Stepping Outside of My Music Comfort Zone + PLAYLIST

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

I know it’s been a while since I last published anything on my blog. It’s such a pity, I know! There are a lot of reasons why I took some time off blogging and at some point, I will focus on the reasons why I stopped writing for a while but now it’s not the time to do that. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s still following me and my musical adventures on Instagram and Twitter. The accounts of @myrockmixtapes are still active and will remain active because I truly believe it’s important to spread love and joy through music. I will do everything I can to continue sharing and recommending great music to the fabulous rock music community out there.

Let’s go back to my post!

For my, let’s say, “comeback” publication, I decided to do a little summary of all the incredible music I’ve discovered throughout the past year (maybe?) that kind of drifts away from my (as I call it) music comfort zone. The bands, albums and songs I wanted to share with you today are definitely outside that musical safe heaven I created for myself which basically covers a couple of genres I am mostly fond of. I was and still am always excited to discover new music that brings that something extra to your daily life. The genre is certainly not a reason enough for me to discriminate music or completely ignore it. On the contrary, I am always up for a new musical adventure. What do I mean by all that?

My music comfort zone

For years and years, the type of music I was only interested in was hard rock and melodic rock music, mostly from the ‘80s. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to and collecting fantastic hard rock music from the decade which I adore with all my heart and soul (though I wasn’t born in the ‘80s). Bands like Def Leppard, Winger, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Dokken, Cinderella, Hardline, Warrant, Slaughter, Skid Row, Journey, Foreigner, Giant, Great White, WASP, Ratt, White Lion, Tesla, Kix and similar were the type of bands I lived for. To be honest, they still are. This is the type of music that gives me strength, empowerment and most importantly, can fix my mood on a daily basis. I dug up almost each and every hard rock/glam rock band from the ‘80s and turned it into an inseparable part of my physical and online collection of music. At this point, I don’t think there’s a hard rock/AOR band from that marvelous period I haven’t heard of, regardless of whether they released one album and disappeared or are still around. Finding obscure, one-album hard rock bands, as a matter of fact, became a hobby of mine. There are plenty of publications on this website that cover such forgotten but incredible albums and the music they left behind. Thanks to Spotify and YouTube (mostly), I got introduced to bands that were once named “the next big thing”, yet no one remembers them now. Such may include XYZ, Heaven’s Edge, Nelson, Jagged Edge, Giant, Giuffria and way more.

You see, this particular musical niche quickly turned into “MY THING”! The ocean of hard rock music from the ‘80s seemed bottomless. Each day, new album to fall inlove with! It’s still like this, you know! I love love love hard rock and glam rock from the ‘80s and each time someone asks me what type of music I listen to; I always answer the same – “’80s hard and glam rock”.

There’s magic in that music; a certain raw, unpolished, natural magic to it that can’t be recreated. On top of it all, my personality matched perfectly with that type of music. I am a nostalgic individual who lives in the past. It’s always been like this and it’s not just with music, certainly! All that, added to the fact that many of the above-mentioned bands are still making music and releasing great new albums (hugely thanks to record labels like Frontiers Music), presented an enormous ground to cover. Musically, it just all feels right to me. I managed to create a meaningful connection with my music and I am so happy I am not one of those people who just listen to what’s popular these days and what’s on the radio.

What happened, though?

What happened is that I started using Spotify, met a lot of new people and started going to concerts that were not hard rock or heavy metal. See, sometimes doing your own research and covering all the bands and music genres that are out there is immensely difficult. Honestly, I didn’t really feel like doing it that much. I was perfectly fine with my music and anything different that ended up on my library was just a great bonus I discovered on YouTube.

With concerts it’s the same. If I have to decide, by myself, whether to go to a concert of a band I’ve never heard of and that plays music, entirely different from my favorite type of music, the answer will be a no. However, when friends and loved ones started inviting me to underground concerts, it all kind of changed.   

With the rise of my newly-emerging social life, my music life changed a little bit as well. It’s inevitable, I guess. I’ve always said that people who introduce you to new music are important and this was the case with me, for sure!

This is probably the time to thank my boyfriend (who is a drummer and had several bands in the past) for his contributions. His taste in music is quite different from mine and that was a blessing in disguise. The endless evenings that he spent sending me some of his favorite music surely changed everything. I am picky, though. Not everything was for me. But what I hear and love, I love, regardless of the genre or the circumstances under which I came across it.

Spotify became another reason why I started paying attention to more and more bands that were not falling under the hard/melodic rock genre category. For that I praise it! It sucks that artist are not paid enough from streaming but the one great thing about the application is that it gives you a perfect opportunity to meet new bands through various playlists it generates for you. I listen to Spotify on a daily basis. With all that travelling to work I do, it’s only natural. I love checking up my Daily Mixes, New Releases, Discover Weekly and other playlists that the application recommends.

Some bands that challenged me and turned into favorites:

Tesseract
[Genre: Progressive Metal]

Daniel Tompkins
[Genre: Progressive Metal]

Katatonia
[Genre: Doom/Death Metal (early), Depressive Rock/Metal (later) ]

The Contortionist
[Genre: Progressive Metal]

Seven
[Genre: Progressive/Alt Metal]

Gemini Syndrome
[Genre: Alternative Metal]

Like a Storm
[Genre: Post-grunge/ Alt-metal/ Hard Rock]

Monuments
[Genre: Progressive Metal]

Beartooth
[Genre: Hardcore Punk]

Art of Dying
[Genre: Alternative Rock/ Alternative Metal]

Palisades
[Genre: Post Hardcore]

Bad Wolves
[Genre: Heavy Metal, Groove Metal]

Lower than Atlantis
[Genre: Alternative Rock/ Punk Rock]

Skyharbor
[Genre: Progressive Metal]

pg.lost
[Genre: Experimental Instrumentalism]

Corelia
[Genre: Progressive Metal]

Final Words

To sum it up, I currently feel more open-minded towards discovering new bands and genres that don’t fall under what I like to call “musical safe heaven”. I was open-minded before but rather consumed by that magical and highly-appealing vibe of the ‘80s! I am starting to spread my wings a little bit over several other genres, as shown in this publication. Most of the artists I included here are progressive metal/alternative and I can’t wait to see what else is there for me.

I should point out that I am still a glam rock girl and I will always be. Sometimes, however, it’s good to be challenged musically; it’s great to learn how to appreciate other genres and most importantly, to feel proud of it and admit it. Don’t be bothered by the fact that you liked a band that’s out of your musical horizons. Be honest with yourself and never embarrassed to admit that you find a certain artist/band’s music appealing to you. I’ve witnessed that a lot of people who enjoy listening to a band that plays music that’s a little bit softer than what they usually listen to, often don’t disclose it out there, don’t share their music and keep things privately because of their public image. Don’t do that. Spread the word if a band caught your ear. Each band deserves it!

Hope you enjoyed my little selection! Rock on and share the love!

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2018 [by Velina of @MyRockMixtapes]

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Cheers to another year full of great music! Where do I even begin? I knew this was going to be a monstrous rock&roll year and I was damn right! What a time to be alive! What an enormous stamp the year 2018 left on the music history books! I seriously don’t know where to start when it comes to describing or listing all the glorious releases we had the chance to experience this year. From long-awaited comebacks, to brand new rock temptations, we sure as hell had it all. I went through the same album short-listing process last year but it somehow seemed easier to gather up my favorite releases and finalize the list. This year, however, it was way more difficult for me to make up my mind, draw lines and place numbers. That’s why as you can see I expanded to a TOP20 list, instead of a TOP10 list, like I used to do before.

Let’s get down to business and have a quick overview of the following list. As you will see, the majority of bands and albums I included come from the AOR / Melodic Rock / Hard Rock scene but no surprises there. I have been involved with this scene for a long time and this has always been my preferred style of music. I am immensely proud of the way the melodic rock scene has been developing in the past year and how many new bands are proving everyone that AOR is not something that belongs to the ’80s! All of the praises go to the hard-working team of Frontiers Records visionaries that keep the spirit alive and bring more and more to the table with each passing month. As you can see the majority of my favorite 2018 albums come from the mighty Italian label but if you know me, you won’t be surprised. Then again, why would you be? If you are a fan of AOR you would know that these days the genre is almost synonymous with that label. 

In addition, on my list you can find the presence of progressive metal bands and classic American alternative bands, which spiced things up a little bit for me. 

To sum it up – 2018 was my year – the year of getting my desired comebacks; the year of meeting new awesome bands; the year of discovering new sounds that challenge me; the year of further expanding my musical horizons and collection with beautiful rock music!

I really hope my readers will have an enjoyable time while going throw my list of favorite 2018 albums. Keep an open mind and in case you didn’t come across some of the releases on your 2018 musical adventure, you can always go back and check them out (better late than never, right)…

I would also love to hear your favorite albums of 2018 and whether some of mine made your list as well. Spread and share the love – we are all here to celebrate good rock music and let’s hope 2019 brings even more to the pages of the music history book!

Let’s go…

 


[1] Creye – Creye

creye

The moment I heard “Christina” from Creye‘s debut album, I knew this was going to top my list. I was waiting for that perfect melodic rock sound and when it arrived I didn’t need any more persuasion. It’s an album that makes us stop living in the past and finally let go of the old-school melodic rock playlist we’ve been listening to for so many years. With a sound that can be described as polished melodic rock, with a touch of the ’80s classic AOR soul, “Creye” sure made quite the statement on the scene. Go ahead and check out songs like “Christina” or “Different State of Mind” and you would understand what I’m saying. There’s not a single song on the album that did not aligned with my expectations and tastes when it comes to the genre. The glory days of rock music are back and Creye, along with their fans are going to become the main players, trust me! The connection was instant and I just let myself drown in it. 


[2] Breaking Benjamin – Ember

breaking benjamin ember album cover

Second place goes to my high-school favorites, Breaking Benjamin and their comeback album “Ember”. I keep these guys very close to my heart and for as long as I can remember their music has always been there for me. I was pretty excited for their new release and was waiting patiently till it finally arrived. All my expectations were met and my little nostalgic heart was once again filled with that Breaking Benjamin healing potion I’ve been adoring since 2006. The songs are perfect. The haunting ballad, “The Dark of You” even turned out to be my most played song for 2018, according to Spotify. So there’s that…


[3] FM – Atomic Generation

FM - Atomic Generation

Steve Overland! Do I have to say more? FM has to be one of my all-time favorite bands with albums like “Tough it Out” topping my AOR lists for a long long time now. Imagine how thrilled I was when I heard that FM will be releasing a new album this year…you probably can’t! 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.


[4] W.E.T. – Earthrage

wet

Erik Mårtensson & Jeff Scott Soto made my dreams come true with “Earthrage”. You would probably hear me say this a few more times in this publication but this has got to be one of the classiest melodic rock statements released this year! There’s just so much maturity and strength in those songs that you can’t but ask yourself, why the hell are we not hearing them more often on the radio?

I have been a fan of Soto and following one of his main bands, W.E.T. for a long time now but I gotta say – among the 3 studio and 1 live album, their 2018 release has to be my favorite and the one I connected to the most. “Watch the Fire”, especially is in my top5 songs of 2018, for sure! The sophisticated release was certainly one of the highlights of Spring 2018. 


[5] Judas Priest – Firepower

judas priest firepower

But of course “Firepower” will be in my top5 2018 albums! I can’t have it any other way. Not just that but in 2018 I had the chance to see them live for the very first time and listen to some of the albums on “Firepower” performed by the greatest of them all – Rob Halford, so yes – this album is indeed one of my greatest memories and experiences of 2018 and I don’t plan on excluding it from my daily playlists anytime soon.

“Children of the Sun”, “Firepower”, “Necromancer”… the entire album was one heavy metal thunder after another. Rob Halford proved to everyone that age is just a number and that there’s truly a reason why is he still one of the mighty Gods of heavy music.


[6] Primal Fear – Apocalypse

primal fear

Primal Fear has been one of the most respected German bands for a long time and they have 11 brilliant albums behind their back to justify their status as metal icons. The 12th release, titled “Apocalypse” is now finally a fact and with it the band only further convinced every fan and critic out there of their unquestionable influence on the worldwide heavy metal scene. To me, “Apocalypse” defined the summer of 2018 like no other album and raised all kinds of bars in my book of metal. Not to mention that thanks to band like Primal Fear the future of the genre is more than secured and taken good care of.

The release is thrilling, powerful, exciting and  your number one go-to source for the much-needed summer boost. “Apocalypse” is heavy on energy, rhythm, melody, lyrics and most importantly – intriguing themes. “King of Madness” quickly turned into one of my favorite heavy metal songs of 2018! I can’t wait to see them live in Bulgaria in 2019.


[7] Daughtry – Cage to Rattle

daughtry cage to rattle

Daughtry have been in my life since their first album and to me, personally, they are one of the most-talented and hard-working modern American rock bands. Since they’ve been an inseparable part of my music library for a long long time, I can’t really describe to you what it feels like each time they are back with a new album. My heart is shooting fireworks and my brain is seeing sounds, basically.

“Cage to Rattle” brought all the familiar, cozy and warm Daughtry feelings back into my life and once again showed me why I haven’t given up on them yet! “Deep End” is a song that immediately connected with my soul and just made a solid presence there. I can’t believe they are back and am so thankful for this masterpiece.


[8] Groundbreaker – Groundbreaker

Groundbreaker – Groundbreaker

Woah – Steve Overland is making another appearance on my top10 list and you shouldn’t be surprised! Groundbreaker carries the well-known FM values and adds a little bit more flavor, turning this whole project into one of the most memorable melodic rock guilty pleasures. I am not sure I can name a more innocent, loving and soul-warming song than “Will It Make You Love Me” and yes – it is in my list of top favorite songs from 2018. Robert Sall (Work of Art, W.E.T) is also here to bring that special something! I was so excited when I found out that those two will be teaming up for a melodic rock frenzy and oh yes how well they did with this one…

Hope there will be a second one in 2019!


[9] Lords of Black – Icons of the New Days

lords of black 2018

Lords of Black released their debut self-titled album back in 2014 and was quickly praised by critics and fan. In 2018, with much improved song-crafting and more modern approach in terms of production, Lords of Black came back with “Icons of the New Days” – an album showcasing what a quality modern-day rock album should sound like when done by immensely talented stars.

I’m immensely pleased that Ronnie Romero has been keeping himself so busy those past few years and I hope to keep hearing his name and listening to his powerful vocals on many upcoming releases in the future. “Icons of the New Days” has all the right ingredients and was made for all the right reasons, making it a worthy pretender of “the best metal album of 2018” title.


[10] TesseracT – Sonder

tesseract sonder

In 2018, I had the chance to get introduced to TesseracT and was fortunate enough to experience their new release just right in the middle of my first steps in their brilliant progressive metal world. When “King” was out, I knew this album was going to be among my favorite ones, despite being so different from what I am used to listen to on a daily basis. I love discovering new bands and challenging myself and in 2018 TesseracT were my go-to band when I want to hear something different and put myself in another state of mind. “Sonder” is a stunning album and a perfect example of progressive metal evolution. I am so happy they now exist in my life.


[11] TREAT – Tunguska

TREAT – Tunguska

TREAT being one of my favorite hard rock band from the late ’80s did not disappoint with their 2018 comeback, “Tunguska”. Witnessing such positive, energetic, full of love and warmth releases like this one is all I live for, honestly. The album is full of spirit and high-class melodies and not to mention the outstanding production qualities. “Build The Love” has to be one of the best songs of 2018.


[12] The Dead Daisies – Burn it Down

The Dead Daisies – Burn it Down

The Dead Dasies“Burn it Down” is surely one of the most electrifying and energizing albums on this list. It might as well be my favorite album of theirs. I spent days just listening to nothing but this release when it came out. The songs are immensely captivating and you just crave for more and more of it. 


[13] Perfect Plan – All Rise

perfect plan all rise

Perfect Plan‘s “All Rise” quickly turned into a fan-favorite and based on my observations, it really shook the melodic rock community. I was too positively surprised when I played the album for the very first time and honestly wasn’t ready to love it that much. Perfect Plan are one of the newcomers that we should all watch out for. What really made it so memorable for me was the fact that the album keeps you engaged till the very last song and it’s not just the singles that are worthy of admiration.


[14] Monuments – Phronesis

Monuments – Phronesis

Another album that shook my grounds and left me questioning myself and my musical comfort zones. Monuments, just like TesseracT, came into my life this year and thankfully, with them a new album to get things started. Not just that but I had the chance to attend their concert in Bulgaria this year and listen to most of the songs from “Phronesis” live (what a great experience it was!). It’s another album that took me away from my comfort zone and brought different shades to my music playlists.


]15] Steve Perry – Traces

Steve Perry – Traces

In 2018, everyone’s dreams came true when the beloved Steve Perry finally delivered what he promised to everyone a long time ago – a new album. Witnessing this was a truly life-changing event for me because the album brought back many nostalgic feelings and made the last months of 2018 truly emotional. Steve is a vocalist with a category of his own and what he brought to us this year proves it. Words are meaningless. 


[16] Sevendust – All I See Is War

Sevendust - All I See Is War

Sevendust remain a blast from my past and I have to admit, it’s been years since I last played something from them. This year, however, I couldn’t miss and was truly intrigued by “All I See is War”. “Dirty” and “Medicated” were love at first listen and this album quickly reminded me why I used to be a big fan and why I need to rediscover them!


[17] Gioeli – Castronovo – Set the world on Fire

Gioeli – Castronovo – Set the world on Fire

Johnny Gioeli was one of the most hard-working rockstars of 2018 and you can’t convince me otherwise. I even manged to see him 2 times performing live this year, which was truly a dream coming true. One of the many projects he participated in this year was a collaboration project with the great Deen Castronovo. These two amazing artists complemented each other in a perfect way and released an unquestionably brilliant melodic rock beauty! 


[18] Michael Schenker Fest – Resurrection

Michael Schenker Fest - Resurrection

Of course, we can’t have this list without Michael Schenker Fest‘s Resurrection. There are so many excellent moments on this album that it’s almost impossible for me to point out what I loved the most about it. But yes, I would probably say the fact that there are multiple vocalists all bringing their A game. It’s a classy record, made for the fans, I would say. It’s always so exciting to see a bunch of great musicians keeping their egos aside and coming up with something so valuable, each shining in their own light.


[19] Dynazty – Firesign

Dynazty - Firesign

I’m a big fan of Dynazty and their unique approach when it comes to crafting the perfect record that mixes together the ’80s spirit and the modern, personalized touch of the band. “Firesign” showcased a mature sound and excellent melodies, proving that those guys are definitely something to watch out for in the future.


[20] Tremonti – A Dying Machine

Tremonti – A Dying Machine

It was an absolute delight for me to see Tremonti this year live in Bulgaria and finally witness the magic of the musical genius, Mark Tremonti. “A Dying Machine” is a concept record and based on what I read, many fans agree that this is by far his greatest work. I don’t think I can point it out as his best effort because I also love “Dust” a lot but the new album has plenty of reasons to be admired. The song structure, the lyrics, the themes – it’s all one great memorable adventure.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

I would like to also draw your attention to my list of  honorable mentions, featuring some more outstanding 2018 releases that deserve appreciation as well. I included some of the big names, including Stryper, Saxon and Nazareth and their triumphant 2018 comebacks. I was immensely proud to see Nazareth back in the studio with their new vocalist, Carl Sentance. Vega and Ammunition are the two new bands I added to my lists of projects to watch out for. Vega’s “Only Human” absolutely blew me away and I can’t wait to see what happens next to the band. Shinedown surprised me pretty well with their “Attention Attention” album and brought me back to my high school years when I used to be a fan of them. Nordic Union did not disappoint with their sophomore release as well but what else can you expect from Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids (Denmark) and Erik Martensson of Eclipse (Sweden). Seventh Wonder and Sunstorm are two more Frontiers Records releases that really impressed me with their melodic rock statements. Devil’s Hand with singer Andrew Freeman of Last In Line and producer/guitarist/songwriter Mike Slamer is one of the December releases that proved that we can wrap up the year in style.

Ultimately, the list can go on and on and on…but I had to draw the line somewhere. As obvious, even my honorable mentions list is being dominated by the melodic rock genre since of course this is what’s close to my heart.


Vega – Only Human

142546

Ammunition – Ammunition

ammunition album cover

Stryper – God Damn Evil

stryper god damn evil

Nazareth – Tattooed On My Brain

Nazareth – Tattooed On My Brain

Saxon – Thunderbolt

Saxon – Thunderbolt

Nordic Union – Second Coming

Nordic Union – Second Coming

Seventh Wonder – Tiara

Seventh Wonder – Tiara

Dream Child – Until Death Do We Meet Again

Dream Child – Until Death Do We Meet Again

Shinedown – Attention Attention

Shinedown - Attention Attention

Sunstorm – The Road to Hell

sunstorm road to hell

Devil’s Hand (Ft. Slamer – Freeman) – Devil’s Hand

devil's hand

Uriah Heep – Living the Dream

livingthedream

Don’t forget to let me know YOUR favorite albums of 2018! Comment below and share your favorites!


The publication expresses my personal opinion on what some of the best rock releases of 2018 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 Review] PRIMAL FEAR – “Apocalypse” (2018)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Before I get down to business, I think you should play this song so that you fully understand why I am about to unleash all the praises and admiration on this album! I knew the moment I heard the first single that “Apocalypse” will be a mighty bomb that will blow up the entire industry and will quickly establish a solid presence on each fan’s personal top 2018 releases.

Primal Fear has been one of the most respected German bands for a long time and they have 11 brilliant albums behind their back to justify their status as metal icons. The 12th release, titled “Apocalypse” is now finally a fact and with it the band only further convinced every fan and critic out there of their unquestionable influence on the worldwide heavy metal scene. To me, “Apocalypse” defined the summer of 2018 like no other album and raised all kinds of bars in my book of metal. Not to mention that thanks to band like Primal Fear the future of the genre is more than secured and taken good care of. There’s plenty to look forward to, guys so let’s just not give up yet and leave ourselves to the hands of the glorious past only.

Let’s talk a little bit more about the songs and share all about my listening experience.

primal fear band

Firs of all, I want to say that the concept of the album, what to expect from it and the attitude we should adopt before we hit that “play” button are given to you through the titles of the songs, all portraying a beautiful, yet quite fearful and agitated image. It all makes perfect sense once you listen from start to finish – the entire album feels like a scary, yet alluring and very arousing midnight walk through an abandoned forest. I love how it all starts – the opening title track, “Apocalypse” lets you make your first steps into the heavy metal dungeon with the spooky breathing, church bells and haunting choir. The second track, “New Rise” is stabbing you instantly through the heart, without even giving you a chance of fighting back. It’s the moment where you say “yes, I knew it…I knew this album was gonna be astonishing!”; I love the Judas Priest vibe and the remarkable speed metal drumming on this one is certainly something to watch out for (courtesy of Francesco Jovino). My personal favorite is “Hounds of Justice” – the song just hits all the right buttons, at least for me. The track has that modern-day vibe, impresses with profound lyrics and instantly provokes a never-ending headbang! I love the oriental motives and Ralf Scheepers is killing it with those out-of-this-world vocals! “The Ritual” – the song we started our conversation about Primal Fear and “Apocalypse” with, is another extraordinary gem with riff, capable of easily extracting your soul from your body and sending it to another realm. What a stunning example of how musically and lyrically to influence every little heavy metal heart out there. Right after it, we move on to the mighty “King of Madness” – a thematic heavy-metal thunder, which mark my words, will be heard often on the radio in the weeks/months to come! “King of Madness” does the trick for me because it has what I look most in a song – beautiful, memorable melody! “Blood Sweat & Fear” can easily compete and most probably win against any power metal track released this year so far. “Supernova” might as well be one of the most interesting and unique tracks on the album; I’m a sucker for mysterious song intros and dramatic piano add-ons. The lengthy monumental 8-minute track “Eye of the Storm” is the last one I want to focus on because it does truly deserve every second you will spare for it! The well-balanced but quite intense feel of the song, charged with mighty string sections and smooth guitar riffs is what makes it the perfect soundtrack to your epic nightmare.

“Apocalypse” is basically what happens as a result of putting together a group of talented musicians, all looking at the same horizon, following the same path and synchronizing every bits of their skillful minds to reach that perfect end goal.

The release is thrilling, powerful, exciting and  your number one go-to source for the much-needed summer boost. “Apocalypse” is heavy on energy, rhythm, melody, lyrics and most importantly – intriguing themes. All you gotta do is (just like the title suggest), crank it up like it’s the last album you’ll ever play before the apocalypse hits us!

Check out some of the released songs and MVs and let me know what you thought about it!

“King of Madness”

“Hounds of Justice”


TRACKLIST:

Apocalypse
New Rise
The Ritual
King Of Madness
Blood, Sweat, & Fear
Supernova
Hail To The Fear
Hounds Of Justice
The Beast
Eye Of The Storm
Cannonball

Fight Against Evil (Bonus Track – Deluxe Version)
Into The Fire (Bonus Track – Deluxe Version)
My War Is Over (Bonus Track – Deluxe Version)


BAND MEMBERS: 

Ralf Scheepers – Lead Vocals
Tom Naumann – Guitars
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Magnus Karlsson – Guitars & Keyboards
Francesco Jovino – Drums
Mat Sinner – Bass & Vocals

Official Links: 

• Official Website: www.primalfear.de 

• Facebook:www.facebook.com/PrimalFearOfficial 


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

MY TOP 5 JULY 2018 RELEASES

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Another month has passed and I feel like we will be saying “Happy New Year” pretty soon yet again! Wow, time flies so fast! It’s good that while we are dealing with the daily struggles of life, there’s always a bunch of great music to put that extra color in our busy lifestyle. Music is always there to remind us that we need to pause, take a deep breath and enjoy the most beautiful thing in life which will never abandon or disappoint us. Yes, of course I’m talking about music and this month did not disappoint when it comes to such beautiful reminders that kept us alive and kicking.

It’s time for my monthly top5 releases (I didn’t do for June because I was too busy so I am apologizing to everyone who was waiting for my monthly list) and I’m here to yet again present 5 great albums that made my month such a great experience.

I started with Daughtry’s new album – “Cage to Rattle” because I’ve been waiting for this album for such a long long time! I’ve been a fan of Chris for probably 10+ years and his soothing music has done so much for me that I don’t even want to imagine a world where I’m not a fan of him. The new album did not disappoint – signature style, beautiful vocals and soul-touching lyrics. I couldn’t have asked for more. Two live albums are on this list as well – Mr.Big’s “Live from Milan” and Vixen’s “Live Fire”. Both those albums are bringing back the significance of live albums and reminding everyone that this is not a dying trend and high-quality rock live albums are still being released. Two more releases from Frontiers Records are also on my list – the fiery Destina with “Metal Souls” and Gioeli Castronovo with “Set The World the Fire”. Both those albums carry a different character and impress with a different set of qualities. It’s important to listen to both though and you have to trust me on that!

Listen to the songs I put in here and go ahead and check out the full albums!

Let me know what was your favorite July 2018 rock release!


1. Daughtry – Cage to Rattle

daughtry cage to rattle


2. Gioeli Castronovo – Set the World on Fire

deen castronovo


3. Destina – Metal Souls

destina


4. Mr. Big – Live From Milan

mr big


5. Vixen – Live Fire

vixen live fire


References:
Featured image, retrieved from:  https://www.mjsbigblog.com/daughtry-cage-to-rattle-album-cover-art-and-track-list.htm
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/or 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~

Me and My Life in 3 Rock Songs

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

I had a very interesting discussion on twitter the other day with all my friends and followers. I asked everyone to describe themselves in three rock songs. I got some pretty interesting answers and got reminded of some great songs too thanks to the conversation that went on. I have to admit, before asking everyone about it I haven’t really thought about the three songs that maybe represent my personality and my life the best. I tried my best to come up with three choices and I think I did quite well. From now on, when I meet someone for the very first time I might as well send them this publication! I promised to write about it on my blog so here we are. Keep in mind that three is a small number and of course, there are plenty more, but for sure, the following playlist pretty much sums it up all!

Here’s the tweet, you can go ahead and check it out and even reply if you feel like it! Make sure you comment below this publication and share your personal choices. I cannot wait to read them.


Foreigner – Woman in Black

Probably the song the lyrics to which represent me in a perfect way! I can’t think of a better track to kick things off. Of course, it’s all about those lyrics which I am absolutely convinced were written about me. Excluding the fact that I love black and my hair is black and my nails are usually pained black, everything else Lou Gramm sings about is basically about me or the type of woman I’m inclined to believe is close to my behavior or overall image. Of course, the song itself is a masterpiece and that contributes to my love for it as well.

I saw a dark silhouette, at the table
I tried to talk, but I was unable
She drew me in right under her spell
I was hypnotized by the sudden temptation…
Of that woman in black, she’s a mystery
She’s everything a woman should be
Woman in black, she’s got a hold on me
She’s in control, she won’t set me free…


Eric Clapton – I’ve Got A Rock N’roll Heart

This is a very important song for me because it kind of sums up how much I love rock music and how much it means to me. It also tells a story of a person who explains to their loved one that before they get truly serious, it’s of extreme importance to understand the role music plays in the life of this person. If this ain’t me, I don’t know who else is… Each time I meet someone for the very first time, somehow right from the second sentence, I somehow always end up talking about music and how essential it is to my existence. I want people, especially the right ones, to know that I cannot live without rock&roll and that my heart will always belong to music first.

P.S. Eric Clapton’s “Spiral” is another song that sends a similar message and might as well be on this list, next to this one as well.

I get off on ’57 Chevys
I get off on screaming guitar
Like the way it hits me every time it hits me
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart


Cinderella – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

This song is here because not only it sends a message I’ve been trying to follow my entire life but because somehow I always end up in situations in which people don’t quite appreciate me and then feel regretful once I decide to leave. I’m not just talking about relationships but also friendships, work-relations and many other situations I’ve been in my entire life. I think it’s very important to know that life is hard and when you meet someone with good qualities and values, you have to keep it close to you and cherish it while you can…because let’s face it – one day this person might not be here and you will be the one, thinking how stupid you were to treat him/her the way you did. It’s sad that we live in a world where people appreciate you only after you are gone…

I can’t feel the things that cause you pain
I can’t clear my heart of your love
It falls like rain, ain’t the same
I hear you calling far away
Tearing through my soul I just can’t
Take another day, Who’s to blame
If we take some time to think it over baby
Take some time let me know
If you really wanna go

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long


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

TOP 5 MAY 2018 RELEASES

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

 

It’s hard to imagine that we are half-way through 2018. Another month has passed and with it tons of great spring memories, moments to cherish and most importantly – a great list of music releases that made our lives even more colorful! I know I’m pretty much saying this for every month that passes by but damn – May of 2018 was one hell of a month to rock and roll! Plenty of outstanding releases found their way to my playlists and I am eager to share the ones who stood out the most and turned into something more than “new music I checked this past month”.

If you are stuck and need to hear something fresh and exciting, the following 5 albums might be just for you. My May 2018 favorites range from melodic rock to alternative and heavy metal but they share one thing in common – each one of them is capable of and has the right musical qualities to bring you comfort and new emotions. I strongly recommend those five albums and just in case you haven’t had the chance to go through them – now might be it!

Sevendust are topping my list with their comeback, titled “All I See is War”. I’ve been a fan of Sevendust since I was in high school so I hold them quite close to my heart. The aura of that release is hard to describe with words but let’s just say that when it comes to empowering and transferring your inner strength into sound, those guys are one of the best! The album blew me away, especially that beautiful song “Medicated”. Lords of Black, Doomsday Outlaw and Vega are also among my top May 2018 releases, all coming from Frontiers Records. Those guys never disappoint my melodic rock heart and this month they yet again delivered quality music, making my every day boring life significantly more bearable. Shinedown are another blast from my past. I gotta admit it’s been years since I last played something from them but with this album they sure as hell made a triumphant comeback into my life.

Check them out and let me know what you think in the comment section below:


1. Sevendust – All I see is War

sevendust all i see is war


2. Lords of Black – Icons of the New Day

lords of black 2018


3. Vega – Only Human

142546


4. Doomsday Outlaw – Hard Times

Doomsday Outlaw - Hard Times


5. Shinedown – Attention Attention

Shinedown - Attention Attention


References:
Featured image, retrieved from: https://www.hardwiredmagazine.com/sevendust-all-i-see-is-war-2018/?lang=en
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/or publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Def Leppard – Rock! Rock! Till You Drop

Bad English – Tough Times Don’t Last

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

Mötley Crüe – Kickstart My Heart

AC/DC – Ride On

Ramones – Strength to Endure

Pink Floyd – Coming Back to Life

Starship – We Built This City

Accept – I’m a Rebel

Triumph – Magic Power

+ bonus track

Dire Straits – Walk of Life

 


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

TOP 5 April 2018 Releases

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s hard to believe that April is already gone and 2018 is almost cut in half! Music, alongside with nature is experiencing a spring revival and I feel like this spring we witnessed one hell of a musical awakening! Not that the first three months didn’t leave a strong impact on the scene (especially FM with their “Atomic Generation” album) but I feel like what happened this month in particular was beyond imaginable, even history-defining. Plenty of genres spawned releases worthy of admiration and earned their spot in our musical libraries.
Among the endless river of rock tornadoes hitting us this past month, the following 5 albums are the ones that stood out the most to me. As you can see there’s plenty of variety when it comes to genres, which only proves that great music can come in many forms and sub-genres of rock and metal music. Just like I always say, keep an open mind!
Needless to say, I highly recommend the following 5 albums and in case you haven’t heard them yet, now is the best time to do it!

I would love to know your TOP5 so feel free to comment below and tell me all about your picks!


5. Perfect Plan – All Rise

perfect plan all rise

A refreshing release, full of character and value. “All Rise” is Perfect Plan’s debut album and you can clearly see how much those guys put into their baby, right from the very first track. The album is what any melodic rock fan has been waiting for this month!

“In and Out of Love”


4. Stryper – God Damn Evil

stryper god damn evil

No surprises here. It was only natural for Stryper’s long-awaited comeback album to be in my top5! The guys did an amazing job and the musical and lyrical strength of this album will most probably push it to everyone’s top10 2018 albums.

“Sorry”


3. The Dead Daisies – Burn it Down

the dead dasies burn it down

When you wake up in the morning and you feel like there’s just nothing in this world, capable of energizing you or lifting your tired and exhausted spirit, remember to play this album. It’s been a while since something so fiery and full of passion has arrived at my home. The Dead Daisies are certainly going to bring that needed push in your life. The album is huge!

“Rise Up”


2. TesseracT – Sonder

tesseract sonder

TesseracT came into my life a few months ago and even though this is a genre I’m not quite familiar with and I don’t really play it on a daily basis, I feel like those guys have been with me since forever. It’s great that I became a fan right in time for their latest release, titled “Sonder”. Those grooves are illegal and if you’re in a mood for something different – to get you out of your comfort zone, this is exactly what you need!

“King”


1. Breaking Benjamin – Ember

breaking benjamin ember album cover

The absolute winner for me was Breaking Benjamin’s “Ember”. The highly-anticipated comeback of one of my all time favorite bands was exactly what I needed for. The album deserves all the appreciation, especially since it’s so rich in emotions and musicianship. Just listen to my favorite track and you will understand:

“The Dark of You”

 


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~