Monday, January 21, 2019

CROWN OF THORNS - Crown Jewels [3-CD Frontiers Music career span remastered] Out Of Print

CROWN OF THORNS - Crown Jewels [3-CD Frontiers Music career span remastered]  full

After the recent Jean Beauvoir post here of his Rock Masterpieces CD, some of you requested more from the talented musician, among them CROWN OF THORNS' 3-CD Box Set "Crown Jewels", the Frontiers Music digipak release covering all the best songs from the band's repertoire fully remastered & adding plenty of rare material, plus two newly recorded tracks for the occasion.

Carrying the flag of classic Melodic Hard Rock / AOR during the the hard times for the genre (mid-Nineties) Beauvoir and his Crown Of Thorns found help to release their music via the now legendary UK based label Now & Then Records.

Featured in the band’s first line-up were ex-Plasmatics / Little Steven man Jean Beauvoir, drummer Tony Thompson (who’d previously worked with the Duran Duran / Robert Palmer vehicle The Power Station), and bassist Michael Paige. Rounding out the quartet was a rather unexpected musician: Micki Free, who’d previously been a member of pop act Shalamar’s final line-up.

CROWN OF THORNS - Crown Jewels [3-CD Frontiers Music career span remastered] booklet

Ranging from classic melodic rockers with a vivid '80s inspiration both in sound and songwriting, to catchy hard rock tunes to wonderful midtempo AOR jewels, all Crown Of Thorns material is a mandatory listen for all self-respected fan of these genres.

While "Crown Jewels" packs near the complete most celebrated Crown Of Thorns albums, the self-titled debut and Lost Cathedral - there's a great song from the latter omitted; 'Motorcycle Loretta'. We added the track as extra, plus 2 bonus from the original Point Music Records release not present into the Frontiers Music reissue of Lost Cathedral.

CROWN OF THORNS - Crown Jewels [3-CD Frontiers Music career span remastered] back

"Crown Jewels" is must have, unfortunately out of print and being sold for over $150 at eBay.

01 - Winterland
02 - The Rain
03 - Hike It Up
04 - I Won't Wait
05 - Dirty Talk, Dirty Walk
06 - Crown Of Thorns
07 - Dying For Love
08 - No You Don't
09 - Standing On The Corner
10 - The Healer
11 - Secret Jesus
12 - Til The End
13 - The Night
14 - Never Enough
15 - I'm Burning Up
16 - Hang On Sugar
17 - Killing Time
18 - Man On A Tightrope
19 - Little Stone House
20 - Are You Ready

01 - Over My Head
02 - Don't Let Me Down
03 - Only One Who's Lonely
04 - Breakthrough
05 - You
06 - Writing On The Wall
07 - Lost Cathedral
08 - Live And Die
09 - Lyin
10 - Greed Of Love
11 - Wasted Prime
12 - Bird On A Wire
13 - End Of The Century
14 - Here She Comes
15 - Missionary Remedy

01 - Heaven Tonight
02 - Long Way Home
03 - Believer
04 - 'Til You've Had Enough
05 - My Sweet Lord
06 - Shed No Tears
07 - Before It Slips Away
08 - I'm Sorry
09 - Once In My Life
10 - Oh Holy Night
11 - All I Want For Christmas Is You

0dayrox extras:
12 - Motorcycle Loretta
13 - Second Chance (Bonus Track)
14 - Standing On The Corner For You (Unplugged Bonus)

Jean Beauvoir: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Strings
Tommy Lafferty, Micki Free: Guitars
Michael Paige: Bass
Tony Thompson, Hawk Lopez: Drums, Percussion

Try here:


THE CARDS feat. Saxon's Paul Quinn - The Cards (2019)

THE CARDS feat. Saxon's Paul Quinn - The Cards (2019) full

Presenting their self-titled debut CD this 2019, THE CARDS are a brand new international power blues rock trio created by founding & current member of British metal godfathers Saxon, Paul Quinn (guitars) alongside American singer / keyboardist & bass player Harrison Young (former sideman to Udo Dirkschneider and Doro Pesch).
Rounding off the trio is experienced Dutch Koen Herfst (drums & background vocals), preferred drummer of Armin van Buuren as well as several other well known rock and metal outfits in the past like Epica, Dew-Scented and Anneke van Giersbergen.

After meeting backstage at a German metal festival, Paul and Harrison bonded over a shared set of musical influences which became apparent in their early songwriting process. With the addition of drummer Koen, all three find themselves branching out into new territory beyond the metal world with the creation of this album.
The band made their live-debut in May 2018, headlining the prestigious Arkangelsk Blues Festival in Russia and will announce live-dates for 2019 soon.

Listening to "The Cards" - the album - seems the band members doesn't needed too much gigs to know each other - the trio sounds oiled and like if they have been playing together for decades.
This happens when you have 3 seasoned musicians able to play any musical genre with ease, even more when the focus is their formative style; classic rock of all times.

It's fun to listening to Paul Quinn playing bluesy guitar licks and solos, not the typical stuff you hear from him in Saxon. Add to that Harrison Young's classy vocals and Herfst's steady shuffle drumming and you have a pretty killer power trio.
All over the record there's shades of Gary Moore (opener 'No Soul'), Bad Company ('The Process' or the riff driven 'Ride the Freight Train') and Hendrix on the groovy 'Bandit on the Run'.

All is balanced with slower tunes such as 'Sweet Lowdown Dirty Love' (Thin-Lizzy-like), and while you may expect a furious rocker from a song titled 'Rock & Roll Rocketship', this is indeed an atmospheric midtempo with nice lyrics.
Then the very melodic 'Long Way to Go' adds acoustics into the mix and croon lead vocals, perhaps the more 'American' tune on the album, and a highlight.

THE CARDS feat. Saxon's Paul Quinn - The Cards (2019) inside

Unexpected to hear a metal veteran like Paul Quinn playing this kinda stuff, "The Cards" is like a breath of fresh air in the bach of early releases 2019.
Very well recorded / produced with a 'classy' sonic aura and delivering a set of lovely classy songs, you can't go wrong with The Cards' debut CD. It's pure Classic Rock, and good.
Highly Recommended

01 - No Soul
02 - Bandit on the Run
03 - Rock & Roll Rocketship
04 - The Process
05 - Pitfalls
06 - Ride the Freight Train
07 - Sweet Lowdown Dirty Love
08 - If I Had You
09 - Agent Orange
10 - Long Way to Go
11 - For You

Paul Quinn (Saxon) - Guitars
Harrison Young (ex-Doro, ex-U.D.O.) - Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Koen Herfst (ex- Epica) - Drums, Percussion



SPYS - Spys [Rock Candy remaster]

SPYS - Spys [Rock Candy remaster] full

If we talk about classy AOR era, specially coming from America, the 1982-1987 period is the holy grail for the genre. Rock Candy Records specialists are stalwarts to rescue these gems and remaster them in all its glory. And this is the case with both SPYS albums, must have pieces in your collection.

Operating stealth like in a world occupied by huge platinum selling AOR / melodic rock bands, SPYS were one of many who failed to achieve a level of commercial recognition befitting their stupendous creativity.
There was no real explanation for this lack of success except perhaps that the market was both crowded and that lady luck had set her sights on other more convenient suitors.

Based in New York, SPYS were formed by two former members of platinum rockers Foreigner, that’s bassist Ed Gagliardi and keyboardist Al Greenwood, two men looking to make a splash with a similar sound.
Teaming up with the remnants of well-respected local Beatles tribute band Harpy, they assembled an inventive melodic AOR style that took its cue from not only Foreigner but also the progressive art rock sounds of the '70s.
Identified as potential hit makers several labels made overtures to sign them, with EMI America winning the battle.

SPYS - Spys [Rock Candy remaster] booklet

Issued in 1982, SPYS self-titled debut was recorded at New York’s seminal Electric Ladyland Studios with top British studio wizzard Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Kansas, Dokken) at the production helm, helping to fashion one of the most arresting AOR albums of the early 80s.

Opening track, 'Don’t Run My Life' and the superb ballad 'Hold On (When You Feel You're Falling)' are genre classics, pushing at the same boundaries as Journey, whilst the operatic ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ fully exposes their art rock roots.

Don't forget the kickin' rocker 'Over Her' and the awesome keyboard driven 'Ice Age' and 'Into The Night',both terrific examples of Spy's quality and early '80s US AOR genius.

SPYS - Spys [Rock Candy remaster] back

"Spys" self-titled was one of the albums that made me embrace this genre forever.
All songs are awesome, performances top notch and production, simply brilliant. This Rock Candy treatment is warm and sweet, bringing to the front a stronger bass presence plus clearer vocals.
Are you an AOR / Melodic freak? You must have this one in your collection.

01 - Don't Run My Life
02 - She Can't Wait
03 - Ice Age
04 - Danger
05 - Over Here
06 - Desiree
07 - Don't Say Goodbye
08 - Into The Night
09 - Hold On (When You Feel You're Falling)
10 - No Harm Done

John Blanco - lead vocals
John DiGaudio - guitar, vocals
Ed Gagliardi - bass, vocals
Al Greenwood - keyboards, vocals
Billy Milne - drums, vocals



Sunday, January 20, 2019

CRIMSON GLORY - In Dark Places 1986 - 2000 [5-CD Box Set Remastered] Out Of Print

CRIMSON GLORY - In Dark Places 1986 - 2000 [5-CD Box Set Remastered]  full

Fully 24-Bit remastered, "In Dark Places… 1986-2000" is a 5-CD box containing all of CRIMSON GLORY's studio albums: "Crimson Glory", "Transcendence", "Strange And Beautiful" and "Astronomica" (2CD). The box also includes bonus tracks, such as songs taken from singles, videos, live or demo tracks, plus an awesomely detailed 60-page booklet.
This Metal Mind Productions limited to 1,000 numbered copies collectors release is out of print - and deleted, because the band sued the label alleging 'not authorized' - is a must-have for all fans of the band, one of the most innovative acts from the '80s.

The five discs come in digi-packs, one for each disc. The self-titled debut has “Dream Dancer” attached as bonus track, while “Transcendence” has a great remix of “Lonely”.
All the albums were digitally remastered - according to the booklet using a 24-Bit tube (?) technology - whichever it is all sound fantastic.
Loudness is not an issue and I found the bass to have a more pronounced effect to enhance the listening experience.

The standouts are the extra live bonus tracks featured in the last disc. While the original EP had two live bonus tracks, three more are tacked on and is very entertaining. Hearing Midnight belt out “Lost Reflection” live sent shivers down my spine and his introduction to songs were filled with vigor.
I smirked to the intro to “Queen of the Masquerade” when Midnight spews “This is for all the bizarre, strange women out there.” The thumping bass solo beckoning the crowd to shout “Hail” in the middle of the song added some great interaction for the audience.

CRIMSON GLORY - In Dark Places 1986 - 2000 [5-CD Box Set Remastered] booklet

A 60 page booklet is included in the set featuring a biography of the band chronicling their beginnings up until Todd La Torre’s arrival in the group in 2010. All album credits are also issued as well as lyrics for all the songs and some band pictures to look that.
There are also snippets of magazine articles all over in a 'Rock Candy Records' fashion.

It is a shame that Crimson Glory didn’t break through the barrier and become a huge success like Queensryche would, but they certainly left their mark on the scene.

CRIMSON GLORY - In Dark Places 1986 - 2000 [5-CD Box Set Remastered] discs

"In Dark Places… 1986-2000" is a wonderful boxset and it's great to have their full discography plus collectos bonuses in a convenient package. It's really expensive right now (used copies for U$D 258 at the link below) but worth every cent.
HIGHLY Recommended

Crimson Glory [Remastered]
1. Valhalla (03:50)
2. Dragon Lady (04:27)
3. Heart of Steel (06:13)
4. Azrael (05:37)
5. Mayday (03:02)
6. Queen of the Masquerade (05:28)
7. Angels of War (05:27)
8. Lost Reflection (04:50)
9. Dream Dancer (06:54)

Transcendence [Remastered]
1. Lady of Winter (03:59)
2. Red Sharks (04:49)
3. Painted Skies (05:13)
4. Masque of the Red Death (04:13)
5. In Dark Places (06:58)
6. Where Dragons Rule (05:05)
7. Lonely (05:17)
8. Burning Bridges (06:29)
9. Eternal World (03:51)
10. Transcendence (04:31)
11. Lonely (Re-mix) (04:18)

Strange and Beautiful [Remastered]
1. Strange and Beautiful (06:17)
2. Promise Land (05:22)
3. Love and Dreams (05:29)
4. The Chant (03:45)
5. Dance on Fire (05:28)
6. Song for Angels (05:19)
7. In the Mood (05:55)
8. Star Chamber (07:28)
9. Deep Inside Your Heart (05:14)
10. Make You Love Me (04:06)
11. Far Away (04:45)

Astronomica [Remastered]
1. March to Glory (03:30)
2. War of the Worlds (04:09)
3. New World Machine (04:14)
4. Astronomica (04:59)
5. Edge of Forever (05:46)
6. Touch the Sun (05:56)
7. Lucifer's Hammer (04:25)
8. The Other Side of Midnight (04:29)
9. Cyber-Christ (05:13)
10. Cydonia (05:47)

Astronomica Bonus Disc (recorded '89)
1. War of the Worlds (Remake '89) (05:03)
2. Astronomica (Demo '89) (04:56)
3. Touch the Sun (Demo '89) (05:47)
4. Edge of Forever (Demo '89) (05:49)
Live at the Manatee Civic Center, FL, Sept 2, 1989
5. Dragon Lady (07:31)
6. Eternal World (04:13)
7. Painted Skies (07:08)
8. Queen of the Masquerade (06:19)
9. Lost Reflection (06:28)

Midnight - lead vocals
Jon Drenning - lead guitar
Ben Jackson - rhythm guitar
Jeff Lords - bass guitar
Dana Burnell, Ravi Jakhotia - drums
Wade Black - vocals



TYGERS OF PAN TANG - Hellbound Spellbound Live 1981 [Japan Edition] (2019) *EXCLUSIVE*

TYGERS OF PAN TANG - Hellbound Spellbound Live 1981 [Japan Edition] (2019) full

To be released at the end of January world-wide, in Japan just appeared TYGERS OF PAN TANG limited edition new CD titled "Hellbound Spellbound Live 1981 [Japan Edition]", captured at the peak of the Tygers' effervescence.

The show was originally recorded live by renowned Chris Tsangarides at Nottingham Rock City in 1981 and was remastered by Søren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Mike Tramp) last October at the Medley Studios in Denmark.

Guitarist Robb Weir formed the TYGERS OF PAN TANG back in 1977 when he was joined by Brian Dick, Rocky and Jess Cox. A very successful run followed, which also jumpstarted the careers of some of the band members, including a young John Sykes, who went on to play with THIN LIZZY, and later WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER.

TYGERS OF PAN TANG - Hellbound Spellbound Live 1981 [Japan Edition] (2019) inside

This concert was performed during the 'Spellbound' album tour, so expect all the classics from this stupendous LP, plus the best songs from the early albums.
All the band is on fire, and while vocalist Jon Deverill should have stayed himself on old Tygers songs instead of trying to imitate Jess Cox's (the band's first singer) voice, all songs rock from start to finish.

"Hellbound Spellbound Live 1981 [Japan Edition]" is a great document from the era, essential for TYGERS OF PAN TANG fans and a very recommended listen for all timeless classic rock aficionados out there.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Take It
02 - Rock and Roll Man
03 - Blackjack
04 - Tyger Bay
05 - Insanity
06 - Euthanasia
07 - Mirror
08 - Wild Catz
09 - Money
10 - Don't Stop By
11 - Gangland
12 - Silver and Gold
13 - Hellbound
14 - Slave to Freedom
15 - All Or Nothing

Jon Deverill - Vocals
Robb Weir - Guitars
John Sykes - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Rocky - Bass
Brian Dick - Drums

TYGERS OF PAN TANG - Hellbound Spellbound Live 1981 [Japan Edition] (2019) back



Saturday, January 19, 2019

THUNDER - Please Remain Seated [Deluxe Edition 2CD] (2019) *EXCLUSIVE*

THUNDER - Please Remain Seated [Deluxe Edition 2CD] (2019)  full

Celebrating their 30th anniversary, British rockers THUNDER revisit and reinterpret their finest songs in a way you've not heard before. Released via the band's new label BMG, "Please Remain Seated [Deluxe Edition 2CD]" is the sound of a Thunder taking a fresh journey into their own music, but also distilling thirty years of playing together in order to create something truly compelling, taking in flavors of classic rock, blues and soul along the way.

On "Please Remain Seated" Thunder have chosen to look back at the songs they’ve released over the years and to pick some to remake. When I say “remake”, I really mean it – this isn’t a case of making a few minor tweaks - they’ve totally changed the songs giving them a completely different sound.
A big part of why it works so well is the fact that they haven’t just picked their most popular songs. Sure, there's some hits such as “Low life in high Places” and “She’s so Fine”, yet most are lesser known tracks such as “Fly on the Wall” or “Just another Suicide”.

I’m particularly impressed by the fact that the band have done a very interesting variety of reworked songs – it’s not a case of “lets do acoustic versions of everything”. Yes some are simple acoustic arrangements, but others are electric or semi-acoustic.
The new version of “Loser” for example still has keyboards and electric guitar but it’s a much gentler version than the original – more ballad-esque.

While songs such as “Bigger than both of Us” have a very brisk tempo, others like “Empty city” have been given a much slower treatment.
The final song on the single CD version of the album is “Low life in high Places” which is given a piano and vocals stripped down version until around half way through the track when a choir briefly joins in and then Danny’s voice is joined by some female backing singers and then the electric guitars join in. It’s a great version of a much loved song and an excellent way to bring the album to a close.

THUNDER - Please Remain Seated [Deluxe Edition 2CD] (2019)  discs

The second disc in this Deluxe Edition (which has an orange background, while regular release is white) adds another seven Thunder songs being given the same sort of treatment.
Since one of those is “Higher Ground” (one of my all-time Thunder songs) I was slightly apprehensive, but they’ve done a great version – not too radically different so it’s one I think fans will enjoy.
And then you have lovely versions of "Everybody Wants Her" (sound like a completely new track) and "Long Way From Home".

"Please Remain Seated" is a great album. Thunder have come up with captivating new versions of their songs - it doesn't matter if it's a hit or an 'inside track', this band never wrote a bad tune.
It's Thunder, it's all good.
Highly Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Bigger Than Both of Us (2019 Version)
02 - Future Train (2019 Version)
03 - Girl's Going Out of Her Head (2019 Version)
04 - I'm Dreaming Again (2019 Version)
05 - Fly on the Wall (2019 Version)
06 - Just Another Suicide (2019 Version)
07 - Empty City (2019 Version)
08 - Miracle Man (2019 Version)
09 - Blown Away (2019 Version)
10 - Loser (2019 Version)
11 - She's so Fine (2019 Version)
12 - Low Life in High Places (2019 Version)

01 - Stand Up (2019 Version)
02 - River Of Pain (2019 Version)
03 - Like A Satellite (2019 Version)
04 - Robert Johnson's Tombstone (2019 Version)
05 - Higher Ground (2019 Version)
06 - Everybody Wants Her (2019 Version)
07 - Long Way From Home (2019 Version)

Danny Bowes – lead and backing vocals
Luke Morley – guitars, keyboards and backing vocals
Gary James – drums and percussion
Ben Matthews – guitars and keyboards
Chris Childs – bass guitar
Lynne Jackaman – backing vocals, tambourine
Heather Findlay – backing vocals
Susie Webb – backing vocals



EVERGREY - The Atlantic (2019)

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

Swedish progressive metal veterans EVERGREY are set to return with their eleventh studio album, "The Atlantic", January 25, 2019.
Spread thick with melody and following on thematically from its predecessors, ‘The Storm Within’ and 'Hymns For The Broken', closing out an oceanic concept trilogy, vocalist Tom S Englund and the band have indeed weathered some heavy storms to see this record come to light.
And their efforts were not for nothing.

Opener “A Silent Arc” is a multi-layered composition which takes the listener through both chaos and tranquility, a song that makes for a strong handshake to new efforts from Evergrey.
While it may have been an obvious single choice, it certainly wasn’t the bands only potential front-runner. ‘The Atlantic’ is riddled with worthy contenders, perhaps none more so than “Weightless”, almost melodic rock.
Englund and guitarist Henrik Danhage produce what is arguably the strongest grooves on the record in the form of the tracks infectious man riff, further capitalized on by Rikard Zander’s haunting keyboard melodies and bassist Johan Niemann‘s undeniable grit and grumble.

Drummer Jonas Ekdahl has a commanding presence throughout the record also, a notable example of which can be found in his complex, yet beautiful percussive tom work on next track “A Secret Atlantis".
A constant in which fans can depend on throughout each and every Evergrey record is the dynamic and emotive vocal delivery from Englund, and here we find no exception. Englund’s ability to capture the heart of a song and translate it through his voice is one of the primary reasons that he was, and very much remains, integral to Evergrey.

“All I Have” graces ‘The Atlantic’ with its presence on it. Its lengthy run time and technical proficiency are a treat in themselves for those more affiliated with that side of the band, but they are simply eclipsed by its chorus. From the moment it hits you can feel it bring Englund to his knees in honesty, mortality, and offering whatever left of himself that he has to give in a performance that encapsulates his talent as a sincere and moving vocalist. A heartwarming moment made heartbreakingly good by the level of investment Danhage gives to his solos on this piece.

"Currents” is something of a throwback to the early Evergrey sound proggy melodious, with engaging but not head-spinningly complex riffage ushering Englund‘s inimitable hooks, and Zander‘s overlaid melodies resembling predecessor Sven Karlsson‘s more than ever (or necessary).

And those currents bring us directly to The Atlantic‘s second apex, the melancholic “Departure,” a veritable expedition spearheaded by Johan Niemann’s bright and trebly bass, Danhage‘s sedate acoustic strumming and lush textures, Englund‘s bereft clamoring, and Zander‘s delicate melodies. “Departure” is indisputably one of the masterworks of this record, an elegiac lament relentlessly but patiently pushing forward with harmonic subtlety unhindered by its own tribulation or its need to conclude.

EVERGREY - The Atlantic (2019) back

“The Beacon” continues in the album’s earlier direction before album-closer “This Ocean” brings the new CD to a satisfying conclusion.
There is no such thing as a standard Evergrey record. Despite being "The Atlantic" part of a trilogy, even their more recent works have been as rich and as layered as those that came before them, never going stale. This collection of songs closes out that trilogy, which has been a deep and emotional journey for the band, and it does so with class.

"The Atlantic" displays intoxicating juxtapositions in true Evergrey fashion. Fierce yet soothing, with an underlying torment that feels almost melancholic, Evergrey have, once again, gone and outdone themselves.
Highly Recommended

01. A Silent Arc
02. Weightless
03. All I Have
04. A Secret Atlantis
05. The Tidal
06. End of Silence
07. Currents
08. Departure
09. The Beacon
10. This Ocean

Tom Englund - Vocals, Guitars
Henrik Danhage - Guitars
Rikard Zander - Keyboards
Jonas Ekdahl - Drums
Johan Niemann - Bass (ex Talisman)



SILENT - Around The Sun / ST Reissue

SILENT - Around The Sun / ST [Reissue] Full

After almost 14 years since their last studio recording, Brazilian AOR band SILENT returned some time ago with new material entitled "Around The Sun". The band released a highly praised self-titled album in 2001, a pure AOR / Melodic Rock record in a time when the genre was pretty much considered 'underground'.

Always with founder members Gustavo Andriewiski (vocals, guitar) and Luiz "Tilly" Alexandre (drums) carrying the flag, Silent suffered various line-up changes, and disbanded in 2005.
But around 2010, Silent returned into the scene when AOR / Melodic Rock started to become popular again.

The style / sound in "Around The Sun" continues with Silent's love for classy AOR melodies, with smooth guitars, lots of keys, big harmony vocals and strong hooklines.
Straight from the Harem Scarem book of how to write a catchy tune, "Around the Sun" opens the new album with midtempo verses and a catchy chorus.

This comeback with "Around The Sun" also included Silent's awesome self titled debut (long time out of print), influenced by Journey, Foreigner, Hugo, Toto or Harem Scarem, and also Def Leppard (Mutt Lange era) specially on the many midtempo-tracks.

01 - Around The Sun
02 - Dreamer
03 - Joy Of livin'
04 - Love Is
05 - Watching
06 - I Found Faith
07 - Modern Life
08 - Bitter Tear
09 - Empty Land
10 - Hard Enough
11 - Silent Rain
12 - Answer Me
13 - Lovers

Gustavo Andriewiski - Vocals, Guitar
Alex Cavalcanti, Alexandre Franca - Guitar
Douglas Boiago, Federico Martin - Bass
Luiz "Tilly" Alexandre - Drums



SLYPSTREME - Slypstreme (2019)

SLYPSTREME - Slypstreme (2019) full

Hailing from Saskatoon, Canada, SLYPSTREME are presenting their self-titled debut "Slypstreme", ten years in the making. The band was founder in 2008, and in between gigs they've been recording the material featured here.
It's a mix of styles influenced by hard rock all eras, from early Nineties Lynch Mob, to this new century Sixx:AM, add some King Kobra to the mix, and even a bit of Nineties Queensryche.

01 - Livin' Game
02 - Climb
03 - Pushed
04 - If It's Me
05 - Staring
06 - Sundown
07 - Under the Knife
08 - Eden
09 - New Thoughts
10 - Gone
11 - Focus
12 - Taking the Stage

Brett Erickson: Vocals
Jeremy Kautzman: Guitar, production
Shawn Kautzman: Drums
Dale Hosmer: Bass
Tyler Chubak: Guitar



Friday, January 18, 2019

THE NEAL MORSE BAND - The Great Adventure (2019)

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

The recording of any new album has its challenges. And the more successful a band is the more challenges it faces, both with the actual writing and recording process, but also with a back catalog of material that the new album will be compared to. THE NEAL MORSE BAND had an additional challenge when it came to recording their upcoming album "The Great Adventure" which is due in late January 2019.
They had to create the follow-up album to ‘The Similitude of a Dream,’ a work that garnered near universal praise, and is in my and many other fans’opinions Neal’s masterpiece. And instead of taking the relative easy route by making just another album, they instead made another two disk behemoth and sequel.

I was as surprised as anyone when I learned that "The Great Adventure" was going to be a sequel. The first album is loosely based on the first half of the classic allegory The Pilgrims Progress, and the journey of Christian.
For the new album, the band focuses on a character found in the second half of the book, the abandoned son Joseph of the first album’s protagonist. As with ‘Similitude’ it is a loose adaptation with the themes and emotions being more important than a strict narrative copying the source material.

The album begins where the previous left off, with the throbbing opening and closing sounds that closed the disks of the first album, along with the final lines sung concluding with “let the great adventure now begin.”
We are then briefly introduced to a main musical and lyrical theme of “the love that never dies” before launching into the “Overture” proper.
As with any overture it serves the purpose of not only jump starting the album in an exciting and engaging way, but introducing the audience to the musical motifs of the first disk.

This leads into “The Dream Isn’t Over” which properly introduces the main character of the story and his situation before leading directly into the first single released “Welcome to the World.” It's a hard rocking song, and shows where the character resides compared to those around him. The world is of course a hard, often scary unfeeling place, and this is what the son finds and sees all around him. Melodically it worms itself into your ear, which is fine as the melody and variations of the lyrics are repeated a few times through both disks.

We are soon met with another song and piece that makes several appearances throughout, the heavier and considerably darker “Dark Melody,” which references the lost and dark nature of the son’s soul and life in general.
The second single of the album was released a week or so ago and so should get some mention as well, it is of course the title track “The Great Adventure” which listening to its own I am pleased to see still works as an independent song. The strongest parts are the separated keyboard solos that tie everything together. And prog fans will likely starting tapping their fingers along with them as they pretend to play along every time they come up.

This observation makes a good point to comment on the rest of the band. Neal Morse has of course been mentioned several times by himself already, as he is the main vocalist and creative force behind the band. Little can be said about his writing and musicianship that hasn’t already been said many times over the past several decades.
However after having had several years to listen and compare The Neal Morse Band to the other groups he has worked with, I really have to say this is best group of musicians he’s ever been surrounded with and a prog band whose skill, writing, and live performances would make anyone reluctant to have to follow.

Mike Portnoy is of course the most well known of the group. And this album simply reaffirms why he is one of the most widely respected and influential drummers on the planet, prog or otherwise. He also shows on “Venture in Black” that his skills as a vocalist have continued to grow and he is very memorable during the course of the song.
Bassist Randy George returns as well; as someone who has been playing with Neal since 2004 his delicate, and rock steady bass is at this point as indispensable to the band’s sound as Mike’s drums.

Relative newcomers Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer both provide lead vocals as well as their guitar and keyboard parts. We loved Gillette solo album featured at this blog - well he is no longer a rising star but a very powerful and intricate virtuoso on his own accord. And his guitar work and solos on this album are destined to only gain him more of the praise and notice that he so richly deserves. This, along with his excellent vocal work, makes him essential to the sound of the band. Hubauer is no less vital, his keyboard work is easily recognized, and his leads stick in the head of the listener for days. His distinct high ranged vocals are often the melodic and emotional glue that keeps everything together. Simply put this is one of the most talented groups of musicians in rock music today, and you need your head examined if you argue otherwise.

The second disk opens with “Overture 2” which swells and drives forward in the same manner as its predecessor while serving the same purpose. The main thrust of the album comes with “Long Ago” as the son continues on his journey with a vision and longing to reach “the love that never dies.” The son is of course young and bitter, and the music and lyrics reflect the darkness of that struggle. The main thrust of it begins with the fourth track “Fighting With Destiny” and the battle of the soul rages through the rest of the disk.
Things get dark in a hurry again with “Welcome To The World 2” as Mike takes over the lead vocals for the first verse before the slightly modified chorus is brought it. The riffs are heavy and almost doomy in nature as the song continues, and is highlighted by some killer solos by Gillette.

On a whole I would consider the second disk to be the heaviest and darkest music that Neal has had a part in to date. Mike’s drumming is positively thunderous and intricate, and Randy’s bass is the pulsating heart of it all.
For some non metal fans who are strictly prog fans they may find it too much. I most certainly do not; and find that lyrically these tracks contain some of Neal’s deepest and most important observations of the struggles and reality of the spiritual and worldly life.

THE NEAL MORSE BAND - The Great Adventure (2019) inside

The Great Despair” is also noteworthy for the vocal performance of Eric Gillette. I would say it is hands down his best on any NMB album, and at times are chilling in their intensity and emotion, and the impact the band reaches on this track are some of the best on the album.
The album concludes with “Freedom Calling” and “A Love That Never Dies” and as they go together and form the final “chapter” of the album. Many of the earlier motifs are brought into it, “The Great Despair” of course, but most effectively “Dark Melody,” the voice of God being sung and presented by Bill, and it is every bit as good as Eric’s performance on the previous song, indeed it has my favorite performance of his on any album.

The biggest difficulty this album faced is similar to the son’s problem, living up to his father. The band had the near impossible task of following a masterpiece, and in the minds of most fans this album will never match up with its father because of the love and reverence they have for it.
However rather than taking it easy and delivering a single stand alone disk that bore no relation to its predecessor, they took up the quest and delivered a true sequel.
And unlike many follow-ups which were disastrous (say any Jaws movie after the first) the band have instead released a very powerful, often deep, album that is a fitting successor, and crafted a son worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with its father.

The Neal Morse Band have more than proven that they were up to the task of creating a new and masterful album. "The Great Adventure" is more than worthy of standing on its own, and as a follow-up album. Fans will do well though to give it time and look past the fact that it is a sequel and listen to it as the stand alone album that it is.
When they do they will find a lot to love, and it will ultimately I believe satisfy both long term fans, and someone new to the music.
This album is destined to be on many people’s Best Of lists at the end of next year and is setting 2019 up to be an exciting year in progressive music. And of course, "The Great Adventure" will also appeal fans of all genres, from metal to pop.
HIGHLY Recommended

Act I:
Chapter 1 (12:50)
01. Overture
02. The Dream Isn't Over
Chapter 2 (23:48)
03. Welcome To The World
04. A Momentary Change
05. Dark Melody
06. I Got To Run
07. To The River
Chapter 3 (17:59)
08. The Great Adventure
09. Venture In Black
10. Hey Ho Let's Go
11. Beyond The Borders

Act II:
Chapter 4 (18:13)
01. Overture 2
02. Long Ago
03. The Dream Continues
04. Fighting With Destiny
05. Vanity Fair
Chapter 5 (30:57)
06. Welcome To The World 2
07. The Element Of Fear
08. Child Of Wonder
09. The Great Despair
10. Freedom Calling
11. A Love That Never Dies

Neal Morse - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Mike Portnoy - Drums, Vocals
Randy George - Bass
Eric Gillette - Guitar, Vocals
Bill Hubauer - Keyboards, Vocals



THE STRUTS - Young & Dangerous [Japan Edition +2] (2018) *EXCLUISIVE*

THE STRUTS - Young & Dangerous [Japan Edition +2] (2018) full

Derby, UK rocking glamsters THE STRUTS presented their second full-length album "Young & Dangerous" last October, and darn, for may of us in this staff it's one of the best albums of the year, full of swagger and catchy hooks bringing back the sweet and dirty spirit of retro / glam to modern rock & roll.
What better way than this Japanese Edition, a worthwhile purchase as it includes two very good exclusive bonus tracks

With their glitzy-yet-scrappy aesthetic - not to mention frontman Luke Spiller’s snarling vocals - The Struts might seem to have stepped straight out of the ‘70s / early '80s yet with a potent updated sound.
Imagine a Slade-crazed 2000's version fronted by a man who delivers each and every "R" with a brazen alveolar trill in a voice that's an amalgam of Freddie Mercury, Dee Snider, and New York Dolls' David Johansen, "Young & Dangerous" is not a subtle album.

It's all pomp, circumstance, bluster, and nasty, sugary goodness; a 50 minutes of hook-laden, radio-ready party songs that embrace both sleaze and glam.

Luke Spiller is a born frontman. He's got the Jagger swagger, but where Mick's antics invoked the American south, Spiller is a purely East Midlands creation, and like The Darkness' Justin Hawkins, his flamboyant English delivery will likely be the barometer listeners use to gauge the duration of their stay.
The songs themselves are largely formulaic, but delivered with such gusto that it's easy to forgive the chicanery behind them.

Bawdy, ballsy, silly, and sweet, standouts like "Body Talks" (with some The Sweet on it), the catchy as Hell "Primadonna Like Me", the sexy "Bulletproof Baby", or the hard hitting guitar driven "Fire" will likely appeal to a wide range of classic rock / rock&pop enthusiasts.

The band try something different with "Who Am I?", some kind of heavy-funk disco-heavy with good results, and in 'Body Talks (feat. Kesha)' they do retro glam but modern, same with semi-ballad "Somebody New", a clever mix of '80s pop but with an eye put in the 2018 charts.
There's an inevitable feel of Queen in "Tatler Magazine" (love it), bringing to my mind Space Elevator (the band) yet with a Seventies feel.

THE STRUTS - Young & Dangerous [Japan Edition +2] (2018) back

The Japanese exclusive bonus are great; the anthemic "21St Century Dandy" kills, some crazy mix of H.E.A.T, Queen and Angel / Giuffria... yeah, you read well.
The other bonus is a midtempo titled 'One Night Only', with a radio-ready chorus... well, at least 1981 FM radio. Check the lovely Brian May-like guitars.

These four small-city boys have managed to create a thirteen track whirlwind, each song with more energy and personality than many established acts doing this type of retro things.
What I like about The Struts and "Young & Dangerous" is the amalgam of the old with the new, never sounding outdated but at the same time not too modern, keeping things classic rock with authenticity.
Highly Recommended

01 - Body Talks
02 - Primadonna Like Me
03 - In Love With A Camera
04 - Bulletproof Baby
05 - Who Am I
06 - People
07 - Fire (Part 1)
08 - Somebody New
09 - Tatler Magazine
10 - I Do It So Well
11 - Freak Like You
12 - Ashes (Part 2)
13 - Body Talks (Feat. Ke$ha)
14 - 21St Century Dandy
15 - One Night Only

Luke Spiller - Lead Vocals
Addo Slack - Guitar and Vocals
Jed Elliott - Bass and Vocals
Gethin Davies - Drums



dUg PINNICK - Tribute To Jimi [Often Imitated But Never Duplicated] (2018)

dUg PINNICK - Tribute To Jimi [Often Imitated But Never Duplicated] (2018) full

Renowned King’s X front-man dUg PINNICK released “Tribute to Jimi (Often Imitated but Never Duplicated)" a special limited print tribute album to the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. “Tribute to Jimi” was recorded at Blacksound Studios, Pasadena, CA and was co-produced by dUg and Michael Parnin, and mastered by Kurdt Vanderhoof (Metal Church).

About the release dUg states, "I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, so when Joe at Rat Pak Records brought the idea up to me, I couldn’t wait to get started! We wanted to recreate the analog recording process as closely to the original recordings as possible, so we did our research and tried to use as many of the original effects and equipment that we could find.
I’m very happy with how this turned out and I hope everyone enjoys listening to this music as much as I enjoyed recording it in memory of Jimi Hendrix!”

And they made it indeed. All these classics from 'Crosstown Traffic' and 'Purple Haze' to 'All Along The Watchtower' and 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)' sound darn close to the originals, replicating that atmosphere and bulb-amp guitar sound.
dUg's voice sounds similar to Hendrix to begin and the band did an amazing job with the arrangements and sound.

If you like Hendrix's music (who doesn't), the vibe of the music we love when all this started, all done with respect and integrity, “Tribute to Jimi (Often Imitated but Never Duplicated)" is a must listen.

01. Are You Experienced
02. Crosstown Traffic
03. Fire
04. If 6 was 9
05. Purple Haze
06. Up From The Skies
07. All Along The Watchtower
08. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Mike Hansen: drums and percussion
Tracey “Spacey T” Singleton: lead and acoustic guitar
Tommy Baldwin: additional lead guitar, background vocals
Mike Farrell: keyboards, organ
Reinhold Schwarzwald: saxophone
dUg Pinnick: vocals, guitars, bass, piano, percussion, kazoo, combs, foot-stomps



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