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

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

“I Wouldn’t Change a Thing”

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

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

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

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

Tracklist:

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

 


“Freedom”

“Light in the Dark”


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

Album Review: Steelheart – Through Worlds of Stardust (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

 “You Got Me Twisted”

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

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

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

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

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

“Got Me Runnin'”

“Come Inside”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5403
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

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

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

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

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

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

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

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

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


“A New Dimension”

“The Storm”

“Crimson Dawn”

“Bridge to Heaven”


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

Album Review: MR. BIG – Defying Gravity (2017)

I had a feeling that 2017 was gonna kick some serious ass but I had zero idea that it will be THAT good of a rock&roll year. Just when I thought that 2017 can’t get any better, Mr. Big dropped this awesomeness, titled “Defying Gravity” and once again I’m left speechless. Frontiers Music are on a roll this year – big thank you for keeping great music alive and supporting artists who deserve it.

“Defying Gravity”

Mr. Big - Mr. BigSo many beautiful things are happening in this album and I don’t even know where to start. First of all, remember that groundbreaking 1988 self-titled debut album with the torn shoes and the top hat? If you remember and you love that release, then you will most certainly be thrilled to know that their ninth studio album, “Defying Gravity” features those exact four original members Eric Martin (vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass), Pat Torpey (drums, with the help of Matt Starr due to his unfortunate Parkinson disease) and Paul Gilbert (guitar), along with the same producer, Kevin Elson. So far so good, right? It’s been almost 30 years since the release of that debut album but the guys and their talented producer did manage to recover the classic Mr. Big sound from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that made them so popular and critically-acclaimed.

 “It was great to get back in the studio with our original producer, Kevin Elson,” says guitarist Paul Gilbert. “Kevin recorded all of our original classic albums from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and we immediately felt that magic chemistry with him on DEFYING GRAVITY. We basically played live in the studio. Over the years, we’ve all had a chance to experiment with every recording technique possible, but it’s still always the best just to play together as a band. Most of my guitar solos were tracked live with the band. I’ve worked hard on my improvisation in the last few years, and it really paid off on this record…both melodically, and on the face-melting stuff.”

(Quote retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5392)

 

mr big defying gravity new album

Impressively, Mr. Big recorded this album in a matter of six days. Your jaw probably just dropped, just like mine when I first read that so hurry now and pick it up from the floor. Imagine the determination, creativity and talent you gotta possess in order to come up with 11 smashing rock hits in just six days! If that doesn’t grab your attention then I guess it’s time for you to just get the album and listen carefully. The genuine, melodic rock atmosphere of “Defying Gravity” will conquer you right from the very first track. The guys aren’t joking around, though. A lot of thought has been put into this album and you can clearly spot it once you crank it up. Perfect production, wrapped up around quality songwriting skills and don’t you even get me started on those vocals and bass lines.

Let’s talk songs! (my favorite part)

“1992” is the absolute winner and the track that stood out to me the most (no, not because I was born in 1992 and it’s the most awesome year in history). In terms of melody, the track has that inviting, laid-back old-school rock&roll vibe thanks to which you are simply unable to click the “stop” button. When they released it on YouTube, I played just this one song for the entire day. The lyrics are what you should pay attention to. “1992” is kind of a humorous intake on their rise and fall back in the day with hits like “To Be With You”. What a brilliant approach. Its charming honesty can’t but leave a smile on your face. The opening track, “Open Your Eyes” is something to watch out for – the song has killing riffs and bluesy vibes. It has a bit of a Zeppelin feel into it (but just a little). Now is the moment to point out that vocalist Eric Martin brough his A game on this album and this song is only highlighting what I’m saying. He sounds as good as he did back in 1988, if not even better! The title track is undoubtedly the catchiest song among the playlist. It has a fine modern touch which we don’t really get to hear on radios these days. The album offers variety, that’s for sure. The acoustic bliss, “Damn I’m Inlove Again” is as joyful as a chilly fall evening around a beach fire. “Mean to Me” has a very bizarre but unique fast-paced riff which makes this song an unique experience for the listeners. “Forever and Back” is your mesmerizing classic Mr. Big ballad without which “Defying Gravity” would’ve been a little bit emptier, at least to me.

Every other track on “Defying Gravity” is the ultimate earworm and I’m saying that in the most positive way you can imagine. Easy to sing along with, a little bit of fire, a little bit of ice, tons of good mood and excellent lyrical strength. What a solid comeback. Get it now in case you haven’t.


1992

Defying Gravity

Forever & Back

Everybody Needs a Little Trouble


 

References:
Mr. Big – “Defying Gravity” Album Page: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5392
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.