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

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

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

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

lynch mob

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

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

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

 


“Mr. Jekyll and Hyde”

“Main Offender”


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

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

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

I will just leave this here before I move on…

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

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

baton rouge 1

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

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

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

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

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


“Walks Like a Woman”

“It’s About Time”


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

In 1989, BADLANDS Released a Perfect Blues Rock Album

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

The band

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

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

The self-titled album

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

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

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

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

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


“High Wire”

“Devil’s Stomp”

“Dreams in the Dark”


References:
Album cover retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/2011/06/badlands-badlands-cd-1989.html
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 Focus: INGLORIOUS – II (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

What a year! What a time to be alive!! I am immensely proud to have the chance to witness such beautiful rock music being released during my time and I just cannot wait to spread my excitement to every rock fan out there, hungry for something refreshing. I met Inglorious in 2016 after the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album Inglorious I. Their coming-out party was praised by rock&roll icons, such as Queen’s Brian May who called Inglorious “a potent young Deep Purple.” Noted producer Kevin Shirley who worked with Journey, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, Europe, Mr. Big and many more, referred to them as “the best British band since Led Zeppelin.” That should tell you enough, don’t you think?

ingl 2 coverAs far as I’m concerned, it was their sophomore album – Inglorious II, released via Frontiers Music in May 12, 2017 that 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. The rest is history. I guarantee that listening to this sophomore album from start to finish will open doors to new and exciting rock adventures you’ve never even dreamed of. We have a couple of months left till we wrap up 2017 but I am fully certain that “Inglorious II” will dominate the yearly “top albums” charts and lists of fans and music media outlets. Let’s dive into the album and the songs…

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.

Arguably, the first thing that strikes you when you play this album is the out-of-this-world vocal strength of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Nathan James. My jaw is dropping every time I hear him sing and I can’t but be amazed by his celestial talent. Not only did he reach higher personal vocal achievements with this album but he also put many current high-ranked celebrity singers in his little back pocket. Of course, a band is much more than a vocalist. The album is the product of a great teamwork, writing each song by themselves with no guest writers this time. They said, “It came together very organically after spending time touring together and felt great. We knew we were making an album this time too! We focused on getting our sounds just right so we could get into the studio and out in the least time poss.”

12 classy rockers came out of “Inglorious II”, each better than the previous. The Whitesnake-inspired opener, “I Don’t Need Your Loving” is basically what pure electricity would sound like.  The fiery riffs, along with Nathan’s high-pitched, intense vocal delivery give you a clear picture of what to expect from this release. From Whitesnake, we go to Bad Company with “Tell Me Why” which has that soulful, slow-paced favour…till it transforms into a dangerous speedy rocket, destroying everything on its way. “Change is Coming” is another song to watch out for – the bluesy, Glenn-Hughes-style track is for all the bass-guitar lovers out there, looking for that “deeper” vibe. “Making me Pay” is another bluesy charmer and the perfect bridge between the first and second part of the album. The heavy metal thunder “Hell or High Water” will please the fans, looking for a speedier, blood-stirring experience. The adventure ends with “High Class Woman” – a pleasantly intriguing catchy rock track that reminds you that you now must play the album all over again because it just can’t be over so soon.

Don’t you just love it when once in a blue moon a newly-formed band comes in and entirely conquers you? I surely do.  “Inglorious II” combines the sounds and styles of classic rock icons but all that is wrapped under divine, modern-day rock power and individuality many rock bands these days lack. Nothing more to say – grab your copy just like I did and play it as loud as possible!

 


“I Don’t Need Your Loving”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Taking The Blame”

 

 

 

 

 

“Making Me Pay”

 

 

 

“Read All About It”

 


References:
“Inglorious II” Album Page: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5377
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 Recommendations: “Paul Laine – Stick It in Your Ear” (1990)

Is It Love

 

I met Paul Laine through Danger Danger (of course). He jumped in as their frontman for the junior album – “Dawn” (1995) and stood around for a decade of releases, before officially calling it quits. Paul went on to form his own bands, Shugaazer and Darkhorse. In 2016, he once again teamed up with former Danger Danger bandmates Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello to release a self-titled album – “The Defiants”. Check them all out in case you haven’t.

Paul Laine’s ‘90s solo albums are the reason why we’re here, though. I am actually in love with both Stick It in Your Ear (1990) and Can’t Get Enuff (1996), however wanted to specifically draw your attention to the first album which I personally like a little bit more.

“Stick It in Your Ear” is a pure manifestation of the Canadian vocalist’s immense vocal power and ability to craft melodic rock at its finest. The album is one big ball of rock energy, for sure, mixed well with delightful accessibility and radio-friendly polished production. The album is certainly far away from any of those shiny LA hard rock bands who wrote music with their wallet rather than heart and that’s exactly why I find it so charming.

Late ‘80s, early ‘90s releases have so much more to offer and this album right here is certainly something to consider adding to your AOR collection in case you haven’t.

Some of the highlights include the Top100 singles “Dorianna” and “Is It Love” – both stunning examples of well-crafted melodic rock music.  

“Is It Love” is dangerously obsessive and definitely my favorite one from the release. Every power ballad hungry person out there will be thrilled, believe me. That’s the reason why I opened this publication with it. Check out “Dorianna”:

Dorianna

“We are the Young” is another track to watch out for.

“One Step Over the Line” has a very unique intro, which I think all of you should hear. You know what, why don’t you just play the entire album. Thank you, Paul Laine. It’s definitely never too late to discover a forgotten gem like this one….


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.

Let’s celebrate the Late ’90s with FAIR WARNING’s “Go!” (1997)

Love this? Well, time to check out the rest of the album and of course, Fair Warning!

You know, the UK isn’t the only place in Europe where quality rock music was and still is made. Tons of outstanding rock bands came from many other parts of Europe. Sweden, Norway and Germany I think might be the most vivid examples of countries with strong rock&roll force field. The band I want to talk about today – Fair Warning, is one of those European rock acts that you most certainly need to check out (in case you haven’t) and this album of theirs I will be presenting to you – “Go!” is not a bad place to start.

fair-warning-1992My Fair Warning journey began with their self-titled debut album which without doubt is one of the most brilliant coming out parties of all time. The German rockers didn’t achieve the success they deserved with that first release but on a positive note, they became pretty popular in Asian countries, particularly in Japan.  I talked about the album on my “16 Reasons Why 1992 Rocked Pretty Hard” article so go ahead and read if you want to know more.

I don’t want to take much of your time with my written words because I really want you to just dive into the music and absorb every bit of talent those amazing artists have. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Fair Warning by someone who adores them very much so now it’s my turn to do it.

fair warning go 1997“Go!” is Fair Warning‘s fourth album, released in the late ’90s. Not the best time for a hard rock band to make a comeback but who the hell cares, right? The album is strictly following Fair Warning‘s beautiful, well-established sophisticated melodic rock sound, since the very first album. The unmatched talent of Tommy Heart – who by the way is one of the greatest vocalists of all time (at least in my book) shines brighter than the sun on this album.

Any song – from the opening “Angels of Heaven” to the closing one “The Love Song” are absolute airplay masterpieces, full of so much character and passion.

The highlight? Definitely “Save Me”. This is one of those songs that captures your heart from the very first second and never lets go!

Adore melodic rock ballads? “All On Your Own” can quench your thirst. Listen to your lyrics….just listen…

“Rivers of Love” …the title says it all!

“Sailing Home” is one of the hardest tracks on “Go!” and certainly a triumphant success for the album.

My copy of “Go!” which I bought while I was living in South Korea. Finding this album is pretty hard, actually so I’m very proud of it!

Now it’s your turn to get it!

fair warning go.jpg


 

References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://fanart.tv/artist/9b08ede1-15b0-48da-89ef-a5035bbde33e/fair-warning/
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.

10 Things You (Must) Know about Def Leppard’s Hysteria

hysteria coverDef Leppard‘s “Hysteria” is turning 30 years old and we can’t but think about the monumental importance of this release. Not only did this album set new production and song-writing standards but it also demonstrated how important it is to not lose the human aspect when you’re aiming for the sky.

It took Def Leppard about three years to make this album – three long years full of endless hardships and one obstacle after another. The final goal, however, remained unchanged. Def Leppard were ready to go one step further than their previous hit album, “Pyromania”. Well, they did do it, didn’t they….? I can only guess how incredibly tough it was for them to assemble their acts together after every punch. First it was Rick Allen, their drummer, who lost his arm in a car accident (and almost lost his second arm, actually); on top of that they were constantly struggling with finding the right producer, after Mutt Lange took a little break. Nevertheless, it all resulted in a beautiful piece of music we now call “Hysteria” or simply put….the album that defined the ’80s! “Hysteria” saw the light on August 3rd, 1987 and even though it took the album some time to warm up the hearts of audiences, especially in North America, we got to a point where it was certified 12 times Platinum – a recognition that speaks for itself.

In honor of my favorite album of all time, I decided to prepare a little list of facts which I believe should and probably are know by most of the fans out there. Also, I think it’s always great to remind ourselves of some little intriguing music facts that make up an album or a song we love. This written piece might be good for newer fans of Def Leppard who just want to know more about the band. Here we go…

tumblr_n1xxksfmr91rh2d1eo1_1280


 

steve6*) “Hysteria” is the last album to feature the outstanding guitarist Steve Clark, before his death. Some of his songs do appear on their following album – “Adrenalize” (1992) and “Retro Active” (1993), however Hysteria World Tour was the last chance fans got to see him on the stage with his bandmates, unfortunately. Losing their guitarist once again shook the band’s grounds but they rose from the ashes and kept on making great rock music!

*) Def Leppard formed in the late ’70s and can certainly brag about their lengthy and productive career. They have released more than 50 timeless singles. However, up to date, their only #1 hit single remains the beautiful power ballad “Love Bites”, released as their sixth single from “Hysteria”.

*) Def Leppard released “Animal” as their first single in UK, Europe and the rest of the world. In the USA, they went with “Women” which according to some music critics became the reason why the initial response of American audiences wasn’t that good.

*) The last-minute composition – “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, a song that wasn’t even supposed to be on this album, turned out to be one of Def Leppard‘s most instantly-recognizable songs. It was released as their fourth single and it ultimately became the reason why “Hysteria” topped the Billboard Chart.

*) Originally, “Hysteria” was supposed to be called “Animal Instinct”. However, they eventually changed the name as suggested by Rick Allen who thought it suitably described the worldwide coverage and interest in his accident and recovery.

7a*) The album artwork was designed by legendary graphic designer Andie Airfix who also did the album covers of “Pyromania” and “Adrenalize”. The front image of “Hysteria” represents a terrifying man, transforming into an animal – or it can be the other way around. His presence on the artwork is directly related with and represents the lead single of the album – “Animal” as well as the lyrics of the song. The song itself is about humans’ wild, primitive and rather intense and crazy animalistic nature.

*) “Hysteria” was produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange who reconcile with the band after initially leaving them. His obsessive desire to create the perfect and most commercially successful hard rock album of all time, resulted in a painful squeezing of every tiny bit of talent and effort from the music engineers and technicians to the band members themselves. The realization of Mutt Lange‘s visions of this album took longer than expected which caused delays in the release of the album. He wanted to create a rock version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

*) “Hysteria” was one of the most expensive and lengthy albums at the time of its release. The album stretches for around 63 minutes which was going over the CD limit. The cost of making “Hysteria” was over 5 million USD which for the late ’80s was an insane amount of money.

*) After “Hysteria” was released, Def Leppard published a book, titled “Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story”, written by Rolling Stone magazine Senior Editor David Fricke. The book talks about the three-year recording process and struggles Def Leppard had to face before they made “Hysteria” a fact.

animal instinct

*) The follow-up album to “Hysteria”“Adrenalize” was released 5 years later, in 1992. During that time, Def Leppard lost Steve Clark and eventually took legendary guitarist Vivian Campbell to replace him. So many tragic events happened to Def Leppard that many thought they had a curse on them, referring to it as “the Def Leppard Curse”.


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.