Thursday, September 20, 2018

LIONCAGE - Turn Back Time (2018)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

"Turn Back Time" is the third chapter in the LIONCAGE career which started in 2015 with Done At Last and continued successfully with Second Strike in 2017, their two previous albums featured here, both very good discs in their own right.
But with "Turn Back Time" - to be released on September 21st, 2018 - Lioncage honed their craft of classic Melodic Rock / AOR to a higher level, delivering a wonderful slice of polished guitar-driven / keyboard-drenched tunes for all fans of the genre.

This time the lions caged some impressive guests to provide variation, such as as Anya Mahnken (from Beyond The Black) on the vocals on “So Long Ago”, Olaf Senkbeil (Dreamtide) on “Turn Back Time”, Neil Murray (Whitesnake) playing bass guitar on “Heaven’s Gate”, and Joe Castellini on guitar on “Comfort Me”.

The songs on "Turn Back Time" are elaborated Melodic Rock, and this is a plus for me because you can play any song again and again, tirelessly.
Starting with 'Heaven's Gate', an elegant song with strong melodies, smooth vocals and solid arrangements akin Toto, Lioncage showcase how much progressed as band.

More AOR, 'Black Water' is a little gem, with its terrific midtempo pace, crystal clear vocals by Thorsten Bertermann (which tone brings to mind Frontline's Stephan Kaemmerer) and a superb guitar solo.
With 'Comfort Me' they try something different, modern melodic rock with some Newman on it, then follower 'Blind' is more rocking with biting guitars and very, very catchy overall.

Title track 'Turn Back Time' is a highlight for me - although all songs are very good - that kind of slow paced melodic rock song that has it all: complete instrumentation, soaring vocals and atmospheres.

Did I said highlight? 'Believe in Magic' is another one with its Journey feel circa Trial By Fire, the elegant AOR waves 'The Wall' sounds like an awesome mix between Strangeways and Canadians Wall Of Silence, then 'Dead Man Walk' seems taken from Toto's album Kingdom Of Desire.
These 3 songs delivered in a row worth this CD alone.

LIONCAGE - Turn Back Time (2018) inside

More quality arrive with the fantastic 'So Long Ago' with its pulsating rhythm, lovely keyboards, and effective duet between Bertermann and the powerful female pipes of Anya Mahnken. Think Dante Fox's finest moments.
'How Can U Say' reminds me of Work Of Art, midtempo melodic rocker 'How Does It Feel' Tommy Denander / Radioactive, and 'Let the Children Dance' adds a poppy touch, more Work Of Art meets Mr. Mister.

Germans Lioncage have reached its boiling point with "Turn Back Time", a bubbly collection of superb Melodic Rock / AOR in the classy mold, perfectly arranged, performed and recorded.
Consistent and always entertaining, there's not a weak track among the 12 on offer.
One of the best albums of the year so far... get it now.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Heaven's Gate
02 - Black Water
03 - Comfort Me
04 - Blind
05 - Turn Back Time
06 - Believe in Magic
07 - The Walls
08 - Dead Man Walk
09 - So Long Ago
10 - How Can U Say
11 - How Does It Feel
12 - Let the Children Dance

Thorsten Bertermann - vocals
Torsten Landsberger - drums
Lars König - guitar
Arvid Lucas - bass
Bülent Sezen - drums
Anya Mahnken - vocals on track 9
Olaf Senkbeil – vocals on track 5
Neil Murray – bass on track 1
Joe Castellini – guitar on track 3
Anja Bublitz – backing vocals



BILLY F GIBBONS (ZZ Top) - The Big Bad Blues (2018)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

Legendary ZZ Top frontman BILLY F GIBBONS will release his second solo album "The Big Bad Blues", and I pleased to say this is a hot rockin' album. I didn't enjoyed too much Gibbon's 2015’s Arfo-Cuban flavored ‘Perfectamundo’, but "The Big Bad Blues" is pure 'down and dirty' bluesy Rock N' Roll to die for.

Co-produced by Billy and Joe Hardy and recorded at Foam Box Recordings in Houston, the album boasts 11 bluesy-rock tracks consisting of six BFG originals and five cover versions of songs by Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Jerome Green and Gilly Stillwater.
With Billy taking on guitar, harmonica and vocal duties, he was flanked by a stellar line-up of musicians including Joe Hardy on bass, Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses / Velvet Revolver / The Cult) and Nashville session great Greg Morrow on drums, Mike ‘The Drifter’ Flanigin on keyboards and James Harmon on additional harmonica.

ZZ Top has never strayed far from the blues. Even in their slick, synthesizer-enhanced MTV “Gimme Me All Your Lovin’” days, the band always kept “one foot in the blues,” even naming an album that way.
So it’s little wonder that Top’s iconic frontman Billy F. Gibbons would revert to that straight-ahead Chicago sound when given a chance to follow up his successful 2015 solo debut.
It’s only surprising this set of covers and originals didn’t happen sooner.

Between his instantly recognizable swamp-drenched guitar and raspy vocals that have always seemed as if he gargled with the grimy mud of the Mississippi delta, Gibbons dives head-first into covers from Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters (two each), and cranks out a bunch of originals with the passion and low-boil intensity that has kept his band relevant for nearly 50 years.

An awful lot of electric blues is really great stuff — and then there’s some blues that just blows out the windows and the roof – not so much from the volume but from the soul-deep intensity. That’s what you have here.
In addition to high-powered and searing guitar and down and dirty harmonica work from Gibbons, the guitarist offers up his gravely vocals to etch the feeling in stone. Oh, and let me not forget that he tosses in a little of that famous pinch harmonics technique he’s so noted for.

BILLY F GIBBONS (ZZ Top) - The Big Bad Blues (2018) disc

"The Big Bad Blues" is a blues album, but the focus on all songs is Rock.
Even the cover of the delta blues of 'Bring It To Jerome' is transformed here into a heavy-blues, rocking tune with a huge, monster rumbling bass sound from master Joe Hardy.
This stuff is phat, pointed, and packs a huge wallop.
You want this one, believe me.

01 - Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’
02 - My Baby She Rocks
03 - Second Line
04 - Standing Around Crying
05 - Let The Left Hand Know
06 - Bring It To Jerome
07 - That’s What She Said
08 - Mo’ Slower Blues
09 - Hollywood 151
10 - Rollin’ And Tumblin’
11 - Crackin’ Up

Billy Gibbons - vocals, guitar, harmonica
Joe Hardy - bass
Matt Sorum, Greg Morrow - drums
Mike ‘The Drifter’ Flanigin - keyboards
James Harmon - additional harmonica



THE CRUEL INTENTIONS - No Sign Of Relief (2018)

THE CRUEL INTENTIONS - No Sign Of Relief (2018) full

THE CRUEL INTENTIONS consisting of bassist Mats Wernerson, singer Lizzy DeVine, drummer Robin Nilsson and guitarist Kristian Nygaard Solhaug will be releasing their debut album "No Sign Of Relief" via Norway’s Indie Recordings on September 21, 2018.
We have featured one of the advanced singles in one of our 'Advanced Sampler' compilations, but now after having listened to the entire album, we're truly impressed.

THE CRUEL INTENTIONS consisting of bassist Mats Wernerson, singer Lizzy DeVine, drummer Robin Nilsson and guitarist Kristian Nygaard Solhaug will be releasing their debut album "No Sign Of Relief" via Norway’s Indie Recordings on September 21, 2018.
We have featured one of the advanced singles in one of our 'Advanced Sampler' compilations, but now after having listened to the entire album, we're truly impressed.

Life throws us curveballs sometimes. The first time I heard The Cruel Intentions was well over a year ago, and I just did not get them at all. The song apparently hit me at the wrong time as I could not get into Lizzy DeVine’s vocals, and wondered why there was so much hype surrounding the band.

Then we listened to another single, and decided to include it into one of our 'Advanced Sampler' compilations - these are carefully made compilations, we select only the best songs of the month, about 80% are discarded.
But now... listening to "No Sign Of Relief" in its entirety I am shocked.

‘Jawbreaker’ doesn’t just open the album; it grabs you by the neck and demands your attention while your hands fumble to turn the volume up higher. This rapid fire sleazy hard rocker provides the perfect opening as the opening riff segue ways into a three-minute burst of adrenaline with a contagious chorus that demands you start singing along with Lizzy DeVine. ‘All I want to do is rock ‘n’ roll til I die’ provides the mission statement for the album at the end of the song.

There is no let up in energy or quality as ‘The Reckoning’ explodes out of the speakers like a freight train covered in hooks that will not let go. Kristian Solhaug’s guitar work on the record is phenomenal from the riffs to the solos.
‘Weekend Suffering’ continues the mastery with Mats Wernerson (bass) and Robin Nilsson (drums) creating some dynamics to help push the huge hook here. Solhaug lays down an awesome solo. If you are not shouting the title in the chorus by the end of the song, it would be advised to make sure you have a pulse.
‘Borderline Crazy’ will be familiar to older fans of the band as the band channels early Motley Crue, Skid Row, and the like but with some modern touches.

Next up is ‘Check Your Head’ with this one really highlighting how awesome DeVine’s vocals fit this band and approach. They drip with sincerity, attitude, aggression, and at times sound like your best friend telling you everything is going to work out okay.
One of my favorite songs ‘Sick Adrenaline’ combines a catchy verse with another chorus that will have you singing it in no time. It’s such a great feeling to have an album where you keep wanting to hit repeat on every track; the best solution has been to just keep this whole album on repeat. This is song after song that should be a hit single.

‘Everybody Riot’ proves to be no exception as this is another hard rocker crafted for audience participation. ‘Go F@ck Yourself’ leaves little mystery in its lyrical content. This one bounces out of the gate with Wernerson and Nilsson again laying claim to some awesome rhythm work as the song switches to a faster gear. There is such an uplifting spirit to the chorus that you cannot help but smile.
As we sadly near the end of the album, ‘Chaos in a Bombshell’ let’s us know we are not finished yet. The huge backing vocals carry every ounce of attitude you could hope to hear.

Too often today, we hear about albums being front loaded with a few good songs at the start and then a bunch of filler at the back of the record. That does not exist in the world of The Cruel Intentions. There is no let up in these 11 songs.
Even with several listens, it is impossible to sit still when playing this album. Finale ‘Devilicious’ switches from fifth gear to fourth gear with the sleaze factor to the tenth power as the album reaches its powerful conclusion.

The mix on this album is faultless as each musician gets heard with subtle pushes when needed such as the way the guitar solos rip through the speakers.
I am a firm believer that if you put The Cruel Intentions on tour with someone like Guns ‘N Roses today they would sell at least a million records.

THE CRUEL INTENTIONS - No Sign Of Relief (2018) inside

Album of the year contender? Yes, it is. In a year that has seen several albums fighting strongly for my favorite album of the year, The Cruel Intentions have battered down the door to fight for that top spot with a few other albums.
I actually cannot remember a year when 2/3 of the way through the year I had so many albums that could easily be my favorite.

Cultural musical revolutions (‘Pyromania’, ‘Nevermind’, 'Rest In Sleaze' for example) get started with albums like this when we suddenly see the change in what society as a whole wants to hear.
The Cruel Intentions is a killer band, and "No Sign Of Relief" made a similar impact on me like Crashdiet's 'Rest In Sleaze' when appeared: nobody gave a dime for them, and I predicted they would be huge.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Jawbreaker
02 - Reckoning
03 - Genie's Got a Problem
04 - Weekend Suffering
05 - Borderline Crazy
06 - Check Your Head
07 - Sick Adrenaline
08 - Everybody Riot
09 - Go F@ck Yourselves
10 - Chaos in a Bombshell
11 - Devilicious

Lizzy DeVine (lead vocals, guitar)
Mats Wernerson (bass)
Eiliv Sagrusten (drums)
Kristian Nygaard Solhaug (lead guitar)



DREAM PATROL - Phantoms Of The Past (2018)

DREAM PATROL - Phantoms Of The Past (2018) full

"Phantoms Of The Past" is the debut record from DREAM PATROL, an international Hard Rock / Classic Rock band featuring members from USA, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria. The name is said to be inspired by the '80s movies A Nightmare On Elm Street, where the victims are murdered in their dreams by the monster Freddy Krueger.
The 'Dream Patrol' is a special combat force intended to protect against that type of threat... silly? Not at all, it's all about fun, and musically, these guys are darn awesome.

This description, along with how they classify their genre is immediately given justice by opener self-titled track “Dream Patrol” featuring every element of '80s hard rock: the groovy bass lines are very dominant and assertive, the guitar parts are plotted to give you a nostalgia of packed stadiums, and the singing is great, powerful and clean.
There's various influences all over the CD, and this benefits its variation. Track 2 'Get Back Home' is heavier, some kind of a tribute to '80s US Metal, a mix of Armored Saint and Riot with great impact.

And then Dream Patrol twist things again and surprise us with “Tattooed Millionaire From Panama”. This is a mashup of Bruce Dickinson’s 'Tattooed Millionaire' and Van Halen’s 'Panama', and works awesomely. It takes 'Panama' crazy riff and ''Tattooed...' main melody to create a superb melodic hard rock song, catchy as Hell.

They change again with 'The Shortest Straw', a midtempo classic rocker with clear bluesy American influences from the '80s. In fact, the complete album is a homage to the last forty years in hard rock / classic rock
Title track 'Phantoms of the Past' is so nostalgic, so anthemic it would make a good soundtrack for Space Sheriff Shaider (anyone remember that?). Think 'Transformers', but the only way you can understand this is to listen to the song yourself and wait for the one minute mark.

More variety comes by the hand of 'Lost Child' and later 'Time Is a Healer', both acoustically guitar driven songs but quite uptempo and melodic. Again, a tribute to US rock with some early Eighties FM feeling (read The Eagles and alike).
'Stand up and Fight' has traces of classic NWOBHM in every single aspect but in its more commercial side. The song is a standout in terms of intensity and energy.

Then, plenty of pristine guitar swirls and lovely keys / synths, 'Piece of Paradise' is a killer melodic hard rocker that easily could have been part of any '80s 'action movie' soundtrack. Love this kind of stuff. A winner.

DREAM PATROL - Phantoms Of The Past (2018) inside

'Is That the Thanks I Get' returns to midtempo, some acoustics mixed with electrics and that American feeling, while hard rocker 'Playing with Fire' reminds me of an old Y&T song. In fact, the guitar tone all over the recording is quite similar to Dave Meniketti circa 1983.
They end with the epic midtempo 'Haunted Tower', another solid homage to classic hard rock from both sides of the ocean.

"Phantoms Of The Past" is a really enjoyable and very, very well done tribute to the classy hard rock sounds of all time. Dream Patrol take these influences and made their own, this is not a copy-cat collection of songs, all are originals and cleverly round up.
The record has a great production value. Sonically is crisp, clear, and big sounding. The songs are well written, and the performances are excellent. Powerful vocals and lush harmonies elevate the melodic content to an exceptional level.
Fans of timeless classic Hard Rock - and related - need to check this one pronto.
Highly Recommended

01 - Dream Patrol
02 - Get Back Home
03 - Tattooed Millionaire from Panama
04 - The Shortest Straw
05 - Phantoms of the Past
06 - Lost Child
07 - Stand up and Fight
08 - Time Is a Healer
09 - Piece of Paradise
10 - Is That the Thanks I Get
11 - Playing with Fire
12 - Haunted Tower

Eli Prinsen - lead & backing vocals
Filip Koluš - guitars, acoustic guitar
Ronnie König - bass, backing vocals, programing
Radim Večeřa - drums
special guest:
Libor Křivák – lead & rhythm guitars



MAXXWELL - Metalized (2018)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

01. Hurricane
02. Back Again
03. P.U.T.V.
04. She’s Mine
05. Scars
06. Metalized
07. Monsterball
08. Burn
09. Done With You
10. Given It All
11. The Temple
12. Raise Your Fist
13. Independent (Bonus Track)
14. Queen Of The Night (Bonus Track)
15. Schizophrenia (Bonus Track)

Gilberto Meléndez – Vocals
Cyril Montavon – Guitars
Hef Häfliger – Guitars
Oli Häller – Drums
Adrian Müller – Bass



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SLASH feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - Living The Dream (2018)

SLASH feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - Living The Dream (2018) full

SLASH featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators will release their new album titled "Living The Dream" on September 21. This is Guns N' Roses guitarist fourth solo album, and third with his The Conspirators bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums), Todd Kerns (bass and vocals) and Frank Sidoris - guitar, backing vocals.

Despite a four year wait since we were last graced with a record from Slash and Co., the man has not been lazing around practicing pulling rabbits out of top hats. No, the legendary guitarist rejoined Guns N’ Roses and has been around the world a few times over, breaking tour records while he does it.
But, he was adamant to get back to making a third record with Kennedy & The Conspirators, stating “I always planned on getting back together with the Conspirators as soon as possible, and continuing on with what we started,” and he remained true to his word.

Opening tracks “The Call Of The Wild” and “Serve You Right” are straight up, good ol’ Rock n’ Roll tunes plenty of high octane riffing coupled with soaring vocals in a typical Slash / The Conspirators fashion.
Third track change the focus a little. “My Antidote” is a riff ripping, tempo fluctuating, wah-pedal riddled good time. It would come as little surprise if it were to eventually be disclosed as having been hand picked from the Velvet Revolver vault as it embodies the same raw, rebellious spirit of the once supergroup.

"Mind Your Manners" is perfectly named, but for mine it’s because listeners will be hard pressed not to be shouting profanity in pure glee as you spin around the room, moshing and rocking your way through this mighty number. Go on, you just try and sit still. Impossible.

Next, “Lost Inside The Girl” teeters between big, beautiful ballad and dramatic longing to wonderful impact. With its love song chorus bringing life to its dark, brooding yet addictive verses, you will find this track entering the realm of the repeat button before long.
"Read Between The Lines" lifts you skyward again with its bluesy drive and sections of creeping doom and foreboding, albeit with Myles shining again like the shimmering star he truly is.

There is simply no other contender for album standout, as it is rightly and tenderly claimed by “The One You Loved Is Gone”. Kennedy is not only at some of his lyrical best here, but the singers stripped back, even somber approach to his vocal delivery conveys the heart of the song in a way that only he can. All topped off with (though one of many) a solo from Slash that unmistakably comes from the gut.

SLASH feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - Living The Dream (2018) inside

Musically, the unsung heroes found in the Conspirators, comprised of bassist Tod Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz, and making his record debut after years of live work with the band, rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris, make up a strong, integral backbone to the song and album overall.
"Living The Dream" is a collection of songs far more perfect than we could possibly have possibly hoped. Slash and his Conspirators have crafted their best album to date here, every track a hit, every note a celebration and yet another step skyward for this band.

The perfect producer for an album of this magnitude could be none other than long-time collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette, capturing the song's essence resulting in a killer set of heavy rock's finest.
Where "Living The Dream" excels is in not in its batch of straightforward hard rock, but in its less structured, brave sonic scope. And luckily, there is a handsome amount of exactly that, and so the top hat axeman strikes yet again.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. The Call Of The Wild
02. Serve You Right
03. My Antidote
04. Mind Your Manners
05. Lost Inside The Girl
06. Read Between The Lines
07. Slow Grind
08. The One You Loved Is Gone
09. Driving Rain
10. Sugar Cane
11. The Great Pretender
12. Boulevard Of Broken Hearts

Myles Kennedy - lead vocals
Slash - lead and rhythm guitars
Todd Kerns - bass, backing vocals
Brent Fitz - drums, percussion, electric piano
Frank Sidoris - guitar, backing vocals

Pre Order:


HARDCORE SUPERSTAR - You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll [Japan Edition +1] (2018)

HARDCORE SUPERSTAR - You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll [Japan Edition +1] (2018) full

Sweden-based rockers HARDCORE SUPERSTAR will release their 11th studio album, "You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll" on September 21, today appeared in Japan with a bonus track.
Recorded throughout 2017 and early 2018 at the beautiful Österlyckan (Wooden Hybrid) studios near Gothenburg, the album was produced by the band members themselves and mixed in Stockholm by Dino Medanhodzic.

The album's first single, "Have Mercy On Me", was released to great critical acclaim at the end of 2017 and quickly became play listed on radio stations all over the Europe, making it a runaway success.
The following singles, "Bring The House Down", "Electric Rider" (all featured here in our Advanced singles compilations) have built enormously on this success, creating massive anticipation among the fans and media in preparation for the album's release.

It's safe to say "You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll" is an unapologetically confident and assured album full of big hooks, attitude and aggression that doesn't let up from the moment the opening track "AD/HD" kicks in with its sharp riffs and rebelliousness driven lyrics. It's '80s Glam Rock meets Metal for the modern 2018 headbangers crowd.
The single “Electric Rider” may have some cheesy lyrics, however the music is a punchy anthem with huge backing vocals and a swirling guitar solo, just some great Hard Rock stuff reminiscent of Crashdiet or early Reckless Love, but bringing its own uniqueness to the table.

In “My Sanctuary” vocalist Joakim Berg brings in the Axl Rose sleazy influence with his fast paced sharp clean screaming vocals, while “Hit Me Where It Hurts” is the perfect anthemic song for the arenas.
Title track "You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll" is another anthemic party song in the trademark Hardcore Superstar mold, with huge backing vocals and a truly commercial approach.
'Have Mercy On Me' is short rocker under the 3 minute mark and again Crashdiet comes to mind, followed by the foot-tapping broken riff of 'Never Cared For Snobbery', which main melody is reminiscent of Twisted Sister.

'Baboon' is one of my favorites from the album, think Def Leppard on steroids over a trashy riff and tons of backing vocals layers.
With 'Bring The House Down' Hardcore Superstar delivers another song with a stadium feel, a marching rhythm, and huge gang backing vocals. 'Medicine Man' add a fun bluesy feel, then 'Goodbye' is some kind of a midtempo, sleazy hard rockin', darker.
Japan bonus track is 'Useless Information', a slippery melodic sleazy tune and another favorite from the album, and a shame not to be included into the regular release (as originally intended).

HARDCORE SUPERSTAR - You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll [Japan Edition +1] (2018) disc

I think what the band said about this new album pretty much sums up its content; "You Can't Kill My Rock 'N Roll isn't just a statement of confrontation and rebellion, it's a celebration of everything we love, the music, the lifestyle, this is our religion, it's our choice, and it's everything we believe in".
Indeed, Hardcore Superstar embody everything that '80s glammy hard rock was all about: party rockers, huge gang choruses and hot solos, wrapped in a modern sound and arrangements.
Highly Recommended

01 - AD/HD
02 - Electric Rider
03 - My Sanctuary
04 - Hit Me Where It Hurts
05 - You Can't Kill My Rock N' Roll
06 - The Others
07 - Have Mercy On Me
08 - Never Cared For Snobbery
09 - Baboon
10 - Bring The House Down
11 - Medicine Man
12 - Goodbye
13 - Useless Information (Japan Bonus Track)

Joakim "Jocke" Berg - vocals
Martin Sandvik - bass
Vic Zino - guitar
Magnus "Adde" Andreasson - drums



GLASS TIGER - 31 (2018)

GLASS TIGER - 31 (2018) full

Not too many bands can say that they’ve been together for more than 31 years, but the boys from Ontario GLASS TIGER can speak to that unique perspective. In true celebration style, this iconic '80s act returned to the studio while continuing to honor their legacy, by giving fans a 21st century updating of their hits songs plus 2 new ones in their new CD titled "31".

Glass Tiger is comprised of talented vocalist Alan Frew, Sam Reid (keyboards), Al Connelly (guitars), Wayne Parker (bass) and later on, Chris McNeill (drums). They captured the audiences with their mid ’80s Canadian pristine rock&pop / liteAOR style.
On "31", the band have re-imaged the songs to a more modern taste and feel.

With the lead track, Alan Frew’s crisp, clear vocals start us off on Glass Tiger biggest hit 'Someday' with a different approach to the original, including acoustic guitars and a group of female vocals in the background. Later on in the album, there's another version of “Someday” featuring female singer Veronic DiCaire performing some verses in French, a nice, added touch.
Next we have a reworked version of 'Animal Heart' with organic instrumentation including Hammond-like organ. The original version of this song always reminded me of Def Leppard, and it's cool to hear it now in its new shape.

Throughout the album, the tempo is well varied from song to song, to the slow paced, slide guitar version of 'I Will Be There' to the staple Glass Tiger representative sound in 'My Town' and 'I’m Still Searching', to the ballad 'Rescued by Arms', while the two new tracks 'Wae yer Family' and 'Fire it Up' show some legs in their pace to get us through the compilation.
Guest stars abound in the forms of Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea), Julian Lennon, the aforementioned Véronic DiCaire (Franco-Ontarian singer), Susan Aglukark (Juno winning Inuk musician) and David R. Maracle (multi-instrumental Mohawk artist).

The general feel of the album is a stripped away environment with an acoustic vibe, organic instrumentation in the classic rock way but still retaining Glass Tiger's rock&pop sensibility. Think Nelson's acoustic side, a bit of Rick Springfield, etc.
Frew’s earthy vocals sound fantastic, and the interplay between the 4 band members is seamless and effortless as they bring a different aesthetics to the forefront of this compilation.

GLASS TIGER - 31 (2018) disc

If you’re 35 and above who was into the Canadian rock scene back in the mid-Eighties, this new Glass Tiger album will give you a heavy dose of nostalgic, sentimental feels with a re-imaging of some of their greatest hits.
Highly Recommended

01 - Someday
02 - Animal Heart
03 - Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
04 - I Will Be There
05 - My Town
06 - Diamond Sun
07 - Rescued (By The Arms Of Love)
08 - My Song (Feat. Alan Doyle)
09 - I'm Still Searching
10 - Thin Red Line (Feat. Julian Lennon)
11 - Fire It Up *
12 - Wae Yer Family (Feat. Johnny Reid) *
13 - Healing Hands
14 - Someday (Feat. Véronic DiCaire)
15 - Diamond Sun (Feat. Susan Aglukark, D. Maracle)

* new songs 2018

Alan Frew - Vocals
Alan Connelly - Guitars
Wayne Parker - Bass
Sam Reid - Keyboards
Chris McNeill - Drums



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

LEVERAGE - The Devil's Turn + all Japan edition bonus tracks (2018)

LEVERAGE - The Devil's Turn + all Japan edition bonus tracks (2018) full

Finnish band LEVERAGE was one of the finest melodic metal acts from the past decade, and now almost 10 years since their last album they return with "The Devil’s Turn", their comeback EP released by Frontiers Music, an advance from the full length to be released by the Italian label in 2019.

Leverage landed on the scene in 2006 with the release of their debut album 'Tides'. With their blend of symphonic / progressive metal and melodic rock, Leverage generated a buzz among rock and metal fans and was signed by Frontiers for the release of their second album, “Blind Fire”, in 2008.
The band's third album, “Circus Colossus”, was released via Spinefarm in 2009, but the band became inactive not too long afterwards.

Now, after a near decade of hibernation, Leverage is back with an amazing new singer, Kimmo Blom (from AOR band Urban Tale) and a new guitar player, Mikko Salovaara. The EP “The Devil’s Turn, serve as an introduction to the new Leverage line-up as well as an appetizer for the band's forthcoming fourth album.
The songs on the EP were written over a period of several years, with 'Dead Man’s Hand' being the oldest song and 'Children Of Skyfall' the most recent. With those two plus 'The Unicorn' and 'Wheels From Hell', the EP covers a pretty wide range musically.

According to producer, guitarist and main songwriter Tuomas Heikkinen: "It’s all heavy rock, not any form of power metal. Not that there’s anything wrong with prog metal or power metal or whatever, but right now we feel that we want to capture something that is recorded with a live feel, with no exaggerated choirs or orchestrations all over the place”

Indeed, the songs on "The Devil’s Turn" are straighforward rockers, melodic and with the band's usual pristine sound, but more direct and accessible than before.
As example, 'Wheels From Hell', is quite 'old-school' with double guitar solos and all that.

LEVERAGE - The Devil's Turn + all Japan edition bonus tracks (2018) inside

The band also released a standalone single some weeks ago titled 'Red Moon Over Sonora', and to make this Leverage feature here more complete, we have added all (6) bonus tracks from the band's Japanese edition of their three previous full length albums.
Highly Recommended

01 - Dead Man's Hand
02 - Wheels from Hell
03 - The Unicorn
04 - Children of Skyfall
05 - Red Moon Over Sonora (2018 standalone single)
06 - Mean And Evil (Circus Colossus Japanese Bonus Track)
07 - Walk On Home (Circus Colossus Japanese Bonus Track)
08 - Yesterdays (Blind Fire Japanese Bonus Track)
09 - Rockethead (Blind Fire Japanese Bonus Track)
10 - Waterfall (Tides Japanese Bonus Track)
11 - Land Of Flames (Tides Japanese Bonus Track)

Kimmo Blom – vocals
Mikko Salovaara – guitars
Tuomas Heikkinen – guitars
Sami Norrbacka – bass
Valtteri Revonkorpi – drums
Marko Niskala – keyboards



DRAMA QUEEN - Drama Queen (2018)

DRAMA QUEEN - Drama Queen (2018) full

If you crave a fun '80s Hard Rocking fix then look now further than Rockford IL and DRAMA QUEEN who released their self-titled debut album by themselves.
It may just be one of the gems of this year’s melodic hard rock 'indie' releases.

Opening track ‘Lovin’ You’ sets out the stall nicely with the band coming across like the hybrid of Kix, Slaughter and the cream of late Eighties hard rock with a definite sleazy edge, but also keyboards into the mix resulting into a very melodious opener
‘Fine Line’ starts slow and crawls on up to you, it’s a dirty little number that rests a little too much on the chorus but shows that there’s plenty in the tank. And that theory is immediately confirmed by ‘Red Rocker Girl’ has the swagger of Aerosmith but with a harder almost W.A.S.P.-like edge that suits the vocal well.

Deeper into the album ‘Stop Me From Crying’ lands us in ballad territory but it’s one of those smoky Eighties ballads that really reminds me of those times you find a hidden gem from back in the day and immediately want to tell everyone about it.
‘You’re Going Down Tonight’ has a Dokken-like feel to it and again definite vocal similarities to W.A.S.P. it’s a mid paced rocker that does the job before.

‘We’re on Fire’ really show you how solid this band are – every song here sounds authentic, and would stand up against so much music released at the height of Eighties US rock’s mainstream flirtation, and this one is the hardest here.
There’s a chugging mid-paced rocker in the title track, a semi-ballad with a Sunset Strip atmosphere.

The second half of the album is even better.
One of the real highlights ‘Welcome to the Party’ hits, and whilst the album’s certainly done far more than simply got the foot tapping so far, this is one of the songs that lifts it another level. A great riff an insistent refrain and just that vibe of a bygone age when rock could raise you from your daily grind and open up the promise of the weekend for a generation of pre computer-screen-fixated kids.
With tons of cool, a great positive attitude and considerable chops on display fron all concerned I’ve already more than got my money’s worth and we’re still only two thirds gone.

Unsurprisingly the album rounds out just as strongly, with the Dokken-like opening for ‘Get Ready For Love’ leading int a rather more upbeat chorus before fading back to the gentler verse, it’s a nice hybrid approach that gives the song a nice flavour and a Shark Island feel and its own kind of cool.
‘All I Ever Wanted’ is a very well crafted power ballad, still rocking and not sugary at all.

‘Annie’ is another favorite of mine, a quite killer thrusting rocker inspired by the story of Stryper’s Oz Fox’s wife Annie Lobert. Musically it rocks with a very melodic riff, swagger vocals and nice R'n'R lyrics.
We close with ‘Fyre & Ice’ a song which adds a little modern twist to the mix, still grounded firmly in the gloriously lush Eighties sound akin the first Lynch Mob. It’s staccato spikes and smooth lead give it a modern edge in a classic tale of opposites attracting.

DRAMA QUEEN - Drama Queen (2018) back

“Drama Queen” is full of life, character and energy. It has it all – ballads, mid-tempo rockers and hard-rocking tracks that totally deserve to be played and enjoyed at a high volume.
It's all self managed, from production to artwork design, and all very well done.
I expect big things of this band in years to come – this is one of the best indie debuts I’ve heard in quite some time.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Lovin' You
02 - Fine Line
03 - Red Rocker Girl
04 - Stop Me From Crying
05 - You're Going Down Tonight
06 - We're On Fire
07 - Drama Queen
08 - Welcome To The Party
09 - Get Ready For Love
10 - All I Ever Wanted
11 - Annie
12 - Fyre & Ice

Tee Sing - vocals
Matt Voght - guitars, keyboards
Rob Pace - drums, percussion
Joe Sanchez - bass



TONY MITCHELL - Beggars Gold (2018)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

Best known for having fronted acclaimed act Kiss Of The Gypsy back in the '90s, Englishman TONY MITCHELL returns with a new solo album, his first in seven years titled "Beggars Gold".
The music here is similar to the enjoyable Dirty White Boyz album - where Tony did lead vocals - released early last year (that band are planning a follow-up albeit under a new band name).
In short, this is classic melodic (hard) rock.

Tony Mitchell produced the album as well as playing guitars, bass and keyboards, plus he has a few guest guitarists to help out including Demon’s Paul Hume and Dante Fox’s Tim Manford.
His aim on the album was “I wanted a barrage of songs that would get into the ears of those who like melodic rock with powerful guitars, huge harmonies & memorable hooks.”
Does he achieve this? I’d say so and then some!

Opener ‘Playing With Fire’ sets the musical stall out early, featuring heavy guitar riffs, keys and the melodic rasp of Tony Mitchell’s singing. ‘Never Say Die’ is a big anthem reminiscent of Dare and FM, a proper fist pumping anthem. Like the majority of the songs on the album the keyboards are high in the mix which you need for hook filled melodic rock like this.

Dante Fox’s Sue Willetts guests on ‘What You Make It’, another top notch, catchy melodic rock tune.
The slower songs like ‘Someone Like You’ work equally as well, with this one featuring a sax solo from Daniel Sings and it tips a musical hat to '80s rock ballads.
‘Take A Look At Me Now’ is one of those wonderful big production songs that the likes of Supertramp, Queen and John Miles did so well back in the day and latterly bands like Cats In Space do. Guitars mix with tinkling keys and harmony vocals overload, a great listen.

TONY MITCHELL - Beggars Gold (2018) inside

A true 'solo' album where Mitchell handles everything except the guitar solos (wise choice), "Beggars Gold" is a very strong collection of powerful melodic hard rock songs that really took me by surprise.
Really, I wasn't expecting an album of this quality. You gotta listen to by yourself.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Playing with Fire
02 - Never Say Die
03 - Blind
04 - What You Make It
05 - Someone Like You
06 - Our Song
07 - Stone by Stone
08 - In Everyone of Us
09 - Wildside
10 - Fire Me Up
11 - Beggars Gold
12 - Take a Look at Me Now
13 - Welcome to the Revolution

Tony Mitchell – Vocals, Guitars, Bass Guitar & Keyboards
Additional Musicians:
Chris Hunt – Lead Guitar
Paul Hume – Lead Guitar
James Marsh – Lead Guitar
Tim Manford – Lead Guitar
Eddie Anthony – Drums
Daniel Sings – Sax on ‘Someone Like You’
Rouges Gallery Gospel Choir on ‘Stone By Stone’
Sue Willets (Dante Fox) - guest vocals on 4



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