Monday, August 29, 2016

ALCATRAZZ - Dangerous Games [Deluxe Edition remastered +8] (2016)

ALCATRAZZ - Dangerous Games [Deluxe Edition remastered +8] (2016) full

Continuing with the extensive reissue campaign drawn across Graham Bonnet’s career, Cherry Red / Hear No Evil are releasing ALCATRAZZ's "Dangerous Games Deluxe Edition", the band's third and final studio album (both previous presented here) fully digitally remastered and including a very rare and previously unreleased live recording from Long Island, captured in November 1986 on the Dangerous Games tour.

After achieving worldwide recognition fronting Rainbow in 1980, Graham Bonnet returned to his solo career for 1981’s “Line-Up” (also available on this blog) followed by a very brief stint with The Michael Schenker Group for 1982’s Assault Attack, before forming Alcatrazz in 1983 with Swedish guitar maestro Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
Alcatrazz released a total of three studio albums; No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll in 1983, Disturbing The Peace in 1985 where Malmsteen was replaced by former Frank Zappa alumni Steve Vai before he in turn left to join David Lee Roth, and be replaced by ex-Alice Cooper and Rick Derringer guitarist Danny Johnson for this 1986’s “Dangerous Games”.

Capitol Records wanted Bonnet and Co. to incorporate outside songwriters for what would go on to become "Dangerous Games", but the band resisted and instead agreed to include, for the first time, a couple of covers.
Therefore the album opens with a good, if unspectacular, version of The Animals "It's My Life", while also seeing the band beef up (a little anyway) "Only One Woman", a UK hit Bonnet had with The Marbles many years before. In truth neither really set the heather on fire, still leaving Johnson with the pressure of providing the bulk of the material.

The title track, which the guitarist wrote single handedly, is undoubtedly a highlight, while his co-writes with Bonnet and keyboard player Jimmy Waldo on "Undercover" and the moody "The Witchwood" don't let the side down.
Overall, the album moves in a more commercial direction than the two previous, without the flashy guitar pyrotechnics and focused in Johnson's deeper, bluesier melodic six-string style.

This Deluxe Edition features a very rare and previously unreleased live recording from Long Island, one of the few shows Alcatrazz did before split.
Included are unique, if rough and ready versions of Alcatrazz classics "Island In The Sun" and "God Blessed Video", as well as Rainbow hits "Since You Been Gone" and "All Night Long".

ALCATRAZZ - Dangerous Games [Deluxe Edition remastered +8] (2016) back

If you've never heard Alcatrazz before, then start with the also recently reissued Vai infused Disturbing The Peace or the more Rainbow-esque Malmsteen led No Parole From Rock 'n Roll to really hear what all the fuss was about.

However, "Dangerous Games" is better than many would have you believe, a good melodic hard rock album and does stand the test of time reasonably well.

01 - It's My Life
02 - Undercover
03 - That Ain't Nothin'
04 - No Imagination
05 - Ohayo Tokyo
06 - Dangerous Games
07 - Blue Boar
08 - Only One Woman
09 - The Witchwood
10 - Double Man
11 - Night of the Shooting Star
12 - Island in the Sun [Live]
13 - It's My Life [Live]
14 - Undercover [Live]
15 - God Blessed Video [Live]
16 - Double Man [Live]
17 - Wire and Wood [Live]
18 - Since You Been Gone [Live]
19 - All Night Long [Live]

Bonus Tracks: Live at Long Island, NY, USA, 29th November 1986
Previously Unreleased

Graham Bonnet - lead vocals
Danny Johnson - guitar, backing vocals
Gary Shea - bass
Jan Uvena - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Jimmy Waldo - keyboards, backing vocals
additional musicians;
Jay Davis - vocals
Jimmy Haslip - bass



Sunday, August 28, 2016

GIRL (Phil Collen) - Sheer Greed [Rock Candy remastered +3] (2016)

GIRL (Phil Collen) - Sheer Greed [Rock Candy remastered +3] (2016) full

Perhaps British rockers GIRL are best remembered by many for including future Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen or L.A. Guns frontman Phil Lewis, but this was a band which influenced many acts to come, in many ways. Rock Candy Records has finely remastered their best effort, the rocking "Sheer Greed" including 2 bonus tracks.

Girl exploded into the UK scene in the early '80s, a scene that was almost exclusively primed for down and dirty hard rock, but these guys were a completely different beast.
Hard rock bands during the very early '80s complied with a strict in-vogue youth uniform of denim, leather and greasy long hair. The NWOBHM, as it was labelled, may have been a force for good but it certainly wasn’t tolerant of aesthetic deviation… something that Girl found to be a major stumbling block.
Dressed to kill, they resembled a car-crash combination of Duran Duran, David Bowie and the New York Dolls. Musically, however, their riff-tastic style was more in tune with Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Kiss.

The band’s somewhat androgynous, glammy look, penchant for eye makeup and cocky pouts, set them apart and there was no getting away from the fact that visually these guys were totally out of step with the scene. But this is pure rock n' roll: go against the rules.
Therefore, they suffered some ridicule; despite the fact that they were actually trailblazing a style that was later successfully utilised by acts such as Hanoi Rocks, Mötley Crüe and Ratt.
Yes, Girl visuals were the core for the US Californian hard rock during all the decade.

They couldn’t have been more different; five musical rouges from London who had, almost by accident, joined a NWOBHM street party and found themselves sticking out like dandies in bare knuckle cage fight.
That these guys were unique was the least of their worries. Fortunately, they made amends by tooling up with razor sharp riffs, knock out hooks and raw production.
They were also fronted by a charismatic lead vocalist that taunted the crowd by blowing kisses to bikers. Wow, that's attitude.

Signed to Jet Records (owned and operated by the Mr Big of rock, Don Arden), this, the band’s debut album, co-produced by Chris Tsangarides (Y&T, Thin Lizzy) and Nick Tauber (Def Leppard, UFO), made the critics swoon and gained fans at both sides of the ocean.
"Sheer Greed" crackles with the riotous swagger you'd expect from glam metal merchants on the make: Girl dedicated itself to equal opportunity plundering from the New York Dolls and UFO, as opener 'Hollywood Tease' buzzing guitars and leering Phil Lewis vocal make plain ("When I've broken your heart/I'll quickly depart").

These guys knew what they had and weren't afraid to let everyone know it (as Lewis did when he recut the song after joining L.A. Guns). Judging by the creamy vocal backups spicing "Little Miss Ann," the Faces' rooster-topped mops loom large as an influence, too (along with their penchant for archly humorous cock rock).
"Do You Love Me" is one of the earliest Kiss covers, which brims with Paul Stanley's near-statutory trademark: a chorus that's shouted into infinity. The song became an encore, though serendipity likely had little bearing on its inclusion (since Girl also supported some of Kiss' May 1980 U.K. tour dates).

GIRL (Phil Collen) - Sheer Greed [Rock Candy remastered +3] (2016) back

"Passing Clouds" and "The Things You Say" add a poppy touch to the band's glam glitter, which few bands of the era - hard-rocking or not - touched.
"Heartbreak America" closes on the same strongly confident note on which the album started, with explosive riffs and swagger galore.

Mentioned as influence by many bands and musicians like Axl Rose or Stephen Pearcy, Girl rocks really good with a glammy attitude on "Sheer Greed". Chris Tsangarides' crisp, coherent production style kept Girl poised toward mainstream success without watering down the group's personality quotient.
Excellent remastering by Rock Candy including a pretty hard to find single and b-side as bonus tracks. (Thanks Fred for this one!)

01 - Hollywood Tease
02 - The Things You Say
03 - Lovely Lorraine
04 - Strawberries
05 - Little Miss Ann
06 - Doctor Doctor
07 - Do You Love Me
08 - Take Me Dancing
09 - What's Up
10 - Passing Clouds
11 - My Number
12 - Heartbreak America
13 - You Really Got Me
14 - Love Is A Game
15 - You Really Got Me (demo version - hidden track)

Phil Lewis - lead vocals
Phil Collen - lead guitar, backing vocals
Gerry Laffy - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Simon Laffy - bass guitar, backing vocals
Dave Gaynor - drums, backing vocals



HENRY PAUL BAND - Grey Ghost [Rock Candy remastered] (2016)

HENRY PAUL BAND - Grey Ghost [Rock Candy remastered] (2016) full

The HENRY PAUL BAND is considered the first group to mix American Rock from the South with Californian West Coast harmonies, and their debut album "Grey Ghost" its faithful exponent, remastered by Rock Candy Records with a crystal clear sound.

Guitarist / Vocalist was part of The Outlaws, a fiery guitar driven ensemble from Tampa, Florida which took the same blue print of Lynyrd Skynyrd & the Allman Brothers Band and in the second half of the Seventies blazed their way from the clubs and bars to headline status in some of the largest venues in the US.
Paul was an integral member of the band as a songwriter and vocalist, until he struck out on his own. Enlisting the help of several gifted friends he formed his own band and signed an impressive contract with Atlantic Records, going on to craft a record that has continued to garner a dedicated following and much critical acclaim.

Titled "Grey Ghost", the band's debut is drenched in Southern Rock influences as well as those of '70s West Coast bands such as the Eagles. The opening cut, 'So Long' combines Americana, Blues, Classic Rock and the over the top guitar punch of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, while 'Crossfire' rocks sounding like the Joe Walsh-era Eagles jamming with the Pure Prairie League.
But to say that Paul and his band merely copied what was out there wouldn't be fair. "Grey Ghost" is a fine album; the songcraft is tight and crisp, the lead and harmony vocals are crystalline, and the production is unobtrusive.

Crammed full of well written and arranged songs, including 'Foolin' and the beautifully multi-part harmony of 'All I Need', the album’s unquestionable highlight is the title track itself, a poignant epic written very much as a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd and in particular frontman Ronnie Van Zant who had perished two years earlier in a plane crash.
It's a track that has it all; heart wrenching lyrics, a brilliant arrangement and a lengthy guitar solo in the finest southern rock tradition. Truly a milestone in the genre’s long and proud history.

Despite the close harmonies and softer edges of the first half of the disc, the second half entrenches itself more in the raw Southern boogie and hard honky tonk rock that defines the genre, from 'I Don't Need You No More' to 'Lonely Dreamer' and the crunchy 'You Really Know (What I Mean)', and the even close to hard rock 'One Night Stands'.

HENRY PAUL BAND - Grey Ghost [Rock Candy remastered] (2016) back

"Grey Ghost" is a pretty unique record blending styles like few, plenty of wonderful melodies but a rockin' spirit as well. The Henry Paul Band recorded a couple of albums more then disbanded in 1983 with Paul reunited with Hughie Thomasson of the Outlaws again. He remained with the band until 1989 when he left again to start the group BlackHawk alongside the great Van Stephenson.
But the 'must have' Henry Paul Band album is this "Grey Ghost", very well remastered by Rock Candy with a warm sound.
Lovely music for the ears.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - So Long
02 - Crossfire
03 - Foolin'
04 - Wood Wind
05 - Grey Ghost
06 - I Don't Need You No More
07 - Lonely Dreamer
08 - One Night Stands
09 - You Really Know (What I Mean)
10 - All I Need

Henry Paul - Vocals, Guitar
Billy Crain - Guitar
David Fiester - Guitar, Vocals
Jim Fish - Guitar, Vocals
Wally Dentz - Bass, Harmonica, Vocals
Barry Rapp - Composer, Keyboards, Vocals
Bill Hoffman, Monte Yoho - Drums
Eddie Green - Keyboards
Joe Lala - Percussion, Percussion Programming



MAD MARGRITT - Love, Hate And Deception (2016)

MAD MARGRITT - Love, Hate And Deception (2016) full

"Love, Hate And Deception" is the new album by hard rockers MAD MARGRITT, their 4th studio release on Perris Records. Always fronted by vocalist, guitarist and composer Eddie Smith, the rest of personnel has changed since Mad Margritt's last effort (featured on this blog) but their classic musical approach to the genre remain intact.

For these Atlanta, Georgia hard rockers Mad Margritt their clockwork seems to have been hit by a lightning someday in the late '80s, as since the band formed almost three decades ago never changed their style inspired by the Sunset Strip glory days.
Although the group still proudly waves the hair metal flag in 2016, this new record has a heavier feel / sound to it than their previous recordings, modernized but always catchy and melodic.

There's only 9 tracks on "Love, Hate And Deception", but all are strong and avoid the filler syndrome.
Among my favorite cuts there's the pumping rocker 'Never Enough', 'Take Your Best Shot', the kick ass 'Liar' and midtempo 'It's Time I Told You Goodbye'.
Also we have a pretty killer power ballad in 'I'm Over You', still intense in its delivery.

MAD MARGRITT - Love, Hate And Deception (2016) inside

If you're a late '80s American hard rock fan you'll love "Love, Hate And Deception". Mad Margritt is more than just a bunch of guys trying to capitalize on nostalgia for nostalgia's sake; it's genuinely well-written music influenced by the glory days of the genre but with a modern, updated sound.
Eddie Smith’s vocals remain sharp, and the guitar playing is standing tall on this new recording driving the proceedings still managing the melodic sound that will keep fans of the genre happy.
Strongly Recommended

01 - Liar
02 - The One You Love To Hate
03 - Take Your Best Shot
04 - Broken
05 - Never Enough
06 - I'm Over You
07 - Into The Light
08 - It's Time I Told You Goodbye
09 - Bad Obsession

Eddie Smith - Vocals, Guitar
Mark Cook - Guitar
Matt Aebi - Bass
Tod Williford - Drums

Pre Order:


Saturday, August 27, 2016

MITCH MALLOY - Making Noise (2016)

MITCH MALLOY - Making Noise (2016) full

MITCH MALLOY has just released his new solo record "Making Noise", which marks the first time he has undertaken an album solely by himself from start to finish – songwriting, producing, instruments, mixing and mastering.

“I have always brought in a few musicians or songwriters to work with me on projects in the past and have really enjoyed what they brought to the table. But this time, I was in a different place and really needed to work through everything musically by myself…thus, My Therapy!” said Malloy tongue-in-cheek.

And 'My Therapy' it's one of the best tracks on the album with an '80s feel, after the rollin' n' thunderin' opener 'Rock-n-Roll' where Malloy proclaim his love for this timeless genre.
There's more uptempo rockers in the groovy 'Shook' (love those keyboards), the melodic rock heaven of 'Alone' and the organic title track 'Making Noise', another highlight.
Of course Mitch Malloy has an AOR heart and there's plenty in this vein on the new CD as on the sweet ballad 'It's Just a Word', or midtempo 'I Was Wrong' akin Nelson which twenty-five years ago would have been a chart hit.

Then there's the terrific 'Life Has Just Begun' - the brightest track on the album - and one of the best melodic rock songs I heard this year. Just listen that pure AOR guitar riff, its cadence, the rich harmony vocals, and Malloy's incredible lead vocals. This track alone worth the disc.

MITCH MALLOY - Making Noise (2016) inside

Mitch Malloy continues delivering quality Melodic Rock / AOR now in 2016 with a more 'organic' wrapper but with his trademark, awesome melodies better than never.
This talented man not only is producing some really good bands like Kaato or Jett Black, but also writing excellent new stuff himself. There's some outstanding tunes here, believe me.
Malloy plays all instruments with ease in a very well arranged & produced record, perhaps the best of his career. Yes, it's that good.

01 - Rock-n-Roll
02 - My Therapy
03 - One Way
04 - Speak of the Devil
05 - Shook
06 - It's Just a Word
07 - Alone
08 - I Was Wrong
09 - Life Has Just Begun
10 - Making Noise

Mitch Malloy - all vocals & instruments



ROBERT HAGLUND - I Wanna Be Somebody (2016)

ROBERT HAGLUND - I Wanna Be Somebody (2016) full

Now this is curious stuff; ROBERT HAGLUND's solo debut album "I Wanna Be Somebody". Haglund is a Swedish vocalist better known as one of the The Fantastic Four, a popular Swedish vocal quartet which revisit soul, blues, jazz standards and where he plays bass also.
But for his debut Haglund has chosen to cover some hard rock classics in a jazzy mood helped by some well known Rock musicians.

You have Coverdale / Whitesnake staple 'Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City' done in a very slow mood by Haglund crooner vocals helped by Sweden's most famous jazz singer Svante Thuresson in harmony vocals, obtaining an atmosphere proper from a New York intimate jazz club.
Then there's an almost unrecognizable cover of Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' where Bruce Kulick (KISS) provides a great acoustic guitar solo.

Next it's time for a groovy version of 'Don't Believe a Word' (Thin Lizzy) and it's a highlight because Tony Harnell (ex TNT / Skid Row) sings various verses and his vocals are a-we-some. Additionally Kulick delivers another fantastic solo, this time full electric.
It's fun to hear Twisted Sister's 'The Price' done in a ballad form with the presence of Kee Marcello (ex Europe) on guitar, or DIO's 'Holy Diver' going acoustic (!) but it works, believe me.

ROBERT HAGLUND - I Wanna Be Somebody (2016) back

Other tune which I liked alot is 'You Give Love a Bad Name' (Bon Jovi) as its big-band arrangement fits greatly with the song.
Kulick again and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot et all) appear for a very melodic, bluesy take on Kiss' classic 'Love Gun', and for the end Cinderella's drummer Fred Coury collaborate with a rockin' (in this album terms) version of 'Ice Cream Man' (made popular by Van Halen).

It's a lot of fun, and most of these re-arranged classics really work on this format. I'll pass on Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades', but even with its big-band feeling WASP's 'I Wanna Be Somebody' results enjoyable.
This record turns more and more addictive the more you listen to it... I am in the second spin in a row in this rainy morning...
Really Cool - Very Recommended

01 - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City - Whitesnake cover
02 - Enter Sandman - Metallica cover
03 - Don't Believe a Word - Thin Lizzy cover
04 - The Price - Twisted Sister cover
05 - Holy Diver - DIO cover
06 - Ace Of Spades - Motorhead cover
07 - You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi cover
08 - I Wanna Be Somebody - WASP cover
09 - Love Gun - KISS cover
10 - Ice Cream Man - Van Halen cover

Robert Haglund - vocals, bass
Tony Harnell - vocals
Kee Marcello - guitar
Bruce Kulick - guitar
Rudy Sarzo - bass
Fred Coury - drums
and many more



KINGDOM COME - Kingdom Come [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP] Out Of Print

KINGDOM COME - Kingdom Come [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP] Out Of Print - full

KINGDOM COME's founder Lenny Wolf announced this week the official end of the band. It's a great opportunity to revisit the band's more successful - and best - albums in its Japanese remastered editions and pressed on a great sounding SHM-CD.
"Kingdom Come", the band's self-titled debut, was a hit.

"Kingdom Come" released their well-received, self-titled debut album appeared in early 1988. Led by German born frontman Lenny Wolf who co-wrote most of the album’s material with the group’s manager Marty Wolff, the band scored their most popular and best-selling album right out of the gate.
After the band’s lead single generated tremendous buzz well ahead of the album release, Kingdom Come went gold on the same day it was put on sale, and eventually went Platinum status in the United States, Germany and Canada and peaked at #12 on the U.S. Album charts.

KINGDOM COME - Kingdom Come [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP] Out Of Print - back cover obi

Part of the initial attraction (and later critique) of the band was their audio likeness to classic-era Led Zeppelin.
Most of that comparison is predicated on Wolf's vocal resemblance to Robert Plant. In fact his timbre is often remarkably similar. He also shares Plant's ability to shift his tone suddenly from teasingly sultry to pyrotechnic.
However, outside the vocals, the Kingdom Come-Led Zep comparison crumbles.
Sure, there's a couple of tracks with a Zeppelin-esque vibe, but which band has not been influenced by these Rock 'n Roll legends?

Lenny Wolf & Co. have said: "Led Zeppelin was not any of the band members favorite band". And listening the entire disc proves it.
Wolf comes from an European AOR background with his band Stone Fury (two really good records), and the same can be said from the rest of the guys. Just listen "Now Forever After" below.

The album was co-produced by Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) who forged a crisp and solid rock sound at Little Mountain studio in Vancouver and mixed it at the famous Electric Lady studios in New York City.
This fresh Japanese remaster is simply wonderful, with a punchy yet warm balanced sound. As usual, the quality is excellent, reproducing the entire original album artwork (Mini LP).
Out of print I'm afraid...
Highly Recommended

Universal Japan ~ UICY-76002

01 - Living Out Of Touch
02 - Pushin' Hard
03 - What Love Can Be
04 - 17
05 - The Shuffle
06 - Get It On
07 - Now Forever After
08 - Hideaway
09 - Loving You
10 - Shout It Out

Lenny Wolf – lead vocals
Danny Stag – lead guitar
Rick Steier – rhythm guitar
Johnny B. Frank – bass
James Kottak – drums

Out Of Print


KINGDOM COME - In Your Face [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP]

KINGDOM COME - In Your Face [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP] full

KINGDOM COME's founder Lenny Wolf announced this week the official end of the band. It's a great opportunity to revisit the band's more successful - and best - albums in its Japanese remastered edition and pressed on a great sounding SHM-CD.
"In Your Face" was Kingdom Come's second, catchy album.

After the platinum seller self-titled debut, Polygram put big effort for Kingdom Come's second album "In Your Face". Top class producer Keith Olsen (Whitesnake, Heart, Foreigner, Journey) was hired to provide a glossy, catchy, commercial approach to band's profile.

KINGDOM COME - In Your Face [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP] booklet

There's straight-ahead melodic hard rockers as lead cut and flagship song "Do You Like It" with a bombastic sound and arrangements mixed with killer mid-tempo AOR anthems like "Gotta Go (Can't Wage a War)", "Just Like a Wild Rose" or "Who Do You Love" which displays a charming section of stately guitar work and smooth keyboard playing.

KINGDOM COME - In Your Face [Japan SHM-CD remastered Ltd MiniLP] back

This fresh Japanese remaster is simply wonderful, rich in dynamics. As usual, the quality is excellent, reproducing the entire original album artwork (Mini LP).
There's few copies remaining of this Limited Edition, and are being sold at a very reasonable price. Get yours pronto.
Highly Recommended in your collection.

Universal Japan ~ UICY-76003

01 - Do You Like It
02 - Who Do You Love
03 - The Wind
04 - Gotta Go (Can't Wage A War)
05 - Highway 6
06 - Perfect O
07 - Just Like A Wild Rose
08 - Overrated
09 - Mean Dirty Joe
10 - Stargazer

Lenny Wolf – lead vocals
Danny Stag – lead guitar
Rick Steier – rhythm guitar
Johnny B. Frank – bass
James Kottak – drums



Friday, August 26, 2016

HAMMERSCHMITT - Still On Fire (2016)

HAMMERSCHMITT - Still On Fire (2016) full

"Still On Fire" is the new album by Germans HAMMERSCHMITT released today. I never heard about them until now although the band has been around since 1997, and the musicians had made music together for 10 years before under the name Pierrot. Maybe the reason is that their albums were recorded in German language, and this limited the band world-wide.
So the guys had the bright idea to regroup and then rebound. They released two five song EP's in English both independently produced and self-released, and seems the quality attracted Massacre Records who are releasing this "Still On Fire", Hammerschmitt's first 'international' album.

At first glance the band's name, the cover artwork and their recording label made think of a heavy metal band. Fortunately, Hammerschmitt's "Still On Fire" is all about classic hard rock, with a slight melodic metal touch here and there, but basically, classy melodic hard with an '80s feel.
With 'Rock Steady' the Bavarians kick off from the beginning. Banging double-guitars, powerful double bass. A neckbreaker par excellence. 'Sanctuary' is partly affected by vocal harmonies that should animate the listener to sing along, plus there are guitar melodies which go directly into the ear. The title track is a bit quieter but no less powerful, with a catchy chorus like an hymn.

Despite its title, 'Metalheadz' is not a sleaze tune but a fine slice of arena-ready hard rock driven by a melting riff and contagious harmony vocals. 'Shout' adds a lot of groove to the proceedings, then arrives a surprise; 'Zombie', a Cranberries cover. In the metal version I like this song almost better than the original. Close to the original but significantly harder played. Very cool.

HAMMERSCHMITT - Still On Fire (2016) inside

Hammerschmitt are able to create good ballads too, 'Crazy World', which not only shares the name with some Scorpions work but musically as well. It sure will provide burning lighters and glowing cell phones at concerts. Melodic clean guitars, punchy drums and impressive choruses ensure sufficient goosebumps.
Then 'Whoohoo' bring back hard rocking riffs and a festive rhythm with a little Seventies influences. The album concludes with the quiet ballad-like 'Killed By Death', the type of slow tunes the likes of Praying Mantis used to create in the early Eighties crowned by a brilliant melodic guitar solo.

Several decades of stage experience and skills to write solid classic hard rock songs it's what you got clear about Hammerschmitt after "Still On Fire" first listen.
With the really well crafted & produced eleven songs they clearly show where the rubber meets the road. Here are musicians at work who are still far from the scrap heap, guys who nailed the genre from its roots.
Strongly Recommended

01 - Rock Steady
02 - Sanctuary
03 - Still on Fire
04 - Metalheadz
05 - Shout
06 - Zombie
07 - One Helluva Night
08 - Mean Streak
09 - Crazy World
10 - Whoohoo
11 - Killed by Death

Benjamin Kroiss – Vocals
Gernot Kroiss - Guitar
Andreas Summer - Guitar
Stefan Kroiss – Drums
Armin Zelzer - Bass



Thursday, August 25, 2016

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016)

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016) full

Graceful Melodic Rockers DANTE FOX return 2016 with a new album titled "Breathless", not surprisingly released by AOR Heaven Records.
One thing that has always earned my love to Dante Fox from the moment I heard them for the first time more then twenty years ago it's the voice of Sue Willetts. Whoever is in the band, as long as her voice is there, it will always be Dante Fox.

Willetts, having been selected in the Top 20 in Classic Rock magazine's 50 Female Rock Vocalists Of All Time, should explain all you really need to know. Although you really need to listen to those velvet tones to get the full Fox!
"Breathless" then is up there with the best in the Melodic Rock world. With albums as great as this, the band should be headlining arenas across the globe. Although I am more than happy to have Dante Fox as one of Rock's best kept secrets.

Another ace in Dante Fox's hand is the guitar playing of Tim Manford, which when given a faultless production from Mark Stuart / Sheena Sheer, sounds like something out of the world. The rest of the band now consists of Andy Perfect on drums and Alan Mills on bass.
The songs have a rich, polished sound – not too clinical mind – and having ‘keyboard player to the stars’ Eric Ragno and Lee Small (Shy / Phenomena) on harmony vocals adds to the magical mix.

'Young Hearts' is the kind of rock song that many bands starting out now would sell their souls for. Couple that with 'All Eyes On You' and the title track, and you get an opening trio of songs that will not only leave you breathless, but gasping for more.
At this point 'Break These Chains' provides a welcome breather, but it’s still as powerful, if not more so, due to its subtleties.

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016) inside

This leads me to the album's calling card in the form of 'Broken Hearted Man' which is a song that Heart would no doubt have scored a worldwide hit back in their big hair heyday. The band no doubt believe this to be true too as there are two versions included here, the normal one and an acoustic / string arrangement at the end of the album. Both are fantastic.
There's also a stand out tune in 'Love Affair', but then again how can you pick your favourites when they are all so ruddy marvellous?

Dante Fox's "Breathless" is, simply put, one the best 'pure' melodic rock albums apperared in recent years. There's many bands (and good ones) out there trying to recapture the magical '80s sounds but few succeed like Dante Fox.
At the moment there is basically no real competitor to Dante Fox in terms of female-fronted Melodic Rock. High Quality Melodic Rock I should say. Heck, all songs here could rival Heart / Ann Wilson best work in their '80s prime.
"Breathless" is a mandatory purchase for all fans of the genre.

01 - Young Hearts
02 - All Eyes on You
03 - Breathless
04 - Break These Chains
05 - Broken Hearted Man
06 - I Can't Stop Tonight
07 - Dynamite (Your Love Is Like)
08 - A Love Affair
09 - How Will You Know (Where to Find Me)
10 - Creeps into My Mind
11 - Broken Hearted Man (Acoustic) [bonus track]

Sue Willetts (vocals)
Tim Manford (guitar)
Alan Mills (bass)
Andy Perfect (drums)
Erik Ragno (keyboards)
Lee Small (harmony vocals)



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