https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olAYHa4lHcM  

  

MICHAEL RIESENBECK Releases New Solo Album ‘II’ - Exclusive Track By Track

 
Dutch guitarist Michael Riesenbeck released his sophomore album “II” in December.
 
"II” contains 12 well-crafted (melodic) rock songs, executed by some of the best musicians and singers around, combined with breathtaking cover art and a top notch production. This all results in a rather adventurous melodic rock album, with hardrock, AOR, progressive rock, metal, symphonic rock and bluesrock influences.
 
Like with his debut album “Shouting Silence” (which received raving reviews all around the globe), a number of guest musicians appear on the album. To name a few:
Tony Mills (Shy, TNT, China Blue), Eric Ragno (China Blue, London, Graham Bonett),  Phil Vincent (Legion, Tragik), Danny Danzi, Franky Dee, John Taglieri, Timo Pudas (Urban Tale), Rob Boshuijzen (ICE, Viteffe), Rev Jones (Mountain, Michael Schenker Group), Rick Rici (YouTube sensation), Serge Naberman (Rebelstar), Michael Peet (Joe  Bonamassa), Frederic  Dechavanne (Paris) , Frederik Bergh (Street Talk) and Francisco J. Rodriguez (Nexx)
 
A successful Kickstarter campaign ran to get enough funds available to release the album on physical CD. The album can be purchased through the Official Michael Riesenbeck web site: www.michaelriesenbeck.com
 
A preview of several songs can also be found on YouTube and Michael’s web site.
 
 
Michael about the musical style:
“This album contains influences from all my heroes. But I decided early in the process not to limit myself to a certain style or apparent song structures. Obviously there are influences by bands like Whitesnake, Toto, Giant and Journey, but this time around there are hints of more types of music to be heard, like progressive rock, sympho, metal and even blues. All in all I would say it’s melodic rock, but with a twist. There are musically so many layers in the vocals, guitars and keyboards, that I think this album will not start to bore the listener after a few spins, there is just so much going on. Besides the music, I also wrote most of the lyrics on this album this time, which made this a much more personal album than first one.”
 
Regarding the mix and production:
“The fact that there are so many layers, made this an extremely difficult album to mix and produce. We had to start over from scratch a few times, simply because we were not satisfied. The bar was raised and raised and raised, which is a good thing. Nowadays a lot of potential great albums are more or less ruined by the overall sound. One thing we paid extra attention to, was the drum sound. I’ve noticed over the years that about 75% of the overall sound of an album is dictated by how the drums sound. If the drums sound dull, the album will lack body, if the drums are mixed way back, with for instance a kick drum really low in the mix (or inaudible), the album will lack power and punch.  So we went in with a top drummer, with a top drum kit, in a top studio with a top engineer.”
 
On going the crowd funding route:
“My debut album (“Shouting Silence”) was released worldwide through a label (Perris Records), but nowadays labels just don’t like to release physical albums anymore, especially if you’re not a household name in the music scene. So then I had a few options, one being doing only a digital release. But I am old school, I want to hold an album in my hands, feel the paper, look at the artwork, read the liner notes, sing along to the lyrics and put a disk into a player with anticipation.
So I decided to do a digital and a physical release. But, since the entire budget was used for financing the recording, mixing and mastering of the album, there was no money left. And CD production is very expensive, especially printing of booklets, etc. Then a friend of mine suggested doing a crowd funding project. It is the ultimate way for an artist and its fans to work together on getting an album release. Normally, eventually the fans will buy your album, but with crowd funding they basically pre-order the album and/or other ‘rewards’ (goodies like a limited number of t-shirts, special coffee mugs, the original paintings used to create the artwork, etc), for which in return they get those rewards and (in my case) the album 2 months before the official release. Those fan provided funds allow the artist to reach its goal and finish the project. In my case being able to produce physical copies of the album.”
 
 
 
Line-up on Michael Riesenbeck - II
 
Lead vocals: Tony Mills (TNT, China Blue), Serge Nabermann (Rebelstar, Najib Amhali), Phil Vincent (Legion), Rick Rici (YouTube sensation), Frankie Dee (solo), Marco van der Aar (Soylent Green), Danny Danzi (solo), Bryan Woolley (The Machine)
 
Backing vocals: John Taglieri (solo), Arjen van der Ree (Ma'China), Raymond van Melzen (Ma'China), Ollie Oldenburg (Zinatra), Frederic Dechavanne (Paris), Phil Vincent (Legion), MR
 
Bass: Rev Jones (MSG, China Blue), Michael Peet (Joe Bonamassa, Jan Akkerman), Johan Volman (Viteffe), Rob Smeink (Beuk Brothers), Sietze Postma (various), Noud Maas (MovieLive!) 
 
Drums: Rob Boshuijzen (ICE, Viteffe, MovieLive!)
 
Keyboards: Eric Ragno (China Blue, Mecca), Fredrik Bergh (Street Talk), Timo Pudas (Urban Tale), Raymond van Melzen (Ma'China), Francisco J. Rodriguez (Nexx), Vividly Frank (Frank v/d Burgt), Theo Fokkema (various), Jim Rykbost (Cold Heart)
 
Guitars: MR
 
Song-by-song (exclusive melodicrock.com first)
 
School Daze:
 
One of my personal most favorites on the album. It features the new melodic rock sensation Rick Rici on vocals. The song theme is basically someone looking back in time, re-living their days in school, which in retrospect was more of a multi-year daze. 
It's about staying strong, even though everyone else thinks you will not achieve anything in life. Stand your ground.
 
Cold Is The Night:
 
A song about someone having been hurt in a relationship, but who has so much to give, but is kind of stuck in the previous situation, which results in not letting anyone in, hence getting more and more isolated. A haunting vocal delivery by Danny Danzi, who proves once again that besides being a world-class guitarist, he is one of the best melodic rock vocalists around.
 
Road To Knowhere:
 
This is a heavy song, both musically and lyrically. Probably one of the heaviest songs I ever wrote. The theme is centered around people with mental issues, schizophrenia, etc. Hence the title. I wrote the lyrics just around the time that all over the world there were many fatal incidents caused by people with mental issues. I tried translating those events into the story of a man with such illness. Basically it's a story about someone that is stuck in a dream world in his own head, with different personalities trying to win the war for his 'sanity'. One of the personalities is translated into a rap. Yes, this heavy rock song features a rap! I know this will probably cause some discussions, but I think it fits perfectly. Bryan Woolley sings the other parts and does great, sounding like a mix between Dennis DeYoung and Fergie Frederiksen.
 
Groove Machine:
 
The first instrumental track. This song was built around a main riff, which expands musically during the song. Some amazing moody keyboard parts by Frank v/d Burgt, and an exciting keyboard solo by him as well.
 
Lost In You:
 
The second song featuring Rick Rici. This was actually the very first song I wrote for this album. The theme deals with the fact that the love of your life ended up with someone else, and you have a hard time handling that. So you keep trying and longing to be with her, but she doesn't even know that you are in love with her and you are with someone else too. Basically it's a no win situation. Rick really picked that emotion up on the song.
 
Passion:
 
Passion was also on the China Blue album. When Eric and I arranged this song initially, this was a purely acoustic version, with Tony Mills' vocals being the center of the song. On the China Blue records they made this into an electric song, with drums, etc. I actually like that version a lot, but I wanted the world to hear the 'naked' version of it. It's a beautiful haunting song, with Tony shining and using more of his astonishing mid and low voice. The song is driven by Eric's piano 
playing and I get to do a nice acoustic guitar solo, which I am very proud of. 
 
Selena:
 
Selena was a song Phil Vincent, Eric Ragno and I wrote for China Blue. I really like their version, but I wanted to release the song more like it was originally written, so with more of a rock ballad feel than the China Blue version. The original bridge is in this version and has that haunting build up to the ending solo section where Eric and I do some melodic, flashy solo's. Phil handles the lead vocals on this one, with Tony Mills doing his harmony vocal magic. 
 
Walk Away:
 
A song about wanting and needing to get out of a relationship. While the lyrics were written by Phil Vincent, Serge Nabermann does a great job in getting the urgency across. Musically an upbeat, uptempo song with a pretty cool bridge.
 
Rough Edges:
 
With this song I was going for a feel ala the song Escape by Journey. It's the story of someone that one day picks up his stuff and walks away from his safe life to go ahead and drive towards the horizon, not knowing what he'll do. He only knows that he does not want to stay caught in his current life. So he takes a major risk, burning all his bridges. Exciting vocals by Frankie Dee on this one.
 
Truly Blue:
 
Another favorite of mine. This is the most bluesy song I ever wrote. I wrote this song just after one of my guitar hero's died, Gary Moore. This song is a tribute to him. I needed a more blues oriented singer with a more raw sound. Eventually I got in touch with Marco van der Aar, and he blew me away with how he managed to translate the emotions in the lyrics into a vocal delivery. I believe every word he sings, a quality which not many vocalists have. The theme itself is a story of what happens if you end up with the wrong woman, a devil without disguise, but still you fall head over heals, knowing this is so wrong.
 
Wandering Spirits:
 
One of the 2 instrumental songs on the album. Initially after I wrote the little spacy, slightly creepy intro guitar section I came up with the title. Lot's of dynamics in the song, tempo changes, etc. Probably the song with the most progressive hardrock influences on the cd.
 
The Show:
 
The show is a snappy, uptempo song with a positive message. "Just step up and don't be shy, welcome to the show". That's a key line in the song. Meaning, step over your shame or modesty and just take a risk by doing something you're scared of. 
 
Just step onto that stage, take the mic and sing, or something along those lines. What's the worst that could happen? At least you've tried, and probably you'll just succeed. I myself did that in this song by recording my longest guitar solo ever. In advance I was thinking I would be done after 20 seconds or so, but after being pushed that solo was about 5 times longer, which is extremely long for a guitar solo, nowadays.
 
 
 
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