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

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 Valentine
02 - Feral Days
03 - Why Can't I Be Me Without You?
04 - Swimwear
05 - Burn The Rule Book (Fuck It)
06 - Lock For Rock (and other sporting cliches)
07 - Thrill Of It All
08 - How I Survived The Punk Wars
09 - I'm Gonna Kiss You Like I'm Going Away
10 - We're Out Of Here

Hey! Hello! consists of Victoria Liedtke (Vocals) and Ginger Wildheart (Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums and basically everything else!) and was recorded as a Pledge Music exclusive with the aim to release three singles commercially and the other tracks being exclusive to this release. Ginger describes this project as noisey pop, but to be honest I have to disagree, this is a great pop / rock album and one of the best products that ginger has ever released. Dont get me wrong, the past copuple of years have been rather hectic for the Ginger one, where as most artist struggle to put out one album every three years, Ginger has released six albums worth of material in just nine months, a totally unbeliev able feat in itself, yet alone when its sixty plus tracks of quality music with no fillers!
To begin with there was the mighty 555% tripple album, thirty killer tracks that showcased Gingers songwriting range, an album that I truly thought would be hard to follow, and then Ginger goes and puts out Hey! Hello!. a totally awesome album. Ten brilliant songs that just fit together to make a truly special album. Dont get me wrong, 555% was an amazing release, thirty great songs, but by its very nature it was a little eccletic where as Hey! Hello! is just one consistant album, with the tracks flowing effortlessly from one to the next, and to be honest the album only has one fault, its too bloody short!
From the opening riff of Black Valentine through to the closing horn sections of We're Out Of Here, the quality never dips below excellent. I was truly suprised at just how good this album sounds with Ginger handling all the instruments, including debuting his drumming skills on record for the first time, but it really does sound great. This Pledge Music exclusive album features two tracks that were originally written with other artists in mind, but for various reasons ended up being used for this project, those being, Swimwear, originally written with michael Monroe in mind and Thrill of It All which was originally planned for Courtney Love, but I am so glad they became Hey! Hello! tracks, especially Swimwear which just has an amazing feel good factor to it.
Victorias vocals compliment Gingers perfectly throughout, something we learned via the 555% project and together they create a beautiful sound, I truly hope that Ginger deems it worthy to follow up this release with more Hey! Hello! because I honestly beleive that they have something really special here!

A truly great album and a worthy follow up to the hugely successful 555% project. Pledge before you miss out, and grab the singles when they get released or end up regreating it!

Rating - 10 / 10

Further Notes -
Produced by: Russ Russell & Ginger Wildheart

Mixed by Russ Russell & Ginger Wildheart
Mastered by Jon Astley
Ginger recorded by Russ Russell at Parlour Studios, Kettering, UK
Victoria recorded by Bryan Scary at ScaryCar Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Bryan Scary – Backing vocals on “Lock For Rock” & “We’re Outta Here”, Bee’s on “We’re Out Of Here”
Giulio Carmassi – Noises, Additional Horns on ’We’re Outta Here’ & Piano(s) in “Swimwear”
Dom Lawson – Happy man on “Feral Days”

Newsted - Heavy Metal Music (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal
Label - Chophouse Records

Track listing:

01. Heroic Dose
02. Soldierhead
03. ...As The Crow Flies
04. Ampossible
05. Long Time Dead
06. Above All
07. King Of The Underdogs
08. Nocturnus
09. Twisted Tail Of The Comet
10. Kindevillusion
11. Futureality

Jason Newsted has been criminally underrated as a performer, a composer and a musician in general, that is until now!
He has been overshadowed, forgotten, and to a great extent, discredited as an artist since 2000/2001. This is because of a number of small reasons, the most two most damaging are being mixed out of every Metallica recording that he “appeared on” and playing in the band during Metallica’s massive slide in form.
This has left his pre-Metallica career pretty much forgotten, and his post-Metallica career to being met with a certain amount of apathy. People forget that he was a primary member in the foundation of the Thrash band, Flotsam and Jetsam. That feat alone was one of the main reasons that he was allow join Metallica, it was due to his legit Thrash credentials. What followed was a criminal misuse of his skills and songwriting ability i.e. no audible bass in any Metallica tracks from 1986 on and outright bullying by band mates. All of this culminated with Newsted departing Metallica in 2000/2001 to play with Ozzy Osbourne and then the Canadian tech-Thrash icons Voivod until 2008. Echobrain, Sepultura, Who Cares (with Tony Iommi and Ian Gillan) and many others fall into this man’s back catalogue.
Newsted then founded Chophouse Records, and used this as his base for the Newsted music project. Led by Jason on bass and vocals, and featuring Jesus Mendez Jr. on Drums, Jessie Farnsworth Guitars (and backing vocals),and Mike Mushok (Staind) on Guitars Newsted the band finally took shape. As a band Newsted  very much embraces nearly 30 years of styles… and pulls it off very very well! Heavy Metal Music follows on from the successful Metal EP that was launched earlier in the year.
I have heard it said that may be Newsted tried to envisage the album that Metallica should have made after the Black album but didn't, I have to disagree a little. Imagine Lemmy (Motorhead choosing to record the Black Album and the better tracks from Load and you may get an idea of what Heavy Metal Music has to offer.
Heavy Metal is a Heavy (and I mean Heavy!) Rock / Metal album, but despite embracing the influences of the past 30 years of music styles, they have come out with a refreshingly current sounding album that more than nobs its head a little to the bassists past.
Musically the band are awesome but its Jasons vocal style that is perhaps the most surprising, his raspy, harsh semi-shouting is a perfect fit for the band,
Ampossible, …As The Crow Flies and Twisted Tail Of The Comet highlight both the songwriting ability of the band leader and the reach of the band itself. All of these songs, in their own way, play around with “Black Sabbath” flavoured material.
King Of the Underdogs seems to be the most personal track here, with Jason exploring his experiences of life with his former employers, but more in a defiant than bitter way. To be honest there just isn't a bad track on this album!
For a debut album, Heavy Metal Music is stunning!.

Long live Newsted, and may Jason finally receive the accolades that he deserves!

Very highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10

Lawless - Rock Savage (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Metal / Melodic Rock
Label - Escape Records

Track listing:

01. Heavy Metal Heaven

02. Black Widow Ladies
03. F.O.A.D.
04. Misery
05. SOS
06. Rock n Roll City
07. Step In
08. Scream
09. Pretender
10. Where Heroes Fall
11. Metal Time

Lawless are a new band founded by veterans from the UK scene.
Featuring Neil Ogden who has been hitting the skins in cult legends Demon since 2002 and his more recent bandmate there Paul Hume (vocals, guitar), plus Persian Risk guitarist Howie G and bassist Josh Williams (Headrush), they have created a dynamic, crisp-sounding rockin' album.
At first glance, you could suspect that Lawless plays heavy metal or NWOBHM due the guy's pedegree, the cover artwork and some track titles here: "Heavy Metal Heaven" or "Metal Time" for instance.
Well, not at all. "Rock Savage" is pure '80s British Melodic Hard Rock with some melodious hard 'n heavy touches but you know, what was considered 'heavy' in the eighties, nowadays it's just hard rock.
This is certainly old school MHR with a fantastic modern production, melodic and catchy choruses together with lots of big riffs and sweet solos from Howie G (his sound set is truly amazing). Hume’s vocals are ideally suited to the style of music (although in my honest opinion they are the weakest link here, I would have loved them to have recruited Demons Dave Hill to handle the vocal duties!), and the rhythm section is fat and bombastic at places.
Groovy, contagious cuts like "SOS", "Scream", "Rock 'n' Roll City" or the Skin (UK Rockers) sounding "Step In" are arena-ready quality anthems, the driving "Heavy Metal Heaven" is bloody melodious akin early Thunder, and "F.O.A.D." puts the pedal to the metal a bit, but the chorus is really commercial.
"Black Widow Ladies"  is a Whitesnake-esque mid tempo monster, there's soaring melodies on the punchy-razor "Misery", then "Pretender" rocks with a Pretty Maids vibe enriched by great harmony vocals and punctuating riffs.
"Where Heroes Fall" is a high class ballad never losing the band's muscular approach and showcasing Hume's more emotional side (he's a solid singer for sure), before closer "Metal Time", an ode to the genre, begins as an amusing Twisted Sister joke developing into a Y&T sounding rocker packed with melting riffs and terrific solos all over. Another favorite of mine.
"Rock Savage" is a fun, catchy, and extremely effective Melodic Hard Rock recording in a typical British style, just as it should be
All songs are instantly likeable, focused on catchy vocal melodies backed by soaring harmonies and meaty riffs, all driven by pounding bass lines and a thumping drum work. The sound is awesomely polished helped by a crisp production and a superb mix (listen with headphones and then tell me).

Surprisingly killer debut by Lawless.

Highly Recommended

Rating 9/10

EVILYN STRANGE - Mourning Phoebe (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock
Label -

Track listing:

01 - The Ballad Of Evilyn Strange
02 - Your Eyes Give You Away
03 - Everything
04 - All That You Do (You Do For You)
05 - Narcissistic Bar Statistic
06 - The World Needs Someone Like You
07 - Love Finds You
08 - No Mercy
09 - Please Don't Tell Me
10 - Just A Little
11 - Will You Be There

EVILYN STRANGE are a Anglo-Swedish combo who have been together for a few years now, playing the British indie circuit and releasing some singles.
"Mourning Phoebe" is the band's full length debut, recorded and produced by themselves.
Comprising Phillip Strange on lead vocals and bass, Al Strange on drums and Swede Mikael Johannesson on guitars, Evilyn Strange is a quite 'strange' outfit indeed, as we can hear different styles running throughout their album. Phillip spoke in a recent interview; "Personally I love to mix styles and influences across an album - what's the point in writing 11 versions of the same song?.
Evilyn Strange can't be pinned on a single musical style, although they are revolved around melodic rock / hard. This may turn things a bit disjointed for some listeners, but you can't deny these guys are trying something different.
Part of this diversity should be laid on co-producer, engineer and collaborator Chris Hughes, the silent fourth member in Evilyn Strange, and the fact that most of the songs were penned by Phillip and drummer Al Strange (ex- Dog Food) separately. Al, a child of the '80s, is also responsible for sneaking all the keyboards/synths onto the album.
The CD kicks off with the quite heavy "The Ballad Of Evilyn Strange", a powerful track with a modern sound but inspired in the nineties. There's a crushing rhythm section and excellent guitars by Mikael Johannesson, a quality axe-slinger which work enhances this disc all over. About the lead vocals, you have to get used of Phillip's singing, as his register changes from track to track... particularly on this one, he sounds like Jerry Cantrell meets modern Ozzy, but it's the only tune here in this vein. Next up is "Your Eyes Give You Away", a dark atmospheric rocker where the vocals are much more melodic.
As said, Evilyn Strange mixes things up throughout the album, with several ballads mingling with heavier, harder rocking tunes. On the mid tempo semi-ballad "Everything" the band blends early eighties The Cult (fundamentally the vocalisation) with British Classic Rock resulting in an original track adorned with keyboards. The guitar solo is melodious yet plenty of force.
"All That You Do (You Do For You)" has a rougher, grittier feel and a harder edge, but to my ears the main melody is inspired by seventies Brit-pop, and again, you meet the unexpected. It's a very good track as it's not the typical hard-rock-by-numbers. Same can be said for "Narcissistic Bar Statistic", where a The Mission (UK band) feel is heard wrapped by distorted guitars and synths... you like it or not, but these guys are different from the rest for sure.
Then they turn the page again; "The World Needs Someone Like You" is a classic melodic rock power ballad with an excellent vibe and superb melodious line. The vocals (and the way of sing) reminds me, believe it or not, Chris Ousey (Heartland, Snakecharmer), there's uplifting harmonic backing vocals and a steady instrumentation. To me, the best track on the album and worth the admission alone.
Need more variation? Next, "Love Finds You" is an anthemic, kickin' hard rocker with slidey, bluesy-flavoured guitars and slamming drums, vocally the strongest on the entire recording and the guitar job is top notch. Another really good cut.
"No Mercy" follows the same path, but more melodic and constructed around a seventies classic rock skeleton, and next "Please Don’t Tell Me" returns to the melodic territory adding some acoustics to the mix, sporting a seriously ear-pleasing, hooky melody anchored by an Americanized refrain.
Johannesson’s stellar guitar-work shines again on the awesomely catchy "Just A Little", another of my favourite tunes. This is a pure Melodic Rock song in the classic style of the genre with a driving melodic line, keyboards and a jumpin' rhythm section.
The band's more intimate side arrives with closer "Will You Be There? (Kate’s Song)", the only completely acoustic number filled with beautiful harmonies (reminds me the German band Domain), an old song written by Phillip in his teens and dedicated to his passed away friend Kate.
As you can see, Evilyn Strange is like chameleon addressing numerous styles to their core. This results in "Mourning Phoebe" being a diverse and multi-faceted recording that may disorient many listeners, but challenges them all the time.
This not means the musical direction is not focused or integral, not at all, as this is a rock album with Melodic Rock, Hard and Classic Rock elements, it's just that Evilyn Strange don't want to repeat themselves track by track.
"Mourning Phoebe" is easy to enjoy but it's a real grower, and gets better and better after repeated listens. The second half of the disc is more instant and familiar to regular melodic hard rockers, yet 'strangely' sounds cohesive to the rest of the material.
Definitively a different beast in the present Melodic Hard Rock scene, Evilyn Strange has delivered a more than interesting debut quite far from conventionalism's.


Rating 8/10

The Burning Crows - Behind The Veil (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - High
02 - All The Way
03 - You, Me, Tonight
04 - Time
05 - Fallin'
06 - So Wrong
07 - Here I Am
08 - Say My Name
09 - The Queen
10 - Devil May Care
11 - Slow Up, Get Down
12 - Behind The Veil
13 - Going Down (CD only Bonus Track)
14 - Best Damn Everything (CD only Bonus Track)

THE BURNING CROWS hailing from Norwich (UK) release their debut full length CD in the form of "Behind The Veil".
Britain has a long tradition producing bands with a unique taste, it's like a touch of class unmatched elsewhere, and that's something The Burning Crows have inherited. Regarded by the press and a growing fan base as one of most brilliant Classic Hard Rock promises from the isles, the guys have acquired their reputation in the good old way, from word of mouth and delivering the goods on stage.
All these happenings brought the attention of producer by Nick Brine, who has worked with The Darkness, Bruce Springsteen and Oasis to name a few, to produce and mix the first EP and now "Behind The Veil" as well. And with a guest appearance by Keith Weir (The Quireboys, Def Leppard) on keyboards, it seems that some of Rock's biggest names are starting to join the ever growing queue to get behind the band.
Kicking off with a pair of up tempo rockers in "High" and "All The Way" it is clear that The Burning Crows have channeled the energy, swagger and sheer adrenalin of their live performance into the studio. Driven classic guitars, tight rhythm section, high end vocals and tremendous melodies but with a chopping attack.
Frontman Whippz has the voice to match the outrageous personality and charisma, supported by an image that is straight from the soaked heyday of the Sunset Strip. Lance Daniels (guitars), Will Lockett (bass) and Chris Chapman (drums) complete the line-up and the vibe on "Behind the Veil" suggests these guys are a tight band of brothers that feed off each other's adrenalin to deliver an album of kick ass classic hard rock and roll.
The mid tempo pace changer "Time" breaks things up with a its Bon Jovi alike guitar work and choruses, while on follower "Fallin´" there is blooming catchiness with a highly oriented '80s driven chorus, and next "So Wrong" (one of my favourites) mixes some tasty licks with the guitars responding to each other during the solo in classy way.
When they drop the pace in "Here I Am" the results are no less impressive. The guys add acoustic guitars and serve up the traditional ballad complete with strings and ethereal background vocals. Whippz leads are soulful and heartfelt taking it down in the Steven Tyler lane.
At the other end of the scale is "The Queen", a simple yet highly effective classic rocker that shows The Burning Crows at their best. "Devil May Care" is another charmer with impressive guitaring while the "All The Way" heads up strong, letting the good times roll with a lively vibe.
Title track "Behind The Veil" is an energetic charger with quality melodies where Daniels is really let of the leash to provide some fiery riffs to go with the insistently catchy chorus, same with the mid-tempo beast "Best Damn Everything", plenty of melodious riffage.
If you get the CD (Digipack) version of the album you have two bonus tracks; "Going Down" rocks with contagious swagger and once again, this solidly crafted and hook-laden affair reveals Whippz's voice to be an aptly suited weapon. The other, "Best Damn Everything", is the most furious of the lot, a straight ahead hard rock the likes of UFO or Bad Company might produce, and has everything you want in this type of band with each member stepping up to lay down some great sounds.
The Burning Crows take the best of classic British hard rock and blend it with its American counterpart from late Eighties Sunset Strip, tossing-in a little bluesy spice to boot. There are a lot of bands out there at the moment doing this type of rock, but these young guys own a different touch.
"Behind The Veil" features 14 songs clocking over an hour, a rather ambitious for a debut and means there better be some significant consistency across the album. Frankly, The Burning Crows pull it off. It might be presumptuous to say that every song is killer, but they never miss the mark.
There's tons of 'burning' fire and heart in these hot-to-trot rockers full of energy to convince the most demanding Classic Rock / Hard Rock fans out there, cooked with a crisp and organic production.

Highly Recommended.
Rating - 9/10