ALBUM REVIEW: VEGA – “Only Human” (2018)

It’s never too late to discover a great band, don’t you think? Initially I thought the guys from VEGA are beginners but it turned out they’ve been making quality melodic rock for years! The 5th studio album of VEGA , yet again released under the capable wings of Frontiers Records, is what opened my eyes for this band and I’m here to tell you all about it!

If you are looking for easy-going, “little-guitar-little-grooves” kind of melodic rock, referred to as “background music” which you play while chilling with the TV on or getting dinner ready, this is not the melodic rock album for you. The enormous revival wave of the genre is offering plenty of such releases but VEGA‘s “Only Human” is not here to play gentle and occupy exactly 10-15 minutes of your “second-hand attention” – the album is here to deliver something so much more to your life. VEGA and this release are here to bring the excitement back to your life and tell you that there’s good, high-spirited music out there, capable of encouragement and establishing solid musical commitment. 

“We wear our love of 80’s rock music on our sleeve, but we also have injected our love of modern rock music to it. We aren’t trying to rehash anything: the sound we have achieved is 100% VEGA. We didn’t want to try and guess what people expect and get it wrong,” says singer Nick Workman.

Many essential components contribute to the final great result which “Only Human” is. One of them most certainly is the capable work of legendary Canadian musician and producer, Harry Hess of Harem Scarem who mixed and mastered this melodic rock gem of a record. The rest was in the hands of the talented guys from the VEGA.

Let’s talk music!

“Worth Dying For” is one of the finest moments from the album; love the grooves, the catchy riffs, those ultimate sing-along lyrics and of course, the “who-a-o-oh” moments! It’s your perfect summer anthem, bringing all the positive energy out of everyone…”if it’s forbidden for, then it’s worth dying for”. “All Over Now” is another gem – very ’80s-like, perfectly balancing those sweet nostalgic keyboards and fie vocal arrangements, ending up in a fine ear-candy piece of music. “Mess You Made” is your hidden gem and probably my favorite track from the record. The lyrics are what attracted me – trust me, the album’s lyrical value cannot be questioned! The powerful vocals of Nick Workman further cement my adoration for this song. The title song, “Only Human”, coming under #7 is the moment your AOR cravings become completely satisfied.

Entertaining, highly-pleasurable, fine vocal arrangement, relatable lyrics and sweet summer rhythms. I highly recommend VEGA and “Only Human” to anyone who is looking for a refreshing lemonade during a hot early-summer day!

PRODUCED BY:VEGA
MIXED BY:Harry Hess
MASTERED BY: Harry Hess

VEGA

BAND MEMBERS:
Nick Workman: Lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar and wall hitter
Tom Martin: Bass guitar
Marcus Thurston: Lead Guitar
James Martin: Keyboards
Mikey Kew: Guitar, backing vocals
Martin “Hutch” Hutchinson: Drums

“All Over Now”

“Last Man Standing”


References:
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~

Top3 NOVEMBER Hard Rock Releases (PINK CREAM 69, SWEET & LYNCH and JEFF SCOTT SOTO)

The second half of 2017 is certainly far more prolific and musically mind-blowing than the first half and what happened the past 2 months only is an indicator enough for what I’m saying. October and November became my two most favorite hard rock months of 2017 and there’s plenty of reasons why! Europe, Autograph, L.A. Guns, Sons of Apollo, Revolution Saints and BigFoot rocked October and this November I was entirely captivated by rock acts such as Sweet & Lynch, Jeff Scott Soto and Sweet Cream 69. Those three titles stood out the most to me due to impeccable musical qualities which I wanna talk about about a bit more and explain why you just gotta instantaneously grab your copy in case you haven’t done it yet! I also included two of my favorite songs from each album and yes they are a Must Listen!


Pink Cream 69 – Headstrong

pink cream 69

I’ve been a fan of Pink Cream 69 since the first time I heard “One Size Fits All” back in the day. No surprises here, I’m sure you are all well aware of my musical tastes! So, when I heard that the German rockstars are back with a brand new album, you can imagine how thrilled I was. You know what? This album also marks the 30th anniversary since the formation of the band, making things so much more exciting! The fire, the fury, the joy …it’s all coming out of this fantastic hard rock gem that made me and I’m sure many other fans out there scream “WOW” right from the opening track. Speaking of that opening track, “We Bow to None” perfectly describes the album – “there’s a fire spreading out across the land and the situation’s getting out of hand”; the name of that fire is “Headstrong” and yes, once you experience the album, the situation will surely get out of hand. “Path of Destiny” is a speedy, thunderous 5-minute long adventure that might turn into your new favorite heavy metal gem!

“We Bow to None”

“Path of Destiny”


Sweet & Lynch – Unified

sweet and lynch

Michael Sweet of Stryper and legendary guitar player George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) once again teamed up for a phenomenal follow up to their 2015 debut album “Only to Rise” which by the way I still play quite often. “Unified” does differentiate a little bit from the debut release but certainly in a very good way. The duo sound more fearless, experimental and it looks and sounds as if it’s now or never for those guys! We all know the kind of vocalist Michael Sweet is so no need for me to remind you of his outstanding voice; George Lynch … do I have to say more? Whatever he does, he does it with style, the very heavy kind of! Michael’s talents are unquestionable; however it’s the thrilling, pleasingly disturbing riffs of George Lynch I came here for! “Promised Land” was love at first listen – the band is taking the listener to a new direction, further away from our expectations for this album …and that’s the best thing! “Walk” is my other favorite – a very interesting song, mixing many different vocal and sound techniques and keeping the listener involved in the song till the very end. “Tired and True” is a ballad that you should certainly check out – it just fits perfectly!

“Promised Land”

“Walk”


Jeff Scott Soto – Retribution

jeff scott soto

It has been a busy year for one of my most beloved musicians of all time – Jeff Scott Soto. In October we were totally mesmerized by Sons Of Apollo’s Psychotic Symphony and a month later, he once again penetrated our fragile rock harts with a solo release, titled “Retribution”. Nothing but praises and fascination for this album and I’m not just saying it because it’s Jeff freakin Scott Soto; I’m saying it because obviously tons of work, heart and passion have been put in the making of this album. He sounds as confident as ever and his music is as good as ever. I was prepared for something like this from the veteran rockstar and it’s all here – heavy melodic rock, epic vocal culminations, striking lyrics and excellent fiery solos. “Feels Like Forever” is my instant stand-out though it’s not necessarily the highlight of “Retribution” (it’s just that I love way too much!). It’s an emotional ballad that just shines brighter than a star! The title song is another track you just gotta pay attention to; if you crank that track up, you will electrify your entire neighborhood, that’s for certain! I’m loving the riffs, the progressive touches and of course, Soto being Soto with…his one of a kind VOICE!

“Feels Like Forever”

“Retribution”

 


References:
Album artworks, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/
P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

Love at First Listen: ONE DESIRE’s Self-Titled Debut Album (2017)

one desire - one desire 2017It took me a few months to discover this album but better late than never, right? I still cannot forgive myself for letting it pass through me without getting the much deserved attention but I have now stopped blaming myself for overlooking it and fully committed to spreading the word and telling everyone how exceptional this album is! I don’t believe in love at first sight but I do believe in love at first listen. These precious moments can be very rare, usually it takes time to fully warm up to an album; but with the Finnish band One Desire and their debut release, things couldn’t have taken a better turn. You play the opening track, “Hurt” and you just end up in getting trapped in this mesmerizing world of new-age melodic rock, where One Desire are the new rulers and their music is the law. I rarely establish such a strong connection with an album from the very first second I hear it but “One Desire” just has the right musical qualities to become the refreshing exception and that’s exactly what happened with me.

“Hurt”

I mean, let’s take the opening track for example. What a blasting explosion of musical brightness. Not a second of this song is wasted on pointless and trivial moments. Every detail is polished to perfection to capture the attention of the melodic rock fans and people who are still drawn to the old-school rock vibes that ruled the ’80s. I am specifically impressed by the sophisticated yet so catchy melody, illustrated by gloomy yet so pure lyrics. “Hurt” will be in my Top10 Songs of 2017 list for sure!

“Apologize”

The second track “Apologize” is a worthy discovery. I’m all for the melody and the sing-along anthems and this one’s definitely it! With this song you can’t but be sucked into a whirlpool of energy, power and intensity. The chorus is unbelievable and don’t you even get me started on vocalist André Linman who is putting to shame all the more famous young vocalist out there, only proving that this band deserves more.

“Falling Apart”

“Falling Apart” is one of the most alluring tracks on the album and a personal favorite. The choruses are once again demonstrating the powerful vocal range of vocalist André Linman who did so much justice to this song! I am loving the peaceful percussion intro that builds up to an angelic song with tons of memorable moments. 

“Turn Back Time”

I saved the best for last! On a personal level, the lyrics of this song just mean everything and I am sure so many people will find themselves in it. It’s a song about regret and lost time and trying so hard to bring it back. The lyrics aren’t the only thing that makes “Turn Back Time” ultimate stand-out; I love the nostalgic guitar-intro and how this song sounds so simple but yet so complex. The beautiful melody and expressive vocal delivery are making it the perfect listening experience.

There you were with those big brown eyes among the crowd, piercing like a knife…

Final Verdict:

I was immensely surprised by the power of this album and can’t but be happy that it found a way into my life. I urge everyone, looking for that splendid mixture of old-school hard rock, meeting modern-day metalcore with just a little bit of an electronic feel into it, this is the album for you. Can’t praise it enough.

I just wish there was less autotune because  André Linman is obviously good enough of a vocalist to not be needing it. (though believe me I understand the reason behind the decision of the producer to polish his voice that much)

one desire band
Jimmy Westerlund- Guitar
André Linman- Vocals, guitar
Jonas Kuhlberg- Bass
Ossi Sivula- Drums

References:
Album artwork and Band Photo, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it/
P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

New Album Recommendations: Sons of Apollo – “Psychotic Symphony” (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Ready for a big hardcore punch that will inevitably lead to enormous satisfaction both mental and physical. I’ve always said that the best kind of music is the one that affects both your brain and body and results in the ultimate eargasm. This album right here is the kind of album you gotta listen to if you just want to be transferred to a different dimension and really want to be taken out of your comfort musical zone!

Sons of Apollo is no joke. Don’t expect any sentimental radio-oriented tracks or cheesy pop rock statements. “Psychotic Symphony” is a meaningful, highly sophisticated piece of progressive metal, packed with A-to-Z qualities, including flaming guitar solos, mind-crushing vocals and of course – fierce synthesizers, aiding to that modern-day feel.

I’ve been a fan of Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force, etc.) since forever and I know that whatever he does, he does it with passion and confidence and this album is no exception. With respect to everyone who got involved in this project, his vocals are in my opinion the heart and soul of “Psychotic Symphony” and the reason why I’m here, talking about it. He is a monster-vocalist and I bet you don’t need me to convince you otherwise.

sons of apolloI won’t go into details about the album because for a first time in a while I’ve been left speechless. “God of the Sun” is one of my favorite openers this year; the 11-minute tornado of a song is a clear highlight and how can it not be with that speed, intensity and lyrics (another Greek-inspired theme). “Sings of the Times” is my ultimate number 1 song from this release – that intro knocked my socks off (it’s my new ringtone by the way). You can’t have an album like this one without an instrumental now can you? But then again, “Opus Maximus” is not your ordinary instrumental. Good luck stopping it once you hit the play! “Alive” and “Lost in Oblivion” are pure madness! I am absolutely in love with the way the playlist was crafted – it’s all very well thought of and every song has its own place, contributing to the overall atmosphere of the album. I mean, you can just consider it as one song, actually; it’s indeed a progressive metal album but there’s just so much more to it than that – it’s progressive, it’s classic, it’s hard, it’s loud! What a punch in the face! Guitars are stunning too – Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is the king of the explosive riff and guitar culminations on this one! 

I have to say – this genre is not my cup of tea and I don’t play it on a daily basis but you know – there are rules to every exception and my exception is “Psychotic Symphony”. Grab your copy now!

 

“Sings of the Times”

“Coming Home”

“Lost in Oblivion”

 

Tracklist:

  1. God of The Sun
  2. Coming Home
  3. Signs of the Time
  4. Labyrinth
  5. Alive
  6. Lost In Oblivion
  7. Figaro’s Whore
  8. Divine Addiction
  9. Opus Maximus

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: 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: 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.

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
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Album Review: Mark Slaughter – Halfway There (2017)

slaughter-stick-it-to-yaI remember the first time I heard Slaughter – it was on one of those ballad compilation albums and the song was, of course, “Fly to the Angels”. The progress was natural because let’s face it, there’s no way you can listen to that gorgeous song and don’t ask for more! I got their debut album, “Stick it To Ya” and instantly fell for the distinctive, rough, high-pitched voice of Mark and the band’s dangerous, thrilling rock sound. Till today, that first release remains one of my most beloved glam metal releases and I still think that it deserved so much more than it actually did.

mark slaughter1990 is long gone but thankfully, Mark Slaughter is still making music, as good as he did over 25 years ago. The band is also currently active, participating in concerts and touring around the States. The ‘90s were, however, Slaughter’s busiest and with that, most successful period of their career. Once the new decade kicked in, vocalist and songwriter Mark Slaughter started exploring other musical directions, including DJ-ing, voice-acting, music composing for TV shows and others. It took Mark Slaughter some time before he officially embarked on a solo musical journey. First, he released a single track, then a digital-only album and now, we can finally purchase and enjoy a full-length solo record, titled “Halfway There”. The special 10-track album (11 in Japan) hit the music market on the 26th of May via EMP Label Group (a US-based label owned by David Ellefson, Megadeth bassist) and let me tell you something – it hit it hard! I really missed that classic, Slaughter sound and Mark is just bringing it all back on this album – that and way way way more! “Halfway There” is a worthy progression and obvious artistic evolution for him but with a little bit of old-school hint. It was a pleasure for me to listen to it from start to finish and I hope after reading this article, you will grab the album if you haven’t done it yet.

“Halfway There”

“…a return to form of the classic Slaughter sound, but with some modern upgrades,” says the EMP Label Group.

One of the most brilliant aspects of this album is that Mark was actually in charge of not only the vocals but he’s also the one playing the guitar, bass, keyboards and behind the orchestration as well. That should tell you something! This is clearly a very dear album to him and he put his soul, heart and every talent he has to make it sound as sincere as possible. Mark is a superb artist and taking full control over this entire record was definitely the right direction.

Let’s talk songs!

halfwaythere slaughterThe album kick things off with the mighty rock anthem “Hey You” which just begs to be played live. I can imagine it – the crowd screaming together with Mark this captivating chant, “Hey You, All Hands up, Rock & Roll Forever!” What an opener! We move on to “Devoted” which is even more powerful and aggressive than the first one; I swear, this entire album is one punch in the stomach after another! “Supernatural” brings us back to Mark Slaughter‘s more melodic, radio-friendly appeal with its funky rhythms and cheerful vocal delivery.  The fourth track is the monumental title song which in my humble opinion has to be the highlight on “Halfway There” and that’s not just because I love ballads. Flawless vocals, striking personal lyrics and don’t you even get me started on the composition; this song left me speechless! “Conspiracy” and “Reckless” are two other tracks to watch out for. The dangerous guitar-driven “Conspiracy” is one of the heaviest, most destructive tracks on “Halfway There”; “Reckless” on the other hand is a straight-up classic rock tune, fueled with mind-blowing riffs that just make your head spin! What an experience! The album wraps things up in a gentle manner with the bluesy, modern-style “Not Here” which impresses with quality solos and of course, Mark‘s soul-soothing, lullaby-like vocal delivery.

I’ve been a huge fan of Slaughter so needless to say Mark‘s solo release was highly anticipated. We still have half a year to go, but this might actually turn out to be one of the top solo rock releases of 2017. It’s a brilliant album, showcasing Mark‘s artistic greatness and growth as a musician. He gets an A++ from me!


“Hey You”

“Devoted”


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

BONFIRE – “Byte The Bullet” Album Review

German rockers BONFIRE are back with what can easily be referred to as one of the most electrifying, mind-blowing and hair-raising rock releases so far. Guitarist, original founder and basically Mr. Everything, Hans Zilller is back with his strong team of musicians, including bass player Ronnie Parkes, guitarist Frank Pane, drummer Tim Breideband and a brand new vocalist Alexx Stahl, replacing David Reece. Bonfire’s previous album “Glorious” (2015) was a phenomenal hard rock tornado and David was surely a great fit for the band; however things once again turned upside down for Bonfire as they were left with no lead singer. Frequent lineup changes and turbulent periods are part of any rock band’s history, so no surprises there. What’s in the past, however, stays in the past. It was time to look forward to the future and there’s no better way to do it than hire a fantastic new singer and focus on creating something as impressive as “Byte the Bullet”.

Bonfire_Byte_the_bullet

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

You may guess what my final verdict might be – “Byte The Bullet” is a strong release, worthy of every second of your time you’ll spend on it! Those 14 tracks (excluding that crazy 50-second German recording “Friedensreich”) are bringing so much to the table. I still can’t get over how amazingly well-done this album is. Most importantly, if you are one of the people (like me) who is always seeking their self-empowerment in music, this album might be the best pick for you! Enjoy it!

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

Tracklist:

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

buy-from-amazon

“Power Train”

“Praying 4 A Miracle”

“Locomotive Breath”

“Sweet Obsession”

“Lonely Nights”


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