Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Ferrymen - The Ferrymen (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music s.r.l

Track listing:

01. End Of The Road
02. Ferryman
03. Fool You All
04. Still Standing Up
05. Cry Wolf
06. One Heart
07. Darkest Hour
08. How The Story Ends
09. Enter Your Dream
10. Eyes On The Sky
11. Eternal Night
12. Welcome To My Show
13. One Heart (Acoustic Version)

The Ferrymen are a new project featuring guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), vocalist Ronnie Romero (Lords Of Black, Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow) and drummer Mike Terrana (Tarja, Axel Rudi Pell, Vision Divine). The songs for "The Ferrymen" were written by Karlsson in Sweden during the Summer of 2016, and apparently as soon as Romero heard the songs through their shared label he immediately wanting to become a part of the project. Mike Terrana coming on board just finalised the project.
Musically, you can expect maximum melodic stuff fusing the song writing and epic structures of the great Allen / Lande records (for which Magnus Karlsson was the main architect of the first three widely praised releases) with the Ronnie James Dio-esque vocal approach of Romero. (The main reason that he was recently selected by the legendary Ritchie Blackmore to front his latest incarnation of Richie Blackmore's Rainbow!)
The album kicks off with ‘End Of The Road,’ a fast-paced, classic melodic metal track with strong punchy riffs and vocals. The second track on the album, ‘Ferryman,’ has an anthemnic, stadium rock feel that crowds all over the globe will go wild for.
Then the softer ‘One Heart’ makes a nice change in dynamic to the album, and gives a fresh feel to the sound.  ‘The Darkest Hour,’ is an absolutely brilliant song, beginning with a  clock-like ticking that breaks into a fantastic drum section before Romero’s vocals to take over.
A beautiful keyboard introduction opens ‘Eternal Night,’ making for another of the standout tracks on the album, as it has a wonderful melodic and nostalgic feel which will undoubtedly remind you of listening to old Classic Rock albums from the good old days.
"The Ferrymen" is pure classic melodic metal / hard rock, and right up the street of any fan of the genre. There is no doubting the sheer talent of these three guys, with a stunning execution of each instrument performed plus a vibrant production.

Very very highly recommended!!

Rating: 10/10

Jorn - Life On Death Road (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music s.r.l

Track listing:

01. Life on Death Road
02. Hammered to the Cross (The Business)
03. Love Is the Remedy
04. Dreamwalker
05. Fire to the Sun
06. Insoluble Maze (Dreams in the Blindness)
07. I Walked Away
08. The Slippery Slope (Hangman’s Rope)
09. Devil You Can Drive
10. The Optimist
11. Man of the 80’s
12. Blackbirds

One of the greatest voices of heavy rock Jorn Lande returns with his latest album, and ninth altogether,  in the form of Life On Death Road. The album also marks the debut of a new line-up of very experienced and gifted musicians around the Norwegian singer. On bass is Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner, Kiske/Somerville) who needs virtually no introduction to metal fanatics.
On keyboards and production is Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Revolution Saints), who already joined JORN for the recording of his last covers album Heavy Rock Radio and was the glue that helped Jorn to create the feel and the direction for the new album.
Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear) is on drums and Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) handles guitar. Truly a recipe for a roaring success.
With tracks like “Love Is the Remedy,” “Man of the '80s,” title track “Life On Death Road,""Hammered To The Cross (The Business)" "Slippery Slope (Hangmans Rope)," and “Insoluble Maze,” which are some standouts on a damn near perfect record, this album is a definite must have, especially when they are combined with the anthems and ballads which come with "Dreamwalker" and more so with "The Optimist",. This truly is a bloody great album!

As any rock fan, Jorn Lande's vocals come across as part David Coverdale, part Ronnie James Dio (hence why he was invited to perform with Heaven and Hell at the Ronnie James Dio tribute a few years ago), and he manages to utilise that full range across the length and breadth of Life on death Road.
I have to say that the production of this album is absolutely fantastic thanks to Alessandro Del Vecchio, who has done an amazing job! The albums sound is clear yet punchy, a melding of hard rocking melodic metal, catchy songs that take pages from both bands Whitesnake and Dio while still sounding 100% like a Jorn album, combining it all into his shining moment of his career thus far.
Between his stellar vocals to the brilliantly memorable songs to the on-target performances, this album is one that will likely wind up on many Best Of Lists by the end of the year.

Very highly recommended!!!

Rating: 10/10

Wednesday 13 - Condolences (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Horror Rock / Industrial Rock / Horror Punk
Label - Nuclear Blast

Track listing:

01. Last Rites
02. What the Night Brings
03. Cadaverous
04. Blood Sick
05. Good Riddance
06. You Breathe, I Kill
07. Omen Amen
08. Cruel to You
09. Eulogy XIII
10. Prey for Me
11. Lonesome Road to Hell
12. Condolences
13. Death Infinity

Ok, for those unfamiliar with Wednesday 13 here's the bio:

"A grimly glamorous ghoul who first slithered from the cobwebbed shadows of Charlotte, North Carolina, in the early 90s, Wednesday 13 has firmly established himself as the world's premier purveyor of balls-out horror punk insanity. With a vivid and vile imagination that has endeared him to countless fans of riff-driven macabre over the last two decades, he has been one of rock's most prolific protagonists, spreading his credo of grave-robbing rock 'n' roll and Hallowe'en debauchery around the globe and unleashing a seemingly endless stream of blood-spattered albums and EPs. "All my favourite stuff, like Kiss and Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister, those guys set the bar pretty high," he states. "I always wanted to do something in the worlds of those bands. That's the blueprint." After several years of sharpening his creative teeth, Wednesday 13 emerged from the fetid crypt of obscurity with his band Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, before becoming a bona fide international rock star as frontman for the Murderdolls, his collaboration with Slipknot's Joey Jordison. The band took the world by storm, with Europe and the UK in particular succumbing to the feral charms of 2002 debut album, 'Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls'; a raucous eruption of big tunes and bad attitude that noisily redefined the horror punk genre. After Murderdolls went on an extended hiatus in 2004, Wednesday 13 embarked on a widely lauded solo career that again provided him with an outlet for his relentless outpouring of fiendish musical and lyrical ideas. Murderdolls reconvened in 2010 for the vicious 'Women And Children Last' album and another successful world tour before disappearing once more into the freezing midnight fog, leaving Wednesday to revive his solo career with a few thousand volts of wicked electricity and an acclaimed studio album, 'Calling All Corpses'. Frustrated with the arduous process of releasing his own music, our favourite black-hearted freak has thrown himself and his music into a whirling maelstrom of reinvention. The result is not just the heaviest and most authentically disturbing record of the great man's career but also a huge creative leap forward, neatly encapsulated by the new album's simple and direct title. In musical terms, Condolences showcases Wednesday's growing obsession with the world of heavy metal and its endless possibilities for exploring tales of horror and violence. Produced by renowned studio guru Zeuss, new songs like anthemic first single What The Night Brings and the pile-driving Blood Sick still exhibit a dash of B-movie weirdness and are full of Wednesday's trademark twisted lyrics, but where previous albums were rooted in the worlds of punk rock and glam metal, Condolences is a full-on modern metal record with gigantic balls and the attitude to match. From the glowering menace of Good Riddance to the grandiose hellishness of the album's 7-minute title track, it's living, breathing, murdering proof that the Wednesday 13 of 2017 means business. And business is mean.   "It's non-stop touring once the record comes out," Wednesday concludes. "We just did our first video for What The Night Brings and the visuals are really cool. I've incorporated a lot of stuff I've been doing live, like this devil character I've been transforming into at shows, and that got worked in. We're taking the music, the imagery and the entire stage show up a level. It's gonna be a full-on theatrical stage production, so I'll be busy as fuck on stage! I've been doing this shit for so many years, I started thinking 'How can I make this fun again?'

So after reading that I hope you have an idea of just what we are in for with Condolences, the artists eleventh release!

The album opens with the short instrumental, 'Last Rites' before launching into 'What The Night Brings', a good if rather subdued beginning to the album. 'Cadaverous' is up next, with riff that reminds my off something off of Killers Menace To Society album!  'Blood Sick'  follows, a more rounded atmospheric sounding track than its predecessor. 'Good Riddance' comes pounding along next, a classic Wednesday 13 track if ever there was one. 'You Breathe, I Kill' is a straight up Wednesday 13 rocker, from a stalkers point of view! 'Omen Amen' returns the feel of 'Cadaverous',
a great song with a sing along chorus! 'Cruel To You' slows the tempo a little, buts still not exactly a ballad, but it is quiet possibly the closest thing that Wednesday 13 will ever come to writing a pop song!
'Eulogy XIII' follows, a sort of industrial soundscape instrumental with selected samples. if this were a vinyl releases I guess this would be the opening track to side two of the album. 'Eulogy XIII' quickly gives way to 'Prey For Me', which once again has a bruising riff that could have been lifted from the aforementioned Killers album!
'Lonesome Road to Hell' is a rather melodic track that showcases another side to Wednesday's song writing.
The albums penultimate track also happens to be its title track, 'Condolences'. An atmospheric monster of a song. Absolutely brilliant! Haunting and brutal in equal parts!
The album closes out with 'Death Infinity', another atmospheric and haunting track that continues the theme and feel of its predecessor, only this time from the point of view of someone passing beyond the veil of death. A great song, and brilliant way to close out the album!

Condolences is a fantastic album that see's Wednesday 13 dropping much of the humour from their songs and therefore presenting a somewhat darker and colder vision to us all.

Well worth checking out!!

Rating: 10/10

Shadowman - Secrets and Lies (2017)

Genre - Melodic Rock / AOR
Label - Escape Music Ltd

Track listing:

01 - Gravity
02 - Automatic
03 - Put It All on Love
04 - Contagious
05 - Broken Bones
06 - Best Things in Life
07 - Face the Night
08 - No Smoke Without Fire
09 - Good Times, Bad Times
10 - Be True to Yourself
11 - Secrets and Lies
12 - Stand up and Be Counted

UK AOR super group SHADOWMAN return with the latest album, "Secrets and Lies", their first release in six years! Luckily for us the band personnel remains stable with members from FM (Steve Overland, vocals), Heartland (Steve Harris, guitar), and Thunder (Chris Childs and Harry James, bass and drums respectively).
Apart from the classic line-up, on this new effort Shadowman maintains its quality both in songwriting and production.
Basically and essentially, with "Secrets And Lies", you have five very talented veterans of the genre laying down some genuine and creative AOR / melodic rock. It's merely a fusion of their respective personal and professional experience from their respective bands.
Breaking this down a little more, Shadowman delivers the AOR / Melodic Rock essentials. Overland sings melodic and smooth, with a soulful sometimes bluesy delivery. He's backed up by harmonious vocal arrangements, mostly done by himself.
Melody and harmony, rhythm and groove, envelope every arrangement whether by those vocals, the guitar lines, or the touch of keyboard accent and atmosphere. The songs also turn on catchy hooks in composition, often the chorus, largely the melody. All these things are punctuated by Harris's solid and spicy straight up hard rock guitar solos.
'Gravity' and 'Automatic' are in the vein of the very first Shadowman record, there are the catchy rockers like 'Contagious', title track 'Secrets & Lies', the heavier 'No Smoke Without Fire', and the groovy 'Good Times Bad Times'. A song like 'Be True To Yourself' is an arena ready anthem, crunchy in the guitar line and soaring vocals. And lets not forget the ballads, 'Face The Night' and 'Put It All On Love', sugar coated AOR perfection.

"Secrets And Lies" is an album that brings together the sound and experience from all Shadowman's members, that being a mix of FM, Heartland and in lesser degree, Thunder.

Well worth checking out

Rating: 9/10

Danzig - Black Laden Crown (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Gothic Rock / Doom Metal
Label - AFM Records

Track listing:

01. Black Laden Crown
02. Eyes Ripping Fire
03. Devil On Hwy 9
04. Last Ride
05. The Witching Hour
06. But A Nightmare
07. Skulls & Daisies
08. Blackness Falls
09. Pull The Sun

Glenn Danzig returns with his latest studio album from his band Danzig in the form of Black Laden Crown. One of the first things to not is that this new album has a sound closer to the bands legendary first four albums than anything they have released in a very long time. The album opens with the creeping yet atmospheric title track. Whilst not the most instant or energetic track, it is definitely a grower, holding more and more fascination for the listener with each listen. Joining Glenn on this new album is former Ministry guitarist Tommy Victor, and this really shows in the quality of the riffs and song writing in general. A new depth if you will, which is most evident on tracks like 'Witching Hour' and 'Eyes Ripping Fire' which are  unlike anything Danzig has done before, and give the album a strong individual identity. The weakest track is oddly the track he chose to release as the lead single. 'Devil On Highway Nine', which although a bloody descent Danzig track by all means, it definitely has the weakest vocal, and weakest mix/production in the entire affair, although it is also one of the albums quickest tempo'd songs!

Black Laden Crown is a very welcome addition to the Danzig catalogue of work, and a big relief after the woeful vocals and quality of 'Skeletons' the recently released covers album.

Rating: 9/10

EZOO - Feeding The Beast (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - earMusic

Track listing:

01. You Are Your Wallet
02. The Flight of the Sapini
03. C'est la Vie
04. Guys from God
05. Feeding the Beast
06. Eyes of the World
07. Colder Than Cool
08. Too High to Be Falling
09. Motorbike
10. Since You Been Gone
11. Don't Look Back
12. Coda

EZOO is an exciting new project that see's to of hard rocks heavyweights combining forces to produce something completely new. Legendary lead vocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow / Alcatrazz / Graham Bonnet Band) teams up with renowned guitarist / songwriter / producer Dario Mollo (Crossbones / Mollo, Martin (with Tony Martin) / Voodoo Hill (with Glenn Hughes) / Noize Machine) to produce what has got to prove to be one of the best heavy rocks years of the year.
Drawing on the experience of these two rich Rock careers, the two leaders of EZOO obviously know how to craft a killer Hard Rock song or two.
The opening track is 'You are Your Wallet', a catchy, upbeat hard rocker, the perfect song to start the album. Mollo's riffs are to die for and Bonnet shines.
'C’est la Vie' is a killer, groovy heavy tune with lots of melody and superb solos, then the 'Guys from God' provides even more classic riffs and elaborated harmony vocal arrangements. Title track,  'Feeding the Beast', is a melodic song with strong guitar riffs, very much in the vein of Tony Martin solo album or track that might have appeared on one of the three Cage albums, with its different passages (some awesomely atmospheric) where Bonnet’s vocals are amazing.  'Motorbike', a punchy hard rocker plenty of magic, and Bonnet here simply kills. You would never know that he is almost in his 70's.
Also included on the album are two of Bonnet’s classic tracks he recorded with Rainbow; 'Eyes of the World', which is driven by a great rhythm, and the classic 'Since You Been Gone'. Here Mollo has provided his own musical spin to them, and Bonnet feels like fish in the water. His performance is as good in 2017 as he did in the originals.
Joining Bonnet and Mollo on this project are long time Mollo collaborators, Dario Patti, Guido Block (bass) and Roberto Gualdi (drums), and together they manage to pull off that real band sound, as opposed to just sounding like a studio project.

'Feeding The Beast' is a really strong album that more than surpasses an expectations a casual listener may have had prior to listening to it. Lets just hope that this doesn't turn out to be a one off project, because I would love to see what other magical gems these guys could come up with!

Rating: 10/10