(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)
These days we are witnessing a drastic boom in rock albums releases and I must say, as you dive into the endless stream of new music we receive each day, it gets very easy to unintentionally miss something that might be truly valuable and of high-quality. That was the case with me and this album, but thankfully one way or another, it found its way to me and I’m very excited to share some of its highlights to my readers and hopefully, introduce it to new fans out there, looking for something edgy and guitar-driven.
German hard rock guitarist Marc Vanderberg released his sophomore album, titled “Highway Demon” this September 7, via darkSIGN Records. The record contains nine songs and wraps things up accordingly with an instrumental. Not only is the record label, production and atmosphere of the new album pointed to a new career direction for the guitarist, but he also takes in the talented Brazilian vocalist Raphael Gazal to put some serious metal vibes into the whole picture.
“While I still had to find my style on my first album, you can clearly hear on the second album that I found it and developed myself as a songwriter and guitarist. From my point of view, the sounds and the songwriting remind more of the classic hard rock legends like Alcatrazz, Yngwie Malmsteen or Europe with always catchy choruses. So the new album combines catchy choruses with tricky guitar solos and rocking rhythms. On top of that, I have found a new singer, who transforms the songs with his Michael Vescera-like voice into metal anthems”, says Vanderberg.
So far so good now let’s talk music!
The opening title track hits you like a hammer – a promising solid beginning with a classic rock sound and thunderous guitars, telling you enough about the skills of guitarist Marc Vanderberg. On songs like “Blue Eyes” you can trace the influences of guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen but there’s a more colorful feel, particularly coming from the fierce vocal delivery of Raphael Gazal. “The Last Battle” might be one of my personal favorites – you can’t but fall in love with the brooding guitars, demonstrating Marc’s technicality and effortless finesse when it comes to tearing up those strings. Pay attention to the lyrics – that’s what caught my attention upon first listen. The gentle “How Do You Feel” is exactly what the softies out there (like myself) need right now; mesmerizing piano melody and soul-soothing clear vocals, turning the song into the perfect ballad experience. What comes next is equally obliterating. I particularly enjoyed “You’re Like Poison” mostly because it possesses that catchy 80s hard rock vibe. “Total Eclipse” is the spectacular ending of what seems to me was an “over-way-too-soon” album. Bold killer riffs with a smooth mid-section, leaving us craving for more and more.
Final verdict: “Highway Demon” is for the guitar heroes out there who appreciate speed and technicality and are looking for something fresh, yet still preserving the classic rock atmosphere that has kept our spirits up for the last 30+ years. I highly recommend “Highway Demon” and urge you to explore it; it definitely has the potential to motivate you to pick up your guitar and try out something new.
“How Do You Feel”
“The Last Battle”
“You’re Like a Poison”
- Highway Demon
- Blue Eyes
- Bad Paradise
- The Last Battle
- How do you Feel
- You´re like Poison
- When I turn the Key
- Final Chapter
- Total Eclipse (Instrumental)