TOP 10 ROCK ALBUMS OF 2017 [by Velina of MyRockMixtapes]

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s been such a long time since we had a rock & roll year that prolific and exciting as 2017! I am almost sad that it’s gone, because each month was like a brand-new musical adventure, full of endless opportunities and surprises and I just wish it never had to stop. If you have to give it a name, I’d say 2017 was “the year of long-overdue comebacks” or “the year of the supergroups”. So many bands decided to get back together and recreate the magic that once ruled our radio stations. They did and in some cases the results were fantastic. Riverdogs, for example, released “California” –their first album in many years and so unexpectedly shook the melodic rock community with what many refer to as one of the albums of the year. Not just Riverdogs, but Europe, Lynch Mob, L.A. Guns, Warrant, Steelheart, Bonfire, Night Ranger, Harem Scarem, Thunder, Styx, Deep Purple and many other big names made their grandiose comeback this year, which is absolutely delightful, needless to say. Supergroups were formed and names were justified in many cases with bands such as Revolution Saints, Sweet & Lynch, ALL41, Kee of Hearts, Sons of Apollo and others. The solo acts didn’t fall back. Artists such as Jeff Scott Soto, Jack Russell (with his Great White), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Alice Cooper, Roger Waters, Robert Plant and even Ringo Starr made triumphant and rather surprising comebacks but all were met with excitement and adoration. New bands that caught my eye this year were plenty. The ones that stood out the most to me were the Finnish guys from One Desire with their self-titled debut album and Inglorious with their sophomore release. The new albums of H.E.A.T and Pink 69 re-introduced me to those bands which I somehow forgot in time.

There’s plenty more to be said but I think it’s time we get to my Top10 albums of 2017 list. Please keep in mind that this is a personal selection, based on nothing but my own preferences and ideas of what a great album should sound like and what emotions should it bring to the listeners. I would LOVE to know your picks and what did you think of some of those albums so don’t hesitate to post your comment below. Here we goo….

Be careful, we’re going with the speed of sound!


10. Jeff Scott Soto – Retribution

jeff scott soto

It has been a busy year for one of my most beloved musicians of all time – Jeff Scott Soto. In October we were totally mesmerized by Sons Of Apollo’s Psychotic Symphony and a month later, he once again penetrated our fragile rock harts with a solo release, titled “Retribution”. Nothing but praises and fascination for this album and I’m not just saying it because it’s Jeff freakin Scott Soto; I’m saying it because obviously tons of work, heart and passion have been put in the making of this album. He sounds as confident as ever and his music is as good as ever. I was prepared for something like this from the veteran rockstar and it’s all here – heavy melodic rock, epic vocal culminations, striking lyrics and excellent fiery solos. “Feels Like Forever” is my instant stand-out though it’s not necessarily the highlight of “Retribution”. “Bullet for My Baby” is another personal favorite and a pretty solid reason why this album made it into my top10! Though “Retribution” came out in November, it became one of my albums of the year – this should tell you enough!


9. H.E.A.T – Into the Great Unknown

heat into the great unknown

“Into the Great Unknown” re-introduced me to a band I have completely forgotten about. There’s just something about Swedish rock, you know that, right? This proves it! The album is just so much different from what they used to do and so distinctive among the huge pile of hard rock records that came out this year. One listen would tell you why – the guys focused on crafting a modern-day sound with the help of cutting-edge production possibilities. The album is challenging, that’s for sure. You either love it or hate it. Thankfully, the majority of fans and also critics (not surprisingly) are loving it.

“Redefined” is arguably the highlight and one of the catchiest songs that came out in 2017. “Eye of the Storm” gives another 100 points to “Into the Great Unknown”. The amount of energy coming out of that song is immeasurable.


8. L.A Guns – The Missing Peace

la guns

I didn’t have the chance to grow up in the ’80s and experience that magical, flamboyant, so attractive to me hard rock scene that forever changed the music industry but with albums like “The Missing Peace”, young fans like myself can get a pretty good taste of those old-school vibes, presented in a modern-day environment. I am still mindblown by the authenticity of L.A. Guns‘ new album and the tasteful manner in which such energetic, a bit forceful and instantly-consuming Sunset Strip-staple hard rock music was delivered to the audience of 2017. It took me just one listen from start to finish to realize that what we have right here might be one of the best representations of how to sustain your original sound that made you famous back in the day and still stay musically-current even 30 years later. 

“Speed”, “The Devil Made me Do It”, and that beautiful ballad “Christine” proved that something was indeed truly missing in today’s rock&roll scene; I’ve been waiting for an album with that extra danger, extra roughness and that beloved ’80s attitude for so long and now when it’s finally here, I just can’t get enough of it.


7. Pride of Lions – Fearless

prideoflionsalbum9

My adoration for Survivor and Jim Peterik was transferred to his Pride of Lions, naturally. It’s been indeed a while since they released a new record but thankfully this was their year! I can’t think of another melodic rock album that has so much class, sensitivity and musical richness. “Fearless” is everything I was hoping to get from Jim Peterik and vocalist Toby Hitchcock. This album also proved that Pride of Lions is not just a side project – it’s a serious band that makes great music. This was the first album I bought back in January and I knew it would signal the arrival of a strong year. “The Tell” and “Silent Music” are my two favorite tracks; I can’t express the strength of the melodies and all that, combined with the A-level vocal performances of both artists showcase that the challenge was accepted and passed with grace!


6. Inglorious – II

ingl 2 cover

I met Inglorious last year but their follow-up album, simply titled “II” cemented my position as their devoted fan. The moment this album came out this past May,  it took my work by storm and earned my utter admiration and respect. It all starts with one single life-changing song…The moment I heard “I Don’t Need Your Loving”, I just knew that it has the potential of becoming one of the top rock tracks of 2017 and not just in my book.

Inglorious make straightforward, mind-blowing and 100% authentic hard rock, respectfully following the ways of ‘70s rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. With that in mind, vocalist Nathan James, lead guitarist Andreas Eriksson, guitarist Wil Taylor, bass guitarist Colin Parkinson and drummer Phil Beaver recorded a heavenly-organic, modern-day / classic rock album that brings nothing but satisfaction to every little rock&roll heart out there. The magic of “Inglorious II” wasn’t taken out of the hat of a legendary producer. The right words and production tricks were all done by the members themselves, which makes it even more exceptional.


5. Kee of Hearts – Kee of Hearts

kee of hearts

You all know how much I love Fair Warning and their lead singer Tommy Heart. I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed by what might be one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and yes – I sure as hell wasn’t.

“Kee of Hearts” is a melodic rock bliss from start to finish. This album represents just the kind of class and nobility we so desperately need on the rock music scene these days. Tommy Heart and Kee Marcello crafted a fine release that rocks, entertains and keeps our spirits lifted from start to finish. It’s a must-have for every AOR fan out there who knows what is true and what is not…I pray those two come up with a follow-up! My favorite track would be the opening song, “The Storm”; the title pretty much sums it up all! A powerful blazing melodic rock impact right from the very beginning, signalling the arrival of something truly valuable.


4. Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony 

sons of apollo

Don’t you just love albums that take you out of your comfort zone and challenge your listening habits? This album right here did this for me and it did it in the most pleasurable way you can think of. I know that by default everything that Jeff Scott Soto does is superb and I will love it, but this album right here goes one step further from my perceptions of how incredibly versatile and mindful he is when it comes to music.

Stand-out songs include “God of the Sun” – which is one of my favorite openers this year; the 11-minute tornado of a song is a clear highlight and how can it not be with that speed, intensity and lyrics. “Sings of the Times” is my ultimate number 1 song from this release – that intro knocked my socks off. Don’t even get me started on the instrumental “Opus Maximus” which arguably might be the best progressive instrumental that came out this year!


3. Riverdogs – California

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIG

Ah… “California” – where do I even begin? The moment this album came into my life, I just knew that this will change and that’s exactly what it happened. I distinctively remember how excited I was when it was finally available on Spotify and how fulfilled I felt when I played it from start to finish. I just couldn’t get enough of the blissful feelings, warmness and comfort this beautiful album brought to my world. “California” is a stunning set of sing-alongs, rock anthems, bluesy soul-touching tracks, all brilliantly decorated with thoughtful lyrics and memorable melodies.

Reasons why I love this album that much? Number one –“You’re Too Rock and Roll” which became one of the most important songs of my life just within weeks after the release of the album. Number two – Rob Lamothe who enriched my life with what might be the best interview I ever had with a musician… the other reasons you gotta look inside the album!


2. Bonfire – Byte the Bullet

bonfire1

German rockers BONFIRE came back this year with what can easily be referred to as one of the most electrifying, mind-blowing and hair-raising rock releases so far. Guitarist, original founder and basically Mr. Everything, Hans Zilller is back with his strong team of musicians, including bass player Ronnie Parkes, guitarist Frank Pane, drummer Tim Breideband and a brand-new vocalist Alexx Stahl. I still can’t get over how amazingly well-done this album is. Most importantly, if you are one of the people (like me) who is always seeking their self-empowerment in music, you would also pick this album as one of your favorite releases of 2017. “Lonely Nights” is probably the biggest reasons behind placing this album at #2. As the ultimate rock ballad enthusiast, you can trust me on this – it’s a phenomenal heart-breaking song, full of emotions and character. “Stand Up 4 Rock” is a superb rock anthem, with one of the best intros this year. The cover of Jethro Tull’s classic “Locomotive Breath” is another highlight that deserves a standing ovation.


& my number one is…

One Desire – One Desire

one desire - one desire 2017

You know, I thought a lot about which album to place at the number one spot and it took me a few days to finally make my decision but ultimately, I let my heart do the thinking. I picked One Desire’s self-titled album to be my number 1 album for 2017 because I can’t think of another album I got so obsessed with or another album which I’ve played as much as I did this one. I literally know the lyrics to all the song and you know why – because every track on it is that strong, impressive and memorable. Not a second on this album is wasted on trivial and well-known moments. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been that hooked to an entire album. It’s not just the singles, “Hurt” or “Apologize” – it’s every second of it. The sound is everything I looked for in an album, coming out in 2017 – modern vibes, strong vocals, old-school rock influence, unimaginable hooks and the ability to captivate the listener right from the very beginning. Discovering this album months after its release was indeed one of the most precious musical moments I had this year.

Cheers to One Desire and their debut album which won again many established names and their newest releases this year. I’m a proud fan and seeing how new bands conquer worlds is immensely satisfying. Now, go and listen…

 


Final thoughts:

Obviously, many of the albums share a significant characteristic and that is a certain label, under which they were released. Yes, I’m talking about Frontiers Records which redefined the hard / melodic rock scene of 2017 and entirely blew the competition away by not only giving chances to new rock bands, hungry for the stage but by also welcoming long overdue reunions of old-school hard rock bands. I praise and bow to the hard work of the team of Frontiers Records for being responsible for the comebacks of bands such as L.A Guns, Riverdogs or Warrant, for example and for taking under their capable wings, new and exciting artists, such as One Desire. I cannot wait to see what they have in mind for the following year!

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Honorable Mentions:

You know, I had to draw the line somewhere because we cannot go on like this for ages, unfortunately. You just saw my top10 favorite albums of 2017 but I couldn’t just end the publication like this because there are so many more rock releases that caught my attention and conquered my playlists. Yes, the following albums were not included in my Top10 2017 releases, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the musical qualities and strengths needed in an album to be in a such list. I deeply encourage my readers to pay attention to the following titles and in case some of them went off your radar, there’s always a chance to come back and check them out.

Remember…when it comes to good music, years are irrelevant. Whether it’s 1982 or 1997 or 2017,


 

Europe – Walk the Earth

europe

Lynch Mob – The Brotherhood

lynch mob

Revolution Saints – Light in the Dark

Revolution Saints Cover - Frontiers

Warrant – Louder, Harder and Faster

Warrant - Louder Harder Faster (2017)

Thunder – Rip it Up

rip-it-up-thunder

Pink Cream 69 – Headstrong

pink cream 69

Bigfoot – Bigfoot

bigfoot bigfoot album

Steelheart – Through Worlds of Stardust

steelheart cover - frontiers

Pretty Boy Floyd – Public Enemies

pretty boy floyd public enemies

Sweet & Lynch – Unified

sweet and lynch

Tokyo Motor First – Tokyo Motor First

tokyo motor first

Lionville – A World of Fools

lionville a world of fools


The publication expresses my personal opinion on what some of the best rock releases of 2017 are, according to personal preferences and ideas. I am in noway is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment. Rock On!

Album Recommendations: DEXTRESS’ Self-Titled 2017 Debut Album

I’ve always been fascinated by the fateful circumstances under which music finds its way into people’s lives. As a rock music blogger, reviewer and most importantly enthusiast you can imagine how many albums I get to listen and experience on a daily basis. Every once in a while, one way or another, I come across a band that create an instantaneous “Wow, who the hell are those guys?” effect and when this happens, I just can’t let it pass through me without showing the much deserved respect and appreciation.

This is exactly the reason why we are here. Some time ago I was, thankfully, introduced to a Canadian hard rock band named Dextress. The four guys immediately grabbed my attention with their appearance, rawness and intriguing musical goals. I don’t really have a habit of listening to newer bands who are somehow trying to recreate or follow the original ’80s sound but what I heard from Dextress definitely changed my mind and made me rethink the whole “young bands don’t know how to rock” situation. Dextress are obviously armed with enthusiasm and hungry for the stage. I say you give them the chance they deserve and see what I’m talking about.

20171130_055034We are here to also talk about their self-titled debut album – “Dextress” which is certainly an album worth discovering. The release presents a well-thought of playlist that basically consist of one solid punch after another. The moment you start absorbing the album, you are bound to fall for vocalist Jackson Taylor’s distinctive vocal delivery which just can’t but sharpen your ears. At first listen, I got that Mark Slaughter vibe here and there which further boosted my interest in the album. Guitarist Mark Janz is completing the picture in a stylish manner with stunning guitar solos, making him perfectly capable of standing on his own two feet against some of the bigger names who debuted at his age back in the day. I still cannot believe that so much thought and passion hides inside such young minds. 

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Me, holding Dextress’ debut album! I’m so happy to add it to my precious collection!

Let’s talk songs! It’s all just one big bowl of beautiful mess, mixed with attitude, roughness and of course – tons and tons of good mood. The song I would most definitely recommend to a first-time listener is “Sex, Drugs, Rock N’ Roll” which to someone who is not so familiar with the genre, might sound as if it was released 30 years ago. YES! That’s exactly the beauty of it. The pace, the hard-hitting power chords, the screams – it’s all there for you to experience! “Wild is the Night” is probably their most signature song, standing out with its mighty intro that grabs you by the throat from the very first second. Speaking of mighty intros, “Distance” is the one song on the album that would take the award for the most compelling intro. Don’t even get me started on those enchanting riffs!

Final verdict: Looking for a new band to invest your time in? Look no further. I know Canadians can rock so no surprises there; but the way those youngsters play with your sense of time and entirely take you out of your comfort zone is almost unreal. I highly recommend you guys have a listen and definitely make sure you remember their name – big things will be happening, I just know it!

Check out some of my favorite songs:

“Sex, Drugs, Rock N’ Roll”

“Wild is the Night”

“Distance”

“Red Eye Remedy”

 

Follow Dextress on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dextressband/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DextressBand
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dextressband/

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

Top3 NOVEMBER Hard Rock Releases (PINK CREAM 69, SWEET & LYNCH and JEFF SCOTT SOTO)

The second half of 2017 is certainly far more prolific and musically mind-blowing than the first half and what happened the past 2 months only is an indicator enough for what I’m saying. October and November became my two most favorite hard rock months of 2017 and there’s plenty of reasons why! Europe, Autograph, L.A. Guns, Sons of Apollo, Revolution Saints and BigFoot rocked October and this November I was entirely captivated by rock acts such as Sweet & Lynch, Jeff Scott Soto and Sweet Cream 69. Those three titles stood out the most to me due to impeccable musical qualities which I wanna talk about about a bit more and explain why you just gotta instantaneously grab your copy in case you haven’t done it yet! I also included two of my favorite songs from each album and yes they are a Must Listen!


Pink Cream 69 – Headstrong

pink cream 69

I’ve been a fan of Pink Cream 69 since the first time I heard “One Size Fits All” back in the day. No surprises here, I’m sure you are all well aware of my musical tastes! So, when I heard that the German rockstars are back with a brand new album, you can imagine how thrilled I was. You know what? This album also marks the 30th anniversary since the formation of the band, making things so much more exciting! The fire, the fury, the joy …it’s all coming out of this fantastic hard rock gem that made me and I’m sure many other fans out there scream “WOW” right from the opening track. Speaking of that opening track, “We Bow to None” perfectly describes the album – “there’s a fire spreading out across the land and the situation’s getting out of hand”; the name of that fire is “Headstrong” and yes, once you experience the album, the situation will surely get out of hand. “Path of Destiny” is a speedy, thunderous 5-minute long adventure that might turn into your new favorite heavy metal gem!

“We Bow to None”

“Path of Destiny”


Sweet & Lynch – Unified

sweet and lynch

Michael Sweet of Stryper and legendary guitar player George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) once again teamed up for a phenomenal follow up to their 2015 debut album “Only to Rise” which by the way I still play quite often. “Unified” does differentiate a little bit from the debut release but certainly in a very good way. The duo sound more fearless, experimental and it looks and sounds as if it’s now or never for those guys! We all know the kind of vocalist Michael Sweet is so no need for me to remind you of his outstanding voice; George Lynch … do I have to say more? Whatever he does, he does it with style, the very heavy kind of! Michael’s talents are unquestionable; however it’s the thrilling, pleasingly disturbing riffs of George Lynch I came here for! “Promised Land” was love at first listen – the band is taking the listener to a new direction, further away from our expectations for this album …and that’s the best thing! “Walk” is my other favorite – a very interesting song, mixing many different vocal and sound techniques and keeping the listener involved in the song till the very end. “Tired and True” is a ballad that you should certainly check out – it just fits perfectly!

“Promised Land”

“Walk”


Jeff Scott Soto – Retribution

jeff scott soto

It has been a busy year for one of my most beloved musicians of all time – Jeff Scott Soto. In October we were totally mesmerized by Sons Of Apollo’s Psychotic Symphony and a month later, he once again penetrated our fragile rock harts with a solo release, titled “Retribution”. Nothing but praises and fascination for this album and I’m not just saying it because it’s Jeff freakin Scott Soto; I’m saying it because obviously tons of work, heart and passion have been put in the making of this album. He sounds as confident as ever and his music is as good as ever. I was prepared for something like this from the veteran rockstar and it’s all here – heavy melodic rock, epic vocal culminations, striking lyrics and excellent fiery solos. “Feels Like Forever” is my instant stand-out though it’s not necessarily the highlight of “Retribution” (it’s just that I love way too much!). It’s an emotional ballad that just shines brighter than a star! The title song is another track you just gotta pay attention to; if you crank that track up, you will electrify your entire neighborhood, that’s for certain! I’m loving the riffs, the progressive touches and of course, Soto being Soto with…his one of a kind VOICE!

“Feels Like Forever”

“Retribution”

 


References:
Album artworks, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/
P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

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

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

“Hurt”

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

“Apologize”

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

“Falling Apart”

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

“Turn Back Time”

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

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

Final Verdict:

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

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

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

References:
Album artwork and Band Photo, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/
P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

Concert Experience: SAINTED SINNERS & IAN PAICE @ Diana Hall, Yambol, Bulgaria (28/10/2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

backstage pass - ian paice yambolI think about this rock&roll weekend I had with Sainted Sinners and Ian Paice and I still cannot fully process what happened to me and how lucky I was to be there and have this life-changing experience. I’ve been to so many rock concerts, of all shapes, styles and sizes, but this was the first time I got the chance to have the “insider’s look” and closely witness how hard but immensely rewarding it is for artists, crew and everyone involved in an event to put everything together and deliver it to the beloved fans who came to support them.

me and alessandroIt was an honor to be invited backstage by the versatile musical genius Alessandro Del Vecchio and sit down and talk to him about the current situation of the music industry (stay tuned for the full interview on my blog, coming up pretty soon). Getting this opportunity was certainly the highlight of my career as a music blogger and will forever cherish the memories and insights I gained; Not just that, but I cannot wait to share everything with my devoted readers.

The concert was held at Sports Diana Hall in Yambol, Bulgaria. Despite Yambol being one of the small cities in Bulgaria, the 2,000+ people that ended up showing was no surprise. Legendary drummer Ian Paice, along with the supergroup Sainted Sinners who are composed of top-notch musicians, including lead guitarist Frank Pané, vocalist David Reece, drummer Berci Hirleman, bass guitarist Malte Frederik Burkert and guest keyboardist/vocalist Alessandro Del Vecchio are certainly a solid reason for fans to gather up for a night of pure rock&roll!

I’ve been to many sound-checks but as I said, this was the first time I’ve witnessed something of this calibre. The preparations and the level of precision and dedication from the band and crew were admirable and equally pleasing to watch as the show that came later on. I expected nothing but professionalism and great attitude from all the rockstars on that stage and believe me, that’s the only way they handled everything.

soundcheck sainted sinners and ian

backstage 2

Backstage photos with David AndNadia Reece & Malte Frederik Burkert. Both were incredibly kind and sweet. I especially enjoyed talking to Malte who by the way puts to shame any lady out there with his gorgeous hair. 

Me and Frank Pané . Had the chance to tell him that Bonfire‘s “Byte the Bullet” is in my Top3 albums of 2017 so far! He was so happy to hear it!

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The Before…

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& the after…

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Right before the show; Proud of everyone who contributed to this concert and the lovely audience!

Everyone was thrilled to see Ian Paice rock the hell out of those drums, just like he’s been doing for the past 50 years or so. The first time I saw him, he immediately said hi to me and moved on to the stage for soundcheck; I will never forget how natural the encounter was. I met him after the concert as well, took a photo with him and got his autograph! What a memory. I mean, we are talking about a founding member of one of the most legendary and history-defining bands of all time – Deep Purple. Seeing him at this shape, despite being 70 years old is inspiring and I was blessed to once again this year be in his presence (I went to Deep Purple’s concert in Sofia, Bulgaria this past May too). He did a splendid job and it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves in the company of this legend.

me and ian
Me and the legend! It was an honor to meet him!

Don’t you even get me started on Sainted Sinners. This was the first time I watched them live and I had the time of my life. I knew that David Reece was going to tear down the place with his vocals and he did it, believe me. The stage dynamics were a beautiful thing to experience. I loved the energy and interaction between the members, as well as the way they portrayed their style in front of the Bulgarian audience. The concert was divided into two parts – first part was with Sainted Sinners, mixing golden oldies and newly released music. The second part was with Ian Paice and it exclusively featured Deep Purple’s strongest hits, like “Stormbringer”, “Burn”, “Highway Star”, etc. The concert was quite long and at one point I could feel that I’m no longer 20 as my back started hurting from so much dancing and jumping around.  

Some of my favorite moments include Alessandro Del Vecchio taking over the mic for a beautiful cover of Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”. Just listen to his powerful vocals, I was entirely mindblown by how good of a live performer he is.

The setlist included timeless classics like this and more, even AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, performed by Frank Pané‘s wife Lydia was on the table. Another memorable moment for me was Sainted Sinners performing the highly energizing “We Are All Sainted Sinners” which was the point where I realized I won’t be having my voice on the next day (and yes, it was gone). You know how much I love Bonfire so seeing Frank Pané live in action was a dream becoming true. The guy is effortlessly stunning as a guitarist – he just barely touches that signature polka dots guitar as if it’s a feather and the ground starts shaking. Malte Burkert was something else – his youthful, playful but passionate presence on that stage make me drop my jaw a few times.

stage photo 1

concert photo 2

concert photo 3

on stage

concert photo 4

crowd 2

frank

concert photo 5

For the second part of the concert, as I’ve already mentioned, drummer Ian Paice joined Sainted Sinners and put us all into his back pocket. What a musician! I especially loved when the band played “Burn” – a pivotal moment for the evening. There’s a video but you can hear me sing my guts out so I think I will keep it to myself for now. 

concert photo 6

ian 1

Check this out! He is unbelievable – drumming as if he was a 20-year old…

The grand finale!

DNSbc1GWkAAWVka.jpg large

final 3

Happiness…my face says it all! I was part of a historical concert and thank everyone who made it happen! Cheers to more!


P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

New Album Recommendations: Sons of Apollo – “Psychotic Symphony” (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Ready for a big hardcore punch that will inevitably lead to enormous satisfaction both mental and physical. I’ve always said that the best kind of music is the one that affects both your brain and body and results in the ultimate eargasm. This album right here is the kind of album you gotta listen to if you just want to be transferred to a different dimension and really want to be taken out of your comfort musical zone!

Sons of Apollo is no joke. Don’t expect any sentimental radio-oriented tracks or cheesy pop rock statements. “Psychotic Symphony” is a meaningful, highly sophisticated piece of progressive metal, packed with A-to-Z qualities, including flaming guitar solos, mind-crushing vocals and of course – fierce synthesizers, aiding to that modern-day feel.

I’ve been a fan of Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force, etc.) since forever and I know that whatever he does, he does it with passion and confidence and this album is no exception. With respect to everyone who got involved in this project, his vocals are in my opinion the heart and soul of “Psychotic Symphony” and the reason why I’m here, talking about it. He is a monster-vocalist and I bet you don’t need me to convince you otherwise.

sons of apolloI won’t go into details about the album because for a first time in a while I’ve been left speechless. “God of the Sun” is one of my favorite openers this year; the 11-minute tornado of a song is a clear highlight and how can it not be with that speed, intensity and lyrics (another Greek-inspired theme). “Sings of the Times” is my ultimate number 1 song from this release – that intro knocked my socks off (it’s my new ringtone by the way). You can’t have an album like this one without an instrumental now can you? But then again, “Opus Maximus” is not your ordinary instrumental. Good luck stopping it once you hit the play! “Alive” and “Lost in Oblivion” are pure madness! I am absolutely in love with the way the playlist was crafted – it’s all very well thought of and every song has its own place, contributing to the overall atmosphere of the album. I mean, you can just consider it as one song, actually; it’s indeed a progressive metal album but there’s just so much more to it than that – it’s progressive, it’s classic, it’s hard, it’s loud! What a punch in the face! Guitars are stunning too – Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is the king of the explosive riff and guitar culminations on this one! 

I have to say – this genre is not my cup of tea and I don’t play it on a daily basis but you know – there are rules to every exception and my exception is “Psychotic Symphony”. Grab your copy now!

 

“Sings of the Times”

“Coming Home”

“Lost in Oblivion”

 

Tracklist:

  1. God of The Sun
  2. Coming Home
  3. Signs of the Time
  4. Labyrinth
  5. Alive
  6. Lost In Oblivion
  7. Figaro’s Whore
  8. Divine Addiction
  9. Opus Maximus

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.

L.A. GUNS – “The Missing Peace” Album Review (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

I didn’t have the chance to grow up in the ’80s and experience that magical, flamboyant, so attractive to me hard rock scene that forever changed the music industry but with albums like “The Missing Peace”, young fans like myself can get a pretty good taste of those old-school vibes, presented in a modern-day environment. I am still mindblown by the authenticity of L.A. Guns‘ new album and the tasteful manner in which such energetic, a bit forceful and instantly-consuming Sunset Strip-staple hard rock music was delivered to the audience of 2017. It took me just one listen from start to finish to realize that what we have right here might be one of the best representations of how to sustain your original sound that made you famous back in the day and still stay musically-current even 30 years later. 

So many long-overdue reunions have been happening this past year and many rock music enthusiasts, including myself have placed L.A. Guns’ comeback as one of the most anticipated ones in their fan books. It has been, after all, 5 years since their last album, “Hollywood Forever” and not to mention almost 30 years since the release of their famous self-titled debut album that sky-rocketed their name and career. No need to yet again talk about their past and remind everyone of how and why those guys are relevant and deserve recognition – their solid trace speaks for themselves. What is important to know is that L.A. Guns’ glorious reunion happened and is once again, after over a decade, in the capable hands of the winning songwriting team of guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Philip Lewis. I was so looking forward to their new collaboration and as obvious, they still have it, they still rock it, they still conquer it! One of the things that immediately strike you as you go on song after song on “The Missing Peace” is the aura of the album and the way it makes you feel – the guys have found a way to revive a classic sound, hit it as hard as ever and bring it to us with all their might, strengthened by modern-day technologies. The 12-song album was released on October 13, 2017, via Frontiers Music Srl and is yet another important piece of the puzzle I’ve been talking about for so long – there’s a hard rock renaissance and Frontiers, along with hard-working classic rock bands like L.A. Guns are the main players. What a time to be alive!

Let’s talk music – we are here because of it, after all. Each track on “The Missing Peace” has the potential of finding a place on your list of favorite songs because they all are doing justice to both the genre and the band. The album kicks things off with “It’s All the Same To Me” – a classic hard rock punch, taken right out the streets of Sunset Strip. Philip Lewis is showcasing perfect vocal progression and unbelievable match between vocals, melody, rhythm, guitars and every other little thing that makes this song so good. The follow-up track, “Speed” is …well the title says it all – the entire song is a bundle of energy and just what you needed in your life right now. “Baby Gotta Fever”, along with “The Devil Made Me Do It” are topping my list of favorite songs from this album. Both represent what I’m looking for in a rock&roll experience – catchy choruses, melody, rhythm and of course, brilliant vocal delivery. Not to mention that those two songs, especially “The Devil Made Me Do It”, are “so ‘80s” and that in my book is an absolute WIN! The enslaving “Christine” – a strategic mid-point, placed there to calm your spirits and demonstrate how well the band can craft not only crazy rockers but soothing softer pieces. The rough “Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight” was another one of my “love-at-first-listen” tracks that won me with that dangerous L.A. Guns trademark sound it carries.

“The Missing Peace” is something that was truly missing in today’s rock&roll scene; I’ve been waiting for an album with that extra danger, extra roughness and that beloved ’80s attitude for so long and now when it’s finally here, I just can’t get enough of it. Production is top-notch and the reaction from the audience speaks louder than my words.

Check out the tracks and share your thoughts and opinions on L.A. Guns‘ terrific comeback in the comment section below:


“Baby Gotta Fever”

“Speed”

“Christine”

TRACKLIST

It’s All The Same To Me
Speed
A Drop Of Bleach
Sticky Fingers
Christine
Baby Gotta Fever
Kill It Or Die
Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gunfight
The Flood’s The Fault Of The Rain
The Devil Made Me Do It
The Missing Peace
Gave It All Away

Philip Lewis – Vocals
Tracii Guns – Guitars
Johnny Martin – Bass
Michael Grant – Guitar
Shane Fitzgibbon – Drums


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5409
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: 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.

October 2017 Rock Music Highlights

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

You thought September was a strong rock&roll month? Well, I have some news for you, guys – October is going to be even more mind-blowing! There are just so many great stuff to watch out for this month and I don’t even know where to begin with!! From legends, like Europe, to new generations of hard rockstars, like Dextress, the fall season kicks in with a blast and waits for you to experience it. I am pleasantly surprised at the numerous comebacks this year and it seems like many of those well-known bands chose October as their “comeback month”. For example, Autograph who are releasing their first full-length album since their official reunion a few years ago; veterans Europe are here with their eleventh studio album “Walk the Earth” which I think will absolutely demolish every heart and chart out there. I am very very excited for the debut album of progressive metal supergroup Sons of Apollo which formed earlier this year. Don’t you even get me started on Revolution Saints which I think has every chance of becoming one of the best melodic rock albums this year. If you thought that it’s all about comebacks and old-school hard rock you are wrong. I was so happily surprised by Canadian hard rock band Dextress, composed of four immensely talented guys my age!! There is still hope for the future and when you play their debut album you will get what I’m saying. Who says younger generations of hard rock bands don’t know a thing?

This and so much more…

I have gathered a list of albums that I cannot wait to get my hands on and which I firmly believe will pleasantly surprise rock music fans from all over the world. Let me show you~


Dextress Dextress (06/10/2017)

dextress - album art


Bigfoot – Bigfoot (13/10/2017)

bigfoot bigfoot album


L.A. Guns – The Missing Peace (13/10/2017)

la guns


Revolution Saints – Light In The Dark (13/10/201)

Revolution Saints Cover - Frontiers


Europe – Walk the Earth (20/10/2017)

europe


Autograph – Get Off Your Ass (6/10/2017)

Autograph – Get Off Your Ass


Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony (20/10/2017)

sons of apollo


Robert Plant – Carry Fire (13/10/2017)

robert plant new album


Whitesnake – Whitesnake: 30th Anniversary Edition (06/10/2017)

whitesnake 30

 


References:
Album artworks retrieved from
http://teamrock.com/news/2017-07-27/europe-announce-new-album-walk-the-earth /

https://www.amazon.com/Get-Off-Your-Ass-AUTOGRAPH/dp/B071XHWSHB / http://www.frontiers.it /
https://www.insideoutshop.de/Item/Sons_Of_Apollo_-_Psychotic_Symphony_-Standard_CD_Jewelcase-/16368 /
http://www.nme.com/news/music/robert-plant-announces-new-album-carry-fire-and-uk-tour-2126046 /
https://www.amazon.com/Whitesnake-20th-Anniversary-1987-2007-WHITESNAKE/dp/B000NOKERM
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: Steelheart – Through Worlds of Stardust (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

 “You Got Me Twisted”

Is there anything worthy and meaningful you can possibly say after hearing such song? Well, it’s great if you can, because I am having difficulties with turning the whole spectrum of emotions and feelings I have towards this glorious track and album into words. I will try my best, though, because Steelheart‘s “Through Worlds of Stardust” is an enormous contribution to the powerful rock music scene of 2017 and because it’s THAT good! I had high expectations and I think the majority of rock fans throughout the world had them too; that’s why when “Through Worlds of Stardust” was released and it shattered my world to its grounds, I was able to feel that sweet sweet relief and scream to everyone “I told you so!”

Rockstar veteran and one of the most powerful and praised voices of rock music Miljenko Matijevic is back with a brand-new release, proving that you can never put out a fire in a heart burning with so much determination and courage. Mili – the soul of Steelheart has been through a lot – we almost lost him during that well-known Halloween night and the horrific accident that took place. Fortunately for the world, he rose from the ashes and with him, a revived version of Steelheart that penetrated the music world with a mighty rock&roll punch and is here to stay. The future belongs to Steelheart!

steelheart cover - frontiersSpeaking of future, “Through Worlds of Stardust” does really sound like it was made in another dimension, somewhere in 2020. I mean, I do really like to use the term “modern-day rock” but that saying can’t really do much justice to this album. Yes, it’s edgy, it’s heavy, mighty, versatile and it combines all the necessary old and new elements to captivate any generations of fans, however I feel like it carries a sound that will echo in the years to come and will remain memorable, current and stylish after 5, 10 and more years. In that sense, what Steelheart crafted can be referred as timeless – an adjective I don’t really use that much these days for current releases. That should tell you something.

I honestly see myself listening to songs like “You Got Me Twisted” in 10 years for example because that kind of power and spirit in a piece of music is something that just sticks with you. The song is pure manifestation of Mili‘s vocal capabilities and musical skills, allowing him to put emotions and feelings into sounds. I’m praising the music video and his obvious dedication to this project – just look at him pouring his heart all out on those choruses. I will jump right into the orchestrated ballad, “Lips of Rain”, which was love-at-first-listen for me. The melody gently touches your soul and reminds you that only beautiful music like this can make us feel alive. The opening track “Stream Line Savings” brings me back to the ’70s with that heavy Led Zeppelin feel. Definitely a solid opener with unique ups and downs, keeping the listener on edge till the very end. I love how Mili just comes in, fills in the room with passion and confidence and by the end of the song you are still trying to collect the jaw you dropped on the floor. On “My Dirty Girl” you learn how rock screams can entirely transform your musical experience and how they should be done the right way in a rock song! “My Dirty Girl” is full of attitude and rock&roll spirit – the kind of song you just need in your life! “My Word” is referred to as one of the highlights according to many fans and critics and I can totally relate. The sound is very contemporary; drums, vocals, riffs – they all instantly grab you by the throat before you even know it.

Final verdict: “Through Worlds of Stardust” is an album overcoming many challenges – challenges of the mind, body and soul and most importantly, of time. With so many songs being released at any given second, imagine how hard it would be for an artist to stand out and craft something that would stand against the test of time, digitization and the constant rotation of millions and millions of new tracks!? Thankfully, Steelheart, led by Mili have what it takes to make an album that just stands out from the crowd and offers gems for your personal playlist that will never ever get old. I highly enjoyed it and recommend it to music lovers who are ready for something serious and real for the long term.

“Got Me Runnin'”

“Come Inside”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5403
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.