In 1985, RATT Avoided the Sophomore Slump With “Invasion of Your Privacy”

First impressions are extremely important, especially for an artist! Debut albums can either make or break your career. Releasing a smashingly successful first album, however, also means that all eyes and ears will be pointed at you, waiting impatiently for your next big step. A follow-up to a great debut, however, can turn into quite the formidable task. Many bands have failed; the results can be devastating and even career-ending. That wasn’t the case with Ratt, though, at least in my humble opinion.

ratt 1

coverIn 1984, Ratt threw one hell of a coming out party with “Out of the Cellar” – an album that not only got certified triple platinum by RIAA but it also turned Ratt into a household name on the glam metals scene of LA. Classic heavy metal staples, like the monstrous “Round and Round”, “Wanted Man” and “Communication Breakdown” brought nothing but fame and recognition to the five talented rockstars. One listen from start to finish would give you a clear idea of why this album turned into such a huge sensation, surpassing the releases of even bigger names, such as Motley Crue.

None of Ratt’s future releases were able to compete with “Out of the Cellar” in terms of commercial success or influence. Nevertheless, their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of your Privacy” was still a worthy comeback, full of energy and passion that cannot be overlooked. With powerful, mind-crushing hard rock tornadoes, like “You’re In Love”, “Lay it Down” or “Give it All”, “Invasion of Your Privacy” and of course, Ratt, deserve nothing but praises and respect for all the good time they guarantee you!


ratt invasion of your privacy album coverIn 1985, Ratt once again followed the well-established “Out of the Cellar” formula for success, including top notch glossy production qualities, out-of-this world riffs and of course, the suggestive lyrics. “Invasion of Your Privacy” didn’t create an explosion as big as the first album did, however the sophomore release managed to do one quite essential thing – it strengthened Ratt’s position as one of the most exciting glam rockers of the age. Moreover, the music videos for “Lay it Down” and “You’re in Love” were constantly aired on MTV, which further boosted Ratt’s high standing on the competitive LA hard rock scene of the ‘80s.

Ratt welcomed back producer Beau Hill, who worked with big names like Alice Cooper and plenty other glam rockers of the mid/late-80s music scene, such as Warrant and Winger.  Beau Hill, together with vocalist Stephen Pearcy, guitarists and songwriter Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, bass player Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer came up with a competent playlist of songs, full of entertaining hooks and playful lyrics.

The riff-cantered “You’re In Love” is a thrilling opener with an iconic Music Video which I’m sure many of you guys still remember from the good old-days of MTV. The choruses are brilliant and the overall sexy vibe of the song makes things so much interesting – you just can’t wait to experience it all. “Lay it Down” and “What You Give is What You Get” – the other two singles are simply two more shots of adrenaline with great verses and powerful melodies. I can’t begin expressing my satisfaction with Stephen Pearcy’s well-matched vocal delivery; that slick pop/heavy metal fusion that Ratt became famous for, couldn’t have been accompanied by a better-fitting vocalist. “Between the Eyes” is a hidden gem; “Got Me on the Line” is a personal favorite – a song I can play all day long and nod my head at least a dozen times with the catchy rhythms! “Closer to My Heart” is Ratt’s attempt at a power ballad or at least at a song, designed to cool things off for a while. It’s a splendid, if not one of the most splendid gems that came out of “Invasion of Your Privacy”.  

Final verdict: Ratt avoided the “sophomore slump” with grace. “Invasion of Your Privacy” is pure ‘80s glam metal, presented in all its greatness – both visual and sonic (mostly sonic, of course). Shame if you don’t have this album in your collection. It’s most certainly one of my favorite follow-up albums and my favorite Ratt album as a whole. Enjoy!

“You’re In Love”

“Lay It Down”

“Closer to My Heart”

“What You Give is What You Get”

…Or you can listen to the entire album here:


References:
“Invasion of Your Privacy” by Ratt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Your_Privacy
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~

BONFIRE – “Byte The Bullet” Album Review

German rockers BONFIRE are back 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, replacing David Reece. Bonfire’s previous album “Glorious” (2015) was a phenomenal hard rock tornado and David was surely a great fit for the band; however things once again turned upside down for Bonfire as they were left with no lead singer. Frequent lineup changes and turbulent periods are part of any rock band’s history, so no surprises there. What’s in the past, however, stays in the past. It was time to look forward to the future and there’s no better way to do it than hire a fantastic new singer and focus on creating something as impressive as “Byte the Bullet”.

Bonfire_Byte_the_bullet

The 7-minute opening track, “Power Train” is setting up the mood with its long, quite mysterious intro. Alexx’ staggering vocals, which by the way can’t be a better match for the band’s sound, are captivating us right from the beginning. You thought the first tune was mind-blowing? Wait till you hear what comes next! “Stand Up 4 Rock” is one of the most empowering rockers I’ve heard this year so far. “Praying 4 A Miracle”, “Byte the Bullet”, “Reach for the Sky” – just a few of the other crunchy, melodic metal forces that just beg to be played live. Jethro Tull’s classic “Locomotive Breath” is a lengthy, immensely spirited rock statement, featuring an intriguing piano intro and out-of-this-world guitar work. They surely did justice to it, though nothing can beat the original, at least in my humble opinion. “Sweet Surrender” grabbed my attention right from the very first listen and quickly turned into a personal favorite. To me this tune represents the best of both worlds – it has a sensual, romantic side, perfectly incorporated in those mind-blowing heavy metal rhythms. “Lonely Nights” is the ballad of the year – it breaks my heart every time I play it but I always allow it; when a song affects your emotions that much, you understand that there’s indeed something real right here and the music is worth it.

You may guess what my final verdict might be – “Byte The Bullet” is a strong release, worthy of every second of your time you’ll spend on it! Those 14 tracks (excluding that crazy 50-second German recording “Friedensreich”) are bringing so much to the table. 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, this album might be the best pick for you! Enjoy it!

Released: March 24, 2017
Genre: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Melodic Metal
Label: UDR Music

Tracklist:

Power Train
Stand UP 4 Rock
Praying 4 a Miracle
Some Kinda Evil
Lonely Nights
Byte the Bullet
Locomotive Breath (Jethro Tull Cover)
Reach for the Sky
Sweet Surrender
Friedensreich
InstruMetal
Too Far From Heaven
Without You
Sweet Obsession

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“Power Train”

“Praying 4 A Miracle”

“Locomotive Breath”

“Sweet Obsession”

“Lonely Nights”


References:
Bonfire Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonfire_(band)
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~

NIGHT RANGER – “Don’t Let Up” Album Review

One of the most anticipated releases of 2017 is finally here. The house of old-school rock, a.k.a Frontiers Music, is once again behind the comeback of yet another household name with a long and prolific 35-year-old career, spawning some of rock’s biggest classics, including “Sister Christian”, “Goodbye”, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “When You Close Your Eyes”. Yes, I’m talking about Night Ranger, of course – the renowned San Franciscan arena rockers, who sold over 17 million albums worldwide and held over 3,000 concerts! Needless to say, those numbers speak for themselves!

Night Ranger reached for the stars in the ‘80s and the results were both solid and lasting. The guys called it quits in 1989, however American and especially Japanese audiences wanted their rangers back! Here we are now, 12 albums later, still going as strong as ever, introducing the genre to whole new generations and adding more and more fans to the ever-growing worldwide fanbase! Night Ranger are back with a refreshing 12th album, featuring original members Jack Blades, Kelly Keagy and Brad Gillis, together with keyboardist Eric Levy and guitarist Keri Kelli. “Don’t Let Up” is exciting, positive and all in all, the perfect album to welcome the new spring season of 2017! Night Ranger are way beyond that “nostalgia act” label they are often given. To me, “Don’t Let Up” is an unquestionable proof that the guys are still relevant and they have yet many songs to write and many musical mountains to conquer before the world decides to forget them.

dont let up night ranger 1

The best thing about “Don’t Let Up” is the natural flow of the tracklist – songs seem to be pleasantly connected and each is building up the mood and adding more to that stimulating, thirst-quenching melodic rock aura of the album. At first listen it might be difficult to point out a stand-out song because they all seem quite similar. Still, the opening tune, “Somehow Someway”, along with “Truth” and the title track, “Don’t Let Up” clearly seem to be getting all the thumbs up. The responses on YouTube are clear – fans (me as well) love these encouraging rockers and are ready to hear the rest of it! “Nothing Left of Yesterday” is Night Ranger’s fine attempt at a modern-style power-ballad. “Running Out of Time” is a personal favorite – those catchy, captivating riffs and thunderous drums are making all the difference. Cheers to Jack Blades whose cheerful but powerful vocals made me want to sing and dance in the middle of my living room!

The rest of the album is as good as the songs I chose to mention and definitely worth your time and money! The artwork of “Don’t Let Up” sums it up quite well – every song, featured on the playlist is an exciting race between each musician’s distinctive talents! I was thrilled and had a great time while listening to “Don’t Let Up”. I guarantee you will have a similar experience! Enjoy!

Released: March 24, 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Frontiers Music

Duration: 50:25

Tracklist:

Somehow Someday
Running Out of Time
Truth
Day and Night
Don’t Let Up
(Won’t Be Your) Fool Again
Say What You Want
We Can Work it Out
Comfort Me
Jamie
Nothing Left of Yesterday
We Can Work It Out (Acoustic Version)

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“Truth”

“Comfort Me”

“Somehow Someday”

“Don’t Let Up”

“Day and Night”


References:
“Night Ranger’s Don’t Let Up”: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5359
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~

ATLANTIC’s 1994 “POWER” – A Rare Hard Rock Gem Released Way Too Late

The strong ‘80s hard rock influence could still be felt during the first couple of years of the ‘90s. I often say that 1992 might be the last good year of hard rock music, before grunge stole the time and affection of every little or big media outlet out there. Surprisingly, however, despite the grunge wave that flooded the early ‘90s, good AOR/hard rock releases kept on appearing here and there. If you were a big name in the ‘80s and had a loyal fanbase, you still had the chance to survive the grunge apocalypse; however, throwing a coming out party after 1992 was an absolute suicidal mission. Nevertheless, a few months back I discovered this rare melodic hard rock gem which totally knocked my socks off! At first I thought it was released sometime in the ‘80s – probably the second half of the decade. Then, I saw the year – 1994 and I was both shocked and angry; shocked, because it sounded from another time and angry because it was too good to be out at a time when no one could appreciate its true value! Nevertheless, I am happy that Atlantic’s “Power” found its way to me and introduced me to the instant-favorites, like “Power Over Me”, “Can’t Hold On” and “When The War is Over”.

atlantic1

atlantic power coverIgnoring the provocative and rather unappealing (at least to me) album cover, “Power” has a lot to offer to any fan out there, looking to quench his melodic rock thirst. The British rockers crafted something not so unusual but highly satisfying and definitely worth your time. Led by vocalist and songwriter Phil Bates, who has a long and quite versatile music career, Atlantic hit the AOR market in 1994 with “Power” which unfortunately (though quite predictably) turned out to be their first and last album. Phil went on to do bigger things, including recording songs for famous TV shows and becoming the lead singer of ELO Part II – a spin-off band, formed by Electric Light Orchestra drummer and co-founder Bev Bevan.

Let’s talk a little bit about the highlights of “Power”. Where do I even begin? “It’s Only Love”, “Power Over Me”, “When The War is Over”, “Every Beat of My Heart”, “Can’t Hold On”, “Bad Blood” (and I may as well just write down the entire tracklist) – all showcasing solid AOR power and nothing but talent. I’m a sucker for a good hard rock hook; to me it’s all about the melody and this album right here was made for people like me. “Nothing to Lose” has to be one of my favorite moments from “Power”. Songs like this one put the “power” in a “power ballad”. If only this tune was released as a single during a more suitable time period, I bet it was going to be an absolute radio-sensation. The most famous track to come out of Atlantic‘s debut record has to be “Can’t Hold On” and we shouldn’t be surprised cause it’s the epitome of AOR – synthesizer hooks, melodic riffs, solid-rock sound and of course, a splendid vocal delivery to complete the entire picture!

Final verdict: Enjoy it as much as you can because they don’t make them like this anymore. “Power” is the PERFECT example of a well-made melodic rock record and it’s such a pity that people don’t really remember or listen to it nowadays. It’s not full of timeless classics but it’s full of great mood and impeccable talent! Take a moment of your time to listen to this unfortunate and underrated rock album from start to finish – it might find your next favorite old-school tune somewhere in there, just like I did.


“Power Over Me”

“When The War is Over”

“Can’t Hold On”

I highly recommend you guys listen to the entire album from start to finish:

Release Date: 1994
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Label: Escape Music
Producer(s): Simon Jewel-Harrison & Paul Hoare

Tracklist:

01. Can’t Hold On
02. Every Beat of my Heart
03. Power Over Me
04. When the War is Over
05. Nothing To Lose
06. It’s Only Love
07. Bad Blood
08. Hands of Fate
09. Dangerous Games
10. Hard To Believe
11. Heart’s on Fire (Bonus Track)

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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~

The Story of Bonham’s 1989 Debut,”The Disregard of Timekeeping “

When you are the son of one of the members of probably the biggest rock act out there and carry that colossal family name “Bonham” you don’t really have much of a choice, except to fully embrace that musical spirituality you were born with. As a person who grew up in a family of musicians, I can’t but relate to that – that passion for music and the burning desire to be part of that world are running through your veins and absolutely nothing or no one can change that.

jason-bonham-32Jason Bonham, being born into the big Led Zeppelin family, has been drumming ever since he was a little kid, naturally. At the age of four, he appeared alongside his father on that “little” film, “The Song Remains The Same” and the rest is …one hell of a rock&roll ride! By the age of 17, he was already opening up for AC/DC and Queen with his band Air Force. That should tell you something! Throughout his long and productive career, he has collaborated with major names, such as Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, Foreigner, Sammy Hagar, UFO and many more. He has done a great job and his father would’ve been so proud of him! Excellent drummer, a brilliant songwriter and a dedicated artist who always gave and keeps on giving his all – Jason Bonham is the perfect example of how nothing in life should be taken for granted, even a royal family name. You gotta work twice as hard and make your own path of success!

One of the many outstanding things he did was forming the hard rock band Bonham in 1989. Together with the one-of-a-kind singer Daniel MacMaster, bassist/keyboardist John Smithson and guitarist Ian Hatton, they truly had all the right characteristics to be the next big name in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s rock music scene. For one reason or another, however, the band lasted for about two albums only. Nevertheless, Bonham still enjoyed a certain amount of commercial and chart success, as well as one lengthy tour and of course, tons of radio airplay. Arguably, “The Disregard of Timekeeping” has to be the better album out of the two they released. I thought it’s high time I featured this glorious hard rock typhoon on my blog!

jason-bonham-band1


 

bonham-disregard

Released: 1989
Genre:
Hard Rock / Hair Metal
Duration:
57:00
Label:
Sony Music Entertainment (CBS Records)
Producer(s):
Bob Ezrin

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The Album:

  • “The Disregard of Timekeeping”, the first actual attempt of Jason Bonham to hit it big commercially, became a reality in 1989. The project caused quite the stir among the rock fan communities but it was only natural – the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer was about to unleash a new force to the competitive hair metal musical market and fans just had to see through it all!

    The powerful, instantly recognizable drumming techniques of Jason weren’t going to be enough to carry the weight of the band. Daniel MacMaster – a Canadian-born vocalist (ex-Scorcher) was recruited to complete the picture, along with influential bassist John Smithson and lead guitarist Ian Hatton. The final touches were added by producer Bob Erzin who significantly helped in shaping the band’s distinguishable contemporary sound.

    The Led Zeppelin comparisons were inevitable and immediate. No one expected it to be otherwise. Was it more because of people’s already fixed perceptions of what to expect from the band or because it was actually true, Bonham’s debut album “The Disregard of Timekeeping” does have a part of that Led Zeppelin vibe. Also, is it just me, or Daniel MscMaster does sound a little bit like Robert Plant?

    Daniel’s tenor, in combination with Jason’s drum domination perfected a superb AOR sound, which unfortunately wasn’t good enough for the English audiences. Then again, let’s not forget that that’s exactly what happened with Led Zeppelin back in the day! Bonham’s debut album didn’t even find a spot on the English charts. Canadian and American fans, however, were as always more welcoming and gave the band the chance they deserved. A top 40 position on the Billboard 200 Chart and a top 70 position on the Canadian charts, in addition to hitting the gold RIAA status were just a couple of the outcomes. Successful, never-ending tours with major bands, like Bad Company and The Cult granted them an even more favorable position in the hearts of American audiences.

The Songs:

  • “The Disregard of Timekeeping” spawned two singles, both becoming absolute classics of the genre. The Top-10 song, “Wait for You”, credited to all four members of Bonham, turned into an absolute sensation and probably the biggest hit of their career. To fully experience the magic of “Wait for You”, you have to listen it right after the opening instrumental, which bears the same name as the album. The tune itself was of course, a perfected product of the era, but why would we be mad about it? It’s a catchy, sensual, haunting even rock composition, which despite often forgotten, could easily match any other big title from the era. I am a sucker for rock songs that feature a string section. “Wait for You” does hint a little bit of that epic string feeling but it’s their second single – “Guilty” that truly made me fall in love with that album. It just has it all – a mesmerizing intro, unparalleled vocal delivery by Daniel MacMaster and that soul-demolishing violin solo by bassist John Smithson that is sending me to another dimension.

    “Bringing Me Down” is another highly memorable moment on “The Disregard of Timekeeping”. Perhaps that Led Zeppelin influence is way too obvious on that one, but I can totally forgive and forget about it. “Holding On Forever” and “Don’t Walk Away” are the songs I love to crank up because that’s the only way you can do justice to their captivating, thrilling sound. “Playing to Win” is winning me with its lyrics. “Cross Me and See” is another mid-tempo doze of instant satisfaction. “Just Another Day” is a personal favorite, yet again thanks to that exciting string section which just dances with my soul in a beautiful, shattering rhythm. Symbolically, the album wraps things up with a song, titled “Room for Us All”. We live in a forever-changing world but yes, there’s always a room for talented and spirited artists who do things for the right reasons.

What followed next?

  • The perks of that newfound glory, included a busy rockstar lifestyle, lengthy tours and tons of pressure, coming from all directions and people. New management, along with drug and alcohol problems were just a couple of the obstacles, Bonham had to deal with. Vocalist Daniel MacMaster even said that he never wanted to sing again – he was that mortified by the music industry.

    mad-hatter-bDespite all, in 1992, however, Bonham did come back with a sophomore album, titled “Mad Hatter”. Unfortunately, the album wasn’t even half as successful as the debut one was. On top of it all, it was 1992 –people were shifting their preferences towards the big grunge movement which eventually wiped out hard rock acts, including Bonham. Nevertheless, I still consider the sophomore album as a solid effort; definitely not as good as the first one and obviously the band was trying hard to distance themselves from that Led Zeppelin-influenced sound, but still, I give it full points.
    Jason Bonham is still as active as ever, mostly occupied with his Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience project, touring all over North America.

 

RIP Daniel MacMaster (July 11, 1968 – March 16, 2008)

daniel


Guilty

Wait for You

Bringing Me Down

Don’t Walk Away


References:
“Bonham” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonham_(band)
“The Disregard of Timekeeping” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Disregard_of_Timekeeping
+ Information about the album, referenced from the CD Booklet I own

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

Cheers~

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

slaughter-stick-it-to-ya

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

slaughter-stick-it-to-ya-3

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OVERVIEW

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

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

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


Up All Night

Fly to the Angels

Spend My Life

Mad About You


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

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

helix-long-way

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

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OVERVIEW

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

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

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


Long Way to Heaven

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

House on Fire

Deep Cuts the Knife

Christine

…or listen to the entire album here:


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

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

heavens-edge-1990-debut

HEAVEN’S EDGE

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

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OVERVIEW

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

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

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


Find Another Way

Skin to Skin

Hold On To Tonight

…or listen to the entire album here:

Tracklist:

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


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

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

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

Background:

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

Themes and Songs:

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

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

“Liar”

“Queen in Love”

“Crying”

“Fire”

Album Artwork:

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

trilogy2

What Followed Next?

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

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

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

[’80s Rock Album Focus] STRANGEWAYS – Native Sons (1987)

strangeways-native-sons

NATIVE SONS

Released: 1987
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 44:52
Label: Hangdog Records / Majestic Rock Records (2006)
Producer(s): John Punter

native-sons-back-and-front

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

In 1987, the British-American AOR/Melodic rock band Strangeways released arguably their finest work, titled “Native Sons”. The follow-up to their respectable 1984 eponymous debut also proved that the right singer can make all the difference in the world. Original vocalist Tony Liddell was replaced with Terry Brock – a renowned back-up singer for some of the biggest names of the era, including Foreigner and Journey. What followed after he stepped in as the new frontman, could easily be described as pure musical magic. “Native Sons” is a brilliant melodic rock record that guarantees you nothing but delight and feelings of great pleasure.  The album carries all the best genre elements of the era, including colourful keyboards, splendid guitar playing and glittering hooks. Add Terry’s powerful vocals, the edgy hard-rock vibe and the A-level songwriting and you end up with a melodic treasure that could effortlessly stand on its own two feet against the big AOR titles of the late ‘80s.

If AOR/melodic rock runs through your blood, this might be the right album for you. Kicking things off with the playful but classy tune “Dance With Somebody”, “Native Sons” properly sets the mood for the remarkable things that are about to come. The mellow rocker “Only a Fool” is another track that stands out with its gorgeous melody and touching lyrics. Terry Brock’s spirited vocal delivery could easily turn this song into your next favorite ballad. “Empty Streets” is unquestionably the hidden pearl of “Native Sons” and one of the finest AOR gems I have ever heard in my life. The high-powered guitars, heated up by Terry’s fiery vocals give me thrills every time I play it. “Where Do We Go From Here”, “Stand Up and Shout” and “Never Gonna Lose it” are just a couple of the other warm and powerful 100% AOR-authentic masterpieces you can find on “Native Sons”.

“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish – play any song from the tracklist and you get a melodic rock classic and a couple of minutes in rock paradise. I can’t recommend this album enough. Strangeways’ junior album “Walk In The Fire” (1989) is what you should get next, after “Native Sons”!
Cheers to great music!

 

Tracklist:

“Dance With Somebody” – 4:26
“Only a Fool” – 4:42
“So Far Away” – 4:57
“Where Do We Go From Here” – 3:58
“Goodnight L.A.” – 5:02
“Empty Streets” – 4:20
“Stand Up and Shout” – 3:28
“Shake the Seven” – 4:33
“Never Going to Lose It” – 4:47
“Face to Face” – 4:39


Dance With Somebody

Only a Fool

Where Do We Go From Here

Empty Streets

Stand Up and Shout

…or listen to the entire album here:


 

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~