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

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to more!

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

“The Mirror Never Lies”

“Dying for Your Love”

age of reflection
Age of Reflection

BAND MEMBERS:

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

Links:

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

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

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

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


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

[Album Review] CREYE – “Creye” (2018)

 (by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

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

“Christina”

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

Creye band photo

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

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

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

Let’s talk music!

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

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

Highly recommend it to everyone!

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

“Different State of Mind”

“Holding On”


TRACKLIST:

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

A Better Way


BAND MEMBERS:

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

Official Links:

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

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

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

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


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

Celebrating 28 Years of “PAINKILLER”

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s been over a month since I saw the mighty Judas Priest in my hometown during “Hills of Rock 2018” Festival but I can still hear the voice of the Metal God, Rob Halford and still get those goosebumps when I think of how awesome the whole experience was. During the festival I had the chance to finally listen to “Painkiller” live – one of my favorite Judas Priest songs from my second favorite album of theirs. The moment I heard that iconic, instantly-recognizable opening drum solo, my heart jumped right off my chest and just fell on that stage. This was a moment I will forever remember and cherish.

Now, we are celebrating the anniversary of arguably one of Judas Priest’s finest albums in their career and what many fans consider as their greatest comeback. When “Firepower” hit the shelves this year, critics referred to it as Priest’s best album since “Painkiller”. The albums after “Painkiller” also suffered from the constant “Painkiller” comparison curse. Whatever those guys do, it seems like this 1990 release is always in the talks. There’s a reason why and I don’t think you need a long essay to convince you of the magnitude and influence of this album on the heavy metal scene.

Before I continue, here’s one of the songs I love the most from the album:

I know the dedicated fans are quite familiar with the story behind it but let’s just remember a few important details that I believe should be known about this release by every rock/metal fan out there. First of all, “Painkiller” is the last album to feature Rob Halford – that’s of course until he comes back in 2005. It’s also drummer Scott Travis’ debut and by the way – he is one of the best drummers I’ve seen live ever! The sounds itself was way more aggressive and with a reason – the band had to take something back and that was their redemption. The credibility was surely retrieved after the release of “Painkiller”. The band put back the “heavy” in “heavy metal” with that 1990 release and the critics acknowledged it. Fans, too! Tours, millions of copies sold and a newly-found fame was surrounding the band but as you know, Halford wanted to do his own thing for a while. That’s why they parted ways for some time and  vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens stepped as the band’s new frontman in 1996. Still, Rob came back and the band was once again together. 

Let’s celebrate the album by playing some of the most iconic songs from it. As I mentioned already, “A Touch of Evil” is my favorite song, though the title track is a close-second. 

Let me know what you think of this album and what is your favorite song on the comment section below!

 


References:
Featured image, retrieved from: https://hmrock.com.br/produto/judas-priest-painkiller-cd/
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 Recommendations: Winger – Pull (1993)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Let’s talk about irresistible tunes, shall we? Like, probably this one right here… A mesmerizing, early ’90s gem that many have forgotten, though it’s probably one of Winger’s greatest tracks of all time! Play it now for good old time’s sake – that’s the only way to do it justice!

“Down Incognito” is the second track of Winger’s third studio album, titled “Pull”. The ’80s were long gone and with them, part of the band’s signature glam rock vibes. The ’80s Winger sound was substituted by darker, harder and certainly more musically-challenging atmosphere. The little plot twist was appreciated by fans and many claim that this is Winger’s best release so far. The numbers weren’t as generous as the fans of the band and the album couldn’t match the success of the previous two but the times – they were changing so I suppose it was a natural outcome. Of course, the theme of this album was also a little bit different, more mature, focusing on social and political issues, even.

The greatest thing about this album is the signature guitar-driven Winger sound, accompanied by Kip’s one of a kind vocals. I swear I can listen to this guy sing all day long with that angelic rock & roll voice!

In addition to “Down Incognito” which is, hands down, my favorite track from the record, “Spell I’m Under” and “The Lucky One” are two other significant reasons why I am recommending or reminding everyone of this early ’90s hard rock gem of an album. “The Lucky One” has always been one my heart’s favorite ballads.

All in all, “Pull” presents a quite intriguing musical diversity which is one of the reasons why I wanted to feature it on my blog. There’s plenty of sass, heartbreak, high-level vocals, solid guitars and so much more! Winger evolved with this album so if you are a fan of their earlier work (nothing wrong with that I love the first releases with all my heart and soul) and don’t know much about the band after their first two albums, now might be the best time to check out their third release.

Tell me what you think about it and share your favorite song in the comment section below:


References:
Featured image, retrieved from: https://www.musiconvinyl.com/catalog/winger/pull#.W4Qz9sJ9jtQ
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] 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~

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~

ALBUM REVIEW: VEGA – “Only Human” (2018)

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

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

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

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

Let’s talk music!

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

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

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

VEGA

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

“All Over Now”

“Last Man Standing”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Def Leppard – Rock! Rock! Till You Drop

Bad English – Tough Times Don’t Last

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

Mötley Crüe – Kickstart My Heart

AC/DC – Ride On

Ramones – Strength to Endure

Pink Floyd – Coming Back to Life

Starship – We Built This City

Accept – I’m a Rebel

Triumph – Magic Power

+ bonus track

Dire Straits – Walk of Life

 


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

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~