Reviews

  • 2 (1)
  • 7 (1)
  • A (12)
  • B (11)
  • C (13)
  • D (15)
  • E (4)
  • F (4)
  • G (4)
  • H (7)
  • I (5)
  • J (4)
  • K (4)
  • L (7)
  • M (10)
  • N (6)
  • O (3)
  • P (7)
  • Q (1)
  • R (12)
  • S (16)
  • T (22)
  • U (1)
  • V (5)
  • W (8)
  • X (1)
  • Y (2)
  • Z (1)
Artist Title Score Label
Tyketto TYKETTO - Reach (Review) 91 Frontiers
Seven SEVEN - Shattered (Review) 92 Escape
RavenEye RAVENEYE - Nova (Review) 60 Frontiers
Rik Emmett & RESolution9 Rik Emmett & RESolution9 - RES9 (Review) 55 Mascot
Dante Fox DANTE FOX - Breathless (Review) 88 AOR Heaven
Jace Pawlak JACE PAWLAK - Promise (Review) 90 Kivel Records
Cry OF Dawn CRY OF DAWN - Cry Of Dawn (Review) 85 Frontiers
Tango Down TANGO DOWN - Bulletproof (Review) 90 Kivel Records
Punky Meadows PUNKY MEADOWS - Fallen Angel (Guest Review) 85-95 Escape
Palace PALACE - Master Of The Universe (Review) 91 Frontiers
DGM DGM - The Passage (Review) 85 Frontiers
King Company KING COMPANY - One For The Road (Review) 88 Frontiers
Cruzh CRUZH - Cruzh (Review) 83 Frontiers
Tesla TESLA - Mechanical Resonance Live (Review) 85 Frontiers
Meat Loaf MEAT LOAF - Braver Than We Are (Review) 35 429 Records
Dare DARE - Sacred Ground (Review) 94 Legend Records
Q5 Q5 - New World Order (Review) 65 Frontiers
Trick Or Treat TRICK OR TREAT - Rabbit's Hill Part 2 80 Frontiers
Circa CIRCA - Valley Of The Windmill (Review) 75 Frontiers
Crazy Lixx Crazy Lixx - Sound Of The Live Minority (Review) 86 Frontiers
First Signal FIRST SIGNAL - One Step Over The Line (Review) 91 Frontiers
Jorn JORN - Heavy Rock Radio (Review) 87 Frontiers
Dan Reed Network DAN REED NETWORK - Fight Another Day (Review) 76 Frontiers
Withem WITHEM - The Unforgiving Road (Review) 89 Frontiers
Yngwie Malmsteen YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - World On Fire (Review) 45 Yngwie
Vega VEGA - Who We Are (Review) 96 Frontiers
Phantom 5 PHANTOM 5 - Phantom 5 (Review) 80 Frontiers
Ted Poley TED POLEY - Beyond The Fade (Review) 96 Frontiers
Sunstorm SUNSTORM - Edge Of Tomorrow (Review) 77 Frontiers
Epic EPIC - Like A Phoenix (Review) 86 Escape

Pages

Tue
18
Oct

TYKETTO - Reach (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
91%
Produced By: 
Tyketto
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Score: 
91
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
The completely bombastic, over the top, rocking intro to this new album had me leaping from my chair in search of my Don’t Come Easy Tshirt, but by the time I got to the door, it was over!
Still…that was the finest 37 seconds of melodic rock I’ve heard all year.
The riff does return a couple of times during the song, but the essence of the band’s new title track Reach is a pretty laid back duel electric/acoustic base. I do think it is a wasted opportunity to leave such a huge riff hanging, but the song grows big time and is the purest Tyketto song of the album.
 
The new album Reach sees a new lineup in play – Brooke St James and in comes Ged Rylands (keyboards, vocals), Chris Green (guitar, vocals) and Chris Childs (bass guitar, vocals) to join the two original members Danny Vaughn and Michael Clayton Arbeeny.
I must admit, I haven’t played the last album Dig In Deep too much since reviewing it, but I’m far more confident this one will be spun many more times.
 
It may not really be Tyketto as we know, but whatever you think, it’s the best Danny Vaughn project in some time. And Chris Green on guitar has brought some definite grit to the band’s sound. Tracks like Big Money and Kick Like A Mule rank amongst the band’s heaviest.
Circle The Wagons is another classic Tyketto ballad with all the angst you love from these guys.
 
Tearing Down The Sky is a nice old school dark, moody rocker; the acoustic ballad Letting Go is fabulous and Remember My Name also rocks.  The lush mid-tempo ballad Scream is closer to the early Tyketto sound while The Run starts slow and acoustic before building to a bombastic finish.

A couple of fillers and that lost opportunity for song of the year with the title track (it’s still going to be up there though) are my only complaints. The production is superb and the mix nice and clear. Chris Green is his usual brilliant self and adds so much to the material.
And as usual Danny Vaughn sounds like he hasn’t aged a day since 1992.

 

Categories: 
 
Mon
17
Oct

SEVEN - Shattered (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
92%
Produced By: 
Lars Chriss
Running Time: 
49
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Europe
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Score: 
92
Label: 
Escape
Artist: 
 
Given that the debut album was songs mainly gathered from the past, I wasn’t sure we’d even get a second Seven album. But here it is and it’s great!
Vocalist Mick Devine as one of those ‘born for AOR’ voices and the music – even though delivered by a slightly different lineup, this is almost as good as the brilliant debut.
 
This time around only vocalist Mick remains, but the team of Andy Loos (bass), Fredrik Bergh (keys) and Lars Chriss (production, guitars, drums) who helped reconstruct the debut are present again, so the sound remains intact.
Up tempo Foreigner/Heartland/Signal style AOR and melodic rock is what we have here.
 
Light Of 1000 Eyes may be a good opener, but A Better Life is pure brilliance; while a moodier Fight has Mark Free written all over it. Other highlights include the high impact keyboard drenched Shattered; the anthemic High Hopes and the intense Last Illusion.
But that said, there’s no fillers here and folks are going to like different tracks more than others depending on mood.

It just needs to be stated that this is a very fine album indeed and a worthy sequel to the debut, if not quite as catchy, but still a great sound and a very well-produced example of classic AOR with a contemporary production.

 

Categories: 
 
Mon
17
Oct

RAVENEYE - Nova (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
60%
Produced By: 
Warren Riker
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Retro Hard Rock
Score: 
60
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
Well, it’s well produced at least. That’s if you are looking for a retro 70s meets 90s raw, rock n roll record.
Sadly I’m not. UK rockers Raveneye certainly deliver an impressive groove based sound, but to me they are missing a lot of what I like in my music. I don’t like the vocalist’s tone (more 90s style) and I don’t like the garage style classic 70s rock meets 90s alt-rock sound that hold little melody and almost no focus on chorus hooks.
 
It’s just not a style that I like or appreciate. And I suspect many others will have a similar view. There's really not much I can add. I don't feel like going through the songs as I'm just notwarming to them and I don't want to play this any longer than I have to. I tried over a number of weeks to appreciate this, but no luck.

The brash, distorted, grungy rock n roll will appeal to some, that’s for sure. Frontiers are trying something different in recent times, signing a number of acts outside their usual field of scope, but this one doesn’t work for me at all.
Categories: 
 
Mon
17
Oct

Rik Emmett & RESolution9 - RES9 (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
55%
Produced By: 
Rik Emmett
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Blues / Rock
Score: 
55
Label: 
Mascot
 
I don’t think I could have put into words the excitement I felt as knowing Canadian legend Rik Emmett was set to deliver a new “rock’ album after several years of more laid back, blues/acoustic styled releases.
His solo debut Absolutely remains one of my favourite melodic rock albums of all time and Triumph is one of the greatest ever Canadian rock bands, and there’s plenty to choose from.
Anyway, Rik’s voice is effortless to listen to and his guitar work quite marvellous.
 
Then the guests were announced – James LaBrie, Alex Liefson and even a track with the Triumph guys!
Expectations were set to overload, which is why I’ve come down to earth with such a thud.
 
Opening with the rocker Stand Still, it sounded like everything I wanted was about to be delivered. The shimmering bluesy rocker has the feel of Absolutely and then the glorious melodic rock of Human Race (feat. Alex Lifeson) was hugely satisfying.
Making it three from three is the big ballad I Sing (feat. James LaBrie), again touching on Rik’s old sound.
But it is here that the album unravelled for me.
 
First, following the ballad just gone was two more ballads – but both slow bluesy number that I’ve simply heard enough of from Rik.
Then a third laid back track (making 4 in a row) is a Santana styled bluesy guitar opus only to be followed by another slow acoustic blues number that frankly has zero interest to me.
So that’s half the album all bundled together that I have no interest in and isn’t anything like the rock album that was promoted.
 
Heads Up gathers a little pace finally and can be called a rock track. It’s ok, nothing like the opening two gems.
Rest of My Life continues the laid back theme, as does End of the Line (feat. Alex Lifeson & James LaBrie). At least this track has guitars turned up. It’s more a bluesy rock jam, with no emphasis on hook or chorus.
 
And then comes the biggest disappointment of all. The Triumph reunion on Grand Parade. It is a slow, acoustic driven blues ballad that just doesn’t go anywhere. I can’t believe it. The guys are just wasted.

Sorry Rik, as much as there is some fine musicianship on this (to be expected), the songwriting remains placid and ultimately unsatisfying. It’s way too laid back and should not be promoted as a rock record, aside from 3, maybe 4 of the tracks.
The guitar work is amazing, but the bluesy direction and the lack of energy makes this one of 2016’s biggest disappointments.

 

Categories: 
 
Mon
17
Oct

DANTE FOX - Breathless (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
88%
Produced By: 
Mark Stuart/Sheena Sheer
Running Time: 
50
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Europe
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Score: 
88
Label: 
AOR Heaven
Artist: 
 
Hard to believe it’s nearly a decade since the last full length Dante Fox album! The guys (and gal) appeared in 2012 with a quality EP, so it’s nice to see them back now with a full 50 minute ops.
As expected, there is some quality melodic rock to be heard here. The band keep everything you loved about their sound from the first three albums and the EP, but give it a slightly more complex twist. I wouldn’t want to say progressive, as it doesn’t go that far, but you can hear the growth in the musical arrangements and the delivery of the tunes.
 
Delivering some sublime keyboards throughout the album is Eric Ragno, whose parts add a lot of texture and quality to some already fine songs.
 
This is the pure definition of British melodic rock. The opening anthem Young Hearts has to rate as one of the band’s best songs. Break These Chains has a kind of Dare influence to the mood; the ballad Broken Hearted Man has a great vocal melody and some fine piano parts mixed with Tim Manford’s quite wonderful mix of electric/acoustic guitars (plus the remix at the end of the album showcases the vocal even more so) and Love Affair is big almost symphonic ballad that impresses.

Very consistent, very enjoyable, even if it does take a bit of listening to get to know and work out the melodies and songs. Very produced too.

 

Categories: 
 
Mon
17
Oct

JACE PAWLAK - Promise (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
90%
Produced By: 
Jace Pawlak & Ty Sims
Running Time: 
42
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
USA
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock / AOR
Score: 
90
Label: 
Kivel Records
Artist: 
 
Well respected and popular singer/songwriter Jace Pawlak has been busier making other artists sound great in recent times, giving his solo name a back seat. But with promise, Jace roars back to life and puts his name into the forefront of people’ minds and dare I say, onto some ‘Best MelodicRock album’ lists for 2016.
Making Promise a family affair, Jace performs vocals, keyboards, bass and drums as well as enlisting Dad Dennis as well as little brother Trevor for some additional guitar parts. Mr. Busy, Eric Ragno joins in the fun on a couple of tracks.
 
This is a stellar album it has to be said. Ty Sims co-produces and mixes the album, which is why it sounds so good and the songs are nothing short of melodic ear candy.
 
Jace’s vocals are spot on – his higher register tone may not appeal to all, but anyone that owns and appreciates Rob Moratti/Final Frontier or Rockarma/Damon Kelly should have no problem with Jace.
Plus you’ve got the bonus of 10 catchy classic melodic rock / AOR style songs to grab hold of.
 
Highlights are many – there’s no fillers here. But to showcase a few of the songs – the opening anthem Tonight Is Everything rules; the moody Can’t Find Your Heart is one of the bet mid-tempo melodic songs of the year; the Foreigner-esque ballad Nothing But Rain is haunting; Before You Run has one of the bigger choruses this year and Every Now And Then is a stand out ballad.

Great production, pure 80s AOR with a modern production and some truly memorable classic style songs that should impress most fans of the genre in its purest and most loved form.
Don’t make this album an only child Jace!

 

Categories: 
 
Wed
05
Oct

CRY OF DAWN - Cry Of Dawn (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
85%
Produced By: 
Daniel Flores
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
AOR
Score: 
85
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
Cry Of Dawn is the feature vehicle for Swedish vocalist great Goran Edman, this time partnering with one of Frontiers Records’ in-house producers, Daniel Flores (Find Me, Murder Of My Sweet). Daniel has had a busy year, with First Signal and Palace already under his belt and Toby Hitchcock still to come.
 
I’ve never found a Goran Edman album I don’t like and this is no different. He is one of those vocalists that just delivers time after time and it hardly needs stating that he sounds a million dollars here again. Flores again enlists Michael Palace to supply guitars, so it’s not surprising to find the musical bed of this project very similar to those others just mentioned.
 
Cry Of Dawn’s musical mission is not too far removed from that of Street Talk which he also fronts.
It’s not very often I’ll say this – but this time around there are too many keyboards. The absolute saturation of swirling keys on every track is just too much. There’s not enough room for the songs to breathe in my opinion.
 
Of course Edman does a killer job and most of the songs are pretty catchy. There’s plenty to like about the opener Chance and the slightly heavier Tell It To My Heart has a great bridge then chorus hook.
Light A Light and Can’t Go On are both very Street Talk in their sound and again feature killer choruses.
Hands Around My Heart is a beautiful ballad, but slightly overdone with the keyboards again.
 
I can’t stand the chorus in the second track Listen To Me, which is a shame, that ultra high vocal just grates on me. It’s probably the only weaker track here, there are others that don’t stand out as much as others, but nothing forgettable.

I love the vocals, I really love a few of the songs and the consistency of the album is a credit to the songwriters. I’m not so much a fan of the production style. As stated, I think the keyboards are way overdone and there’s not enough individual character in the album to make it stand out as a new band to rival those that came before them.
If you have the last First Signal and Find Me releases, you know exactly how this is going to sound. It’s good, but not quite as good as expected.

 

Categories: 
 
Wed
05
Oct

TANGO DOWN - Bulletproof (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
90%
Produced By: 
Ty Sims
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
USA
Musical Style: 
Melodic Hard Rock
Score: 
90
Label: 
Kivel Records
Artist: 
 
Tango Down are a very consistent American rock band. This is their 5th album in 11 years, which is a pretty good recording rate. I’ve liked each album and the guys have always delivered on their brand of kick ass hard rock with splashes of more melodic AOR tunes in between the rockers.
 
On Bulletproof the band come out firing with one of their best rockers yet in Punching Bag. New vocalist Chas West is a favourite of mine – his voice is perfect for this material and he slides between the punchier rockers and the more melodic numbers with ease.
Which is exactly what he does with the second track Give Me A Reason, the harmony filled mid-tempo AOR track is a nice contrast from the opener.
A couple of mid-tempo rockers dominate next, the bass is a little loud in the mix on the track Carry On (same issue as with Maxx Explosion), but it’s a fine menacing tune.
 
When We Were Young is another mellower moment – fans of AOR with a kick will love this. It has shades of Adriangale and Def Leppard to it. I don’t have any credits, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jace Pawlack responsible for this tune.
I have to profess my love for the melody and chorus hook of Going Under, one of the album’s finest. But at the same time I can’t get past the drum rhythm. It doesn’t seem to fit the song at all. The verse beat seems out of step with the vocals and just doesn’t suit the melodies being carried by the vocals.
 
The album needed a kick ass rocker by now and Superstar delivers the goods. A nice dirty rocker.
The tempo dips again immediately after for the moody ballad Edge of Goodbye – which is quite superb. A killer chorus and some pristine vocals. A hit single in any other decade.
Back to a fast tempo on the not too heavy Anything Can Change which offers something different than the heavier rockers.
The album closes as it began, with a nice high energy, gritty rocker in Broken Heart.

Overall, the songwriting on this album is probably the best of any Tango Down album. The vocals are unquestionably the best and you can’t argue with the riffing either.
It’s a very good slice of American melodic hard rock featuring Scott Miller, one of the scene’s most underrated shredders.
The only issue I have with anything is perhaps the sequencing of songs and bits and pieces in the production. But overall, I highly recommend! Well done lads.
 
Categories: 
Release Year: 
2016
RELEASE MONTH: 
08
 
Mon
26
Sep

PUNKY MEADOWS - Fallen Angel (Guest Review)

information persons: 
content: 
95%
85%
Produced By: 
Punky Meadows
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Europe
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock, Hard Rock
Score: 
85-95
Label: 
Escape
Artist: 
 
Something a little different today – a guest review! Please welcome former Kerrang journalist and current AOR Blvd record label partner Kelv Hellrazer, who asked if he could review the Punky Meadows album. More than happy to oblige. Over to Kelv:

“I was a full card carrying member of AEF ...that's Angel Earth Force to those of you not in the know ....in mid 80's i even stalked Frank Dimino .....down so Metal Forces could get exclusive on his new band ....Teriff  or Terris lol ...Poor old Frank had to Change his phone number ....Even though in 70's i  thought i could look like Barry Brandt hahhahahha
Back To Punky - Last heard of with Fergie Frederikson (RIP) fronting Angel .....with Ricky Phillips ....if you have'nt heard demos you aint heard shit lol ....White Sister covered two Angel songs they Did and songs even turned up on Fergie's solo effort .......
Punky why did Angel not reform back in late 80s doing Sinful Style music i never know ......The greatest hair band ever, better than Kiss ..Speaking of kiss rumours abound ....that Punky were'nt allowed to join… better hair ...or why didn't you join House Of Lords ...The Brits deserved to see those Flashy licks and the ultimate hairdo in rock.
 
2016 ....Punky hooks up with The future Of Rock Chandler Mogel love this Guy .....He looks like A Young Nuno  and sings lIke A muther.....Plus Angel Stalwart bassist of White Lion fame lol Felix Robinson ....yes i searched endlessy early 80's for Felix Robinson 's White Lion. Whilst Danny Anniello and Bobby Pantella   r pros .....who convinced him to return. Amazingly my ole buddies ......Khalil Turk/Barrie Kirtley  gets hold of em For Escape music what a grand job they've  done in ages love the cover and executive production hhhaha
 
Musically bits of Angel killer guitar licks, bits Of Raspberries, bits of Silverwing, Seb Kozack, better than Cheap Trick  hahha" Lost and Lonely" definitely Angel Like , " Home Wrecker" starts off with Guiffria style keys from legendary  aor stalwart Charlie Calv...wanna hear more from him ...what about A "Punky's Theme" ....With a dual between Charlie And Punky ....
I nearly crapped myself to intro "Descent”, Taken from Angel intro Tape i wanted to search Ebay for a satin Jacket haha ....Searchin is great Angelic stuff 60's influenced really refreshing as is Punky's awesome guitar sound ..Aor by Numbers bands take note ..."Baby Dont Cry" Could Be a wonderful hit Punky could be a hit with Hairdressers everywhere lol ..He's Still very Dallas Meets Dynasty and he's kno youngster
 
i could rave on forever ....i'm just gonna off  to Nottingham to nick Dave Reynolds Angel necklace And get Dave Herron To dump one of bands on Rockingham , so these guys can play Punky And Chandler could steal the show ....Always better Than Kiss stick that in your Pants Gene ,Punky And Chandler could steal the show.

I concur….well, the bits that give the thumbs up anyway! Chandler does indeed do a great job once again, proving his vocal versatility and the songs are a throwback to the 80s without sounding too dated.
Good, catchy classic rock with a retro vibe. I’m slightly less enamoured, but still a solid album from my standpoint.
 

 

Categories: 
 
Sat
10
Sep

PALACE - Master Of The Universe (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
91%
Produced By: 
Michael Palace & Daniel Flores
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Score: 
91
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
 
Palace is another new Swedish discovery for Frontiers Records and the world. Primarily the band is formed and performed by Michael Palace, credited as vocalist and guitarist as well as co-producer alongside one of Frontiers’ go to guys – Daniel Flores.
The 4 piece band is essentially for live performances, the studio credits behind this album assign Michael Palace to vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards and Daniel Flores drums and additional keyboards.
 
Much like other newcomers Cruzh, Palace is a pure 80s outfit, heavily reliant on keyboards, but delivering a heavier sound overall with guitars the more dominating feature.
Swirling keyboards, layers of guitars and fast moving 80s themed melodic hard rock is the order of the day, wrapped in a very tight Flores production.
 
Some of the songs really do trade off the glory days of 80s rock, but with enough power to sound fresh today. Fans of Brother Firetribe will delight in such songs as the massive anthem Part Of Me and Cool Runnin’; while the ballad Rules Of The Game is one of the year’s best.
However, I think the 3 best tracks of all are the final 3.
She Said It’s Over is a is a glorious little moody anthem with a killer hook; Stranger’s Eyes is a smooth slice of Street Talk styled AOR and Young Wild Free is a bubbly, feel good anthem to close out the album in mid-80s style.

Highlight of the month I think. A very strong debut featuring a few songs that have end of year Best Of qualities. Michael Palace has a very likable voice and Daniel Flores again delivers in the produces chair. Revised sequencing might even add another point or two.
Categories: 
 
Sat
10
Sep

DGM - The Passage (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
85%
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Progressive Melodic Metal
Score: 
85
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
You need a bit of variety in your music and this month it is DGM from Italy, presenting their 8th studio album! Yes, 8. This is however the first I’ve heard from them, but it’s enough to get my attention right from the start.
Performing a mix of progressive metal and European symphonic hard rock, Evergrey singer Tom Englund and Symphony X guitarist Michael Romeo both appear as special guests and the band thanks both bands plus Secret Sphere, Pagan’s Mind and Circus Maximus in their liner notes.
That should give you some indication of where the band sits musically.
 
That established, it is all about the songs and much like others of this ilk, this record is not a one-listen and appreciate kind of deal. Its only over repeated listens that the true melodies and the intricacies of the songs show themselves.
There’s a lot of Dream Theater in these guys too. The hooks and chorus structures aren’t obvious, but they are there.
Songs range from 2 to 8 minutes in length, with melodies often revealing themselves in the vocals within verses, much like that of Circus Maximus.

I can’t quite rank this album up with the artists that influence the sound of DGM, but the impressive and likeable lead vocals, plus the intelligent arrangements and powerful performances do make this album one to remember and check out if you’re a fan of the progressive way of life.
 
Categories: 
 
Sat
10
Sep

KING COMPANY - One For The Road (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
88%
Produced By: 
King Company
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Score: 
88
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
More new talent and I can only say that is a good thing – this scene needs new blood to survive, but we need really great talent for any longer term benefits.
Looks like King Company is one of those bands. Yet another Scandinavian outfit, these lads from Finland deliver classic 70s hard rock with a heavy dose of Deep Purple and Rainbow with organ to match and the extreme Joe Lynn Turner like vocals from Pasi Rantanen.
 
This album rocks with a rhythm section ready to crush ears and a guitarist that knows his way around a fretboard.
The classic meets modern feel of this band is going to deliver them fans, no question.
The sonic blast of Shining and In Wheels Of No Return are bombastic hard rockers with killer hooks and Coming Back To Life is prime 1980s Rainbow.
There’s some vocal similarities to Mats Levin too – and his band Dogface.
Tracks like Wings Of Love and Holding On are hard, heavy and melodic enough for all rock fans to appreciate.

Dramatic, heavy throughout, commercial enough to contain some very good hooks and performances from these veterans of the Finnish scene that really blow the roof off when cranked.
A thoroughly fabulous debut and one for fans of classic rock and the likes of Heaven & Earth to get hold of.
 
Categories: 
 
Sat
10
Sep

CRUZH - Cruzh (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
83%
Produced By: 
Cruzh
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
AOR
Score: 
83
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
 
Great to see Frontiers investing in new talent and this month sees a double header of more Swedish melodic goodness.
First up is Cruzh (crush) – a new three-piece (with a guest drummer) delivering an album of polish Scandi AOR with a strong keyboard driven 80s sound.
Think very early Bon Jovi mixed with the keyboards of Only Child, but with the vocals of REO’s Kevin Cronin gone glam? That make any sense whatsoever?
 
There is an aspect of sugary sweetness that might be a tad too sweet for some. And I do think the vocals can be a weak point within some areas on the album – the glam angle is played up on some songs.
 
The high points of the album are the riff driven First Cruzh; the anthemic Aim For The Head; the mid-tempo moodiness of Survive; the 80s rock radio styled You and the feel good fast moving Set Me FreeAn ambitious 7 and a half minute power ballad Straight From My Heart closes the album. The last couple of minutes are pretty spectacular.

A strong debut featuring a throwback sound and style, but a crisp production. The albums best songs point towards a bright future. Hopefully they can build on this for many years to come.
Categories: 
 
Sat
10
Sep

TESLA - Mechanical Resonance Live (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
85%
Produced By: 
Tesla
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Score: 
85
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
I love this album from the bottom of my heart. Well, the original at least! Mechanical Resonance is I think, one of the greatest debut albums of all time. It’s still the best Tesla album ever (although their catalogue is wonderfully consistent) and it’s hard to believe its 30 years old.
Recorded over the course of a tour of the USA, the original 12 songs are compiled here in order of that magnificent debut in a very nice tribute to it.
 
The band is still kicking ass and there was never going to be any question of how good these songs were going to sound. They rock of course!
The only fear I had was going to be the quality of Jeff Keith’s voice. 30 years of rockin and rollin will do a lot of damage to a vocalist and its clear to hear that he has aged and the pitch is a little rougher and raspier, but hell, he still sounds good to me and the energy portrayed by him and the whole band on these performances means that Mechanical Resonance is given the fitting tribute it deserves.
 
A 13th track is a preview from the band's upcoming new studio album co-written and co-produced with Def Leppard's Phil Collen. A great taste of what's to come too. A mid-tempo melodic rocker that's old-school Tesla.

A nice raw, rough and raspy rock n roll retro rollercoaster.
 

 

Categories: 
Tags: 
 
Fri
09
Sep

MEAT LOAF - Braver Than We Are (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
35%
Produced By: 
Paul Crook
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Rock
Score: 
35
Label: 
429 Records
Artist: 
 
Braver Than We Are is apparently Meat Loaf’s last album. Even if that wasn’t the intention, once the fanbase gets hold of this, that will be the end result. This is a career killer.
The bravest aspect of this release is how anyone other than Meat Loaf would want to put their name on it. And I don’t say any of this lightly. I’ve had the album advance for nearly 2 months now and I have to force myself to play it to review.
Now, before the abuse from card carrying Meat Loaf fan club members starts – people who maybe have never read this site before – let’s get a couple of facts straight.
 
Firstly - Jim Steinman is one of the greatest songwriters of this age. I’ve got everything he has ever done. Ever. And Meat Loaf is Jim’s greatest foil. He takes his songs and elevates them to a majestic level that no other artist has been able to reach. Some have come close (Bonnie Tyler, Air Supply & Pandora’s Box), but Meat is (or was at least) one of a kind.
I’ve got every Meat album too. We know they are a little hit and miss, but a couple of his recent efforts since Bat 2 were pretty damn good. This isn’t. At all.
 
I rate Bat 1&2 as two of the best pomp rock albums in history. But as much as I hate to say it, Meat is done. And I’ve lost a lot of respect for him recently as he continues to mime his way across the world on a farewell lap he should have taken a decade ago. I’ve seen Meat live. He was amazing, but the health problems and the lost voice suggests he should have retired on top.
 
Not only has Meat’s voice sunk to a level hitherto uncharted by any recording artist I can recall, but the songs just don’t work as a cohesive release here. The sporadic nature of their origins gives the album a disjointed approach that perhaps could be glued together by a dynamite performance from the big man, but when he fails to show up, the scattered nature becomes so much more obvious.
 
The album opens in bizarre fashion. Who Needs the Young is a track more suited to the opening of a circus than a bombastic rock album. And it is at the 1 minute 40 mark that the fate of this entire album is determined. That’s 5 seconds after Meat starts “singing” and you realize that his voice is absolutely shot.
The jazzy, cabaret style 1920s tune might sound completely at home amongst other similar tracks in one of Steinman’s musicals, but this 5-minute romp is possibly one of the worst lead album tracks in recent memory.
 
The 11 minute plus Going All the Way Is Just the Start (A Song in 6 Movements) is everything I love about Jim Steinman’s epic songwriting. Had Meat recorded it 10 years ago, I’m sure it could be another huge hit. All the required elements of a Steinman epic are here – pounding piano, ever changing tempos and bombastic overtures. It’s a great song and my favourite of the album I guess, but only because the starring role is taken by vocalists Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito. Meat’s vocal parts sound labored and painful at times and even in a support role they detract from the female leads. The production is also lacking that hands on Steinman stamp – the drum sound in particular is of little impact.
 
And already we have a ballad in play – the sparse piano and acoustic guitar driven Speaking in Tongues is all about the vocals, but it’s missing that big booming voice required to take it to any level worth remembering. Stacy Michelle tries to lift it, but instead it labors along and kills any momentum set up by the last track.
 
Loving You's a Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It) features Stacy Michelle once again trying to mask how bad Meat’s unsteady, barely in tune vocals are. Another terrific song from Jim, but one that’s some 30 years old and delivered better back in the day by Bonnie Tyler. Love Stacey’s voice, but her performance is not enough to make the song what it could have been.
 
Another epic is up – the 8 minute Souvenirs kicks in with some subtle horns and then one of Meat’s most wobbly vocals of the album. God I hate typing this. The brass plays on through the track and takes us back to the early days of Meat & Jim, but the track really doesn’t get going until the 5-minute mark, when the vocals lift along with the tempo, but there really isn’t any reason for this track to run so long.
 
Only When I Feel is one of those quirky short Steinman songs that’s just a little left of centre and typically acts a circuit breaker on his albums. And I like the premise here – but once again, I’m sorry to say, but Meat’s vocals are barely listenable. I love the passion he’s trying to deliver and I can feel him hurting, its emotional. But it’s just soul destroying to hear.
 
Then we dive straight into the completely over the top, hard rocking More. It’s the first time the angst and the passion has really boiled over on this relatively restrained album. The track retains its gothic overtones from the original Sisters Of Mercy recording back in the day and it does suit the big man, but it stands out as a little out of place. Once again female lead vocals are brought in to get Meat through the song.
 
Godz is just completely bizarre. More a spoken word track, with a heavy, bombastic guitar sound, it’s another interesting left turn from Steinman, but I think won’t be received that well in the context of the rest of this album.
 
Skull of Your Country is another piano ballad with more female lead (this time featuring Cian Coey) morphing part of Total Eclipse Of The Heart with a new verse and chorus. More music than vocals (yet again), it’s an ok song that you just wish was more over the top.
 
Closing this sorry album is the crappy fast moving pop/rock Train of Love, featuring a horrible chorus, really poor programming and a totally forgettable hook. What a disappointing way to finish a disappointing album.

This is a truly horrible way to end a grand recording career. The whole album just doesn’t gel – from the missing “Jim” factor (collaborating from afar hasn’t worked), to the restrained almost laid back feel of the album, to Meat’s vocal performance – words just can’t describe that. I'm sure Meat will say it's all intentional, but no-one sings like this intentionally. And if his voice isn't completely gone, why is he miming on stage?
I’m beyond disappointed and this comes from a lifetime Steinman/Meat Loaf fan. I doubt I’ll ever play this album again.
 

 

Categories: 
 
Thu
04
Aug

DARE - Sacred Ground (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
94%
Produced By: 
Darren Wharton
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Europe
Musical Style: 
AOR
Score: 
94
Label: 
Legend Records
Artist: 
 
The Celtic AOR legend that is Dare rides again! Darren Wharton’s majestic band return with studio album number 7, Sacred Ground, their first set of new material in 7 long years.
There’s always a lot riding on a Dare release, as they aren’t the fastest band around when it comes to delivering new albums. And speaking frankly, the two albums preceding this – Arc Of The Dawn and Beneath The Shining Water – while offering a taste of what we all love about this band, still managed to come up a little short when thinking back to the band’s unsurpassable classic debut Out Of The Silence.
That album remains an iconic release and one of the best AOR albums of all time.
 
So what does Dare 2016 mean for fans? Well, the return of the masterful Vinny Burns on guitar is certainly a stroke of brilliance. And he makes his presence immediately known, with Sacred Ground awash with precision soloing and a stronger guitar footprint than the last few albums.
 
While the tempo remains circumspect, Vinny’s guitar takes the songs to the next level, delivering the rock edge that fans have wanted. Yes, tempo is far more ‘up’ than recent work and like past Dare albums, it does take several listens to get to know the tunes. The similar pacing makes it a little harder to separate the songs initially, but as always with Dare, it is all about mood.
And no one does mood better than Darren Wharton and Vinny Burns.
 
And I have to say, I have a huge appreciation for Darren’s vocals. He IS British AOR for me.
In essence, this is a wonderful album that takes a step back from the Celtic influences of recent times and a huge step back towards straight ahead moody AOR, with songs that could quite comfortably fit on Calm Before The Storm and even a few that wouldn’t be out of place on Out Of The Silence.
 
There are no fillers here – 11 great tracks of keyboard and guitar framed music – but there are a few tracks I’d especially like to single out.
The opening number Home is everything I love about Dare. Strength is a nice mid-tempo AOR track with some sublime playing from Vinny Burns and another killer vocal from Darren.
Days Of Summer is the most rocking thing I have heard from Dare since the band returned in 1998.
The almost ‘happy’ On My Own features a good pace and another shining guitar solo.
All Our Brass Was Gold is a really nice mid-tempo ballad with orchestration lurking in the background.
Like The First Time is another schooling on how to do mood and melody together and the closer Along The Heather is classic Celtic Dare, but in a more uptempo wrapper.

What’s not to like? This is a great comeback for the band and a most refreshing welcome home for Vinny Burns, who adds immeasurable class and power to these songs.
And major props to Darren Wharton for the flawless production and crystal clear mix on Sacred Ground. There are many many layers to this album and such a great production is what makes it fun to discover each one.
 
Categories: 
 
Thu
04
Aug

Q5 - New World Order (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
65%
Produced By: 
Q5
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Score: 
65
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
So Q5 return for album number 3, a mere 31 years since the cult classic When The Mirror Cracks first appeared.
The Seattle rockers reformed for Sweden Rock Fest a few years back and decided to try and keep things going, with 3 original members joined by a new drummer and second guitarist.
The band’s sophomore album saw them gain a cult following with its more keyboard infused melodic rock, a definite change of pace from the rawer 4-chord rock n roll of Steel The Light.
 
So which Q5 do we have in 2016? I’d best describe this album as a mix of the heavier AC/DC style of Steel The Light and something new. There really isn’t anything here that finds influence from When The Mirror Cracks. Personally I find that a shame, as it’s the album I clearly preferred by the guys.
 
The reality is that New World Order is an ok album for what it is – a raw, dirty, rock n roll album with gravelly vocals and a riffing guitar dominated sound – but is that what Q5 fans were awaiting?
It’s definitely a classic rock album – there’s some Uriah Heep, some AC/DC, some NWOBHM influences – it’s pretty easy to get the picture.
There are some ok song, but not enough to make it an essential purchase. They are all pretty simple bar-room boogie hard rockers, a couple of double time shufflers and a couple of slower moments too.

I’m not warming to this album though. The songs are very basic and very raw production doesn’t give the music a lift that might have helped. I’m not feeing the vocals and I’m not feeling the overall vibe either. To be honest, it’s not a band recognizable from the past. It’s a new take on an old name.
 
Categories: 
Tags: 
 
Thu
04
Aug

TRICK OR TREAT - Rabbit's Hill Part 2

information persons: 
content: 
80%
Produced By: 
Simone Mularoni & Trick Or Treat
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Metal
Score: 
80
Label: 
Frontiers
 
 
This is a strange one. Not known for their high profile, the Italian rockers still managed to find themselves on Frontiers to release the sequel to 2012’s Rabbits' Hill, Pt. 1.
Trick Or Treat deliver their 4th and most accomplished album here, but it’s still not something that’s going to have universal appeal.
For example, the album kicks off with a triple speed kick-drum driven frenzy, only to give up that momentum for a 2.5 minute acoustic renaissance piece that might seem more at home on a Blackmore’s Night record.
 
Then it’s a fast moving melodic rocker with a good serve of powerhouse drumming and big vocals from the somewhat accented delivery of Alessandro Conti. The guy can sing, no doubt.
And if you’re questioning the album title, let me confirm that the lyrics are indeed a concept piece about our fluffy little friends with the cute big ears.
It’s different alright!
 
Elsewhere in the album we have a fast moving anthem Efrafa; a nice melodic ballad Never Say Goodbye (featuring duet vocalist Sara Squadrani); a double time melodic hard rocker The Great Escape; the metal menace of They Must Die (not the bunnies….no!); and an 11 minute operatic epic called The Showdown. Closing the album is an over the top farewell to the furry ones called Last Breath. Very dramatic stuff.

The band is clearly growing in stature and this album has a solid production base for the eclectic songs featured. The lyrical content is a little bizarre, but musically, it’s all business. Fans of European melodic metal and hard rock should investigate.
Categories: 
 
Thu
04
Aug

CIRCA - Valley Of The Windmill (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
75%
Produced By: 
Circa
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Progressive Rock
Score: 
75
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
I’m not a fan of Yes. Never have been. Well maybe parts of 90125 and Big Generator, but otherwise no. Just not my thing. However, you cannot fault the musicianship or the song writing credibility of a band that has delivered for fans for over 40 years.
Circa is formed by current Yes member Alan White (drums), former Yes member Tony Kaye (Hammond, keyboards), current Yes member Billy Sherwood (bass, vocals), and guitarist Jimmy Haun, who played on the Yes album Union.
 
So match that information with the fact the album features just 4 songs and you should know exactly what you’re getting here.
Some quite brilliant instrumentation and some very Yes friendly higher pitch vocals layered over heavily progressive and innovative rock music.
The shortest track is 7 minutes and the longest is 18.
 
Ok, so it’s not my thing and it clearly is an album that will only appeal to progressive rock fans and Yes devotees, so my opinion isn’t going to mean much in the scheme of things.
What I can say is that it’s recorded nicely. Production is solid and the album is mixed with a nice balance of vocals and instrumentation with a musical bed that’s pretty light, certainly not a hard rock affair.

This review is more or less to advise the curious as to what’s on offer here and keep AOR and hard rock fans away from it. Yes alumni – you guys should eat this up if you have the time to devote to getting to know the inner workings of the songs.
 
Categories: 
 
Thu
04
Aug

Crazy Lixx - Sound Of The Live Minority (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
86%
Produced By: 
Crazy Lixx
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Score: 
86
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
All any Crazy Lixx fan needs to know about this album is – does it sound any good?
Yes it does. Of course it does! Crazy Lixx kick ass!
 
And here on this career covering live album are 13 hard hitting tracks of glorious Scandi-melodic hard rock.
Does the live set cover everything? No, probably not. There’s always a song here or there some fan wished included, but for the most part the guys cover their bases.
 
The anthems Rock In A Hard Place, Lock Up Your Daughter, Sound Of The Loud Minority, Riot Avenue, Girls Of The 80s and the closing 21 Til I Die are all there and performed with great energy and enthusiasm.

It’s good stuff! Nuff said. If you’re a Crazy Lixx fan, you need this. Simple. A nice, raw, energetic live recording of a band that knows what they are doing!
Short review, but a simple one.
Categories: 
Tags: 
 
Thu
16
Jun

FIRST SIGNAL - One Step Over The Line (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
91%
Produced By: 
Daniel Flores
Running Time: 
47
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Score: 
91
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
Harry Hess returns with a sequel to 2010’s First Signal debut. The lead role of Mr. Hess is about all that is in common from the debut to this album.
 
Normally I’d jump in and complain that if you are using a project name, you should stick to the original personnel of that project, as swapping musicians/producers/writers generally leads to a completely different sounding album (Sunstorm and Allen/Lande for example).
But in this case, I’ll let it pass as the results speak for themselves.
 
Daniel Flores (Find Me, Murder Of My Sweet) and his new buddy Michael Palace are the duo behind all the music, whilst the songs are provided by an array of the current artists within the Frontiers stable.
 
Flores produces and delivers results that sonically improve on that of the debut – even if the style is a little different. The Dennis Ward moody AOR debut is trumped by this bubbly, more keyboard driven 80s sounding affair with at times a more aggressive edge, but overall an improved sound that isn’t far from the AOR of the two Find Me releases.
Harry is of course in fine voice over 11 tracks that hold a pretty consistent sound and quality. At times the keyboards are a little “too 80s”, but there is no doubt that this is a very fine release.
 
Highlights include the punchy She’s Getting Away; the sentimental ballads Still Pretending and Weigh Me In; the early Harem sounding One Step Over The Line and Love Gets Through; the angst of Broken and the moodiness of Kharma.

Hess, Harem and fans of the First Signal debut shouldn’t give owning this a second thought. Why haven’t you got it already? Essential for anyone who appreciate fine vocals and some catchy traditional melodic rock.

 
Categories: 
 
Thu
16
Jun

JORN - Heavy Rock Radio (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
87%
Produced By: 
Jorn
Running Time: 
57
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Score: 
87
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
The man is back, again! One should stop saying that as Jorn never really departs, such is the consistency of his releases. That’s not always a positive, but the last couple of records have started to return me to my former status of worshipping the great man.
One thing the world probably doesn’t need is another covers album, even more so another Jorn covers album (this is his third, plus half of the debut album), but you know what – you can’t help but like large parts of this collection.
It’s Jorn being Jorn and its produced extremely well.
 
Jorn has managed to pick out some less predictable covers from areas of pop/rock from the 70s through to today and a few cuts from his more familiar influences.
Some work, some don’t. But the ones that do work are sensational, as Jorn metalifies some pop classics such as I Know There’s Something Going On and Running Up That Hill. I think there should have been more like these two on here. Jorn sounds fabulous.
Foreigner’s Rev On The Red Line is something he could record in his sleep (his version of Break It Up from the debut is still untouchable) and sounds great as does his version of the John Farnham legacy number You’re The Voice (since covered by many). I love his liner notes about each track and especially the praise he gives Farnham as a live vocalist. I wasn’t sure the song would suit Jorn, but it does.
 
Paul Stanley’s Live To Win is one track I thought Jorn would slay, but for some reason this heavier and rawer version seems to lose some of the melodies that the original carried.
Don’t Stop Believing is a fine version with a surprisingly high Jorn vocal. But honestly, I’m so sick of this fucking song – even the original I could do without hearing ever again. For Jorn’s tribute to Steve Perry, check out Edge Of The Blade from the debut – one of the best Journey covers I’ve ever heard. Wish he’d tried out Ask The Lonely instead.
 
Killer Queen is pretty decent too, but I have a hard time with anyone aside from JSS covering Queen. Jorn brings a good swagger to the track.
Hotel California is one you’ll either love or hate – but I dig it. Jorn’s rasp works and the guitar work on this iconic song does the original justice.
 
Well, we lasted this long without Rainbow/Sabbath/Dio/Purple, so we may as well close the album with songs from 3 of the 4 featured, plus an authentic Iron Maiden cover for good measure, giving the last 15 or so minutes a more familiar metal feel.

All in all – good stuff. A few fairly safe choices and some risks that pay off. I prefer the pop/rock tracks being beefed up rather than the metal tunes just being covered.
A lot of thought has gone into this album and Jorn sounds great as always.
 
Categories: 
 
Thu
16
Jun

DAN REED NETWORK - Fight Another Day (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
76%
Produced By: 
Dan Reed
Running Time: 
57
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Pop / Rock / Funk
Score: 
76
Label: 
Frontiers
 
Can’t say I was ever a Dan Reed Network fan – his funk/rock style was something that I just didn’t embrace back in the day. However, I have admired a couple of Dan’s latter day solo albums. Some intelligent songwriting and out of the box musical arrangements there.
I had no expectations going into this, and what it delivers is a bit of both Dan Reed’s worlds.
 
Given the crossover in styles, it does appear a little disjointed and a little hit and miss. The hit resonates with me in a big way. The misses make the album drag, especially through the latter stages.
 
What hits – the brilliant melodies and subtle arrangements of the opening track Divided and the mature melodies of The Brave; the beautiful atmospheric ballad Champion and the equally pleasant keyboard styled B There With U.
The softer pop/rock of Heaven also connects as does the moody Stand Tall.
 
Misses include the funky ballad Infected; Give It Love; the funk/reggae swagger of Save The World which goes nowhere and the programmed beats of Reunite.
There’s a few others too, making this album about half cool, half not so.

An interesting album in parts, but perhaps not what the Dan Reed Network moniker might suggest. For that reason I think it aims to please all, without hitting the mark. Or perhaps it’s just exactly how Dan feels and writes in 2016. Up to individual fans to decide on this one.
But those few tracks in the first half of the album are seriously good.
Categories: 
 
Thu
16
Jun

WITHEM - The Unforgiving Road (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
89%
Produced By: 
Oyvind Larsen
Release Date: 
2016
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Progressive Melodic Metal
Score: 
89
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
 
 
Withem are a new progressive/melodic metal band NOT from Sweden! Yes indeed. They are not from Sweden. They are from Norway!
Once again the Scandinavians prove to be on the cutting edge of new music in all forms of rock n roll.
This is the band’s second album and first for Frontiers. They describe their sound as a mix of inspirations from such greats as Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater and Circus Maximus. Pretty accurate too.
 
To me they haven’t quite got the chops of Dream Theater, nor the melodic finesse of Circus Maximus, but they are well on their way. And this is an impressive album.
I’d put their sound closer to Dream Theater thanks to the vocals of Ole Wagenius. His powerful LaBrie style range drives these songs and adds the melody to the powerful guitars and swirling keyboards.
 
This is an impressive sounding album. Guitarist Oyvind Larsen acts as producer and mixer and has done a remarkable job. This is a really clear and crisp sounding record while retaining all the necessary power.
 
Highlights include the powerful hook driven In The Hands Of God (the chorus is pure Circus Maximus); the initially faster, but then inter-changing pace of The Pain I Collected; the beautiful vocals and melodic guitar parts that drive Riven; the Rob Moratti-esque progressive AOR of The Eye In The Sky.

It took several listens to appreciate fully and have the melodies become more obvious, but the high caliber production and some inspired performances make this an album that is likely to launch the band onto a bigger platform and wider audience.
 
Categories: 
Tags: 
 
Thu
16
Jun

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - World On Fire (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
45%
Produced By: 
Yngwie
Running Time: 
Yngwie
Release Date: 
Yngwie
Released: 
Yngwie
Musical Style: 
Yngwie
Score: 
45
Label: 
Yngwie
 
Well, it’s not as bad as War To End All Wars. That record should have been titled Album To End All Careers. But somehow the great fret-fiddler Yngwie J Malmsteen continues on.
 
It’s hard to tell who is the most delusional. Yngwie himself for releasing this as is; his record label for actually paying for it to be manufactured or some of his fans who are reacting as if this album is the greatest slice of majestic, audio grandeur and shredtastic splendor since Les Paul took craft lessons in Jnr High.
 
Ok, so it’s not all bad….well it is if you were rating audio quality alone. I’m not sure where this was recorded. It sounds like it was recorded in my grandmother’s 1922 outhouse and pieced together on a 1981 Acorn BBC Micro 6502.
I just cannot understand how and artist, his manager wife and record label could all agree this was release ready. The production quality and muddy mix are just rotten.
 
To the songs themselves – well, the boy can play – no doubting that ever. And before the fanclub hit me up with death threats and witty insults about what really constitutes greatness, please be advised I have most of the Swedish Frethogger’s albums and I remain a strong fan of several in particular.
 
There are some good and bad here. The title track World On Fire is a great 1 minute idea that goes for 4 and a half and most of the instrumentals that follow are simply retreads of past work.
I’m being strangely hypnotized by Yngwie’s vocals on Lost In The Machine. Is he employing mind control to keep fans under influence? I don’t mind that song at all, except for the quality and the fact the vocals sound like they were sung into a Coke can rather than a microphone.
Largo and No Rest for the Wicked are simply the same riff as each other, just played faster and Duf 1220 is the most accurate song title on the whole album.
 
I really do like Yngwie. I think he’s doing an ok job, but his organization is one that cannot be criticized. I’m on their shit list because of my last few reviews – but that’s just part of the job.
This review won’t help of course. What he needs to do is embrace those that want to work with him. There are a number of great musicians from his past that that would happily collaborate with him. But no one wants to work for him.
 
Hopefully he can find the financing to hire a producer or at least a professional mix engineer, get a vocalist on board to work together and collaborate on some great songs that aren’t all widdling and get back to what really made Yngwie Malmsteen albums of the past so enjoyable. He needs an A&R guy to tell him what works and what doesn't. Givie me a call mate!
 
Categories: 
 

Pages

Subscribe to Reviews

Foreign Music CDJapan