Introducing Marc Vanderberg’s New Album “Highway Demon”

(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.

“Highway Demon”

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!

MARC VANDERBERG FRONT CD LAYOUTThe 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”

 

Tracklist:

  1. Highway Demon
  2. Blue Eyes
  3. Bad Paradise
  4. The Last Battle
  5. How do you Feel
  6. Indispensible
  7. You´re like Poison
  8. When I turn the Key
  9. Final Chapter
  10. Total Eclipse (Instrumental)

 


References:
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Review: Kee of Hearts’ Debut Self-Titled Album

…or how to put a photo of yourself next to a definition of “brilliant melodic rock music”.

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

We had plenty of impressive melodic rock releases this year so far and yet none of them has given me this amount of excitement, comfort and satisfaction as this one right here. It might be because it is after all made by melodic rock kings or because Tommy Heart is one of the very few vocalists, capable of bringing so much warmth and coziness to my tiny little rock heart, but “Kee of Hearts” is without doubt, a pivotal moment for the melodic rock scene of 2017. Frontiers Music are throwing one kick-ass punch after another and I’m not sure I can handle it or keep up with the amount of top notch rock music thrown at me but I can sure as hell try. I am beyond ecstatic to be witnessing the making and release of such album. Let me tell you why…

Kee of Hearts represents the collaboration between vocalist Tommy Heart (Fair Warning) and guitarist Kee Marcello (Europe). Those two superstars got together last year and made some serious magic in that studio which later on materialized into an elegant self-titled debut album of a lifetime you simply can’t get enough of. As a die-hard fan of Fair Warning and someone who reaches for their music in times of pain and trouble, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Tommy Heart is doing a new project. This meant one thing – I was about to very soon meet my new favorite melodic rock album.  

kee of hearts“Kee of Hearts” was out on September 15, 2017 via Frontiers Records. Thankfully, the album was immediately available on Spotify so I cranked it up right from the early morning to the late of dawn. I couldn’t stop smiling, song after song. I became a glowing ball of energy only because of this album and I still am by the way!

Let’s talk music! “The Storm” is the opening track and the title pretty much sums it up all! A powerful blazing melodic rock impact right from the very beginning, signalling the arrival of something truly valuable. I am enchanted by the lyrics, though this phenomenon could be observed throughout the entire album. “A New Dimension” is another promising song with a “wow” aftereffect further proving why Tommy Heart is one of the best melodic rock vocalists out there. What follows is as good as the rest. Classic AOR songs like“Bridge To Heaven” and “Stranded” offer a bouquet of wonderful hooks, impeccable vocal arrangements, groovy guitars and pleasing keyboard touches. The honest “Mama Don’t Cry” and the quite relevant (these days especially) “S.O.S.” are two of the stand-outs for certain. “Edge of Paradise” is a personal favorite; the only justice that can be done to this song is if it’s played live in a huge arena in front of thousands of people. I keep imagining this… The classy “Twist of Fate” is a close second favorite – you just can’t take those catchy refrains out of your head…but then again, why should you? The track is the ultimate sing-along joyride.

Final verdict: “Kee of Hearts” is a melodic rock bliss from start to finish. This album represents just the kind of class and nobility we so desperately need on the rock music scene these days. Tommy Heart and Kee Marcello crafted a fine release that rocks, entertains and keeps our spirits lifted from start to finish. It’s a must-have for every AOR fan out there who knows what is true and what is not…I pray those two come up with a follow-up!


“A New Dimension”

“The Storm”

“Crimson Dawn”

“Bridge to Heaven”


References:
Album artowork, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/news/10951
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Review: Lynch Mob are Back with “The Brotherhood”

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

What is happening in the rock music industry right now makes me immensely proud. It’s been a while since I was that nervous (but excited) about which new CD to purchase first, which new album to focus on today and which song to play. I literally had to schedule my listening hours because there’s just so many outstanding things coming out these days. What a time to be alive and be a fan of rock&roll!

I knew September was going to be one of the strongest months for rock music this year but I wasn’t entirely ready for that powerful initial impact, coming from Lynch Mob. I needed some time to listen to the album as many times as it deserved before I could put my thoughts together and write this review. Obviously, as you sensed from my tone, “The Brotherhood” left nothing but a fabulous impression on me, combined with that sweet sweet relief that your expectations were not only met, they were exceeded. 

lynch mob

“The Brotherhood” is Lynch Mob‘s eight studio album and it was out on September 8th via Rat Pak Records. It’s the follow-up to their 2015 release, “Rebel” that stunned everyone with its production qualities and sensational guitar work. The title of the album – “The Brotherhood” reflects the strong bond between the members of the band. The guys surely had a long and bumpy road, but it’s fascinating to see how far they went and what they accomplished not as just members of the same band, but as brothers. I think that artistic and personal relationship, as well as comfort and reliance on each other was perfectly reflected on the music. Vocals, drums, guitars – every instrument, every note, every riff …they are all complementing each other, crafting the perfect alliance. I mean we all are well-aware of the magical chemistry between Lynch & Logan so no surprises there. The dominating guitars of legendary George Lynch, combined with the polished, quite rare (these days especially) vocal talents of Oni Logan are turning “The Brotherhood” into a one-of-a-kind experience.

When Lynch Mob released the MV for “Main Offender”, I just knew that these guys won’t mess around with this album. The song merely signaled the arrival of a strong pretender for “rock album of the year”. Honestly, they couldn’t have picked a better opening song. You want to make a statement? That’s how you do it. The destructive, highly energizing track, full of attitude and fierce riffs is one of my highlights of the album and it will definitely be in my Top20 songs of 2017 list. The heavy metal thunder moves on to the groovy “Mr. Jekyll and Hyde” – a very interesting song to experience with obvious psychedelic motives, bringing us back in time. The cheerful “I’ll Take Miami” reminded me of Van Halen‘s early days (which of course is a beautiful thing). “Last Call Lady” has to be one of my personal favorites and if you appreciate great rock melodies (like myself), it will quickly turn into yours as well. “Where We Started” offers an appealing diversity in the playlist; I’m absolutely blown-away by George‘s marvelous guitar work on this one – the harder-edged guitars are ruthlessly playing with the listeners but are not at all thrusting. “Until the Sky Comes Down” and “Black Heart Days” are both quality signature tracks, worthy of playing as loud as you can. It’s fascinating how the pleasingly odd acoustic bliss, titled “The Forgotten Maiden’s Pearl” is the one that actually sticks with you after you hear the entire album for the first time. I am absolutely loving the Zeppelin vibe on this one. “Miles Away” is the “must-have” ballad (I had a feeling this was going to be a ballad just by reading its’ title). It’s so much more than “just a ballad” though. Oni Logan is absolutely killing it on this one; don’t even get me started on those mesmerizing riffs that are giving me goosebumps. It might as well be my favorite song from “The Brotherhood”.

Final verdict: “The Brotherhood” deserves an honorable place in this year’s collection. The songs are rich in every musical aspect you could think of – lyrics, riffs, vocals, etc. It’s heavy, it hits you hard, it is a bit dark, even; however in the most satisfying way you can imagine. Pay attention to the lyrics which in my opinion are one of the strongest aspects of the album – poetry in its finest. Modern-day feel? Yes, maybe here and there; but the album actually has a genre and style of its own or follows any rules. It’s the perfect album to allure new generations of rock fans with and certainly a great comeback for a beloved, unconventional rock band. Cheers to Lynch Mob.

 


“Mr. Jekyll and Hyde”

“Main Offender”


References:
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Focus: INGLORIOUS – II (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

What a year! What a time to be alive!! I am immensely proud to have the chance to witness such beautiful rock music being released during my time and I just cannot wait to spread my excitement to every rock fan out there, hungry for something refreshing. I met Inglorious in 2016 after the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album Inglorious I. Their coming-out party was praised by rock&roll icons, such as Queen’s Brian May who called Inglorious “a potent young Deep Purple.” Noted producer Kevin Shirley who worked with Journey, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, Europe, Mr. Big and many more, referred to them as “the best British band since Led Zeppelin.” That should tell you enough, don’t you think?

ingl 2 coverAs far as I’m concerned, it was their sophomore album – Inglorious II, released via Frontiers Music in May 12, 2017 that took my work by storm and earned my utter admiration and respect. It all starts with one single life-changing song…The moment I heard “I Don’t Need Your Loving”, I just knew that it has the potential of becoming one of the top rock tracks of 2017 and not just in my book. The rest is history. I guarantee that listening to this sophomore album from start to finish will open doors to new and exciting rock adventures you’ve never even dreamed of. We have a couple of months left till we wrap up 2017 but I am fully certain that “Inglorious II” will dominate the yearly “top albums” charts and lists of fans and music media outlets. Let’s dive into the album and the songs…

Inglorious make straightforward, mind-blowing and 100% authentic hard rock, respectfully following the ways of ‘70s rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. With that in mind, vocalist Nathan James, lead guitarist Andreas Eriksson, guitarist Wil Taylor, bass guitarist Colin Parkinson and drummer Phil Beaver recorded a heavenly-organic, modern-day / classic rock album that brings nothing but satisfaction to every little rock&roll heart out there. The magic of “Inglorious II” wasn’t taken out of the hat of a legendary producer. The right words and production tricks were all done by the members themselves, which makes it even more exceptional.

Arguably, the first thing that strikes you when you play this album is the out-of-this-world vocal strength of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Nathan James. My jaw is dropping every time I hear him sing and I can’t but be amazed by his celestial talent. Not only did he reach higher personal vocal achievements with this album but he also put many current high-ranked celebrity singers in his little back pocket. Of course, a band is much more than a vocalist. The album is the product of a great teamwork, writing each song by themselves with no guest writers this time. They said, “It came together very organically after spending time touring together and felt great. We knew we were making an album this time too! We focused on getting our sounds just right so we could get into the studio and out in the least time poss.”

12 classy rockers came out of “Inglorious II”, each better than the previous. The Whitesnake-inspired opener, “I Don’t Need Your Loving” is basically what pure electricity would sound like.  The fiery riffs, along with Nathan’s high-pitched, intense vocal delivery give you a clear picture of what to expect from this release. From Whitesnake, we go to Bad Company with “Tell Me Why” which has that soulful, slow-paced favour…till it transforms into a dangerous speedy rocket, destroying everything on its way. “Change is Coming” is another song to watch out for – the bluesy, Glenn-Hughes-style track is for all the bass-guitar lovers out there, looking for that “deeper” vibe. “Making me Pay” is another bluesy charmer and the perfect bridge between the first and second part of the album. The heavy metal thunder “Hell or High Water” will please the fans, looking for a speedier, blood-stirring experience. The adventure ends with “High Class Woman” – a pleasantly intriguing catchy rock track that reminds you that you now must play the album all over again because it just can’t be over so soon.

Don’t you just love it when once in a blue moon a newly-formed band comes in and entirely conquers you? I surely do.  “Inglorious II” combines the sounds and styles of classic rock icons but all that is wrapped under divine, modern-day rock power and individuality many rock bands these days lack. Nothing more to say – grab your copy just like I did and play it as loud as possible!

 


“I Don’t Need Your Loving”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Taking The Blame”

 

 

 

 

 

“Making Me Pay”

 

 

 

“Read All About It”

 


References:
“Inglorious II” Album Page: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5377
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Review: MR. BIG – Defying Gravity (2017)

I had a feeling that 2017 was gonna kick some serious ass but I had zero idea that it will be THAT good of a rock&roll year. Just when I thought that 2017 can’t get any better, Mr. Big dropped this awesomeness, titled “Defying Gravity” and once again I’m left speechless. Frontiers Music are on a roll this year – big thank you for keeping great music alive and supporting artists who deserve it.

“Defying Gravity”

Mr. Big - Mr. BigSo many beautiful things are happening in this album and I don’t even know where to start. First of all, remember that groundbreaking 1988 self-titled debut album with the torn shoes and the top hat? If you remember and you love that release, then you will most certainly be thrilled to know that their ninth studio album, “Defying Gravity” features those exact four original members Eric Martin (vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass), Pat Torpey (drums, with the help of Matt Starr due to his unfortunate Parkinson disease) and Paul Gilbert (guitar), along with the same producer, Kevin Elson. So far so good, right? It’s been almost 30 years since the release of that debut album but the guys and their talented producer did manage to recover the classic Mr. Big sound from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that made them so popular and critically-acclaimed.

 “It was great to get back in the studio with our original producer, Kevin Elson,” says guitarist Paul Gilbert. “Kevin recorded all of our original classic albums from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and we immediately felt that magic chemistry with him on DEFYING GRAVITY. We basically played live in the studio. Over the years, we’ve all had a chance to experiment with every recording technique possible, but it’s still always the best just to play together as a band. Most of my guitar solos were tracked live with the band. I’ve worked hard on my improvisation in the last few years, and it really paid off on this record…both melodically, and on the face-melting stuff.”

(Quote retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5392)

 

mr big defying gravity new album

Impressively, Mr. Big recorded this album in a matter of six days. Your jaw probably just dropped, just like mine when I first read that so hurry now and pick it up from the floor. Imagine the determination, creativity and talent you gotta possess in order to come up with 11 smashing rock hits in just six days! If that doesn’t grab your attention then I guess it’s time for you to just get the album and listen carefully. The genuine, melodic rock atmosphere of “Defying Gravity” will conquer you right from the very first track. The guys aren’t joking around, though. A lot of thought has been put into this album and you can clearly spot it once you crank it up. Perfect production, wrapped up around quality songwriting skills and don’t you even get me started on those vocals and bass lines.

Let’s talk songs! (my favorite part)

“1992” is the absolute winner and the track that stood out to me the most (no, not because I was born in 1992 and it’s the most awesome year in history). In terms of melody, the track has that inviting, laid-back old-school rock&roll vibe thanks to which you are simply unable to click the “stop” button. When they released it on YouTube, I played just this one song for the entire day. The lyrics are what you should pay attention to. “1992” is kind of a humorous intake on their rise and fall back in the day with hits like “To Be With You”. What a brilliant approach. Its charming honesty can’t but leave a smile on your face. The opening track, “Open Your Eyes” is something to watch out for – the song has killing riffs and bluesy vibes. It has a bit of a Zeppelin feel into it (but just a little). Now is the moment to point out that vocalist Eric Martin brough his A game on this album and this song is only highlighting what I’m saying. He sounds as good as he did back in 1988, if not even better! The title track is undoubtedly the catchiest song among the playlist. It has a fine modern touch which we don’t really get to hear on radios these days. The album offers variety, that’s for sure. The acoustic bliss, “Damn I’m Inlove Again” is as joyful as a chilly fall evening around a beach fire. “Mean to Me” has a very bizarre but unique fast-paced riff which makes this song an unique experience for the listeners. “Forever and Back” is your mesmerizing classic Mr. Big ballad without which “Defying Gravity” would’ve been a little bit emptier, at least to me.

Every other track on “Defying Gravity” is the ultimate earworm and I’m saying that in the most positive way you can imagine. Easy to sing along with, a little bit of fire, a little bit of ice, tons of good mood and excellent lyrical strength. What a solid comeback. Get it now in case you haven’t.


1992

Defying Gravity

Forever & Back

Everybody Needs a Little Trouble


 

References:
Mr. Big – “Defying Gravity” Album Page: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5392
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Album Review] RIVERDOGS Won My Heart with “CALIFORNIA”

Intro:

Funny how all good things in my life are somehow linked to Def Leppard; seems like discovering them back in the day was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. Becoming a fan of Def Leppard led to many different roads. Guess how I got to know some of my favorite rock acts, like Helix, Billy Squier or Tesla? Same way I discovered and became a fan of Roadhouse, Shadow King, Last in Line and of course Riverdogs – they are all somehow related with my beloved members of Def Leppard.

riverdogs debutWhen I got to know and completely fell for Vivian Cambell’s guitar playing with Def Leppard it was only a matter of time before I traced back his career to Riverdogs and that brilliant debut album of theirs. The rest is …well history.

Ultimately, it all led to this moment right here, the moment I’ve been waiting for so long! That’s right – Riverdogs, featuring original members Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitars), Nick Brophy (bass, vocals) and Vivian Campbell (lead guitar), together with drummer Marc Danzeisen are back with a brand new album, titled “California” and I can barely hold my excitement. Many of you are quite familiar with Vivian and his work with Dio and Def Leppard but in case the other three guys are currently not on your musical radar, now is the time to dig a little deeper and add them to your book of great rock artists.

I knew that this was going to be a rock solid year for Frontiers Records but this release right here completely changed the face of the game. I had a feeling that the album will be quite good but you know what – “California” exceeded every expectation I had in terms of sound, lyrics and influence. It was only natural to dedicate a publication on the new album and share a few of my observations and the reasons why this album might as well just top my playlist for 2017 releases. Let’s dive in…

Riverdogs

RIVERDOGS

Coming from Los Angeles, Riverdogs formed back in 1989 – an interesting, quite dynamic time for rock music if you ask me. Still, the band managed to stand out with an exceptional 1990 debut album, conquering fans and critics with an original ‘70s blues rock style, entirely different from the glam metal sound and image that was popular at that time. Songs like “America”, “I Believe” and “Toy Soldier” are just a few of the reasons why their debut achieved recognition and found its place in the hearts of many fans (including mine, of course).

Unfortunately, as I already mentioned, the times were quite turbulent and in this period of transition, many bands couldn’t really secure a stable position on the music scene. Riverdogs re-assembled with new members and released two more albums in the ‘90s before they called it quits. The original line-up got back together in the early 2000s, which eventually led to a new album in 2011, titled “World Gone Mad”.

Now, six years later, “California” is a fact and honestly, nothing else really matters. Whether you are a die-hard fan and lived through those glory old days of rock or you’re just seeing the name Riverdogs for the very first time, “California” most certainly will grab your attention and bring you that much needed summer boost. Melodic rock fans, fans of quality music, fans of the old-school ways of making good music – this is the album for you!

Now, let’s talk more about the songs…

“California”

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIG

“California” is as soothing as night winds on a warm July evening. You just simply can’t get enough of this blissful feeling the album brings to you. Song after song, emotion after emotion – it’s all there. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not; “California” is a stunning set of sing-alongs, rock anthems, bluesy soul-touching tracks, all brilliantly decorated with thoughtful lyrics and memorable melodies.

Where do I begin? I don’t know, the songs are all so good! After I played the entire album for the very first time, “The Heart is a Mindless Bird” stood out to me the most. I’m a softie and this is the perfect song for me. The lyrics, along with the deep, affecting vocals of the criminally underrated vocalist Rob Lamothe conquered me right from the start. Next one of my list is “I Don’t Know Anything” which has a similar vibe and I guess that’s the reason why those two songs are my top ones.  Rob singing “I don’t know anything…That doesn’t stop me now…”, followed by those mellow riffs is one of the best moments on “California”. The opening track, “American Dream” is your well-known pounding rocker, aimed at grabbing you by the throat from the very beginning. The breezy second track, “The Revolution Starts Tonight”, should’ve been the opener, at least in my humble opinion. We go full blues mode with the third track, “Something Inside” which brings you back to the good years of Bad Company. “You’re too Rock and Roll” is my new favorite Friday night song. It just begs you to crank it up while having a couple of beers with your favorite people.

Viv is brilliant – we don’t really have to comment on that, just listen to the entire album. To me, though, the biggest strength of the album lies within the gentle but powerful vocals of Rob Lamothe. He truly shines on this album and not only with his powerful singing but also with his songwriting skills.

It’s quite obvious that I’m a devoted fan and I might be biased but at the end of the day, this is how I feel. What I truly pray for is that other people will recognize their talent and ability to write the kind of rock music we truly need nowadays, so that Riverdogs will keep on releasing new albums in the future and make every fan, old or new, feel as proud as I do right now.


“I Don’t Know Anything”

“Welcome to the New Disaster”

“American Dream”

“Something Inside”

Riverdogs “Welcome To The New Disaster” (Live Acoustic Version)


References:

Album art retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5390
Band photo retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZKFAm6S3Do

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Review: Mark Slaughter – Halfway There (2017)

slaughter-stick-it-to-yaI remember the first time I heard Slaughter – it was on one of those ballad compilation albums and the song was, of course, “Fly to the Angels”. The progress was natural because let’s face it, there’s no way you can listen to that gorgeous song and don’t ask for more! I got their debut album, “Stick it To Ya” and instantly fell for the distinctive, rough, high-pitched voice of Mark and the band’s dangerous, thrilling rock sound. Till today, that first release remains one of my most beloved glam metal releases and I still think that it deserved so much more than it actually did.

mark slaughter1990 is long gone but thankfully, Mark Slaughter is still making music, as good as he did over 25 years ago. The band is also currently active, participating in concerts and touring around the States. The ‘90s were, however, Slaughter’s busiest and with that, most successful period of their career. Once the new decade kicked in, vocalist and songwriter Mark Slaughter started exploring other musical directions, including DJ-ing, voice-acting, music composing for TV shows and others. It took Mark Slaughter some time before he officially embarked on a solo musical journey. First, he released a single track, then a digital-only album and now, we can finally purchase and enjoy a full-length solo record, titled “Halfway There”. The special 10-track album (11 in Japan) hit the music market on the 26th of May via EMP Label Group (a US-based label owned by David Ellefson, Megadeth bassist) and let me tell you something – it hit it hard! I really missed that classic, Slaughter sound and Mark is just bringing it all back on this album – that and way way way more! “Halfway There” is a worthy progression and obvious artistic evolution for him but with a little bit of old-school hint. It was a pleasure for me to listen to it from start to finish and I hope after reading this article, you will grab the album if you haven’t done it yet.

“Halfway There”

“…a return to form of the classic Slaughter sound, but with some modern upgrades,” says the EMP Label Group.

One of the most brilliant aspects of this album is that Mark was actually in charge of not only the vocals but he’s also the one playing the guitar, bass, keyboards and behind the orchestration as well. That should tell you something! This is clearly a very dear album to him and he put his soul, heart and every talent he has to make it sound as sincere as possible. Mark is a superb artist and taking full control over this entire record was definitely the right direction.

Let’s talk songs!

halfwaythere slaughterThe album kick things off with the mighty rock anthem “Hey You” which just begs to be played live. I can imagine it – the crowd screaming together with Mark this captivating chant, “Hey You, All Hands up, Rock & Roll Forever!” What an opener! We move on to “Devoted” which is even more powerful and aggressive than the first one; I swear, this entire album is one punch in the stomach after another! “Supernatural” brings us back to Mark Slaughter‘s more melodic, radio-friendly appeal with its funky rhythms and cheerful vocal delivery.  The fourth track is the monumental title song which in my humble opinion has to be the highlight on “Halfway There” and that’s not just because I love ballads. Flawless vocals, striking personal lyrics and don’t you even get me started on the composition; this song left me speechless! “Conspiracy” and “Reckless” are two other tracks to watch out for. The dangerous guitar-driven “Conspiracy” is one of the heaviest, most destructive tracks on “Halfway There”; “Reckless” on the other hand is a straight-up classic rock tune, fueled with mind-blowing riffs that just make your head spin! What an experience! The album wraps things up in a gentle manner with the bluesy, modern-style “Not Here” which impresses with quality solos and of course, Mark‘s soul-soothing, lullaby-like vocal delivery.

I’ve been a huge fan of Slaughter so needless to say Mark‘s solo release was highly anticipated. We still have half a year to go, but this might actually turn out to be one of the top solo rock releases of 2017. It’s a brilliant album, showcasing Mark‘s artistic greatness and growth as a musician. He gets an A++ from me!


“Hey You”

“Devoted”


References:
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Album Review: Go Louder, Harder and Faster with WARRANT’s New Album

It has been six years since one of our favorite ’80s/’90s hard rock bands, Warrant, released an album. “Rockaholc”, featuring vocalist Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Cry of Love) for the very first time, hit the market in the spring of 2011 – just a few months before the tragic death of Warrant’s original frontman, Jani Lane. No one can take away the precious memories the immensely talented Jani brought to us with his music, but it’s also okay to make new memories with new music, styles and voices. With that being said, I encourage you to listen to “Louder Harder Faster” with an open mind, expect something both familiar and new and most importantly, enjoy music the same way you did 20 or so years ago.

I may as well write a three-word review about Warrant’s new album and call it a day. Guess which words I will use… That’s right – Loud, Hard and Fast! The title says it all – you are in for a real wild, fiery and pleasantly devastating rock&roll experience right from the very first second! Frontiers Records keep on releasing one smashing album after another and I can barely keep it up with all that awesomeness. Have some mercy, please…

jeff pilsonBefore I dig a little deeper into individual album songs, I want to applaud the superb production of “Louder Harder Faster”, courtesy of the legendary Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio, Foreigner) who I believe did an outstanding job, capturing the mood of the album. I’ve been a fan of Jeff, his music and production work for so many years now and he still keeps on impressing me with every new project! Remember how well he did with Last in Line’s debut album, “Heavy Crown”? Expect something in similar, if not in higher production level – he truly did great!

Warrant - Louder Harder Faster (2017)Back to “Louder Harder and Faster” which is a reason enough why 2017 could be considered a strong hard rock year! Original Warrant members, Erik Turner, Jerry Dixon, Joey Allen, and Steven Sweet, together with the returning for the second time vocalist Robert Mason have cooked a real knock-out album, stirred with the band’s trademark melodic rock hooks and tons of modern-day surprises! This killer direction is what makes “Louder Harder and Faster” suitable for any rock fan out there. You don’t need to know songs like “Heaven” or “I Saw Red” (tactically avoiding that one song we all know by Warrant) to be able to enjoy and rock on to Warrant’s 2017 release! I think what they did with this album is truly universal and “generationless” and they will most certainly grab the attention of the younger audiences.

“‘Louder Harder Faster’ is truly one of our best records to date. It has all the classic Warrant ingredients that people have come to know, plus a lot of extras that keep it in the modern realm of todays music. It’s a perfect mix between Balls and Ballads. When we started this project over two years ago, we wanted to bring the listener back to the days of sitting in the living room and cranking up a record from start to finish. Making full records seems to be a lost art, we hope in some small way that this album helps people find that art again,” said bass player Jerry Dixon.
(quote retrieved from http://www.antimusic.com)

The 12-song rock&roll gem, featuring a cover of the classic Merle Haggard song, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”, is your ultimate party album! With blazing melodic rock anthems, including the title track, “Louder Harder Faster”, “Devil Dancer” and “Only Broken Heart”, you will definitely be juiced up for days to come. The opening track is your perfect modern-day rock&roll tune, which grabs you by the throat from the first second! Vocalist Robert Mason is truly impressive on this one; not that he has to prove anything to anyone but if he had to, this song right here will shut everyone up! “Devil Dancer” is a personal favorite – those riffs just penetrated my skin and there’s no way I’ll recover. The sing-along tune “Perfect” is another highly memorable point! Pay attention to those harmonies sweet sweet lyrics; that song just won me over after one listen! There’s another side to the Warrant and this album, though. The piano-driven “U in My Life” is a beautifully-done ballad I can listen for days. I wish it had a bit stronger punch into it, though. “Music Man” is a very intriguing track; it starts slowly with just a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment but it nicely progresses into a cowboy blues tune, telling a story worth hearing. “Big Sandy” is another jumpy rocker, meant to lift your spirits. The rest of “Louder Harder Faster” is just as good. Gladly, the physical copy of the album includes the stimulating cover of “I Think I’ll Sit Here and Drink” which triggered a physical reaction in me upon listening. You know a song is good and the vocalist plays with you once your body starts moving and you feel the groove. I think it might be one of my favorite moments from the album.

Final verdict: I will be brief: Play it LOUD, party with it HARD and buy it FAST. (haha)

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Louder, Harder & Faster

“I Think I’ll Sit Here and Drink”

Perfect

Devil Dancer

Only Broken Heart


References:
“Warrant Announces New Album”: http://www.antimusic.com/news/17/March/10Warrant_Announce_New_Album_Louder_Harder_Faster.shtml
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Album Review: Canadian Rockers HAREM SCAREM are BACK with “UNITED”

One of my most anticipated releases of the year is here and I’m thrilled to finally have it! The expectations were high but let me tell you something – Harem Scarem met 100% of them and went way beyond that with “United”. This is definitely going to be a very strong year for Frontiers Records and this album right here is one of the reasons why!

Harem Scarem surely went a long way since their solid (but highly underrated, often forgotten) self-titled debut. The 1991 release spawned fantastic rockers, including “Slowly Slipping Away” and of course one of the saddest rock ballads in history (and the reason why I became a fan of HS), “Honestly”.

harem scarem united 2017 big.jpgAfter an impressive stream of good albums, compilations, live releases and a lengthy rockstar career, the band called it quits in 2008. That wasn’t the end of it, though. Thankfully, vocalist Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance pulled their acts together and went back in the studio. To mark their near-30th anniversary and of course, for the love of rock music, Harem Scarem put out their 14th studio album, suitably named “United”.

I’m already referring to Harem Scarem as melodic rock Gods and “United” just solidified their position as such. The album is stunning! The first time I played it, I felt like I was taking a walk in a melodic rock paradise and every song was a breath of fresh, highly energizing air.

The masterful production qualities of “United” (courtesy of Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance, of course) are just one small part of why this album turned out so great. “United” is certainly not in shortage of brilliant hooks, powerful choruses and don’t even get me started on the magnificent guitar riffs.  

The upbeat opening track has all the right elements to knock your socks off. This sing-along treasure is just the beginning of the fiery punch this album is! The second track, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” is my personal favorite… and how can it not be! The entire song is one world-spinning experience, flavoured by the smashing backing vocals of Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen). The intriguing journey doesn’t end there, though. The album doesn’t lose momentum – the mid and ending parts are as fascinating as the first tracks. “Gravity” and “Sinking Ship” are pure energy, synthesized in 4-minute songs. Where is my ballad? There it is, finally – track number 5 is the unbelievable “One of Life’s Mysteries”. Just when I thought it’s been a while since I heard a decent rock ballad, these guys pull out a song like this one…how can I not love them? “Bite The Bullet” is also a song to check out – it’s a very appealing modern-style rock tune. “The Sky is Falling” and “Things I Know” are a couple of the other creative, harmony-teemed sensations on “United”.

Final verdict: “United” might as well be one of the greatest melodic rock releases so far this year. I am recommending it to everyone who thinks that the genre went down years ago. It didn’t! As long as we have Harem Scarem and long partnerships like Hess-Lesperance, things will be alright!


Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

One of Life’s Mysteries

United


Reference:

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

REVIEW: DEEP PURPLE are Back with What Might be The Best Rock Release of the Year

The British rock legends are back, ladies and gentlemen!

Not many rock acts can brag about a career that lasted for more than five magnificent decades or about releasing 20 albums! Your eyes aren’t betraying you, you read correctly! 20 albums is an accomplishment worthy of all the respect and appreciation you hold in your little die-hard rock fan heart. After all, we are talking about Deep Purple – one of the most important rockstars of all time who not only revolutionized the face of the industry with their heavy sound and never-seen-before live performances but influenced and keep on influencing every rock soul out there that dreams about the big stage.

One would easily assume that the creative strength of a band that’s been going for more than 50 years is long gone. This may be accurate for any other rock act out there, except Deep Purple. Their last release, titled “What Now?” (2013) was a strong, critically-acclaimed comeback which many attribute to famous producer Bob Ezrin’s magical touch. Four years later, the same team (Ian Paice – drums; Ian Gillan – lead vocals; Roger Glover – bass; Steve Morse – guitar, vocals; Don Airey – keyboards and Bob Ezrin – producer) is back with “InFinite” – a solid confirmation that Deep Purple still have what it takes to be relevant, 50+ years later!

deep purple infinite 1At the end of 2016, Deep Purple released “Infinite’s” first single – the progressive opening track, “Time for Bedlam”. The song’s instant success on YouTube and social media definitely lifted my spirits – there was finally something to look forward to in the upcoming year. That spectacular guitar vs. organ race, colored by Ian Gillan’s as elegant and alluring as ever voice, gave me nothing but hope that “InFinite” will be one of the best sonic experiences of 2017. The groovy “Hip Boots” is nothing but a back-to-the-roots delight on which Steve Morse’s stirring guitar shines as bright as the sun. “All I Want Is You” turned into an instant favorite and that’s not just because I’m a softie. Those stimulating keyboards and of course, the lyrics conquered me at first listen. The album picks up the pace with the bluesy “One Night in Vegas” and the classic Deep Purple-sounding “Get Me Outta Here”. “Johnny’s Band” and “On Top of the World” are just a couple of the highlights on “InFinite”, completing your vintage, yet so modern Purple adventure. The album wraps things up with an excellent homage to The Doors and their timeless classic, “Roadhouse Blues”.

Each and every tune on “InFinite” is a carefully chosen piece of a puzzle, completing one of the greatest musical pictures of 2017 so far! What a time to be alive! I wasn’t there to witness the release of Deep Purple’s timeless classics, such as the groundbreaking “Machine Head” for example; however I am here now, feeling wonderful and immensely grateful for this album! “InFinite” sounds like it was written in the 70s but produced and engineered in modern times! I cannot wait to be part of their tour this year and listen to some of the new songs performed live!

Cheers to Deep Purple!


Time for Bedlam

All I Got is You


References:
“Infinite” Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_(Deep_Purple_album)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~