THUNDER – “Rip It Up” Album Review

rip-it-up-thunder

Released: February 10, 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: EARMUSIC
Duration: 51:13
Producer(s): Luke Morley

Tracklist:

  1. No One Gets Out Alive – 4:21
  2. Rip It Up – 4:43
  3. She Likes The Cocaine – 4:34
  4. Right From The Start – 5:23
  5. Shakedown – 4:08
  6. Heartbreak Hurricane – 4:46
  7. In Another Life – 4:57
  8. The Chosen One – 5:09
  9. The Enemy Inside – 3:10
  10. Tumbling Down – 5:25
  11. There’s Always A Loser – 4:38

OVERVIEW

Thunder are back with a brand new studio album, titled “Rip It Up”. The follow-up to their highly successful, Top 10 2015 release, “Wonder days” has finally arrived and is loaded with a serious collection of mindblowing rock tunes, destined to become future classics. The title says it all – “Rip It Up” tears down all musical and creative barriers. That “now or never” attitude of Thunder is winning them the big points! The album showcases their new-found creative strength and obvious self-rediscovery, all packed together with their thunderous, indestructible spirit that made them a household name back in old-school days. Guitarist Luke Morley and vocalist Danny Bowes formed Thunder in 1989 and the rest is…well, what a history! 27 years after a groundbreaking debut album, “Backstreet Symphony”, fuelled with hard rock staples like “Dirty Love” and “Love Walked In”, Thunder are still going as strong as ever and their eleventh studio album, “Rip It Up” is simply another important stop on their long way to go.

“After the positive reaction to ‘Wonder Days’, we were very happy, and it justified the approach we took in the writing and recording. We decided to push it further on all fronts this time, to see what happened, and I think it shows in the writing and the individual performances. We couldn’t have made this album 10 or even 5 years ago, we weren’t good enough! We’re really looking forward to playing the new tunes live alongside the more established ones.”

Quote retrieved from: http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/thunder-to-release-rip-it-up-album-in-february/#UhDxQEZhpkxtss80.99

“No One Gets Out Alive” is a promising opening track that welcomes you to one truly fascinating world where hard rock is a religion and Thunder are one of the Gods. It’s a fearless composition that impresses with its striking lyrics that tell us that we might not live forever, but that’s totally fine! Danny Bowes is sending a strong message – don’t waste your time away and enjoy the ride! The title track is as fierce as its name. “Rip It Up” became an instant favorite of mine with its atmospheric bluesy/old-school party vibes that just make you forget about everything. “She Likes the Cocaine” was inspired by a woman who guitarist Luke Morley used to know back in his days of youth. The lady in question used to be the heart and soul of the party and so many years later, she still is (at least that’s what Luke says). The song takes on a lighter perspective of drugs, looking at things through the fun way of it. Lynne Jackaman is making a memorable appearance on the track with her outstanding backing vocals. “Right from the Start” slows things down to remind us why ballads are so important for any release. Thunder have always been famous for their slower-paced tunes and there’s a reason why. Their trademark ballad sound is immensely captivating. “Shakedown”, “In Another Life” and “The Enemy Inside” are just a few of the heavier, upbeat rockers that bring that much-need intensity caused by the satisfying clash between deafening guitars and bold vocals. “Rip It Up” wraps things up with another soft rocker, titled “Everyone’s A Loser”. Nothing much to say about this pleasing end to a splendid album, except that indeed everyone who doesn’t listen to this album is a loser.

“Rip It Up” is Thunder’s gutsy confession, incorporating elements of their well-established formula for success into a solid modern-day hard rock sound. I didn’t expect the album to contain any unprecedented, far-out tracks so I wasn’t really disappointed when I got this well-known enjoyable piece of good old rock&roll music. Bottom line is, Danny Bowes still has the pipes and Luke Morley can still write extraordinary songs. So get ready for an album that will easily compete for the greatest rock release of 2017, I’m sure of it.


“Rip It Up” Official Song Stream

No One Gets Out Alive

Playlist:


References:
THUNDER To Release ‘Rip It Up’ Album In February, retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/thunder-to-release-rip-it-up-album-in-february/#UhDxQEZhpkxtss80.99
“Rip it Up” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_It_Up_(Thunder_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~

Jack Russell’s GREAT WHITE – “He Saw it Coming” Album Review

jack-russel-great-white

Released: January 27, 2017
Genre: AOR, Melodic Rock, Pop Rock
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l

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Tracklist:

01. Sign Of The Times
02. She Moves Me
03. Crazy
04. Love Don’t Live Here
05. My Addiction
06. Anything For You
07. He Saw It Comin’
08. Don’t Let Me Go
09. Spy Vs Spy
10. Blame It On The Night
11. Godspeed

OVERVIEW

Coming out of the streets of LA, hard rock band Great White rose to stardom in the late 1980s with a series of hits and MTV staples, such as the infamous Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Rock Me”. The band kept on going strong during the ‘90s as well, releasing five studio albums and touring the US several times, headlining shows and teaming up with other big industry names, such as Ratt and Poison. After the disbandment of Great White, Jack Russell – the lead singer and an original member of the band took matters into his own hands. Armed with new-found emotional and physical strength, gained after a series of tragedies, it was time for Jack to gaze into the future and do what he does best which is of course, performing and writing music. Jack Russell’s Great White rose from the ashes of a long-forgotten past and progressed into a modern hard rock tornado, worthy of appreciation.

On the 27th of January, singer Jack Russell, together with former bandmate and friend Tony Montana on guitar and keyboards, Robby Lochner (Fight) on guitar, Dan McNay (Montrose) on bass  and Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson) on drums released their official full-length debut album, titled “He Saw it Comin'” (originally titled “The Gauntlet”) via Frontiers Music Srl. It was a busy month for the label but they did manage to kick 2017 off with some outstanding releases, one of which most certainly is “He Saw it Comin’”.

“It’s a powerful band,” Russell proclaims. “The music comes across very dynamically. It’s what I always wanted it to be. Tony was a catalyst for moving forward. I was never as close to him as I am now. We never had the opportunity to write music together before. I also never knew he played guitar. When I first heard him, I nearly fell of my chair. He’s my copilot. He’s one of my best friends. I wish we would’ve been this close back in the day.”

“It’s natural for all of us,” adds Montana. “There’s a solid chemistry, and we’re having a lot of fun.”

(Quote, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348)

“He Saw It Comin’” features 11 tracks, all capturing a satisfying blend between authentic hard rock sound and edgier, more opportunistic musical elements. The new album represents Jack Russell’s vision of a beloved old-school hard rock band, still blowing people’s minds away in 2017! “He Saw It Comin’” is suitable for the devoted fans and a great way for the younger audiences to experience that genuine rock&roll vibe. Jack Russell’s vocal delivery is at his finest. Just listen to the bluesy, laid-back rocker “Love Don’t Live Here” and you will see for yourself. “Sign of the Times” and “Blame it on the Night” are just a few of the future live staples and radio-hits we can find on the album.  “Anything for You” is a worthy, well-written ballad, bringing us back to the classic Great White days. “She Moves Me” is a total surprise – the guys are stepping out of their comfort zone and delivering an exciting, very sexy if I may say tune, suitable for any midnight affair. ”Crazy” is my personal favorite and I gotta thank the spellbinding guitar riffs for that.

Jack Russell did a splendid job with this one. He sounds confident and purposeful. “He Saw It Comin’” combines the best of both worlds – a little bit of that well-liked Great White spirit and a new, more intriguing approach to musicianship. Moreover, he still sounds as good as ever which in itself is an accomplishment enough. Guitars, melodies, lyrics – they all reflect the great chemistry between the members. When your heart is in the right place, the results can’t but lead to a massive success.
Now go listen and enjoy “He Saw It Comin’”!

Love Don’t Live Here

Blame It On The Night

Sign Of The Times


References:
Gack Russell’s Great White – “He Saw it Coming” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348
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~

Pride of Lions – “Fearless” Album Review

prideoflionsalbum9

Released: January 27, 2017
Genre: AOR, Melodic Rock
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l
Length: 53:22

buy-from-amazon

Tracklist:

  1. All I See Is You!
  2. The Tell
  3. In Caricature
  4. Silent Music
  5. Fearless
  6. Everlasting Love
  7. Freedom Of The Night
  8. The Light In Your Eyes
  9. Rising Up
  10. The Silence Says It All
  11. Faster Than A Prayer
  12. Unmasking The Mystery

OVERVIEW

In 2003, Survivor keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter Jim Peterik, teamed up with vocalist Toby Hitchcock to form Pride of Lions – a melodic rock band which many thought is just a temporal side experiment with no future whatsoever. However, the project, incorporating old-school hard rock elements and modern style production qualities, proved everyone wrong. After a groundbreaking self-titled debut album, followed by a couple of equally fascinating AOR gems and live releases, Pride of Lions cemented their position as one of the worthiest rock acts of our time. The golden age of hard rock might be long gone but that genuine ‘80s sound Jim Peterik and the rest of the guys are blending in their music is more than enough to lift our spirits and show us that as long as you have it in your heart, you can be a great rockstar in any given era! That’s exactly what Pride of Lions are showcasing on their fifth studio album, titled “Fearless”. A long-awaited comeback, full of truly inspiring compositions is finally here! What a great way to start the new year!

In late November of 2016, we got the chance to listen to the first track out of “Fearless”, titled “The Tell”. The elegant rocker stirred our anticipation by signalling the arrival of a strong AOR force. Telling a story about a woman who is not as innocent as she claims to be, the song impresses with its pleasing melody, A-level vocal performances and superb guitar hooks. “The Tell” is definitely one of the stand outs of the album and a personal favorite. The opening track, “All I See is You” is a much needed glass of romance that leaves you with nothing but a sweet and love-rich aftertaste. It’s a beautiful song, featuring a dynamic vocal race between Jim and Toby and energetic riffs, all decorated with peachy, energizing violins. “Silent Music” is truly magical, hinting some serious Survivor vibes with its glorious harmonies and wonderful lyrics. “The Light in Your Eyes” is a gentle piano-driven rocker on which Toby shines brighter than a star. The title track is yet another mighty moment from “Fearless” that just begs you to crank it up!

Bottom line is, if you love Survivor and are a huge fan of melodic rock, “Fearless” is most certainly the album for you. Armed with top notch AOR gems, the record is exactly what I hoped it would be. Pride of Lions challenged themselves and delivered something outstanding. I already know that it’s going to be one of my favorite releases of 2017. Enjoy it!

“We are always trying to top ourselves” states singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Jim Peterik. “This time I went back and listened closely to all the previous cds to hear the strongest assets of each record: what was working and what could be improved. I went into writing the fearless material keeping that in mind. I feel it sticks closer to the template we set with our first cd, yet goes to new places musically as well like using a Kansas- style fiddle- played by Andrew Ohlrich- on the video/single “All I See is You.” 
(Quote, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5350)

The Tell

The Light in Your Eyes

Silent Music

All I See is You


Watch the “Fearless” Documentary here:


References:
Pride of Lions – “Fearless” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5350
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~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] HELIX – Long Way To Heaven (1985)

helix-long-way

Released: November 9, 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Duration: 36:25
Label: Capitol
Producer(s): Tom Treumuth

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

If you are already in possession of Helix“Long Way to Heaven” or you just got your hands on it for the first time, there’s only one thing to do with it – CRANK IT UP and LET IT ROCK! The Canadian heavy metal rockers hit it quite big with their 1984 release Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” so fans were pretty excited to see whether their third album for Capitol records will be as mighty as its predecessor. Don’t let the angelic album cover fool you – “Long Way to Heaven” is everything but innocent! The year was 1985 – the glam metal scene had already become an endless ocean where every 10 seconds a new band was trying to make its way between the shoals. That didn’t stop Helix from writing some top notch compositions and rocking the hell out of the ‘80s! Helix were never just about the hair, the glam, the big venues and the ostentatious music videos. They were a laid-back band that just knew how to make good old and highly enjoyable rock&roll. “Long Way to Heaven” doesn’t really stand out with its flashy production qualities, complicated arrangements or lyrics that can dig a hole in your heart. This album is all about having fun, drinking a beer and living life at its fullest!

“Long Way to Heaven” is one big ball of energy. It opens with “The Kids Are All Shakin’” – a worthy appetizer that builds up your excitement for what’s coming. Number two on the tracklist is the power ballad “Deep Cuts the Knife”. Released as the first album single (I love it when the first single is a ballad), the moving tune turned into one of the biggest radio hits from “Long Way to Heaven”. No surprises there – a bit heavier than your ordinary ‘80s power ballad which is exactly why it’s so good! What follows is a great playlist, featuring dangerously compelling rockers, like “Ride the Rocker”, “Long Way to Heaven” and my personal favorite “House on Fire”! I have previously expressed how much I adore a song with a persuasive guitar intro and “House on Fire’s” first 37 seconds just blew my mind! Every band had a song, named after a girl’s name. For Helix, it was “Christine” – another memorable, well-written moment, coming out of their fifth album!

Well-crafted hard rockers, superb vocals by Brian Vollmer and loads of straightforward hard rock spirit are the reason why “Long Way to Heaven” achieved the platinum status in Canada. Believe me, with this album the way to rock&roll is not that long! Cheers and take all the pleasure!


Long Way to Heaven

It’s a long way to Heaven
But only three short steps to Hell…

House on Fire

Deep Cuts the Knife

Christine

…or listen to the entire 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~

TOP 10 Classic Rock Debut Albums

favorite-debut-albums

Debut albums – they can make or break your career. First impressions are always important and that is valid in pretty much every sphere of life, including in the tough and highly competitive music industry sector. During the “golden age of rock”, as I like to call the ‘70s and ‘80s, tons of outstanding bands made their first statement with strong and memorable albums, some of which are still relevant and widely-appreciated on a worldwide level.  Of course, it takes time to properly assemble a band, create a distinctive sound and style, and choose the perfect way to point your efforts and influences at the right direction, resulting in a powerful, slamming rock wave!

Just like any other classic rock fan out there, I also have my top 10 favorite rock debuts. For one reason or another, these ten albums left quite the impression on me and were the reason why I got into those bands in the first place. These “eye-opening” debuts are as a matter of fact among some of my most beloved albums of all time. From punk rock to progressive rock; from AOR treasures, to supergroup debuts, I am presenting you, [My Rock Mixtape]’s Top 10 Classic Rock Debuts!


1. Def Leppard – On Through the Night (1980)

debut-def-leppard-on-through-the-night

Hello Def Leppard! It’s absolutely impossible not to fall in love with the rawness, energy and straightforward hard rock spirit that surrounds “On Through the Night”. With that organic rock&roll sound and influences, drawn by bands like The Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy, it was no surprise that this album became a leading force in the new wave of British heavy metal movement. Def Leppard were a couple of British guys with a big dream – to conquer the States and eventually the world. They did manage to fulfill their dream, despite receiving a lot of criticism from local fans and press, for “selling-out” to the American audience. Nevertheless, the dark, unprocessed and rather fresh approach to hard rock, Def Leppard presented in 1980, was exactly what the music scene needed.“Hello America”, “Rock Brigade”, “Wasted”, “Sorrow is a Woman” – all splendid heavy metal rockers that defined the early ’80s. Def Leppard drifted a little from their initial “hard solid” sound and musical direction; however, it was the right thing to do, believe me.


2. Boston – Boston (1976)

boston-boston

The tremendous strength with which Boston’s self-titled debut album smashed into the music world in the mid-70s could easily be justified with the 25 million copies sold worldwide. Not only that, but “Boston” was actually the best-selling debut album of all time before Guns N’ Roses released “Appetite for Destruction” in 1987. There should be a reason for such enormous recognition, right? Well, the album is just that good! The record found the perfect balance between pop and rock by crafting a splendid mixture of gorgeous vocal harmonies, gentle, yet rough guitar riffs, spellbinding melodic hooks and dreamy lyrics, all wrapped up under the influence of the classical music, Tom Scholz – the man behind Boston, grew up listening to. “More Than a Feeling”, “Piece of Mind” and “Rock & Roll Band” are some of the classics appearing on the album, which I don’t see disappearing from the radio stations anytime soon.

Why is BOSTON’s Debut Album One Of The Greatest Albums Of All Time


3. ASIA – ASIA (1982)

asia82

This monstrous debut record by the supergroup Asia was released back in 1982 and proved that there was indeed a reason why those immensely talented and versatile musicians from YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles got together in the first place. “Asia” spawned one of the most distinctive rock tunes of the 80s – “Heat of the Moment” which became their ultimate signature song. That was not the end of it, though – the record is full of catchy hooks and fine melodies, perfectly designed to fit the demands of the commercial radio stations.“Sole Survivor”, “Time Again”, “Only Time Will Tell” – some of the finest moments on “ASIA”, showcasing a marvelous fusion between progressive rock, pop and hard rock.

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] ASIA – ASIA


4. Bad Company  – Bad Company (1974)

bad-company-debutBad Company’s glorious 1974 debut achieved much more than critical and commercial success; the self-titled album of the supergroup brought good old-fashioned rock&roll back into the music scene. Filled with catchy straightforward classics, “Bad Company” is the perfect example of album oriented blues rock, showcasing the band’s biggest selling point – their moody but quite soulful signature sound. Loaded with classic rock staples like “Can’t Get Enough”, “Rock Steady” and “Ready for Love”, the record was destined for success.  I have always found an immense attachment to “Ready for Love” (original by Mott the Hoople) – Paul Rodgersvocals absolutely did it for me. If you want to get into Bad Company, this is the record you should start with. Play it as loud as possible if you want to experience the ageless magic of pure hard solid rock&roll.

The Triumphant Debut of BAD COMPANY (1974)


5. Cinderella – Night Songs (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2I don’t think Cinderella could’ve made a better debut album! Cinderella were everything BUT your ordinary glam rock band. Unfortunately, their image was what often confused people, though their talent goes above and beyond the big hair, tight leather pants and leopard shirts. We also have to consider their secret weapon – Tom Keifer who is one of the most unique voices of rock music and one of my favorite vocalists of all time. “Night Songs” offers an excellent selection of blues-oriented explosive metal riffs of guitarist Jeff LaBar, flavored by the scratchy fierce voice of Tom Keifer, all cloaked under dark, mysterious and quite intriguing character of the record. “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Night Songs”, “Somebody Save Me” – there’s just no weak song on this debut album; all are among the greatest glam rock tunes ever released!

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] CINDERELLA – Night Songs


6. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)

van-halen-debut

One of the most essential rock acts of all time, Van Halen, debuted in 1978 with an enormous self-titled album that is often regarded as the greatest rock&roll debut albums of all time by fans. Despite being heavily criticized by critics back in the day, it didn’t take that long for the album to become an absolute worldwide sensation and set new standards for rock&roll. Eddie Van Halen’s God-like guitar skills erupted on this album and we are more than thankful for that. Revolutionary rockers like “Runnin’ With the Devil”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love” and the splendid cover of The Kink’s “You Really Got Me” (which with all due respect is better than the original, in my opinion) defined the rock scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s like no other tunes. Not to mention the electrifying solo “Eruption” which put all the guitarists to shame. There’s no surprise this brilliant rock debut found its way to my heart and became one of my favorite debuts of all time.


7. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

king-crimson-in-the-court-of-the-crimson-king-1969

I still remember the first time I heard King Crimson’s “Epitaph” it was one of the most sensual experiences of my life. I just knew a special relationship between me and the band is about to develop and wasn’t wrong. The fathers of progressive rock – King Crimson, debuted with “In the Court of the Crimson King” in 1969, which many fans and critics consider as the birthplace of progressive rock. Not only that, but the highly experimental, out-of-this-world sound of the album inspired generations of progressive rock acts. Greg Lake’s soul-touching vocals, accompanied by surreal music, mixing all genres, styles and forms you can imagine, conquered me right from the very beginning. In addition to “Epitaph”, “Moonchild” andThe Court of the Crimson King” are among my favorite progressive rock pieces. This, in my book, is probably the most influential debut albums of all time!


8. Ramones – Ramones (1976)

ramones-debut

Hey ho, let’s go! The fathers of punk rock, The Ramones debuted in 1976 with one of the most uplifting, enjoyable and spirited rock albums of all time. I always had a soft spot for punk rock and this album was the reason why; there’s just something so charming about The Ramones and their carefree, breezy and laid-back style and approach to music. Coming out of the CBGB stage, The Ramones were the main catalysts for the punk rock, underground movement of the late ‘70s in the USA. Moreover, Ramones went on to become the most important punk rock act, inspiring generations of musicians, such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash.
Classics like “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Judy is a Punk” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” are synonymous with punk rock! “Ramones” is also one good example of how an album which couldn’t achieve big commercial success, achieved something that goes way beyond that.


9. Giant – Last of the Runaways (1989)

giant-last-of-the-runawaysGiant’s outstanding debut album, “Last of the Runaways” deserved so much more than it actually got. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t right for it – by 1989, the heydays of album-oriented rock were long gone. Despite its high production value, melodic quality and outstanding vocals and riffs by Dann Huff, “Last of the Runaways” somehow got lost in the transition period from the ‘80s to the ‘90s.“I’m a Believer”“Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock tornadoes that could be heard on this album. “Last of the Runaways” gives us three of the greatest power ballads ever written – “Love Welcome Home”, “It Takes Two” and of course their most commercially successful song, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. How Dann and the rest of the guys wrote such powerful and emotionally-charged pieces of art is beyond my understanding. This is a gorgeous rock piece and I can’t recommend it enough!

[’80s Rock Album Focus] GIANT – Last Of The Runaways


10. Firehouse – Firehouse (1990)

firehouse-debut-2

FireHouse was an absolute glam rock revolution, in the sense that they brought so much more than glitter and gold to the table. The critical and audience appreciation was on point – those four guys weren’t joking around – armed with great talent, for FireHouse the sky was the limit. Their 1989 debut album, “FireHouse” offers a selection of twelve, well-polished pop/metal jewels, which respectfully clogged he radio stations and mesmerized (and still do) the fans with gorgeous riffs and superb vocals. “All She Wrote” “Shake & Tumble”, Rock on the Radio“ and Don’t Treat Me Bad” are just a few of the catchy rockers that turned this debut album into one of my favorite albums of all time! Don’t even get me started on “Love of a Lifetime”, which in my book is one of the greatest power ballads ever written!

In 1990, FIREHOUSE Released a Debut Album of a Lifetime


+ Honorable Mentions

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

elp-debut

The Beatles – Please Please Me (1963)

please-please-me-beatles

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)

Led Zeppelin - Babe I'm gonna Leave You

Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

rainbow23

Winger – Winger (1988)

http://aornightdrive.blogspot.com.br/

Foreigner – Foreigner (1977)

foreigner-debut

Thunder – Backstreet Symphony

thunder-backstreet-symphony

Bad English – Bad English

bad-english-bad-english

DIO – Holy Diver

Dio - Holy Diver


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~

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.

In 1990, FIREHOUSE Released a Debut Album of a Lifetime

The Importance of a Debut Album

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and that applies in every sphere of life, including music. A debut album can make or break a musician’s career. That first release is like an immensely important first date with the biggest, most relevant judge in the world – the audience. Therefore, the artists need to strike with their strongest, most exceptional creative weapons right from the very beginning if they want to make a name for themselves in this competitive music market. A successful debut album is essential in the sense that it’s a key to establish a fanbase, not to mention that it sets some sort of standards and expectations for the following projects. Having a powerful debut album doesn’t always walk hand in hand with a powerful, everlasting career; however, it’s indeed a significant aspect to think about when building a reputation. Some great rock acts, like Guns N’ Roses, Boston, Bad Company, even The Beatles, of course, spawned enormously impactful debut albums that stood the test of time. Unfortunately you can’t build a career on just one debut album – you need to develop artistically and be consistent with your releases. Some other rock acts like Elton John, Thin Lizzy and even the great Journey had a rather weak debut but managed to rise from the ashes and come back stronger than ever.

firehouse-debut-2So many rock albums are on my list of “favorite rock debuts of all time”, I don’t even know where to begin with – from Def Leppard’s “On through the Night” to Bad Company’s self-titled debut, from ASIA to Rainbow, the list goes on and on. One of those albums is the album I will be focusing on throughout this publication – the 1990 coming out party of the American glam rocker, FireHouse. Intrigued by the gorgeous power-ballad, “Love of a Lifetime”, I followed its footsteps back to this record where I found out that there was indeed a reason why it was certified double platinum. The album showcases so much talent, effort and what’s so fascinating is that it somehow managed to make a statement during a transitional, rather shaky period in the music world. The time for a debut wasn’t that suitable because grunge basically took over and media, along with fans, just stopped caring about glam rock. Still, what’s good is good and I am sure many people, just like me, appreciate FireHouse and this marvelous album, full of explosive melodic-rockers.

FireHouse

firehouse3Vocalist C. J. Snare, guitarist Bill Leverty, drummer Michael Foster, and bassist Perry Richardson caught the last wave of the glam rock era with a firm grab. What they did with that first release not only got them prestigious awards, including Best Newcomer in the States, but also launched their international success in many countries, including Canada and Japan. FireHouse is yet another band to brag with its supportive fandom and strong presence in the Japanese market and this first album has a lot to do with it.

The band, along with that debut album turned into a much needed breath of fresh air. People were losing interest in melodic AOR records and were waiting for the next big thing. The strong force, known as hair metal, was losing its powers. Suddenly, however, those talented guys came along and spawned a double platinum album in 1990. No one saw that coming but everyone loved it. The quartet, along with producer David Prater, who worked with Dream Theatre, obviously knew how to craft some good old, enduring American hard rock.

Songs and Style

FireHouse was an absolute glam rock revolution, in the sense that they brought so much more than glitter and gold to the table. The critical and audience appreciation was on point – those four guys weren’t joking around – armed with great talent, for FireHouse the sky was the limit. On the surface, to many people it may seem like a regular hair metal album, stuffed with ordinary party rockers with little substance, however once you get to know the songs a little bit better; you will understand why exactly this debut album conquered the world.

“FireHouse” offers a selection of twelve, well-polished pop/metal jewels, which respectfully clogged he radio stations and mesmerized (and still do) the fans with gorgeous riffs and superb vocals. “All She Wrote” – a catchy, humorous rocker which just begs you to find your inner (in my case non-existing) vocal strength and sing your heart out – it’s that captivating! This was the first FireHouse song I heard years ago and it grabbed my attention instantaneously. “All She Wrote” deserved so much more than it got, but then again, chart positions aren’t all that matter, right? “Shake & Tumble” gets its hands on you right from the beginning – those mindblowing riffs are like an energy drink; I can almost taste the power coming out of that tune. The opening track – “Rock on the Radio” is your typical party hard rocker, generating tons of excitement. “Don’t Treat Me Bad” is a sweet mid-tempo radio favorite, showcasing appealing acoustic elements. Another highly compelling tune has to be “Home is Where the Heart is” – I am beyond fascinated with Snare’s vocal delivery on this one, he absolutely kills it.

All She Wrote

Shake & Tumble

Don’t Treat Me Bad

I’m saving the best for last! In case you wonder which band released the greatest power ballad of all time, here’s your answer – it’s FireHouse and you can find it on this album! “Love of a Lifetime” is a simply a ballad of a lifetime. Written by vocalist C.J. Snare, it quickly became a worldwide sensation and their most well known song up to date. Not only that, but it turned into an absolute necessity for every wedding ceremony – the impact and fan love for that song just goes beyond any limits. There’s no surprise, though – just listen to the tune and let it reach every little part of your rock n’ roll heart. Dreamy lyrics, full of hope and encouragement, beautiful solo and heartmelting melody – “Love of a Lifetime” has the whole package.

Love of a Lifetime


What followed?

firehouse-hold-your-fireWhat followed was indeed pure fire! “Hold Your Fire” was released in 1992 and though it couldn’t compete with the debut one in terms of sales, it still left a mark of its own. “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, “Hold Your Fire”, “Reach for the Sky” – all immensely successful hit singles and fan favorites. This right here is a perfect example of a worthy sophomore effort – an album that delivered what the fans expected after the first one. Unfortunately, those were the last good albums we got before grunge hit the music scene and kicked hard rock out of the picture. Nevertheless, I am still here, along with many other fans, who love and haven’t forgotten about bands such as FireHouse! Cheers!


References:
“FireHouse” Album Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireHouse_(album)
FireHouse Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireHouse_(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~

The Story of “ALPHA” – A Second Date with ASIA

asia-alphaASIA debuted in 1982 with a monstrous self-titled album which not only celebrated the perfect music partnership of legends Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and John Wetton but also became one of the essential AOR albums that ruled the 80s. With radio-friendly classics like “Heat of the Moment”, “Sole Survivor” and “Time Again”, the album was destined for commercial success. Coming up with an equally deserving follow-up album was always going to be quite the formidable task. One year later, however, ASIA released a worthy sophomore album, titled “Alpha”, which in its own way became a valuable ‘80s classic. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the last album with the band’s original line up as guitarist Steve Howe left one year after its release. There have been some reunions here and there, but the momentum was long lost.

The second date with ASIA was definitely less tense and more familiar, more sensitive even. Producer Mike Stone was once again on board with the rest of the team, crafting a quality collection of charming pop/rock tunes. All of the songs are credited to the songwriting collaboration of John Wetton and Geoff Downes, exceptThe Smile Has Left Your Eyes”, written by Wetton alone. Juxtaposing “Alpha” to its predecessor is inevitable. In terms of sound, ASIA’s second album is less progressive and more mellow, pop oriented, fuelled up with excellent hooks and delightfully attractive choruses. Melodically-empowered and well-seasoned with pleasing keyboard work and sleek multi-layered harmonies, “Alpha” definitely captures a type of progressive rock, that could almost effortlessly be digested by the audience of the ‘80s.  

Many experts claim that the debut album is the most important album of a musician’s career – after all, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. We have so many examples of ground-breaking debut album which sky-rocketed the careers of bands like Guns N’ Roses, Bad Company, King Crimson, Boston, Rainbow, etc. Because of its novelty, huge impact and quality of production, ASIA’s debut album certainly falls under the category of “the greatest rock debuts of all time. “Alpha”, however, didn’t have that novelty factor anymore, nor could it compete in terms of quality of production. “Alpha” also couldn’t meet the industry’s expectation and despite its platinum status, critics often refer to it as somewhat a failure. Sadly, this album turned into one of the most underrated ‘80s rock records of all time, despite the wonderful playlist it offers. If one should chose to ignore all that was said and written about this album and for a second forgets about the enormous sonic force of their debut album, “Alpha” could become a truly pleasant experience. Someone once said that “Asia‘s first album is like Saturday night while the sophomore is more like a Sunday afternoon” which entirely supports my claim – “Alpha” may not be as strong or as important as “Asia” but it still holds a place in our heart.

Cracks were slowly starting to appear, but once you hear songs such as “Don’t Cry”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” or The Beach Boys sounding “Open Your Eyes”, it will all be forgiven. There are great and good songs on this record, but the level doesn’t go below that. The album is a festival of romance, under a sky of gorgeous lyrics and touching music. I often referred to “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” as one of the most beautifully written ballads of all time, despite its weak production. This stunning song deserved so much more. A Phil Spector/Wall of Sound treatment, including horn sections and enhanced piano sounds would’ve done some justice to it. “Don’t Cry” is a personal favorite, mainly due to the dreamy lyrics which every girl secretly wants to hear from a guy: So leave it all behind you, It took so long to find you, I know that we can last forever, ever and more…”. “The Heat Goes On” is another fine moment which should’ve been awarded with more attention; an atmospheric classic rock tune with so much energy, it surely deserves a listen or two.

I’m not gonna go into detail about each and every tune of “Alpha” – you can listen to the whole album below the publication. What I would like to emphasize on is that even though is not as strong as their debut album, it still carries valuable characteristics that makes it a great ‘80s rock record. Symphonic sound, sensitive lyrics and stirring harmonies are just a few of its valuable qualities. ASIA would disappear for two years before they released “Astra” in 1985. The first three albums, in my opinion, perfectly represent their glory days. Whichever one of those albums you pick, you won’t make a mistake. I am somewhat biased and “Alpha” will forever remain my favorite ASIA album mostly because of a few tracks I hold very close to my heart and of course, that marvellous Roger Dean cover. That’s the beauty of music, isn’t it – it has to offer something to everyone. Listen to those outstanding tracks and let’s appreciate such long gone musicianship!

 

Listen to ASIA’s “Alpha” here:

Don’t Cry

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

 


 

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~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] GIANT – Last Of The Runaways

giant-last-of-the-runaways

Last Of The Runaways

Released: August 29, 1989
Genre: Rock/Hard Rock/AOR
Duration: 55:16
Label: A&M
Producer(s): Terry Thomas

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OVERVIEW

 

Giant’s “Last of the Runaways” deserved so much more than it actually got. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t right for it – by 1989, the heydays of album-oriented rock were long gone. Despite its high production value, melodic quality and outstanding vocals and riffs by Dann Huff, “Last of the Runaways” somehow got lost in the transition period from the ‘80s to the ‘90s. Nevertheless, there will always be rock fans like me and you, who can truly appreciate a piece of art when they see it, regardless of any other factors. The debut album of Giant has a lot to offer – from solid rockers, fueled with mind-blowing riffs, to emotional power-ballads, the whole album is a pure melodic paradise.

“Last of the Runaways” makes a clear statement right from the first tune – “I’m a Believer” is a solid rocker with one of the most chilling, hair-raising guitar intros. What follows next is a beautiful, well-balanced selection of arena rock tunes, perfectly demonstrating the artistic skills and qualities of Giant. “Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock tornadoes that could be heard on this album. I’m saving the best for last – “Last of the Runaways” gives us three of the greatest power ballads ever written – “Love Welcome Home”, “It Takes Two” and of course their most commercially successful song, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. How Dann and the rest of the guys wrote such powerful and emotionally-charged pieces of art is beyond my understanding, but believe me when I say this – If you are searching for a heart-stirring musical experience, look no further than those three tunes, especially “I’ll See You In My Dreams”. (I mean just listen to those lyrics “…Time, time will never be a friend of mine again, It tries to make your memory fade, but I won’t let it end…”)

Last of the Runaways” wrapped up the ‘80s in an outstanding way, with excellent music craftsmanship and gorgeous selection of rockers. I can’t recommend it enough! Giant’s next step – the sophomore album “Time to Burn” yet again proved that they weren’t your ordinary hard rock/hair metal band. Listen to the songs and I hope you will understand what I’m saying…

Tracklist:

I’M A BELIEVER
INNOCENT DAYS
I CAN’T GET CLOSE ENOUGH
I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
NO WAY OUT
SHAKE ME UP
IT TAKES TWO
STRANGER TO ME
HOLD BACK THE NIGHT
LOVE WELCOME HOME
THE BIG PITCH

I’m a Believer

I’ll See You In My Dreams

It Takes Two

No Way Out


 

References:
“Last of The Runaways” Official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_of_the_Runaways
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~

Bon Jovi – “This House Is Not For Sale” Album Review

bon-jovi-this-house-is-not-for-sale

This House Is Not For Sale

Released: November 4, 2016
Genre: Hard Rock
Producer(s): Jon Bon Jovi & John Shanks
Label: Island
Length: 49:08

this-house-is-not-for-sale-bon-jovi-2-1

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OVERVIEW

Bon Jovi are back with their thirteenth studio album titled “This House is Not For Sale”. With guitarist Richie Sambora no longer in the current line-up of the band and a new house label, fans and critics held their breaths in deep anticipation of what will their new music sound like. Many thought that the day Richie left would also mark the end of the band itself. The long and quite exceptional songwriting partnership between Jon and Richie was what held the band together and the main reason behind their rose to stardom. But what’s in the past is in the past. There’s just simply no time to waste when music is so desperately trying to break out of your mind and soul. Jon buckled up and the results are in. He is the type of person who never gives up and is truly dedicated to his music and fans. For that, he deserves all the respect he can get.

Let me start by saying that musicians change, love to experiment and will never stop exploring the endless realms of music. Styles, methods and sounds are evolving and there’s no need to be overdramatic about it. “This House is Not for Sale” is a modern-day rock album that doesn’t really run 100% after the old-school formula. So to make things perfectly clear, if you want to hear some vintage pounding Bon Jovi sound, this might not be the album for you. Previous generations who grew up with blockbuster records like “Slippery When Wet” and “New Jersey”, might get a little bit lost into this new much softer, sweeter and rather mainstream material. The younger fans, however, are more likely to accept and appreciate this record. All in all, “This House is Not for Sale”, is making a clear statement – Bon Jovi still have it in them and are going nowhere!

The opening title track is probably the finest moment of the album. Bon Jovi’s signature formula, combined with some fresh elements, create a perfect new single. It’s safe, well-controlled and unobtrusive but quite appealing and peculiar at the same time. The charming idea behind the lyrics also adds up to the exciting atmosphere of the track. After that, however, things start becoming confusing. The record flows wonderfully and quite consistently, however there’s just so little substance under that chummy, radio-ready facade. Very few songs from “This House is Not for Sale” manage to leave behind a durable spark. Rockers like “Living with the Ghost”, “Knockout” and “Labor of Love” are well-produced and satisfying to a certain extent; however, way too restrained and familiar to generate the “wow” effect. “Roller Coaster” might be a song with a potential, despite the strong “Maroon 5” vibe coming out of it. The tracks that follow lack individuality and don’t leave an impression that lasts longer than their duration. The hidden surprise was found among the bonus tracks of the deluxe version of the record. Just when I lost all hope, the gentle “I Will Drive You Home” became the slap that woke me up. Tender electronic rhythms and Jon’s mellow vocals made the album experience a bit more bearable.

“This House is Not for Sale” is a good pop/rock album with country elements that is definitely well suited and safe enough to be played on the airways during all parts of the day. Unfortunately, innovation and distinctiveness are not among the qualities of this record. The absence of the tougher, hard rock touch of Richie’s guitar is plainly noticeable. Bon Jovi might be back but their new sound is just too unfulfilling. Nevertheless, I will give the record a second chance!

Cheers~

 

Tracklist

“This House is Not For Sale”
“Living With the Ghost”
“Knockout”
“Labor of Love”
“Born Again Tomorrow”
“Roller Coaster”
“New Year’s Day”
“The Devil’s In The Temple”
“Scars on This Guitar”
“God Bless This Mess”
“Reunion”
“Come On Up to Our House”

+ Bonus Tracks (Deluxe Version)

“Real Love”
“All Hail The King”
“We Don’t Run”
“I Will Drive You Home”
“Goodnight New York”

 

This House Is Not For Sale

Knockout

Labor of Love


 

References:
“This House is Not for Sale” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_House_Is_Not_for_Sale
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.
Cheers~
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.

Glenn Hughes – “Resonate” Album Review

glenn-hughes-resonate-album-art

RESONATE

Released: November 4, 2016
Genre: Hard Rock
Producer(s): Glenn Hughes & Soren Andersen

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l
Length: 56:16

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OVERVIEW

2016 brought to the table a couple of pretty intriguing records by our favorite classic rockers. Heart’s “Beautiful Broken”, Kansas’ “The Prelude Implicit”, Steven Tyler’s “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere”, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” (RIP), Paul Simon’s “Stranger to Stranger” and Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do” are among the year’s finest works, clearly stating that devotion to music and epic talent are ageless. That’s not all, though! We will wrap 2016 up with a few more, highly anticipated hard rockers, including rock legend Glenn Hughes’ grandiose comeback album, titled “Resonate”. It has been almost a decade since his last studio effort, First Underground Nuclear Kitchen (2008), but his powerful hard rock testimony, “Resonate”, turned out to be a record worth waiting for.

“It’s my first solo album in 8 years. Everybody needs to know that this is absolutely a return to rock music as a solo artist for me. My work is very varied. Groovy, funky, soulful, although the genre has always been rock. But this album is probably THE heaviest record I’ve done in at least 25 years. It’s dense. It’s dark. There’s some aggression on this record. Every bloody track is begging to be played live.”

On his official website, Glenn stated that “Resonate” is the first kind of a complete Glenn album… it is a ROCK album for ROCK fans & it’s… HEAVY.” His words can’t even begin to describe the electrifying, breath-taking, dangerous and even quite aggressive aura of the record. “Resonate” is a rock euphoria that only solidifies Glenn’s reputation as a one-of-a-kind rock legend who still knows how to craft jaw-dropping music.

Eleven (plus one bonus) tracks provide you with the ultimate galvanizing rock experience.  Glenn makes a clear solid statement right from the very first song. “Heavy” is no joke; it’s the song with the strongest force of attraction among all the tracks. Glenn’s trademark vocals, furious guitars and dynamic sound effects are all stirred up to an ultimate hard rock extravaganza. “My Town” and “Let It Shine” are the two other seductive rockers that are immediately making a statement with their stimulating rhythms and first-class production qualities. “God of Money” quickly throws you back into the deep hard rock river with its explosive guitar-driven sound, haunting bass and conceptual lyrics. Unexpectedly, after a series of spellbinding tornadoes, we are faced with a much gentler song, titled “When I Fall”.  Well-written both lyrically and melodically, the tune somehow manages to calm things down for a second and remind you that Glenn can conquer pretty much any style. “Resonate” ends up with the mid-tempo rocker “Long Time Gone” which cannot really compete with the value and impact of the rest of the songs from the album.

“Resonate” is an album for people who want to get drunk on hard rock in its purest, most aggressive and mighty form. Glenn delivered what he promised and though it came as a huge surprise, right at the very end of 2016, the album’s loud and vigorous voice quickly reached us. Another vintage rocker showing the youngsters how to make great rock music! Cheers to Glenn!

 

Tracklist:

HEAVY
MY TOWN
FlOW
LET IT SHINE
STEADY
GOD OF MONEY
HOW LONG
WHEN I FALL
LANDMINES
STUMBLE & GO
LONG TIME GONE
NOTHING’S THE SAME (BONUS TRACK)

 

Heavy

Let It Shine

My Town

 

 


References:
Glenn Hughes Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Hughes
Glenn Hughes Official Website: http://www.glennhughes.com/ctc/bulletins/glenn-hughes-new-album-resonate-set-for-release-november-2016/

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.
Cheers~
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.