Tuesday, November 13, 2018

FM - Live Acoustical Intercourse [Japanese Edition] Out Of Print

FM - Live Acoustical Intercourse [Japanese Edition] Out Of Print full

Riding the wagon of the early '90s 'Unplugged albums' success (Tesla, Eric Clapton, Queensryche) British AORsters FM also released their own CD recorded live at Studio 3, London. Titled 'No Electricity Required', its name speaks for itself.
This one was requested by one of you, but while there's a pseudo 'remastered version' by the dubious reissue label Krescendo Records (avoid their products like a plague), we have chosen the very rare original Japanese Edition of the album curiously re-entitled "Live Acoustical Intercourse" for the Asian market.
As it used to happen - and in some cases still do - Japan pressings were way better than anything else.

Mixing own songs with rock classics tunes, what you have here is a stunner, polished and crystal clear performances with Steve Overland vocals at their peak.

There's great versions of Bad Company's 'Seagull' and 'Little Bit of Love', Fleetwood Mac's 'Need Your Love So Bad', Joe Walsh's 'Rocky Mountain Way', ZZ Top's 'Tush' and even a contemporary but already a classic 'Enter Sandman' included into a medley.

FM - Live Acoustical Intercourse [Japanese Edition] Out Of Print disc

As said, while recorded 'live into the studio' and you can hear some claps from the selected audience, this recording sounds like a studio LP. There's an obvious attention to detail, I guess some overdub, etc. FM members are perfectionists.
However, the band sounds natural, with a feel-good vibe, and all these songs come vital.

One of the highlights here is the stripped version of their song 'Closer To Heaven'. The piano and the emotion of Overland's inspired performance makes it better than the original.

FM - Live Acoustical Intercourse [Japanese Edition] Out Of Print back

Very rare Japanese Edition out of print.
Highly Recommended

01 - Seagull
02 - Need Your Love So Bad
03 - Rocky Mountain Way / Black Velvet
04 - Burning My Heart Down / Don't Stop / Get Back
05 - Blood And Gasoline
06 - Superstition
07 - Heard It Through The Grapevine / Stone Fox Chase
08 - Some Kinda' Wonderful
09 - Midnight Hour / Dancin' In The Street
10 - Face To Face / Enter Sandman / American Girls / Other Side Of Midnight
11 - Closer To Heaven
12 - Only The Strong Survive
13 - Little Bit Of Love
14 - Rockin' Me
15 - Tush

Steve Overland - vocals, guitar
Merv Goldsworthy - bass, vocals
Pete Jupp - drums, vocals
Andy Barnett - guitar, vocals
Charlie Olins - keyboards

Out Of Print


RAINLIGHT - Lost In Time (2018)

RAINLIGHT - Lost In Time (2018) full

Founded three years ago and hailing from Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, RAINLIGHT are releasing their debut album "Lost In Time". While the title is referring to classic melodic rock of old - read '80s - the band is not lost at all; all are seasoned musicians and glue really well.

Drummer Jean-Patrice Leroux wanted to resurrect the melodies from a time when Rock music was about having a good. He meet vocalist Carbo performing classic hard rock songs at various venues, and soon Steeve Poirier (bass player in Necrotic Mutation) joined but to take command of guitars.
The songs in "Lost In Time" are indeed, '80s oriented both in songwriting and production sound.

Tracks such as 'Field of Souls', 'Howling' or 'Time Can't Wait' are midpaced melodic rockers with a strong rock&pop base with the typical Canadian feel and atmosphere from the '80s.
I can't help, but the main chorus, guitar sound / arrangements on 'Why so Serious?' makes me think of HoneyMoon Suite circa 1985, while the haunting 'Spiders' some Glass Tiger, but heavier.

'Since You've Been Gone' is not a cover of the famous song but a good ballad, on 'You'll Never Know' more HoneyMoon Suite catchiness appear, 'Under Your Spell' is some kind a of rocker meets pop in a Billy Idol vein (especially for the guitar work), then 'Whispering Words' is another really good semi-ballad with some Cutting Crew to it.

RAINLIGHT - Lost In Time (2018) inside

RAINLIGHT is a very interesting band because they bring back the '80s sounds in spades, but while most current acts doing this revival opt for catchy, instant melodies easy to the ears, "Lost In Time" explores other arrangements.
Indeed, Rainlight goes for more elaborated melodic rock / rock & pop, where guitars change from distorted to clean, and the rhythm section provide the drive for vocals to articulate. These guys have listened to the complete discography of The Arrows, Beau Geste, Gowan, Glass Tiger, and of course, HoneyMoon Suite.
Highly Recommended

01 - Field of Souls
02 - Rain Soldier
03 - Why so Serious?
04 - Howling
05 - Since You've Been Gone
06 - Tonight
07 - Time Can't Wait
08 - Spiders
09 - You'll Never Know
10 - Under Your Spell
11 - Whispering Words

Carbo - lead and backing vocals
Steeve Poirier - guitars, bass, keyboards
Jean-Patrice Leroux - drums
Martin Tremblay - bass



NEVERSIN - The Outside In (2018)

NEVERSIN - The Outside In (2018) full

We were already impressed by NEVERSIN previous album, and now the five-piece from Padova, Italy, are back with their brad new opus titled "The Outside In".
Founded in 2004 by guitarist Matteo 'Skench' Scalcon aiming to explore all the rock sub-genres to give their music a wide variety of content, you can say that NeversiN not only achieved their goal, but also they're one of the most interesting bands from the current Rock scene.

As happened with the band's preceding CD, "The Outside In" is a fascinating eclectic mix of styles. The guys in NeversiN define themselves as a Hard Rock band, but there's much, much more beyond. They have a progressive background as well, and that's reflects into their music as well.
You can hear throughout the album a compelling blend of stylized Hard Rock, Neo Prog and even tech-melodic metal ala Queensryche circa Rage For Order.
But all elaborated and developed in a very personal way.

After the mix of synths, beats and layers of guitars that is opener 'When Darkness Falls...' - which is more than an 'intro' and in fact sets the mood for the album - we have 'A Storm Is Coming', a melodic rock prog tune with radio potential. There's some Saga in the poppy verses, a catchy chorus and the clear vocals of Filippo “Ben” Benetton being a pleasure to hear.
'Rage, Pt. 2' rocks with polished guitars, there's superb instrumentation in the dynamic 'Life Preserved', later 'Rain' brings the semi-ballad / midtempo song of the album, more melodic rock oriented than I expected, and I like it.

'B.O.Y. (Because of You)' is a joyful melodic rocker / neo prog tune plenty of lovely melodies, for 'Evenstar' NeversiN shows British influences from the early '90s, and then we have 'Symphony of Light' some kind of a 'suite', however is not 'that proggy', as you could imagine.

NEVERSIN - The Outside In (2018) inside
'Light the Universe' is extremely melodious, quite poppy in its delivery, 'The Main Sequence' starts suave and then become quite uptempo in a Balance Of Power meets Marillion way.
'Collapse' is the closing number, another melodic and elaborated tune with great interplay and more sweet vocals.

"The Outside In" is just another very good album from NeversiN. They have the rare talent to potentially appeal a wide range of listeners from hard rock, metal, neo-prog, pop, and more.
Everything is polished to the extreme, the riffs sharp and melodic (including acoustic moments), the rhythm section precise - drummer Albertino Quarta is clearly influenced by Neil Peart and that's a good thing in my book - and the lead / layered harmonies are astonishingly arranged.
It's VERY recommended by this blog

01 - When Darkness Falls...
02 - A Storm Is Coming
03 - Rage, Pt. 2
04 - Life Preserved
05 - Rain
06 - B.O.Y. (Because of You)
07 - Light of the West
08 - Evenstar
09 - Cosmic Stroll in C# (Symphony of Light pt. I)
10 - Light the Universe (Symphony of Light pt. II)
11 - The Main Sequence (Symphony of Light pt. III)
12 - Collapse (Symphony of Light pt. IV)

Filippo “Ben” Benetton (lead vocals & backing vocals)
Matteo “Skench” Scalcon (guitars & vocals)
Federico “Sgana” Fabian (guitars, synths)
Daniele “Hurt” Businari (bass)
Alberto “Albertino” Quarta (drums & percussion)



Monday, November 12, 2018

MICHAEL LANDAU - Organic Instrumentals [Digipak]

MICHAEL LANDAU - Organic Instrumentals [Digipak] full

MICHAEL LANDAU is perhaps the most widely respected session guitarist of all time. He has recorded all styles of music and worked with ALL, from James Taylor to Steve Perry to John Wetton.
As a leader of own projects his discography is admittedly light, but he's ramped up recently with 'Live' (2006) from his main band, the rock/vocal driven 'Renegade Creation' (2010) with guitarist Robben Ford, and his fresh solo album "Rock Bottom" (2018).
What Landau's discography has been missing, however, is an all-instrumental record, and with "Organic Instrumentals" he's righted that serious wrong. And what a stellar record it is.

As a huge fan of Michael Landau's toothy Strat tones — especially his contribution to countless AOR gems — I've collected and studied his recordings over the years.
Yet, I wasn't prepared for "Organic Instrumentals".
Aided by an ace band, he has crafted one of the most comprehensive, varied, satisfying all-guitar album I've heard since Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow.

Perhaps that's not surprising: there's a lot of Beck in these 10 tracks, principally in Landau's snappy, fingers-pulling-strings attack and supreme wang-bar artistry.
These Beck-isms are balanced by equal amounts of Hendrix epic riffs, slinky double-stops, and spacey bends.

Landau shuffles the rhythm section among a bunch of largely well-known monster musicians (in example Vinnie Colaiuta or Jimmy Haslip), but what lends "Organic Instrumentals" its consistency, strength and authenticity —beyond the guitarist's tasty playing, effortless control over effects and verisimilitude across electric and acoustic instruments— is keyboardist Larry Goldings.
When Landau interacts with Goldings, who plays on most of the album, we hear a mesmerizing interplay between ringing Fender Stratocaster and churning Hammond deeply explored.

MICHAEL LANDAU - Organic Instrumentals [Digipak] disc

Landau also breaks out his flattop on this album and that's a real treat.
"Delano" starts out with a cool breezy acoustic melody line and as the song progresses, it moves into a groovy electric guitar vibe with some of the best cutting distortion lead tone I've heard in awhile.
Next, on "Sneaker Wave" the guitar sounds simply are out of this world. Landau goes from hippy-trippy hypnotic melodies to wide open reverberated harmonic chord progressions that remind me a lot of Eric Johnson. The lead lines are dynamic, exciting and soulful.

With "Spider Time" we have a Hendrixy sounding melodic chord-structure with one single straight ahead beat on the ol’ toms. Man oh man, this kat Landau has got some chops. The keyboards (Wurlitzer) on this are also top-notch.

I will stop describing more tracks, as all are outstanding. As far as the rest of the album goes, there are plenty more interesting arrangements and impressive guitar-hero type playing.
The music is all rock / blues oriented with some fusion undertones, laced and interwoven into to Landau's fabric of sound. Moreover, if 'TONE' is your thing, then this CD is Pure Tone Paradise.

MICHAEL LANDAU - Organic Instrumentals [Digipak] back

Michael Landau is a Master Harmonic Craftsman of Sound with a guitar in his hands.
This incredible musician constructs in "Organic Instrumentals" some of the most melodically beautiful phrases ever recorded with passion drenched guitar solos, resulting in a guitar tour de force that must be heard to be believed.
The music has many highs and lows in it. The sounds go from very mellow to bombastically loud in an instance, giving you a rollercoaster type of effect.
I know that instrumental albums aren't for everyone, but beyond the musical genre that you like most, do yourself a favor and listen this masterwork.

01 - Delano
02 - Sneaker Wave
03 - Spider Time
04 - The Big Black Bear
05 - Karen Mellow
06 - Ghouls And The Goblins
07 - Big Sur Howl
08 - Woolly Mammoth
09 - Smoke
10 - The Family Tree

Michael Landau: All Guitars
Larry Goldings: Hammond (1-3, 5-9), piano (3)
Estey Reed: Keyboards (9), Carillion (9)
Jimmy Haslip: bass (1, 3)
Andy Hess: bass (4, 5, 8)
Chris Chaney: bass (6)
Teddy Landau: bass (2)
Charley Drayton: drums (1, 8)
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (2)
Gary Novak: drums (3-7)
Walt Fowler: flugelhorn (7)



HEAD HONCHOS - Bring It On Home (2018)

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

"Bring It On Home", the debut album from Indiana newcomers HEAD HONCHOS, is a family affair. Father and son, side by side, guitars in hand, and the blues / classic rock in their hearts. The elder of the two, Rocco Calipari Sr, ain’t no new kid on the block having played in many bands, the younger - you guessed it - Rocco Calipari Jr, is his father’s equal, the mix of youthful exuberance and maturity serving the pair well as they blast out a smart mix of originals and covers.

Aided by drummer Scott Schultz and alternating bass-men Roberto Agosto and CC Copeland, where this outfit truly make their mark is through their chosen heavy blues-attack.
Already reading the band name and the album's title kinda made me think this could be bluesy influenced, shit kickin’ hard rock. Long known for its serious, maudlin, ‘heavy’ outlook, here the bluesy rockers are delivered with a glint in its eye and the intention to bring the good times.
Sprinkling a little funk here, a slice of soul there and some mighty fine fret frolics just about everywhere, the one thing you’re assured by the time the thirteen tracks have had their way with you, is that you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.

The CD starts off with ”Not For Me” and I wasn’t that far off target. It’s definitely heavy blues / kickin’ groovy classic rock / hard. ”Old And Tired” continues in a cool swing funk heavy blues vibe, actually with a touch of Stevie Salas, which is great in my book. Nice phat groove!

”Work” kicks up the tempo a notch. Slide guitar, chunky Hammond organ and a cook dirty groove. Great energetic vocals and killer guitar licks. In ”Come Strong” they do give it a southern rock touch, but it also has a straight ahead blues rock vibe to it. It’s a track that has ”dance” written all over it.
”Next To You” kicks it off with a cool drum fill and some slide guitar. One of my favorites is the super grooving ”Whiskey Devil” and its darting guitar and horns.

“That Drivin’ Beat” careens past with no little precision and poise, and “Work” hits home with real force and passion. With Rocco Snr possessing a hugely convincing vocal bark and a serous flair on the frets, it’s Jnr who locks in tight with the rhythm men, as they lay down the unmovable foundations and allow the melodies and solos to weave their spell.

HEAD HONCHOS - Bring It On Home (2018) back

Whether it’s the more familiar tones of Freddie King's ”Going Down” - a kick ass version by the Honchos more up-tempo in a Blackfoot / SRV vein - or the brand new and undoubtedly spanking aforementioned opener “Not For Me”, there’s an irresistible up-tempo vibe that runs so deep through these songs that you just have to give in to it.
The mix of the album from Mike Regan assures there’s also a clear picture of exactly what’s going on, while the mastering work from Grooveyard Records regular Stavros Papadopoulos is remarkably bright.
"Bring It On Home" is exciting, it’s vibrant, but most of all, this debut from the Head Honchos is damn good fun.

01 - Not For Me
02 - Old And Tired
03 - Work
04 - Come Strong
05 - Next To You
06 - Mean Old World
07 - Fire On The Bayou
08 - Lucky's Train
09 - Whiskey Devil
10 - That Driving Beat
11 - 99 1-2 Won't Do
12 - Going Down
13 - Soul Free

Rocco Calipari Sr. - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Rocco Calipari Jr. - Guitar
Roberto Agusto - Bass
Roger Femali - Drums



ZAR - Don't Wait For Heroes [Digipak]

ZAR - Don't Wait For Heroes - full

Founded by German guitarist Tommy Clauss, ZAR delivered a stupendous AOR album in 1990 with ex-Uriah Heep icon John Lawton on vocals (featured here).
As requested, here's the band comeback album "Don't Wait For Heroes", released by Metalapolis Records in association with ComeBack Media (the new name for YesterRock Records) and Pride & Joy Music.

This time mastermind Tommy Clauss decided to take the lead vocals duties as well, for the first time in Zar's career. Recorded & produced by themselves and mastered by renowned Alexander Krull (Leaves’ Eyes) "Don't Wait For Heroes" has all the Zar trademarks from the last period: groovy hard rock with melody in a typical German mold.
Title track opens the CD and it's the first sample of pure '80s hard rock stuff at its best, driven by a big groove, a memorable chorus line and crunchy guitars.

After the melodic 'One Step Closer' and the kicking 'Fighter', in 'The Rain Is Still Going On" we have one of the album's highlights, a beautiful and so emotional classic ballad that includes superb vocals and a huge guitar work.
It's time to speed things up a bit with the fast-paced rocker of 'Till The Final Day', and later the midtempo 'Time' is another top moment, a bit theatrical, that grabs you with its haunting melody and Clauss' solid performance.

Clauss is mainly a guitarist, and he shows his guitar play off in the heavy 'Triumph Of Faith', and steals all the attention with some hot solos on 'Stalingrad', 'Konsuke' and the little cliché but veritable 'Storm'.

ZAR - Don't Wait For Heroes - back

"Don't Wait For Heroes" is a simple yet extremely effective traditional hard rock album with all the '80s vibe intact.
Clauss is a really good guitar player (also at charge of bass) and while he's not Lawton, his vocals are pretty good, in tune. Especially on the midtempo tracks, where the groove and atmosphere take place, is where this current Zar works better.

01 - Don't Wait for Heroes
02 - One Step Closer
03 - Fighter
04 - All Worlds End
05 - The Rain Is Still Going On
06 - Till the Final Day
07 - Blood Means War
08 - Time
09 - The Rose
10 - Triumph of Faith
11 - Stalingrad
12 - Konsuke
13 - Storm

Tommy Clauss - vocals, guitars, bass
Lars Nippa - drums
Hartmut Layer - keyboards
Uta Lutgarth - cello



Sunday, November 11, 2018

DAVE BICKLER (ex-Survivor) - Darklight (2018)

DAVE BICKLER (ex-Survivor) - Darklight (2018) full

Today we are bringing to you another exclusive: "Darklight", the full length debut album from former Survivor lead vocalist DAVE BICKLER. Yes, believe it or not, while Bickler has been active in the music business all these years, this is his solo debut CD.

Invited by Jim Peterik to join his new band Survivor in 1978, Dave Bickler become the group's lead singer for six years, recording their first 3 albums and of course, he's the vocalist on the iconic song "Eye of the Tiger".
Dave returned to the band between 1993-2000, and since then continued with his work in jingles / advertisements, including Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" TV and radio commercials.

The vocalist has been playing some solo gigs as well - he did the Rockingham Festival, England, 2017, and currently is doing some dates with Bonfire's fresh album 'Legends' shows.
Almost ten years have passed since Bickler reported that he was working on a solo album, the first of his career.
Well worth the wait; "Darklight" is here and it's a very good album.

Bickler took the time to compose eleven solid songs, carefully polish arrangements and record the whole thing with attention to detail.
Each song seems to have been created in order to establish a link between his past and present musical background, glimpsing a future in which the vocalist happens to be remembered as something beyond the beret face that sings "Eye of the Tiger".

There's a noticeable degree of introspection; the general theme is reflexive - "there is no light without dark" - in Bickler's own words, whose updated vocal timbre nowadays has matured since the Survivor years, and musically, the album is 'adult melodic rock'.
But don't be fooled; the stamp of early '80s Survivor is all over "Darklight", and even brings to mind Jim Pererik works from the last twenty years.

DAVE BICKLER (ex-Survivor) - Darklight (2018) photo

Opener 'Hope', to my ears, recall Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy solo albums, a midtempo melodic rocker with that classy atmosphere.
'Kaleidoscope' has some Rick Springfield to it with its really melodious chorus, 'Fear of the Dark' rocks with strong guitars, while 'Magic' indeed brings back that Survivor magic with a contemporary feel.

'The Gift' is a melodic rocker AORish tune with sweet vocal lines and an overall John Waite '90s feeling, then with its heavier riff 'Time' is darker, the other side of Dave's "there is no light without dark" approach to this album.
'Sea of Green' is lighter, not a ballad but adds acoustics to the mix, and for a proper ballad there's 'Angel Heart' showcasing Bickler's voice.

Some synths / keyboards embellish uptempo closer 'The Sky Is Falling', a dynamic melodic rocker with a guitar work / solo reminiscent of his former band mate Frankie Sullivan. One of my favorite songs on the album.

DAVE BICKLER (ex-Survivor) - Darklight (2018) disc

Sure, there's some subtle references to Survivor's music on Dave Bickler's debut solo album "Darklight", however the vocalist go for his own identity here.
It's all classic US melodic rock, timeless melodies shaped with an updated sound yet firmly planted in the golden era of the genre.
Welcome back, Dave.
Highly Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Hope
02 - Kaleidoscope
03 - Fear of the Dark
04 - Magic
05 - The Gift
06 - Always You
07 - Time
08 - Sea of Green
09 - Lights
10 - Angel Heart
11 - The Sky Is Falling

Dave Bickler - vocals, guitar, keys
Steve DeAcutis - guitar solos, bass, drums, keys



ICON - Right Between The Eyes [Wounded Bird Records remaster]

ICON - Right Between The Eyes [Wounded Bird Records remaster] full

Some weeks ago we featured here the first two ICON albums in its remastered form, now as requested, more music by this really good American melodic hard rock band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona. "Right Between The Eyes" is Icon's last album, released in 1989 and mixes the rocking attack of their debut with the polish from their second, updated to the sound production of the late '80s.
This Wounded Bird Records remastered release (not easy to find) is the version to have of this pretty killer, underrated melodic hard rock album.

Dropped by Capitol Records whom where experiencing many troubles in the second half of the Eighties, Icon recorded and released their third album by themselves ('More Perfect Union').
By 1988, Megaforce Worldwide / Atlantic Records were interested in the band but asked for a return to their early, US metallic style. Icon's chief guitarist Dan Wexler was thinking to take that direction for the band as well, so they got a deal.

With a glossy production according to times and an edgy melodic hard rock delivery, "Right Between The Eyes" was recorded early in 1989 and released in August the same year.
Overall, the songs on the album run for some kind of a mix between Alice Cooper's style at the end of the '80s (Trash and Hey Stoopid albums) - so it's no surprise to hear him providing guest vocals on two tracks - a bit of the AORish side of Whitesnake (1987 album), and some Hurricane.
Pure late '80s stuff, sporting one of those iconic cover artworks from the era.

This album showcases the talents of Wexler's genius as guitarist, one of the most underrated axe-man from the '80s. His awesome tone and thick, imaginative chords always reminded me of Randy Rhoads, perhaps more melodious but distinctive as well.
The songs on "Right Between The Eyes" are catchy and commercial, yet meaty and powerful.

ICON - Right Between The Eyes [Wounded Bird Records remaster] disc

Opener 'Right between the Eyes' kills with its hard rocking punch, 'Two for the Road' follows with Cooper as guest in a duet for just another ballsy tune, then 'Taking my Breath Away' has a more mid-paced rhythm with some of the aforementioned Whitesnake / Hurricane influences.

Now it's in the mid-part of the album where "Right Between The Eyes" delivers the highlights, although all songs are very good in my opinion.
'A Far Cry' is one of my favorite Icon songs, a true 1989's US melodic hard rock monster, next 'In your Eyes' is the perfect blend of melodic hard / AOR with superb musicianship and vocal harmonies, and then 'Holy Man's War' completes the trifecta with wild riffs, bouncy rhythms and Alice Cooper appearing at the mid-part providing one of his classic 'horror' characters.
These 3 songs worth this album alone.

But quality doesn't end there.
'Bad Times' rocks simply but effectively, 'Double Life' bring to mind Icon's first album with sharp riffs, same with 'Running Under Fire' and its indeed, fireworks stomp.
'Forever Young' is the semi-ballad / midtempo song on the CD (a completely re-work from previous album 'More Perfect Union' song), another fav of mine with its melodic rock foundation.

ICON - Right Between The Eyes [Wounded Bird Records remaster] back

While for this album Icon toured America and UK with, among others, Ace Frehley, Electric Angels or King's X, and the video for the first single "Taking My Breath Away" was played on MTV's Headbangers Ball both Europe and in the US on heavy rotation, unfortunately "Right Between The Eyes" was eclipsed by the load of excellent releases appeared in 1989 in the same musical style.
This is another terrific Icon album that really deserve a place in in your '80s melodic hard rock collection, remastered by Wounded Bird with a pristine output.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Right Between The Eyes
02 - Two For The Road
03 - Taking My Breath Away
04 - A Far Cry
05 - In Your Eyes
06 - Holy Man's War
07 - Bad Times
08 - Double Life
09 - Forever Young
10 - Running Under Fire
11 - Peace & Love

Jerry Harrison – vocals
Dan Wexler – all guitars, guitar synthesizer
Drew Bollmann – guitars (credited, not actually playing)
Tracy Wallach – bass, vocal harmonies
Pat Dixon – drums
additional musicians:
Alice Cooper – guest vocals on 2 and 6
Kevin Stroller – keyboards
Mark Prentice – keyboards on 9



ICON - An Even More Perfect Union [Limited Edition, Numbered] Out Of Print

ICON - An Even More Perfect Union [Limited Edition, Numbered] Out Of Print - full

Some weeks ago we featured here the first two ICON albums in its remastered form, now as requested, more music by this really good American hard rock band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona.
"An Even More Perfect Union" is Icon's third album, recorded after their recording label dropped them, and finally released some years later.

When awesome original lead vocalist Steve Clifford quit the band after the recording of Icon's second album, the group auditioned a dozen of potential singers looking for the right replacement.
When Jerry Harrison was chosen, the new Icon then contacted their label Capitol Records in an effort to persuade them that they were ready to continue. But the company drop the band. Without a deal, Icon set about resurrecting their career and took it upon themselves to self-finance their third album.

Recorded at their native Arizona and produced by leader Dan Wexler, the titled "More Perfect Union" was self-released locally on cassette only on 1987, containing 10 tracks.
Its intention was introduce the new members and a refreshed Melodic Rock / Radio friendly style to the fans and re-establish them for hopes of being signed by a new label. But nothing happened, and the tapes, shelved.

A couple of years later Icon got signed by Megaforce / Atlantic and released a new album ('Right Between The Eyes') but as the musical approach was harder, none of the songs from "More Perfect Union" were used.

ICON - An Even More Perfect Union [Limited Edition, Numbered] Out Of Print - booklet

Thanks to the action of a rabid fan group, this 'lost' Icon album was properly released on CD for the first time in 1995, re-entitled "An Even More Perfect Union" including 7 previously unreleased tracks: 4 songs from the same recording sessions not included on the cassette, 2 songs written in preparation for their third major label release ("Right Between The Eyes" 1989) and a melodic rocking version of the classic Christmas song "Little Drummer Boy" recorded in the second half of the Eighties.

"More Perfect Union" was the natural evolution of this kind of bands circa '86 / '88: melodic rock / AOR, radio-friendly tunes with catchy melodies and a polished production sound.
You may like Icon or not but you can't argue that they have done the same record twice.

Full of keyboard fills and synth layers courtesy of various session players, this album has a really good production for an indie, and the '95 remaster job from the old tapes by Steve Escallier (who originally produced and engineered the album with Wexler) is more than satisfactory.
I can't recommend one track, all are good, I'm a sucker for this US '80s melodic rock / fluffy AOR style and for this band.

ICON - An Even More Perfect Union [Limited Edition, Numbered] Out Of Print - back

"An Even More Perfect Union" was pressed in limited quantities, each one signed / numbered, and now fetch ridiculous prices at auction sites ($1,666 at Amazon right now).
There's also a bootleg 2 on 1 CD (together with Icon's previous album 'Night Of The Crime') but due to the lack of physical CD space only features 12 tracks from 'More Perfect Union'. Recently (2009) a second reissue was released by a small label, also a fairly limited edition, and has become out of print as well.
A melodic rock collectible - Highly Recommended

01 - In Your Eyes
02 - Local Heroes
03 - One Step Behind
04 - Walk Away
05 - Forever Young
06 - Lost Love
07 - Eyes Of The Prisoner
08 - Better Left Unsaid
09 - Left To be Alone
10 - Hold On
11 - Way Back To My Heart (Bonus Track)
12 - Stranger Things (Bonus Track)
13 - Strong Love (Bonus Track)
14 - Second Hand People (Bonus Track)
15 - Sweet Young Sinner (Bonus Track)
16 - Gold Bullets (Bonus Track)
17 - Little Drummer Boy (Bonus Track)

Guitar – Dan Wexler
Guitar – John Aquillino
Bass – Tracy Wallach
Drums, Electronic Drums – Pat Dixon
Vocals – Jerry Harrison
Keyboards, Programming – Mark Seagraves
Keyboards – Mark Prentice
Synthesizer – Kevin Stoller



Saturday, November 10, 2018

JIMMY BARNES - Freight Train Heart [Remastered from the Master Tapes] (2017)

JIMMY BARNES - Freight Train Heart [Remastered from the Master Tapes] (2017) full

Featured in exclusive at 0dayrox, this is fresh remastered version from the original tapes of "Freight Train Heart", the third studio album by Australian singer JIMMY BARNES, released in late 1987 in Australia by Mushroom Records and in early 1988 in the United States by Geffen.

This is a terrific '80s production where most of the tracks were written by Barnes and Journey's talented ivory man Jonathan Cain, who also produced the album.
But there's more top contributions, such as the AOR tune "Waitin' for the Heartache" co-penned by Desmond Child, and "Walk On", co-written by Child and the mighty Joe Lynn Turner.
Additionally, session musicians include Neal Schon, Randy Jackson, Cain itself, and many more.

"Seven Days" was a Ronnie Wood track originally written for him by Bob Dylan, re-worked here with a melodic rock approach and that unrepeatable '80s feel. This was the last song recorded for the album, and features INXS drummer Jon Farriss, bassist Chris Bailey and Rick Brewster from The Angels.

JIMMY BARNES - Freight Train Heart [Remastered from the Master Tapes] (2017) disc

Brewster, Johnny Diesel, Peter Kekell and The Angels' Jim Hilbun were all hired after Barnes returned with the uncompleted master tapes from the initial recording sessions at the Power Station in New York City.

The album was completed at Rhinoceros Studios in Sydney with legend Mike Stone co-producing.
Interestingly, the album spawned Jimmy's only-ever Top-40 single, the aforementioned 'Too Much Ain't Enough Love', but while this is a very good track, the 'inside tracks' are the real meldic rock gems of this uber polished, slick collection of songs.

JIMMY BARNES - Freight Train Heart [Remastered from the Master Tapes] (2017) back

"Freight Train Heart" has been totally remastered by Don Bartley who undertook an exhaustive analogue process including the use of 1/2" tape to keep dynamics and clarity intact, maintain the punch of the original mixes and create some natural harmonics while still allowing for competitive levels.
I love this album.
Highly Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Driving Wheels
02 - Seven Days
03 - Too Much Ain't Enough Love
04 - Do Or Die
05 - Waitin' For The Heartache
06 - Last Frontier
07 - I Wanna Get Started With You
08 - I'm Still On Your Side
09 - Lessons In Love
10 - Walk On

Vocals - Jimmy Barnes
Guitar - Neal Schon, Johnny Diesel, Rick Brewster, John McCurry
Bass - Randy Jackson, Chris Bailey, Jim Hilbun, Seth Glassman
Drums - Tony Brock, Jon Farriss, Jerry Marotta
Keyboards - Jonathan Cain, Peter Kekell, Gregg Mangiafico
Synthesizer - Chuck Kentis
Zither - Ian Moss
Harmonica - Huey Lewis
Steel guitar - David Lindley
Backing vocals - Joe Lynn Turner, Huey Lewis, David Glen Eisley, Johnny Diesel, Dave Amato, Lynette Stephens, Jim Hilbun, Walter Hawkins, Shawn Murphy, Venetta Fields, Wendy Matthews



GIBRALTAR - I'm The One [remastered reissue] (2018)

GIBRALTAR - I'm The One [remastered reissue] (2018) full

Thirty years plus in the making, the super-rare album "I’m The One" by American melodic hard rock band GIBRALTAR finally gets a well deserved official release from Heaven & Hell Records. There was a previous reissue but not featuring this, the original artwork, and a not so good remastering.

Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, Gibraltar was formed in 1980 by high schoolmates Frank Fournier on Bass, Eric Page on Guitars, Jerry Everly on Drums, David Garcia on Keyboards, and vocalist Roy Cathy, later known as Rory Cathey getting major recognition as frontman for Cold Sweat (their excellent album to be featured here soon in its fresh remastered form).

Gibraltar worked, and they worked hard. They took every gig that was offered to them, whether it be a club show, a keg party, the county fair (Fort Bragg), or even someone’s garage. Word started to spread and spread it did.
The fan base was growing rapidly with every new gig and the name Gibraltar was becoming well known among the early Gen Xer’s who were hungry for a new sound that would eventually define an era.

As Gibraltar’s notoriety grew, the next logical step was to enter the studio and lay down some tracks. The band cut no corners and paid to have high-quality recordings (usually unheard of for an unsigned local band).
Well-written songs along with a decent budget garnered a radio-friendly single that the fans requested on a nightly basis. Local radio stations like WQSM and Q98 held “Rock Fights” on Friday nights where Gibraltar would routinely beat out not just the local competition but national acts as well.

GIBRALTAR - I'm The One [remastered reissue] (2018) disc

"I’m The One" was released by themselves in 1987, and while tours came and went for Gibraltar, the years passed by without ever securing that major label record deal. Pressed in limited quantities, the album became one of most sough after, best melodic hard rock / AOR indie records to ever shamefully go unnoticed by the greater masses.

Musically, "I’m The One" - full of big guitar hooks, catchy songs, and stunning vocals, had it caught the right momentum, this could’ve leapt from cult classic to big hit.
Riding the perfect edge between polished '80s US Hard Rock with heavy melodic AOR overtones, Gibraltar offers a bunch of strong tunes that would’ve rivaled a lot of other stuff out around that time.

From the Survivor-ish keyboard-laden “She Wrote the Book,” the harder-edged “Full Speed,” and the lovely ballad “Real” demonstrate that the band were capable of handling all musical emotions equally.
Roy was only getting started with what he would demonstrate vocally later on, but still showed that he was, even early on, an amazing singer, while the excellent guitar work of Eric Page mixed perfectly with the keyboards of David Garcia.
For a young band out of Fayetteville NC, they were other showing next level brilliance with stunning performances and powerful, hit-worthy songs.

GIBRALTAR - I'm The One [remastered reissue] (2018) back

This is going to be one of my favorite reissues of the year, limited to 500 units. "I’m The One" is a true 'cult classic', and deservedly to, for years impossible to find.
There’s so much to love about this Gibraltar one and only album, I can’t see why any fan of classy melodic hard rock shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to own this little indie gem.
It’s got everything that made that decade the best for rock music.
HIGHLY Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - I'm the One
02 - She Wrote the Book
03 - You Better Know
04 - Not the First
05 - Nights on Fire
06 - Real
07 - Full Speed
08 - Let Go
09 - PS

Roy Cathey – Lead Vocals
Eric Page – Guitars
Frank Fournier – Bass
Jerry Everly – Drums
David Garcia – Keyboards



KING KOBRA - King Kobra III [digitally remastered Digipak reissue] (2018)

KING KOBRA - King Kobra III [digitally remastered Digipak reissue] (2018) full

Out of print for almost 30 years, specialized label Metalville has finally officially reissued KING KOBRA III, approved and remastered by band leader Carmine Appice.

After the demise of the original line-up, remaining members Carmine Appice and David Michael-Phillips teamed up with Johnny Edwards, Jeff Northrup and Larry Hart, all 3 members of the Sacramento, CA band Northrup at the time.
Bassist Johnny Rod, who appeared on the first two albums as bassist, does not play here. However, he does contribute backing vocals, and also former Kiss' Peter Criss among others.

"King Kobra III" was originally released in 1988 via small label New Renaissance Records, featuring new vocalist Johnny Edwards in the 'hard to fit shoes' of Mark / Marcie Free who quit the band a year before.
Edwards does a very good job, and there's some killer, criminally underrated songs on this record in the vein of King Kobra's first album, Quiet Riot, etc.

'Mean St.Machine' is a darn good rocker, 'Take it Off' is heavier with solid lyrics and strong guitar work, then 'Walls of Silence' is a highlight; the chorus rocks, and the guitar riffs crunch with energy. An '80s anthem.
The band slow things a little for 'Legends Never Die', but soon the pace gets uptempo with 'Redline', reminiscent of the first album.

There's great Eighties glam metal rhythm to 'Burning in Her Fire', 'Perfect Crime' delivers more smoking guitar work and strong vocals, then they do a cover of the Gene Simmons / Paul Stanley penned 'It's my Life', a rocking number and one of the best on the CD.

KING KOBRA - King Kobra III [digitally remastered Digipak reissue] (2018) back

On "King Kobra III" the band returned to the heavier, hard rocking sound of their debut.
While production wasn't on the big budget of the band's previous efforts, this album rocks with uncompromised energy. This remaster - and I think there's some remixes as well - results much clearer than the original release, punchy, bright, rich in high / bottom harmonies.
Highly Recommended

01 - Mean St. Machine
02 - Take It Off
03 - Walls Of Silence
04 - Legends Never Die
05 - Redline
06 - Burning In Her Fire
07 - Perfect Crime
08 - It's My Life
09 - #1

Johnny Edwards – vocals
David Michael-Phillips – guitars, bass, backing vocals
Jeff Northrup – guitars, backing vocals
Larry Hart – bass
Carmine Appice – drums, backing vocals, remastering
additional musicians:
Johnny Rod, Peter Criss, Sarah Appice, Bob Spinella, Dave Flynn, Steve Sacchi, Mark Olsen, Bryson Jones - backing vocals



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