Inside the 1989 Debut of John Sykes’ BLUE MURDER

It was only right to send off a decade full of splendid solid gold rock music with a bang. So many fascinating things happened during the last year of the ‘80s and Blue Murder’s debut album was definitely one of the musical highlights (at least to me). After all, what else can you expect from master guitarist and songwriter John Sykes if not the best?

One of my favorite things to discuss when it comes to old-school rock is the huge pile of underrated artists and bands that deserved way more than they actually got. I often talk about Blue Murder and John Sykes because the band and the album should’ve taken over the world. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, they didn’t.

John Sykes proved that he is a worthy monster guitarist as a member of household names such as Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy. What followed next was a career-defining move which secured him a pretty solid position on the popular hard rock movement during the second half of the ‘80s. David Coverdale took John Sykes in after the release of Slide It In in 1984. After a couple of recording sessions and a successful tour in support of the album, John Sykes was already in line for “the next best guitarist in town” crown. Whitesnake kept momentum with what is often considered as one of the most Whitesnake Whitesnakeenormous hard rock records of all time. Yes, of course I’m talking about that influential 1987 album that spawned timeless hit singles like “Here I go again”, “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love”, known by every single soul on this universe. If you thought that these monstrous songs were crafted all by David Coverdale himself, you are greatly mistaken. John Sykes co-wrote the majority of tracks, recorded the killer guitars and even did some back up vocal work here and there. Unfortunately, sometimes partnerships in life don’t last as much as we want them to. Personalities often clash and this is exactly what happened in the case of John vs. David. I won’t be getting into details because that’s not the main focus of this publication. All in all, they both went their separate ways, even though the magic they did sold over 8 million copies in the USA alone.

It was time to move on and most importantly, entirely devote to making great music once again. Geffen Records also lend a helping hand, singing Sykes to a new great deal. You can’t just let go of someone so immensely talented, right? He quickly recruited Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice and The Firm bassist Tony Franklin and the line-up was all set and done, ready to make the next big album! That’s how Blue Murder was formed in 1988.

In April, 1989, Blue Murder’s self-titled debut album was released to the public. It’s a pity that the record couldn’t generate a big fuss, however the brilliant guitar work showcased on this album did influence generations of musicians, making it important on a whole different level. “Blue Murder” possessed all the right ingredients to become the biggest release of 1989, including out-of-this-world guitar solos, intriguing song themes and spellbinding hard rock melodies. Of course, most of the tunes were written by John Sykes himself, however the team spirit and great collaboration between the members of the supergroup is quite obvious. Under the skillful leadership of John Sykes, each could bring something great to the table. Moreover, Blue Murder recruited legendary producer Bob Rock who worked with Kingdome Come, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Bryan Adams, Motley Crue and many other big industry names. The 1989 debut album turned into one of the highlights of the huge pile of profitable melodic, yet ferocious hard rock releases he produced.

The Songs

The albums that are hard to explain with words are usually the ones that are that good. The powerful magical guitar world opens up with the earth-shattering, throat-grabbing “Riot” which in my book is one of the best opening tracks of all time. Other songs of similar nature include “Blue Murder” and “Black-Hearted Woman” which deserve nothing but to be played as loud as possible. Heavy guitar riffing, killer rhythm sections and hypnotizing vocal delivery are just some of the reasons why your socks might get knocked off just after the first time you play them. The epic 8-minute “Valley of the Kings” is my personal favorite and arguably the greatest moment on the record. From the enchanting intro, followed by John’s mighty screams, to the ecstatic lengthy guitar solos, “Valley of the Kings” is one of those songs you can play for days. The power ballad “Out of Love” is as breath-taking as any other power ballad that hit the big numbers in 1989 but unfortunately couldn’t make a splash. Never understood why so few people actually appreciate and remember this passionate heart-breaking tune when in fact is one of the best among all power ballads of the decade. “Jelly Roll” is an interesting song, brightened with a little blues feel that makes all the difference in the world.   

Every track on “Blue Murder” is infectiously good! The album captures hearts with  impeccable musicianship and satisfying variety, ranging from electrifying hard rock, to stunning blues-influenced rhythms. Valuable and well-crafted albums like this one are hard to spot so in case you are one of the many people out there who still haven’t discovered the greatness of “Blue Murder”, now is the time to do it!

John Sykes is a genius and a guitar virtuoso and he deserves nothing but respect and adoration! Enjoy the songs!


Riot

Valley of the Kings

Out of Love

Jelly Roll


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

The Joys of Record Shopping in Seoul, South Korea

I was fortunate enough to be born in 1992 – a year in which LP/CD/Audiocasette stores were everywhere and people were still enthusiastically buying music. On top of it all, I come from a family of musicians, so you can imagine the kind of musical collections I grew up with. By 1992, the CD had already established itself as a major music format and its importance in people’s lives was unquestionable. I remember asking my parents for CDs every time there was an occasion – birthdays, name days, Christmas, I would always get tons of CDs or audiocassettes of my favorite ‘90s artists as gifts from my parents. I was (and still do it by the way) giving CDs to my friends too.

I guess the CD mania didn’t really allow me to appreciate or look for any other music format when I was a kid. I remember my parents’ vinyl collections but it never really made much sense to get into the whole thing myself. Most of the LPs we had were Russian pressings and it just looked so weird to me. Like, what do I do with that black round thing? How do I play it? I better just go back to the cool stereo and play my CDs. I should’ve known better…

I’ve never really thought about the true value of a vinyl mostly because I was too young and basically moving along with the trend. The technological advancements in sound quality and proliferation and affordability of HiFi stereos made it even easier for people to enjoy music and purchase CDs (and audio-cassettes till early 2000s actually).

As I was getting into music more and more with each second, it was only natural for me to discover the magic of a vinyl record. I guess it all fell into place when I became a die-hard fan of old-school rock music. When this whole new world opened up in front of me, all of a sudden I had tons of exceptional ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s rock bands settling in my heart and they brought so much more than mind-blowing rock&roll in my life. These great artists brought with them the old ways of music which eventually became a staple for me. Of course, growing up with artists like Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Chicago, Toto, Tina Turner, Foreigner and similar, had a lot to do with my natural progression towards becoming the ultimate classic rock enthusiast. When you reach the next level of fandom, listening to Led Zeppelin or The Beatles on a CD might not be satisfying enough. I’m not sure I can fully explain it but as I was growing up and my level of music expertise and knowledge of rock music history expanded, my preference for musical formats changed too. I still buy CDs all the time but it’s the LP records that excite me and make my heart jump the moment I come across a LP store.

Some of you may know this but I live in Seoul at the moment, though I come from Bulgaria. Just like in my other countries around the world, in Korea too record stores keep on disappearing as we speak. Korean pop is still a massive force and the market for idol merchandise, including CDs, is still going strong. For a moment, if we forget about Kpop and focus on the international music market, there aren’t actually that many places that offer a wide selection of past and current releases. Moreover, my adoration for second-hand LP record shopping had to be satisfied sooner or later. After my favorite little local record store closed (because of course it had to) I felt quite lost for a little while. I had this routine and the owners knew me not just because I was the only foreigner who would come every week but because I would spend a long time there, browsing and listening to music and trying to find comfort. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to be brought to this underground shopping area, located in Myeong-dong (명동), Seoul. I’ve been to Myeong-dong area plenty of times but never knew that there was this second-hand vinyl heaven right beneath my feet. First time I went it was quite late and I couldn’t really make the best of it. I promised myself to devote at least one day and go through each and every LP that was there! I kept my promise….multiple times Ha!

I wanted to share this meaningful experience with you, guys and emphasize once again on how magical it can be to dive into this world of old-school music, put into a vinyl record so many years ago. I am well aware of the fact that most of my readers are probably from previous generations and grew up with LP records so they keep on buying and collecting them. However, it’s not just the older rock fans that know a thing or two about records. Believe it or not, there are many younger people, like myself, out there who are devoted LP collectors and appreciate this format. With this publication, I wanted to not only share what it is like to go record shopping in Seoul, Korea, but also to emphasize and remind everyone that records are the real deal and no other format can ever replace the value and the spirit, this vinyl carries within itself. I truly hope you enjoy the photos!


…This is Myeong-dong – a shopping district, located in the heart and soul of SEOUL, South Korea. There are thousands of tourists who can enjoy all kinds of stores, restaurants, malls and tourist attractions. It is always extremely crowded and it looks something like this:

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…But this is where we are heading for! Myeong-dong underground shopping center – that’s where the real music is!

underground-shopping-center1

After a couple of minutes this breathtaking view welcomes you to paradise! There are plenty of music stores in that underground area but this one is the biggest and offers the widest selection of records. On top of it all, it’s not just this one wall – the owner has little record displays everywhere. I love going there because they have the best ’80s hard rock LPs and in the greatest condition (I am convinced he is a huge classic rock fan)! Don’t even get me started on how awesome the prices are! 

Of course, there are plenty of other genres offered – you can spot classic music, jazz music, pop music, ’90s music and many other subsections!

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…In addition to vinyl records, they also offer CDs (second hand, of course). Here, it says that you can get 4 CDs for 10.000Won, which is around 10$.

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Sometimes you can come across real treasures! That wasn’t what I came for, though…

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My favorite section – the place where all the great things happen is this one – this little shelf that contains mostly Korean (or Japanese) pressings of LPs from the good old days of hard rock (a.k.a the ’80s). The prices vary from 5.000Won (5$) to 15.000Won (15$), depending on the condition or popularity of the LP. I’ve been going there for quite some time now and what truly impresses me is that there are new (old) ones every time! Some even quite rare, actually! There is a little chair provided for the people (like me) who just have to go through every single record and make sure nothing is left unseen. Time flies so fast when you are looking for your next big discovery!

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These are just some of the treasures I found…

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Some of them I do have, some of them I don’t! I am still working on my rock collection and have a lifetime to do it! I wasn’t really sure what to get till I saw those two albums…

It’s amazing how the things we want so much, always find a way to come to us! I have been record shopping for ages and this is the first time I see those two albums in any music format. Bonham’s “The Disregard of Timekeeping” has been on my “list” for so long! It was almost unbelievable that it was there, just waiting for me…

records3

Fortune’s self-titled debut album is one rare-gem! I have never came across it and knowing how rare it is, I just had to buy it!

The prices of both were 7.000Won (7$ each). It’s crazy, right? Excellent condition, still with their lyric and promo sheets inside! This is what I’m talking about – I don’t know about you, guys but the thrill of browsing through records and all of a sudden finding one that you wanted so much can be such an emotional moment. Moreover, the most amazing thing is that these kinds of experiences can make you feel so much closer to the music. I didn’t have the chance to be born during the time these albums were released. I never attended their concert or passionately discussed such records with my friends. For someone like me, this is the most genuine way to feel that ’80s rock vibe. For a second there I feel like I was part of it all and it feels so good! Just like that, by holding an old-school second-hand record, I was brought back to the late ’80s and time didn’t matter anymore, it was all about my favorite music and me.

Bonham – The Disregard of Timekeeping (1989)

Fortune – Fortune (1985)

Moving on to the big wall of records… I just had to browse through them all.

Def Leppard

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Other interesting records I thought I’d never see in Korea!

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I wasn’t the only one on a hunt…

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The kings!

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Another separate CD section for the enthusiastic collectors.

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There were a couple of more stores which I had to visit before I leave. Though this one was the biggest and definitely the best, sometimes you never know what will jump out of the old vinyl boxes. Interestingly, there were plenty of people who were browsing and looking around. Korean people haven’t fully given up on LPs and that’s great!

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One of the other little stores always offers the best deals! In front of it, you can spot a couple of boxes, full of records, all for 5.000Won each (5$). I always find pretty interesting things there! Last time I went, I purchased Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and TNT’s “Tell No Tales” so with the hopes of finding new treasures, I went back…

& let the browsing begin…

I don’t have Guns N’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion I” and it was such an amazing deal that I just had to buy it!

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Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion (1991)

There are plenty of LP stores all over the underground shopping center but some of them were closed as it was too early when I went there.

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Of course, there are stores that offer the suitable sound equipment for listening to those LPs you just bought.

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…and there’s me at the end of my record shopping journey all happy and full of smiles, holding my three new LPs.

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I hope by my words and photos you can tell how exciting and joyful this whole experience was for me. I do that quite often but this time I decided to photograph it all step by step with the hopes of triggering pleasant emotions to my readers and create a sweet memory. I am leaving Korea for good pretty soon but this habit of mine will keep on existing wherever I go. I hope that people out there don’t forget the many benefits of purchasing a record and don’t stop doing it. As I said, that’s one of the most beautiful ways of going back in time. Imagine – this LP was made 30+ years ago and somehow it found its way to your arms. To me that’s just so extraordinary.

When I went back home I had the chance to take a closer look at my new LPs. Ain’t they amazing?

final-records1


P.S. All the photos are taken by me. Please make sure that you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

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~

’90S ROCK BLAST: SLAUGHTER – Stick It To Ya

slaughter-stick-it-to-ya

Released: January 27, 1990
Genre: Glam Metal / Hard Rock
Duration: 49:02
Label: Capitol
Producer(s):
Dana Strum, Mark Slaughter

slaughter-stick-it-to-ya-3

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

What an explosive start of a new decade! American hard rock band Slaughter debuted in January 1990 with what quickly turned into one of the best-selling and most beloved albums of the year. “Stick It To Ya” was like a much needed slap in the face – the audience was waiting for someone to come and finally wake them up! The ride, unfortunately, didn’t last that long. Slaughter became one of the last glam rock bands to enjoy a significant amount of success before that grunge wave wiped them all, together with other talented acts, such as Winger, Danger Danger, Giant and many more. Nevertheless, thankfully, they still managed to leave this beautiful piece of hard rock music behind and now, 27 years later, classics like “Fly to the Angels”, “Spend My Life”, “Up All Night” and “Eye to Eye” are still relevant and deeply appreciated by any rock fan out there.

Vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum are the ones that deserve a standing ovation for what they showcased on “Stick it To Ya”. It’s such a rare selection of ear-shattering, soul-scratching, mind-blowing rockers – you jump from one track to another and you don’t even know what the hell is going on! All of a sudden your temperature goes up and you want to go do something wild! I gotta say, not many albums provoke such a strong physical reaction; it’s like my body is a volcano ready to erupt! “Eye to Eye” and “Burnin’ Bridges” are like a shot of adrenaline. Mark Slaughter is a one of a kind vocalist and he just knows how to trigger that hidden rebel spirit of yours with his rough, high-pitched voice. “Fly to the Angels” – one of the most beautiful ballads of all time and a #1 hit, is also among the main reasons why this album is such a treasure. There’s no way you will ever forget the touching melody or cruching lyrics of that song. “She Wants More” and “That’s Not Enough” are just a couple of the other standout sexy tunes, all set and done to knock your socks off. “You Are the One” is a personal favorite – a mid-tempo, romantic tune, perfect for any softie out there (like me).

Nothing more to say about “Stick It To Ya”, except – CRANK IT UP and enjoy it to the max! Slaughter became one of the best early-90s hard rock bands and I’m glad they came to the scene, though it was too little too late. Travel back to 1990 and experience Slaughter’s best effort so far (in my opinion). It absolutely deserves any second you will devote to it!


Up All Night

Fly to the Angels

Spend My Life

Mad About You


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

THUNDER – “Rip It Up” Album Review

rip-it-up-thunder

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

Tracklist:

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

OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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


“Rip It Up” Official Song Stream

No One Gets Out Alive

Playlist:


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

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

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

[’80s Rock Album Focus] DARE – Out Of The Silence (1988)

dare-out-of-the-silence-1988

Out Of The Silence (1988)

Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 49:44
Label: A&M Records Ltd.
Producer(s): Larry Klein

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

Rising from the ashes of Thin Lizzy, hard rock band Dare debuted in 1988 with a phenomenal collection of melodic rock gems, titled “Out of the Silence”. Led by keyboard player and vocalist Darren Wharton, Dare quickly established a solid fanbase with their powerful AOR statement. Don’t look for any traces of Thin Lizzy because you won’t find them. Dare’s “Out of the Silence” is an elegant melodic rock treasure, combining all elements, necessary to make it unforgettable. From the enhanced but highly pleasant keyboards to the intriguing lyrics; from the monumental hooks to the brilliant haunting voice of Darren Wharton “Out of the Silence” was destined to conquer and please our ears.

Well-polished rockers like “Abandon” and “Into the Fire” are a couple of the stand-outs and reasons why this is an absolute classic AOR album that should be owned by everyone. “Into the Fire” impresses with its mysterious intro that progresses into a magical, captivating sonic experience I wish everyone could experience on a daily basis. “Abandon” has to be one of the greatest opening tracks in the history of AOR records – indescribably satisfying hooks and persuasive chorus that could win the heart of anyone.  Let’s talk ballads – “King of Spades” is a supreme mellow rocker, granting you a first-row seat to the beautiful but touching confession of Darren Wharton. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” is a personal favorite and one of my most beloved guilty pleasures. Regardless of the high level of sugar, it’s still a sensual, quite cushy love song that is suitable for all the softies out there. “Runaway”, “Under the Sun”, “Return the Heart” – all unbelievably well-done songs that go straight to your heart and never leave.

All in all, “Out of the Silence” is a masterful testimony of how great the ‘80s were. Albums like this one possess those enchanting rock vibes that just make you play it over and over again. I am a sucker for melodic rock and this is one of my favorite AOR albums. I do hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!
Cheers to Dare!

Tracklist:

  1. “Abandon” – 4:35
  2. “Into The Fire” – 4:53
  3. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” – 4:42
  4. “Runaway” – 4:29
  5. “Under The Sun” – 6:12
  6. “The Raindance” – 5:23
  7. “King Of Spades” – 4:44
  8. “Heartbreaker” – 3:38
  9. “Return The Heart” – 5:09
  10. “Don’t Let Go” – 5:37

Into The Fire

Abandon

Under The Sun

Nothing Is Stronger Than Love


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~

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

jack-russel-great-white

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

buy-from-amazon

Tracklist:

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

OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Don’t Live Here

Blame It On The Night

Sign Of The Times


References:
Gack Russell’s Great White – “He Saw it Coming” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Pride of Lions – “Fearless” Album Review

prideoflionsalbum9

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

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Tracklist:

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

OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

The Tell

The Light in Your Eyes

Silent Music

All I See is You


Watch the “Fearless” Documentary here:


References:
Pride of Lions – “Fearless” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5350
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] HELIX – Long Way To Heaven (1985)

helix-long-way

Released: November 9, 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Duration: 36:25
Label: Capitol
Producer(s): Tom Treumuth

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OVERVIEW

If you are already in possession of Helix“Long Way to Heaven” or you just got your hands on it for the first time, there’s only one thing to do with it – CRANK IT UP and LET IT ROCK! The Canadian heavy metal rockers hit it quite big with their 1984 release Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” so fans were pretty excited to see whether their third album for Capitol records will be as mighty as its predecessor. Don’t let the angelic album cover fool you – “Long Way to Heaven” is everything but innocent! The year was 1985 – the glam metal scene had already become an endless ocean where every 10 seconds a new band was trying to make its way between the shoals. That didn’t stop Helix from writing some top notch compositions and rocking the hell out of the ‘80s! Helix were never just about the hair, the glam, the big venues and the ostentatious music videos. They were a laid-back band that just knew how to make good old and highly enjoyable rock&roll. “Long Way to Heaven” doesn’t really stand out with its flashy production qualities, complicated arrangements or lyrics that can dig a hole in your heart. This album is all about having fun, drinking a beer and living life at its fullest!

“Long Way to Heaven” is one big ball of energy. It opens with “The Kids Are All Shakin’” – a worthy appetizer that builds up your excitement for what’s coming. Number two on the tracklist is the power ballad “Deep Cuts the Knife”. Released as the first album single (I love it when the first single is a ballad), the moving tune turned into one of the biggest radio hits from “Long Way to Heaven”. No surprises there – a bit heavier than your ordinary ‘80s power ballad which is exactly why it’s so good! What follows is a great playlist, featuring dangerously compelling rockers, like “Ride the Rocker”, “Long Way to Heaven” and my personal favorite “House on Fire”! I have previously expressed how much I adore a song with a persuasive guitar intro and “House on Fire’s” first 37 seconds just blew my mind! Every band had a song, named after a girl’s name. For Helix, it was “Christine” – another memorable, well-written moment, coming out of their fifth album!

Well-crafted hard rockers, superb vocals by Brian Vollmer and loads of straightforward hard rock spirit are the reason why “Long Way to Heaven” achieved the platinum status in Canada. Believe me, with this album the way to rock&roll is not that long! Cheers and take all the pleasure!


Long Way to Heaven

It’s a long way to Heaven
But only three short steps to Hell…

House on Fire

Deep Cuts the Knife

Christine

…or listen to the entire album here:


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~

’90S ROCK BLAST: HEAVEN’S EDGE – HEAVEN’S EDGE

heavens-edge-1990-debut

HEAVEN’S EDGE

Released: May 2, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock / AOR / Pop Rock
Duration: 54:46
Label: Rock Candy
Producer(s): Neil Kernon

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OVERVIEW

Philadelphia glam rockers, Heaven’s Edge, had all the right skills, attitude and qualities to hit it big in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Unfortunately, the train they took turned out to be a very late one. Releasing a hard rock album right before the grunge wave flooded the music scene, didn’t help them at all. Well-polished AOR, catchy hooks, leather pants and long hair were no longer the characteristics major record companies were looking for in a band. Heaven’s Edge were quickly dropped from their label, without getting the stage they were truly made for. Despite all, their self-titled debut still remains a solid effort, filled with exciting rockers, seductive live recordings and a top-notch ballad that deserve nothing but to be cranked up all night long!

“Heaven’s Edge” is packed up with sexy, fun and highly captivating tunes, such as “Play Dirty”, “Can’t Catch Me” and the MTV favorite “Skin to Skin”. Vocalist Mark Evans and lead guitarist Reggie Wu are turning every tune into a heavenly kingdom where melodic rock is the only religion. “Find Another Way” can effortlessly make you fall in love with it at the very first listen. This first-class AOR gem should’ve gotten all the radio attention back in the day. I rarely find such a good balance between simplicity, thrill, atmospheric vocals and kick-ass guitars. “Bad Reputation” is yet another remarkably entertaining moment from the record. The hidden treasure is the power ballad “Hold On To Tonight”. If it was given the chance it deserved, it could’ve easily wiped out any ballad that stood on its way the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (even the biggest hits).

“Heaven’s Edge” is an album full of hits that should’ve made history. What’s in the past is in the past, though – it’s a band and an album that are truly worth discovering! If you lift your spirits by playing melodic rock as loud as possible (like me), this is your thing!


Find Another Way

Skin to Skin

Hold On To Tonight

…or listen to the entire album here:

Tracklist:

Intro
Play Dirty
Skin to Skin
Find Another Way
Up Against the Wall
Hold on Tonight
Can’t Catch Me
Bad Reputation
Daddys Little Girl
Is That All You Want?
Come Play the Game
Don’t Stop, Don’t Go


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~

The Story of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN’s 1986 Masterpiece “TRILOGY”

trilogy-yngwieIt doesn’t take that long to fall in love with the right music – the kind of music that completes you, empowers you and fills up your heart with nothing but pure delight. I had a similar experience when I heard Yngwie Malmsteen’s You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” for the first time. Songs like this one made me experience that “love at first listen” feeling, which I think is one of the most beautiful things in the world. A whole new world opened for me after that song; I just simply had to find and listen to more! I got the album and that’s how my Yngwie journey started. “Trilogy” was the album that completely redefined my attitude and expectations towards guitarists. One listen from start to finish was more than enough for me to learn how to further appreciate aspects of guitar playing, such as speed and technicality and not just take it for granted. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of superb guitar players who possess admirable qualities and are able to turn every song into a magical experience. However, there are a few who go beyond those well-known and highly enjoyable electrifying riffs. Yngwie Malmsteen is one of them and if you listen to “Trilogy” you will understand what I’m talking about.

Background:

  • Despite Yngwie’s steady reputation as a guitar virtuoso and a debut album that completely blew everyone’s minds away, his junior album – “Trilogy” couldn’t really make a huge statement on the charts, outside his homeland of Sweden. Nevertheless, as I keep on repeating over and over again – chart positions and commercial performance are not the greatest merit of the brilliance and quality of an album. In fact, “Trilogy” remains probably the second most critically appraised and beloved album of Yngwie Malmsteen (after “Rising Force”, 1984). 
  • Released in November 1986, “Trilogy” is Yngwie Malmsteen’s thoughtful dedication to Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, who was assassinated earlier that year. 
  • The album carries the name of the closing instrumental, titled “Trilogy Suite Op:5”. The name is of course related with the fact that it is after all Yngwie’s third release. Many fans consider this album and its title as a perfect way to wrap up an exceptional trilogy of albums, featuring “Rising Force” (1984), “Marching Out” (1985) and “Trilogy” (1986).

Themes and Songs:

  • One quick glance at the tracklist will instantly give you an idea of what kind of themes and atmosphere to expect from the album. “Dark Ages”, “Fury”, “Fire”, “Magic Mirror”, “Queen In Love”, etc. – the titles are telling a medieval story, filled with fantasy, magic and skilfully portrayed in intriguing, imagination-stimulating lyrics. It’s not all about dungeons and dragons, though. The opening track, “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” is Yngwie’s attempt at crafting a radio-friendly, more universally-acceptable tune and I believe he did a splendid job with that. Vocalist Mark Boals is giving his all. His vocal style and Yngwie’s music is simply a match made in heaven. The mad guitar-genius sends chills down our spines right from the very start – that thrilling intro grabs you by the throat and doesn’t even give you a second to prepare yourself for what’s coming. I have always emphasized on the importance of a song intro and this right here is one great example of how things should be done! What comes next is as exciting as you can predict. “Liar” is yet another forceful, mind-blowing guitar tornado that destroys everything that stands on its way. Mark is hitting those high notes with blissful ease. “Queen In Love” is another high point on “Trilogy” and a personal favorite of mine. The soul-shredding guitar solos and alluring chorus are surely going to leave an everlasting impact on the listener. Yngwie’s guitar is gently moaning on the acoustic euphoria, titled “Crying”. The emotionally-charged instrumental is the much needed breath of fresh air, after the explosive first tracks. “Fury”, “Fire”, “Magic Mirror” and “Dark Ages” are the last couple of drops to make up this violent sea of heavy metal flames. Yngwie’s secret master plan was to make our minds go up in smoke once we listen to those tunes. The closing instrumental, “Trilogy Suite Op:5” is in my opinion one of Yngwie’s highest points of his career. No words can describe the power that comes out of those riffs. It’s an absolute supernatural force that took a musical form.

“You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”

“Liar”

“Queen in Love”

“Crying”

“Fire”

Album Artwork:

  • The album artwork of “Trilogy” definitely has a spot on my list of favorite album covers. I mean, just look at it – can it be any cooler? I don’t think so. A three-headed dragon vs. a guitarist – a battle of a lifetime! A magical journey to distant lands, filled with intriguing adventures, monsters and queens. Believe me, you will never forget the musical  once you open that record and set foot on Yngwie’s mystical creation, named “Trilogy”.

trilogy2

What Followed Next?

  • yngwie-odysseyIn 1987, a fatal car crash accident almost took Yngwie Malmsteen’s life. Regardless, one year later, his next project, titled “Odyssey” was released. Together with one of the most talented rock vocalists of all time – Joe Lynn Turner (Fandango, Rainbow, Deep Purple), Yngwie once again crafted a dreamy, stylish and very up-to-date album, quite suitable for a constant radio play. There wasn’t any place for his mystical, dungeons-and-dragons, medieval neo-classical themes. It was time for something more romantic, approachable. Most importantly, it was the time to make hits. He couldn’t have picked a better singer to collaborate with. Songs like “Dreaming (Tell Me)”, “Déjà vu”, “Heaven Tonight” and “Crystal Ball” are the perfect blend between raw guitars, captivating vocals and perfect melodies.

References:
“Trilogy” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilogy_(Yngwie_Malmsteen_album)

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