Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Roger Taylor - Fun On Earth (2013)

Genre - Rock / Pop
Label - Virgin / Universal

Track listing:

01 - One Night Stand
02 - Fight Club
03 - Be With You
04 - Quality Street
05 - I Don't Care
06 - Sunny Day
07 - Be My Gal (My Brightest Spark)
08 - I Am A Drummer (In A Rock n Roll Band)
09 - Small
10 - Say Its Not True (feat Jeff Beck)
11 - The Unblinking Eye (Abridged Version)
12 - Up
13 - Smile

Legendary Queen drummer, Roger Taylor returns with his first solo album since 1998's Electric Fire in the form of Fun On Earth, deliver up 13 brand new tracks for fans to get the stuck into. But this is my only problem with Despite Roger taking five years to record Fun On Earth, five of the thirteen new tracks have already seen the light of day in one form or another, even if in some cases, quite obscurely. One Night Stand was a download bonus 'mix track from 1998's Electric Fire sessions, Sunny Day was released a couple of years back with Roger's son un the moniker of Felix And Arty with the title, Woman You're So Beautiful (although this song has been heavily reworked here!, Versions of Small and Say Its Not True were releasedon the Queen plus Paul Rogers album, The Cosmos Rocks, and a longer verion of The Unblinking Eye was released last year as a single! that being said, this album is a solid album and a grower at that! The album opens with a riff busting One Night Stand, quite catchy and up tempo. Fight Club and Be With You are excellent tracks, with their sheer simplicity being the greatest part of their magic, plus Fight Club has some great sax ta boot! Quality Street is a good track with some nice lead vocals and I Dont Care is a fun little ditty. The reworked Sunny Day is much better than the original Felix and Arty Version, and Be My Gal is another sweet and great track. I am a Drummer in a Rock n Roll band demonstrates that Roger and Queen never really take themselves too seriously, that ability to write a song that gets the critics hook line & sinker, has always been there and this is another... a bit of light hearted self deprecation as opposed to some serious statement. The Unblinking Eye suffers from being an Abridged version, and I truly urge you to check out the original single version! The final two tracks, Up & Smile are also some of the better work, the former reminding me somewhat of Machines from Queen's The Works whilst Smile has a very Beatle-esque sound to it.
In Roger Taylors own words, Fun On Earth is an ecletic mix of songs, and as such is a good album a real grower, but considering he alledgedly was originally going to allow fans to choose the albums track listing from between seventeen and twenty tracks thats had been recorded, it is a little disappoining having five reworked songs. Would have loved to have heard Midnight Lightning and When We Were Younf, but what the hey. Fun On Earth is still a great little album.

Rating 9/10

MICHAEL SCHENKER's Temple Of Rock - Bridge The Gap (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Label -

Track listing:

01. Neptune Rising

02. Where The Wild Winds Blow
03. Horizons
04. Lord Of The Lost And Lonely
05. Rock'n'roll Symphony
06. To Live For The King
07. Land Of Thunder
08. Temple Of The Holy
09. Shine On
10. Bridges We Have Burned
11. Because You Lied
12. Black Moon Rising
13. Dance For The Piper

Legendary German guitarist MICHAEL SCHENKER is back with a new album, "Bridge The Gap", that will do just what it says - it's the record that will find Schenker returning to the major leagues in the very near future. It's filled with great riffs, compelling melodies, the best set of songs on a Schenker project in ages, and it finally sounds like Mr. Schenker is back in a band: his Temple Of Rock.

The last five years have seen Michael steadily climbing and gaining confidence along the way - once hindered by the anxieties of stage fright, and all-to-many incidents of infamy, it would appear that the guitar master has settled into a place in which he finds peace, and full command of his considerable creativity. I don't know of a hard rock guitarist who doesn't hold the man in high esteem, and now they'll be back to chasing his lead.
"Bridge The Gap" continues Schenker’s fine run of form. It is a coherent and consistent album delivering 13 full-on tracks of hard, fast, melodic heavy rock, plus a trademark opening instrumental effortlessly delivered by a highly competent band which, in addition to songwriting partner and vocalist Doogie White, consists of Wayne Findlay (keyboards and 7-string guitar), and the former Scorpions rhythm section of Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass).
Scotsman White is likeable and enthusiastic, and that energy has transferred well to the album. Rarebell and Buchholz are rock steady and admirably efficient. And Findlay, as always, provides understated and selfless support.
While there are particular tracks on the record that shine, and everyone will have their favourites, it’s Schenker’s all-round performance that lifts the album comfortably above the also-rans. Indeed, he sounds truly unfettered as he solos majestically throughout, and it’s a joy to hear.

“I had the same drive making this album as I had when I was 16,” says Schenker. “It felt like bridging the gap from my teenage and Lovedrive years to what I am doing now.”
Given this desire to blend the old and the new, Doogie White has proved to be an astute choice of singer. He often performs under the influence of the great Ronnie James Dio, and both his vocal style and experience make it easy for the band to reference and celebrate the rock tradition of which Schenker is part, but from which he has sometimes seemed disconnected.
"To Live For The King", for example, invites comparisons with White’s former band Rainbow, while there’s a touch of Heaven and Hell-era Sabs about "Shine On" and "Bridges We Have Burned". On a similar theme, there’s just a hint of Kashmir in the riff and keyboard lines on "Temple of the Holy", a track that also features Schenker at his absolute best with some trademark guitar work through the chorus and a great solo to fade.
The celebratory vibe is even more apparent on "Rock 'n' Roll Symphony" with White tying a number of classic rock song titles together in an entertaining lyric.
There are other stand outs; "Where the Wild Winds Blow" builds ominously before breaking into a catchy and melodic chorus which complements Schenker’s playing perfectly. It also features an unexpected classical guitar interlude mid-track against a warm choral backdrop.

"Lord of the Lost and Lonely", with its vaguely Celtic vibe, is also a melodic winner and strikes me as a not-too-distant cousin of Victim Of Illusion from the very first MSG album. "Because You Lied" is perhaps the most unusual track on the album featuring a jabbing riff from Schenker, some insistent tub thumping from Rarebell, and a different kind of vocal from Doogie.
But the pick of the bunch is possibly the slightly quirky "Dance for the Pipe", the kind of track – blending complementary vocal and guitar melodies – that is part of Schenker’s distinctive contribution to hard rock.
"Bridge The Gap" brings Michael Schenker at the top of his game riding higher in the saddle than he has in decades, rifling off riffs that make you ask 'How does he do that?' soloing with smoldering intensity and his trademark melodicism, and writing tunes you want to hear again and again.
Whist the mad axeman's guitar playing is why we attend, this record finds him partnered with veteran shouter Doogie White: the singing Scotsman has written the best melodies and lyrics to be heard on a Schenker project in a great many years, and there is something magical that happens when Michael is matched up with his Scorpions brothers, Herman Rarebell and Francis Buccholz.
Everyone on "Bridge The Gap" is playing at their apex, and they're reaching deeper and mining pure gold.

Highly Recommended.

Rating - 9/10

The Line Up -

Michael Schenker (guitar)

Doogie White (vocals)
Herman Rarebell (drums)
Francis Buchholz (bass)
Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards)

Produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss

Saxon - Unplugged and Strung Up (2013)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Hard Rock / NWoBHM
Label -

Track listing:

01. Stallions Of The Highway (Remix)

02. Crusader (Orchestrated Version)
03. Battle Cry
04. The Eagle Has Landed (Orchestrated Version)
05. Red Star Falling (Orchestrated Version)
06. Broken Heroes (Orchestrated Version)
07. Call To Arms (Orchestrated Version)
08. Militia Guard
09. Forever Free (Re-recorded Version)
10. Just Let Me Rock (Re-recorded Version)
11. Frozen Rainbow (Acoustic Version)
12. Iron Wheels (Live Acoustic Version)
13. Requiem (Acoustic Version)
14. Coming Home (Acoustic Version)

There is always feral beauty in a raging beast... and with "Unplugged and Strung Up", SAXON's selection of unique, fresh and adventurous interpretations of material previously heard only with raw heavy metal thunder, the point is triumphantly underscored.

"Unplugged and Strung Up" reveals layers and pieces previously dormant in many of the 14 classic Saxon songs chosen for this awesome makeover, thanks to some ear-catching new arrangements and mixes.
Recorded, mixed and mastered with Andy Sneap in Derbyshire, UK earlier this year, Biff Byford and Co. re-evaluated, re-worked and re-energized the towering likes of "The Eagle Has Landed" and "Crusader" by introducing orchestral dynamics to offer added dimension.
Saxon are showing here three distinct new dimensions to their music, the first of which is re-records and remixes. The disc opens with a remix of "Stallions of the Highway", first seen on their 1979 debut album. This extended version is full of energy, with more forceful heavy guitars and powerful vocals than the original, but retains that classic metal sound.
Similarly with re-records "Forever Free" and "Just Let Me Rock", a more clean-cut sound is the only notable difference. However, it should be said that the latter is up there with the likes of Twisted Sister’s ‘I Wanna Rock’ as rock ‘n’ roll anthems go.
The second aspect of "Unplugged and Strung Up" are the orchestral tracks, which gives a whole new vibe to the record. "Crusader", at a first listen, is almost overwhelming. The orchestral element really comes through, and this delicate yet impressive touch makes it even more epic than the original.

With songs like "The Eagles Has Landed", "Red Star Falling" and "Call to Arms", the orchestral versions show a more stripped back side, sense of grandeur to Saxon. It even gives a modern feel to track "Broken Heroes", which is the first 'contemporary' track heard on the album.
The final element of this CD is definitely great: the acoustic tracks are gentle, almost elegant - words we would never usually associate with Saxon. We’ve heard Saxon blast out huge riffs and mighty vocals for over thirty years now, but the acoustic version of "Frozen Rainbow" is something totally new, which transports it into a power ballad to be proud of. And captivating for sure.
It’s like they’re taking a breath of fresh air and exhaling something pure, wholesome and organic in the form of acoustic tracks. Their riffs are still as compelling on a nylon guitar, their vocals are still as powerful when stripped back.
It’s different, but that’s exactly what we want from this album. On "Requiem", layers of folksy acoustic riffs are blended with metalized vocals. An unusual combination that simply works stupendous.
"Unplugged and Strung Up" finishes with its stand-out track; "Coming Home" has a country-style intro, enhanced when the tambourine kicks in. There’s a real hillbilly feel to this track, and that’s what’s so great about it - it takes the misconception that bands like Saxon only sound one way and throws it right back in your face. Of course, the defining vocals are still there but, that aside, "Coming Home" sounds nothing like a classic metal track. It encapsulates the point of the album perfectly.

This really is an interesting release, showing that Biff and the boys still have enough creativity to be able to re-imagine some of their most treasured classics, and the balls to do so!

Well worth checking out

Rating - 9/10

Baby Scream - Greatest Failures (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Powerpop
Label -

Track listing:

01 - Slut
02 - Mars
03 - Away
04 - Every Day (I Die A Little Bit)
05 - Ups And Downs
06 - The Riots
07 - Morning Light
08 - Nicole
09 - Ojos Orientales
10 - Exile
11 - Jekyll & Hyde
12 - The Ghosts Of Valerie (feat. Eric Dover)
13 - Hit & Run
14 - Secret Place
15 - Aching Eye's

Baby Scream, (well Juan Pablo Mazzola anyway) return with Greatest Failures, a best of collection that spans Baby Screams entire recorded out put with the added bonus of including a brand new track too in the form of album closer, Aching Eye's.

Well what can I say? Greatest Failures is a briliant place to start for those who have never heard the band before, as it truly does include some of the bands finest songs such as, Mars, Ghosts Of Valerie, Morning Light, Hit & Run and the brilliant heart felt Aching Eye's. Existing fans will appreciate having this the fine collection of songs all together on one disc too. Baby Scream offer up a certain haunting melodic charm, so laid back and relaxed, yet tight and passionate at the same time, an unbelievable acheivement in my humble opinion. As with all best of collections, personal choice would have seen one or two additional tracks, but I honestly can not say which tracks I would have replaced as all 15 are fine selections! That is also another fine point to point out, Greatest Failures offers up no less than 15 gems of songs and all in delivered through your speakers to your appreciative ears in less than 44 minutes.

As I said earlier, if you have never heard Baby Scream before then Greatest Failures is a wonderful place to start, and if you already own a couple of their discs, well grab this one too for the great track listing and brand new song, Aching Eye's, which is surely destined to be added to the ever growing arsenal of Baby Scream classics.

Very Highly Reconmended

Rating - 10/10

Monday, 11 November 2013

TIGERTAILZ - Knives (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Galm Rock
Label -

Track listing:
01 - Shoe Collector
02 - One Life
03 - Bite The Hand
04 - Spit It Out
05 - Punched In The Gutz

Remembered lovingly for Bezerk, their 1990 chart buster, UK mighty Glam titans TIGERTAILZ unfortunately failed to maintain the momentum and didn’t see out the Millenium in glory. But their hairspray has been on again since 2005 and now the quartet bang with the fresh 5-track EP "Knives".
A real cult band with incessant turmoils throughout their career, a lot of line-up changes, wrong management decisions and even some dramatic moments (R.I.P. Pepsi Tate), 2013 sees Tigertailz returning in great form. In fact, despite presenting only five tracks, "Knives" includes the band's best material since that 1990 influential (for many acts worldwide) album. Original guitarist Jay Pepper is joined by Rob Wylde on bass, Matt Blakout on drums and new singer Jules Millis, from Australian AORsters White Widdow. Millis brings a breathe of melodic bliss to this new Tigertailz, and his tuneful vocals are in grand part responsible for the 'musicality' of this material. Pepper's melting riffs and killer solos never sounded better (he is a truly great axe-slinger), Wylde provides not only pumping bass lines but also skilful songwriting, while Blakout lays down some top notch beats throughout the five tracks but nowhere more spectacularly than on the Wylde-penned "Bite The Hand". This is a killer song with that eruptive dose of metal which has always been a key ingredient for the Tailz heavy duty glam sound and this one ticks all the boxes; dirty riffs and squealing solos, smashing rhythm section and Jules Millis rules the catchy, sing-a-long chorus.
"Shoe Collector" sock's it nicely to the glitterati schlock with an a cappella start and an arena swing, "Spit It Out" has a sick melodic rock punch, crazy riffage and backing vocals galore, while the bruising bastardized grooves of "Punched In The Gutz" echoes the twisted fury of the 'Wazbones' days. The EP includes a ballad, yes, a ballad among these on-fire rockin' numbers, and a good one. "One Life" merge catch melodic rock with acoustic guitar and synths in a reminiscent Skid Row style giving Millis a chance to show how good (and melodious) he is as the tune builds bridges of powerful harmonies between each soul searching verse. "Knives" is a killer 5-track EP from this refreshed Tigertailz, and leaves you hungry for more. Jay Pepper and the guys prove here they can still teach a thing or two to a lot of actual Sleaze Metal 'wonders', showing how to write a good sing-along chorus with a tasty dose of extremely infectious, nasty & sleazy backing vocals. Don't be fooled if 'sleaze' is a bad word in your musical tastes; "Knives" combines the catchiness of the genre without sounding silly, it adds a strong, healthy dose of Melodic Rock to it and a polished hard edge rounding an impressive - sadly too short - set of songs. Think Skid Row circa Slave To The Grind meets Shotgun Messiah's awesome debut and you get the picture. "Knives" sees Tigertailz rise up back into the premier league of glammy melodic hard rock where they belong. We need a full length album right away.

Rating - 9/10

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Answer - New Horizon (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Napalm Records

Track listing:

01 - New Horizon
02 - Leave With Nothin'
03 - Spectacular
04 - Speak Now
05 - Somebody Else
06 - Concrete
07 - Call Yourself a Friend
08 - Baby Kill Me
09 - Burn You Down
10 - Scream a Louder Love
11 - Road Less Travelled (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
12 - Feel the Fear (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
13 - Real as It Gets (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
14 - White Flag (iTunes exclusive Bonus Track)

#### The following are not my own words but I couldn't agree with their author any more! please  credit the original author (unknown!) #####

"Northern Ireland classic hard rockers THE ANSWER have been around since 2000 but it took them until 2006 for their first album to be released. Better late than ever, since they've gone from strength to strength with each new recording.
My ears were pleasantly delighted with the material from the previous albums, but somehow there was something missing in the final delivery of their songs. Now listening "New Horizon" I know what it was: sonic spark. And it wasn't The Answer's fault.
Although all the tech aspects (production engineering, mix, etc.) were first class and the output earthy and classy, what these guys needed was someone capable to capture on tape these attributes plus the mislaid factor: the 'live' feeling.
Toby Jepson (Fastway, Saxon's 'Call To Arms') is the magician, as his superb job behind the desk has armed The Answer's music with a vivacious crisp and clear sound.
Big riffs hit you straight in the face as title track "New Horizon" opens up the proceedings. Guitarist Paul Mahon is on fire delivering a short blistering solo in between all the razor sharp riffs while Micky Waters and James Heatley keep the bulldozer rolling on bass and drums respectively. And this is before Cormac Neeson has entered the fray with his awesome raspy, classic bluesy voice. 
Now we're talking, and you know from the start that "New Horizon" will be 'the album' (possibly the definitive) from The Answer.
An almost funky beginning to "Leave With Nothin´" suddenly explodes in the chorus as the band decidedly tears it up. Heavy and directly to your bones, it gives way to the first single "Spectacular". I just love this song.
A thick nice bass line permeates throughout this punchy track with Mahon keeping the guitar soaring when he is not shredding it to bits. The swirling lyrical refrain 'We Could Be Spectacular' rotates like helicopter blades in the head and does not stop to thrill.
"Speak Now"' slows things down initially by letting us hear their tender side before cranking the guitars briefly for the chorus where Cormac shines brilliantly with some astonishing singing. It beats me that he and this band aren't bigger than they are. 
The ride continues until we are confronted by a stammering rock n' roll style riff that launches "Somebody Else" which evolves into The Quireboys territory mixed with Thunder at their very best and Marc Bolan & T. Rex. In other words; a truly great song.
An earth-shattering bass, led-heavy drumming and a riff-fest galore is what kickstarts "Concrete". Add Cormac on top of that and you have one of the best classic hardrockers of 2013.
With a tone of melancholy reflection "Call Yourself A Friend" builds and proves to be a triumphant moment within their output. Listen out for that change in tempo as they head out of the gates; sublime.
Tasty, groovy and full of glam "Baby Kill Me" is a great party starter and this is then topped by the following "Burn You Down", a stomping anthemic rocker if there ever was one. You can't beat a sing-a-long chorus, can you?
The regular CD edition ends on a real high note with "Scream A Louder Love", and definitely showcase what The Answer is all about. This is British classic hard rock of the highest order brought to life in a modern take.
But we have more juicy tracks to enjoy as bonuses; the swaggering come-n-go of "Road Less Travelled", the kick ass "Feel The Fear" (what a groove!) and the bruising "Real As It Gets".
We have as well the iTunes exclusive "White Flag" (it's also included in the double vinyl edition), another groovy monster driven by a pumping rhythm.
Like I said at the beginning, The Answer have only gotten better by each album. "New Horizon" definitely brings to the table how much talented these guys are.
There's not a single weak song here, containing a familiar swagger and treads on a path that is predictable and trusted, but it is done with a sense of confidence truly enviable. The Answer are by no means a throwback band but they know how to blend their influences with their own inspiration to create some foocking bad ass hard rock music in the process." 

 Very Highly Recommended.

Rating - 10/10

Bedlam - Live In Binghampton 1974 (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Angel Air Records

Track listing:
01. I Believe In You
02. The Beast
03. The Great Game
04. Set Me Free
05. Interview
06. The Fool

07. The Beast (remix)

"BEDLAM were one of the hardest working rock bands of the early 70’s and they released one studio album, performed hundreds of gigs across UK and Europe and one USA tour from which this album was recorded in New York in 1974. The band was on the cusp of success but COZY POWELL’S success with his solo single “Dance With The Devil” effectively killed off the success the band had worked so hard for. DAVE BALL had left PROCOL HARUM where he replaced Robin Trower back in 1971 to form Bedlam. In the future FRANK AIELLO would work again with Cozy Powell in HAMMER. Included is a bonus track which is a newly remixed version of a track from the original Bedlam album."

Well first let me just say that considering the age of the live recording on offer here it is stunning!
Here Bedlam, a band that were truly on the verge of greatness, are captured at their absolute live best! Great songs that are on a par with anything released by their contemporaries such as Led Zepplin, Deep Purple, Cream, even the mighty Black Sabbath!
A truly remarkable recording presented with great linear notes by a lable that has a habit of un-erthing and releasing these lost gems!

Rating - 10/10

Sweet - The Answer (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Glam
Label - Angel Air Records

Track listing:
01 Do As I Say
02 X-Ray Specs
03 Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again
04 Stand Up
05 Nouveau Rock Star
06 Natural
07 Mind
08 Marshall Stack
09 Red Tape
10 When Friends Fall Out
11 Is It True
12 Dangerous Game
13 I Don’t Want To Say Goodnight
14 Crudely Mott

15 Marshall Stack (Alt Ending)
16 Do As I Say (Single Mix)
17 Stand Up (Hard Rock Version)

"SWEET are forever associated with that tremendous run of worldwide hit singles in the 70’s (no less than 13 UK Top 20 hit singles) but their popularity remains as they tour all over Europe where they still to this day enjoy headline status at festivals. The Answer was recorded in 1992 in Hanover, GERMANY and showcases how tight a rock band the group had become. This album has long been out of print with copies currently changing hands at over a £100 a copy. Now remastered with three bonus tracks"

On November 4th (2013) Angel Air Records re-release The Answer, by Andy Scott's Sweet, fully remastered and including 3 bonus tracks (as stated above) but is the album any good? Well the answer is a resounding yes! The Answer, and this lineup of the seventies glam rock legends may have never reached the same levels of commercial success as the groups releases from the seventies heyday, but it is still a very strong release indeed with songs such as X-Ray Specs, Nouveau Rock Star, Natural, Marshall Stack and I Don't Want To Say Goodnight proving that Andy Scott had lost non of his song writing magic.
The remastering brings the songs to life, allowing them to breath and really shine, giving them an almost contemporary edge, although one or two tracks haven't aged as well as others, such as album opener Do As I Say, which has a slightly tired and dated feel to it.
This release comes complete with extensive linear sleeve notes to help fill in the gaps making this a great little album ta boot.
This album is a must have for fans of Sweet (and Andy Scott of course!) but is also a worthy place to start for fans that are just a little curious as to what happened to the Hellraiser's after the seventies Ballroom Blitz!

Rating - 9/10

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Buffalo Summer - Buffalo Summer (2013)

Genre - Classic Rock / Hard Rock / Southern Rock
Label - Cargo Records

Track listing:

01 - She's All Natural
02 - Down To The River
03 - Truth From Fable
04 - A Horse Called Freedom
05 - Rolls On Through
06 - Ain't No Other
07 - Keep On Runnin'
08 - Typhoid Mary
09 - Ol' Duke

So you like your music of the classic hard rock with a southern flavour variety? Me too, and I'd wager that you are going to love Welsh rocker's, Buffalo Summer's self titled debut album just as I do!
This album just throws great song after great song at you, with the band effortlessly delivering future classic after future classic, which is really suprising considering that Buffalo Summer are a relatively young band!
Great songs, executed to perfection, with a bright and crisp clear production.
To be honest I just can't find words to praise this album highly enough.
A great feel good classic hard rock record, just about sums it up!

You must check this album out!

Rating - 10/10

The up n' coming Welsh classic rock band tour the UK in October with KADAVAR (Nuclear Blast Records) have just announced German shows supporting THE QUIREBOYS in November and will play Planet Rock's ROCKSTOCK December 2013.

Kadavar dates
Oct 23rd London - Borderline
Oct 24th Wolverhampton - Slade Rooms
Oct 25th Glasgow - Cathouse
Oct 26th Nottingham - Bodega
Oct 27th Manchester - Deaf Institute
Oct 28th Bristol - Exchange

Quireboys Germany dates

Nov 11th Nachtleben - Frankfurt
Nov 12th Blues Garage - Hannover
Nov 13th The Rock Cafe - St Pauli, Hamburg
Dec 7th Planet Rock, Rockstock - Great Yarmouth

Hamerex - IX (2013)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - IX Music

Track listing:

01. IX Circles
02. The Life Of Death
03. Inferno
04. Edge Of Madness
05. The Extremist
06. Mortuary
07. The Stranger
08. Descent Of Angels
09. The Night Of Samhain
10. Still The Wall Remains

The official bio states -
Hamerex are a heavy metal band founded in 2004 by guitarist Steve Blower. The band also consists of vocalist Chris Moules, bassist Andy Firth and drummer Darren Kelsall.
The band are an energetic and entertaining live band with their influences coming through in both their music and live shows. Hamerex have supported such bands as PowerQuest, Conquest Of Steel and Funeral For A Friend as well as playing at Clarence Park Music Festival in July 2012.
2012 saw Hamerex release their debut album on Casket Music which was highly praised by a number of reviewers with Rhys Stevenson of Global Metal Network saying "'Rites Of Passage' brings a whole new stance on the meaning of original and traditional, this is by far one of the most impressive rejuvenations of old style metal to be unleashed, a sheer class of absolute proportions."
2013 is set to be the bands biggest year to date with a high profile gig already under their belts when they opened for Funeral For A Friend in April. The band are excited about the release of their second album 'IX' which shows Hamerex at their musical best with their most varied and experimental release to date.

So now that we have the official inrodutions out of the way, what do Hamerex sound like and is IX any good?
Well firstly Hamerex are a very very good Traditional Heavy Metal band with a few metalcore leanings. they deliver a traditional metal sound ala Iron Maiden and Judas Priest only infused with a healthy dose of modern attitude and contemporary principles.
IX really does manage to showcase the band at their best, from their strong and varried songwritting, to their solid musicianship. This album pretty much has eveything that a metal fan could want from the NWoBHM feel of The Life Of Death, to the proto doom of Inferno, to the thrash leanings of Descent Of Angels and The Extremist, to the epic stylings of The Night Of Samhain and eventually the subtilties of Still The Wall Remains. Yet it all fits together perfectly.
Hamerex are a great exciting band and in IX they have a strong solid metal album that really show cases their talents.

Well worth checking out!

Rating 9/10

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Teenage Casket Comapny - Still Standing (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Trashpit Records

Track listing:

01 - Still Standing
02 - First Night Of Your Life
03 - (You Only Love Me) When You Hate Me
04 - Make It Through The Night
05 - Best Friend Is My Radio
06 - Dead In America
07 - Take A Little Time
08 - Without You
09 - Girl
10 - Kings Of The World

After a hiatus and lineup changes (Jamie Delerict leaving to form JD and the FDC's), various members becoming involved with other projects, (Rob Wylde playing bass in Tigertailz, Laney becoming involved with Black Molly's and Bulletboys) TCC return with a new album in the form of Still Standing, a rather apt title all things considered. To be honest, the break may have done the guys good, as I'm fairly confident in saying that Still Standing is the best and most accomplished thing that the band have released to date. The songs are as finely crafted as ever, and the performances top notch as you would expect, but the production really allows the songs to shine this time around, polished but not over polished if you know what I mean, capturing that raw stadium filling sound that these guys have always had, and its stadiums that they deserve to be filling too. this album has it all, from huge Def Leppard styled ballads like Make It Through The Night, To Fist Pumping fuck yous like Still Standing, Dead In America and Best Friend Is My Radio, to huge chorus driven Eureka Machines ESE tracks like First Night Of Your Life.
A great comeback album, and their best to date in my honest opinion!

Highly recommended

Rating - 10/10

SuperCharger - Wolf Tickets EP (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Metal / Alternative / Punk
Label - Self Released

Track listing:

01 - Pieces
02 - A Major (Headshake)
03 - Cartoon Smile
04 - Sceneshifter
05 - Hallelujah

UK Rockers SuperCharger unleash their latest EP upon the world and the follow up to the mighty Retox EP, in the form of Wolf Tickets. Five insanely intense and well crafted songs, delivered with the passion and heart that we have come to expect from Nick Parsons (ex Whatever / The Almighty) and the SuperCharger crew. To be honest dare I say that the songs on offer here may even drop a little of the usual SuperCharger fury and attitude and more than nod their heads a little in the direction of Whatever (Nick Parsons original band from way back in the nineties), which is no bad thing as I was a huge fan of their two albums and Ep! Pieces delivers a melodic fury and intensity that really sets the scene, quickly followed by A Major (Headshake), which slows things down a little, with its pop sensibilities. Two for two so far! Cartoon Smile follows, and this track really could be a Whatever track, awesome as it twists and turns. Radio friendly too! Definitely one of the standout tracks on offer here together with Hallelujah and A Major (Headshake). Sceneshifter picks up the pace again, another excellent track, whilst the Ep closes out with Hallelujah, a seven and half minute opus. Its been a long path for SuperCharger main man Nick Parsons, through Whatever, The Almighty, Runt and finally SuperCharger, but the quality of the music has never dropped. Wolf Tickets delivers further proof that SuperCharger are a great British band delivering quality music on a consistent level!
Very highly recommended!

Rating 10/10

Dregen - Dregen (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Spinefarm Records

Track listings:

01 - Divisions Of Me
02 - Just Like That
03 - Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road
04 - Gig Pig
05 - Pink Hearse
06 - Bad Situation
07 - One Man Army
08 - 6:10 (Feat Danko Jones)
09 - Refuse
10 - Mojo's Gone

Finally the Backyard Babies, Helicopters main man Dregen (also Michael Monroe), gets around to putting out his debut solo album, and by God what an album it is.
This album pretty much covers the Rock N Roll spectrum, from the driven statement of intent that is Divisions Of Me, to the poppy Just Like That, to the quirky Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road (hands down my favourite track, although Pink Hearse comes close!).
10 perfectly crafted tracks, performed to perfection!. Hell Dregen has so much faith in this album, as he rightly should, that he has quit Michael Monroe's band so that he can tour it!
There just simply isn't a bad song on here, but my personal favourites have to be, Flat Tyre.... Pink Hearse, Bad Situation and 6:10.

A really great album that is really worth checking out!

Rating 10/10

Falling Red - Empire Of The Damned (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Sleaze
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - Time To Rise
02 - The Devil You Know
03 - We Escaped A Cult
04 - Break Me
05 - Outcast
06 - Disposable
07 - Empire Of The Damned
08 - We Are Reckless
09 - No Sanctuary
10 - Lonely Way To Die
11 - Change For No One

UK rockers, Falling Red, return with their sophmore album and what an album it is! This time around the guys have opted to go down the Pledge Music route in order to record the follow up to their debut, Shake The Faith, and the great Ep, Hasta La Victoria Siempre, giving them complete creative freedom and full control of their destiny so to speak. And the result is not only a damn fine album, but also the best set of songs that the band have been involved in so far! Now I have to be honest here. I enjoyed Shake The Faith, but wasn't totally blown away by it, unlike Hasta La Victoria Siempre, which I thought was amazing, so I awaited Empire Of The Damned with baited breath, and the guys didn't disappoint! Altogether a more coherent album, Empire... has a harder edge and a larger injection of attitude than its predecessors. Opening with the moody and atmospheric Time To Rise, Falling Red set the scene for what is to follow. And that is an onslaught of six awesome tracks, (most destined to be live favourites!) in the form of The Devil You Know, We Escaped A Cult, Break Me, Outcast, Disposable and title track Empire.... We Are Reckless follows, a track that will be familiar to most fans as it was released over the Internet a few months back as a teaser for the album. Reckless proves to be the weakest track so far too,not because its a bad song, just that its not quite as strong as its predecessors, and that's eight songs in! The quiality soon picks back up again with No Sanctuary, which flows nicely into Lonely Way To Die. The album finished with another blast of high octane attitude in the form of Change For No One, a song with some great twists and turns. Emoire of The Damned is cram packed with great songs, performed by a band both at the writting and performing peak! Top that with a great production and Falling Red have managed to deliver a strong candidate for album of the year in the form of Empire Of The Damned!

Very highly reconmended

Rating - 10/10

Friday, 20 September 2013

Promethium - Origins (2013)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - Sky Rockets Records

Track listing:

01 - Won't Break Me
02 - Gunslinger
03 - The Art Of Hurting,
04 - Counterfeit
05 - Rain
06 - The Hunted
07 - Plagued By Evil
08 - Revolver
09 - Believer
10 - Origins

October 7th sees the release of Lancaster based metal bands sophmore album, Origins, and its an album that is well worth checking out!
Filled to the brim with killer riffs, a real driving rhythmn section, well constructed and STRONG songs and some great vocal deliveries from lead vocalist Gary McGahon, who manages to manoeuvre his voice from classic hard rock styling to metalcore screaming as the songs require.
What is really notable here is just how well the band manage to restrain themselves, and succeed in not over doing the solos and other little indulgences. In fact Dan Lovett-Horn's and Rossi's guitar work is damn near perfect, the riffs on show here are truly sublime.
Standout tracks for me have to include album opener, Won't Break Me, (which really sets the scene for what is to follow with the rest of the album,) The Art Of Hurting, Rain (The albums ballad, well almost!), Plagued By Evil and the albums surprise closing title track, Origins, a short instrumental track that opens withs a thunderstorm which leads into a beautiful acoustic guitar, a subtle and touching way to close out a very strong album indeed.
If you have never heard of Promethium then shame on you as they are a very strong and promising band that have now delivered two great albums, and whats more |I have this gut feeling that they are still capable of producing a hell of a lot more!

Origins builds on the solid groundwork set down with 2011's debut Welcome To The Institution, and showcases just how the band are developing further as both performers and songwriters ta boot.

Rating - 9/10

Black Spiders - This Savage Land (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Dark Riders / Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - Knock You Out
02 - Stick It To The Man
03 - Balls
04 - Young Tongues
05 - Put Love In Its Place
06 - Raised By Wolves
07 - Trouble
08 - Teenage Knife Gang
09 - Creatures
10 - Sleepy Demon

11 - Cockfight (Pledge Music Exclusive)
12 - Kill Your Friends (Pledge Music Exclusive)
13 - Trust In Me (ITunes / Pledge Music Exclusive)

14 - Christmas Jumpers (Outtake - Pledge Music Exclusive)

The mighty Black Spiders return with their sophmore album and follow up to 2011's debut Sons Of The North in the form of This Savage Land. Recorded via the Pledge Music method enabling the band to to exercise complete control over the end product.

The album opens with the fist pumping Knock You Out, and moves quickly into the attitude drenched Stick It To The Man. Balls slows things down a little before Young Tongues and Put Love In Its Place resume proceedings. Raised By Wolves follows and to be honest in my opinion proved to be the albums most disappointing track. Trouble, Teenage Knife Gang and Creatures quickly follow and restore the albums quality levels to max. The album proper closes with Sleepy Demon, a real plodder of a track, in the traditional Prog Rock mould. A Great song.

Now we have the exclusives. Cockfight, Kill Your Friends and Trust In Me really should have made the album proper, they are all three every bit as good as anything else on there and in the case of Raised By Wolves far superior! To be honest, my favourite tracks are, Knock You Out, Balls, Stick It To The Man, Cockfight, Trust In Me, Kill Your Friends and Sleepy Demon!

Christmas Jumpers is just the guys fooling around and I'm guessing not a genuine outtake but rather enjoyable all the same.

On a Whole This Savage Land is a great album and worthy follow up to Sons Of The North.

Well worth checking out (especially if you can gut your hands on the exclusive tracks!

Rating - 9/10

American Head Charge - Shoot Ep (2013)

Genre - Industrial / Heavy Metal / Metalcore
Label - Self Released


01 - Writhe
02 - Set Yourself On Fire
03 - Sugars Of Someday
04 - Sand
05 - Rock and Roll N_gger

'American Head Charge, the Minneapolis-based metal band, which had its genesis when Cameron Heacock and Chad Hanks crossed paths in a Minnesota rehab facility in 1997, has up to now been known primarily for the radically dysfunctional behavior of the band members.

“We were definitely out of control on our first tour, Ozzfest 2001,” Mr. Banks admits. “It wasn’t enough to just play our music; we also had to fire shotguns on stage and throw pigheads at the crowd. Chalk it up to a desperate bid for attention.” The Head Charge rap sheet - which also includes getting into bloody brawls with their fans, smashing equipment they couldn’t afford to replace, reacquainting themselves with hard drugs and occasionally being locked up by the enraged fuzz - has served to obscure the fact that these free spirits play the shit out of their instruments and make brutally powerful music of uncommon distinction.'

So with the introductions out of the way we have Shoot, which marks the bands return to recorded output after taking a short hiatus of six years. And do we have, well to be honest, hard brutal, melodic (at times I swear!) metal

Kicking off with the atmospheric Writhe, AHC set the scene perfectly for what is to follow, heavy guitar riffs, alternating melodic and intense vocals, and well some of the best brutal music that I have had the pleasure in listening to for a while.

Shoot is too short ( four new songs and a Patti Smith cover), to really judge as to whether AHC are ready to take the world by storm but its a promising indication of what the next full length album is going to sound like. Awesome

If you like your music a little on the heavy side, then this Ep is well worth checking out!

Rating - 8/10

Sunday, 25 August 2013

MICHAEL MONROE - Horns And Halos [Limited Deluxe] (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Sleaze
Label -

Track listing:

01. TNT Diet
02. Ballad of the Lower East Side
03. Eighteen Angels
04. Saturday Night Special
05. Stained Glass Heart
06. Horns And Halos
07. Child of the Revolution
08. Soul Surrender
09. Half the Way
10. Ritual
11. Hands Are Tied
12. Happy Neverafter (bonus track)
13. Don't Block the Sun (bonus track)

Michael Monroe returns with Horns And Halos, the follow up to 2011's  (Ginger Wildheart penned) album of the year, Sensory Overdrive, this time without the mighty Ginger at the song writing helm. Can it love up to its predecessor? Oh Hell Yes it can!!
this album is pure Michael Monroe, combining elements from Hanoi Rocks, Demolition 23 and his previous solo material, mixing them up and adding a good dose of here and now! The result, one hell of an album.

I may not have written the following review but I couldn't agree with what it says any more. (All credit to the original reviewer!)

"Founding member of Hanoi Rocks - the band that essentially started the Hollywood glam rock scene and inspired bands like Guns 'N Roses, Poison and Motley Crue - since many years ago MICHAEL MONROE embarked on an solid solo career, frequently guesting on now-classic albums and performing with many other legends in rock music.
"Horns And Halos" is Michael Monroe's band new release which takes life truly by the horns and delivers a piece of glammy hard rock music that is full on with intensity, charisma and drive.
"TNT Diet" is the first track from 'Horns And Halos', a fast-paced rockin' energetic tune, complete with signature horn honkin' fills and plenty of attitude. It's a good, solid start, showing a more polished approach in sound than on the previous album which I like a lot.
"Ballad Of The East Side" is another triumphant blast of glamorous rock and roll, and the undisputed kings of glunk are at their best singing about something they know first-hand and this happens to be about all things after midnight in the Big Apple as it was and not as it is now. 
"Eighteen Angels" has sleaze written all over it: it's got groove, hard funk and sharp guitars, a lethal combination, followed by "Saturday Night Special", a more up-tempo rocker with a great breakdown beat towards the rip snorting guitar solo. A track wonderfully reminiscent of earlier Monroe works.
Next up we have the hard rocking title track "Horns And Halos" that's brooding on a jagged riff before breaking out with a huge chorus that jabs the listener in the throat and demands you to sing-along. This rough yet polished hard rock cut is one of my favorites.
"Child Of The Revolution" is pure rock 'n roll from the subtle hand claps to the big gang vocal chorus and the wicked melody, to my ears recalling some Hanoi Rocks, Clash and even Blondie.
For album number two this band has only gone and gotten better, trading off one and other more freely as a unit it would seem.
So with eleven songs on offer (or thirteen on this deluxe version) by the time you get to "Soul Surrender" you’re taken on another twist and turn as the band go from all out punk hard rock to a poppy groove driven by a fat bass and a catchy chorus.
"Half The Way" once again reinforces the fact that Monroe & the band have really put the hours in on the writing front by mixing up the instruments with the harmonica and guitars trading well on around, it’s a really strong melody complemented by some superb backing vocals that elevate this tune as it gets stuck in your head.
Easing things back a little, next up is "Ritual" with Michael using his lower range for the verses but the temperature soon rises for the guitar solo and a haunting guitar line cuts through the song as it comes to the boil nicely.
Something else about this line up of the Michael Monroe band is that on ‘Horns And Halos’ there’s no track like the previous track, illustrating there are many strings to their collective bow. And to close the album off we return for some low down and dirty rock in "Hands Are Tied" as the boys get their groove on and take this baby home in triumphant style. 
The bonus tracks really worth this Limited Deluxe edition, as the traditional '80s L.A. hardrocker "Happy Neverafter" is one of the best cuts of the entire disc, and the melodic "Don't Block The Sun" also recalls the Sunset Strip days with its swagger and fun rhythm.
Michael Monroe's "Horns And Halos" is not just the product of a life that has been lived or the fevered imagination of someone with great lyrical writing skills, it is has the hallmarks of a place, the one special location in which as rock music lovers we all dwell and take refuge in, be it a city or a venue. The album draws on that and gives Michael Monroe’s fans a pretty rocking sanctuary in which to share his music again. 
To my ears this CD is truly far superior than the already really good previous effort, and sits among Monroe's best.
"Horns And Halos" possesses a swagger and an air of confidence that's missing from many of today's releases and is the perfect soundtrack to a scorching hot summer's day. So when you get this album make sure you crank the volume up for maximum effect and let the songs flow over you.
Very Recommended."

Very Highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10

Jettblack - Black Gold (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label -

Track listing:

01. Black Gold (feat. Damon Johnson)
02. Feel The Love (feat. Ian Paice)
03. Weapon
04. Fade Away
05. Let Me Put My Love Into You (AC/DC cover)
06. Red Horizon (Acoustic)
07. Barracuda (Heart cover)
08. Name In Vain (Motorhead cover)
09. War Between Us (Acoustic)
10. Not Even Love (Acoustic)
11. Sunshine (Acoustic)
12. Prison Of Love (Acoustic)
13. Black Gold (Full Version)

The awesome UK rockers Jettblack return with a stop gap release, that proves to be so much more, and a must have for all fans of both the band and hard rock music in general!

The following review may not have been written by me, but I couldn't agree much more if I tried!
(All credit to the original reviewer [unknown])

"The last CD from British hard rockers JETTBLACK was among the best 2012 albums for this blog staff and most specialised media. While preparing its successor, the guys are releasing today, August 19th, a selection of hard to find b-sides, unreleased & re-worked material entitled "Black Gold".
The 13-track collection includes fresh covers of three classic anthems; "Barracuda" (Ann Wilson's Heart), AC/DC's "Let Me Put My Love Into You" and "Name In Vain" (Motorhead cover), but also the original brand new acoustic song "Red Horizon" and many different versions from previous compositions.
Tipped to be appearing fully electrified on the next studio album, "Red Horizon" gives a fresh look into the advancement of the band's writing. Haunting, elegant, yet typically Jettblack it certainly makes keeping an eye on the future an easy job as the rest of the album tidies up the past.
Title track "Black Gold" (originally appeared on sophomore release 'Raining Rock') is presented in a revised, new edited version featuring the six strings of Damon Johnson (Black Star Riders) as guest on a hot solo.
Previously only available digitally, "Feel The Love" also has a guest star, this time Ian Paice of Deep Purple who swirls his sticks and offers up some classic beats to complement the hard rock rhythm. The other, "Weapon", weighs in at the heavier end of the Jettblack spectrum. It stomps like a wild stallion, kicking up dust with a stampede of power.
As does 'Fade Away', which rocks its way out of the shadows at the back of the vaults, shelved since the original sessions for 'Get Your Hands Dirty'. There's other digital-only tunes like the pleasant acoustics "Sunshine" and "Prison Of Love".
Much more than a mere compilation, "Black Gold" keeps the pot boiling for JettBlack's album number three (in the making) with a strong combination of hot electrics and sweet acoustics.
This release shows the full potential of an outfit that are getting more experienced and confident with each passing year; no need for gimmicks, these songs stand up for themselves.
Strongly Recommended."

Very very highly recommended

Rating - 10/10

TYLA J. PALLAS - Devil's Supper [Electric Sitting] (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Rock n Roll / Sleaze
Label - King Outlaw Records

Track listing:

01 - Love is
02 - Long Shadows
03 - It Ain't Over Yet
04 - Green Eyed Girl
05 - All Alone
06 - Judas Christ
07 - The Meaning Of Fortune And Fame
08 - Yeah (I Love You Baby)
09 - In Another Life
10 - That Someone
11 - Home
12 - Religion
13 - Ode To Jackie Leven
14 - Wisdom
15 - Judas Christ (Acoustic demo)

Tyla, (front man of UK sleazsters Dog's D'Amour) returns with his latest solo album, Devils Super (Electric Sitting), making it twenty plus solo albums now!
Devils Super continues Tyla's own brand of soulful Rolling Stones esque rock n roll, and I swear just like a fine wine, he and his songwriting are getting better and better with age!
The album kicks off with the superb "Love Is", a warm, honky tonk groove that staggers into the saloon on a woozy piano and Rolling Stones-ish guitar. But where it really shines is on the excellent verses to reach the bridge where some hearty horns are injected halfway through, and of course Tyla's characteristic drool. It's a great unassuming song of homely joy, and a track that immediately embeds itself into the brain, before we're treated to the boogie 'n' roll of "Long Shadows" with its pattering drum and gentle swagger.
Tyla often struggles with any hint of a high note, but that's the charm of that broken throat, especially with the smoky steps of "It Ain't Over Yet" and the shimmering wonder of "Green Eyed Girl", with its pleasant sways as Tyla croons 'Back in the summer of ’75 when I first saw you my heart came alive, standing there in the bright moonlight I got what they meant about love at first sight'. It’s another instant classic rocker that evokes images of rainy streets and old pubs filled with cigarette smoke as the horns drift in on that indolent chorus.
Tyla’s unique style is not merely the only quality that enables this album to roll. The moods are defined by simple yet provocative instruments such as a light keyboard, piano or a jangly guitar, making tracks such as "All Alone" or the twanging "Judas Christ" so sincere.But of all the heartfelt tracks on offer it's the tear-jerking ballad "Ode To Jackie Leven" that really tugs at the heart strings, as Tyla’s voice deepens over a swaying acoustic. Leven was a Scottish folk singer who died in 2011 and Tyla’s ode is majestic with its wheezing pipes.
Tyla clearly has no need to shake a bottle in your face, when it's far easier to sit down next to him and share his thoughts over a glass of warm red wine. The 14 tracks on offer here (15 if you count the demo of "Judas Christ") are so tall in stature and yet rarely do they breath beyond an acoustic ramble.
This is a record that ebbs and flows magnificently - it has drama and will also make you smile. It has lovable songs inspired in the past but will have old and young rock fans bowled over with quality of the songwriting. A lot of musicians spend a lifetime striving to write a decent song or two and Tyla J. Pallas seems to ooze great tunes with unnerving ease.
This is one hell of an album,
Stand out tracks include, "Love Is", " It Ain't Over Yet", "Wisdom", Judas Christ", Religion" and " Ode To Jackie Leven".

Highly reconmended

Rating - 10/10

Zug Izland - Toxicology (Zug Izland's Dopest Bangers) [Explicit] (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative Rock / Rap / Crossover
Label - Psychopathic Records

Track listing:

01 Intro
02 Sunny Day
03 Always
04 Fire
05 Saved
06 Prison Song
07 Fly
08 Y
09 Dreams
10 River
11 Cry
12 Feel
13 Suicide
14 Licks of Flames (New Song)
15 Can't Change (New Song)
16 I Found You (New Song)

Zug Izland originally came about as a kind of side project of Insane Clown Posse's Violent J, when he wanted to put together a rock album. It quickly morphed into a fully fledged band in its own right with Syn taking control of lead vocal duties in place of Violent J (Although J did still write all the lyrics on the first album and can be heard providing backing vocals on most tracks as well as featuring heavily on some.
Toxicology is a sort of best of, ( kind of given away by the sub title....) featuring a selection of their best tracks (plus three new songs),  released via Psychopathic records now that they have re-signed with them.
To be fair the track listing is almost perfect, show casing the bands versitality and range from the out and out rap rock like "Fire",  and "Suicide", to the hip hop ish ballads like "Fly", to the rock ballads such as "Saved".A great selection. The three new tracks serve to remind fans of just what Zug Izland still have to offer.
Toxicology is a great introduction to a very promising band, well worth checking out!

Rating - 10/10


KingBathmat - Overcoming The Monster (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative / Progressive
Label - Stereohead Records

Track listing:
01 - Sentinel
02 - Parasomnia
03 - Overcoming The Monster
04 - Superfluous
05 - Reality Mining
06 - Kubrick Moon

KingBathmat return with their eclectic mix of hard rock, prog rock, neo-prog rock and alternative rock in the form of their seventh (yes 7th!) album, Overcoming The Monster, and what an album it is!
Whilst not as instant as its predecessor, Truth Button, Overcoming The Monster still has a hell of a lot to offer, its just that this time around the listener is required to put in a little work themselves, and actually listen to the album, as with each spin of this tremendous disc you discover more and more layers to each track!
Album opener "Sentinel" is a great rocking piece, with heavy guitars, combining with strong vocals and abundance of keyboards slotting in nicely into the driving melody. "Parasomnia" follows, a moody composition with epic moments and dreary atmospheres starting as if its a horror/thriller soundtrack. The band mix things up a little more with the albums title track, "Overcoming The Monster" with its Fripp like riffs, Peter Gabriel-era Genesis styled melodies and very harmonic vocal lines. The guitar / keyboard interplay has a really British sound. Awesome.
 "Superfluous" is the neo-prog number,Reality Mining", the shortest song on the album, is about technological monsters: the state using technology to snoop into our private affairs, very apt considering the news as of late!
In contrast the albums closing track, "Kubrick Moon", is the albums longest track. Atmospheric is the right word to describe the first part, almost cinematic, including some awesome Howe-approved guitars. Then towards the middle the song gets a punch of energy and goes in a full power section, another great song by the way.

With Overcoming The Monster, KingBathmat show that that they are going from strength to strength, and prove themselves to be amongst the best prog bands in the UK if not the world!

Very highly recommended!

Rating - 10/10

Friday, 2 August 2013

Sinister Angels Realm: Hey! Hello! (Ginger Wildheart) - Hey! Hello! (2013...

Sinister Angels Realm: Hey! Hello! (Ginger Wildheart) - Hey! Hello! (2013...: Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Classic Rock / Punk Pop Label - Pledge Music (Exclusive at the moment) Track Listing: 01 - Black Valenti...

Kill For Eden - Kill For Eden (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Modern Rock
Label -

Track listing:
01 - Kerosene (Radio Mix)
02 - Untouchables
03 - Beige
04 - Stalemate
05 - The Evil That Men Do
06 - Living On Mars
07 - Fate Insists
08 - Ned
09 - Over And Over
10 - Slip Away
11 - Little Wizard
12 - Alone With My Demons
13 - The Truth
14 - Kerosene
### The following review is not my own but I agree totally! ###

KILL FOR EDEN is a new UK-based band but formed by a truly international line-up from Lyla D’Souza (Sydney), Andrea Basiola (Italy) and Londoner Dave Garfield Bown, along with Mike McGuinness on bass and drummer 
Wally Miroshnikov, together they have infused all their influences to produce an awe inspiring self-titled debut release.
Built on massive melodies and huge hooks coupled with charismatic choruses, Kill For Eden's energetic style blends the hard rockin' groove of The Cult circa Sonic Temple with the Rock&pop sensibility of Blondie. Chuck in a rocking Pat Benatar and you can see where the healthy references come from.

What I liked about Kill For Eden at first place is their uncompromising delivery. They're releasing this debut by themselves, and they do what they want in their own way.
The music business is quite brutal most the time, with the only fast track options generally open to those who have no self worth and little talent willing to sell their souls and other parts of their bodies to a suit sucking on a big fat cigar. Any band with original ideas practising in back rooms has a mountain to climb, and a shed load of luck and hard graft are basic starting points before there is any chance of hitting the ‘big’ time.
Sadly, history shows that if you are a female fronted rock band you can multiply that factor again by a whole lot more and the intensity and need for that special quality to stand out and be different is magnified ten fold. Just check the band list for your favourite festival this summer and how many of them have a female leading the front line?
As I said it’s brutal people, but real exceptional talent and innovative use of the grey matter will find a following, well you would hope so anyway.

Kill For Eden could just be one of those exceptional bands, as they have the talent in abundance, and in Lyla D’Souza they also have a front woman who not only looks the part but has a voice that stands out from the crowd of pretenders. Her technical and emotional range adds depth to all the material here and confidently tackles top end hard rock, power rock, intimate rock&pop and all shades in between – sometimes in the same track.
It’s not all just about the vocals, though. Basioli’s lead guitar muscles into the limelight plenty, and the rhythm six-string work together with the dynamic bass/drum interplay drive these tunes into a great feeling.
The album starts via the most immediate track called "Kerosene (Radio Mix)" with an ear pleasing driving guitar riff and a rumbling bass line upon which the powerful vocals of Lyla D’Souza rise strongly, and here in lies the special unique selling point that Kill For Eden have in their repertoire. This version has been re-worked with an obvious commercial intention, as the original (placed at the end) is more rough and sharp. Both work to me.
The heavy funk groove and vibe continues on "Untouchables" with a big chorus and rhythmic guitar work whilst "Beige" further continues this positive trend. "Over and Over" is also built for the airwaves with its catchiness.
Don’t be fooled though. There is some heavier and more challenging material here too.
"Living On Mars" features a skuzzy, gutteral riff before the chorus lifts the track and a change of pace injects a shot of adrenaline. "Ned" chucks out a mean growl and weaves a narrative about Australia’s most famous outlaw.
"The Evil That Men Do" is amongst the strongest tracks with an insistent, nagging guitar and keyboard riff that rises into a powerhouse chorus. D’Souza goes for the jugular and stays on the right side of the tuneful/shouty divide at the business end.
"Slip Away" for me is a radio hit single in waiting, with a modern but at the same time classic rock melody full of groove and titillating amp-valvular guitars, providing a demonstration of all that is good about Kill for Eden in a one tremendous song.
The stomping hard rocker "The Truth" takes a look back to late seventies Heart, "Alone With My Demons" adds some bluesy spice, and "Little Wizard" brings the good ol' 'American' The Cult to the table, just with female lungs.
There also a couple of tasty ballads that showcase Lyla's vocal gymnastics. "Stalemate" is perhaps a touch formulaic, but "Fate Insists" pulls out all the dramatic stops.

Kill For Eden is one of the most genuine, impressive female fronted rock bands appeared in a long time.
However the consistency in their debut is not just in D’Souza’s powerhouse vocals but also in the quality of song structure and musicianship. The rhythm section creates a groovy foundation where the complete guitar work dynamically change gear all the time with the vocal arrangements controlling the intensity and delivery, resulting in some memorable killer songs.
Kill For Eden achieve something which, to my mind, is pretty hard to find; they manage to hide some scorching guitar-based hard rock within an extremely radio-friendly format, a feat not seen too-often these days. The majority of the tracks are around 4 minutes long and fit everything they need to in that time with nothing left on the side lines.
Production, handled by guitarists Basiola and band mastermind Dave Garfield could be much more polished, but I prefer this crunching delivery for this type of material than the overwashed sound a major label would have ordered. They go indie, and I like this way, remaining in the radio-friendly category without compromising the guitar-driven awesomeness that makes them stand out.
Good things are surely just around the corner for this lot, meanwhile their debut is strongly recommended.

Rating 9/10

Kill For Eden are:
Lyla D'Souza – Vocals
Dave Garfield Bown – Guitar
Andrea Basiola – Guitar
Mike McGuinness – Bass
Wally Miroshnikov – Drums
Rob Taggart – Keyboards

BLUE COUPE - Million Miles More (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - 

Track listing:

01 - Prophets, Dukes and Nomads
02 - Hellfire Hurry (feat. Buck Dharma)
03 - Hallow's Grave (feat. Alice Cooper)
04 - Everybody Goes Insane
05 - I'll Forever Stick Around
06 - Modern Love (Stalking Song) (feat. Goldy McJohn)
07 - Used Car (feat. Giles Johnson)
08 - Supernatural Love (feat. Deniz Tek)
09 - Train Of Thought
10 - Ain't Dead (feat. Ross The Boss)
11 - Ride With Me
12 - Devils Highway
13 - Special Bonus Track: More Cowbell (Gotta Fever)

### Please Note The Following Review Is Not My Work, please credit the original reviewer (unknown)###

BLUE COUPE are formed by multi-talented entertainers Rock and RollHall of Famer Dennis Dunaway of the legendary Alice Cooper Group alongside multi-instrumentalists Joe Bouchard and his brother Albert from Blue Öyster Cult.
"Million Miles More" is their second album of original songs, a classic rock festival featuring stellar guests as horror-master Alice Cooper itself, Goldy McJohn from Steppenwolf and Blue Öyster Cult's Buck Dharma among others.
These cats together have sold over 15 million albums in the United States alone and have been awarded over 30 gold and platinum recordsworldwide, so they know what this is all about. Joe & Albert are the co-writers and arrangers of many of Blue Öyster Cult's biggest hits, the latter being the mastermind of "Imaginos". Dennis co-wrote Alice's biggest smash hits including "I'm 18," "School's Out" and "Under My Wheels." 
"Million Miles More" has a musical tone, song craft and sound not dissimilar to the original ‘black and white’ era of Blue Öyster Cult and the original Alice Cooper (group) releases, but modernized and much more melodic.
Joe’s guitar playing is very classy, delivering strong riffs and valvular solos, Dennis Dunaway's bass line throw most of the rock shapes, while Albert provides the bouncing foundation. All three bring vocals, with Joe Bouchard singing the lion’s share of leads.
Kicking off with the beat-driven rock of the excellent "Prophets, Dukes and Nomads", the band then give a nod to their musical past with the rollicking roll of "Hellfire Hurry" featuring great six-string lead bursts from BÖC's Buck Dharma. This tune drips of BOC as Buck’s signature riffage is all over the place.
Alice Cooper guests on lead vocals for the sinister fun of "Hallow’s Grave" creating that creepy yet neat-o classic sound of the old school Alice Cooper group. Ross the Boss stamps his guitar sound on the shout-it-out and punchy "Ain’t Dead", while original Steppenwolf keyboardist Goldy McJohn adds his signature organ to "Modern Love (Stalking Time)".
As great as the songs with special guests are, some of the best tunes on the album feature only the three band mates.
"Supernatural Love" is a song with a little bouncy guitar line that is not only cool, but is kind of addictive. "Everybody Goes Insane" sees the band mixing their BOC and Cooper influences perfectly into a modernized, organic delivery. 
But it isn't all up-tempo guitar-bass-drums rock and roll. One of the best songs is the touching "I’ll Forever Stick Around", the piano and strings ballad featuring a rare Dennis Dunaway lead vocal has a charm unlike any other song on the album; then there’s the slow-tempo pseudo blues of "Train Of Thought".
The single that preceded the album’s release, "More Cowbell (Gotta Fever)" has been added as a special bonus track, a crowd-shout number originally recorded live.
Blue Coupe's "Million Miles More" has everything you look for in a Classic Rock album, driving beats, toneful guitar riffs and solid bass, it's the real deal done by professionals who know how to write great songs and relate to an audience. 
The trio called talented Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, John Lennon, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, BOC, etc.) to produce and Warren Huart (Aerosmith, The Fray, James Blunt) to mix, who made this sucker sound damn good.
The fact Blue Coupe had to run a funding campaign to ensure completion of this album within their targeted time-frame says a lot about the state of the music industry, where marketable commodity is more important than musical creativity, than it does about the quality of the finished product.
Suffice it to say that something special happens when two Bouchards and a Dunaway get together and make music; this is a Classic Rock record, but one that's injected with a fresh, quirky, creative musicality.Simply put, "Million Miles More" is a great album that deserves to be heard and deserves success.

Rating - 8/10

Blue Coupe are:
Joe Bouchard - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Dennis Dunaway - bass, vocals
Albert Bouchard - drums, vocals
Alice Cooper - vocals
Ross the Boss (Manowar) - guitar
Buck Dharma (Blue Öyster Cult) - vocals, guitar
Goldy McJohn (Steppenwolf) - keyboards
Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) - vocals
Giles Robson - harp
Gordie Lewis (Teenage Head) - guitar