Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ginger Wildheart & Ryan Hamilton - Fuck You Brain (Charity EP) (2016)

Genre - Rock / Pop / Punk / Blues
Label - Round Records

Track listing:
01 - Fuck You Brain
02 - Ode To The Idiots
03 - Dogbreath

Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton, too immensely talented musicians who have made no secret of their long running battles with depression have decided to get together to record and release a charity single, with the proceeds being donated to The Samaritans to help with the support that they provide to so many, especially around this time of year.
Lets discuss the music first before I post what those involved have to say about the project.
The lead track, Fuck You Brain is a great up beat rocker, that sees the lead vocal being shared by all those involved. The perfect blend of rocking guitars and pop melodies, with some wicked pedal steel guitar courtesy of Maurice Hipkiss
The Ep's second track, Ode To The Idiots, is written by Ryan Hamilton, and recorded during the sessions for his recent pledge campaign (more on that album to follow). Its short and sweet, but a great pop punk song non the less.
the Ep's final track Dogbreath is an instrumental, and about as mental as it gets. coming across as a mix of Patience and Gratitude and Mutations Wham City.
A great little Ep that's well worth having in your collection, even more so considering the cause that its raising money for!

Rating: 10/10

The EP is available HERE

Now over to those involved to tell you about this project:

Ginger Wildheart - Drums/Bass/Guitar/Vocals.
Ryan Hamilton - Guitar/Vocals.
Givvi Flynn - Vocals.
Emily Ewing - Vocals.
Matthew Colley - Piano.
Maurice Hipkiss - Pedal Steel.
Dave Draper - Percussion/Guitars.

A message from Ginger Wildheart:
"Ironically I struggled even getting to the studio to record my parts for this single, deep as was in my current battle with depression. The same attack that almost killed me a week ago.

My depression wants me dead. So far I'm winning on weight advantage, but the battle is never over.

This is a very vulnerable time of year for sufferers of mental health issues, and suicide sees a marked increase over Christmas and New Year. So the help provided by The Samaritans is invaluable, especially over this period.
Please help us in helping someone this year.

Obviously severe depression is not seasonal, but the reminder that you yourself are 'not doing so bad' is reinforced over this Festive holiday. If you have a healthy family, loved ones who are safe, a warm home, a job and a hot meal staring at you at some point, then you are doing better than many people this Xmas

 To simply say "thank you" for what you have, please donate for those suffering from suicidal thoughts, struggling with depression/anxiety, or for those helping such a person through this holiday period."

  message from Ryan Hamilton:
"Ginger and I have both been very vocal about our struggles with depression and anxiety. Mental health issues like these deserve much more attention, and respect, than they get.

After we wrote "Fuck You, Brain" we weren't quite sure what to do with it. Ginger had the idea to use it as a charity single, and asked if I was ok with that. I couldn't say "YES!" fast enough.

I hope everyone enjoys the new music and fun collaboration. I also sincerely hope we can raise a good deal of money to raise awareness, and do some good, for an issue very important to us." 

A message from Givvi Flynn:
"When Ginger asked me if I'd like to get involved with this single, it was a no-brainer. My own mental health requires daily management (as does that of many friends and colleagues) so I fully appreciate how dark some days can be - why wouldn't I want to do something which might help those suffering similarly?

I hope the song raises money and awareness for a great cause, it was a pleasure to be part of such a positive, rewarding venture."

A message from Emily Ewing:
"It has been a real honour to have my vocals feature on this track. The song has such an important message. One that speaks to me personally as well.

My anxiety is an on-going battle, some days are certainly worse than others. There are times when I can't see light at the end of the tunnel. Panic attacks have also played a major role in my life. As a society we need to stop saying "Get over it", "You have nothing to be sad about". Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there or happening. It's hard to pretend everything is fine when it's not.

I hope this song raises awareness and lets anyone going through a hard time with mental illness know you are brave to face it everyday and you not alone!!!"

Again the Ep is available HERE

The Dowling Poole - Bright Spark (EP)

Genre - Pop / Psychedelic / Power-pop
Label - Self Released / 369 Music

Track listing:
01 - Bright Spark
02 - The Sun Is Mine (Acoustic Live In Manchester)
03 - Where The Memories Fester (Acoustic Live In Manchester)

Following hot on the heels of their Miles Checks Out Ep released earlier last month The Dowling Poole release the Bright Spark Ep, a new three track EP that pretty much closely follows the formula of its predecessor with one brand spanking new studio track accompanied by a further two live acoustic tracks recorded in Manchester.
First I'll briefly speak about the two live acoustic tracks. The sound quality is once again tremendous, and once again they capture the very essence and quirkiness of this outfit perfectly in their live environment, especially the little bit of banter at the beginning of Where The Memories Fester.
And as for the new studio track Bright Spark, well what can I say, maybe not as instant as Miles Checks Out or some of the groups other tracks, but an absolute stonker all the same. Musically Bright Spark has Willie Dowling written all over it, but both vocally and lyrically it feels very much like a Random Jon Poole track, especially with Random tacking the lead vocals throughout the verses.
Bright Spark, together with Miles Checks out does the tremendous job of leaving the listener longing for the group to get around to record their third studio album, please hurry, I'm loving the vibes on the new songs!

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock- Live In Germany (2016) (Live)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Eagle Rock Entertainment

Track listing:
CD 1:
01. Over The Rainbow / Highway Star (Live At Loreley)
02. Spotlight Kid (Live At Stuttgart)
03. Mistreated (Live At Stuttgart)
04. 16th Century Greensleeves (Live At Stuttgart)
05. Since You’ve Been Gone (Live At Stuttgart)
06. Man On The Silver Mountain (Live At Loreley)
07. Catch The Rainbow (Live At Loreley)
08. Difficult To Cure / Toccata & Fugue In D Minor (Live At Loreley)
09. Perfect Strangers (Live At Stuttgart)
10. Stargazer (Live At Loreley)

CD 2:
11. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (Live At Stuttgart)
12. Child In Time / Woman From Tokyo (Live At Stuttgart)
13. Black Night (Live At Stuttgart)
14. Smoke On The Water (Live At Stuttgart)
15. Spotlight Kid (Live At Loreley)
16. Man On The Silver Mountain (Live At Stuttgart)
17. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (Live At Stuttgart)
18. Stargazer (Live At Stuttgart)

###### Not My review, all credit to the original author ######

Last Summer 2016 legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made many long-held dreams come true for his fans as RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW played three concerts in Europe, two in Germany and one in England. The two German shows at Loreley and Bietigheim were caught on tape & camera to produce "Memories In Rock : Live In Germany", released via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Ever since Ritchie Blackmore speculated about doing a couple of Rainbow shows in 2016, hopes and expectations have lead to very emotional discussions between fans. To the disappointment of those hoping for one of the former line-ups to reunite for the gig, Blackmore didn’t go the easy way and – as often – assembled a new team of musicians to accompany him on this adventure.
The band finally announced consisted of current Blackmore's Night drummer David Keith, former Blackmore's Night bass player Bob Nouveau, the great Jens Johansson on keys (also Blackmore's Night contributor) and Lords Of Black singer Ronnie Romero, which lead to even more discussions between fans and even former Rainbow members with Joe Lynn Turner claiming the planned lineup will be “a Ritchie Blackmore band, but certainly not Rainbow” overlooking the fact that Rainbow has always been what Ritchie Blackmore wanted it to be.
Three shows took place, two open air shows in Germany at Loreley and Bietigheim while the third show was staged at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, UK. While the two German shows were recorded on audio and video for this release, the UK show wasn’t recorded, which is unfortunate as it did not only feature the most consistent band performance of all three evenings but also was the only show featuring “Soldier Of Fortune” and “Burn”.
Despite all the discussions about the musicians on stage, the setlist had been the major point of criticism, including way too many Deep Purple songs while leaving out a bunch of Rainbow classics.
Is “Memories in Rock – Live In Germany” an album worth buying? That’s a question hard to answer. It’s a good live album, although for me is more a Ritchie Blackmore solo album than a Rainbow one.
If you are curious how Blackmore sound in 2016 (yes, he still can rock, and really well), the audio CD's offers an enjoyable sound with clear dynamics and a well-balanced mix between each instrument.

Rating: 8/10

SISTER - Stand Up, Forward, March! (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Sleaze
Label - Metal Blade

Track listing:
01 - Destination Dust
02 - Carved in Stone
03 - Lost in Line
04 - Trail of Destruction
05 - Carry On
06 - Unbeliever
07 - Let It Bleed
08 - Liberation Song
09 - Dead Man's Dirt
10 - Endangered Species
11 - Piece of Shame

###### Not My review, all credit to the original author ######

Sister is all about classic sleaze / glam without the dirt. Yeah, they sound incredibly clean and bright, and despite they have a somber, dark image, their songs are darn catchy.
Of course sister has that ol' sleaze punkish attitude in the way that early Motley Crue was, if opener 'Destination Dust' isn’t enough to get you looking for your Spandex pants, then 'Carved In Stone' probably will. Essentially because it boasts a hook so huge that it’s like taking a wrecking ball to a Wendy House.
The feeling that is just hedonistic fun, is rather re-enforced by a line in its lyrics: “you’ll pray for mercy to whatever gets you off” sings Jamie Anderson, and this is the soundtrack to whatever night you feel like letting go.
Some tracks may you remind of Crashdiet or Shotgun Messiah, but it is worth saying that "Stand Up, Forward, March!" isn’t some retro bullshit made by a load of blokes who should know better.
'Lost In Line' for example adds some modern flourishes to its work, “Carry On” is a ballad-ish thing which has more than an echo of Backyard Babies and an updated poppy feeling.

Largely, though, this is about slammers. 'Unbeliever' might do a kind of power metal fists in the air power metal, but it knows where its bread is buttered too, and when they do let things breathe a little like on 'Let It Bleed' it is only so they can make things even more ominous than they were.
I really like Sister when it's about balls out rock 'n roll / hard rock, like “Dead Man’s Dirt” and the positively punky sleaze nihilism of 'Piece Of Shame' which ends things.
Then the fact that Sister keeps just enough diversity of sound in their tracks as it’s not the same exact thing eleven times over but nothing drastically different, it shows that Sister has a real understanding of the sound they were going for, and it ends in pure excellence in this scenario.
Jona Tee of H.E.A.T has done a terrific job focusing Sister to catchiness.

Sister's third album "Stand Up, Forward, March!" rocks.
Some say the first albums the only good albums from a band, others claim third time’s the charm, and others like myself believe that any album can be great. Both the latter and the second prove to be true with this record, and it shows that Sister isn’t by any means a band to put out one decent record and then immediately face plant creatively, but quite the opposite.
“Stand Up, Forward, March!” demonstrate how much of a killer power house Sister is as a whole, and it’s very hard to deny that after hearing this ravenous piece.
Rating: 8/10

Metallica - Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Genre - Thrash Metal / Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Label - Virgin EMI

Track listing:
CD 1:
01. Hardwired
02. Atlas, Rise!
03. Now That We're Dead
04. Moth Into Flame
05. Am I Savage?
06. Halo On Fire

CD 2:
01. Confusion
02. Dream No More
03. ManUnkind
04. Here Comes Revenge
05. Murder One
06. Spit Out The Bone

Deluxe Edition CD 3: 01 - Lords Of Summer (2016 version)
02 - Ronnie Rising Medley
03 - When a Blind Man Cries
04 - Remember tomorrow
Live at Rasputin Music;
05 - Helpless
06 - Hit the Lights
07 - The Four Horsemen
08 - Ride the Lightning
09 - Fade to Black
10 - Jump in the Fire
11 - For Whom the Bell Tolls
12 - Creeping Death
13 - Metal Militia
14 - Hardwired (Live in Minneapolis)

Eight years have passed since Metallica's last album 2008’s well received Death Magnetic which repaired damage the band did to its reputation in the early ’00s — first with the horrible 'St. Anger' an album that offended long time fans with its lack of guitar solos, then with 'Some Kind of Monster' a documentary that captured the group’s childish infighting.
Truly, the road to what would become "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" has been a long and patience-wearing one for all involved. With ventures like the bizarre Through the Never (2013) film and the band starting (and stopping) their own festival called “Orion Music + More”, it seems that the Californian quartet has been doing everything bar making a record for the best part of the last decade.
Opening with the thrashing title track ‘Hardwired’, the record truly picks up steam early. At roughly three minutes, ‘Hardwired’ is all-killer-no-filler, refusing to relent in its speed and aggression for even a second.
Follow-up ‘Atlas, Rise!’ maintains a small portion of its predecessor’s speed but, for the most part, is closer to mid-paced, setting the precedent for the rest of the record to follow.
That’s right: "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" is NOT a thrash metal album.
Rather, it is a release that utilises the conventions of a number of heavy styles, from NWOBHM and modern melodic metal, to classic metal, of course with a pinch of thrash which is the band's trademark - they created the genre - but only in a minor degree. Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" sound encompasses the entire range of Metallica's mighty back catalogue.
Metallica 2016 sounds strong. Hetfield’s vocals are doubtlessly at a peak right now. The front-man lays out a near-flawless performance on Hardwired…, creating some truly empowering melodies over the course of the record’s two discs. From power shouts to soaring clean notes to even some pulse-pounding growls, Hetfield can do no wrong here.
There's a lot to digest in "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", but the album flows easily. All tracks are pretty solid and even there's a loving tribute to fallen rock god Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead in ‘Murder One’, and that fact comes across unabashedly as Hetfield bellows 'Aces high!' in a distinct and unbridled unleashing of harmonic emotion during the chorus. In fact, vocally, this is Hetfield’s best track, mixing powerful highs with dark lows.
"Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" is one of Metallica’s most versatile works, predominantly mixing classic metal styles to make an enigmatic concoction that is guaranteed to draw fans back again and again.
It's an album that I am sure with each listen, it will only get better.
But there will be as well a Deluxe Edition with different artwork including a bonus disc featuring 4 new studio tracks plus a killer concert at Rasputin Music with the band playing all their classic songs.
The four bonus studio tracks include, Lords of Summer, the single released earlier this year, the awesome Ronnie Rising Medley, taken from the Ronnie James Dio Tribute album This Is Your Life, When a Blind Man Cries from the White Snake / David Coverdale tribute album and Iron Maiden Remember Tomorrow, taken from an Iron Maiden tribute album, all of which sound amazing.
A very solid album and quite possibly the best Metallica release in years!

Rating: 9/10

Sixx:A.M - Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2 (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative / modern Rock
Label - Eleven Seven Music

Track listing:
01. Barbarians (Prayers For The Blessed)
02. We Will Not Go Quietly
03. Wolf At Your Door
04. Maybe It's Time
05. The Devil's Coming
06. Catacombs
07. That's Gonna Leave A Scar
08. Without You
09. Suffocate
10. Riot In My Head
11. Helicopters

SIXX: A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx along with guitarist DJ Ashba and vocalist James Michael release the second half of their 2-part blazing hard rock albums, Prayers For The Blessed Vol.2.
“Vol. 1, Prayers For The Damned” and “Vol. 2, Prayers For The Blessed” were both written and recorded at the same time, they are companion pieces carefully structured to kick the bands own sound print upstairs to its fullest tilt and it brings the demand to the fans of Nikki Sixx.
You can not ask for much more hard rock swagger from the heart and soul to the fans than this. Sixx et al deliver. Coming off their 2015 tour Nikki Sixx had stated that being onstage really influenced the way they connect and write, and you can really hear the effects throughout the two albums, having a much more solid consistent and band sound to them than the bands previous releases.

This monster album kicks off with “Barbarians (Prayers for the Blessed)” a fist pumping anthemic track that sets the tone for the rest; big vocals and a blistering lead really make this track stand out. “We Will Not Go Quietly” is next up. There is more of a groove on this one. It hits hard, but the melody continues to be the focus.
Stepping into the grooving motion of “That's Gonna Leave A Scar” to the 'rockpertic' show of “Maybe It's Time” showcases the diversity that lives and breathes deep within the talents of Nikki Sixx.
“Wolf At My Door” has some dirt and grit breathed in, while the heartfelt ballad “Maybe It's Time” strikes the emotive. Guitarist Ashba really delivers his skills on “Catacombs” and the hardest rock sound to come from the album falls on track, “The Devils Coming.” Opening acoustically “Suffocate” leads to a hailing crunch when the chorus kicks in.

The songs are brilliant, the production is excellent, bringing the best out of each song, and the band are performing at the peak of the talents, Go and buy it now. Simply A Must

Rating: 10/10

Queen - On Air (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Virgin EMI

Track listing:
DISC 1: 1. "My Fairy King" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
2. "Keep Yourself Alive" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
3. "Doing All Right" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
4. "Liar" (Session 1: 5th February 1973)
5. "See What a Fool I've Been" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
6. "Keep Yourself Alive" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
7. "Liar" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
8. "Son and Daughter" (Session 2: 25th July 1973)
9. "Ogre Battle" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)
10. "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)
11. "Great King Rat" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)
12. "Son and Daughter" (Session 3: 3rd December 1973)

1. "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" (Session 4: 3rd April 1974)
2. "Nevermore" (Session 4: 3rd April 1974)
3. "White Queen (As It Began)" (Session 4: 3rd April 1974)
4. "Now I'm Here" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
5. "Stone Cold Crazy" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
6. "Flick of the Wrist" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
7. "Tenement Funster" (Session 5: 16th October 1974)
8. "We Will Rock You" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
9. "We Will Rock You (fast)" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
10. "Spread Your Wings" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
11. "It's Late" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)
12. "My Melancholy Blues" (Session 6: 28th October 1977)

On Air is the latest release from British Rock legends Queen, featuring for the first time ever officially (almost) every track that Queen recorded in session for broadcast by the BBC in the early 1970's. I say almost every track as one track from Session 4, 3rd April 1974 appears to be missing, that being March Of The Black Queen, but this is due to the fact that the band have always maintained that it was the album version of this song that was broadcast, therefore a BBC session track is not available to release, although this fact had been contested at times by various knowledgeable fans.
Queen’s meteoric ascendancy during the 1970s has been well documented. From their gloriously ambitious self-titled debut album of 1973 through to the album that put them in the superstar bracket, 1975’s A Night At The Opera, and beyond, this unique group carved out a singular path as the most visionary, inventive and charismatic band of that epic decade.
But there is another side to Queen’s rise that has been largely overlooked. Between February 1973 and October 1977, the band recorded six radio sessions exclusively for the BBC. The twenty four recordings these landmark sessions produced include alternate versions of the debut single, unique takes of classic album tracks and even a radically reworked reimagining of one of their best known anthems that has never previously appeared on any Queen studio release.
Now, for the very first time, all six Queen BBC sessions - meticulously restored by Queen engineer Kris Fredriksson and mastered by Grammy Award winner Adam Ayan - have been brought together on Queen On Air, released by Virgin EMI. North America through Hollywood Records. Available as a 2-CD set and a 3-LP vinyl edition, plus a Deluxe 6-disc edition featuring a CD of live broadcasts and 3 CDs of radio interviews, Queen On Air is an essential addition for connoisseurs of the band.
Back in 1989 the band did release a single disc album, Queen At The Beeb which featured the eight tracks from Sessions one and three, but this is the first time that all six BBC session have been made available for official commercial release. And before I go any further I have to say that Kris Fredriksson and Adam Ayan have done a fantastic job here, as the sound quality throughout every song on this two disc set is fantastic!
Queen’s very first session for the BBC, which opens Queen On Air, dates from February 1973, five months before the release of the band’s debut album and single. Imagine that you are listening to the radio in early 1973; no-one in the world has heard any Queen recordings EVER! John Peel plays My Fairy King, the very first Queen song to be broadcast on radio anywhere, and the story begins. He follows with Keep Yourself Alive (the song which later became their first single), the laidback Doing All Right and the epic rock operetta Liar (one of my all time favourite Queen songs!)– all of which serve notice of the arrival of a major new musical force.
The band returned to the BBC for their second session in July 1973, the same month their debut album was released. Revisiting Keep Yourself Alive and Liar, this time they also covered the heavy-as-lead Son And Daughter and the bluesy See What A Fool I’ve Been. The latter, which has never appeared on any Queen studio album, would later be re-recorded and become the B-side of their breakthrough hit single Seven Seas Of Rhye in 1974. In fact See What A Fool I’ve Been is one of the most interesting tracks here as it is performed in a straight serious manner and not with the overtly camp lead vocal that Freddie chose to use for the only other official release of this rare Queen song!
By the time Queen recorded their third BBC session in December 1973, they had already begun work on their second album, Queen II (eventually released in March 1974). The band premiered a new song which would feature on that album, Ogre Battle, which bares a stunning similarity to the live version of the song, alongside three classics from its predecessor, the galloping Great King Rat, the Roger Taylor-sung Modern Times Rock’n’Roll which seems to be performed at a faster tempo than any other available version out there, and a new version of Son And Daughter. Two more Queen II songs were recorded during a subsequent session in April 1974 – the epic White Queen (As It Began) and the delicate ballad Nevermore, which is another of the most interesting tracks on this release with its addition percussion that never made the album version of the song,  alongside a re-recorded Modern Times Rock’n’Roll.
Queen’s penultimate session for the BBC took place in October 1974, a month before the release of their classic third album, Sheer Heart Attack. The session saw the debut of four songs from that record: the dazzling Now I’m Here, the proto-heavy metal thrash attack of Stone Cold Crazy, which would covered by non other than thrash titans Metallica in years to come, the caustic Flick Of The Wrist and Tenement Funster, their celebration of the rock’n’roll lifestyle.
It would be another three years before Queen returned to the BBC for their sixth and final session, by which time the success of Bohemian Rhapsody had turned them into a global phenomenon.
On October 28th 1977, they recorded some radically different versions of four songs from the brand new News Of The World album, on the same day as it was given its UK release: the epic power ballad Spread Your Wings, the steel-plated rocker It’s Late,with this versions mid section morphing into elements of Get Down Make Love,  the dusky jazz number My Melancholy Blues and two significantly contrasting renditions of the global hit We Will Rock You – the ‘regular’ version and the ‘fast’ version, a full-tilt guitar-heavy take on the song. The accelerated version on Queen On Air is the only known studio recording of this live favourite.  “’We Will Rock You’
These two discs alone are must haves for any Queen fan, as they showcase the bands early development, along with their true hard rocking classic rock roots!

To complete the full picture, the 6-CD Deluxe Edition includes Queen Live On Air – a single disc featuring highlights of three live concert broadcasts: Queen live at the Golders Green Hippodrome, from September 1973, their first concert to be transmitted on radio anywhere in the world. Also, Queen performing in Brazil at Sao Paulo’s gigantic Morumbi stadium to a record-setting audience of 131,000 originally relayed live on radio and TV in March 1981 on the Badeirantes network during the band’s infamous South America Bites The Dust tour. Finally, Queen’s penultimate live concert radio broadcast. Aired less than four weeks before their last show with Freddie, this was a live emission from the show in Mannheim Germany, in June 1986 during the mighty Magic Tour.

This really is a great release, long over due!

Rating: 10/10