Saturday, February 24, 2018

LeBROCK - Real Thing (2018)

LeBROCK - Real Thing (2018) full

The British synthwave / AOR band LeBROCK gave us the awesome EP 'Action and Romance' sometime ago, now the wonder duo dropped their second release "Real Thing", presented at 0dayrox in exclusive.
If pure '80s stuff is your thing, you must hear this...

LeBrock isn't created by a synth / keyboard fan like most the projects from the synthwave scene. This is a real band put together by two musicians with academic formation; guitarist and keyboard player Michael Meadows and skilled vocalist Shaun Phillips.
LeBrock's music of course, is inspired by all the '80s culture from movies to sci-fi to mainstream music.
Their blend of synthwave includes electric guitars, real bass, and vocals performed & arranged in a true Melodic Rock / AOR fashion. Seriously, just check Shaun's performance all over the record... this guy easily could be the next Vega lead vocalist!

This fresh set of songs shows a more mature LeBrock. While the synths are still the core of the sound, now as whole the music feels more organic, like a 'full band'.
Additionally, there's no instrumentals, all are sung by Shaun and have a 'song format.
Opener, title track 'Real Thing' is a midtempo punchy melodic rocker with a sound that if you don't know this a 'synthwave band', you would guess the song is taken from a lost '80s album. There's a great melodious guitar solo, and call me nuts, but I find in this song a certain STRANGEWAYS feel.

'Please Don't Cry' is a fantastic AOR tune bringing to mind Canadian bands from the genre circa 1987, and also 'action movie' sountrack. This amazing tune wouldn't be out of place in the Top Gun OST. Meadows' instrumentation and arrangements are superb, and Shaun shines at the microphone.

With a title 'Runaway' you can only expect a pure '80s AOR song, and LeBrock delivers. Lots of keyboards and jumpin' vocals, plus a fantastic guitar solo. Love It!!!.
'Only The Brave' is some kind of a poppy melodic rock song with elegant atmospheres (DOMINOE would be proud of it), and for the end the guys offer the more 'synthwave' track of all, 'Juice', which, however, explodes in the chorus with a pulsating vocal work. In the middle section there's a climatic passage, and then we have a monster guitar solo (kills, reminiscent of Steve Vai) performed by guest Ultraboss.

Speaking about Ultraboss, the guitarist has collaborated with many artists from this musical scene, and joined LeBrock and Tokyo Rose (another synthwave artist) for the song 'All Night', included here by us as bonus track.
Think the movie 'The Lost Boys (1987)' soundtrack and its main theme 'Cry Little Sister' (performed by Gerard McMann)... pure 80s mysterious atmosphere and a great guitar work by Ultraboss. Fan-damn-tastic.

LeBROCK - Real Thing (2018) inside

But wait... there's more. We have added as bonus as well the prervious EP 'Action and Romance' Remixed, done only for LeBrock's fan club. The same great songs, slightly different in sound, but equally awesome.

What can I say about LeBrock... I'm sold.
This is one of the most exciting acts I've discovered in the last 10 years or so... the blend like-no other 80s culture / sound with a timeless AOR / Melodic rock approach.
Simply these guys can't write a bad song, all are pure gold.

Only at 0dayrox

01 - Real Thing
02 - Please Don't Cry
03 - Runaway
04 - Only the Brave
05 - Juice (feat. Ultraboss)
06 - All Night (with Ultraboss & Tokyo Rose)
07 - Galactic Smasher (Remix)
08 - Dangerous Dreams (Remix)
09 - One Night (Remix)
10 - Call Me (Remix)
11 - Takedown (Remix)

Vocals - Shaun Phillips
Guitars, Synths & Programming - Michael Meadows
Guitar Solo on 5, 6, performed by Ultraboss



TARA'S SECRET - Tomorrow The World [remastered 2018]

TARA'S SECRET - Tomorrow The World [remastered 2018] full

UK band TARA'S SECRET existed from 2003-2010, releasing in between two delicious Melodic Rock / AOR albums impossible to find nowadays (I've seen a copy at eBay for over $200). So now they decided to remaster 2018 both CD and make it available again for all fans of the genre.
"Tomorrow The World" is their debut album, a collection of classic, '80s inspired songs mixing Melodic Rock & AOR.

Formed from Burton on Trent band Fuse, Tara's Secret played their first gig supporting a Blondie tribute band at Robin 2, Bilston in 2003. After some line up changes, they recorded a demo titled 'Spectrum Wheel' at a Hednesford studio which opened some doors for them, and the band sat back down and churned out another album, "Tomorrow The World", recorded at Magnum's Mad Hat studios.
Reviews rolled in from all over the world, 3 label offers and great support from both ARFM and Fireworks magazine.
Gigs all over, support slots with ACT, Jadis, Y&T, Dante Fox, etc, and a most memorable performance at the UK Journey fan club event in Yorkshire.

The album starts off with “Drive Me Home”. It begins with Van Halenesque Jump-like keyboards and lyrics including lines like ‘rock you like a hurricane’, ‘don’t stop believin’, ‘livin’ on a prayer’ and ‘rock on the radio’ – you get a clue where this British band might get their influences from.
I like this song partly because of the impressively clever lyrics using some of our favorite song titles, although of course it still has to be a good song musically, and it is. It has a bit of a British AOR sound circa 1987 as well, and I like it.

On this 2018 remastered reissue the original second track titled I Believe was discarded, and the number which follows is "Summer Days". I guess its title says all, isn't it? Melodic Rock with sweet vocals & guitars.
Then “King Of Meville” put the pedal to the metal with a hard rocking tempo. However the synths are all over and the harmony vocals are really well done. Johnny Trowbridge sings with much more muscle here, akin 80s MEATLOAF.

We shift gears again with "The Storm Inside", an elegant AOR tune with dynamic midtempo verses which at places brings to mind BON JOVI first album. "Love Shy" has that kind of 'action movie' atmosphere and again an AORish touch recalling AFTER HOURS.

"Train of Love" is a straight melodic rocker with a strong chorus, “In Movies” is catchy with slightly LOVERBOY-like harmonies, while "Shepherd's Warning" is a fine semi-ballad comparable to BRONZ.
I find a FOREIGNER influence in "Fantasy Girl", then closer “The Light” is a great ballad arranged around very good harmony vocals (most members contribute), synths and melodic guitars.

On their first album "Tomorrow The World" Tara’s Secret put together their influences, mostly from the '80s, and the acts mentioned above are a good reference for the music packed here.
Self-produced / released, "Tomorrow The World" never was the best sound record in the world, and this fresh 2018 remaster has noticeably increased the sound quality.
It's classy Melodic Rock / AOR, it's really good stuff.
HIGHLY Recommneded

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Drive Me Home
02 - Summer Days
03 - King of Meville
04 - The Storm Inside
05 - Love Shy
06 - Train of Love
07 - In Movies
08 - Shepherd's Warning
09 - Song For Ellen
10 - Fantasy Girl
11 - The Light

Johnny Trowbridge - lead vocals
Richard Beardsley - guitars, vocals
Craig Chapman - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Steve Boltwood - bass
Glyn Styne - drums, vocals



TARA'S SECRET - Vertigo [remastered 2018]

TARA'S SECRET - Vertigo [remastered 2018] full

UK band TARA'S SECRET existed from 2003-2010, releasing in between two delicious Melodic Rock / AOR albums impossible to find nowadays (I've seen a copy at eBay for over $200). So now they decided to remaster 2018 both CD and make it available again for all fans of the genre.
"Vertigo" was their second and final album, still '80s inspired yet more Melodic Rock / guitar driven oriented.

After three years touring and composing new material, TARA'S SECRET second album "Vertigo" showcased a more mature band. Everything about the group improved, from lyrics to the singing to the playing.
Stylistically, this time around we get a guitar driven Melodic Hard Rock album with massive Classic Rock tendencies. On the first album the band proved to be able to deliver big choruses and hook’s galore and they deliver abundantly again.

"Vertigo" is definitely rocking, but without sacrificing killer melodies and still managing to retain their AOR tendencies to create songs with power and catchiness. This time they use keyboards and harmonies in a more subtle way than in the past, and it works tremendously well, without distracting from the biting sound of the music.
The album opens with the R n' R fable 'Rock N Roll Beauty Queen', a fun and punchy number ready for the arenas, followed by 'She's My Baby', a rocker with american influences in the vein of BLACK N' BLUE.

"Natural High (Rain of Love)" is one of my favorites, very BON JOVI circa 7800 Fahrenheit blending stabbing guitars, synths, soaring vocals with 'that kind' of sound production.
Sue Willets of DANTE FOX duets with singer John Trowbridge on the heartfelt ballad “Last To Know”. It’s a real coup for the band to get someone as talented as Sue to guest on their album. It takes what would have been a decent ballad and turns into a far more powerful and instant song with some ROBIN BECK feeling.

'Promises' gets back to rock - and pretty hard - capturing a sound that is reminiscent of LOUD N' CLEAR or the first AUTOGRAPH. The title track 'Vertigo' reminds me of the HUGHES / THRALL album, yet more updated in sound. Great tune.
Piano and vocal are the basic elements on 'One More Chance' (where Trowbridge sounds alot like JON BON JOVI). But Tara's Secret rocks in this album, and 'My Reward' kills with a big riff and choruses reminiscent of the first STRYPER.

More stadium ready rock comes with 'Shake What Your Mama Gave Ya' featuring Adrian Marx (Plain Jane) in a duet, turning the song pretty anthemic similar to QUIET RIOT / HELIX.
'Homeland' brings some balance with clean guitars and a true melodic rock pace. It's Johnny’s tribute to his homeland of Australia. It's obviously a song with personal meaning for the vocalist and his performance on this song is one of his strongest. Think JON BON JOVI solo, and even THE OUTFIELD.

TARA'S SECRET - Vertigo [remastered 2018] back

For the end, the guys deliver a couple of scorchers listed as bonus tracks. 'GTBR' (Got To Be Right) announces itself with some rough n' ready guitar work, yet the vocals are quite melodic. A song with a DANNY VAUGHN feel.
The other is another favorite of mine, the racing melodic hard rocker 'Wildest Dreams', a song built to be performed live and where a shade of Y&T appears. Rocks!

Tara's Secret second effort is easily among the best indie Melodic Hard Rock albums released in UK during 2009. It has everything to rock your with killer groove laden riffs and infectiously catchy melodies and choruses.
It's unmistakably an '80s era album, and musically you can see that Tara's Secret are wide and varied in terms of their song choices and reference points.
Here the production was much, much better than the debut, and this 2018 remastering bring the songs bright and punchy.
HIGHLY Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Rock 'n' Roll Beauty Queen
02 - She's My Baby
03 - Natural High (Rain of Love)
04 - The Last to Know (feat. Sue Willetts)
05 - Promises
06 - Vertigo
07 - One More Chance
08 - My Reward
09 - Shake What Your Mamma Gave Ya! (feat. Adrian Marx)
10 - Homeland
11 - GTBR (bonus track)
12 - Wildest Dreams (bonus track)

John Trowbridge - lead vocals
Richard Beardsley - guitars, vocals
Craig Chapman - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Dave Deaville - bass, vocals
John Thomas - drums, vocals
Sue Willetts (Dante Fox) - guest vocals
Adrian Marx (Plain Jane) - guest vocals



BON JOVI - This House Is Not For Sale (When We Were Us) [re-release +2] (2018)

BON JOVI - This House Is Not For Sale (When We Were Us) [re-release +2] (2018) full

BON JOVI have announced the spring leg of their This House Is Not For Sale Tour. The run will kick off next March all over the United States. The band will also celebrate their return to the road with the re-release of This House Is Not For Sale as a new version re-titled "This House Is Not For Sale (When We Were Us)", containing two brand new songs, “When We Were US” and “Walls”.

Usually a band waits 20 years to put out a reissue / repackaging of an album. Bon Jovi is way ahead of that curve as they already released an expanded edition of 'This House Is Not For Sale' in 2016.
Even more this 2018 with the re-release "This House Is Not For Sale (When We Were Us)", featuring 2 brand new tracks.

“This House Is Not For Sale” album. This is in conjunction with resuming their wildly successful “This House Is Not For Sale Tour”, which begins on March 14th in Denver.
“When We Were US” and “Walls” follow the same style of the album, for my tastes being “Walls” the best of pair, with an anthemic punch similar to their past hit 'It's My Life'.

01 - When We Were Us (New Track 2018)
02 - Walls (New Track 2018)
03 - This House Is Not For Sale
04 - Living With The Ghost
05 - Knockout
06 - Labor Of Love
07 - Born Again Tomorrow
08 - Roller Coaster
09 - New Year's Day
10 - The Devil's In The Temple
11 - Scars On This Guitar
12 - God Bless This Mess
13 - Reunion
14 - Come On Up To Our House

Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar
David Bryan – keyboards, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Hugh McDonald – bass, backing vocals
Phil X – lead guitar, talkbox, backing vocals



Friday, February 23, 2018

IGNORE THE SIGN - A Line To Cross (2018)

IGNORE THE SIGN - A Line To Cross (2018) full

Released today, "A Line To Cross" is the debut album from IGNORE THE SIGN, a new Hannover, Germany-based band surrounding vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ossy Pfeiffer, including guitarist / vocalist Anca Graterol (ROSY VISTA), bassist Lars Lehmann (UFO, ULI JON ROTH), drummer Kristof Hinz (ELOY) and great British guitarist Steve Mann (LIONHEART).
When you got together such talented musicians you can only expect good things, and “A Line To Cross” it is: quality, consistent classic Melodic Hard Rock.

Opening with the grand statement ‘Saviours Of Rock’, IGNORE THE SIGN set out their musical stall, namely big riffs and darn catchy melodies, reminiscent of DEF LEPPARD (their not mega-produced song / era).
Since this first track you'll notice a very good, polished production with attention to detail, layers of harmony vocals - Anca Graterol sing leads alongside Pfeiffer creating a warm effect - and Mann delivers his trademark melodic solos to complete a solid track.

Title track, 'A Line To Cross' follows, and it's a more classic rock oriented tune, a showcase for Pfeiffer tenor vocals. There's acoustics into the mix, but also a varied range of unusual percussion creating great atmosphere.
DEF LEPPARD again come to mind on the opening guitar on ‘No Way Home’, another enjoyable piece of melodic hard rock. This is easily one of my favorite tracks, extremely catchy.

‘Brother’ is another really, really well crafted song with delicious keyboards and a midtempo AOR feel of all times, not unlike the last BOULEVARD. Another fav of mine.
Then the band shows another side, and a welcomed one; 'The Story Isn’t Over' taps into a 70s hard rock sound driven along by some tasty Hammond playing, which nods towards the sound of URIAH HEEP. Graterol performs lead vocals here, and fit perfectly.

Another clear influence on the album, and again by the hand of classic rock, can be heard in the punchy 'Days Of Thunder' and the elegant ballad 'When Words Ain’t Enough'. I am talking about WHITESNAKE. The former akin 'Saint & Sinners' era, the latter the 'Good To Be Bad' record. Steve Mann kills with a very classy guitar work.

There's more quality on this no-filler record; 'God with a Million Faces' rocks with an arena / stadium feel (valvular guitars all over and a monster bass), 'Sweet Lady' adds a bit of blues, 'Behind the Wall' is an stupendous midtempo which somehow reminds me of HOUSE OF LORDS (great raspy vocals by Pfeiffer), while 'Silver Wind' own a big groove and some GLENN HUGHES.

Graterol fair rips of the studio linings with her passionate singing on ‘Can’t Find The Door’. Again the Hammond and guitars move this song along nicely.
As proper closer, we find another really fine number in the pumping melodic rocker 'Looking in the Sun', plenty of smooth vocals, synths, melodic guitars and a feel-good vibe.

IGNORE THE SIGN - A Line To Cross (2018) inside

With the triumphant return of LIONHEART last year, also including Steve Mann now we find this IGNORE THE SIGN, and let me tell you, his guitar work here is equally impressive.
But overall this is Ossy Pfeiffer's baby, and damn, what a great album he has crafted in "A Line To Cross".
As said, all songs are good, very good, performances from all involved are more than solid, and production is, honestly, awesome.
A mean, I am a bit tired of the same 'production mold' from some artists / labels (you get it, right?), and "A Line To Cross" is a refreshing recording. Everything breath, the mix comes natural, warm, not saturated.

Youl'll be surprised by IGNORE THE SIGN's "A Line To Cross" quality, at all departments. There's timeless music here, melodic hard rock, classic rock, hard, even some AOR.
Do yourself a favor and don't miss this really good, surprising release from Steamhammer / SPV.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. Saviors Of Rock
02. A Line To Cross
03. No Way Home
04. Brother
05. The Story Isn't Over
06. When Words Ain't Enough
07. God with a Million Faces
08. Sweet Lady
09. Days Of Thunder
10. Behind The Wall
11. Can't Find The Door
12. Silver Wind
13. Looking In The Sun

Ossy Pfeiffer (vocals, keyboards)
Anca Graterol (guitar, vocals)
Steve Mann (guitar)
Lars Lehmann (bass)
Kristof Hinz (drums)
Momme Boe (percussion)



ALICE COOPER - The Sound Of A [EP] (2018)

ALICE COOPER - The Sound Of A [EP] (2018) full

Master of shock-rock ALICE COOPER is releasing a new EP today: "The Sound Of A”. The song is part of his latest studio album, and it's accompanied extra tracks of spacial interest for Alice fans.

This is in fact some kind of a 'maxi-single', presenting a main title the song “The Sound Of A”.
This song has a special significance for th singer; it's the first song Alice Cooper wrote entirely by himself. The song was forgotten for decades, until Dennis Dunaway, bass player in the original Alice Cooper Band, reminded it and played it to Alice.
“The Sound Of A” was finally recorded and is one of the most 'hynotic' tracks in Cooper's last album 'Paranormal'.

This EP is of special interest because includes as well four previously unreleased recordings from the Paranormal tour: the rest of the Columbus, OH, live show: Alice classics 'The Black Widow', 'Public Animal #9', 'Is It My Body' and 'Cold Ethyl'.
These live tracks complete the show from which other tracks were previously released as bonus in 'Paranormal [Limited Box Set] featured HERE

ALICE COOPER - The Sound Of A [EP] (2018) back

The good ole ALICE COOPER is still alive & kickin', preparing more music and an upcoming tour.

01 - The Sound Of A [single]
02 - The Black Widow (Live In Columbus)
03 - Public Animal #9 (Live In Columbus)
04 - Is It My Body (Live In Columbus)
05 - Cold Ethyl (Live In Columbus)



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA - Age Of Discovery (2018)

Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA - Age Of Discovery (2018) full

To be released tomorrow via AOR Heaven Records, JOHAN KIHLBERG’S IMPERA "Age Of Discovery", the follow-up to the three IMPERA albums, is a really good selection of classic melodic hard rock tunes with a great variety of vocalists and top notch session musicians.
In fact, this is a 'new' IMPERA. Founding drummer Johan Kihlberg decided it was time to spread his wings, and the Swede came up with the idea to record his first solo effort still utilizing the moniker behind his name.
And Johan Kihlberg's Impera is definitely much, much more Melodic Hard Rock oriented.

You get Michael Sadler (SAGA), Nigel Bailey (THREE LIONS, BAILEY, LIFELINE), Göran Edman (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), Nils Patrik Johansson (ASTRAL DOORS, LION’S SHARE), Mick Devine (SEVEN), sharing the lead vocal duties.
And there's Lars Chriss (LION’S SHARE) rippin' all the guitars and producing, plus Mats Vassfjord (220 VOLT) on bass, virtuoso Mattias IA Eklundh (FREAK KITCHEN) dropping a killer solo, and Kay Backlund (LION’S SHARE) & Anders Rybank (COASTLAND RIDE) on keyboards.

The album opens with a 34-second intro titled “Prelude”, then begin properly with “That’s the Way That Life Goes” with Nils Patrik Johansson at the mic. This is a mid-paced rocker of a track with well worked instrumentation where the vocals really fit in. A punchy stater and a pretty killer melody.
Next, “Fear” showcases a more keyboard oriented flavor and finds Mick Devine and Johansson both delivering the voices. A melodic midtempo song until the bite of the chorus. The pace really switches up in the middle, assisting in creating the epic feel.

Unknown to me but a great surprise, Michael J. Scott lends his voice to “Falling” with it’s lighter guitar verses and identifiable chorus. Pounding off the starting line, “The End of the Road” features Mick Devine taking over mic duties once again. An upbeat thumper with some wicked guitar work throughout.

Taking his turn, we find the mighty Goran Edman showcased on “Just a Conversation” which has me thinking '80s AOR with its keyboard beginnings and its superb '80s atmosphere.
We find “The Right Stuff” with Nigel Bailey on vocals for a more uptempo rocker, and again it's clear that Kihlberg / Criss made clever choices in picking the right voices for their songs.

Johan Kihlberg's IMPERA - Age Of Discovery (2018) back

One of Kihlberg‘s all-time favorite singers, Saga‘s Michael Sadler appears on “Why Does She Care”, with a classic SAGA arrangement with a melodic rock keen.
Mick Devine turns in his third performance on “I Am I” which also features Freak Kitchen‘s Mattias Eklundh supplying an engaging guitar solo. We close out the adventure with “It’s a Revolution” witnessing Nigel Bailey‘s return.

Johan Kihlberg's Impera "Age of Discovery" is an elaborated Melodic Hard Rock piece of work, cleverly arranged and produced. Sometimes a project using so many different vocalists can seem disjointed and hard to identify with. Not here, as everything flows perfectly. Tons of masterful guitar work supplied by Lars Chriss is stamped all over the record as well.
I can see why AOR Heaven signed Johan Kihlberg's Impera: "Age Of Discovery" is an awesome Melodic Hard Rock album, which gets better and better with each listen.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. Prelude
02. That's the Way That Life Goes
03. Fear
04. Falling
05. The End of the Road
06. Just a Conversation
07. The Right Stuff
08. Why Does She Care
09. I Am I
10. It's a Revolution

Johan Kihlberg - Drums, Keyboards
Lars Chriss (Lion’s Share) - Guitars
Mats Vassfjord (220 Volt) - Bass
Michael Sadler (Saga) - Lead & Backing Vocals on 8
Göran Edman - Lead & Backing Vocals on 6
Mick Devine (Seven) - Lead Vocals on 3, 5, 9, Backing Vocals
Nigel Bailey (Bailey) - Lead Vocals on 7, 10, Backing Vocals
Nils Patrik Johansson (Lion’s Share) - Lead & Backing Vocals on 2, 3
Michael J. Scott - Lead & Backing Vocals on 4
Mattias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen) - solo on 9
Kay Backlund (Lion’s Share) - Keyboards on 1, 3, 6
Anders Rybank (Coastland Ride) - Keyboards on 8



UNRULY CHILD - Unhinged, Live From Milan (2018)

UNRULY CHILD - Unhinged, Live From Milan (2018) full
HERE The REAL CD version

Last year at the Frontiers Music Festival, UNRULY CHILD put on an great live performance where they accepted to play their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album performed in its entirety. All was captured both audio / video, and the result is "Unhinged, Live From Milan", to be released tomorrow on on CD/DVD and Blu-Ray.

UNRULY CHILD's first, self-titled album is still considered a Melodic Rock / AOR gem for the genre, so it's a pleasure yo hear these great tunes again with the band's current sound.
In fact, "Unruly Child" isn't complete here, because 'Criminal' was replaced with 'Forever', the excellent song appeared in the band's second CD as well as Marcie Free solo album 'Tormented'.
Anyway, the set list is awesome.

UNRULY CHILD sound really well alive. There's a very oiled interplay between Bruce Gowdy's melodic guitars and Guy Allison's keys / synths, while Jay Schellen is always a guarantee behind the drums.
Marcie Free has lost none of his unique pipes, she reach every note from the original studio versions with ease, adding some power at places due the live performance.
They opted for pre-recorded backing vocals, and that's fine because the elaborated harmonies crafted into the studio would have been impossible to replicate in a live show.

All these are terrific songs. “When Love Is Gone”, “Long Hair Woman”, “Take Me Down Nasty” (here baptized “Rock Me Down Nasty”), “Wind Me Up”, are true gems. All sound like if time hasn't pass by.
The version of “On The Rise” is pure adrenaline, with the aforementioned guitar / keyboard interplay, while one of my favorites, “Who Cries Now” feels vital and authentic.

UNRULY CHILD - Unhinged, Live From Milan (2018) back

"Unhinged, Live From Milan" is a really good live album, these terrific songs deserved to be captured live and the band doesn't disappoint.
Be aware that the digital version on sale sounds strange, flat, like if it was taken from a DVD-video. This is the real CD version and everything feels punchy and vibrant.
Highly Recommended

01 - Intro / Wind Me Up (Live)
02 - Lay Down Your Arms (Live)
03 - Rock Me Down Nasty (Live)
04 - Let's Talk About Love (Live)
05 - Is It Over (Live)
06 - On the Rise (Live)
07 - Tunnel of Love (Live)
08 - To Be Your Everything (Live)
09 - Long Hair Woman (Live)
10 - Forever (Live)
11 - When Love is Gone (Live)
12 - Who Cries Now (Live)

Marcie Free - Vocals
Bruce Gowdy - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Guy Allison - Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
Larry Antonino - Bass, Vocals
Jay Schellen - Drums



CATS IN SPACE - Cats Alive! (2018)

CATS IN SPACE - Cats Alive! (2018) full

UK wonders CATS IN SPACE are ready to release their first live recording tomorrow titled "Cats Alive!", recorded last year at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena at a particularly raucous night on the band’s tour with Thunder.
Since this was five months before the release of their second studio album Scarecrow, then unsurprisingly most of the songs featured in their set came from the first album, with just one song from the as then unreleased second album.

The band’s first single ‘Mr. Heartache’ a stand out in the live environment, along with the epic ‘Greatest Story Never Told’. The latter shows how confident the band are in the strength of their songs as not many support acts would be keen to do this.
Paul Manzi is spot on vocally, whilst Greg Hart and Dean Howard are a perfect guitar duo, riffing when required and both capable of playing tasty solos when required.

The fast paced ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ is made for the live stage, while ‘Only In Vegas’ clearly shows the band's love of retro music, be it rock, pop or even a little soul.

CATS IN SPACE - Cats Alive! (2018) inside

Cats In Space continue on their upward trajectory with this live album here to keep their fans satisfied.
And you know what? "Cats Alive!" is benefited by its shortness. Simply that by recording a support set, it’s by necessity a fairly short one – seven songs and just 34 minutes. While some would have wanted a 12-song or more live album, this way works much, much better.
VERY Recommended

01 - Too Many Gods (Live)
02 - Only In Vegas (Live)
03 - Last Man Standing (Live)
04 - The Mad Hatter's Tea Party (Live)
05 - Mr. Heartache (Live)
06 - Greatest Story Never Told (Live)
07 - Five Minute Celebrity (Live)

Paul Manzi - Lead Vocals (Arena)
Dean Howard - Guitar (Airrace)
Jeff Brown - Bass (The Sweet)
Andy Stewart - Keyboards
Greg Hart - Guitars / Vocals
Steevi Bacon - Drums



MICHAEL LANDAU - Rock Bottom (2018)

MICHAEL LANDAU - Rock Bottom (2018) full

Now this is a special post on this blog: guitar master MICHAEL LANDAU is releasing a new solo album titled "Rock Bottom". It's not special 'cos the music style is different from the usually featured here - its title speaks for itself, this is Rock music - but for the fact that Landau is one of our favorite guitar players of all time.
And we celebrate this release, because Landau has been playing mostly instrumental music for the past 10 years, and out of nowhere he woke up one morning with the strong urge to play some hard-edged music with vocals.

Landau says: "Guess it makes sense because it's really the music I grew up on. So I reunited with my ole pal David Frazee from the Burning Water days. We wrote a lot of songs together, most of which ended up on Rock Bottom."
As hired gun, and part of the legendary 80s LA Session scene, Landau has recorded on over 1,000 records, for such diverse artists from Miles Davis, B.B. King or Pink Floyd, to Steve Perry, John Parr, Van Stephenson, Marc Jordan and countless more AOR luminaries.
And it’s to his credit that on "Rock Bottom" he treads his own eclectic path.

He’s a virtuoso, but more a 'feel player' for whom restraint gives him several dynamic options, while he joyfully leans into the grooves and consistently aims to embellish the songs rather than dominate them.
‘Rock Bottom’ is by no means a concept album, but the title could almost be a reference to the feel and ambiance of an album that relies significantly on tones, moods, grooves and contrasting solos, over back drop of a subtle stuttering rhythm section.

Michael Landau is a ‘players player’ who combines notes and feel with tonal depth, only that ones the song need, and an unwavering focus on creative expression.
There's a wide broad stylistic brushstrokes all over "Rock Bottom", an adventurous spirit yet always focused on the song format.

And that TONE... wow, Landau is unique. You KNOW it's him, no matter if it's a simple riff or a concise solo.
Listen for example, to the sheer feel of ‘We’re All The Same’, which is touched by greatness, but much like the album as a whole, doesn’t quite reveal enough of itself to beguile us.
"Rock Bottom" barely wastes a note on an intricately woven album, rooted in exquisite interplay. It sparkles with uplifting musicianship, subtle tonal colors, all at the service of great Rock songs.

Then there’s the conceit of the atmospheric ‘Freedom’ which draws us in, while the languid bluesy shuffle of ‘Heaven In The Alley’ is superbly complemented with David Frazee’s angst ridden vocal.
One of the album highlights is without a doubt ‘One Tear Away’, complete with Landau's harmony vocals contribution.

MICHAEL LANDAU - Rock Bottom (2018) back

The slow ‘Gettin’ Old’ is really atmospheric, complete with an angular solo and spoken word vocals in a classic rock, bluesy warp. On ‘We All Feel The Same’ Landau paint the track with a lovely volley of piercing and aching notes, with some clever wah-wah effects emulating a voice.

"Rock Bottom" is a complete classic rock record from master Michael Landau, an exquisite guitar and tone driven album that dips into blues, rock, funk, a fusion genres to shape its own unique style, which ultimately is timeless, sophisticated Rock music.
The disc reveals a broad musical landscape that goes a long way to explaining Michael Landau’s high standing in the guitar world, and in the history of the Rock scene as a whole.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Squirrels
02 - Bad Friend
03 - Gettin Old
04 - We All Feel The Same
05 - We're Alright
06 - One Tear Away
07 - Poor Dear
08 - Freedom
09 - Heaven In The Alley
10 - Speak Now, Make Your Peace

David Frazee - vocals
Teddy Landau - bass
Alan Hertz - drums
Michael Landau - guitars, vocals



CHRIS BAY - Chasing The Sun (2018)

CHRIS BAY - Chasing The Sun (2018) full

February 23, 2018 will see the release of CHRIS BAY first solo album, "Chasing The Sun", on Steamhammer / SPV. If Bay's name doesn't rings a bell, he's best known as the founder and frontman of German rockers FREEDOM CALL.
It's a well-known predicament that Chris Bay shares with many other composers: occasionally, his wealth of inspiration goes beyond the stylistic and thematic scope of his own band.
So if the metallic sound of FREEDOM CALL is not your thing, better check "Chasing The Sun", it's a surprisingly breezy poppy melodic rock album.

Indeed, since the opening track ‘Flying Hearts’, everything sounds easy to the ears, with gentle guitars, but the big vocals are still there, and the album it’s worth buying for that song alone, akin CASANOVA or DOMINOE. Some good keyboards / synths in there too.
‘Light My Fire’ is more bouncy (Freedom Call dipped into that) but this is slightly more pop metal, very radio friendly akin STAGE DOLLS.

Yes it’s different and it’s definitely not metal, it is as enjoyable as it gets. It’s actually all the more enjoyable too for the fact Bay’s moved away from Freedom Call so an extent. There’s a darker edge to ‘Move On,’ but no matter how dark it has that parp that keeps things light and fresh.
‘Radio Starlight’ moves back to the more commercial side of Freedom Call, in fact, it sounds like a lost TERRA NOVA track, poppy melodic rock with a feel-good vibe.

There’s a sensitive side in ‘Silent Cry’ (a well crafted midtempo with some THE HOLLIES), ‘Hollywood Dancer’ has a touch of a that 'sung down a telephone line' effect to the intro, then it moves to a great upbeat, on-acid melodic rock number in the vein of ENUFF Z'NUFF.

CHRIS BAY - Chasing The Sun (2018) inside

The intro to ‘Where Waters Flow’ is a little haunting, then the song has a classic rock feel mixing various decades of influences into one. There’s a dark effect filled edge to ‘Bad Boyz’, imagine '80s glam metal gone '90s direction. I really like this track because it's different, including a solid solo.

Chis Bay just did it right on first solo album "Chasing The Sun": something different.
It’s definitely radical enough to have hardcore Freedom Call / metal fans wondering and wandering, it is more big melodic rock / classic rock meets power pop in places, but how many solo albums are made pointless by sounding just like the original band?
Too many. Not this one. It may be lighter, but the quality is there and it’s a great listen.
VERY Recommended

01. Flying Hearts
02. Light My Fire
03. Move On
04. Radio Starlight
05. Silent Cry
06. Hollywood Dancer
07. Keep Waiting
08. Misty Rain
09. Where Waters Flow In Heaven
10. Bad Boyz
11. Love Will Never Die



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