Monday, May 21, 2018


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DON BARNES ‎- Ride The Storm [Deluxe Edition Disc 2 Alternate Mix +3 bonus] (2017)

DON BARNES ‎- Ride The Storm [Deluxe Edition Disc 2 Alternate Mix +3 bonus] (2017) full

Nearly 30 years ago, what would have been an instant classic was relegated to storage thanks to the old story of record label machinations. We are talking about the classic AOR masterpiece DON BARNES solo album "Ride The Storm".
One of the best “lost” albums of all time finally see the light of day with a superb remastered sound.
We have already featured "Ride The Storm" here, but this 'Deluxe Edition' includes an extra disc with an "alternate mix” of the album, plus 3 bonus tracks that were recorded at the same sessions but not included on the original album.

This "Ride The Storm - alternate mix" on Disc 2 features what is being called the “alternate mix” which would have comprised the slicker, more era-appropriate version of the album’s ten songs. Disc 1, on the other hand, features the “rock mix” with guitars turned way up and keyboards laid in as a support.

DON BARNES ‎- Ride The Storm [Deluxe Edition Disc 2 Alternate Mix +3 bonus] (2017) booklet

In short, this Disc 2 is original "Ride The Storm" recording / mix, which sounds more like the era it came from (1989) with a smoother, AOR feel.
Which one do I prefer?
Both versions are awesome.

Disc 1 has a much more rocking feel and you can hear stronger guitars, while on this Disc 2 it's Barnes' voice which takes the spotlight, and there's extra keyboards painting a definitely late '80s AOR sound.
As plus, you have 3 bonus tracks that worth every penny, all with the same atmosphere of the main album.

DON BARNES ‎- Ride The Storm [Deluxe Edition Disc 2 Alternate Mix +3 bonus] (2017) back

Why "Ride The Storm" was never released back in the day is a crying shame as it would have been a hit, however at least we have it now - and boy - it's wonderful. You need this in your collection end of.

0dayrox exclusive

1. Ride The Storm (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Guitar Solos - Dann Huff / Keys - Martin Briley / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

2. Looking For You (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys and Additional Guitar - Martin Briley / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Pocaro

3. I Fall Back (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Martin Briley / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

4. Don't Look Down (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Jesse Harms / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Denny Carmassi

5. Maybe You'll Believe Me Now (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Alan Pasqua / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Denny Carmassi

6. I'd Do It All Over Again (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Guitar - Dann Huff / Keys - Alan Pasqua / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

7. Every Time We Say Goodbye (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Rhythm Guitar - Tim Pierce / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

8. Feelin' Stronger Every Day (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Guitar - Dann Huff / Keys - Alan Pasqua / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

9. After The Way (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Martin Briley / Bass - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Denny Carmassi

10. Johnny Ain't So Cool (Alternate Mix)
Guitars - Don Barnes / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Keys and Guitar Solo - Martin Briley / Drums - Denny Carmassi

11. Through The Eyes Of Love
12. Looking For Juliet
13.  Let's Talk About Love



DON BARNES ‎- Ride The Storm [Deluxe Edition Disc 1 Rock Mix] (2017)

DON BARNES ‎- Ride The Storm [Deluxe Edition Disc 1 Rock Mix] (2017) full

Nearly 30 years ago, what would have been an instant classic was relegated to storage thanks to the old story of record label machinations. We are talking about the classic AOR masterpiece DON BARNES solo album "Ride The Storm".
One of the best “lost” albums of all time, with demos circulating among fans for years, finally see the light of day with a remastered superb sound.

In the late-’80s, the band .38 Special was mainstreaming, getting more synthed-out, and were fairly representative of the AOR sound at the time. Journey, REO Speedwagon, just about any group around this time were shooting for Top 40 pop radio. This was at odds with a shift in rock tastes, be it the harder take Guns ‘N Roses were putting out, the glam-infused side of Poison, or the juggernaut that was Def Leppard’s Hysteria record.

A&M Records, the home of .38 Special, approached lead singer Don Barnes with a promising offer: they would set him up with a solo side project and stock his backing band with a murderer’s row of studio talent. We’re talking about session players like Toto's Porcaro brothers, Dann Huff, Alan Pasqua, and others; people with proven track records and gold on the wall.
The album was recorded around 1988.

The reason you (probably) know nothing about this is because the album was shelved. No direct explanation as to what the problem was has been issued, except to say that this happens more often than you’d expect. A record label spends umpteen thousands of dollars on a recording, but when business alliances change or individuals in upper management switch out or step off, their passion projects get swept into limbo.
Such was the case with Barnes’. A few demonstration mixes were made, but that was it.

The record ultimately found its way into the world — albeit in dribs and drabs — through Internet leaks of those demo mixes.
Cut to 2016. Melodic Rock Records started hinting at his wish list for 2017, and one of those was a long-lost AOR contender. He wouldn’t say what it was, as the “I”s weren’t dotted and the “T”s weren’t crossed yet, but there was real money spent on the effort and up to that point, that money was in some box somewhere, collecting nearly thirty years’ worth of dust.

Finally, in 2017, Don Barnes’ "Ride The Storm" is here.
You'll love this album. It has everything one expects from the '80s, devoid of the angst and vitriol that was about to come. Even when the songs are about bad times, these are good-time songs at the core.
The musicians are guaranteed quantities, so you know what they deliver is as professional as can be, especially Dann Huff and his awesome solos, a Jeff Porcaro / Denny Carmassi great drumming. Add to that load of classic '80s keyboards.
And Barnes’ voice is just solid southern roast beef — not overcooked, not fussy, always on the money and delivering what you hoped for.

Who won’t like this? If you are reading this blog then you need to listen to Don Barnes "Ride The Storm". It's a 'major production' 80s record with bunch of terrific songs and that classic feel-good vibe.
For those who miss the sound of a seasoned pro setting them up and knocking them down with confidence, "Ride The Storm" will certainly put a big grin on your face and an upturned volume knob on your stereo or device.
Mandatory Listen

1. Ride The Storm
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Guitar Solos - Dann Huff / Keys - Martin Briley / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

2. Looking For You
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys and Additional Guitar - Martin Briley / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Pocaro

3. I Fall Back
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Martin Briley / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

4. Don't Look Down
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Jesse Harms / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Denny Carmassi

5. Maybe You'll Believe Me Now
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Alan Pasqua / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Denny Carmassi

6. I'd Do It All Over Again
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Guitar - Dann Huff / Keys - Alan Pasqua / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

7. Every Time We Say Goodbye
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Rhythm Guitar - Tim Pierce / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

8. Feelin' Stronger Every Day
Guitars - Don Barnes / Additional Guitar - Dann Huff / Keys - Alan Pasqua / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Jeff Porcaro

9. After The Way
Guitars - Don Barnes / Keys - Martin Briley / Bass - Mike Porcaro / Drums - Denny Carmassi

10. Johnny Ain't So Cool
Guitars - Don Barnes / Bass Guitar - Mike Porcaro / Keys and Guitar Solo - Martin Briley / Drums - Denny Carmassi



DRIVE - iDefi [Limited Edition 500 copies] (2018)

DRIVE - iDefi [Limited Edition 500 copies] (2018) full

"iDefi", the material that should have made up Houston based rockers DRIVE’s third album, finally hits the streets. Released by 20th Century Music working very closely with the band remaining members, "iDefi" is a tribute to DRIVE’s founder guitarist Rick Chavez who passed away last year, and vocalist David Taylor who died after a fatal car accident in 2009.
The album includes 15 unreleased songs with both Taylor and Chavez taking the lead on vocals.

Drive was a five-piece band formed on the North side of Houston, Texas by gutarist / songwriter Rick Chavez. They released two albums, Characters In Time (1988) and Diablero (1992).
The band initially came together in the early '80s when its original members were barely out of high school. After making a name for themselves in their home state of Texas they move to Los Angeles which was quickly becoming the epicenter of the US rock music scene.

The band took to the world famous Sunset Strip and quickly made a name for themselves and signed on with Rob Gordon and Vince Hans of LA’s Flash Management. After winning a radio contest with their song “I Need The Nights,” Drive landed on the KNAC Radio Best Of The West compilation released by Rampage Records, the hard rock division of Rhino Records.

Impressed with their intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics and signature sound, Rampage Records executive Bob Cahill signed the band, and in July 1988 Drive released their debut LP, Characters In Time.
The album received rave reviews from the industry’s hard rock press, including the coveted 5 “K” rating from Kerrang! Magazine. The album also received airplay from hard rock stations around the country as the band toured across the USA.

At the beginning of the next decade, Zoo Records’ Lou Maglia made the Rampage owners an offer they couldn’t refuse and purchased the band’s contract. In 1992 Drive released the sonically advanced Diablero.
Sadly, a shake-up at the label along with the dawn of the metal-killing “grunge” scene left the album without much of a push, and although Chavez had already written and recorded demo tapes for what was to be the band's third album titled "iDefi", the recording was put on hold and the band members moved back to Texas.

DRIVE - iDefi [Limited Edition 500 copies] (2018) booklet

Now, as a tribute to Rick Chavez and David Earl Taylor these recordings finally see the light of day.
"iDefi" (meaning “I Defy”) are mostly revolving around a hard rock sound from the early '90s, with a certain edge at places close to classic US metal.
The band experimented a bit here, and some of the songs have a slightly provessive approach. Like the previous Drive albums, "iDefi" main strengths are the high, powerful vocals from David Taylor, the flashy guitar work and the driving rhythms.

The first two songs were originally intended for the Diablero album, but they didn’t make it to the final release by Zoo Entertainment. “Inherit The Wind” is a real treat, and captures the spirit of the band very well. From the soaring harmony chorus, to the stellar guitar solo and blistering drums, there are plenty of great moments on this track. “Insanity” is a mid-tempo song with an uplifting chorus and a crafty, noodling solo.

The next two songs, “Otra Vez” (“Once Again”) and “Pandilla” (“Gang”) are sung in Spanish. (The English versions originally appeared on Diablero). “Otra Vez” is more or less a ballad, while “Pandilla” features some acoustic flamenco guitar accents that give way to a blistering electric lead guitar.

“U12B” follows with a compelling vocal, while “U Or Me” is a driving track that would probably have found a place on Diablero. “Under The Spanish Sun” begins with an acoustic interlude before turning into a forceful, emotional track. Taylor’s vocal is spectacular on this standout track.
Title track “IDEFI” follows with a fat riff from Chavez and a shattering wail from Taylor. There’s a reason the album is named after this bluesy rocker. Take a listen to Rick Chavez’s solo on this song.

“Woman” is a rough around the edges demo, and feels like a proper remix would bring this midtempo anthem to another level. “Not Yet” and “Enemy Wind” are huge, successful songs that harken back to the band’s glory days, and with a little polish, could easily have been on the band’s debut album.
The last two tracks are quite different, but demonstrate the range Drive had. “Me And My Carnal”, with its Latin-flavored guitar and percussion, sounds like something Santana might release. “Fool” reminds me of Led Zeppelin in parts. Both songs feature Rick Chavez on lead vocals.

DRIVE - iDefi [Limited Edition 500 copies] (2018) back

The recording quality of the material on "iDefi" varies, there's polished tracks and some raw demos, but it’s so good to have these unreleased songs available after all these years.
Drive never make it big, but this is a cult band and were very good, so longtime fans will definitely need to add this to their collections, and it does make a pretty good introduction for those who missed the band the first time around (especially since their two albums remain out of print).
Kudos to 20th Century Music for getting these tunes out of the vault.

I - Inherit the Wind
II - Insanity
III - Otra Vez
IV - Pandilla
V - U12B
VI - U or Me
VII - Under The Spanish Sun
IX - Woman
X - Not Yet
XI - Enemy Wind
XII - Me and My Carnal
XIII - Fool

David Earl Taylor - lead vocals
Rick Chavez - guitars, lead vocals
Mercy Valdez - guitar
Mike Conde - guitar
Michael Anthony Guerrero - bass
Michael Ribeiro - bass
Valentin San Miguel - drums
Carlos Cervantes - drums



Sunday, May 20, 2018

BRIAN BARNHOUSE - Sign Of Life (2018)

BRIAN BARNHOUSE - Sign Of Life (2018) full

Today we present here in exclusive "Sign Of Life", the just released second album from American musician / songwriter BRIAN BARNHOUSE, a delicious Melodic Rock album with that late '80s sweet feel.

The history of Nebraska born Brian Barnhouse goes back to the early '90s when he was a member of hard rock bands like Rayze and Mother Tung, which played a style considered old-fashioned during the depressive grunge years. Barnhouse recorded a couple of demos, bt the industry wasn't interested in this type of music at the moment.

After a hiatus of almost 15 years he released by himself his first solo album "Clarified" in 2014. Produced by AXE mastermind Bobby Barth it gave Brian a pretty good start.
Four years later Brian is back with his 2nd solo album "Sign Of Life" and the result is simply stunning. Already the production sounds like a million bucks for an indie and the songs are pure Melodic Rock gold with a late 80s / early 90s vibe yet updated sound.

The first song, “One In A Million” is an atmospheric rocker in the spirit of '80s Corey Hart and Jon Bon Jovi. Brian has a touch of old Bon Jovi in his voice, but he is a very unique and distinctive vocalist. The song is embellished with 'that' keyboards and clean, pristine guitars.

'Your Song' would have been released as a single in 1989, it had me at the opening guitar intro. 'Wrapped Up With You' has a Bryan Adams vibe (think 'It’s Only Love'). The production is crisp and melodic and the vocals are clear and powerful.
There is a real difference between this material and about 90 percent of the today’s American rock scene. These appear to be 'complete' ideas.

The album’s title track opens with a busy guitar line followed by some punchy drums and bass. The song goes from sparse to a cacophony. It’s a tapestry of 80’s lyrical ideas, not stolen, but borrowed and then reinvigorated.
“The Letting Go” is a song about lost love and regret. Brian’s voice goes from betrayed and strained to smooth and reassuring. Vocally Barnhouse has excellent range and emotion. He really pours himself into these ideas.

“Best of Me” would be my 2nd single, catchy and sweet. It has this superb opening salvo of melodic guitar followed by a more stripped down approach, followed again by a melodious burst of vocals, guitars and background vocals. A highlight.
“All Is Fair” is another catchy guitar song with a large 80’s footprint. Another potential single. Definitely mainstream melodic rock radio material circa 1987.

“Smooth” is just that, a fine midtempo tune with acoustic guitars that easily could have made it into the charts 30 or so years ago. The song rocks out enough to maybe be called a power ballad.
“When I Found You” starts off poppy but then finds its own groove with interesting chord changes. The bridge in this song is very compelling and is something more than expected.
The album closes down with “Held Up High”, wirh a steady beat and more of the aforementioned melodic goodness. The chorus instantly catches you and doesn’t let you go.

BRIAN BARNHOUSE - Sign Of Life (2018) inside

To conclude, music like this isn’t being made anymore, especially in America. It’s thoughtful, well written. The hooks on this record are big and bold, while production is full and glossy and prompts you to listen loud.
The current melodic rock typically doesn’t use as many notes and chords as Brian does here.

Putting together steady rhythms, proficient guitar work, and wonderful vocal harmonies, the combination becomes quite potent. Brian Barnhouse definitely knows how to sing a tune.
The songs are exciting and the music culls the best ideas from the golden melodic rock era. I am very impressed with this gifted singer, guitarist and songwriter, definitely an artist to keep an eye on.
The album is available at AOR Heaven's store in Europe, go and buy it.
HIGHLY Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - One in a Million
02 - Your Song
03 - Wrapped up with You
04 - Sign of Life
05 - The Letting Go
06 - Best of Me
07 - All Is Fair
08 - Smooth
09 - When I Found You
10 - Held up High



HYBRID ICE - Hybrid Ice [digitally remastered]

HYBRID ICE - Hybrid Ice [digitally remastered] full

Easily among the best American AOR bands of '80s, HYBRID ICE released two stupendous albums during the decade, fortunately now digitally remastered for all of us to enjoy.
Also like AOR masters DAKOTA, this five-piece HYBRID ICE hails from Pennsylvania. And precisely Dakota's masterminds Jerry Hludzik & Bill Kelly helped HYBRID ICE to get a recording deal, with their self-titled debut LP appearing in 1982.

Simply put, HYBRID ICE's music represents what first half of the '80s Pomp AOR was supposed to be; flurry keyboard lines, layers of harmony vocals and delicious melodies.
Think the pompous earworm of the likes of Balance, Le Roux, Touch, Styx and of course, Boston. Just to give you an idea, track 4 'Magdalene' was later covered by Boston on their 1994 album Walk On.

Songwriting and performances on "HYBRID ICE" are second to none.
The killer riff and synths of 'Heart Of The Night', the atmospheres of 'Looking Glass', the pumping 'On We Go', and of course the AOR heaven of 'Think It Over', all are brute diamonds for true fans from the first hour.
But all songs are terrific, and this reissue includes two tracks previously not present in the original LP.
For me, A Must Have, essential in your classic AOR CD flock.

01 - Looking Glass
02 - On We Go
03 - Think It Over
04 - Magdelene
05 - Wounded
06 - Rock 'N Roll Forever
07 - Castle Walls
08 - Heart Of The Night
09 - Please Tell MaryAnn
10 - Do You Believe In Rock 'N Roll
11 - Test Of Time

Chris Alburger - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Galen Foulke - lead guitar, vocals
Bob Richardson - keyboards, vocals
Jeff Willoughby - bass, vocals
Rick Klinger - drums, vocals



ZHENX - Zhenx (retail CD)

ZHENX - Zhenx (retail CD) full

Seems great singer David A. Saylor (WILD ROSE, PUSH UK) left many material recorded before passing away, as he put the lead vocals on ZHENX's self-titled debut. ZHENX is the new band of ex-BARON ROJO bassist Gorka Alegre, and the record features guests performances of Herman Rarebell (ex-SCORPIONS), Bill Leverty of FIREHOUSE, and David Reece (TANGO DOWN, BONFIRE, et all).

The overall sound on "Zhenx" is classic, edgy melodic hard rock with '80s / '90s influences, bringing to mind Swiss rockers CHINA, DANGER DANGER, KING KOBRA, etc.
'Action' opens with a nice mix of keys and sharp guitars, where Saylor's voice feels so much at home but moves in a different direction to his solo albums and other projects he was involved with in the past. This is edgy Melodic Hard Rock, and a really good one.

'Break Away' starts with an AC/DC type of a riff with those classic guitars and a purely rock & roll structure, but then in the chorus it turns catchy melodic hard rock with a MAMA'S BOYS feel.

ZHENX - Zhenx (retail CD) disc

Then it comes one of my favorites, 'Evergrey' and just hearing the '80s synths at the beginning you know where it goes; punchy AOR with a hard rocking background and that 'action movie soundtrack' choruses. Love it!
Next, David Reece takes the mic for 'Dog Destiny' in a duet with Saylor, and Torben Enevoldsen (FATE) at the guitars. As you would suspect, this is a much more hard rock affair, plenty of groove and with an American feel. Great vocal duel between these superb vocalists.

'Distant Memories' features Bill Leverty on guitar and Herman Rarebell on drums. The song starts with an atmospheric passage, before developing into a classic midtempo rocker full of magic. Great tune with some SCORPIONS on it.

ZHENX - Zhenx (retail CD) back

More strong numbers arrive with 'Jumping off the Skyline', a racing melodic hard rocker with cool harmony vocals all over, 'Injection' is a midtempo rocker with lovely organ / keys and certain DEEP PURPLE touches, 'On My Way' rocks fast again with an American touch, and 'Turn Down the Light' is quite anthemic.

A fine slice of classic melodies, "Zhenx" rocks with style using all the elements of classic Melodic Hard Rock, AOR touches and Hard Rock groove. There's solid songwriting, skilled musicians, really good vocals and a proper production.
Do you need more? This is really good stuff.
Highly Recommended

01 - Action
02 - Break Away
03 - Evergrey
04 - Dog Destiny
05 - Distant Memories
06 - Jumping off the Skyline
07 - Injection
08 - On My Way
09 - Turn Down the Light

David A. Saylor (vocals)
Tilo Grimalt (guitar)
Rafa Barreda (guitar)
Gorka Alegre (bass, drums)
Giovanni Tradardi (keyboards)
Herman Rarebell (drums)
Bill Leverty (guitar)
David Reece (vocals)
Torben Enevoldsen (guitar)
Carlos Creator (guitar)
Kelly Pascual (drums)
Erick Alegre (drums)



Saturday, May 19, 2018

VAN ZANT - Van Zant (digitally remastered digisleeve)

VAN ZANT - Van Zant (digitally remastered digisleeve) full

Requested some time ago and not easy to find, today we bring to you one of the greatest AOR albums of all time; VAN ZANT self-titled album in its remastered release. Originally appeared in 1985, "Van Zant" packs everything you love about the Eighties.

With its Southern Rock roots but with a commercial melodic approach, The Johnny Van Zant Band recorded three really good albums in the first half of the '80s.
Similar in style to 38 Special with its radio oriented direction, in the mid-Eighties Johnny wanted a more accessible sound, and recorded this album simply released as "Van Zant".

With "Van Zant", Johnny and the guys move into the pure ranks of AOR, plenty of melodic catchiness and a pristine, crisp production.
For this matter, Johnny Van Zant looked for outside songwriters specialized in radio-friendly penned songs.

VAN ZANT - Van Zant (digitally remastered digisleeve) inside

We have the terrific, awesome '2+2', a song from melodic rockers RPM but in the hands of Van Zant transformed into true AOR heaven, the superb 'I'm A Fighter' written by Jimi Jamison during his pre Survivor / Cobra years (but never recorded!) and the sweet 'A Fool Never Learns', which is an Eddie Schwartz song also covered by Helix.

'Heart To The Flame' is another killer tune, later recorded by Jeff Paris in his 'Wired Up' album, while 'You've Got To Believe In Love' is a midtempo AOR wonder co-penned by West Coast AOR genius Bill LaBounty.
But Johnny also delivers some self-written tracks, such as the wonderful, melodic gem of opener 'Midnight Sensation', a bluesy melodic rocker with great guitar riffs, superb keyboard lines, smooth verses and a monster catchy chorus.

VAN ZANT - Van Zant (digitally remastered digisleeve) back

"Van Zant" is a glorious 10-track gem, a hit after hit, all killer no filler AOR album of the highest order, easily among my Top 50 AOR best of all time.
This is a re-release in a digisleeve package (something similar to a LP sleeve reproduction) available again at AOR Heaven Records store. It features a '90s remaster, that kind of sound quite similar to vinyl with excellent dynamic range.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Midnight Sensation
02 - She's Out With a Gun
03 - I'm a Fighter
04 - You've Got to Believe In Love
05 - Two Strangers
06 - 2+2
07 - Heart to the Flame
08 - Does a Fool Ever Learn
09 - Right On Time
10 - Lonely Girls

Johnny Van Zant - lead and backing vocals
Robbie Gay - guitar, backing vocals
Erik Lundgren - guitar, backing vocals
Robbie Morris - drums
Danny Clausman - bass
additional musicians:
Rich Head - synclavier
Brian Heatherington - keyboards, synthesizers
Steve McCray - keyboards, synthesizers
Terry Brock - bacing vocals



FORTUNE - Fortune [AOR Heaven Classix remaster]

FORTUNE - ST Remastered [AOR Heaven Classix remaster] full

AOR? What is that? An old-fashioned Rock style from the '80s, right? If some of your friends has this kind of doubt, just put in your CD player the freshly Remastered AOR Heaven Classix reissue of FORTUNE, and show him what is great, feel-good music.
Without a doubt, Americans Fortune one and only album from 1985, comfortably sits among the Top 10 Best Pompy AOR albums of all time.

This is PURE AOR folks.
With a sound based on intricate keyboard work, sharp guitars and layered vocal harmonies, all the songs are, simply put, to die for.
In the best vein of Giuffria, White Sister, New England, or early House Of Lords, the BIG, glossy production delivered by Kevin Beamish add nothing but brilliance to these superb, catchy songs.
I can't mention a highlight, all are.
But if you ask me "Thrill Of It All", "Smoke From A Gun" and "Dearborn Station", are true MASTERPIECES from the genre.

FORTUNE - ST Remastered [AOR Heaven Classix remaster] booklet

The feast continues with "Lonely Hunter", "Deep In The Heart Of The Night", the excellent ballad "Stacy" and so on.
Filler? Ha, Ha, not in this case my friends. All "Fortune" is indeed, a 'million dollar fortune' packed into a single disc.

On its original 1985 release, "Fortune" was poorly promoted and the group disbanded soon. Of course top singer Larry Greene and keyboardist Roger Scott Craig went on to form Harlan Cage (another awesome AOR band), Bobby Birch played bass with excellent melodic rockers Warpipes, and the Fortune brothers continued involved in the music industry in one way or another.

FORTUNE - ST Remastered [AOR Heaven Classix remaster] back cover

"Fortune" was released on CD for the first time in 2004, but I did not liked the digital transfer done.
This AOR Heaven Classix remaster finally does justice to this true GEM. The sound is awesome. Do yourself a favour and track down this limited edition reissue CD before it disappears off into the sunset.
A Pomp AOR Masterpiece.

01 - Thrill of it all
02 - Smoke from a gun
03 - Stacy
04 - Bad blood
05 - Dearborn station
06 - Lonely hunter
07 - Deep in the heart
08 - Stormy love
09 - Out on the streets
10 - 98 in the shade
11 - Home free (bonus track)

L.A. (Larry) Greene - lead & backing vocals
Richard Fortune - guitars, backing vocals
Roger Scott Craig - keyboards, backing vocals
Bobby Birch - bass, backing vocals
Mick Fortune - drums



VOICES OF EXTREME - Mach III Complete (2018)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

"Mach III Complete" is the just released new album from New York based VOICES OF EXTREME, their third CD but the first for British label Z Records.
The band have been around for more than fifteen years now delivering their varied blend of '80s inspired traditional hard rock, and I can see why they have been chosen as tour support act for many well known names such as Tesla, Dee Snider, Geoff Tate and more.

Voices Of Extreme is the creation of singer songwriter Don Chaffin, a talented musician who has worked with many established acts, among them Ram Jam, the band made famous by the hit song 'Black Betty'.
It’s a shame that Voices Of Extreme is relatively unknown, even with John Macaluso (TNT), Dan Spitz (Anthrax) and Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) attaching their names to the band at different points in time.
But this is about to change now judging the quality on offer in "Mach III Complete".

Now reduced to power trio - now including drummer Bobby Marks from the really good rockers Arabia - Voices Of Extreme is all about classic hard rock with bluesy overtones and an overall Seventies / Eighties feel.
Chaffin's striking and diverse vocals are the highlight of this band, along with excellent guitar work plus of course Marks' colorful drum patterns, makes for enticing listening.

Despite of opening with modern 'Martyr', which confirms Voices Of Extreme's welcomed diversity, the rest of the album continues with classic sounding rockers, like second track 'Lay Me Down', a hot bluesy number with intricate guitar work and some kind of Y&T feeling.
'Call My Name' adds a catchy funky shuffle in The Winery Dogs vein, while 'Foolish Beat' is a fun rocker channeling Dave King's fronted Fastway era.

'Landslide' is heavier with a bit of Lynch Mob on it, a highlight, then 'Lovers and Losers' brings to mind the 'Americanized' The Cult years.
You get what "Mach III Complete" is all about right? Classic stuff with tight musicinashipand timelss riffs.

VOICES OF EXTREME - Mach III Complete (2018) back

The rest are quality numbers, varied as well, being 'Apocalypse' the more melodic hard rock oriented from the bunch with Mr. Big touches as well as the acoustically performed 'More Than Anything'.
I find midtempo 'Unbroken' akin British rockers Thunder, and this 'Mach III Complete' version of the album includes the band's cover of Ram Jam's classic 'Black Betty' done hot n' rockin'.

Consistency is one of the key ingredients that makes "Mach III Complete" so good.
Voices Of Extreme have done a wonderful job with their third album, as it's an intriguing mixture of rocking / ballsy new and classic older styles. If you put this CD on and the beat doesn't make you move then a hearing test may be in order.
This is an extremely impressive recording, varied, very well produced and with stupendous musicianship.
Don't miss these guys.
Highly Recommended

01. Martyr
02. Lay Me Down
03. Call My Name
04. Foolish Beat
05. Girl Gone Crazy
06. Landslide
07. Lovers and Losers
08. Apocalypse
09. Unbroken
10. Black Betty 2018
11. More Than Anything
12. Give Me Your Love

Don Chaffin - Lead Vocals / Guitar
Bobby Marks - Drums / Percussion
Charlie Torres - Bass



Friday, May 18, 2018

FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - From One Place To Another Vol.2 (2018)

FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - From One Place To Another Vol.2 (2018) full

Tesla’s guitarist FRANK HANNON will release the second installment of his solo cover series, "From One Place To Another Vol. 2" on Friday, May 18. As with Vol. 1, the album features a number of special guests, this time including Roger Fisher of Heart, Graham Whitford (son of Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford), Duane Betts (son of Allman Brother’s Dickey), Randy Hansen and Jared James Nichols.

While Volume 1 was more roots and acoustic focused, "From One Place To Another Vol. 2" is all electric with full backing band, recorded in various locations with a portable recorder and eventually assembled back in Hannon’s home studio.

Indeed, from the start, things are pretty hard rocking here with Deep Purple's classic 'Hush' done in a catchy funky version bringing to mind Richie Kotzen recent solo works.
Seems singing is becoming a lot of fun for Hannon, and he left the smoking guitar duties to some very special guests, here in Randy Hansen, best known for his "Rock Tribute Act" honoring Jimi Hendrix.

For the Aerosmith cover of 'Lord Of The Thighs' there's Graham Whitford (son of Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford) which Hannon met while on tour and asked him if he’d be interested in recording guitars on his Dad’s song and he graciously obliged.
We find a nice bluesy take on Rolling Stones 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' (featuring Duane Betts), a soulful 'Tell Me Somethin' Good' (Chaka Khan), and things go acoustic for Johnny Nash's 'I Can See Clearly Now'.

FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - From One Place To Another Vol.2 (2018) inside

The biggest surprise of the album is Frank’s take on Seal’s 'Kiss From A Rose', where Hannon demostrates how much has progressed as vocalist. Haunting cover.
Back to rock n' roll 'Sing Child' featuring Roger Fisher of Heart is really hot, same with Jimi Hendrix's immortal 'Spanish Castle Magic', again featuring Randy Hansen.

For the end, we have a groovy cover of Black Sabbath's 'Sweet Leaf', where Hannon duets on a guitar duel with talented Jared James Nichols.
"From One Place To Another Vol. 2" is another really fun and enjoyable album from Hannon's cover series, and I like it even better than the previous because it's almost full on electrics.
Timeless classic rock.

1 - Hush (featuring Randy Hansen)
2 - Lord of the Thighs (featuring Graham Whitford)
3 - You Can’t Always Get What You Want (featuring Duane Betts)
4 - Tell Me Somethin’ Good
5 - Kiss From A Rose
6 - Sing Child Sing (featuring Roger Fisher)
7 - I Can See Clearly Now
8 - Spanish Castle Magic (featuring Randy Hansen)
9 - I Can Help
10 - Sweet Leaf (featuring Jared James Nichols)

Frank Hannon - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming, banjo, percussion
Roger Fisher
Graham Whitford
Duane Betts
Randy Hansen
Jared James Nichols



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