Album Review: Go Louder, Harder and Faster with WARRANT’s New Album

It has been six years since one of our favorite ’80s/’90s hard rock bands, Warrant, released an album. “Rockaholc”, featuring vocalist Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Cry of Love) for the very first time, hit the market in the spring of 2011 – just a few months before the tragic death of Warrant’s original frontman, Jani Lane. No one can take away the precious memories the immensely talented Jani brought to us with his music, but it’s also okay to make new memories with new music, styles and voices. With that being said, I encourage you to listen to “Louder Harder Faster” with an open mind, expect something both familiar and new and most importantly, enjoy music the same way you did 20 or so years ago.

I may as well write a three-word review about Warrant’s new album and call it a day. Guess which words I will use… That’s right – Loud, Hard and Fast! The title says it all – you are in for a real wild, fiery and pleasantly devastating rock&roll experience right from the very first second! Frontiers Records keep on releasing one smashing album after another and I can barely keep it up with all that awesomeness. Have some mercy, please…

jeff pilsonBefore I dig a little deeper into individual album songs, I want to applaud the superb production of “Louder Harder Faster”, courtesy of the legendary Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio, Foreigner) who I believe did an outstanding job, capturing the mood of the album. I’ve been a fan of Jeff, his music and production work for so many years now and he still keeps on impressing me with every new project! Remember how well he did with Last in Line’s debut album, “Heavy Crown”? Expect something in similar, if not in higher production level – he truly did great!

Warrant - Louder Harder Faster (2017)Back to “Louder Harder and Faster” which is a reason enough why 2017 could be considered a strong hard rock year! Original Warrant members, Erik Turner, Jerry Dixon, Joey Allen, and Steven Sweet, together with the returning for the second time vocalist Robert Mason have cooked a real knock-out album, stirred with the band’s trademark melodic rock hooks and tons of modern-day surprises! This killer direction is what makes “Louder Harder and Faster” suitable for any rock fan out there. You don’t need to know songs like “Heaven” or “I Saw Red” (tactically avoiding that one song we all know by Warrant) to be able to enjoy and rock on to Warrant’s 2017 release! I think what they did with this album is truly universal and “generationless” and they will most certainly grab the attention of the younger audiences.

“‘Louder Harder Faster’ is truly one of our best records to date. It has all the classic Warrant ingredients that people have come to know, plus a lot of extras that keep it in the modern realm of todays music. It’s a perfect mix between Balls and Ballads. When we started this project over two years ago, we wanted to bring the listener back to the days of sitting in the living room and cranking up a record from start to finish. Making full records seems to be a lost art, we hope in some small way that this album helps people find that art again,” said bass player Jerry Dixon.
(quote retrieved from http://www.antimusic.com)

The 12-song rock&roll gem, featuring a cover of the classic Merle Haggard song, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”, is your ultimate party album! With blazing melodic rock anthems, including the title track, “Louder Harder Faster”, “Devil Dancer” and “Only Broken Heart”, you will definitely be juiced up for days to come. The opening track is your perfect modern-day rock&roll tune, which grabs you by the throat from the first second! Vocalist Robert Mason is truly impressive on this one; not that he has to prove anything to anyone but if he had to, this song right here will shut everyone up! “Devil Dancer” is a personal favorite – those riffs just penetrated my skin and there’s no way I’ll recover. The sing-along tune “Perfect” is another highly memorable point! Pay attention to those harmonies sweet sweet lyrics; that song just won me over after one listen! There’s another side to the Warrant and this album, though. The piano-driven “U in My Life” is a beautifully-done ballad I can listen for days. I wish it had a bit stronger punch into it, though. “Music Man” is a very intriguing track; it starts slowly with just a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment but it nicely progresses into a cowboy blues tune, telling a story worth hearing. “Big Sandy” is another jumpy rocker, meant to lift your spirits. The rest of “Louder Harder Faster” is just as good. Gladly, the physical copy of the album includes the stimulating cover of “I Think I’ll Sit Here and Drink” which triggered a physical reaction in me upon listening. You know a song is good and the vocalist plays with you once your body starts moving and you feel the groove. I think it might be one of my favorite moments from the album.

Final verdict: I will be brief: Play it LOUD, party with it HARD and buy it FAST. (haha)

[For more rock reviews and publications, please subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.]


Louder, Harder & Faster

“I Think I’ll Sit Here and Drink”

Perfect

Devil Dancer

Only Broken Heart


References:
“Warrant Announces New Album”: http://www.antimusic.com/news/17/March/10Warrant_Announce_New_Album_Louder_Harder_Faster.shtml
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~

Album Review: Canadian Rockers HAREM SCAREM are BACK with “UNITED”

One of my most anticipated releases of the year is here and I’m thrilled to finally have it! The expectations were high but let me tell you something – Harem Scarem met 100% of them and went way beyond that with “United”. This is definitely going to be a very strong year for Frontiers Records and this album right here is one of the reasons why!

Harem Scarem surely went a long way since their solid (but highly underrated, often forgotten) self-titled debut. The 1991 release spawned fantastic rockers, including “Slowly Slipping Away” and of course one of the saddest rock ballads in history (and the reason why I became a fan of HS), “Honestly”.

harem scarem united 2017 big.jpgAfter an impressive stream of good albums, compilations, live releases and a lengthy rockstar career, the band called it quits in 2008. That wasn’t the end of it, though. Thankfully, vocalist Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance pulled their acts together and went back in the studio. To mark their near-30th anniversary and of course, for the love of rock music, Harem Scarem put out their 14th studio album, suitably named “United”.

I’m already referring to Harem Scarem as melodic rock Gods and “United” just solidified their position as such. The album is stunning! The first time I played it, I felt like I was taking a walk in a melodic rock paradise and every song was a breath of fresh, highly energizing air.

The masterful production qualities of “United” (courtesy of Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance, of course) are just one small part of why this album turned out so great. “United” is certainly not in shortage of brilliant hooks, powerful choruses and don’t even get me started on the magnificent guitar riffs.  

The upbeat opening track has all the right elements to knock your socks off. This sing-along treasure is just the beginning of the fiery punch this album is! The second track, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” is my personal favorite… and how can it not be! The entire song is one world-spinning experience, flavoured by the smashing backing vocals of Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen). The intriguing journey doesn’t end there, though. The album doesn’t lose momentum – the mid and ending parts are as fascinating as the first tracks. “Gravity” and “Sinking Ship” are pure energy, synthesized in 4-minute songs. Where is my ballad? There it is, finally – track number 5 is the unbelievable “One of Life’s Mysteries”. Just when I thought it’s been a while since I heard a decent rock ballad, these guys pull out a song like this one…how can I not love them? “Bite The Bullet” is also a song to check out – it’s a very appealing modern-style rock tune. “The Sky is Falling” and “Things I Know” are a couple of the other creative, harmony-teemed sensations on “United”.

Final verdict: “United” might as well be one of the greatest melodic rock releases so far this year. I am recommending it to everyone who thinks that the genre went down years ago. It didn’t! As long as we have Harem Scarem and long partnerships like Hess-Lesperance, things will be alright!


Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

One of Life’s Mysteries

United


Reference:

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~

Inside Lou Gramm’s 1987 Solo Debut Album, “Ready or Not”

Late ‘80s was a very unsettling time for Foreigner. After e series of smashingly successful albums, including “4” (1981) and “Agent Provocateur” (1984), things needed to cool down for a second before moving on to the next step. Lou Gramm and Mick Jones took some time off to explore their individual artistic strengths. That’s when Lou released the album I will be talking about – “Ready or Not”.

I cannot understand the pressures of the business; I can only imagine how turbulent and stressful it was for Foreigner to constantly be under the radar and asked when the band’s next big hit will be played on the radio. On top of it all, there always comes a time when egos, ideas and opinions clash, especially if you worked with someone for so many years. That’s why taking time apart and going on an adventure (in our case, releasing your first solo album) is totally justifiable.

inside information foreignerNevertheless, after Lou Gramm finished with his debut and the promotional activities and concerts he did come back (along with Mick Jones) to record Foreigner’s sixth studio album, “Inside Information” (1987). Unfortunately, that great album, featuring classics like “Say You Will”, also became the last album to feature the ’80s winner line-up, making it the end of an iconic, historically relevant era of rock music. Gramm did come back in the early ’90s (“Mr. Moonlight”, 1994) but then departed again. Foreigner moved on without Lou, naturally. It’s a whole different topic whether there can be a Foreigner without Lou Gramm, though, but will save it for some other time.

The Album

lou1“Ready or Not” was released at the very beginning of 1987 and it definitely signaled the arrival of a strong (if not the strongest) year for rock music. Overall, the album did make quite the fuss – a top30 chart position in the USA, a #1 hit single (“Midnight Blue”), dozens of concerts and happy faces, etc. etc… No surprises there – “Ready or Not” is as good as you might expect it to be (we are talking about Lou Gramm after all).  Numerous rock band vocalists of the era, including Peter Cetera (Chicago) and Steve Perry (Journey), for example, released solo albums so what Lou did wasn’t really that surprising. What also didn’t surprise fans was the commercial and critical triumph of the album. Lou Gramm and producer Pat Moran crafted some serious melodic rock magic and proved to be a winning team. The Foreigner vibe is still there – I mean come on, what did you expect? Lou was after all a huge part of Foreigner’s sound. Interestingly, though, there’s something unique and distinctive about “Ready or Not” which cannot be found on his previous work with the band. To me, it sounds a little bit more soulful and sincere, less sweet and even a bit edgier.  One more thing that impressed me was the guitar work courtesy of Nils Lofgren who was like a breath of fresh air for the fans.

My final verdict is that “Ready or Not” is a beautiful gift to anyone who loves and appreciates God-given talent and melodic rock, of course. Top notch production quality, superb guitar work and catchy, highly entertaining, full of life songs are some of the characteristics that make this album worthy of your time. In time, people forgot about it but I am here to remind you!

The Songs

One thing that truly frustrates me is that every time I have a conversation about the greatest hits of the ‘80s, songs like “Midnight Blue” or “Ready or Not” never get a mention. “Midnight Blue” is a fantastic pop/rock single which absolutely proved that Lou Gramm is more than fine on his own. The title track, “Ready or Not” is my personal favorite – those drum rhythms, vocal and melodic hooks took my breath away. Lou knows how to craft a beautiful ballad and he perfectly uses that gift of his on “Ready or Not As Well”; The stunning ballad “If I Don’t Have You” might as well be one of the most overlooked ballads of the era, despite its qualities. The excellent rockers “Heartache” and “Until I Make You Mine” are just a couple of the other tracks that back up my statement – “Ready or Not” is Lou Gramm’s purest manifestation of at his creative and artistic power and most certainly a turning point for his career. Don’t forget to play the songs!

Don’t Forget to Subscribe to my Blog or Follow me on TWITTER!


Ready or Not

If Don’t Have You

Midnight Blue

Listen to the entire album on YouTube:


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~

Album Recommendations: McAuley Schenker Group – “M.S.G” (1992)

Time to travel back to the early ’90s were hard rock was still relevant before grunge literally wiped it out like a little dirt spot on a shiny window. The following album came into my life months ago after I heard the power ballad “When I’m Gone” on a Spotify playlist. I had no idea who was the band/artist but I knew I had to immediately check them out! The rest is history… It occurred to me that many people forgot about this brilliant glam metal masterpiece, titled “M.S.G” so I decided to include it in my “Album Recommendations” series I have on my blog! Enjoy the read and don’t forget to play the awesome tracks!

McAuley Schenker Group

mcshWhere do I even begin? So many outstanding, well-established in the industry artist were part of this project… One thing you need to know is that it all started with Michael Schenker who already made a name for himself as a one-of-a-kind guitarist in Scorpions and UFO. In 1979, he formed the melodic rock band, Michael Schenker Group, which eventually, in 1986 to be precise, evolved into the McAuleySchenker Group – named after guitarist Michael Schenker and vocalist Robin McAuley (the picture on the right). The group, lead by the fearless guitarist and the brilliant vocalist lasted for just a few years before they called it quits. Michael Schenker reformed the Michael Schenker Group and that’s pretty much it (at least the ultra short version of the story I’m telling you; there have also been many reunions, including a recent one in 2012). 

McAuleySchenker Group was also home to legendary bass guitarist Jeff Pilson (Dokken, DIO, Foreigner, etc.), drummer James Kottak (Scorpions, Kingdome Come, Warrant, etc.) and keyboardist Jesse Harms (Sammy Hagar, REO Speedwagon, David Lee Roth, etc.). We can with absolute no doubt call it a SUPERGROUP – one of the premium examples if you ask me. Not only that but the band was multi-cultural. We have Irish, British, American and German members. What a team!

The album

mcauleyMcAuleySchenker Group released a total of three studio albums, one acoustic (Japan only) and one live, unplugged album. Today I will focus specifically on their third and final studio album, simply titled “M.S.G.”. Since the band had a huge following in Japan, they first hit the Japanese market in 1991 and a year later, released it in Europe (that magical year of 1992!).

A couple of words about the album itself (based on personal experience, of course). First of all, I tried to detach it from any Scorpions or UFO associations but sometimes it’s hard cause it does have that little familiar vibe. That’s totally cool, though! The album is a perfect piece of hard(er) melodic rock and would recommend it to anyone in a blink of an eye. My most favorite thing about the band (and this album, naturally) is the vocals. I was grabbed by Robin’s distinctive, instantly-captivating vocal delivery right from the very first track (“Eve”). Then as I proceed to track 3 – that breathtaking power ballad, “When I’m Gone”, I became an ultimate fan of his (I always fall for the criminally underrated singers). “We Believe in Love” is another personal favorite moment; the drums-dominated track might as well be one of the best rock tracks of the year (big words, I know!). “Crazy” and “Lonely Nights” are just a couple of other songs I recommend you guys check out. Overall, the album is full of kick-ass rockers, beautiful ballads and needless to say, it’s a must-have for any glam metal fan out there. Generic or not, it makes me want to crank it up and dance my ass off (which is the most important thing!)

Oh and before I forget…it’s a SERIOUSLY UNDERRATED ALBUM!!!

Give it a try.


When I’m Gone

Paradise

We Believe in Love

I think it’s better listen to the entire album from start to finish …


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~

Album Recommendations: ROADHOUSE’s 1991 Self-Titled Album

Who are Roadhouse?

roadhouse bandWe all know Pete Willis as the original guitarist of Def Leppard. He was there when the Leppards released their triumphant debut “On Through The Night” (1980) and their even bigger sophomore hit, “High ‘N’ Dry” (1981). In fact, that hungry, raw, much heavier early sound of the band is often contributed to his guitar skills. In the summer of 1982, right in the middle of the “Pyromania” recording sessions, however, Pete Willis was let go due to his drinking problem. We know what happened with Def Leppard – they hired Phil Collen and went on to become on the most successful names in the industry. What happened with Pete, though? Not many people know exactly how his career moved on, actually. I can only imagine how tough the years to come and that whole transition must’ve been for him. However, he did manage to pull himself together and participate in another, less known but quite interesting rock project, titled Roadhouse. Guess who else was in the band? Drummer Frank Noon, who also was once part of the Def Leppard family, playing drums on The Def Leppard E.P. joined Pete Willis but for a short period of time; he left Roadhouse before the recording of the album. Finally, it was Wayne Grant on bass, Trevor Brewis on drums, Pete Willis and Richard Day with the guitar and Paul Jackson was recruited as the lead vocalist.

The album:

ROADHOUSE albumThe year was 1991 – definitely not the most suitable time to release a melodic rock album. Still, people were pretty excited to see what the first post-Def Leppard record of Pete Willis will sound like. Well, it sounds highly satisfying if you ask me!

The band filmed a few music videos with the hopes of getting some decent exposure on MTV. One of the singles, “Hell Can Wait” even got a top10 position on the UK charts. Well, that’s pretty much what happened in the popularity department back in the day. All in all, the outcomes were quite humble, excluding the brief chart presence. That doesn’t mean the album is unworthy of discovering. On the contrary, is one of the most appealing pieces of melodic rock that came out in the early ‘90s. A little bit of that Def Leppard sound might be spotted here and there but try to keep an open mind and don’t constantly compare “Roadhouse” with the Leppard albums.

Some of the delights on the album include the opening track, “All Join Hands” – a stunning radio rocker and the excellent ballad, “Time” which might be the most well-known song from “Roadhouse”. What happens after those two tracks is quite exciting – we have the catchy Firehouse-sounding “Tower of Love”, followed by a long playlist of shockingly well-done AOR gems. Make sure you play “Loving You” (a personal favorite) and “New Horizon”!

“Roadhouse” is 100% certified “worthy of checking out” *by me. Paul Jackson is exactly the kind of vocalist I love and he is perfect for the genre. If you adore melodic rock from the early ‘90s, this is the album for you!
(P.S. Too bad the band broke up soon after the release of the album)

Enjoy and feel free to share your opinion about it!

“Time”

“All Join Hands”

…or better check out the entire album on YouTube:


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~

Album Recommendations: TREAT – The Pleasure Principle (1986)

treat1It’s time to talk about TREAT yet again! I’ve been trying to revive the name of this band for quite some time; seems to me that everyone forgot how awesome those Swedish rockstars were back in the day. Not only that, but on April 21st (2017), TREAT released a brand new live album, titled “The Road More or Less Travelled” which pretty much served as a reminder that the band is still alive, kicking and entertaining rock fans from all over the world. I thought that in the spirit of the new album, we should remember some of their ‘80s classics and in particular an album I truly enjoy and play quite often these days. Don’t expect to be mindblown or have your entire perception of rock music shattered in front of your eyes. “The Pleasure Principle” is nothing but a straightforward, easily-consumable, ear-pleasing experience which might improve your mood in a second. Last but not least, don’t get the fact that those guys never hit it that big cloud your judgment. TREAT, along with this album are definitely worthy of checking out.

treatI will be very brief because no time must be wasted – “The Pleasure Principle” deserves to be heard right here, right now! An absolute melodic rock bliss, empowered with everything you could’ve asked for – catchy melodies, pleasing keyboards (just the right amount), screaming guitars and of course, superb vocals by Robert Ernlund. Some of the most memorable moments, include “Rev It Up”, “Steal Your Heart Away”, “Fallen Angel” and the fantastic ballad “Take My Hand”. If you weren’t there to experience it, this album will give you a clear idea of how fun it was to live in the ’80s! (I wasn’t there but I can feel it)~

I can guarantee you tons of singing along, head-nodding and good mood! Give it a go!


“Rev It Up”

“Steal Your Heart Away”

“Fallen Angel”

…or you better check the whole 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~

The Story of HOUSE OF LORDS’ 1988 Debut

Who are House of Lords?

giuffria
Giuffria

Before we get to House of Lords and their 1988 debut, we have to go back further in time and talk about another glam rock band that rose to stardom in 1984 with the famous single, “Call to Your Heart”. Named after keyboardist Gregg Giuffria, previously a member of the hard rock act Angel, Guiffria quickly turned into way more than a side matter. Right from the very beginning, the band made a solid presence on the charts and on the major AOR radio stations. Their first two albums were quite promising but unfortunately the third album brought the end of Giuffria.

Luckily, another beautiful project rose from the ashes of a band with so much potential, gone so soon. Mr. Everything, a.k.a. Gregg Giuffria, quickly gathered what was left of the recorded demos, assembled his next winning team and formed House of Lords in 1987.

Original Giuffria vocalist David Glen Eisley (who by the way vocally reminds me so much of Steve Perry) was replaced with James Christian. I’m not sure whether that was the right move (not that James isn’t talented but David was truly remarkable in my opinion) but ultimately, it was James who became the face of the new band that even got a brand new name – House of Lords. The deal with Simmons records (the record label of Gene Simmons of KISS) was loud and clear – “you come to us, but you have to change your name and you gotta fire David Glen Eisley!” Ex-Guiffria and Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright, guitarist Lanny Cordola and drummer Ken Mary were the final pieces of the puzzle. In the fall of 1988, House of Lords’ debut eponymous release finally became a reality.

house of lords members
House of Lords

The Debut Album

house of lords 1988

The late ‘80s were the heydays of glam metal and every band out there was trying to make it big on that highly profitable music market. The hardest thing to do wasn’t to gather a couple of musicians and record a glam rock album but rather to achieve some sort of recognition and stand out from the thousands of bands who came to fight with all they got, just like you. (To be perfectly honest, the hardest thing was to find stability and consistent fan-base but realistically, young bands couldn’t ask for that much now could they?)

Overall the debut album, “House of Lords” was a moderate success – the type of success that many bands enjoyed, despite longing for that durable recognition I was talking about. A Top 80 chart position (on Billboard 200), a couple of good singles and music videos to support the promotion of the album – what more could you ask for? The true uniqueness of the album, however, lies in the number of great musicians that were behind many of the songs on the album. Stan Bush, Giuffria’s previous vocalist David Glen Eisley, Armand “Mandy” Meyer (Asia, Cobra) and songwriter Johnny Warman deserve a mention for their songwriting input. Rick Nielsen of the famous rock band Cheap Trick co-wrote the song “Slip of the Tongue” and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen) helped with the backing vocals on the entire “House of Lords” album. The presence of so much brilliant musicians should’ve turned the album into a huge sensation! Instead, it was forgotten as quickly as it was assembled.

The Songs

The catchy “I Wanna Be Loved” and the power ballad “Love Don’t Lie” are the two most famous tracks, coming out of “House of Lords” (a lot of love on that album!). Since I’m a power ballad person, I would most certainly vote for “Love Don’t Lie” if we have to choose the finest moment of the album. A superb cover of Stan Bush’s softer, way gentler version of this song, “Love Don’t Lie” might as well be referred to as one of the best rock ballads of the year and as a whole. The vocal performance is absolutely stunning and don’t you even get me started on those mesmerizing guitars. “Slip of the Tongue” – now that’s a song you must check out – it’s a highly energizing hard rock tune and the point where you realize that this album has little to do with Giuffria’s original, way friendlier sound. “Call My Name” and “Hearts of the World” are just a couple of the other impressive songs, which I’m sure sounded even better played live.  

Overall, as I said, “House of Lords” is just one of all the great hard rock albums that came out during that time.  There are no bad songs on this album – only good, heavy-rocking ones that surely deserve your attention. Gregg Giuffria is truly a legend! If you liked what you heard on “House of Lords”, make sure you go ahead with their 1990 sophomore release, “Sahara”!

“I Wanna Be Loved”

“Love Don’t Lie”

“Slip of the Tongue”

“Call My Name”


References:
“House of Lords” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Lords_(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~