Album Review: Revolution Saints – Light in the Dark (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

“I Wouldn’t Change a Thing”

You know, it’s October already and I was beginning to worry that I might not actually get the ballad I was waiting for – you know that mind-crushing, emotional experience of a song that I always look for in an album. But you know, recently Revolution Saints released “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing” and as a rock ballad critic, lover and ultimate enthusiast, I can firmly state that this might possibly be my favorite rock ballad of 2017 so far. The song was just what I was looking for and not to mention that it pointed my attention to a strong melodic rock force that was about to arrive on the horizon. After the ballad that knocked my socks off, I couldn’t but have high expectations for Revolution Saints’ new album – “Light in the Dark” and now when I finally had the chance to listen from start to finish, I realize how much I needed this album in my life.

I’ve been following the career of prominent drummer Deen Castronovo since I became fan of Journey and eventually Hardline and Bad English back in the day. On top of it all, he’s a stunning vocalist and it was only natural for him to go for it. Thankfully, an opportunity for him to explore his vocal talents was soon on the horizon. Frontiers’ President, Serafino Perugino assembled Revolution Saints with Deen fronting a strong team of A-players, including Doug Aldrich (The Dead Daisies, ex-Whitesnake, DIO) and Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees). After a 2015 debut that fans and rock communities still talk about and listen to, the band is back with a sophomore release full of surprises, bold moves and exceptionally well written and produced melodic rock music, courtesy of producer/songwriter Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, JORN), who was also there for Revolution Saints’ debut album. Now, the whole dream team is back and the result is more than satisfying. “Light in the Dark” is an absolute manifestation of high quality rock music. Fans are expected to dive into a world of classic melodic rock style, colored by meaningful and emotion-stirring moments, proving that indeed the age of rock is back!

“Light in the Dark” opens up with an inspiring title song with a lot of personality! Having a bad day? Needing that extra push or motivation? Look no further – this song is the thing you’ve been waiting for. Superb hooks and uplifting lyrics that put an instant smile on your face! Couldn’t have picked a better opener! “Freedom” brings in a little bit of weight and tons of class into the album atmosphere. Watch out for Doug Aldrich’s spellbinding riffs and those surprisingly well-fitting keyboards that make the song one of the most interesting ones from the album. “Ride On” picks up the album’s speed and once again showcases what these guys are made for – pure talent. Deen Castronovo is killing it on every song but I am especially enjoying his powerful howls on this one. We move on to the star of the show and my favorite song from the album, “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing”. This track is not just a ballad – it’s an epic 6-minute piano journey, accompanied by Deen’s soul-touching vocals, after which you can’t even take your breath. Arguably, this is the best song from the album when it comes to impact. Musically, it’s simple, yet elegant; gentle, yet heart-breaking. What a masterpiece! The other ballad – “Can’t Run Away from Love” is equally fulfilling and only solidifying Deen’s vocal strengths. Songs like “Take you Down”, “Don’t Surrender” and “Running on the Edge” are all solid rockers showcasing two things – first of all, rock will never die as long as we have passionate artists like Revolution Saints and second of all, “Light in the Dark” is an album that certainly has a lot to bring to the table!

What a year for rock music! I thought it was over, but the rock&roll waves are getting harder and stronger with each release this year. Revolution Saints“Light in the Dark” takes a respectable place on this year’s long list of remarkable releases. The quality, class and impact of this album are beyond expectation and I am proud to be here to witness the making of such releases. The greatest thing about “Light in the Dark” is its ability to draw newer and older generations of rock fans together and simply make them feel good about life and being here right here, right now.  The album is out on October 13, 2017! Don’t forget to get your copy!

Tracklist:

  1. Light In The Dark
  2. Freedom
  3. Ride On
  4. I Wouldn’t Change A Thing
  5. Don’s Surrender
  6. Take You Down
  7. The Storm Inside
  8. Can’t Run Away From Love
  9. Running On The Edge
  10. Another Chance
  11. Falling Apart
  12. Back On My Trail (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)
  13. Turn Back Time (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)
  14. Here Forever (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)
  15. Locked Out Of Paradise (live, bonus track on deluxe edition only)

 


“Freedom”

“Light in the Dark”


References:
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Introducing Marc Vanderberg’s New Album “Highway Demon”

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

These days we are witnessing a drastic boom in rock albums releases and I must say, as you dive into the endless stream of new music we receive each day, it gets very easy to unintentionally miss something that might be truly valuable and of high-quality. That was the case with me and this album, but thankfully one way or another, it found its way to me and I’m very excited to share some of its highlights to my readers and hopefully, introduce it to new fans out there, looking for something edgy and guitar-driven.

“Highway Demon”

German hard rock guitarist Marc Vanderberg released his sophomore album, titled “Highway Demon” this September 7, via darkSIGN Records. The record contains nine songs and wraps things up accordingly with an instrumental. Not only is the record label, production and atmosphere of the new album pointed to a new career direction for the guitarist, but he also takes in the talented Brazilian vocalist Raphael Gazal to put some serious metal vibes into the whole picture.

“While I still had to find my style on my first album, you can clearly hear on the second album that I found it and developed myself as a songwriter and guitarist. From my point of view, the sounds and the songwriting remind more of the classic hard rock legends like Alcatrazz, Yngwie Malmsteen or Europe with always catchy choruses. So the new album combines catchy choruses with tricky guitar solos and rocking rhythms. On top of that, I have found a new singer, who transforms the songs with his Michael Vescera-like voice into metal anthems”, says Vanderberg

So far so good now let’s talk music!

MARC VANDERBERG FRONT CD LAYOUTThe opening title track hits you like a hammer – a promising solid beginning with a classic rock sound and thunderous guitars, telling you enough about the skills of guitarist Marc Vanderberg. On songs like “Blue Eyes” you can trace the influences of guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen but there’s a more colorful feel, particularly coming from the fierce vocal delivery of Raphael Gazal. “The Last Battle” might be one of my personal favorites – you can’t but fall in love with the brooding guitars, demonstrating Marc’s technicality and effortless finesse when it comes to tearing up those strings. Pay attention to the lyrics – that’s what caught my attention upon first listen. The gentle “How Do You Feel” is exactly what the softies out there (like myself) need right now; mesmerizing piano melody and soul-soothing clear vocals, turning the song into the perfect ballad experience. What comes next is equally obliterating. I particularly enjoyed “You’re Like Poison” mostly because it possesses that catchy 80s hard rock vibe. “Total Eclipse” is the spectacular ending of what seems to me was an “over-way-too-soon” album. Bold killer riffs with a smooth mid-section, leaving us craving for more and more.

Final verdict: “Highway Demon” is for the guitar heroes out there who appreciate speed and technicality and are looking for something fresh, yet still preserving the classic rock atmosphere that has kept our spirits up for the last 30+ years. I highly recommend “Highway Demon” and urge you to explore it; it definitely has the potential to motivate you to pick up your guitar and try out something new.

“How Do You Feel”

“The Last Battle”

“You’re Like a Poison”

 

Tracklist:

  1. Highway Demon
  2. Blue Eyes
  3. Bad Paradise
  4. The Last Battle
  5. How do you Feel
  6. Indispensible
  7. You´re like Poison
  8. When I turn the Key
  9. Final Chapter
  10. Total Eclipse (Instrumental)

 


References:
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Review: Kee of Hearts’ Debut Self-Titled Album

…or how to put a photo of yourself next to a definition of “brilliant melodic rock music”.

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

We had plenty of impressive melodic rock releases this year so far and yet none of them has given me this amount of excitement, comfort and satisfaction as this one right here. It might be because it is after all made by melodic rock kings or because Tommy Heart is one of the very few vocalists, capable of bringing so much warmth and coziness to my tiny little rock heart, but “Kee of Hearts” is without doubt, a pivotal moment for the melodic rock scene of 2017. Frontiers Music are throwing one kick-ass punch after another and I’m not sure I can handle it or keep up with the amount of top notch rock music thrown at me but I can sure as hell try. I am beyond ecstatic to be witnessing the making and release of such album. Let me tell you why…

Kee of Hearts represents the collaboration between vocalist Tommy Heart (Fair Warning) and guitarist Kee Marcello (Europe). Those two superstars got together last year and made some serious magic in that studio which later on materialized into an elegant self-titled debut album of a lifetime you simply can’t get enough of. As a die-hard fan of Fair Warning and someone who reaches for their music in times of pain and trouble, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Tommy Heart is doing a new project. This meant one thing – I was about to very soon meet my new favorite melodic rock album.  

kee of hearts“Kee of Hearts” was out on September 15, 2017 via Frontiers Records. Thankfully, the album was immediately available on Spotify so I cranked it up right from the early morning to the late of dawn. I couldn’t stop smiling, song after song. I became a glowing ball of energy only because of this album and I still am by the way!

Let’s talk music! “The Storm” is the opening track and the title pretty much sums it up all! A powerful blazing melodic rock impact right from the very beginning, signalling the arrival of something truly valuable. I am enchanted by the lyrics, though this phenomenon could be observed throughout the entire album. “A New Dimension” is another promising song with a “wow” aftereffect further proving why Tommy Heart is one of the best melodic rock vocalists out there. What follows is as good as the rest. Classic AOR songs like“Bridge To Heaven” and “Stranded” offer a bouquet of wonderful hooks, impeccable vocal arrangements, groovy guitars and pleasing keyboard touches. The honest “Mama Don’t Cry” and the quite relevant (these days especially) “S.O.S.” are two of the stand-outs for certain. “Edge of Paradise” is a personal favorite; the only justice that can be done to this song is if it’s played live in a huge arena in front of thousands of people. I keep imagining this… The classy “Twist of Fate” is a close second favorite – you just can’t take those catchy refrains out of your head…but then again, why should you? The track is the ultimate sing-along joyride.

Final verdict: “Kee of Hearts” is a melodic rock bliss from start to finish. This album represents just the kind of class and nobility we so desperately need on the rock music scene these days. Tommy Heart and Kee Marcello crafted a fine release that rocks, entertains and keeps our spirits lifted from start to finish. It’s a must-have for every AOR fan out there who knows what is true and what is not…I pray those two come up with a follow-up!


“A New Dimension”

“The Storm”

“Crimson Dawn”

“Bridge to Heaven”


References:
Album artowork, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/news/10951
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Review: Lynch Mob are Back with “The Brotherhood”

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

What is happening in the rock music industry right now makes me immensely proud. It’s been a while since I was that nervous (but excited) about which new CD to purchase first, which new album to focus on today and which song to play. I literally had to schedule my listening hours because there’s just so many outstanding things coming out these days. What a time to be alive and be a fan of rock&roll!

I knew September was going to be one of the strongest months for rock music this year but I wasn’t entirely ready for that powerful initial impact, coming from Lynch Mob. I needed some time to listen to the album as many times as it deserved before I could put my thoughts together and write this review. Obviously, as you sensed from my tone, “The Brotherhood” left nothing but a fabulous impression on me, combined with that sweet sweet relief that your expectations were not only met, they were exceeded. 

lynch mob

“The Brotherhood” is Lynch Mob‘s eight studio album and it was out on September 8th via Rat Pak Records. It’s the follow-up to their 2015 release, “Rebel” that stunned everyone with its production qualities and sensational guitar work. The title of the album – “The Brotherhood” reflects the strong bond between the members of the band. The guys surely had a long and bumpy road, but it’s fascinating to see how far they went and what they accomplished not as just members of the same band, but as brothers. I think that artistic and personal relationship, as well as comfort and reliance on each other was perfectly reflected on the music. Vocals, drums, guitars – every instrument, every note, every riff …they are all complementing each other, crafting the perfect alliance. I mean we all are well-aware of the magical chemistry between Lynch & Logan so no surprises there. The dominating guitars of legendary George Lynch, combined with the polished, quite rare (these days especially) vocal talents of Oni Logan are turning “The Brotherhood” into a one-of-a-kind experience.

When Lynch Mob released the MV for “Main Offender”, I just knew that these guys won’t mess around with this album. The song merely signaled the arrival of a strong pretender for “rock album of the year”. Honestly, they couldn’t have picked a better opening song. You want to make a statement? That’s how you do it. The destructive, highly energizing track, full of attitude and fierce riffs is one of my highlights of the album and it will definitely be in my Top20 songs of 2017 list. The heavy metal thunder moves on to the groovy “Mr. Jekyll and Hyde” – a very interesting song to experience with obvious psychedelic motives, bringing us back in time. The cheerful “I’ll Take Miami” reminded me of Van Halen‘s early days (which of course is a beautiful thing). “Last Call Lady” has to be one of my personal favorites and if you appreciate great rock melodies (like myself), it will quickly turn into yours as well. “Where We Started” offers an appealing diversity in the playlist; I’m absolutely blown-away by George‘s marvelous guitar work on this one – the harder-edged guitars are ruthlessly playing with the listeners but are not at all thrusting. “Until the Sky Comes Down” and “Black Heart Days” are both quality signature tracks, worthy of playing as loud as you can. It’s fascinating how the pleasingly odd acoustic bliss, titled “The Forgotten Maiden’s Pearl” is the one that actually sticks with you after you hear the entire album for the first time. I am absolutely loving the Zeppelin vibe on this one. “Miles Away” is the “must-have” ballad (I had a feeling this was going to be a ballad just by reading its’ title). It’s so much more than “just a ballad” though. Oni Logan is absolutely killing it on this one; don’t even get me started on those mesmerizing riffs that are giving me goosebumps. It might as well be my favorite song from “The Brotherhood”.

Final verdict: “The Brotherhood” deserves an honorable place in this year’s collection. The songs are rich in every musical aspect you could think of – lyrics, riffs, vocals, etc. It’s heavy, it hits you hard, it is a bit dark, even; however in the most satisfying way you can imagine. Pay attention to the lyrics which in my opinion are one of the strongest aspects of the album – poetry in its finest. Modern-day feel? Yes, maybe here and there; but the album actually has a genre and style of its own or follows any rules. It’s the perfect album to allure new generations of rock fans with and certainly a great comeback for a beloved, unconventional rock band. Cheers to Lynch Mob.

 


“Mr. Jekyll and Hyde”

“Main Offender”


References:
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

WARRANT’s “Cherry Pie” Celebrates its 27th Anniversary

You know, it’s pretty unfortunate when an album or a song define the entire career of a band or an artist. It’s even more unfortunate when we talk about a band with true talent and potential.

This is the story of WARRANT and their sophomore album, named “Cherry Pie”. To commemorate its anniversary, I decided to go back to that pivotal year for Warrant and remind everyone of some key facts and songs , surrounding its release and legacy. Before I move on with my rambling, I would like to emphasize that I am not one of those people who unfairly judge Warrant or put unnecessary labels on them. I am one of those fans who can differentiate between doing something with your heart and doing something because of environmental pressures. Yes, I am talking about that infamous title song that turned from a blessing to a curse and haunted their career for a while. If you ask true rock music fans, all of them will tell you that Warrant were and still are mind-blowing and will certainly point out a favorite song that’s not going to be “Cherry Pie”. But for the uncultured mass – you say Warrant, they say “Cherry Pie”. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a fun song, a song that everyone knows and had once danced to. But let’s talk about the rest of the album because in case you forgot, it contains the unbelievable tracks “I Saw Red”, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Blind Faith”.

Warrant’s sophomore album was released in September 11, 1990 and it quickly turned into one of the biggest albums of the year, mostly thanks to its title song. “Cherry Pie” (the track) was written in 15 minutes by Jani Lane, after the president of their label demanded they record an easy-to-sell sexy rock anthem, similar to “Pour Some Sugar on Me” or “Dr. Feelgood”, probably. I’m not going to go into detail about the track but watch any interview with Jani (may he rest in peace) and you will see what his genuine feelings are, in regards with the top10 hit.

The brilliant track “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was originally supposed to be the first single and the name of the album. To many fans this track remains one of Warrant’s most memorable works and the highlight of the album, undoubtedly.

“I Saw Red” is in my humble opinion the most special and beautifully-delivered track on the album. When the singer and song-writer had actually experienced every word, the connection we, the listeners, establish is much stronger and easier to create. Deep, meaningful and painful songs like this one are the reason why feel alive when listening to music. The singles are not all of it, though! “Love in Stereo”, “Mr. Rainmaker” and “Bed of Roses” are a few of my other favorites and songs that deserve a play or two.

The entire album showcases a solid musical progression and a bunch of dedicated musicians, striving for growth and ready to learn. The guitars are more prominent, the lyrics are more thoughtful (courtesy of Jani Lane) and more room was left open for keyboards, elaborate arrangements and new musical styles and elements. You can label it as a “party album” but that will never really be the case for me…

Feel free to tell me what you think about this album while listening to the great tunes below:

“I Saw Red”

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

“Blind Faith”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from https://www.discogs.com/Warrant-Cherry-Pie/master/94305
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Baton Rouge’s 1990 Debut – A Must-Listen for Every Hard Rock Fan

I’ve been obsessed with this album ever since I heard “Baby’s So Cool” a few months ago and I just cannot wait to introduce it to people who have no idea of this treasure right here. After familiarizing myself with what feels like a million and one late’80s/early-90s hard rock bands, sharing tons of similarities in image and sound, digging up an album that will make me say “Hold on a damn minute, there’s something here!!” became a formidable task. However, every now and then a band with a release like this one comes in and transforms my music library into an even more colorful and electrifying experience.

I will just leave this here before I move on…

A few things you gotta know about the band and this album before I let the music speak for itself!

Baton Rouge formed in Louisiana (hence the name) but just like any other rock band with big dreams, moved to Las Angeles in the late-80s, looking for that desired big break. They did manage to hop in the last hard rock train before the grunge scene totally occupied the industry and released a smashing debut album, titled “Shake Your Soul” (via Atlantic Records.)

baton rouge 1

The story is well-known – the spark faded away and during those transitional periods in music industry, only the toughest and more experienced artists managed to survive. Baton Rouge weren’t exactly one of those. Two albums and a long-overdue junior (demo) album were the products of their career. I must say, I have yet to befriend the sophomore album but the debut – “Shake Your Soul” blew me away so I have high hopes.

One of the most interesting things surrounding Baton Rouge is that all of its members spread their wings and went on to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the industry, including John Norum, John Sykes, Dokken, etc. or formed their own bands. For example, the impeccable vocals of Kelly Keeling brought richness to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and guitarist Lance Bulen was being a very busy man, forming one band after another with members of XYZ, White Lion and many others.

Let’s go back to the debut album (sorry about that I just get so much into the background stories of the rock bands. The songs I want you to definitely check out (in addition the that first one I knocked your socks with at the beginning of this publication) are “Doctor”, “Walks Like a Woman” and of course the POWER BALLADS “It’s About Time” and “There Was A Time (The Storm)”. If those songs don’t conquer you, don’t talk to me at all! That’s not the end of it though. “Shake Your Soul” is an excellent selection of underrated gems and when I say underrated I don’t mean  XYZ or Hardline level of underrated – I mean one level below that!!! Absolutely unforgivable!! “Big Trouble” and “Young Hearts” are as ear-pleasing as you can imagine.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not an innovative, out-of-this-world piece of music. But it’s refreshing, different and it just STANDS OUT!! Your choice to believe me or not.

Last but not least, I want to bow down to vocalist Kelly Keeling for capturing my heart and filling it with so many emotions! You just don’t get to listen to a vocalist like that every day.


“Walks Like a Woman”

“It’s About Time”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.discogs.com/Baton-Rouge-Shake-Your-Soul/release/2374964
Band photo, retrieved from: http://sleazeroxx.com/bios/baton-rouge-bio/
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

5 Rock Albums I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands on This September

I remember saying how “2017 was going to be a very weak year for rock music” but it didn’t take me that long to realize that 2017 might be an even stronger year for rock than 2016. These past months we had the chance to witness the release of some groundbreaking melodic and hard rock albums from bands like Thunder, Bonfire, Warrant, Riverdogs and others; however the year isn’t over yet and there’s plenty more to be excited about.

September is definitely a month I waited with so much anticipation and I really wanted to share why. Lynch Mob, Kee of Hearts, Steelheart, Ringo Starr and David Gilmour are going to dominate my playlists and collections this month and if it all goes the way I see it, I will give the spotlight to each one of these. Here’s a little sneak peak of the albums – I do hope you get some new ideas after checking out these songs.


Lynch Mob – The Brotherhood (08/09)

lynch mob

This is some serious stuff, right here and I have no doubt that Lynch Mob‘s “The Brotherhood” has all the chances of becoming one of the best heavy releases of the year. My socks were knocked off and I’m still picking up my jaw from the floor ever since we got this music video. George Lynch and Oni Logan crafted something valuable, just wait and see it…


Steelheart – Through Worlds of Stardust (15/09)

steelheart

Steelheart are back and I can barely hold my excitement, especially after listening to the songs that were released. Steelheart surely went a long way from their early glam rock sound in the 1990s but they still kick ass! Based on the modern, edgy-sounding songs we have so far I just know that this release will blow me away. Kudos to Mr. Everything – vocalist Miljenko Matijevic who is as brilliant as ever.


Kee of Hearts – Kee of Hearts (15/09)

kee of hearts

This album right here might actually be the highlight of my year. By now I’m sure that many of you know how much I love Fair Warning and their brilliant vocalist Tommy Heart so naturally when I heard that he will collaborate with Kee Marcello (former Europe guitarist) for a new band and an album, I was head over heels! Any melodic rock fan out there would be thrilled and certainly pleased, I just know it.


Ringo Starr – Give More Love (15/09)

ringo

I hold Ringo Starr very close to my heart because so far he is the only member of my beloved Beatles I had the chance to see.

“Give More Love” is his 19th solo album (wow!) and I just cannot way to see what the ex-Beatle cooked in his home studio in LA. The release will feature contributions from Paul McCartney (of course), Joe Walsh, Steve Lukather and others. If the rest of the songs are as positive, laid-back and easy to digest as this one, I’m sure the album will be a total success. 


David Gilmour – Live in Pompeii (29/09)

david gilmour live in pompeii

In 2016, David Gilmour went back to that historical place of Pompeii where in 1971 Pink Floyd made their famous concert movie. The stunning audio and visual experience will be available in a sweet box set that will absolutely win over any dedicated music collector out there.


References:
Album artworks, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it / https://www.gucca.dk/ https://platenreus.com/nieuwe-release/david-gilmour-live-at-pompeii/
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

Remembering NELSON’s Double Platinum 1990 Debut “After the Rain”

You can call this album whatever you want – too “glossy”, too “corporate” or too safe“ (and you may be right, actually) but that won’t really change the fact that it’s one of the most ear-pleasing melodic rock treasures of the early ‘90s. Albums like “After the Rain” were/are probably not among the critics’ favorites but we cannot deny its memorable, yet so short-lived presence on the melodic rock scene of the era. Out of all the rock albums that came out during those turbulent, trend-shifting years of rock music, Nelson’s “After the Rain” somehow managed to reach the double-platinum status, spawn a #1 hit single with “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” and remain on the charts for over 60 weeks. For these reasons and so much more, we gotta give it the credit it deserves.

We cannot talk about the twin brothers Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, without mentioning their father – the legendary Ricky Nelson who became popular in the 1950s with his status as the ultimate “teen idol”. It’s only natural to become interested in music, especially if you grow up in the family of a musical legend. What the twin brothers did – both genre and image-wise was definitely very different from the style of their father but considering the time period, their career move wasn’t surprising at all.

Nelson - After the Rain

Back to “After the Rain”, which in my opinion is one of the “easiest-to-fall-in love-with” melodic rock albums of all time. Why? Well, because of its positivity, honest charm and heart. That’s pretty much what sums up “After the Rain”; I mean, don’t expect to listen to some groundbreaking, never-heard-before music elements. Expect, though, an instant mood-shift because the album is nothing more and nothing less than a ray of sunshine.   

A lot of effort and a great deal of talks, careful preparations, learning of how to make and play rock music… and let’s not forget money, went into the making of the debut album. The involvement of producer/songwriter Marc Tenner turned out to be more than crucial for the sound-crafting and consequent triumph of “After the Rain”.

The instant success of the debut album didn’t came as a surprise – sold-out shows, dozens of new fans, people buying the record like bread… What came as a surprise, though, was the situation with their highly-expected sophomore release. If you want to know the story, do your research. We are here to remember “After the Rain”, after all.

“(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection”, “I Can Hardly, Wait”, “After the Rain” and “More Than Ever” are the ultimate fan-favorites and some of the highlights on their debut. I’m pretty convinced that the majority of fans out there know the words of those songs by heart and are totally ready for any Karaoke challenge. A personal favorite and I song I always recommend to people is “Interlude – Everywhere I Go” – there’s just something about pianos, string instruments and rock music that gets me every time! “Fill You Up” is another catchy, highly-likable track that should get your attention. Nelson also ask “Will You Love Me?” in the best way possible and my answer is always “yes”, with no hesitation.

Put on your earphones and enjoy those radio classics…and the rest of the album of course!


 

More Than Ever

After the Rain

(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection

“Everywhere I Go”


References:
Album artwork retrieved from http://hardrockgeneration.blogspot.bg/2014/03/nelson-after-rain-1990.html
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

In 1989, BADLANDS Released a Perfect Blues Rock Album

I’ve talked about the year of 1989 before on My Top 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989 and it’s time to once again travel back to that golden year of rock and examine one of the finest releases that significantly contributed to the overall image of 1989 (and to why I consider it as one of the greatest years of rock).

The band

In life when one door closes, you gotta look for another one to open and make your way out of the darkness. In the late 1980s, prominent guitarist Jake E. Lee was no longer involved with Ozzy Osbourne after a successful tour for the “Ultimate Sin” album, so he had to build a new highway on which to take off. His efforts brought him to a very talented, New York-born vocalist, named Ray Gillen who ironically had just separated from a brief tour/fiasco with Ozzy’s bandmates from Black Sabbath. Two more members were added, both also sharing a history with Black Sabbath – bass player Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer.

All in all, that’s how Badlands came to existence (or at least the very short version of it). The important thing to acknowledge is that regardless of what brought them together, the four members were simply ready to open a new, more exciting page in their careers and with that debut album, they certainly did it. The promising quartet was supposed to last for a while but unfortunately due to inner conflicts, unfavourable music climate and problems with the label, only three albums came out under their name, one of which was a demo release. In 1993, vocalist Ray Gillen passed away (RIP).

The self-titled album

We are here, however, to talk about, remember and listen to their stunning debut album, which makes you ask yourself the question: “If an album is that brilliant, why the hell didn’t it leave a much bigger trace behind its back?”… Needless to say, “Badlands” is a highly underrated killer gem which is a must for any rock fan out there who appreciates and respects good rock musicianship.

The true value of the album is its original sound which can basically be described as early ‘70s Led Zeppelin, meeting ‘80s Sunset-Strip rock scene (no over-the-top craziness, though). “Badlands” is sophisticated, yet fun and highly entertaining. The ways in which those guys managed to capture that fancy blues-vibe that defined the careers of Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, The Yardbirds, The Animals…and mix it so skilfully with refreshing, late ‘80s metal sound, is something you don’t see or hear every day. Once you play “Badlands”, you will receive a significant upgrade to your rock music sensitivity, trust me.

The vocals are breath-taking, no need to question or even talk about the powerful screams of Ray Gillen. One thing that immediately stood out to me, though, was Jake E. Lee’s impressive guitar work, making all the difference. “Badlands” is a guitar-driven album, just like any other blues album out there, but with a modern-day electric flavour, courtesy of this exact same genius I’m talking about – Mr. Lee.

A few words about the songs and I will let you listen in peace. The first two songs – “High Wire” and “Dreams in the Dark” (which by the way got the MTV approval stamp) are marvellous examples of how to show personality in your music and lead the listeners to a new world, going a step away from the polished, sparkling image and sound of the late ‘80s. (“Dreams in the Dark” has always been my favorite songs from the album). “Rumblin’ Train” and “Seasons” are some of the reasons why I consider this album one of the best blues rock albums of all time – it’s difficult to describe the magic surrounding this blues-influenced blissfulness. The stormy “Dancing on the Edge” is another track to watch out for! & it goes on and on…

Old-school minded, ‘80s hard rock bands are important and I strongly recommend Badlands if you are hungry for something distinctive, yet familiar!


“High Wire”

“Devil’s Stomp”

“Dreams in the Dark”


References:
Album cover retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/2011/06/badlands-badlands-cd-1989.html
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[Playlist] 10 Forgotten but Deserving Hard Rock Gems [Part 2]

New media technologies allowed users to upload, share and promote content of any kind, including music. Thanks to platforms, like YouTube, I was able to discover a lot of outstanding, lesser known bands and albums from the ’80s/’90s and enrich my library with rock music that doesn’t just come out of the big acts of the industry. Actually, unearthing these hidden gems which for one reason or another didn’t achieve that big of a commercial success and these days are not particularly on everyone’s minds, is one of my favorite things to do…you just never know what will come out!
I previously wrote a similar publication, which you can check out in case you haven’t : 10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics and now I wanted to once again prepare a little playlist with songs from albums (and entire albums) that might had been in time but still managed to captivate me and found a way into my library. In case you know some of these AOR treasures, now it might be a good time to remember. Let’s go…


Hanover Fist – Hungry Eyes (1985)

hanover

This beauty right here I found while watching videos on YouTube. I was attracted by the album artwork but never expected to become such a fan of this album. The pleasantly obscure, rather heavy release, titled “Hungry Eyes” is actually a re-release of Canadian rockers’ 1983 debut album, with with a slightly different tracklist. I wish I had a long and interesting story but I don’t – the band lasted for about 3 years and that was it…

“Fits Ya Good”, “Hungry Eyes”, “Metal of the Night” – all songs I recommend and truly believe will fit into the playlist of every rock fan out there. Give it a chance:


Fury – Fury (1993)

12

I honestly don’t know much about these guys or this album, because it’s just impossible to unearth any background information. What I do know, however, is that this self-titled 1993 release contains every ingredient I like and enjoy in a melodic rock record. I often go back to this video I accidentally found on YouTube just so I can play this album from start to finish. My favorite songs include “Trouble” and “Higher Ground” – brilliant hooks and selection of sing-alongs.


Persian Risk – Rise Up (1986)

persian risk rise up

I think that many people probably know or have heard about the NWOBHM band Persian Risk but I also think that it’s high time I refreshed your memories of them. The British band formed in the late ’70s and actually have a long story so if you’re into that genre, go ahead and dig deeper. I have Carl Sentance – their vocalist (who is now fronting Nazareth) to thank for giving me a heads up on their stunning albums. “Rise Up” – their debut 1986 release is one of the gems you simply must hear. “Jane” has to be one of their most memorable songs. Check it out:


Stage Dolls – Stage Dolls (1988)

10

This album I found as I was casually browsing through YouTube (thankfully). I knew that they had to be from somewhere other than the UK or the USA and I was right. Stage Dolls is actually a Norwegian band, formed in the early ’80s. Their self-titled 1989 album is actually their junior one, released in Norway first and becoming a total hit over there. Not so sure about becoming a hit everywhere else, but with songs like “Still in Love” and “Waitin’ For You”, they are true winners in my book. Another proof that Norwegians just know how to make rock music!!


Von Groove – Von Groove (1992)

von groove

A great example of early ’90s hard rock – it was excellent (but overlooked) albums like this one that kept the spirit of the genre alive, against the upcoming grunge invasion. The Canadian band Von Groove’s debut album is everything you can ever ask for if you are a fan of this type of music. Terrific songs like “Once Is Not Enough” or “Better than Ever” will give you a clearer picture of what I’m saying.


Silent Rage – Don’t Touch Me There (1989)

silent rage

LA might at its finest! Oh, boy – this album is pure fire!! “Don’t Touch Me There” is the band’s sophomore release and in my opinion their finest hour. Led by the talented Jesse Damon, Silent Rage is definitely one of those bands who grab you by the throat and don’t let go. I simply love this album! “I Wanna Feel It Again”, “Rebel With a Cause” and the power ballad, “Tonight You’re Mine” – all stunning examples of late ’80s hard rock.


Saints & Sinners – Saints & Sinners (1992)

saints&sinners1992

Saints & Sinners – another Canadian band with tons of unrealized potential. Their 1992 release remained the band’s first and final effort. The timing wasn’t right and the album just couldn’t stand against the alternative scene, occupying everyone’s attention.

Simply put, you love glam metal, if you love catchy riffs and solid rocking melodies, colored by magnificent vocals, you will LOVE this album. I would definitely point “Wheels of Fire” and “Walk the Walk” as my two favorite tracks from it so go ahead and check them out:


Jagged Edge – Fuel for Your Soul (1990)

Jagged Edge U.K.

Lesser-known English band with an outstanding Swedish vocalist – Matti Alfonzetti. I found “Fuel for Your Soul” as I was browsing through YouTube and the opening track immediately caught my attention. Jagged Edge, unfortunately, split up after the release of this album and we couldn’t really observe how and what will they develop into but hey – we have this album which is full of memorable rockers that can stand against the bigger hits of the era. I highly recommend those guys and not just because of the killer vocals…


Helix – Wild in the Streets (1987)

helix wild in the streets

Canadian band Helix achieved great success in the beginning of their career and still are adored by fans from all over the world (including me). However, this album right here – “Wild in the Streets” somehow always remains forgotten when we talk about them. “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge”, “No Rest for the Wicked” and “Long Way to Heaven” always take the spotlight.

“Wild in the Streets” couldn’t really bring a lot of attention and commercial success to the band which led to them losing their U.S. deal with Capitol Records. I never understood why this album wasn’t appreciated! I mean, we have a brilliant cover of Nazareth’s “Dream On” and of course “She’s too Tough”, written by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. The album offers so much more, though…I hope you all agree with me.


Lionsheart – Lionsheart (1992)

Lionsheart_-_Lionsheart

Lionsheart formed in the early 90s in the UK. Overall, they released four albums and one live one before calling it quits in the early 2000s. They weren’t that big in the continent, however achieved success in Japan.

This time, I would like to focus on their 1992 coming out party with their self-titled album “Lionsheart” which is ready to satisfy every hard-rock thirsty soul out there. The sound is very aggressive and hard-edged; the album offers an experience that will knock your socks off. “Had Enough” and “World of Pain” are the songs to watch out for (along with the others of course). 


References:
Photos fetched from: amazon.com / Wikipedia / discogs.com
Videos retrieved from YouTube
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.