BONFIRE – “Byte The Bullet” Album Review

German rockers BONFIRE are back with what can easily be referred to as one of the most electrifying, mind-blowing and hair-raising rock releases so far. Guitarist, original founder and basically Mr. Everything, Hans Zilller is back with his strong team of musicians, including bass player Ronnie Parkes, guitarist Frank Pane, drummer Tim Breideband and a brand new vocalist Alexx Stahl, replacing David Reece. Bonfire’s previous album “Glorious” (2015) was a phenomenal hard rock tornado and David was surely a great fit for the band; however things once again turned upside down for Bonfire as they were left with no lead singer. Frequent lineup changes and turbulent periods are part of any rock band’s history, so no surprises there. What’s in the past, however, stays in the past. It was time to look forward to the future and there’s no better way to do it than hire a fantastic new singer and focus on creating something as impressive as “Byte the Bullet”.

Bonfire_Byte_the_bullet

The 7-minute opening track, “Power Train” is setting up the mood with its long, quite mysterious intro. Alexx’ staggering vocals, which by the way can’t be a better match for the band’s sound, are captivating us right from the beginning. You thought the first tune was mind-blowing? Wait till you hear what comes next! “Stand Up 4 Rock” is one of the most empowering rockers I’ve heard this year so far. “Praying 4 A Miracle”, “Byte the Bullet”, “Reach for the Sky” – just a few of the other crunchy, melodic metal forces that just beg to be played live. Jethro Tull’s classic “Locomotive Breath” is a lengthy, immensely spirited rock statement, featuring an intriguing piano intro and out-of-this-world guitar work. They surely did justice to it, though nothing can beat the original, at least in my humble opinion. “Sweet Surrender” grabbed my attention right from the very first listen and quickly turned into a personal favorite. To me this tune represents the best of both worlds – it has a sensual, romantic side, perfectly incorporated in those mind-blowing heavy metal rhythms. “Lonely Nights” is the ballad of the year – it breaks my heart every time I play it but I always allow it; when a song affects your emotions that much, you understand that there’s indeed something real right here and the music is worth it.

You may guess what my final verdict might be – “Byte The Bullet” is a strong release, worthy of every second of your time you’ll spend on it! Those 14 tracks (excluding that crazy 50-second German recording “Friedensreich”) are bringing so much to the table. I still can’t get over how amazingly well-done this album is. Most importantly, if you are one of the people (like me) who is always seeking their self-empowerment in music, this album might be the best pick for you! Enjoy it!

Released: March 24, 2017
Genre: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Melodic Metal
Label: UDR Music

Tracklist:

Power Train
Stand UP 4 Rock
Praying 4 a Miracle
Some Kinda Evil
Lonely Nights
Byte the Bullet
Locomotive Breath (Jethro Tull Cover)
Reach for the Sky
Sweet Surrender
Friedensreich
InstruMetal
Too Far From Heaven
Without You
Sweet Obsession

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“Power Train”

“Praying 4 A Miracle”

“Locomotive Breath”

“Sweet Obsession”

“Lonely Nights”


References:
Bonfire Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonfire_(band)
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~

NIGHT RANGER – “Don’t Let Up” Album Review

One of the most anticipated releases of 2017 is finally here. The house of old-school rock, a.k.a Frontiers Music, is once again behind the comeback of yet another household name with a long and prolific 35-year-old career, spawning some of rock’s biggest classics, including “Sister Christian”, “Goodbye”, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “When You Close Your Eyes”. Yes, I’m talking about Night Ranger, of course – the renowned San Franciscan arena rockers, who sold over 17 million albums worldwide and held over 3,000 concerts! Needless to say, those numbers speak for themselves!

Night Ranger reached for the stars in the ‘80s and the results were both solid and lasting. The guys called it quits in 1989, however American and especially Japanese audiences wanted their rangers back! Here we are now, 12 albums later, still going as strong as ever, introducing the genre to whole new generations and adding more and more fans to the ever-growing worldwide fanbase! Night Ranger are back with a refreshing 12th album, featuring original members Jack Blades, Kelly Keagy and Brad Gillis, together with keyboardist Eric Levy and guitarist Keri Kelli. “Don’t Let Up” is exciting, positive and all in all, the perfect album to welcome the new spring season of 2017! Night Ranger are way beyond that “nostalgia act” label they are often given. To me, “Don’t Let Up” is an unquestionable proof that the guys are still relevant and they have yet many songs to write and many musical mountains to conquer before the world decides to forget them.

dont let up night ranger 1

The best thing about “Don’t Let Up” is the natural flow of the tracklist – songs seem to be pleasantly connected and each is building up the mood and adding more to that stimulating, thirst-quenching melodic rock aura of the album. At first listen it might be difficult to point out a stand-out song because they all seem quite similar. Still, the opening tune, “Somehow Someway”, along with “Truth” and the title track, “Don’t Let Up” clearly seem to be getting all the thumbs up. The responses on YouTube are clear – fans (me as well) love these encouraging rockers and are ready to hear the rest of it! “Nothing Left of Yesterday” is Night Ranger’s fine attempt at a modern-style power-ballad. “Running Out of Time” is a personal favorite – those catchy, captivating riffs and thunderous drums are making all the difference. Cheers to Jack Blades whose cheerful but powerful vocals made me want to sing and dance in the middle of my living room!

The rest of the album is as good as the songs I chose to mention and definitely worth your time and money! The artwork of “Don’t Let Up” sums it up quite well – every song, featured on the playlist is an exciting race between each musician’s distinctive talents! I was thrilled and had a great time while listening to “Don’t Let Up”. I guarantee you will have a similar experience! Enjoy!

Released: March 24, 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Frontiers Music

Duration: 50:25

Tracklist:

Somehow Someday
Running Out of Time
Truth
Day and Night
Don’t Let Up
(Won’t Be Your) Fool Again
Say What You Want
We Can Work it Out
Comfort Me
Jamie
Nothing Left of Yesterday
We Can Work It Out (Acoustic Version)

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“Truth”

“Comfort Me”

“Somehow Someday”

“Don’t Let Up”

“Day and Night”


References:
“Night Ranger’s Don’t Let Up”: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5359
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~

THUNDER – “Rip It Up” Album Review

rip-it-up-thunder

Released: February 10, 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: EARMUSIC
Duration: 51:13
Producer(s): Luke Morley

Tracklist:

  1. No One Gets Out Alive – 4:21
  2. Rip It Up – 4:43
  3. She Likes The Cocaine – 4:34
  4. Right From The Start – 5:23
  5. Shakedown – 4:08
  6. Heartbreak Hurricane – 4:46
  7. In Another Life – 4:57
  8. The Chosen One – 5:09
  9. The Enemy Inside – 3:10
  10. Tumbling Down – 5:25
  11. There’s Always A Loser – 4:38

OVERVIEW

Thunder are back with a brand new studio album, titled “Rip It Up”. The follow-up to their highly successful, Top 10 2015 release, “Wonder days” has finally arrived and is loaded with a serious collection of mindblowing rock tunes, destined to become future classics. The title says it all – “Rip It Up” tears down all musical and creative barriers. That “now or never” attitude of Thunder is winning them the big points! The album showcases their new-found creative strength and obvious self-rediscovery, all packed together with their thunderous, indestructible spirit that made them a household name back in old-school days. Guitarist Luke Morley and vocalist Danny Bowes formed Thunder in 1989 and the rest is…well, what a history! 27 years after a groundbreaking debut album, “Backstreet Symphony”, fuelled with hard rock staples like “Dirty Love” and “Love Walked In”, Thunder are still going as strong as ever and their eleventh studio album, “Rip It Up” is simply another important stop on their long way to go.

“After the positive reaction to ‘Wonder Days’, we were very happy, and it justified the approach we took in the writing and recording. We decided to push it further on all fronts this time, to see what happened, and I think it shows in the writing and the individual performances. We couldn’t have made this album 10 or even 5 years ago, we weren’t good enough! We’re really looking forward to playing the new tunes live alongside the more established ones.”

Quote retrieved from: http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/thunder-to-release-rip-it-up-album-in-february/#UhDxQEZhpkxtss80.99

“No One Gets Out Alive” is a promising opening track that welcomes you to one truly fascinating world where hard rock is a religion and Thunder are one of the Gods. It’s a fearless composition that impresses with its striking lyrics that tell us that we might not live forever, but that’s totally fine! Danny Bowes is sending a strong message – don’t waste your time away and enjoy the ride! The title track is as fierce as its name. “Rip It Up” became an instant favorite of mine with its atmospheric bluesy/old-school party vibes that just make you forget about everything. “She Likes the Cocaine” was inspired by a woman who guitarist Luke Morley used to know back in his days of youth. The lady in question used to be the heart and soul of the party and so many years later, she still is (at least that’s what Luke says). The song takes on a lighter perspective of drugs, looking at things through the fun way of it. Lynne Jackaman is making a memorable appearance on the track with her outstanding backing vocals. “Right from the Start” slows things down to remind us why ballads are so important for any release. Thunder have always been famous for their slower-paced tunes and there’s a reason why. Their trademark ballad sound is immensely captivating. “Shakedown”, “In Another Life” and “The Enemy Inside” are just a few of the heavier, upbeat rockers that bring that much-need intensity caused by the satisfying clash between deafening guitars and bold vocals. “Rip It Up” wraps things up with another soft rocker, titled “Everyone’s A Loser”. Nothing much to say about this pleasing end to a splendid album, except that indeed everyone who doesn’t listen to this album is a loser.

“Rip It Up” is Thunder’s gutsy confession, incorporating elements of their well-established formula for success into a solid modern-day hard rock sound. I didn’t expect the album to contain any unprecedented, far-out tracks so I wasn’t really disappointed when I got this well-known enjoyable piece of good old rock&roll music. Bottom line is, Danny Bowes still has the pipes and Luke Morley can still write extraordinary songs. So get ready for an album that will easily compete for the greatest rock release of 2017, I’m sure of it.


“Rip It Up” Official Song Stream

No One Gets Out Alive

Playlist:


References:
THUNDER To Release ‘Rip It Up’ Album In February, retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/thunder-to-release-rip-it-up-album-in-february/#UhDxQEZhpkxtss80.99
“Rip it Up” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_It_Up_(Thunder_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~

Jack Russell’s GREAT WHITE – “He Saw it Coming” Album Review

jack-russel-great-white

Released: January 27, 2017
Genre: AOR, Melodic Rock, Pop Rock
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l

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Tracklist:

01. Sign Of The Times
02. She Moves Me
03. Crazy
04. Love Don’t Live Here
05. My Addiction
06. Anything For You
07. He Saw It Comin’
08. Don’t Let Me Go
09. Spy Vs Spy
10. Blame It On The Night
11. Godspeed

OVERVIEW

Coming out of the streets of LA, hard rock band Great White rose to stardom in the late 1980s with a series of hits and MTV staples, such as the infamous Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Rock Me”. The band kept on going strong during the ‘90s as well, releasing five studio albums and touring the US several times, headlining shows and teaming up with other big industry names, such as Ratt and Poison. After the disbandment of Great White, Jack Russell – the lead singer and an original member of the band took matters into his own hands. Armed with new-found emotional and physical strength, gained after a series of tragedies, it was time for Jack to gaze into the future and do what he does best which is of course, performing and writing music. Jack Russell’s Great White rose from the ashes of a long-forgotten past and progressed into a modern hard rock tornado, worthy of appreciation.

On the 27th of January, singer Jack Russell, together with former bandmate and friend Tony Montana on guitar and keyboards, Robby Lochner (Fight) on guitar, Dan McNay (Montrose) on bass  and Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson) on drums released their official full-length debut album, titled “He Saw it Comin'” (originally titled “The Gauntlet”) via Frontiers Music Srl. It was a busy month for the label but they did manage to kick 2017 off with some outstanding releases, one of which most certainly is “He Saw it Comin’”.

“It’s a powerful band,” Russell proclaims. “The music comes across very dynamically. It’s what I always wanted it to be. Tony was a catalyst for moving forward. I was never as close to him as I am now. We never had the opportunity to write music together before. I also never knew he played guitar. When I first heard him, I nearly fell of my chair. He’s my copilot. He’s one of my best friends. I wish we would’ve been this close back in the day.”

“It’s natural for all of us,” adds Montana. “There’s a solid chemistry, and we’re having a lot of fun.”

(Quote, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348)

“He Saw It Comin’” features 11 tracks, all capturing a satisfying blend between authentic hard rock sound and edgier, more opportunistic musical elements. The new album represents Jack Russell’s vision of a beloved old-school hard rock band, still blowing people’s minds away in 2017! “He Saw It Comin’” is suitable for the devoted fans and a great way for the younger audiences to experience that genuine rock&roll vibe. Jack Russell’s vocal delivery is at his finest. Just listen to the bluesy, laid-back rocker “Love Don’t Live Here” and you will see for yourself. “Sign of the Times” and “Blame it on the Night” are just a few of the future live staples and radio-hits we can find on the album.  “Anything for You” is a worthy, well-written ballad, bringing us back to the classic Great White days. “She Moves Me” is a total surprise – the guys are stepping out of their comfort zone and delivering an exciting, very sexy if I may say tune, suitable for any midnight affair. ”Crazy” is my personal favorite and I gotta thank the spellbinding guitar riffs for that.

Jack Russell did a splendid job with this one. He sounds confident and purposeful. “He Saw It Comin’” combines the best of both worlds – a little bit of that well-liked Great White spirit and a new, more intriguing approach to musicianship. Moreover, he still sounds as good as ever which in itself is an accomplishment enough. Guitars, melodies, lyrics – they all reflect the great chemistry between the members. When your heart is in the right place, the results can’t but lead to a massive success.
Now go listen and enjoy “He Saw It Comin’”!

Love Don’t Live Here

Blame It On The Night

Sign Of The Times


References:
Gack Russell’s Great White – “He Saw it Coming” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348
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~

Pride of Lions – “Fearless” Album Review

prideoflionsalbum9

Released: January 27, 2017
Genre: AOR, Melodic Rock
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l
Length: 53:22

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Tracklist:

  1. All I See Is You!
  2. The Tell
  3. In Caricature
  4. Silent Music
  5. Fearless
  6. Everlasting Love
  7. Freedom Of The Night
  8. The Light In Your Eyes
  9. Rising Up
  10. The Silence Says It All
  11. Faster Than A Prayer
  12. Unmasking The Mystery

OVERVIEW

In 2003, Survivor keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter Jim Peterik, teamed up with vocalist Toby Hitchcock to form Pride of Lions – a melodic rock band which many thought is just a temporal side experiment with no future whatsoever. However, the project, incorporating old-school hard rock elements and modern style production qualities, proved everyone wrong. After a groundbreaking self-titled debut album, followed by a couple of equally fascinating AOR gems and live releases, Pride of Lions cemented their position as one of the worthiest rock acts of our time. The golden age of hard rock might be long gone but that genuine ‘80s sound Jim Peterik and the rest of the guys are blending in their music is more than enough to lift our spirits and show us that as long as you have it in your heart, you can be a great rockstar in any given era! That’s exactly what Pride of Lions are showcasing on their fifth studio album, titled “Fearless”. A long-awaited comeback, full of truly inspiring compositions is finally here! What a great way to start the new year!

In late November of 2016, we got the chance to listen to the first track out of “Fearless”, titled “The Tell”. The elegant rocker stirred our anticipation by signalling the arrival of a strong AOR force. Telling a story about a woman who is not as innocent as she claims to be, the song impresses with its pleasing melody, A-level vocal performances and superb guitar hooks. “The Tell” is definitely one of the stand outs of the album and a personal favorite. The opening track, “All I See is You” is a much needed glass of romance that leaves you with nothing but a sweet and love-rich aftertaste. It’s a beautiful song, featuring a dynamic vocal race between Jim and Toby and energetic riffs, all decorated with peachy, energizing violins. “Silent Music” is truly magical, hinting some serious Survivor vibes with its glorious harmonies and wonderful lyrics. “The Light in Your Eyes” is a gentle piano-driven rocker on which Toby shines brighter than a star. The title track is yet another mighty moment from “Fearless” that just begs you to crank it up!

Bottom line is, if you love Survivor and are a huge fan of melodic rock, “Fearless” is most certainly the album for you. Armed with top notch AOR gems, the record is exactly what I hoped it would be. Pride of Lions challenged themselves and delivered something outstanding. I already know that it’s going to be one of my favorite releases of 2017. Enjoy it!

“We are always trying to top ourselves” states singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Jim Peterik. “This time I went back and listened closely to all the previous cds to hear the strongest assets of each record: what was working and what could be improved. I went into writing the fearless material keeping that in mind. I feel it sticks closer to the template we set with our first cd, yet goes to new places musically as well like using a Kansas- style fiddle- played by Andrew Ohlrich- on the video/single “All I See is You.” 
(Quote, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5350)

The Tell

The Light in Your Eyes

Silent Music

All I See is You


Watch the “Fearless” Documentary here:


References:
Pride of Lions – “Fearless” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5350
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~

TOP 10 Rock Albums of 2016

top10mine

2016 was the year of the comebacks – some of them great, some of them not so great, but if we look at the big picture, this year definitely rocked pretty hard. Right from the very beginning, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” signaled the arrival of a strong rock&roll year. We lost David just a couple of days later, but we are beyond grateful for his last gift to us. January awarded us with Megadeth’s “Dystopia” and Dream Theater’s “The Astonishing”. After that, all hell broke loose – Elton John released “Wonderful Crazy Night”, Last In Line debuted with “Heavy Crown” and Iggy Pop came back with a new studio album – “Post Pop Depression”. The spring brought a lot of color and joy with the much anticipated releases of Cheap Trick with “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”, Sixx:A.M.‘s “Prayers for the Damned: Vol. 1”, Cyndi Lauper’s “Detour”, Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do” and many more. The summer of 2016 was hotter than ever thanks to Paul Simon, Roxette, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Heart and Steven Tyler. The last four months of 2016 were, in my opinion, the strongest in terms of rock releases. After 16 years, Kansas came back on the horizon with “The Prelude Implicit”. Along with them, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Barry Gibb, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Hughes, Bon Jovi, Sting, Simple Minds and of course, Metallica with “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”, left quite the impression with their new albums. December gave us The Rolling Stone’s “Blue & Lonesome” –they surely know how to wrap things up with style.

Coming up with a “Top 10 Rock Albums of 2016” can be quite the formidable task. So many interesting things happened on the music scene this year and I think all of the above mentioned artists deserve a round of applause and our deep appreciation. Of course, the beauty of music is that it has something for everyone and this year there were plenty of releases with which I managed to establish a deep connection. The following 10 albums stood out to me for one reason or another and I truly believe they are among the greatest rock jewels 2016 spawned. I would like to say that this is a personal selection, driven by my taste in music. In case you haven’t listened to those albums yet, I strongly recommend you to do so! Here we go!


1. Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

kansas-the-prelude-implicit

The album that tops my list of favorite 2016 releases is Kansas’ long awaited comeback – “The Prelude Implicit”. Even before the album was officially out in September, I somehow sensed that I will fall in love with it. The elevating, colorful mixture of progressive and hard rock, along with the refreshing vocals of new singer Ronnie Platt created the perfect rock experience for me. David Ragsdale’s heated violin playing was the final element that sealed the deal. “The Prelude Implicit” is absolutely stunning – from the charming opening rocker “With this Heart” to the spectacular instrumental “Section 60”, the whole album just keeps on throwing one strong punch after another. “Camouflage” became my absolute favorite song from “The Prelude Implicit” and I am still waiting for a music video, actually. “Camouflage”, along with “Crowded Isolation” and the exciting hard rocker “Rhythm in the Spirit” are some of the highlights of the album. I can’t recommend this enough.

Read My Full Review Here : Kansas – “The Prelude Implicit” Album Review

My Copy of “The Prelude Implicit”

kansas


2. Glenn Hughes – Resonate

glenn-hughes-resonate-album-art

Number 2 on my list is Glenn Hughes’ powerful hard rock dynamite, titled “Resonate”. No words can describe the dangerous, electrifying and absolutely mind-blowing aura of the record. Glenn is one of a kind legend and this jaw-dropping album only solidifies his position as one of the best rockers out there. “Resonate” is no joke, it’s the ultimate galvanizing rock experience of 2016! Glenn hits hard right from the beginning with the aggressive “Heavy” and moves on to “My Town”, “Let It Shine” and “God of Money” – all explosive, guitar-driven tornadoes. “When I Fall” demonstrates the gentle side of the rock monster. Overall, if you want to get drunk on pure hard rock, this is the album for you. Glenn is still here, still relevant and still releasing incredible material. The youngsters need to take notes – “Resonate” is a great example of how real hard rock should sound like.

Read My Full Review Here : Glenn Hughes – “Resonate” Album Review


3. Eric Clapton – I Still Do

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)

Legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton released his twenty-third solo album in May 2016 and as a long-time fan of him I just couldn’t be happier! For “I Still Do”, the king of blues recorded original songs, as well as cover versions of classics by artists such as Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan. Positively laidback, the album definitely grabs your attention with its bluesy easy-going and breezy aura that creates the perfect mood. The songs are rather homogeneous and once again perfectly aligned with Eric Clapton’s standards and practices of reviving and exploring old ways and meanings of music. The original composition “Spiral” is one of the highlights of the record, on which Clapton demonstrates how well he can improvise with a guitar and how effortlessly he can create something so fanciful and memorable. Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and JJ Cale’s Somebody’s Knocking” showcase Clapton’s confidence when it comes to the blues. The genuine “I Still Do” reflects Eric’s current self-assured spirit – he wants to do music his own way and he couldn’t care less what everyone things about it. The album just goes beyond class – it’s everything I dreamed of.

Read My Full Review Here : Eric Clapton – “I Still Do” Album Review

Me With My Copy of “I Still Do”

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4. Last In Line – Heavy Crown

last-in-line-heavy-crown

Former members of DIO – drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell, along with vocalist Andrew Freeman formed Last In Line in 2012, with their name, of course, coming from DIO’s 1984 album. Kicking off things as a mere tribute band, reminding fans of the glory days of DIO and explicitly focusing on the classic albums “Holy Diver”, “The Last in Line”, and “Sacred Heart”, the guys quickly stirred things up the excitement among the fans. It wasn’t long before they decided that it’s time they pave their own way with original compositions. “Heavy Crown” was released in February 2016 and it instantly captivated the audience, including myself. I am a huge fan of Vivian (because of Def Leppard, of course), so I was impatiently waiting to see how he will lead Last In Line into triumph, which he absolutely did with this unbelievably good old-school hard rock blast, titled “Heavy Crown”. “Starmaker” and “Devil In Me” are the instant attention-grabbers with their fiery tempos and of course, the soaring chants of Andrew, who is absolutely killing it on this record. “Burn This House Down”, “I Am Revolution” and “Blame It On Me” are a couple of others energizing metal explosions, completely overpowering every one of our senses. “Heavy Crown” follows the strong spirit of DIO but at the same time, goes beyond that, quite successfully if I may say. Moreover, this album gives us one more chance to experience the talents of Jimmy Bain, which in itself is a reason enough to put the record in my top 5.


5. The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

rolling-stones-blue-and-lonesome

Since I love the blues so much, including The Rolling Stones’ “Blue & Lonesome” on my list would come as no surprise. The rock&roll Gods came back with a phenomenal collection of spirited covers, bringing us back to the golden days of blues. “Blue & Lonesome” is Rolling Stones’ first album to feature exclusively cover songs. Among the twelve blues jewels, we get to listen to interpretations of forgotten but classic tracks by Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Buddy Johnson, Memphis Slim and other legendary bluesmen. Recorded within just a few days, with no preparation whatsoever, “Blue & Lonesome” is the perfect example of how The Rolling Stones can effortlessly craft some serious magic out of nowhere and still sound as confident as ever. Mick Jagger is absolutely killing it on songs like “Just Your Fool” (Buddy Johnson), “Little Rain” (Ewart G. Abner Jr. and Jimmy Reed), “All of Your Love” (Magic Sam) and the atmospheric title track “Blue & Lonesome” (Memphis Slim) – raw, brave and soulful, his vocal delivery is obviously reflecting his high level of satisfaction with this album. I am mind blown by the terrific guitar work of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and the drum beats of Charlie Watts. Also, my idol – Eric Clapton also appears on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. “Blue & Lonesome” offers a galvanizing blues experience and I definitely recommend it.

Read My Full Review Here: The Rolling Stones – “Blue & Lonesome” Album Review


6. Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello

cheap-trick-bang-zoom-crazy-hello

In 2016, Cheap Trick were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but that definitely didn’t mean they were done with rocking and rolling – on the contrary, their golden days are far from over. Their “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello” simply proved that those guys have a lot more energy, talent and joy to spread to the world. Uplifting, spirited, charming and highly entertaining – the record was the perfect spring rock sonata. Cheap Trick are still rocking pretty hard and we can clearly see it in songs like “Heart on the Line”, “When I Wake Up Tomorrow”, “Blood Red Lips” and “Do You Believe Me?”. The band’s first release for the country giants Big Machine Records is also the first album without the presence of long-time drummer Bun E. Carlos. Nevertheless, this modern-day rock extravaganza is everything but boring. Guitarist Rick Nielsen is doing a superb job; I am absolutely in love with the catchy riffs on “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”. A well-deserving comeback by Cheap Trick, I recommend you guys to take a listen or two!


7. David Bowie – Blackstar

david-bowie-blackstar

David Bowie’s last album – “Blackstar” was released just a few days before we lost him. I still can’t believe this beautiful human being is not with us anymore, it was such a tragic loss for everyone. I am beyond grateful for “Blackstar” – the last chance to say goodbye and experience his magical voice and one of a kind musicianship. The value of the album lies in its aggressive experimentalism which for many people may be a bit difficult to absorb, but as a long-time fan of progressive/art rock, the anxiety of “Blackstar” perfectly matched my tastes. The twenty-fifth album of Bowie, produced by long-time collaborator and a friend, Tony Visconti, presents seven intriguing, devilish even compositions, each reminiscent of Bowie’s ‘70s glory days but still compiling tons of new and exciting elements. Songs like “Girl Loves Me”, “Lazarus” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away” are fuelled with pure drum’n’bas wickedness. David’s moody groans are the foundation of “Blackstar”. It’s so inspiring to hear him perform so bewitching given what his condition was at that time. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin is also bringing so much to the table. You will never ever hear anything like “Blackstar” again and for that it deserves to be listened and appreciated.


8. Heart – Beautiful Broken

heart - beautifulbroken

“I Jump” was my absolute favorite song of summer 2016! I couldn’t have my day going without listening to this glorious tune by the Wilson sisters. As a matter of fact, this song itself is one big part of the reason why this album is even in my top 10.
On “Beautiful Broken”, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are simply offering an intriguing selection of seven re-imagined and re-recorded cherry picks from their early career, along with a few new exciting additions to their catalogue. Ann Wilson will always be one of my favorite female vocalists of all time and this record definitely proves that she still got it! Some highly appealing things are happening on this record, including the guest appearance of Metallica’s James Hetfield, whose roaring vocals work quite well with Ann’s soulful and clear singing. The heavy orchestral “I Jump” possesses that Led Zeppelin vibe, which is not surprising at all – the girls are often crediting Led Zeppelin as their biggest musical influence. “Two” and “Heaven” are a couple of other high points from “Beautiful Broken”. Many of the fans out there, including myself, are quite sentimental and prefer the original classics, however “Beautiful Broken” definitely deserves a chance – if not for the old-new songs, than for the three gorgeous new additions to their music library. Also, Ann’s voice is a reason enough to have this record!

Read My Full Review Here: Heart – “Beautiful Broken” Album Review


9. Metallica – Hardwired To Self-Destruct

metallica-hardwired-to-self-destruct

The mighty metal Gods survived through the long gap, after which the majority of rock acts would’ve been totally obliterated by the constantly changing music scene, and rose from the ashes with a smashing new heavy metal storm, titled “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The expectations were high but they did deliver something quite satisfying so let’s give a round of applause to singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich who co-wrote almost the entire set of throat-grabbing tunes.
“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is an epic double monster album, spitting 12 fiery tracks which run for almost 80 minutes! At first I thought that the record could be easy to inhale but once I heard the entire set, I realized that probably they should’ve just stopped after CD1 (which by the way is the reason why this album is in my top 10). “Dream No More” quickly became a personal favorite; I am enjoying this dark and highly-intense tune every time I play it. Some other memorable moments from “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” include the opening track “Hardwired” and of course the surprisingly splendid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, “Murder One”Metallica build up quite the excitement among fans, including me, so it’s natural to completely lose your mind over this album.

Read My Full Review Here: Metallica – “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” Album Review


10. Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer

jeff-beck-loud-hailer

This summer, Jeff Beck surprised us with a brilliant 11th album, which completely blew me away. I must say, I was sceptical at first, but the album just grew on me with every listen. “Loud Hailer” is not your typical Jeff Beck record – it’s a completely different kind of monster. Then again, it would be foolish to expect him to do the same thing over and over again, so I am applauding him for this revolutionary work on “Loud Hailer”. Two immensely talented female musicians – vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg are the reason why there’s so much color and intrigue on this record. Bones sings about apathy, greed, politics, media and a number of other issues, destroying our society. That’s one of the reason why it appealed to me that much. “Live in The Dark” is the highlight of “Loud Hailer”, at least to me. I am falling in love with the thrilling vocals and time-stopping rhythms over and over again every time I play it. The haunting instrumental “Pull It” is feeding my soul with so much power. “Shrine” wraps things up with a similar folk-blues vibe, which sends you to another dimension. “Loud Hailer” melts me with ever listen. I can’t recommend it enough.


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.

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.
Cheers~

The Rolling Stones – “Blue & Lonesome” Album Review

rolling-stones-blue-and-lonesome

Blue & Lonesome

Released: December 2, 2016
Genre: Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Blues Rock
Producer(s): Don Was, The Glimmer Twins (Mick Jagger & Keith Richards)
Label: Polydor
Length: 42:36

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“Blue & Lonesome” In the Studio


OVERVIEW

Rolling Stones are surely wrapping 2016 up with a style! The rock&roll Gods are back with a phenomenal collection of spirited covers, bringing us back to the golden days of blues. “Blue & Lonesome” is Rolling Stones’ first album to feature exclusively cover songs. Among the twelve blues jewels, we get to listen to interpretations of forgotten but classic tracks by Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Buddy Johnson, Memphis Slim and other legendary bluesmen. Long-time friend and a fellow blues musician Eric Clapton is another intriguing highlight of “Blue & Lonesome”. Clapton’s God-like guitar skills can be heard on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”.

Recorded within just a few days, with no preparation whatsoever, “Blue & Lonesome” is the perfect example of how The Rolling Stones can effortlessly craft some serious magic out of nowhere and still sound as confident as ever. It took them a decade (their previous album -“A Bigger Bang” was released in 2005) but the Stones are back! Don’t get fooled – the all-covers track selection is certainly not a cheesy sentimental yearning for the past. It’s goes way beyond that! “Blue & Lonesome” is Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts having fun, sounding unbelievably fresh, and skilfully introducing blues to the younger generations. A fearless journey back to the roots, resulting in a rediscovery of self, this new album might be their best work since the classic years of the Stones.

The Glimmer Twins, along with producer Don Was are intentionally preserving the rawness and authenticity of the recording sessions, in perfect alignment with the spirit of the 50s and the 60s. Similarly to the attitude of Eric Clapton on his 2016 album “I Still Do”, the Rolling Stones are doing music their own way without a single care in the world. Not that the Stones were ever much bothered with things like keeping up the with trends or working days and nights on perfect multi-platinum singles BUT if their ultimate freedom had a name, it would be “Blue & Lonesome”.  (I am mentioning Eric Clapton because those two albums are the highlights of 2016 blues releases.)

“Just Your Fool” (Buddy Johnson) opens the door to the world of “Blue & Lonesome”. Mick Jagger is absolutely killing it on this tune – raw, brave and soulful, his vocal delivery is obviously reflecting his high level of satisfaction with this album. The slow-paced blues symphonies – “Little Rain” (Ewart G. Abner Jr. and Jimmy Reed), “All of Your Love” (Magic Sam) and the atmospheric title track “Blue & Lonesome” (Memphis Slim) are among the most memorable tunes of the album. Jagger’s harmonica is making a statement throughout the entire album, bringing us back to the early days of the Stones. Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood’s guitars are excitably racing on the blues highway, each showcasing easeful determination and laid-back energy. The terrific drum beats of Charlie Watts are breathing new life into the old blues. “Hate to See You Go” (Little Walter) – the first song to get a MV makeover is one charming and immensely uplifting trip to the 50s. “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” is a personal favorite, mostly due to Mick Jagger’s rough, genuine vocals.

“Blue & Lonesome” offers a galvanizing experience to the roots of the Stones, yet capturing their personalities and strengths in a modern, refreshing way. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the rock&roll legends’ confidence shine so brightly on a record. They came back home!

Tracklist:

“Just Your Fool”
“Commit a Crime”
“Blue and Lonesome”
“All of Your Love”
“I Gotta Go”
“Everybody Knows About My Good Thing”
“Ride ‘Em On Down”
“Hate To See You Go”
“Hoo Doo Blues”
“Little Rain”
“Just Like I Treat You”
“I Can’t Quit You Baby”

 Hate To See You Go

Ride ‘Em On Down

Just Your Fool

Ride ‘Em On Down – Blue & Lonesome (60” clip)


References:
“Blue and Lonesome” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_%26_Lonesome_(The_Rolling_Stones_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~

Metallica – “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” Album Review

metallica-hardwired-to-self-destruct

Hardwired… to Self-Destruct

Released: November 18, 2016
Genre: Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal
Producer(s): Greg Fidelman, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich
Label: Blackened Recordings
Length: 77:26

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OVERVIEW

 

Metallica put an end to the long 8 years of waiting with their smashing new heavy metal storm, titled “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The mighty metal Gods survived through the long gap, after which the majority of rock acts would’ve been totally obliterated by the constantly changing music scene, and rose from the ashes with a comeback album worthy of being called a moment of unification of all metalheads around the world. The expectations were high – Metallica had to preserve their relevance with something that goes beyond any ordinary record; they had to dig deeper. The results are finally here and believe me, they are more than satisfying.

“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is an epic double monster album, spitting 12 fiery tracks which run for almost 80 minutes! Let’s give a round of applause (or a scream of excitement) to singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich who co-wrote almost the entire set of throat-grabbing, killer shocks on the record. With such explosive musicianship and furious songwriting dedication, Metallica can absolutely afford to go for an average song length of six-to-seven minutes. They are making their own rules without a single care in the world.

Disc one is more striking, up to the point, offering one heavy rocker after another. The finest moments of “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” could be found among those first six tracks – from the merciless riffs of the opening track “Hardwired”, to the rigorous pulse of “Now That We are Dead”, every track carries that trademark Metallica kick-ass sound formula, mixed with a couple of surprisingly good new tricks. “Halo on Fire” wraps things up in a similar dark, intensity-fueled manner, leaving us with high hopes for what’s coming on the next CD. Disc two is a less damaging, somewhat unfocused mixture of lengthy rockers. The momentum is slowly declining as we progress from one song to another but that’s not necessarily such a bad thing for the listeners who need to take a breath. “Murder One” is a surprisingly splendid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, that definitely deserves a listen (or two).

“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is a strong comeback album, despite its length and unnecessary fillers (especially on Disc Two). One thing that truly makes a quite obvious stand is James Hetfield’s explicit, much improved vocal delivery, which is the final touch to the electrifying concept of the album. Metallica build up quite the excitement among fans so it’s natural to completely lose your mind over this album. “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”, however, is far from being their best effort. It’s somewhat familiar but still innovative, proving that Metallica are still standing on the heavy metal pedestal! For that it deserves to be praised!

 

Tracklist:

Disc One:

“Hardwired”
“Atlas, Rise!”
“Now That We’re Dead”
“Moth Into Flame”
“Dream No More”
“Halo on Fire”

Disc Two:

“Confusion”
“ManUNkind”
“Here Comes Revenge”
“Am I Savage”
“Murder One”
“Spit Out the Bone”

Hardwired

Moth Into Flame

Atlas, Rise!

Murder One

Lords of Summer (from the Deluxe Edition of “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”)

Spit Out the Bone

Dream No More


References:
“Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardwired…_to_Self-Destruct
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.
Cheers~
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.

Bon Jovi – “This House Is Not For Sale” Album Review

bon-jovi-this-house-is-not-for-sale

This House Is Not For Sale

Released: November 4, 2016
Genre: Hard Rock
Producer(s): Jon Bon Jovi & John Shanks
Label: Island
Length: 49:08

this-house-is-not-for-sale-bon-jovi-2-1

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OVERVIEW

Bon Jovi are back with their thirteenth studio album titled “This House is Not For Sale”. With guitarist Richie Sambora no longer in the current line-up of the band and a new house label, fans and critics held their breaths in deep anticipation of what will their new music sound like. Many thought that the day Richie left would also mark the end of the band itself. The long and quite exceptional songwriting partnership between Jon and Richie was what held the band together and the main reason behind their rose to stardom. But what’s in the past is in the past. There’s just simply no time to waste when music is so desperately trying to break out of your mind and soul. Jon buckled up and the results are in. He is the type of person who never gives up and is truly dedicated to his music and fans. For that, he deserves all the respect he can get.

Let me start by saying that musicians change, love to experiment and will never stop exploring the endless realms of music. Styles, methods and sounds are evolving and there’s no need to be overdramatic about it. “This House is Not for Sale” is a modern-day rock album that doesn’t really run 100% after the old-school formula. So to make things perfectly clear, if you want to hear some vintage pounding Bon Jovi sound, this might not be the album for you. Previous generations who grew up with blockbuster records like “Slippery When Wet” and “New Jersey”, might get a little bit lost into this new much softer, sweeter and rather mainstream material. The younger fans, however, are more likely to accept and appreciate this record. All in all, “This House is Not for Sale”, is making a clear statement – Bon Jovi still have it in them and are going nowhere!

The opening title track is probably the finest moment of the album. Bon Jovi’s signature formula, combined with some fresh elements, create a perfect new single. It’s safe, well-controlled and unobtrusive but quite appealing and peculiar at the same time. The charming idea behind the lyrics also adds up to the exciting atmosphere of the track. After that, however, things start becoming confusing. The record flows wonderfully and quite consistently, however there’s just so little substance under that chummy, radio-ready facade. Very few songs from “This House is Not for Sale” manage to leave behind a durable spark. Rockers like “Living with the Ghost”, “Knockout” and “Labor of Love” are well-produced and satisfying to a certain extent; however, way too restrained and familiar to generate the “wow” effect. “Roller Coaster” might be a song with a potential, despite the strong “Maroon 5” vibe coming out of it. The tracks that follow lack individuality and don’t leave an impression that lasts longer than their duration. The hidden surprise was found among the bonus tracks of the deluxe version of the record. Just when I lost all hope, the gentle “I Will Drive You Home” became the slap that woke me up. Tender electronic rhythms and Jon’s mellow vocals made the album experience a bit more bearable.

“This House is Not for Sale” is a good pop/rock album with country elements that is definitely well suited and safe enough to be played on the airways during all parts of the day. Unfortunately, innovation and distinctiveness are not among the qualities of this record. The absence of the tougher, hard rock touch of Richie’s guitar is plainly noticeable. Bon Jovi might be back but their new sound is just too unfulfilling. Nevertheless, I will give the record a second chance!

Cheers~

 

Tracklist

“This House is Not For Sale”
“Living With the Ghost”
“Knockout”
“Labor of Love”
“Born Again Tomorrow”
“Roller Coaster”
“New Year’s Day”
“The Devil’s In The Temple”
“Scars on This Guitar”
“God Bless This Mess”
“Reunion”
“Come On Up to Our House”

+ Bonus Tracks (Deluxe Version)

“Real Love”
“All Hail The King”
“We Don’t Run”
“I Will Drive You Home”
“Goodnight New York”

 

This House Is Not For Sale

Knockout

Labor of Love


 

References:
“This House is Not for Sale” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_House_Is_Not_for_Sale
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.
Cheers~
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.

Glenn Hughes – “Resonate” Album Review

glenn-hughes-resonate-album-art

RESONATE

Released: November 4, 2016
Genre: Hard Rock
Producer(s): Glenn Hughes & Soren Andersen

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l
Length: 56:16

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OVERVIEW

2016 brought to the table a couple of pretty intriguing records by our favorite classic rockers. Heart’s “Beautiful Broken”, Kansas’ “The Prelude Implicit”, Steven Tyler’s “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere”, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” (RIP), Paul Simon’s “Stranger to Stranger” and Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do” are among the year’s finest works, clearly stating that devotion to music and epic talent are ageless. That’s not all, though! We will wrap 2016 up with a few more, highly anticipated hard rockers, including rock legend Glenn Hughes’ grandiose comeback album, titled “Resonate”. It has been almost a decade since his last studio effort, First Underground Nuclear Kitchen (2008), but his powerful hard rock testimony, “Resonate”, turned out to be a record worth waiting for.

“It’s my first solo album in 8 years. Everybody needs to know that this is absolutely a return to rock music as a solo artist for me. My work is very varied. Groovy, funky, soulful, although the genre has always been rock. But this album is probably THE heaviest record I’ve done in at least 25 years. It’s dense. It’s dark. There’s some aggression on this record. Every bloody track is begging to be played live.”

On his official website, Glenn stated that “Resonate” is the first kind of a complete Glenn album… it is a ROCK album for ROCK fans & it’s… HEAVY.” His words can’t even begin to describe the electrifying, breath-taking, dangerous and even quite aggressive aura of the record. “Resonate” is a rock euphoria that only solidifies Glenn’s reputation as a one-of-a-kind rock legend who still knows how to craft jaw-dropping music.

Eleven (plus one bonus) tracks provide you with the ultimate galvanizing rock experience.  Glenn makes a clear solid statement right from the very first song. “Heavy” is no joke; it’s the song with the strongest force of attraction among all the tracks. Glenn’s trademark vocals, furious guitars and dynamic sound effects are all stirred up to an ultimate hard rock extravaganza. “My Town” and “Let It Shine” are the two other seductive rockers that are immediately making a statement with their stimulating rhythms and first-class production qualities. “God of Money” quickly throws you back into the deep hard rock river with its explosive guitar-driven sound, haunting bass and conceptual lyrics. Unexpectedly, after a series of spellbinding tornadoes, we are faced with a much gentler song, titled “When I Fall”.  Well-written both lyrically and melodically, the tune somehow manages to calm things down for a second and remind you that Glenn can conquer pretty much any style. “Resonate” ends up with the mid-tempo rocker “Long Time Gone” which cannot really compete with the value and impact of the rest of the songs from the album.

“Resonate” is an album for people who want to get drunk on hard rock in its purest, most aggressive and mighty form. Glenn delivered what he promised and though it came as a huge surprise, right at the very end of 2016, the album’s loud and vigorous voice quickly reached us. Another vintage rocker showing the youngsters how to make great rock music! Cheers to Glenn!

 

Tracklist:

HEAVY
MY TOWN
FlOW
LET IT SHINE
STEADY
GOD OF MONEY
HOW LONG
WHEN I FALL
LANDMINES
STUMBLE & GO
LONG TIME GONE
NOTHING’S THE SAME (BONUS TRACK)

 

Heavy

Let It Shine

My Town

 

 


References:
Glenn Hughes Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Hughes
Glenn Hughes Official Website: http://www.glennhughes.com/ctc/bulletins/glenn-hughes-new-album-resonate-set-for-release-november-2016/

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.
Cheers~
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.