Introducing Marc Vanderberg’s New Album “Highway Demon”

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

These days we are witnessing a drastic boom in rock albums releases and I must say, as you dive into the endless stream of new music we receive each day, it gets very easy to unintentionally miss something that might be truly valuable and of high-quality. That was the case with me and this album, but thankfully one way or another, it found its way to me and I’m very excited to share some of its highlights to my readers and hopefully, introduce it to new fans out there, looking for something edgy and guitar-driven.

“Highway Demon”

German hard rock guitarist Marc Vanderberg released his sophomore album, titled “Highway Demon” this September 7, via darkSIGN Records. The record contains nine songs and wraps things up accordingly with an instrumental. Not only is the record label, production and atmosphere of the new album pointed to a new career direction for the guitarist, but he also takes in the talented Brazilian vocalist Raphael Gazal to put some serious metal vibes into the whole picture.

“While I still had to find my style on my first album, you can clearly hear on the second album that I found it and developed myself as a songwriter and guitarist. From my point of view, the sounds and the songwriting remind more of the classic hard rock legends like Alcatrazz, Yngwie Malmsteen or Europe with always catchy choruses. So the new album combines catchy choruses with tricky guitar solos and rocking rhythms. On top of that, I have found a new singer, who transforms the songs with his Michael Vescera-like voice into metal anthems”, says Vanderberg

So far so good now let’s talk music!

MARC VANDERBERG FRONT CD LAYOUTThe opening title track hits you like a hammer – a promising solid beginning with a classic rock sound and thunderous guitars, telling you enough about the skills of guitarist Marc Vanderberg. On songs like “Blue Eyes” you can trace the influences of guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen but there’s a more colorful feel, particularly coming from the fierce vocal delivery of Raphael Gazal. “The Last Battle” might be one of my personal favorites – you can’t but fall in love with the brooding guitars, demonstrating Marc’s technicality and effortless finesse when it comes to tearing up those strings. Pay attention to the lyrics – that’s what caught my attention upon first listen. The gentle “How Do You Feel” is exactly what the softies out there (like myself) need right now; mesmerizing piano melody and soul-soothing clear vocals, turning the song into the perfect ballad experience. What comes next is equally obliterating. I particularly enjoyed “You’re Like Poison” mostly because it possesses that catchy 80s hard rock vibe. “Total Eclipse” is the spectacular ending of what seems to me was an “over-way-too-soon” album. Bold killer riffs with a smooth mid-section, leaving us craving for more and more.

Final verdict: “Highway Demon” is for the guitar heroes out there who appreciate speed and technicality and are looking for something fresh, yet still preserving the classic rock atmosphere that has kept our spirits up for the last 30+ years. I highly recommend “Highway Demon” and urge you to explore it; it definitely has the potential to motivate you to pick up your guitar and try out something new.

“How Do You Feel”

“The Last Battle”

“You’re Like a Poison”

 

Tracklist:

  1. Highway Demon
  2. Blue Eyes
  3. Bad Paradise
  4. The Last Battle
  5. How do you Feel
  6. Indispensible
  7. You´re like Poison
  8. When I turn the Key
  9. Final Chapter
  10. Total Eclipse (Instrumental)

 


References:
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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~

Overview of DAVID GILMOUR’s Solo Albums

david-gilmour-solo-albums

Where do I even begin? I always get so excited when I have to talk about the musicians I admire and love with all my heart! Forgive me if I’m being too subjective but David Gilmour and his music mean too much to me and I can’t really hold my adoration by any means! It’s not just the music, though. I don’t know him in person (of course) but he always seemed so sweet, kind and beautiful person; he also loves animals and has this very special aura around him – he’s a goodie, I can tell. On a personal note, I sometimes have trouble sleeping, quite often these days, actually. When I’m troubled and sad and stressed and I cannot fall asleep, it’s David Gilmour’s gentle voice, lyrics, guitar and music that helps me calm down and close my eyes. For that, I will always love him.

Whether we talk about Pink Floyd or his solo projects, the David’s efforts somehow always find a way to my soul. I can talk a lot about the whole Roger Waters vs. David Gilmour debate but I think I’m going to save that for later. Bottom line is, you can consider me as one of the few people who prefer David Gilmour’s lyrical, vocal and guitar approach. Yes, I’m not denying the impeccable talents of Roger Waters and I LOVE the classics but the post-Waters era and albums like “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” are my favorites! Pink Floyd aside, I wanted to talk more about David Gilmour’s solo albums because I think they deserve some recognition and appreciation. He will always be admired and critically-acclaimed for his work with Pink Floyd, no doubt about it…But let’s just forget about Pink Floyd for a while and enjoy the one and only David Gilmour. On top of everything, last year he released “Rattle That Lock” which completely blew my mind! He still has it, guys!!!


 

David Gilmour (1978)

david-gilmour-solo

David Gilmour’s debut self-titled album was released back in 1978. He was also the producer. Filled up with gorgeous instrumentals, blues and guitar-oriented rock songs, he managed to prove that he was not just one of the faceless members of a band. I guess, he really wanted to make his own music and focus on himself for a while, as he was starting to suffocate from Pink Floyd. The album itself is not as grandiose or as polished as Pink Floyd’s releases; however it’s so attractive, pleasing and emotional, at least to me that is. The piano-dominated “So Far Away” is an absolute favorite. The single “There’s no Way Out of Here” is another high point that hooked me with its dreamy harmonica details. “I Can’t Breathe Anymore” has that Pink Floyd vibe and it’s definitely a must-hear (I feel like he’s singing about himself at that moment in his life)! Overall, David seems happy on this album and if you love his work and musical approach, you’d enjoy the record as much as I am!

“So Far Away”

“I Can’t Breathe Anymore”


About Face (1984)

david-gilmour-about-face

David Gilmour’s second solo album, “About Face” hit the market in 1984. The record is definitely more radio-friendly, welcoming and pop-oriented than before. Hey, he even included a disco track – “Blue Light” which is really good, by the way! With the help of his friend – Pete Townshend from The Who, he wrote two beautiful, typical 80s tracks – “Love on the Air” and “All Lovers are Deranged”. The soft acoustic tune “Murder” is an absolute “killer” (ha-ha, see what I did there…). “Until We Sleep” is a synthesizer hypnotic mess but wouldn’t skip it for the world!

“Love on the Air”

“All Lovers are Deranged”


 

On an Island (2006)

COPERTINA.pdf

Of course this would be my favorite David Gilmour solo album! “On an Island” was released 10 years ago but it’s still an inseparable part of my playlist. He took his sweet time (22 years) to record it but the results were brilliant. He wrote some of the tracks with his wife – Polly Samson, which makes it even more special! What can I say? – A gorgeous and delicate combination of instrumentals and soul-soothing tracks, proving that David is the real deal! Such a brilliant guitarist, knowing exactly how to both calm your soul and make it fly at the same time. The opening track, Castellorizon”, is a haunting instrumental demonstrating his superb guitar skills, backed up by beautiful orchestral arrangements. Both of the singles, “On an Island” and “Smile” are dreamy and so easy to fall in love with. “Red Sky at Night” is my absolute favorite and the reason is, of course, the thrilling saxophone arrangements which are perfect for my tastes! If dreams can become music, this is what they would sound like! By the way, it’s David Gilmour himself who plays the saxophone on that one. Yes, he is as good with sax as he is with his guitar!

“On an Island”

“Red Sky at Night”


 

“Rattle That Lock” (2015)

david-gilmour-rattle-that-lock

David is definitely not the most prolific musician – it took him 9 years to release a new album and finally we got it lost year! “Rattle That Lock” has been five years on the making and I can only assume how hard it was to choose just 10 songs from all the possible tunes that David and his wife wrote throughout those years. Nevertheless, the result is extremely pleasing. I don’t like saying it, but the title track is pretty much all you need to hear from this album if you are not a die-hard David Gilmour fan. To me, it’s so much more than that, however. The whole album represents such a beautiful cycle – from the first instrumental, titled “5 A.M.” to the finishing (and my favourite instrumental of the album) one “And Then…”, the whole experience is unmatchable. The catchy title song is definitely one of the most admirable and fresh works, released by a classic rock artist for the past years. “Today” is such an enjoyable surprise – a song that starts like a rich aria and transforms into a strong base-driven rhythmic euphoria.

“Rattle That Lock”

“Today”


 

References:

“Rattle That Lock” official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattle_That_Lock 

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~