “One Sided War” kicks off with a drum roll from Hunt and then is filled with thick heavy riffs, loud guitars, thumping bass lines, and some brilliantly strong vocals. “Can’t Take This Life,” a catchy song that will having you singing along  in no time at all, is featured twice on this album with the bonus version featuring the talents of up-and-coming vocalist 16 year old Mariah Formica. “Golden Age” has its fast paced drums and chugging guitars together with some amazing guitar licks and solos from Brosh and Hoekstra. "Radio", which has been released as the albums second single, has a real fun feel to it, heavy and some great lyrics that have Sweet having his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
“I Am” is a riff heavy song with a slower pace to it, whilst “Who Am I” slows things down a bit as this is the only ballad on this album. It is a beautifully written song that shows the softer side of Sweet that we all know he is capable of. “You Make Me Wanna” kicks things back to full-speed with another catchy and head banging tune, while “One Way Up” is a groovy tune that might have you dancing in your room.
If you are a fan of the harder side of Stryper, then you have to pick this album up. It will not disappoint you !

Rating: 9/10

Friday, 26 August 2016

Maverick - Big Red (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Metalapolis Records

Track listing:
01. All For One
02. Free
03. The One
04. Mademoiselle
05. Forever
06. In The Night
07. Whisky Lover
08. Renegade
09. Beyond The Gates
10. Asylum
11. Fly Away

Maverick are a five-piece from Northern Ireland whom have been building their fan base since 2012 and now four years later unleash Big Red, sure to be a sure fire hit amongst fans of late 80's early 90's rocks hard rock bands such as Babylon Ad, Motley Crue and Skidrow!
One of the first things that  you will notice throughout this album, from start to finish, are the huge guitar riffs from lead guitarist Ryan Balfour and the strong pipes of his brother and lead vocalist David Balfour.
This becomes evident very early on, just check out the opening salvo of “All For One” and “Free” which feature  these aspects, including an outstanding harmonising section from the rest of the band (and a bass solo from Richie Diver).
The  Belfast lads have never shied away from expressing their musical influences from the likes of Poison to Winger to Warrant to Motley Crue and Skidrow, and while you hear an influence of each of these bands throughout the album they were shown predominately in the catchy love song “The One” and the party classic “Whiskey Lover” that will have anyone listening to this album up dancing with a bottle of Jack in hand, the guys never loose their own identity.
There was even a tasteful Thin Lizzy / Dokken mixture added to the following track “Renegade.”
In fact "Mademoiselle" could very easily be a transitional track between Skidrow's debut album and the mighty Slave To The Grind, and sees vocalist David Balfour easily tackling Seb Bach's vocal style! Definitely my favourite track on the album!
One track that deserves a special mention is “Asylum”. This tune features some huge special guests in The Poodles' lead vocalist Jakob Samuelsson and a guitar solo from Alice Cooper’s former guitarist Kane Roberts. Maverick supported The Poodles on their last European tour, this friendship then blossomed into what we have now, a powerful vocal duet between David Balfour and Jakob Samuelsson.

In Big Red Maverick have proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with, and manage to bring memories of the rocking late 80's and early 90's flooding back.

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating: 9/10

Maverick are:

Lead Vocals: David Balfour
Guitar: Ryan Sebastian Balfour
Guitar: Terry McHugh
Bass: Richie Diver
Drums: Mike Ross

Thursday, 25 August 2016

MICHAEL SWEET (STRYPER) releases the official video for "RADIO"

Baz Francis (Magic Eight Ball) - Live at Molly Malone’s / Los Angeles 2015 (EP) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Modern Rock / Live / Acoustic
Label - Magic Cat Records

Track listing:
01. California In The Fall (Live)
02. Better Off Asleep (Live)
03. Monkey Bars (Live)
04. Perils Of Honesty (Live)
05. Local Girls (Live)

"In the latter quarter of last year I shared one of those beautiful kind of evenings in the presence of friends, new and old, in my spiritual home of West Hollywood, California, and thankfully the tape was rolling to capture the music I made that night too. Every now and then I have made those un-mastered soundboard recordings available to anyone curious of how my gig at Molly Malone's sounded, but upon reappraisal of the material, at the heart of it was something that simply had to be taken further and then given an official release.
Re-designed, re-edited, and now mastered for the first time courtesy of my trusty fellow, Lewis John, I am thrilled to tell you that as of 25th August 2016 you can finally hear the best bits of my gig that night presented at a superior quality unavailable until now, as Magic Cat Records Limited release my new solo live EP, 'Live at Molly Malone’s / Los Angeles 2015'. Available to download from all the usual suspects, this is the sound of me at home and in love with my surroundings. I hope you enjoy how that came out on record."

Thank God the tapes were rolling as this is one of the best sounding live recordings that I have heard in a long time, and really does seem to capture a certain magic that, if you close your eyes, transports you to the actual gig its self. Recorded at and mixed by Molly Malone's, Los Angeles, USA on 7th October 2015 Vocally Baz Francis is in great form here!

This Ep really is well worth checking out!

Rating: 10/10

Magic Eight Ball - Richest Men In The Dolls House (Live) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Power pop / modern Rock
Label - Magic Cat Records

Track listing:

01. Once Again
02. See You Next Tuesday
03. What Happened In '92
04. It's Not For Me To Say
05. Come Get Your Kicks
06. Red Hair Wrapped Around Her Neck
07. Perils Of Honesty (Acoustic)
08. Russian Ballet (Русский балет) (Acoustic)
09. Eyes Of A Fool (Acoustic)

Richest Men In The Dolls House was recorded live at The Dolls House, Abertillery, Wales on 18th/19th June 2016 (1-6) and 3rd July 2016 (7-9) Magic Eight Ball release a short live album (27 minutes long) that captures the bands raw energy and passion perfectly. There's no studio touch ups here, its truly wart's n all, capturing the band as they perform a live set and featuring three new tracks from their latest studio release, Richest Men In The Graveyard, along side a clutch of more established Magic Eight Ball classics. Now I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of live albums, usually the sound quality and or mix is terrible and you can barely recognise the band yet alone the songs they are playing, but this album is different. Its captures the essence of the songs perfectly, and comes across like a very good t.v. or radio broadcast, although the two live acoustic tracks do come across much, much better!
Well worth checking out!

Rating: 8/10

Arcade Messiah unleaash a new video for Read The Sky

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Metallica - Hardwired (Single) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Thrash
Label - Blackened Recordings

Track listing:

01- Hardwired

So the mighty Metallica return with 'Hardwired',  the lead single off of their forthcoming new album, 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct', and the follow up to 2008's 'Death Magnetic'.
Hardwired sees the band continuing their journey that they began with their previous album, 'Death Magnetic', in that they are trying to return to the classic Metallica sound and vibe, but unlike that aforementioned album, whose songs often felt bloated and over long, 'Hardwired' pulls it off brilliantly. Clocking in at just overt three minutes long, its succinct and to the point. The band blister through the track just like they did in the good old days, you know we are talking pre black album here!
After hearing 'Hardwired' I am left rather looking forward to the forthcoming album, to be released in November, as opposed to just feeling a little curious about it

Welcome back guys!

Rating: 9/10

Baby Scream - Lifes A Trap EP (2016)

Genre - Power-pop
Label - Baby Scream Records

Track listing:
01 - Life's Better When U R High
02 - The Ballad of  Music Biz
03 - Climbing Down
04 - We Can't I Go Back To 17?
05 - Wish You were Beer
06 - Jokes
07 - The Road Bends
08 - Midnight Snack

Juan Pablo Mazzola returns with his latest Baby Scream release, 'Life Is A Trap'. Now before we go any further lets get one thing clear, it's no secret that I am a huge Baby Scream fan and have been for years, and therefore look forward to hearing every new piece of material Juan releases, yet that does not cloud my judgement when considering the quality of a song etc. Luckily Juan rarely disappoints in this departments, now with that said lets take a look at this new Baby Scream release.  'Life’s A Trap' consists of 8 songs that Juan Pablo Mazzola recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina together with Nick Schinder (who once again, just like in 'Fan, Fan, Fan' worked as a producer and played some piano and contributed some backing vocals). Now if you are familiar with Baby Scream you will know the style of music on offer here, laid back and chilled yes, but with cutting lyrics and heart wrenching (at times) melodies. Kind of like a blend of John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Badfinger, Big Star, some Americana / 90’s flavour and a little T-Rex thrown in for good measure.
The Ep is to be  released by Juan Pablo Mazzola’s label “Baby Scream Records on CD, cassette (remember them?) and digital formats, which are available from the bands Bandcamp Page here.
The EP's lead single is the track, 'The Ballad Of Music Biz' for which a video has been shot that features  Juan contemplating the drama of the music business..
Now how do the songs sound?
The Ep opens up with 'Life's Better When U R High', which has a  typical acoustic driven intro that blooms into a  Baby Scream melodic rock track,  with some great honest reflective lyrics and some great guitar / piano trade offs. Next comes the Ep's lead single, 'The Ballad of Music Biz'. Here we see Juan contemplating the trials and tribulations that face budding musicians in the music world. Its a beautiful ballad with some great atmospheric string arrangements throughout. This is going to become one of my favourite Baby Scream songs!
'Climbing Down' follows, which sees Juan contemplating life with his new born child, again some lovely string and vocal harmony arrangements throughout the song, short sweet and beautiful.
'We Can't Go Back To 17' is up next and is a rather melancholic track that sees Juan reflecting upon the trials and tribulations of growing older. Again some great piano and string arrangements (yes I know they are synthesised but who cares, they work brilliantly. 'Wish You Were Beer' which is musically almost surreal, yet works brilliantly. Juan's cutting lyrical style and turn of phrase really shines through on this song. Again I believe this track is destined to become another of my Baby Scream favourites. 'Jokes' is a short and sweet melancholic track, that's leads into 'Road Bends' which sees Juan hitting full blown Americana mode! Great songs too! The EP closes out with 'Midnight Snack' a beautiful acoustic driven song that showcases both Juan's song writing and guitar playing, but also Nicks' piano work, delicate and emotional.

So there we have, yet another cracking release from Baby Scream!

Very Highly Recommended

Rating: 10/10

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ginger Wildheart - Market Habour (2016 Re-master)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Round Records / Pledge Music

Track listing:
01. Casino Bay
02. Soap Hammer
03. The Queen Of Leaving
04. Attentionette
05. The Ninns Of Mourning
06. House Of Moths
07. How Hard Can You Make It?
08. Awareness And The Great Integrity
09. A Philosophical Conversation About Age
10. Josser Bank
11. Tennant's
12. Regret.Com
13. Black Yeah
14. I Knew You (An Amnesis)
15. You And Me (That's What I Want)
16. Couple Trouble
17. The Perilous Burden Of Prodigal Obligation
18. A Malibu Chronicle
19. Overeasy
20. Eye Of The Rotunda
21. Shatterproof

Originally released in 2008, Ginger Wildheart's Market Harbour now gets a full re-mastering over haul and release along with his two preceding solo albums, Valor Del Corazon and Yoni.
Now I know of absolutely no reason why this album required a re-master, it has always sounded great to my ears. yet saying that I am fairly sure that this re-master (once again handled by the uber talented Jase Edwards), has a slightly brighter and clearer sound, especially evident on the drums and cymbal's. Also the vocals seem a little clearer in the mix.
Market Harbour was always a special album, with each track merging into the next to create the illusion of one continuous piece of music, something that Ginger and the guys involved pulled off very well, as the listener very rarely skipped a track. This album has some great songs on it, tracks like 'Casino Bay', 'House Of Moths' and two of my personal favourite Ginger songs of all time, 'How Hard Can You Make it' and the bluesy 'Awareness And The Great Integrity', just two examples of Ginger's musical and lyrical genius sitting side by side on this album. there are also the fan favourites such as 'Couple Trouble' 'A Malibu Chronicle', 'Overeasy' and the epic album finale, 'Shatterproof'!

Of the three re-releases, Market Harbour is probably the least essential of the up-grades, (Yoni being the most essential of the three!)yet in my honest opinion it is still worth having as it sounds fresher, brighter and clearer than its original release.

Rating: 10/10

Ginger Wildheart - Yoni (2016 Re-mix and Re-master)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Round Records / Pledge Music

Track  listing:

01 - Black Windows
02 - When She Comes
03 - Holiday
04 - Smile In Denial
05 - Jake
06 - The Night I Was Born Again
07 - Why Can't You Be Normal All The Time
08 - Can't Drink You Pretty
09 - This Bed IS On Fire
10 - Save Me
11 - Wendy You're Killing Me
12 - Siberian Angel

Originally released back in 2007 and the follow up to Ginger's debut solo album Valor Del Corazon, Yoni is also being re-issued. Only this time Yoni is not only being re-mastered like Valor Del Corazon and Market Harbour, no, Yoni is also getting its long over due re-mix treatment. Once again re-mastering, and in this case re-mixing duties fall to long time Ginger producer and friend Jase Edwards, and it has to be said he has done a fantastic job here!
Firstly it has to be said that although it has always been recognised that Yoni is jam packed with brilliant songs, its production, well to be more accurate its mix, has at times come in for a little criticism. It also seemed to sound thin and well tinnie in comparison to other albums, especially when you played a track from Yoni in a playlist with other non Yoni tracks. and although I always loved many of the songs on this album I often found myself not listening to them for that particular reason. Well no  more! Jase Edwards has done a fantastic job in rebuilding the alum from the bottom up Yoni now sounds huge!
Not only is every instrument and vocal clearer and more defined, but they sound fuller, and well more powerful throughout. You finally get to hear Random Jon Poole's awesome bass playing, especially the awesome solo / run on the mid section of 'The Night I Was Born Again' and 'Why Can't You Just Be Normal All The Time'!
'Smile In Denial', always one of my favourite Ginger tracks sounds awesome as do Ginger classics like 'Black Windows' and 'When She Comes.' The new mix really brings to life the string arrangements and intricate guitar works on 'Jake'. Amazing.
To be fair you start to notice new hidden textures that had previously been buried in the mix with each and every new listen of the album.
I would hazard a guess that Yoni finally sounds as it was intended to sound, rich full and amazing!

Very highly recommended!!!!!!!

Rating: 10/10

Ginger Wildheart - Valor Del Corazon (Re-mastered) (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock /  Pop / Powerpop / Punk
Label - Round Records / Pledge Music

Track  listing:

Disc One
01 - Ugly
02 - Mother City
03 - G.T.T.
04 - Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
05 - This Is Only A Problem
06 - Ten Flaws Down
07 - Paramour
08 - The Man Who Cheated Death

Disc Two
01 - The Drunken Lord Of Everything
02 - L.O.V.E.
03 - The Way
04 - Drinking In The Daytime
05 - Keep It Cool
06 - Only Lonely
07 - Your Mouth
08 - Change
09 - My Friend The Enemy
10 - Bulb
11 - Something To Believe In

Originally released back in 2006, Ginger Wildheart's proper debut solo album, Valor Del Corazon,  gets the full re-mastering and re-release treatment (along with 2007's Yoni and 2008's Market Harbour albums). Valor del Corazon was original written and recorded during a very turbulent part of Ginger's life, with him dealing with various drug abuse issues and the collapse of his family. Recorded in Texas and produced by Ralph Jezzard (who had previously produced Endless Nameless by The Wildhearts.)
The album contains a lot of very personal lyrical references throughout and was an instant hit amongst Wildhearts and Ginger fans.
But how does the re-master sound?
Well to be fair I personally never had any issues with the original release, but I have to say Jase Edwards has done a sterling job here. Now don't get me wrong, this is a re-mastering not a re-mixing (unlike Yoni) but non the less the difference is noticeable. First of all everything sounds brighter and fresher, every instrument sounds that little bit clearer and more defined. the listener starts to notice things that had previously gone un-noticed, such as the guitar melody / riff during the mid section of 'G.T.T.' which Ginger would later recycle into the main driving riff of Market Harbour's 'Shatterproof'! The acoustic guitars are more defined on 'This Is Only A Problem' which emphasize
 the country feel of the song even more. The sound effects during the first verse of '10 Flaws Down' are less annoying and distracting allowing the song to achieve its full impact. One of the biggest differences that I noticed is just how bright and clear the piano sounds on what I believe to be is one of Ginger's greatest ever songs, 'The Man Who Cheated Death'. Truly breath taking.
The re-mastering also brings out more textures in songs like 'The Drunken Lord of Everything' which I have always felt is 'Geordie In Wonderland's' big brother, here the drums seem sharper and clearer.

So there you have it, this re-mastered edition of Valor Del Corazon is well worth checking out, and hey if like me you already own the original then its still worth the investment if just for the fact it upgrades the originals sound quality a little.

Highly recommended

Rating: 10/10

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Magic Eight Ball - Richest Men In The Graveyard (Expanded Edition 2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Power Pop
Label - Magic Cat Records

Track listing:

01 - Falling In Love Is Like A Vampire
02 - It's Not For Me To Say
03 - Dying To Say
04 - Once Again
05 - Eye's Of A Fool
06 - If The World's Never Falling Asleep
07 - Tomorrow Can Wait
08 - Keep Me Out Of The Sunlight
09 - She's Leaving
10 - Darling Will
11 - Once Again (Acoustic Session)*
12 - Eye's Of A Fool (Acoustic Session)*
* exclusive to the Expanded edition.

Magic Eight Ball is a hard rock / power pop band formed in Old Windsor, England, and 'Richest Man In The Graveyard' is their third full length album.
"Formed in 2006, the band released several EPs and singles throughout their early years whilst touring constantly, then in 2013 through Magic Cat Records, Magic Eight Ball released their début album 'Sorry We're Late But We're Worth The Wait' featuring guest appearances from Jason Bowld (Bullet for My Valentine) and Donnie Vie, followed by their accompanying European Tour. The band then released their second album 'Last Of The Old Romantics' in 2014 featuring the late comedy legend that was Rik Mayall (The Young Ones/Drop Dead Fred) on the record, and they once again toured the album across the continent."
The album features the talents of Baz Francis on vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, Dave Draper providing Bass on ‘She’s Leaving’, additional keys on ‘Darling Will’, additional bass on ‘Tomorrow Can Wait’, extra electric guitar on ‘Falling In Love’s Like A Vampire’, additional bass and extra electric guitar on Keep Me Out The Sunlight’ and Jason Bowld providing drums on all songs.

'Richest Man In The Graveyard' opens up with 'Falling In Love Is Like A Vampire', which starts with some atmospheric keyboards before launching into dark moody bass riff full of eastern influence. A great song to open any album with, 'Richest Man In The Graveyard' is off to a great start! 'It's Not For Me To Say' follows, which is a slightly less intense and more melodic track, but still a great song. 'Dying To Say' is up next which is the most commercial track so far on the album, some great vocals from Baz Francis throughout. Next we have 'Once Again', which to me comes across as a mid-tempo rock anthem with some great vocal harmonies. 'Eyes Of A Fool' is another great melodic track. 'If The World Never Falling Asleep' is a brilliant acoustic driven track and one of the albums many highlights! A truly great song. 'Tomorrow Can Wait' is up next and once again we have a great melodic rocker which show cases some great pop sensibilities. 'Keep My Out The Sunlight' has a real Beatles mixed with Madness feel to its verses giving it a refreshing feel before exploding into a great chorus! 'She's Leaving' follows which proves to be another great melodic rock song. Next we have 'Darling Will' which is the album proper's closing track and another great  number which see's the albums pace change somewhat to a laid back acoustic led finale.
The expanded edition adds acoustic versions of 'Once Again' and 'Eyes Of A Fool' which gives the listener a different perspective of these great songs.

I have to say that the  Richest Men In The Graveyard is a fantastic album that has left me a little disappointed that I hadn't come across this great band years ago! The perfect blending of modern rock and classic pop sensibilities.

Very Highly Recommended!

Rating: 10/10

Adrenalize - Adrenalize (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label -

Track listing:

 01 - Intro
02 - Rock and Roll
03 - Breakout
04 - Ship of Fools
05 - Sirens Cry
06 - With You
07 - Keep Holding On
08 - Hot Nights
09 - Bitter Pill

German rockers, Adrenalize unleash their self titled album upon the world. If you like traditional hard rock vocals (sometimes high pitched) with a real classic rock sound, Adrenalize will likely be just what you are looking for. The first three songs on "Adrenalize" are among the stronger on the CD with lots of great melodies and a consistent pace throughout. After the short intro, 'Rock and Roll' put things clear what this band is all about, its title says all. 'Breakout' rocks good with nice guitar work, and 'Ship Of Fools' is even better with its excellent dual guitar harmonies. 'With You' provides variation as this is a slower, mid-tempo semi-ballad in the early Eighties British style, yet the group rocks again soon with 'Keep Holding On', perhaps the more melodic hard rock tune on the album with a catchy chorus.
'Hot Nights' is the most 'Americanized' track here with a mid-Eighties touch, while 'Bitter Pill' deliver some scorching guitar solos towards the end.  "Adrenalize" is solid classic hard rock with a vintage feel, and while at places the lead vocals are too much over the top, overall Adrenalize have served up some quality classic rock music on their debut album.
If you’re interested in purchasing the CD, it appears that the only way might be from the band directly and I think that would be money well spent if you like the genre.

Rating: 8/10

JETT BLAKK - Rock Revolution (2016)

Genre - Melodic Rock
Label - GSR Entertainment

Track listing:

01 - Rock Revolution
02 - It's Time
03 - Let Love Win
04 - Holy Grail
05 - It's True
06 - Caught Up In The Moment
07 - Pretend
08 - Wild
09 - Bed of Memories
10 - Cold
11 - Life Goes On

"Rock Revolution" is the debut CD by JETT BLAKK who hail from Kansas City, USA, and are not to be confused with British rockers Jettblack!
Jett Blakk are based around the core duo of  guitarist Randy Blakk and vocalist Tommy Law Barton, both experienced musicians from the US Midwest music scene having played in several bands.  Barton's vocal timbre is very reminiscent of a young Bon Jovi and Randy Blakk's swirling solos and sharp riffs mean that the band deliver 11 hook laden melodic songs plenty that have charm and appeal.
'Rock Revolution' is the first single driven by panned guitar layers, clear lead vocals and a catchy chorus. 'It's Time' is one of the finest on the CD, a groovy melodic hard rocker with a contagious chorus.  'Let Love Win' is another winner with its feel good summer feel, then we have  White Lion-esque 'Holy Grail' (great one), the extremely melodic 'Caught Up In The Moment', and the slightly AORish, Trixter-like 'Pretend'.
'Wild' has a real Slaughter feel to it and the bluesy 'Bed Of Memories' has a real early Tesla thing going on. 'Cold' is a terrific mid-tempo with a warm melodic groove plus great arrangements, and 'It's True' is a stupendous power ballad crafted in a way few bands know how to do these days.
Coming out from nowhere, Jett Blakk are an unexpected surprise, and their "Rock Revolution"  album is one of best debuts of the year.

Rating: 9/10

THE QUIREBOYS - Twisted Love EP (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Off Yer Rocka Recordings

Track listing:

01 - Twisted Love (Radio Edit)*
02 - Win Some, Lose Some *
03 - Mayfair (Live) *
04 - I Love This Dirty Town (Live) *
05 - Twisted Love (Full Length Bonus Version)
* non album tracks

The Quireboys are back stronger than ever, as judging the quality of this advanced EP the band feels energetic 'n rockin'.
Title track 'Twisted Love' released as the lead single from the forthcoming new album, Twistid Love (due sept 10th) sees guitar players Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin and frontman Spike joining forces to deliver one of the darkest Quireboys anthems to date. Featuring the sultry backing vocals of blues rock chanteuse Lynne Jackaman it's a song that shimmers from start to finish.  'Win Some, Lose Some' is a swaggering rocker reminiscent of early Aerosmith at times. This EP also gives us live renditions of 'Mayfair' and 'I Love This Dirty Town' which are dominated by the driving guitars of Guerin/Griffin. Full of energy and attitude.
The last track is a full length version of 'Twisted Love', which gives a real indication of what to expect from the forthcoming album.

Great to see the guys really hitting top form!

Rating: 10/10

Zodiac - Grain Of Soul (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Blues / Stoner Rock
Label - Napalm Records

Track listing:

01. Rebirth By Fire (03:00)
02. Animal (04:29)
03. Follow You (03:42)
04. Down (05:44)
05. Faithless (03:18)
06. Crow (03:02)
07. Ain't Coming Back (03:19)
08. Get Out (04:32)
09. Like The Sun (02:45)
10. Sinner (03:18)
11. Grain Of Soul (04:40)

Following hotly on the heels of 2014’s acclaimed ‘Sonic Child’, German hard rockers Zodiac return with their forth studio effort ‘Grain Of Soul’. With a sound steeped in the bluesy stoner / grunge arena, Zodiac are bursting with swagger and confidence, on this collection of catchy, well-structured tunes.
From the opening chords of ‘Rebirth By Fire’ the listener is grabbed by a groove laden riff and a hooky chorus which demands their full attention. The tempo picks up a little on 'Animal' which powers along with a Zeppelin-style feel and a sing along chorus, before halfway through turning into something that would sit very comfortably in therapy with Therepy's  book of riffs. 'Follow You' follows and adds a slam of Bad Company styled classic rock for good measure.
Vocalist Van Delft truly shines on ‘Down’ with his haunting vocals dominating over a grungey, jangling guitar sound. It's most definitely a stand out moment on the album, along with ‘Faithless’.
'Crow' adds a southern rock element, and sounds not unlike Shinedown in places.
‘Ain't Coming Back’ has an AC/DC groove that has the listener nodding along in approval, with ‘Get Out’ continuing in a similar vein, adding a fist-pumping chorus and an infectious beat. With a brilliantly slick production from Arne Neurand ensuring that the listener doesn't miss a sonic nuance from the beginning to end, there's definitely more than a ‘Grain Of Soul’ to Zodiac’s work.
Whilst 2014's 'Sonic Child' album was a very bluesy influenced affair, 'Grain of Soul' see's the band in a much more rock orientated frame of mind.

Worth checking out.

Rating: 9/10


Friday, 19 August 2016

Dio - A Decade Of Dio: 1983-1993 [Box Set] (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Label - Warner Bros.

Track listing:

Disc 1/6 (Holy Diver)

01. Stand Up and Shout 3:18
02. Holy Diver 5:54
03. Gypsy 3:40
04. Caught In The Middle 4:17
05. Don't Talk To Strangers 4:54
06. Straight Through The Heart 4:35
07. Invisible 5:26
08. Rainbow In The Dark 4:14
09. Shame On The Night 5:19

Disc 2/6 (Last In Line)

01. We Rock 4:34
02. The Last In Line 5:46
03. Breathless 4:08
04. I Speed At Night 3:22
05. One Night In The City 5:15
06. Evil Eyes 3:38
07. Mystery 3:55
08. Ear Your Heart Out 3:53
09. Egypt (The Chains Are On) 6:58

Disc 3/6 (Sacred Heart)

01. King Of Rock And Roll 3:45
02. Sacred Heart 6:24
03. Another Lie 3:50
04. Rock 'N' Roll Children 4:33
05. Hungry For Heaven 4:09
06. Like The Beat of A Heart 4:17
07. Just Another Day 3:23
08. Fallen Angels 3:52
09. Shoot Shoot 4:17

Disc 4/6 (Dream Evil)

01. Night People 4:06
02. Dream Evil 4:22
03. Sunset Superman 5:46
04. All The Fools Sailed Away 7:11
05. Naked In The Rain 5:10
06. Overlove 3:47
07. I Could Have Been A Dreamer 4:41
08. Faces In The Window 3:51
09. When A Woman Cries 4:34

Disc 5/6 (Lock Up The Wolves)

01. Wild One 4:05
02. Born On The Sun 5:36
03. Hey Angel 4:58
04. Between Two Hearts 6:30
05. Night Music 5:08
06. Lock Up The Wolves 8:32
07. Evil On Queen Street 6:03
08. Walk On Water 3:44
09. Twisted 4:45
10. Why Are They Watching Me 5:02
11. My Eyes 6:38

Disc 6/6 (Strange Highways)

01. Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost 4:11
02. Firehead 4:06
03. Strange Highways 6:51
04. Hollywood Black 5:08
05. Evilution 5:35
06. Pain 4:11
07. One Foot In The Grave 4:01
08. Give Her The Gun 5:59
09. Blood From A Stone 4:14
10. Here's To You 3:25
11. Bring Down The Rain 5:40

Warner Bros have released a fantastic 6CD Boxset featuring the re-mastered first 6 albums from heavy metal and hard rock legends. Now there has been already recent re-masters on these essential albums, deluxe editions with extra material, SHM-CD, etc, but believe me, this "A Decade of DIO 1983-1993 Boxset" is the definitive collection when it comes to sound quality. The re-mastering is superb, adding a little more punch but preserving the 'original feel' as it should be on every re-mastering job. Ronnie's voice sounds crystal clear, and if any tinkering has been done to the original mix, then maybe the vocals have been raised ever so slightly, but what the hey these albums sound fantastic, especially the first three, Holy Diver through Sacred Heart.

this set is well worth getting a hold of, if just to simply up-grade the sound quality of the original releases. The only negative is that there are no bonus tracks, I mean it would have been nice for Time To Burn or Hide In The Rainbow to have been added to the collection, and maybe some unreleased out-takes, but what the hey.

Check it out!

Rating - 9/10

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Devin Townsend Project - Failure [Single, 2016)

Genre - Progressive Metal
Label - Inside Outmusic (Sony Music)

Track listing:

01 - Failure

'Failure' is the first single to be lifted from the highly anticipated forthcoming new album by Devin Townsend Project, 'Transcendence'.     
" Devin Townsend Project began where Ziltoid the Omniscient left off, with Devin Townsend at the helm. The project was a planned four-album series, where instead of assembling one static band, like in The Devin Townsend Band, or performing the entirety of the music himself, as in Ziltoid the Omniscient, the Devin Townsend Project would feature a completely different line-up of musicians for each release."

'Failure' is a five and half minute musical odyssey, with a driving rhythm section that just pushes the song along and some awesome atmospheric vocals. If this one song is anything to go by then we are in for a real treat come September when the 'Transcendence'.  album finally arrives!     

Rating: 10/10

O'REGAN - Polymorphic Tragedy (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Blues Rock / Melodic Rock
Label - Z Records.

Track listing:

01 - Unchain The Night
02 - Polymorphic Tragedy
03 - Welcome To The Real World
04 - Falling Sky
05 - Gabrielle
06 - All Of My Love
07 - Trial By Fire
08 - Long Way To Go
09 - Destiny
10 - Masquerade
11 - You Don't Know

One of the hardest working musicians from the melodic hard rock UK scene, Vince O'REGAN releases his third solo album "Polymorphic Tragedy". Again the guitarist has called some talented colleagues to contribute to the record published by Z Records. Vince O'Regan is an experienced British guitarist, who was  recently part of Legion - now disbanded but with a 'final album' to be released soon - and Coda (with Paul Sabu), but also he was also the co-founder of 90s cult melodic rock group Pulse and has been previously involved in bands such as Kooga (another cult AOR outift) and acclaimed Irish rockers No Sweat.Vince's big break came in the year 2000 when he was inducted into Magnum vocalist Bob Catley's band for the co-headlining tour with Ten.
Once again with the help of the great Eric Ragno contributing with keyboards and arrangements, this new O'Regan album features a raft of highly respected Melodic Hard Rock singers and friends. On the rhythm section there's Coda's band mates, the always reliable EJ Curse (bass) and Andy Pierce (drums).
But what makes this really interesting - apart from the good songs - are the lead vocalists, including Nick Workman (Vega), the always underrated and terrific Keith St. John (George Lynch, Burning Rain), Paul Sabu, long time friend Phil Vincent, and Danny Veras (Veras).
"Polymorphic Tragedy" blends together the style of O'Regan's two previous solo albums: the first one was pretty edgy melodic hard rock, the second album being much more in the AOR vein.
We have here the groovy 'Unchain The Night', 'Welcome To The Real World', the bouncy 'Trial By Fire', 'Masquerade', all strong melodic hard rockers. Title track 'Polymorphic Tragedy' is the heaviest track on the record (and one of the best) bordering hard rock. But all this is balanced by the  cool AOR numbers such as the really good 'Falling Sky' (very nice harmonies and clean guitars), the pumping 'Long Way To Go', the ultra-catchy and my favourite 'Destiny'  with plenty of keyboards, and the fine ballad 'Gabrielle' with its 'American' feel.
"Polymorphic Tragedy" is the most complete, varied, and I'd say, best O'Regan album to date. You have seriously well written & arranged songs here, very well played and performed by stupendous vocalists.

Highly Recommended

Rating: 9/10

THE Dead Daises - Make Some Noise (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Spitfire Music (SPV)

Track listing:

01 - Long Way To Go
02 - We All Fall Down
03 - Song And A Prayer
04 - Mainline
05 - Make Some Noise
06 - Fortunate Son
07 - Last Time I Saw The Sun
08 - Mine All Mine
09 - How Does It Feel
10 - Freedom
11 - All The Same
12 - Join Together

Super-group THE DEAD DAISIES are back with a brand spanking new album titled "Make Some Noise", and boy does this album rock!
The band’s third album "Make Some Noise" reflects revolving door policy with regards to its members well as we have  Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner), David Lowy (Mink), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, Union, The Scream) and Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake) all on board alongside the most recent addition of a guitar wizard Doug Aldrich, who is best known for his work with Whitesnake and Dio. To put it simply, this band bloody Rocks.
This album has everything, from all out rockers with a modern edge such as opening track, 'Long Way To Go' to 'Mainline' which adds a bit of rough bluesy flavour to the band’s sound with its unbelievable intensity and a generous dose of Doug Aldrich’s impeccable licks. 'We All Fall Down' is a thick, modern riff and feisty hook, a deliberate homage to the contemporary era rather than a throwback to the past. 'Song And A Prayer' is certainly more radio-friendly than its predecessor, its choruses somewhat Aerosmith-esque. The we have the title track, 'Make Some Noise' with its simple, but powerful drum beat and group chant of the album’s title track brings to mind the picture of a sea of fists pumping up in the air and fans chanting together with their idols. It’s the same primal power of Rock music that was captured and immortalized in dozens if not hundreds of songs prior to this one, such as Queen’s classic We Will Rock You. It’s thus no wonder such seasoned musicians as The Dead Daisies understand how seductive it remains, in spite of its simplicity. Also their approach to Creedence Clearwater’s Revival 'Fortunate Son' remains rather unsophisticated, their take on it being no drastic alteration in comparison to the original.
'Last Time I Saw the Sun', is a hit of a track that Cinderella should have written plus with a shot of Mötley Crüe – shaken, stirred, and distilled to hear over and over again.
No prisoners are taken with  'Mine All Mine', 'How Does It Feel', 'Freedom', all of them gritty, groovy pieces exceptional for their intensity. With the feistiness of 'All The Same' approaching, you can’t help but wonder if modern-day Aerosmith is still able to deliver such treats in the recording studio.
With a certain laid-back, live vibe to it, the final track 'Join Together' is a fine younger brother to 'Make Some Noise' and another staple in the band’s future set lists.

The band are as tight as fuck, the songs are brilliantly written and executed to perfection, but then again you wouldn't really expect anything else when you consider the pool of talent on display here!
One thing to note, I don't thing I've heard John Corabi sound this good since his days in The Scream and Motley Crue!

Very Highly recommended

Rating: 10/10

Lesbian Bed Death - Evil Never Dies (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Gothic Rock / Female Vocal
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - Evil Never Dies
02 - Claws
03 - Make Your Wish
04 - Book Of The Dead
05 - Satan In The Swamps
06 - She Sell's Hand Grenades
07 - Church Of V
08 - Son Of A Thousand Maniacs
09 - Survive The Night
10 - Drag Me To Hell
11 - The Final Curtain

"Lesbian Bed Death was founded in the United Kingdom by guitarist Mr Peach as a side project designed to pay tribute to all of the Gothic Punk, Glam, Sleaze bands he grew up with. He was soon joined by Johnny Hell (Vox/Guitar/Keys/Programming) and in 2004, the duo recorded their first song 'Goth Girls Are Easy'. It was put on the internet for free download, and the band started to build a following.  The Duo soon became a trio with the addition of Magic Andy on Bass. A few demos were recorded and Lesbian Bed Death performed a string of live shows, with the rest of the band being made up of various musician friends. The live band varied, depending on who was available to play at the time. Unfortunately things didn't work out with Johnny Hell, mainly due to other commitments and the distance between band members. Lesbian Bed Death brought on board Luci4 as the new lead singer. The only recording from Lesbian Bed Death with Johnny Hell on vocals that received an official release was 'Goth Girls Are Easy' which was featured on the compilation album 'Kill Your Management Volume 6'.
Lesbian Bed Death recorded its debut album 'I Use My Powers For Evil' at the Lizard Lounge Studios in Stoke-on-Trent. It was produced by Alex Jockel, and saw the Lesbian Bed Death recorded its debut album 'I Use My Powers For Evil' at the Lizard Lounge Studios in Stoke-on-Trent. It was produced by Alex Jockel, and saw the LBD trio being joined by members of the 'then live band' including lead guitarist Chuckmaster C, and numerous musician friends from the local scene. It was released on Halloween 2006. The debut album was followed by three music videos and gigs all over the UK, including some underground festivals. The band also played shows in The Netherlands. The band built up a cult following and have sold albums all over the world. People searching Youtube for 'Lesbian' and 'Goth Girls' certainly didn't hurt.
Lesbian Bed Death began working on a new album in the Summer of 2009. On the first day of recording, Magic Andy quit the band. The remaining members recorded almost the entire album over the next few months hoping that he would reconsider and rejoin the band. Eventually, Chuckmaster C had to record the bass parts. Unlike the debut, the second album was recorded by just four people: Luci4, Mr Peach, Chuckmaster C and long-standing drummer Danny Stigmata. Soon after the recording of the album, the band recruited bassist Will Power to complete the line-up. Lesbian Bed Death was now becoming a band as opposed to a 'project'.
In a long standing tradition of utter chaos, Lesbian Bed Death announced the departure of lead singer Luci4 only weeks before the Halloween 2010 release of the album.
The band announced Kittie Racchea as their new singer, and went on to record a further two albums, 'Rise Of The Living Dead' (2012) and 'The Devil's Bounty Hunters' (2013)"

Ok so history lesson over, now I have a confession to make. I lost touch with Lesbian Bad Death shortly after they released their debut album, and until recently I had absolutely no idea that they were still going, yet alone that they had released a further three albums, so I had a little catching up to do before getting my ear lobes around their new, and fifth studio album, 'Evil Never Dies'.

The album opens with the stunning title track and lead single, 'Evil Never Dies' before steam rolling into another slab of infections gothic glam in 'Claws'. The momentum continues until they slow things down with the moody and grinding 'Satan In The Swamp' where new vocalist Sienna Venom's intricate vocals get the chance to shine. The tempo picks back up with the great little rocker, 'She Sell's Hand Grenades'.
'Church of V' is a great atmospheric tribute to the cult sci fi classic show V, whilst 'Son of a Thousand Maniacs' is a rocking tribute to the Nightmare on Elm Street series. 'Survive the Night' pays homage to the classic slasher movies of yester year, with its epic atmospheres!
'Drag Me To Hell' is a rocking track, probably the most up-tempo song on offer here, and a great tribute to horror movies most famous bad guys!
'The Final Curtain'  fittingly closes out the album, a slow atmospheric almost lullaby. with Sienna Venom providing a lovely haunting vocal.

Very, very, very Highly recommended!!

Rating: 10/10

Bloody Hammers - Lovely Sort Of Death (2016)

Genre - Doom Metal/Hard Rock
Label - Napalm Records

Track listing:

01. Bloodletting on the Kiss
02. Lights Come Alive
03. The Reaper Comes
04. Messalina
05. Infinite Gaze to the Sun
06. Stoke the Fire
07. Ether
08. Shadow Out of Time
09. Astral Traveler
10. Catastrophe

Despite 'Lovely Sort of Death' being the fourth studio album to be released by US doomster's Bloody Hammers, this is the first time that I had heard of them.  Bloody Hammers are a hard rock band founded in 2012 in Charlotte, NC, United States. Commonly viewed as an example of occult rock, the group has equally incorporated elements of traditional doom metal, stoner rock and psychedelic rock. Bloody Hammers their released a self-titled album in 2012, which was followed by "Spiritual Relics" in 2013, both on Soulseller Records. In 2014 the band signed to Napalm Records and released their third album, "Under Satan's Sun".With a sound that brings to mind a more polished Type O Negative or Mortiis, Bloody Hammers offer something a little different to general mix of rock n roll that's is so widely available today.
Opening with the rather mellow and chilled out 'Bloodletting on the Kiss', the guys set out their stall from the outset. Dark eerie soundscapes and haunting melodies will ensue for the next forty six minutes or so.  'Lights Come Alive' continues this theme, even though the chorus does add a little more energy to proceedings, we still have a well disciplined song that is allowed to grow naturally. imagine if you will an 80's new wave band playing Black Sabbath, that's something close to what Bloody Hammers deliver, and they do it rather well too. 'The Reaper Comes' has Bloody Kisses era Type O Negative written all over it, whilst 'Messalina' is more of a straight up rocker. 'Infinite Gaze to the Sun', 'Stoke the Fire' and 'Astral Traveler' offer up the albums most up-tempo moments whilst 'Ether' see's the guys really grind out a great little doom track.
In 'Lovely Sort of Death' Bloody Hammers have delivered a really solid slice of doom rock that fans of Type O Negative, Danzig, Mortiis and Paradise Lost really should be checking out!

Rating: 10/10