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] SAINTED SINNERS are “Back With a Vengeance” (2018)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

sainted sinners

Follow SAINTED SINNERS on Facebook:

 

Intro:

I got the chance to meet the supergroup Sainted Sinners in late 2017, when together with the legendary Ian Paice of Deep Purple, they gave one of the concerts of the year in my home country of Bulgaria. (You can read all about my experience here: Concert Experience: SAINTED SINNERS & IAN PAICE @ Diana Hall, Yambol, Bulgaria (28/10/2017) Who knew that the concert would introduce me to one of the most interesting rock acts of the year…

Needless to say, when you put together a supergroup, consisting of the former ACCEPT singer David Reece, Bonfire guitarist Frank Pané, bassist Malte Frederik Burkert, drummer Berci Hirleman (former PURPENDICULAR members) and keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg (AXEL RUDI PELL), you can’t but expect phenomenon results. The band’s signature raw rock&roll/back-to-basics style, attitude, fashion even… all that is what drove my attention to Sainted Sinners and their music. Seeing them live on that stage, creating pure hard rock magic, cemented my opinion of the band and kept me awake till the next time new music would be introduced by them.

Fans and rock music enthusiasts didn’t have to wait that long. A follow-up to their self-titled debut album was released this February 16, suitably titled “Back with a Vengeance” – a powerful statement right from the title till the very last song! I cannot wait to talk a little bit about it and share my excitement with my readers who are looking for something refreshing, yet old-school to keep them warm during the cold days.

sainted sinners 2

The Album:

As previously mentioned, “Back with a Vengeance” is the sophomore release of Sainted Sinners, coming out a year after the debut. The album manages to capture the signature sound of the band and present a worthier, if not even much improved, more confident version of the supergroup.

“Rise Like a Phoenix” kicks things off. It’s a solid opener with a relatively long guitar intro that transforms into a classic rocker, boosted by David‘s superb vocals that basically dominate over the entire album. I’ve always been a fan of the “resurrection” theme, presented in so many songs; it’s indeed quite empowering – so Sainted Sinners have big thumbs up from me because of the lyrics and the message they send. “Burnin the Candle” has to be one of the highlights of the album and certainly the most uplifting sing-along track from them all. The riffs remind me a little bit of Van Halen and that’s certainly a huge compliment to the guitarist Frank Pané. The title track is quite groovy and ear-pleasing, smoothly transitioning from neat riffs to astonishing screams. “Tell Me I Was Wrong” is a personal favorite but no surprises here – you know I’m a hopeless romantic with adoration for the emotional mid-tempo/ballad type of songs. David is giving me all the feels on this one. “When the Hammer Falls” is yet another moment you gotta check out – very classy, Deep Purple/Rainbow reminiscent song with great hooks and captivating vibes.

“Back with a Vengeance” is definitely something you need to check out in case you haven’t done it yet. The guys are having fun, doing what they do best, bringing the old ways of rock music making into 2018 with tons of class and dedication. The influences of well-established acts like Whitesnake, Rainbow, Deep Purple, etc. can definitely be heard here and there, however the individual souls of the band members are at present, each bringing something unique to the table.

Cheers to them!

“Burnin The Candle”

“Back with a Vengeance”


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~

Why is B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s “Riding with the King” One of My Favorite Blues Albums?

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s no secret that I’m just as big of a blues fan as am I a glam rock one. In fact, my journey on the rock&roll appreciation lane started with the blues, naturally, and in particular with the musical love of my life – Mr. Eric Clapton. I can easily divide my musical adventures into two parts – before and after Clapton and before Clapton there was just so little. Now is the time to thank my parents who’ve been playing his songs at home since I was a little kid and lighted that blues candle inside my heart which eventually transformed into a big wild fire! I can talk about Clapton and his blues for ages because you can’t just have it any other way with him. A career that started in the early 60s, dozens of accomplishments, awards, albums, collaborations, pop culture influences and so on. Not just that but he’s still here, making music, concerts and giving his all, despite numerous health issues he’s facing due to his age. Clapton is pure class – a dying breed of musicians who just know how to sustain their genuineness and status by backing it up with quality and constant desire to make history!

I love early Clapton and everything he did with The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, etc. but late Clapton (1980s – ) has to be my favorite time of his career. “August”, “Money and Cigarettes”, “Journeyman”, “Pilgrim”, etc. – they all fall under the “my favorite works by Mr. Slowhand category”. Today, however, I want to specifically talk about one of the most respected collaborations in the recent history of blues music – Eric Clapton and B.B. King; a friendship that resulted in one of the best modern-day blues records – “Riding with the King”; a strong musical bond that gave birth to an album, without which I cannot imagine my life. Many aspects of “Riding with the King” have turned this album into one of the Top 5 albums I always recommend to people who just want to get a taste of the blues. I will briefly mention where my adoration is coming from and will let you decide whether I’m right or wrong (even though we all know I am totally right). Let’s get on that ride now!!!

The Legends

Eric Clapton, B.B. King – do I have to say more? When your name is as heavy as the Earth itself, you don’t need justification or any other form of additional explanation to why exactly your music must be heard and appreciated. Both Clapton and B.B. King are pure synonyms of the blues and have certainly been through a lot to establish themselves as such. I don’t think you need me to tell you the environment under which artists like B.B. King had to grow up and what they had to fight and overcome to secure the future of blues music and eventually rock&roll. It’s because of the sweat and tears of those great African-American bluesmen that the world managed to experience not just musical but cultural revolution and learn how to celebrate people of every color and music of every genre, basically. “The king of Blues” is certainly known for many things, but he will always be remembered for living life on the stage. It’s that immense dedication to the public that drove him to perform till his very last breath and forever be refered to as one of the kings of the blues guitar.

Eric Clapton rose to stardom after his early days in the Yardbirds. He quickly proved that he wasn’t just your regular white English boy, trying to play the blues. He had the talent, the vision, the heart… It’s been an ongoing, never-stopping career full of ups and downs, personal struggles, self-discovery and tons of other life challenges, all of which Clapton faced with a guitar hanging on his neck. You don’t need me to tell you why he’s a legend and why he’s everyone’s favorite guitar hero. “Clapton is God” many say, and you have a 50-year-old career to investigate if you don’t agree.

Clapton met B.B. King in the late ‘60s and ever since, it’s been a dream of him to record with one of his all-time idols. It wasn’t until the late ‘90s when the two of them finally made some serious musical magic together for B.B. King’s duets album, “Deuces Wild”. After the foundations of the friendship were strengthened it was a matter of time before those two make something precious out of it. After all, you rarely have so much potential in one place.
3 years later, “Riding with the King” finally materialized and everyone was more than happy with the results. Clapton put everything into his album – from picking the song to co-producing the album, “Riding with the King” turned into a very important turning point for the career of then 55-year-old Clapton. The best thing is that he perfectly knew who’s he recording with and didn’t even for a second try to outstage him or become the center of it all. You can quickly notice that B.B. King is leading on the majority of songs as Clapton is taking the backseat. That my friend is called respect and is one of my favorite aspects of this album.

The Songs & the Sound

(Vintage meets Modern)

eric clapton bb king riding with the king album cover12 gorgeous manifestations of blues music have been put together for “Riding with the King”. Among them we can find classic B.B. King songs from the 50s and the 60s, as well as other vintage blues covers and interpretations. The title song, which easily could be referred to as the highlight of the album, is written by John Hiatt for his sixth album (1983) and surprise – it’s about the king of Rock&Roll, Elvis Presley! For BB and Clapton’s album, Hiatt had to redo the lyrics a little bit to fit the new production and style and of course – for the King of Blues. The result was phenomenal. The cover is certainly a refreshing twist on the song and definitely the better version (at least in my own humble opinion). Who says blues is boring? “Riding with the King” has to be one of the most empowering, uplifting and day-improving tunes of the genre. I can always count on this song to help me go through the day and kick me with that much needed thrill.

Another extremely refreshing moment is “Marry You”, which is not often mentioned by fans and critics when it comes to this album, yet I strongly support its relevance and immense contribution to turning this project into the perfect modern-day blues record. “Three O’Clock Blues” is one of BB’s specialties and a kind reminder of why this whole collaboration was indeed a great idea put together at a great time. Same goes for “Ten Long Years” which every self-respected blues fan gotta know. The new production and Clapton’s involvement (though supportive, rather than equal) is bringing so much color to those blues staples that at one point I just forgot those songs existed before this album. “I Wanna Be” is a splendid introduction song to a youngster, transitioning from melodic rock to the blues.

“Riding with the King” was released in 2000 and I think the time period was very crucial to the sound and thus the influence of the album. I think they couldn’t have picked a better day to make such statement. The “father/son” collaboration mixed together all the ingredients needed to please the old-school bluesmen and the newer generation of fans who at that time, given the bands which dominated the charts, probably thought they would never listen to blues music. The most attractive part of “Riding with the King” and the reason why it’s one of my favorite blues records of all time is not just the fact that it’s full of atmospheric, well-balanced compositions and not just because it’s a collaborative effort of legends like Eric Clapton and B.B. King. It’s one of my most beloved and respected works because it’s a contemporary blues record, keeping that old spirit alive and the ideal “generation-doesn’t-matter” album. I was 8 years old when the album came out and it’s been with me ever since. I’m glad I had the chance to witness its release and blossoming into what is known by fans today. Thank you B.B. King (RIP) and Clapton for keeping the blues alive.

“Riding with the King”

“Marry You”

“Three O’Clock Blues”

 


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://earofnewt.com/2015/02/01/b-b-king-says-that-eric-clapton-was-like-his-girlfriend-on-riding-with-the-king/
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!

Love at First Listen: ONE DESIRE’s Self-Titled Debut Album (2017)

one desire - one desire 2017It took me a few months to discover this album but better late than never, right? I still cannot forgive myself for letting it pass through me without getting the much deserved attention but I have now stopped blaming myself for overlooking it and fully committed to spreading the word and telling everyone how exceptional this album is! I don’t believe in love at first sight but I do believe in love at first listen. These precious moments can be very rare, usually it takes time to fully warm up to an album; but with the Finnish band One Desire and their debut release, things couldn’t have taken a better turn. You play the opening track, “Hurt” and you just end up in getting trapped in this mesmerizing world of new-age melodic rock, where One Desire are the new rulers and their music is the law. I rarely establish such a strong connection with an album from the very first second I hear it but “One Desire” just has the right musical qualities to become the refreshing exception and that’s exactly what happened with me.

“Hurt”

I mean, let’s take the opening track for example. What a blasting explosion of musical brightness. Not a second of this song is wasted on pointless and trivial moments. Every detail is polished to perfection to capture the attention of the melodic rock fans and people who are still drawn to the old-school rock vibes that ruled the ’80s. I am specifically impressed by the sophisticated yet so catchy melody, illustrated by gloomy yet so pure lyrics. “Hurt” will be in my Top10 Songs of 2017 list for sure!

“Apologize”

The second track “Apologize” is a worthy discovery. I’m all for the melody and the sing-along anthems and this one’s definitely it! With this song you can’t but be sucked into a whirlpool of energy, power and intensity. The chorus is unbelievable and don’t you even get me started on vocalist André Linman who is putting to shame all the more famous young vocalist out there, only proving that this band deserves more.

“Falling Apart”

“Falling Apart” is one of the most alluring tracks on the album and a personal favorite. The choruses are once again demonstrating the powerful vocal range of vocalist André Linman who did so much justice to this song! I am loving the peaceful percussion intro that builds up to an angelic song with tons of memorable moments. 

“Turn Back Time”

I saved the best for last! On a personal level, the lyrics of this song just mean everything and I am sure so many people will find themselves in it. It’s a song about regret and lost time and trying so hard to bring it back. The lyrics aren’t the only thing that makes “Turn Back Time” ultimate stand-out; I love the nostalgic guitar-intro and how this song sounds so simple but yet so complex. The beautiful melody and expressive vocal delivery are making it the perfect listening experience.

There you were with those big brown eyes among the crowd, piercing like a knife…

Final Verdict:

I was immensely surprised by the power of this album and can’t but be happy that it found a way into my life. I urge everyone, looking for that splendid mixture of old-school hard rock, meeting modern-day metalcore with just a little bit of an electronic feel into it, this is the album for you. Can’t praise it enough.

I just wish there was less autotune because  André Linman is obviously good enough of a vocalist to not be needing it. (though believe me I understand the reason behind the decision of the producer to polish his voice that much)

one desire band
Jimmy Westerlund- Guitar
André Linman- Vocals, guitar
Jonas Kuhlberg- Bass
Ossi Sivula- Drums

References:
Album artwork and Band Photo, 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!