[Album Recommendation] Age of Reflection – In The Heat Of The Night (AOR)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

You know I am always on the hunt for melodic rock treasures since this is the type of rock music I am mostly fond of. Some people still believe that the era of AOR is long gone and that this used to be a big thing in the ‘80s, however I gotta say, those people don’t even have a slightest clue of how the genre have evolved and spread in the past few years. So many outstanding young artists are responsible for the AOR boom in recent years and great pioneers of AOR are launching spectacular comebacks so it’s safe to say, we are entering a new AOR era!

Discovering bands that bring back the faith in me and make me feel alive again is basically what I live for. Sometime ago, through the power of social media, the amazing guys from the Swedish AOR band, Age of Reflection (love what they did with the name), reached out to me and introduced me to their music. I didn’t need much convincing or extra effort to understand that this band will most certainly fall under the category of “great new AOR bands you must hear now”. I am already familiar with the magic of Swedish rock musicians, so it was not such a big surprise for me to discover yet another Swedish treasure that deserves all the praises. Anyways, we are here today to talk about Age of Reflection and their “In the Heat of the Night” album which I firmly believe needs to reach out to as many fans out there as possible. I want to introduce their music and hopefully bring to the table something new to people who are hungry for something fresh and of high quality.

First of all, let me provoke you and restore that faith in you, guys with this song…

With me, as you know, when it comes to music is all about discovering more in a song than just a bunch of well-written lines, melodies and good riffs. With me, it’s about the emotions, substance, the soul of the music and its ability to quickly deliver it to your senses. That’s not all I am looking for in a melodic rock album. I am deeply connected to the ‘80s rock music values and when I see bands these days that are not just incorporating them in their music but are adding something more, that’s when I know I have a real gem in front of my eyes. All this and more I found in Age of Reflection and their “In the Heat of the Night” album.

I want to present my sincere adoration for the great vocals by Lars Nygren who is certainly one of the most vocally-attractive musicians on the current revived Swedish melodic rock scene. “Blame it on My Heart”, “Borderline” and “The Mirror Never Lies” for instance (which happen to be three of my favorite songs on the release) probably wouldn’t have had the same effect on me if it wasn’t for the captivating vocals. Speaking of songs, I should probably mention that “Dying for Your Love” brought out a certain fire in my heart which doesn’t happen as often as you might think. Watch out for it – it’s unforgettable. It’s time to give the high fives also to Carl Berglund, who is not just the main reason for the existence of this band in the first place, but is also one of the masters of the guitar and keyboards. He, along with the bassist Jan Skärming, gave birth to an exciting project which you didn’t know you need in your life, till you hear it!

“In The Heat of the Night” came out last year and it’s a little bit of a shame that I just discovered it but better late than never. I want to heavily emphasize to my readers that this is a band with a musical significance and their songs carry a meaning and strength which, at least to me, is the most essential component on the road to success. Spread the love and enjoy! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. I hope I brought something great to you with my humble publication.

Cheers to more!

Here is me, happily holding a great new addition to my beloved collection. I can’t wait to see what’s next for those talented guys.

“The Mirror Never Lies”

“Dying for Your Love”

age of reflection
Age of Reflection

BAND MEMBERS:

Lars Nygren – lead vocals
Carl Berglund – guitar, backing vocals
Jonas Nordqvist – guitar, backing vocals
Jens Rüttgeroth – keyboards, backing vocals
Jan Skärming – bass, backing vocals
Peppe Vikman – drums, backing vocals

Links:

Official Website: https://www.ageofreflection.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AGEOFREFLECTION/

Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/ageofreflection/

Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/AgeOfReflection


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] CREYE – “Creye” (2018)

 (by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

You know that feeling when it sure as hell been a while since you’ve heard something so compelling that you could practically count the butterflies in your stomach? Because for me personally, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a sound so perfect and so close to my liking that I can even convince myself that it’s been made for me and for me only. The second I heard “Christina” by Creye I knew that this was it! This was the band and the album I’ve been waiting for this year! I want you, guys to play the song first and hopefully feel what I’m feeling. Then, after fully embracing its qualities and accepting that you can’t but surrender yourself to it, we’ll get down to the rest of the album…

“Christina”

All it takes is a group of great musicians with a vision and a hunger to create something meaningful, reminiscent of the glory days of the AOR. Guitarist Andreas Gullstrand assembled Creye in 2015 and the rest is as we all say – history! In 2016, the band was already labelled as the next big thing that came out of Sweden and there was a reason for that statement, trust me. After a few singles, the band made a great name for itself and the guys were off to new beginnings, armed with ambition, musical maturity, adventurous soul and most importantly, a desire to make a difference on the rock music scene. In 2018, all the planets aligned in the right position and the self-titled debut album became a reality! With a sound that can be described as polished melodic rock, with a touch of the ’80s classic AOR soul, “Creye” is here to make a statement and win the hearts of any fan of the genre, regardless of their generation!

Creye band photo

“Both the sound and the writing has matured quite a lot over this past year, and of course we’ve also discovered some new sides to our music as well that might not be present listening to the EP,” says Andreas. “I’m extremely proud of every song on the whole album. If you are a fan of the EP then you will definitely enjoy this since it is by far the best we’ve ever sounded.” 

First of all, I want to point out that this band and this album are indeed re-introducing some of the beloved ‘80s AOR vibes but it’s also incorporating them within the music production capabilities of modern times. This gives the band endless opportunities to both showcase where their influences come from and also experiment with current technology, pop culture and musical mind-set.

Hard work pays off and the results are in. If I have to introduce the album to someone who has never listened to it, I will say that it’s an album that makes us stop living in the past and finally let go of the old-school melodic rock playlist we’ve been listening to for so many years. Want to feel excited again? This is the album for you!

Let’s talk music!

“Christina” is the first song I want to introduce, since it became the reason why I got my eye on those guys in the first place. From the mighty intro to the outstanding melodies and sweeping guitar riffs, the song is nothing but a charming reminder that the genre is indeed making a solid comeback and those guys are here to make it happen. The lyrics are easy to remember and sing-along to and the production qualities of the song are outstanding. “Different State of Mind” was another fall-in love-at-first-listen song for me. The purity of the vocals won me over on this one. Not just that but the overall positivism that this tune spreads, along with the beautiful lyrics – it’s all just there, perfectly mixed into an absolute melodic rock winner. “Miracle” is another powerful moment on the album and a song that instantly puts a smile on your face. The rest is just as memorable, authentic and significant as those songs. “Never Too Late”, “Nothing to Lose” and “Love Will Never Die” are all champions in my book. Those magical, ear-pleasing keyboards are instantly captivating you and all include that beloved ’80s touch that we keep on searching for in rock music.

“Creye” was just the final piece of the puzzle for me this year. Plenty of ambitious and outstanding melodic rock albums came out this year but this one right here is the hero for me. There’s not a single song on the album that did not aligned with my expectations and tastes when it comes to the genre. The glory days of rock music are back and Creye, along with their fans are going to become the main players, trust me!

Highly recommend it to everyone!

Please let me know what you thought of the album. I hope it brought nothing but smiles and great musical experiences to your life.

“Different State of Mind”

“Holding On”


TRACKLIST:

Holding On
Nothing To Lose
Different State Of Mind
Never Too Late
All We Need Is Faith
Miracle
Christina
Straight To The Top
Love Will Never Die
Still Believe In You
City Lights
Desperately Lovin

A Better Way


BAND MEMBERS:

Robin Jidhed – Lead Vocals
Andreas Gullstrand – Lead Guitar
Fredrik Joakimsson – Rhythm Guitar
Gustaf Örsta – Bass
Joel Rönning – Keyboards
Arvid Filipsson – Drums

Official Links:

Official Website: http://www.creyesweden.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/creyesweden/

Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/creyesweden

Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/creyesweden/


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] SUNSTORM – “The Road To Hell” (2018)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

joe lynnThere’s no way you can be a hard rock fan and not like or appreciate one of the most signature and hard-working voices in the genre. Yes, I’m talking about the mighty Joe Lynn Turner who has been around for such a long time, putting a distinctive touch in bands like Rainbow, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen and so on. Throughout the decades, the New Jersey-born singer has been displaying his vocal talents as a solo artist as well and kept rocking and rolling on the scene till this day. In 2006 the first definitive Joe Lynn Turner AOR album came out, under the project name SUNSTORM. 12 years and a few albums later, we have a new comeback, titled “The Road to Hell” and let me tell you – it’s a must listen for every self-respected fan of the rock icon. I have been a fan of the legend JLT for as long as I can remember and been following his every move so witnessing another glorious AOR release like this one makes me feel like it’s Christmas again!

“The Road to Hell” is yet again graced by the production skills of Hardline’s Alessandro Del Vecchio. Guitars are courtesy by progressive metaller titan DGM’s Simone Mularoni. The direction of the album is following the same well-established hard rock path of “Edge of Tomorrow” – the band’s highly-successful 2016 album. One listen to this new gem and you will further strengthen your beliefs (in case you haven’t done it yet which would be crazy) that JLT is one of the best performers, frontmen and voices of rock music out there!

“The Road to Hell” is the ultimate example of an upfront, straight-to-the-point melodic rock release with tons of flavor and just the right amount of heavier rock vibes. 11 hard rock masterpieces are what make “The Road to Hell” your new favorite musical adventure. The first thing that comes to mind when you play the album from start to finish is that heaviness I just mentioned. It’s a neat, well-completed record with a firm hard grip.

A few highlights I would like to talk about. Let’s start with the opening track – “Only the Good Will Survive”. Everything about this song is uplifting and stimulating – from the lyrics, to the mesmerizing vocals and of course, those solid riffs, courtesy of Simone Mularoni – it’s all one highly-enjoyable musical joyride. “The Road to Hell” is my personal favorite and the most instantly-captivating song from the record, in my opinion. It’s just so easy to fall for those hooks and gripping melody. It’s the perfect title song in my opinion, justifying the AOR strength of the entire album. “On the Edge” and “Blind The Sky” further cement the goal of this album, which is to give live to pure, widely-accessible rock music, with the quality needed to boost the genre’s current significance. “Everywhere” is the ballad I was waiting for. JLT did not disappoint! The song is full of soul and his voice is giving me all the feels I desperately seek in my music. When it comes to powerful openings (since you know I’m into this so much), look for “My Eyes on You” and “Resurrection”!

Final verdict:

Addicted to melodic rock? Looking for that remarkable new record to steal you away from the genre-defining songs you’ve been playing for years? Look no further – “The Road to Hell” is here to take you on a friendly but certainly a bit of a soul-stirring rocky trip to AOR frenzy.

“Only The Good Will Survive”


 

TRACKLIST:

Only The Good Will Survive
The Road To Hell
On The Edge
Blind The Sky
My Eyes On You
Future To Come
Everywhere
Resurrection
Calling
State Of The Heart
Still Fighting


BAND MEMBERS:
Joe Lynn Turner: Lead vocals
Nik Mazzucconi: Bass guitar
Simone Mularoni: Lead Guitar
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards
Edo Sala: Drums

Check out the Official Social Links of Joe Lynn Turner:
http://joelynnturner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/joelynnturnerofficial
https://twitter.com/joelynnturner


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: VEGA – “Only Human” (2018)

It’s never too late to discover a great band, don’t you think? Initially I thought the guys from VEGA are beginners but it turned out they’ve been making quality melodic rock for years! The 5th studio album of VEGA , yet again released under the capable wings of Frontiers Records, is what opened my eyes for this band and I’m here to tell you all about it!

If you are looking for easy-going, “little-guitar-little-grooves” kind of melodic rock, referred to as “background music” which you play while chilling with the TV on or getting dinner ready, this is not the melodic rock album for you. The enormous revival wave of the genre is offering plenty of such releases but VEGA‘s “Only Human” is not here to play gentle and occupy exactly 10-15 minutes of your “second-hand attention” – the album is here to deliver something so much more to your life. VEGA and this release are here to bring the excitement back to your life and tell you that there’s good, high-spirited music out there, capable of encouragement and establishing solid musical commitment. 

“We wear our love of 80’s rock music on our sleeve, but we also have injected our love of modern rock music to it. We aren’t trying to rehash anything: the sound we have achieved is 100% VEGA. We didn’t want to try and guess what people expect and get it wrong,” says singer Nick Workman.

Many essential components contribute to the final great result which “Only Human” is. One of them most certainly is the capable work of legendary Canadian musician and producer, Harry Hess of Harem Scarem who mixed and mastered this melodic rock gem of a record. The rest was in the hands of the talented guys from the VEGA.

Let’s talk music!

“Worth Dying For” is one of the finest moments from the album; love the grooves, the catchy riffs, those ultimate sing-along lyrics and of course, the “who-a-o-oh” moments! It’s your perfect summer anthem, bringing all the positive energy out of everyone…”if it’s forbidden for, then it’s worth dying for”. “All Over Now” is another gem – very ’80s-like, perfectly balancing those sweet nostalgic keyboards and fie vocal arrangements, ending up in a fine ear-candy piece of music. “Mess You Made” is your hidden gem and probably my favorite track from the record. The lyrics are what attracted me – trust me, the album’s lyrical value cannot be questioned! The powerful vocals of Nick Workman further cement my adoration for this song. The title song, “Only Human”, coming under #7 is the moment your AOR cravings become completely satisfied.

Entertaining, highly-pleasurable, fine vocal arrangement, relatable lyrics and sweet summer rhythms. I highly recommend VEGA and “Only Human” to anyone who is looking for a refreshing lemonade during a hot early-summer day!

PRODUCED BY:VEGA
MIXED BY:Harry Hess
MASTERED BY: Harry Hess

VEGA

BAND MEMBERS:
Nick Workman: Lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar and wall hitter
Tom Martin: Bass guitar
Marcus Thurston: Lead Guitar
James Martin: Keyboards
Mikey Kew: Guitar, backing vocals
Martin “Hutch” Hutchinson: Drums

“All Over Now”

“Last Man Standing”


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~

[PLAYLIST] 10 Rock Songs That Get You Through Tough Times

“Seek empowerment from your music, Velina!” – this is what I always tell myself each time I have to face a tough situation, make a difficult decision or end up sitting at home, staring at the ceiling while the depression just consumes me piece by piece.

Those are words I always try to tell my friends as well, regardless of what they are going through. Life can be cruel and in my opinion, there’s no better way of overcoming the endless difficulties than giving yourself away to art and music, in particular. That’s just my way, I’m not saying it’s the right way but what keeps my head up has always and will always be music. Needless to say, I refer to my beloved rock&roll and not to just any genre of music.

Recently, I had to face a lot of challenges on a personal and a professional level and even though I have my family and friends to support me, the inner healing comes from within. I turned to music yet again to help me with everything that happened and I’m glad I did. Playing some favorite tunes with suitable lyrics or uplifting tempo or diving into a completely new band is what helped me get out of this enormous black hole I was in…

So, because of the situation I was in, I decided to ask my dear music buddies on Twitter to make a “mixtape” with rock songs that can get you through tough times. I picked 10 which I would’ve picked myself too and crafted this little playlist for you – my beloved readers. If you feel down, if nothing is working, if your relationship is crumbling or you are dealing with stress, depression, constant mood-swings, etc., I truly believe those songs can open at least one of the doors you closed yourself with.

Check out the rest of the playlist under twitter! Everyone contributed with incredible tunes…

Comment below with your picks!!! I’m sure we can talk for ages about such tunes…


Def Leppard – Rock! Rock! Till You Drop

Bad English – Tough Times Don’t Last

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

Mötley Crüe – Kickstart My Heart

AC/DC – Ride On

Ramones – Strength to Endure

Pink Floyd – Coming Back to Life

Starship – We Built This City

Accept – I’m a Rebel

Triumph – Magic Power

+ bonus track

Dire Straits – Walk of Life

 


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: FM – ATOMIC GENERATION (2018)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

I’m immensely excited and so eager to talk about FM’s highly anticipated new album – “Atomic Generation”. What a time to be alive and to be a rock music fan! One of the most brilliant, most talented (though underrated in my opinion) bands is BACK and that’s not even the best thing. FM are back with what might be one of the most sophisticated and valuable releases of 2018. I knew they would bring their A game but what they brought turned out to be way more than that – “Atomic Generation” is a superb manifestation of talent, thought and thrill!

FM are widely known by their late ‘80s/early ‘90s albums, such as “Tough it Out” and “Takin It’ to The Street”. However, the past 10 years the guys have spawned some equally deserving masterpieces, including “Heroes and Villains” (2015) and INDISCREET 30” – a new recording of their classic 1986 album. Now, it’s 2018 and it was time to dive into a new adventure – an eleventh one to be precise. “Atomic Generation” further solidifies their position as one of the undefeated champions of melodic rock and is another proof that the AOR era is everything but gone.

Let’s talk music! (I love this phrase so much)

11 stunning melodic rock pieces are shaping the eleventh studio album of FM. Don’t know if they did that on purpose but it’s pretty cool, isn’t it? Two things easily come to mind when you listen to this album for the very first time – firstly, once you hear Steve Overland sing, literally nothing else in life matters at that particular moment; the guy has a voice made of gold and he deserves all the praises for being in such great vocal shape; secondly, there’s an obvious, highly pleasant consistency trapped inside “Atomic Generation” that clearly shows why FM are one of the most cherished British melodic rock acts ever since the late ‘80s.

The opening track, “Black Magic”, is like a fresh breeze, gently playing with your senses. The intro is one of its strongest points, along with those “whoa-oh” sing-along moments. Love how FM put so many different unique touches on it – grooves, hooks, nostalgic melodic rock vibes, modern-day funky sounds and so much more. It never gets boring and I must have played it over a hundred times already. “Too Much of a Good Thing” is what I expect to hear on the radio during a sunny spring ride around town. The song has so much soul and color and you gotta be made of ice if it doesn’t touch your heart even a little bit. The Santana-reminiscent “Playing Tricks on Me” is an absolute winner and one of the greatest moments on the record. The second it starts playing, don’t hesitate – grab the person next to you and dance your night away! After that passionate fiesta is over, we are moving ahead with more traditional FM sound in the face of “Make the Best of What You Got”. “Stronger” is my favorite song from the album and it was love at first listen for me. The keyboard intro knocked me down and the progression of the song finished me. I am completely inlove with the lyrics and the powerful, encouraging, mood-lifting personality of the song – it was the thing I needed but didn’t know I do. The album wraps things up with “Love is the Law” – a soft, acoustic country ballad that cools off the spirits, with the help of Steve’s magical voice.

“Atomic Generation” can easily compete with all the FM’s classic albums in terms of influence and musicianship. I am praising them for all the effort they put in presenting such musical variety and still remain as classy as ever. It’s one of the albums of the year, you can trust me on that.


“Black Magic”

“Playing Tricks on Me”

 

TRACKLIST:

1. Black Magic 

2. Too Much Of A Good Thing

3. Killed By Love

4. In It For The Money

5. Golden Days

6. Playing Tricks On Me

7. Make The Best Of What You Got

8. Follow Your Heart

9. Do You Love Me Enough

10. Stronger

11. Love Is The Law

 

Links: 

http://www.fmofficial.com/fmofficial/index.html
https://www.facebook.com/FMofficial
https://twitter.com/FMofficial
https://www.youtube.com/user/FMofficialTV


References:
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] AMMUNITION – AMMUNITION (2018)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

ammunition album cover

2018 is starting quite promising if I may say. January brought to us a number of outstanding releases, absolutely backing my statement that there will be plenty to anticipate, enjoy and love this year when it comes to rock music. Frontiers Music are yet again getting all the spotlight by being the main player on the growing melodic rock scene. The first month of the year was colored by the label and their releases, including Lione / Conti’s self-titled album, Labyrinth’s “Return to Live”, Delta Deep’s “East Coast Live” and of course, the album I am here to talk about today – Ammunition’s eponymous album, which also happens to be my album of the month. I gotta say, this was the first time I got the chance to meet the band and I cannot wait to share my thoughts and hopefully, transfer my enthusiasm for this album to other listeners. You just gotta trust me on this one – this is a band and a release that cannot and should not escape your radar. Here’s a little bit more about the band and the release.

Who are Ammunition?

ammunition band

The band was founded in 2014 by the songwriting duo Age Sten Nilsen (former WIG WAM singer) and the multi-talented Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T., Nordic Union). Their debut release, titled “Shanghaied” was out in 2015 and it quickly laid solid foundations for the band and its future. The guys teamed up with former TNT and Jack In The Box bassist Victor Cito Borge, keysman Lasse Finbråten (Circus Maximus, ex-Wig Wam), skinsman Magnus Ulfstedt (Eclipse), and the guitar player Jon Pettersen so you can only imagine the kind of strength that team brought up on that live stage. That’s one of the things they became highly praised for – delivering a live performance to remember.

Fans were able to get their first taste of the follow-up to their highly praised debut release earlier in 2017 with the Eurovision finalist “Wrecking Crew” (written by Nilsen and Mårtensson). The full length, original version of the song is included on the new album so no worries – we can enjoy it whenever we want!

In terms of sound, AMMUNITION can definitely impress with massive hooks, splendid melodies and just the right amount of roughness needed to complete a perfect, modern-day rock band. Let’s dive into the album. 

The Self-Titled Album

Tons of tons of spirit and body/mind-moving energy is coming out of this album. You start playing it and you don’t even realize when the surroundings have turned into a huge arena and you are in the middle of a mind-blowing concert, your hands are up in the air and you’re dancing your ass off! I’ve always appreciated albums which have the ability to transfer you to another, much more desirable reality. “Ammunition” is most certainly an album that can do that, right from the very beginning. It’s not just the massive hooks and the presence of sing-along rock anthems and guitars that synchronize with your entire existence – it’s the striking, highly uplifting personality of the members who obviously knew how to put their excitement into notes and craft this album.

Let’s talk about songs!

“Freedom Fighter” is an absolute favorite of mine and the reason why this album turned into a January highlight for me. Looking for a song to play as loud as possible after a tiring day at work? Look no more, this is the song for you. With those riffs, laid-back vibe and casual yet captivating vocals, you just can’t have it any other way. “Eye for an Eye” starts quite promising and progresses into a gorgeous battle anthem, fueled with emotions, courtesy of vocalist Age Sten Nilsen. “Miss Summertime” is another immensely subjective climax on “Ammunition” but I can justify my claim by saying that it’s not just a song – it’s a beach bonfire that can warm you up on a cold January night. The following song, “Bad Bones” brings you back to reality with a strong hard rock slap. To me, it’s one of the most dynamic and heavy-pounding songs of the album; the placement is quite on point too. The album wraps things up the same way it opens them. “Klondike” is a signature Ammunition song, keeping that comfortable and exceptionally charismatic vibe of the band that turned them into quite the sensation in Norway.

Final verdict: “Ammunition” is full of life, character and captivating energy! It has it all – ballads, mid-tempo rockers and hard-rocking tracks that totally deserve to be played and enjoyed at a live concert. The album opens a bright new chapter in the book of melodic rock, where new important future characters are introduced. Yes, those are the guys from Ammunition so pay close attention to them!

Enjoy the tracks now~

“Freedom Finder”

“Gung Ho (I Told You So)”


TRACKLIST:

 
1. Time
2. Freedom Finder
3. Virtual Reality Boy
4. Guns Ho (I Told You So)
5. Eye for an Eye
6. Tear Your City Down
7. Caveman
8. Wrecking Crew
9. Miss Summertime
10. Bad Bones
11. Klondike
 
BAND MEMBERS: 
 
Erik Martensson – guitars, bass, programming, keys, backing vocals
Victor Cito Borge – bass
Jon Pettersen – guitars
Lasse Finbrathen – keyboards
Age Sten Nilsen – lead and backing vocals
Magnus Ulfstedt – drums
 
Follow AMMUNITION on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ammunitionofficial/

References:
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 2017 [by Velina of MyRockMixtapes]

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s been such a long time since we had a rock & roll year that prolific and exciting as 2017! I am almost sad that it’s gone, because each month was like a brand-new musical adventure, full of endless opportunities and surprises and I just wish it never had to stop. If you have to give it a name, I’d say 2017 was “the year of long-overdue comebacks” or “the year of the supergroups”. So many bands decided to get back together and recreate the magic that once ruled our radio stations. They did and in some cases the results were fantastic. Riverdogs, for example, released “California” –their first album in many years and so unexpectedly shook the melodic rock community with what many refer to as one of the albums of the year. Not just Riverdogs, but Europe, Lynch Mob, L.A. Guns, Warrant, Steelheart, Bonfire, Night Ranger, Harem Scarem, Thunder, Styx, Deep Purple and many other big names made their grandiose comeback this year, which is absolutely delightful, needless to say. Supergroups were formed and names were justified in many cases with bands such as Revolution Saints, Sweet & Lynch, ALL41, Kee of Hearts, Sons of Apollo and others. The solo acts didn’t fall back. Artists such as Jeff Scott Soto, Jack Russell (with his Great White), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Alice Cooper, Roger Waters, Robert Plant and even Ringo Starr made triumphant and rather surprising comebacks but all were met with excitement and adoration. New bands that caught my eye this year were plenty. The ones that stood out the most to me were the Finnish guys from One Desire with their self-titled debut album and Inglorious with their sophomore release. The new albums of H.E.A.T and Pink 69 re-introduced me to those bands which I somehow forgot in time.

There’s plenty more to be said but I think it’s time we get to my Top10 albums of 2017 list. Please keep in mind that this is a personal selection, based on nothing but my own preferences and ideas of what a great album should sound like and what emotions should it bring to the listeners. I would LOVE to know your picks and what did you think of some of those albums so don’t hesitate to post your comment below. Here we goo….

Be careful, we’re going with the speed of sound!


10. Jeff Scott Soto – Retribution

jeff scott soto

It has been a busy year for one of my most beloved musicians of all time – Jeff Scott Soto. In October we were totally mesmerized by Sons Of Apollo’s Psychotic Symphony and a month later, he once again penetrated our fragile rock harts with a solo release, titled “Retribution”. Nothing but praises and fascination for this album and I’m not just saying it because it’s Jeff freakin Scott Soto; I’m saying it because obviously tons of work, heart and passion have been put in the making of this album. He sounds as confident as ever and his music is as good as ever. I was prepared for something like this from the veteran rockstar and it’s all here – heavy melodic rock, epic vocal culminations, striking lyrics and excellent fiery solos. “Feels Like Forever” is my instant stand-out though it’s not necessarily the highlight of “Retribution”. “Bullet for My Baby” is another personal favorite and a pretty solid reason why this album made it into my top10! Though “Retribution” came out in November, it became one of my albums of the year – this should tell you enough!


9. H.E.A.T – Into the Great Unknown

heat into the great unknown

“Into the Great Unknown” re-introduced me to a band I have completely forgotten about. There’s just something about Swedish rock, you know that, right? This proves it! The album is just so much different from what they used to do and so distinctive among the huge pile of hard rock records that came out this year. One listen would tell you why – the guys focused on crafting a modern-day sound with the help of cutting-edge production possibilities. The album is challenging, that’s for sure. You either love it or hate it. Thankfully, the majority of fans and also critics (not surprisingly) are loving it.

“Redefined” is arguably the highlight and one of the catchiest songs that came out in 2017. “Eye of the Storm” gives another 100 points to “Into the Great Unknown”. The amount of energy coming out of that song is immeasurable.


8. L.A Guns – The Missing Peace

la guns

I didn’t have the chance to grow up in the ’80s and experience that magical, flamboyant, so attractive to me hard rock scene that forever changed the music industry but with albums like “The Missing Peace”, young fans like myself can get a pretty good taste of those old-school vibes, presented in a modern-day environment. I am still mindblown by the authenticity of L.A. Guns‘ new album and the tasteful manner in which such energetic, a bit forceful and instantly-consuming Sunset Strip-staple hard rock music was delivered to the audience of 2017. It took me just one listen from start to finish to realize that what we have right here might be one of the best representations of how to sustain your original sound that made you famous back in the day and still stay musically-current even 30 years later. 

“Speed”, “The Devil Made me Do It”, and that beautiful ballad “Christine” proved that something was indeed truly missing in today’s rock&roll scene; I’ve been waiting for an album with that extra danger, extra roughness and that beloved ’80s attitude for so long and now when it’s finally here, I just can’t get enough of it.


7. Pride of Lions – Fearless

prideoflionsalbum9

My adoration for Survivor and Jim Peterik was transferred to his Pride of Lions, naturally. It’s been indeed a while since they released a new record but thankfully this was their year! I can’t think of another melodic rock album that has so much class, sensitivity and musical richness. “Fearless” is everything I was hoping to get from Jim Peterik and vocalist Toby Hitchcock. This album also proved that Pride of Lions is not just a side project – it’s a serious band that makes great music. This was the first album I bought back in January and I knew it would signal the arrival of a strong year. “The Tell” and “Silent Music” are my two favorite tracks; I can’t express the strength of the melodies and all that, combined with the A-level vocal performances of both artists showcase that the challenge was accepted and passed with grace!


6. Inglorious – II

ingl 2 cover

I met Inglorious last year but their follow-up album, simply titled “II” cemented my position as their devoted fan. The moment this album came out this past May,  it 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.

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.


5. Kee of Hearts – Kee of Hearts

kee of hearts

You all know how much I love Fair Warning and their lead singer Tommy Heart. I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed by what might be one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and yes – I sure as hell wasn’t.

“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! My favorite track would be the opening song, “The Storm”; 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.


4. Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony 

sons of apollo

Don’t you just love albums that take you out of your comfort zone and challenge your listening habits? This album right here did this for me and it did it in the most pleasurable way you can think of. I know that by default everything that Jeff Scott Soto does is superb and I will love it, but this album right here goes one step further from my perceptions of how incredibly versatile and mindful he is when it comes to music.

Stand-out songs include “God of the Sun” – which is one of my favorite openers this year; the 11-minute tornado of a song is a clear highlight and how can it not be with that speed, intensity and lyrics. “Sings of the Times” is my ultimate number 1 song from this release – that intro knocked my socks off. Don’t even get me started on the instrumental “Opus Maximus” which arguably might be the best progressive instrumental that came out this year!


3. Riverdogs – California

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIG

Ah… “California” – where do I even begin? The moment this album came into my life, I just knew that this will change and that’s exactly what it happened. I distinctively remember how excited I was when it was finally available on Spotify and how fulfilled I felt when I played it from start to finish. I just couldn’t get enough of the blissful feelings, warmness and comfort this beautiful album brought to my world. “California” is a stunning set of sing-alongs, rock anthems, bluesy soul-touching tracks, all brilliantly decorated with thoughtful lyrics and memorable melodies.

Reasons why I love this album that much? Number one –“You’re Too Rock and Roll” which became one of the most important songs of my life just within weeks after the release of the album. Number two – Rob Lamothe who enriched my life with what might be the best interview I ever had with a musician… the other reasons you gotta look inside the album!


2. Bonfire – Byte the Bullet

bonfire1

German rockers BONFIRE came back this year 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. 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, you would also pick this album as one of your favorite releases of 2017. “Lonely Nights” is probably the biggest reasons behind placing this album at #2. As the ultimate rock ballad enthusiast, you can trust me on this – it’s a phenomenal heart-breaking song, full of emotions and character. “Stand Up 4 Rock” is a superb rock anthem, with one of the best intros this year. The cover of Jethro Tull’s classic “Locomotive Breath” is another highlight that deserves a standing ovation.


& my number one is…

One Desire – One Desire

one desire - one desire 2017

You know, I thought a lot about which album to place at the number one spot and it took me a few days to finally make my decision but ultimately, I let my heart do the thinking. I picked One Desire’s self-titled album to be my number 1 album for 2017 because I can’t think of another album I got so obsessed with or another album which I’ve played as much as I did this one. I literally know the lyrics to all the song and you know why – because every track on it is that strong, impressive and memorable. Not a second on this album is wasted on trivial and well-known moments. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been that hooked to an entire album. It’s not just the singles, “Hurt” or “Apologize” – it’s every second of it. The sound is everything I looked for in an album, coming out in 2017 – modern vibes, strong vocals, old-school rock influence, unimaginable hooks and the ability to captivate the listener right from the very beginning. Discovering this album months after its release was indeed one of the most precious musical moments I had this year.

Cheers to One Desire and their debut album which won again many established names and their newest releases this year. I’m a proud fan and seeing how new bands conquer worlds is immensely satisfying. Now, go and listen…

 


Final thoughts:

Obviously, many of the albums share a significant characteristic and that is a certain label, under which they were released. Yes, I’m talking about Frontiers Records which redefined the hard / melodic rock scene of 2017 and entirely blew the competition away by not only giving chances to new rock bands, hungry for the stage but by also welcoming long overdue reunions of old-school hard rock bands. I praise and bow to the hard work of the team of Frontiers Records for being responsible for the comebacks of bands such as L.A Guns, Riverdogs or Warrant, for example and for taking under their capable wings, new and exciting artists, such as One Desire. I cannot wait to see what they have in mind for the following year!

DReP5JSX4AAs2V3


 

Honorable Mentions:

You know, I had to draw the line somewhere because we cannot go on like this for ages, unfortunately. You just saw my top10 favorite albums of 2017 but I couldn’t just end the publication like this because there are so many more rock releases that caught my attention and conquered my playlists. Yes, the following albums were not included in my Top10 2017 releases, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the musical qualities and strengths needed in an album to be in a such list. I deeply encourage my readers to pay attention to the following titles and in case some of them went off your radar, there’s always a chance to come back and check them out.

Remember…when it comes to good music, years are irrelevant. Whether it’s 1982 or 1997 or 2017,


 

Europe – Walk the Earth

europe

Lynch Mob – The Brotherhood

lynch mob

Revolution Saints – Light in the Dark

Revolution Saints Cover - Frontiers

Warrant – Louder, Harder and Faster

Warrant - Louder Harder Faster (2017)

Thunder – Rip it Up

rip-it-up-thunder

Pink Cream 69 – Headstrong

pink cream 69

Bigfoot – Bigfoot

bigfoot bigfoot album

Steelheart – Through Worlds of Stardust

steelheart cover - frontiers

Pretty Boy Floyd – Public Enemies

pretty boy floyd public enemies

Sweet & Lynch – Unified

sweet and lynch

Tokyo Motor First – Tokyo Motor First

tokyo motor first

Lionville – A World of Fools

lionville a world of fools


The publication expresses my personal opinion on what some of the best rock releases of 2017 are, according to personal preferences and ideas. I am in noway is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment. Rock On!

Album Recommendations: DEXTRESS’ Self-Titled 2017 Debut Album

I’ve always been fascinated by the fateful circumstances under which music finds its way into people’s lives. As a rock music blogger, reviewer and most importantly enthusiast you can imagine how many albums I get to listen and experience on a daily basis. Every once in a while, one way or another, I come across a band that create an instantaneous “Wow, who the hell are those guys?” effect and when this happens, I just can’t let it pass through me without showing the much deserved respect and appreciation.

This is exactly the reason why we are here. Some time ago I was, thankfully, introduced to a Canadian hard rock band named Dextress. The four guys immediately grabbed my attention with their appearance, rawness and intriguing musical goals. I don’t really have a habit of listening to newer bands who are somehow trying to recreate or follow the original ’80s sound but what I heard from Dextress definitely changed my mind and made me rethink the whole “young bands don’t know how to rock” situation. Dextress are obviously armed with enthusiasm and hungry for the stage. I say you give them the chance they deserve and see what I’m talking about.

20171130_055034We are here to also talk about their self-titled debut album – “Dextress” which is certainly an album worth discovering. The release presents a well-thought of playlist that basically consist of one solid punch after another. The moment you start absorbing the album, you are bound to fall for vocalist Jackson Taylor’s distinctive vocal delivery which just can’t but sharpen your ears. At first listen, I got that Mark Slaughter vibe here and there which further boosted my interest in the album. Guitarist Mark Janz is completing the picture in a stylish manner with stunning guitar solos, making him perfectly capable of standing on his own two feet against some of the bigger names who debuted at his age back in the day. I still cannot believe that so much thought and passion hides inside such young minds. 

20171130_054606
Me, holding Dextress’ debut album! I’m so happy to add it to my precious collection!

Let’s talk songs! It’s all just one big bowl of beautiful mess, mixed with attitude, roughness and of course – tons and tons of good mood. The song I would most definitely recommend to a first-time listener is “Sex, Drugs, Rock N’ Roll” which to someone who is not so familiar with the genre, might sound as if it was released 30 years ago. YES! That’s exactly the beauty of it. The pace, the hard-hitting power chords, the screams – it’s all there for you to experience! “Wild is the Night” is probably their most signature song, standing out with its mighty intro that grabs you by the throat from the very first second. Speaking of mighty intros, “Distance” is the one song on the album that would take the award for the most compelling intro. Don’t even get me started on those enchanting riffs!

Final verdict: Looking for a new band to invest your time in? Look no further. I know Canadians can rock so no surprises there; but the way those youngsters play with your sense of time and entirely take you out of your comfort zone is almost unreal. I highly recommend you guys have a listen and definitely make sure you remember their name – big things will be happening, I just know it!

Check out some of my favorite songs:

“Sex, Drugs, Rock N’ Roll”

“Wild is the Night”

“Distance”

“Red Eye Remedy”

 

Follow Dextress on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dextressband/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DextressBand
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dextressband/

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References:
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~

Top3 NOVEMBER Hard Rock Releases (PINK CREAM 69, SWEET & LYNCH and JEFF SCOTT SOTO)

The second half of 2017 is certainly far more prolific and musically mind-blowing than the first half and what happened the past 2 months only is an indicator enough for what I’m saying. October and November became my two most favorite hard rock months of 2017 and there’s plenty of reasons why! Europe, Autograph, L.A. Guns, Sons of Apollo, Revolution Saints and BigFoot rocked October and this November I was entirely captivated by rock acts such as Sweet & Lynch, Jeff Scott Soto and Sweet Cream 69. Those three titles stood out the most to me due to impeccable musical qualities which I wanna talk about about a bit more and explain why you just gotta instantaneously grab your copy in case you haven’t done it yet! I also included two of my favorite songs from each album and yes they are a Must Listen!


Pink Cream 69 – Headstrong

pink cream 69

I’ve been a fan of Pink Cream 69 since the first time I heard “One Size Fits All” back in the day. No surprises here, I’m sure you are all well aware of my musical tastes! So, when I heard that the German rockstars are back with a brand new album, you can imagine how thrilled I was. You know what? This album also marks the 30th anniversary since the formation of the band, making things so much more exciting! The fire, the fury, the joy …it’s all coming out of this fantastic hard rock gem that made me and I’m sure many other fans out there scream “WOW” right from the opening track. Speaking of that opening track, “We Bow to None” perfectly describes the album – “there’s a fire spreading out across the land and the situation’s getting out of hand”; the name of that fire is “Headstrong” and yes, once you experience the album, the situation will surely get out of hand. “Path of Destiny” is a speedy, thunderous 5-minute long adventure that might turn into your new favorite heavy metal gem!

“We Bow to None”

“Path of Destiny”


Sweet & Lynch – Unified

sweet and lynch

Michael Sweet of Stryper and legendary guitar player George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) once again teamed up for a phenomenal follow up to their 2015 debut album “Only to Rise” which by the way I still play quite often. “Unified” does differentiate a little bit from the debut release but certainly in a very good way. The duo sound more fearless, experimental and it looks and sounds as if it’s now or never for those guys! We all know the kind of vocalist Michael Sweet is so no need for me to remind you of his outstanding voice; George Lynch … do I have to say more? Whatever he does, he does it with style, the very heavy kind of! Michael’s talents are unquestionable; however it’s the thrilling, pleasingly disturbing riffs of George Lynch I came here for! “Promised Land” was love at first listen – the band is taking the listener to a new direction, further away from our expectations for this album …and that’s the best thing! “Walk” is my other favorite – a very interesting song, mixing many different vocal and sound techniques and keeping the listener involved in the song till the very end. “Tired and True” is a ballad that you should certainly check out – it just fits perfectly!

“Promised Land”

“Walk”


Jeff Scott Soto – Retribution

jeff scott soto

It has been a busy year for one of my most beloved musicians of all time – Jeff Scott Soto. In October we were totally mesmerized by Sons Of Apollo’s Psychotic Symphony and a month later, he once again penetrated our fragile rock harts with a solo release, titled “Retribution”. Nothing but praises and fascination for this album and I’m not just saying it because it’s Jeff freakin Scott Soto; I’m saying it because obviously tons of work, heart and passion have been put in the making of this album. He sounds as confident as ever and his music is as good as ever. I was prepared for something like this from the veteran rockstar and it’s all here – heavy melodic rock, epic vocal culminations, striking lyrics and excellent fiery solos. “Feels Like Forever” is my instant stand-out though it’s not necessarily the highlight of “Retribution” (it’s just that I love way too much!). It’s an emotional ballad that just shines brighter than a star! The title song is another track you just gotta pay attention to; if you crank that track up, you will electrify your entire neighborhood, that’s for certain! I’m loving the riffs, the progressive touches and of course, Soto being Soto with…his one of a kind VOICE!

“Feels Like Forever”

“Retribution”

 


References:
Album artworks, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/
P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!