Reviews

  • 7 (1)
  • A (4)
  • C (1)
  • D (2)
  • G (3)
  • H (1)
  • L (2)
  • M (1)
  • N (3)
  • O (1)
  • P (1)
  • R (1)
  • S (3)
  • T (3)
  • U (1)
  • W (2)
  • X (1)
  • Y (1)

Pages

Fri
19
Sep
Andrew's picture

WORK OF ART - Framework (Review)

 
Track after track after track of simply glorious classic AOR that is written and recorded so perfectly that the album sounds timeless. It could have been released as easily in 1987 as it is today.
 
Like many others following this scene, Work Of Art are part of the new era of classic melodic rock artists. They deliver the best of yesterday, wrapped up in the production and songwriting values of today.
Their first two albums were both wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that they have truly found their own unique groove here.
Yes, the band’s sound is familiar and comparisons to Toto and others can safely be made. But the guys continue to walk their own path.
Mon
15
Sep
Andrew's picture

ADRENALINE RUSH - Adrenaline Rush (Review)

 
Despite the appearance on the CD of as 5 piece band, the recorded side of Swedish rockers Adrenaline Rush is down to the partnership of vocalist Tave Wanning and master songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martensson, who provided all instruments, all but 2 of the songs and all mix and production duties here.
So essentially this is a new Martensson project with a female vocalist this time, giving it a new fresh dynamic over past albums with Toby Hitchcock, WET and of course Eclipse.
As with everything that Erik Martensson touches, this sounds a million bucks, with a big powerful production and clear mix.
 
Tue
26
Aug
Andrew's picture

STATE OF SALAZAR - All The Way (Review)

 
The Swedes do it again! What a great little melodic rock n pomp album this is. Filled to the brim with Swedish melodic goodness and bubbling over with uplifting harmonies and catchy choruses.
The band has an interesting sound. It’s hard to be original in this day and age, but these guys have their own swagger, that’s for sure.
What I’m hearing here is a mix of Swedish pop/rock and melodic rock with Styx influenced pomposity mixed in.
Vocalist Marcus Nygren is a real find. He wrote all the lyrics and music here and his vocals are the driving force behind the album.
 
Tue
26
Aug
Andrew's picture

X-DRIVE - Get Your Rock On (Review)

 
Newcomer X-Drive is the brainchild of guitarist Jeremy Brunner who put this band together with star vocalist Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Montrose). Together the pair wrote all the album’s songs and Jeremy co-produced with the legendary producer Andy Johns, who sadly passed away not long after completing this album.
Mixed by Wyn Davis and joined by James Lomenzo on bass, there has been a lot of money, time and effort put into this and it shows.
Keith St. John sounds a million bucks on this album – I prefer his vocals here over Burning Rain and his solo work. He’s just completely in the groove and speaks to my tastes perfectly.
 
Tue
26
Aug
Andrew's picture

MIKE TRAMP - Museum (Review)

 
Not a truer line has been written when Mike Tramp’s bio described his album’s a musical diary of his life. Mike certainly wears his heart on his sleeve and pours that heart into his songs.
It’s something I respect the singer/songwriter for immensely, even when I’m occasionally not totally in tune with his musical output.
 
Mike has recorded some of my favourite singer/songwriter material. His Recovering the Wasted Years album remains an all-time classic for me.
Last year’s Cobblestone Street I thought was a little hit and miss, but the new album Museum is a much stronger affair.
 
Tue
26
Aug
Andrew's picture

DARK HORSE - Let It Ride (Review)

 
Dark Horse is the new vehicle for Canadian vocalist Paul Laine and his band. I’ve followed Paul since day 1 – his debut solo album Stick It In Your Ear, then moving to his brilliant time with Danger Danger and his modern rock project Shugaazer. All essential listening in my mind, he can do no wrong!
 
I heard demos for this album a year or so ago and knew that despite the “country” badge on the cover, it was still 100% Paul Laine music and for that reason I love this also.
Paul just has a wonderful knack of writing memorable songs with great hooks and choruses that draw you in.
And his voice of course is one of the most likable in any form of music he’s singing.
Tue
26
Aug
Andrew's picture

ASIA - High Voltage Live (Review)

 
The world does not need another live Asia album. Not even the most hardened Asia lovers need another live album. But, if we must….as least make it one that’s half listenable.
 
This is not the best live recording, which at times sounds like an audience recorded bootleg. The vocals are hollow and the bass thumps along above the guitars and drums. A dreadful mix.
The band sadly sounds its age here. John Wetton’s once silky smooth vocals are pretty raspy in places.
 
The band has some incredible songs – several from the debut album here and mixed with a few from recent years, but this is not an advert for the band at its best.
Tue
26
Aug
Andrew's picture

GUARDIAN - Almost Home (Review)

 
Welcome back Guardian after an absence of way too long. The brand new studio album was recorded last year after a successful crowd funding campaign, released a month or two ago to pledgers and is now available to the general public via digital download or limited edition CD.
The band has varied their style and sound over the course of their history and Coming Home sees them continue that trend, wrapping several styles up in this release, yet still managing to have a cohesive sounding record.
 
The band has definitely stepped up its modernization, with some very contemporary sounding tracks here.
Fri
08
Aug
Andrew's picture

7TH HEAVEN - Spectrum (Review)

Chicago’s legendary 7th heaven return with yet another new studio album, this one featuring no less than 20 new cuts!
 
Back fronting the band for this album is the great Keith Semple, whose likable melodic tone is a perfect match for the happy go lucky anthemic pop/rock that guitarist and main writer Richie Hofherr seems to effortlessly churn out with spectacular regularity.
Maintaining the formula of past albums, there seems to be a couple of extra ingredients here to make this arguably the band’s best release yet.
 
First – the production quality is the best since the band’s classic Silver release. Extra thump in the drum department has gone a long way.
Fri
08
Aug
Andrew's picture

ACACIA AVENUE - Cold (Review)

 
This is a solid melodic rock release indeed. The idea for Acacia Avenue began back in 2008, the brain child of guitarist Torben Enevoldsen (Fate, Fatal Force, Section A).
This is his second album and again sees Torben delivering some melodic rock tunes instead of his normally more metal-themed music. To handle vocals, Torben has gathered a number of guest vocalists to fill frontman duties.
 
These kinds of albums can appear very disjointed, but the quality of the production here is such that it all flows pretty seamlessly.
Fri
08
Aug
Andrew's picture

SEVEN HARD YEARS - No Place In Heaven (Review)

New melodic rock project Seven Hard Years is the brain child of former Shy drummer Alan Kelly, who recruited former band mate Roy Davis (Shy Bassist) to help him, along with US based singer Shawn Pelata (Line Of Fire), Dave Martin (Former Guitarist for-Marshall Law), Martin Walls (After Hours) and Elliot Kelly (Ocean City).
 
Their debut album has been out for a little while now and while it features some impressive hard rocking moments and some eloquent softer, more reflective pieces, the production quality and overall mix leave a bit to be desired.
Fri
08
Aug
Andrew's picture

GREGORY LYNN HALL - Heaven To Earth (Review)

I must admit to being very perplexed. I’ve always made production quality a theme of my reviews over the years. My determination of how good any album is reflects as much on how it sounds cranked to the max as well as the quality of performances and songwriting.
It’s those 3 ingredients that must come together to make a great album.
And on most reviews written for this album that I have seen, the context talks positively of two of those aspects, but complete ignores the elephant in the room – that is, the production here just doesn’t cut it in 2014.
 
This is a very thin sounding record, so much so that it makes the album impossible to crank to any great volume without having to adjust the equalizer in a desperate attempt to pump in some bottom end.
Fri
08
Aug
Andrew's picture

RICHARD MARX - Beautiful Goodbye (Review)

Richard Marx has hardly put a foot wrong throughout his long career. A career longer than any modern day singer/songwriter is ever likely to have I might add.
Even as he matured and moved out of the spotlight, his records have continued to impress. The most recent of which, Emotional Remains and Sundown, were brilliant. Few people capture real emotion like Marx does.
The compilation Inside My Head showcased the best of those records with a second disc of re-recorded hits. More brilliance.
 
Fri
08
Aug
Andrew's picture

NIVA – Incremental IV (Review)

Tony Niva follows up his very good 2013 release Magnitude with the oddly titled Incremental IV record.
 
Following exactly where the last album left off, Incremental IV is more of the same – high energy, melodic rock-n-pomp, with high pitch vocals and plenty of those fluffy Scandinavian harmonies.
This is a very good sounding record with a great clear mix. Makes things so much easier to enjoy with the rhythm section pounding away with vocals gliding over the top.
I do think that Niva’s vocals are of the style that will appeal to some, but not to all; they are a bit over the top when going for notes on the higher end of the scale.
 
Mon
21
Jul
Andrew's picture

LOVERBOY - Unfinished Business (Review)

Loverboy have decided to turn back time and raid the vaults for their latest studio release. Describing this release as ‘old unfinished tracks dusted off and completed in 2014’, the band has in essence, compiled an album of off-cuts from their classic 80s releases.
I can’t blame them for choosing this route – it’s certainly a more economical solution than getting a new album written, recorded and released and it also covers the ‘fans only want to hear the classic sound’ base.
The only thing is – after the fecking marvelous Just Getting Started masterpiece and two of the three new tracks from Rock N Roll Revival being killer; this does seem as a backwards step.
Mon
21
Jul
Andrew's picture

NIGHT BY NIGHT - Night By Night (Review)

British melodic rockers Night By Night have been hailed as the future of this aging genre and I’m here to back that claim and push it one step further – its vitally important to the longevity of the melodic music scene that we continue to welcome, nurture and promote awesome new talent like this or we may as well all give it up right now.
Night By Night prove that you can still write catchy, energetic and fresh melodic rock in 2014 and in doing so give some old rockers a kick in the pants as to what is expected that fans want today.
Not everyone wants nostalgia 24/7. But don’t think these guys are an all-new sound, they just take the old sensibilities and make it their own.
 
Mon
21
Jul
Andrew's picture

CHICAGO - Now (Review)

Chicago is the second iconic group to have a new release out in the same month of the same year (Yes being the other) from the same label. Much like the Yes album, appeal will squarely lay with longtime established fans over curious newcomers or part-time fans.
 
I count myself as a part-timer when it comes to Chicago. I loved the band’s edgier moments like the last studio album in 2006 (XXX) and the fabulous long kept under wraps Stone Of Sisyphus album, plus their more commercial moments such as the 80s friendly Chicago 16 through 21 albums. Some great AOR material on offer there.
 
When the band revert to their core 70s style, bring out the jazzy Westcoast sound and push their legendary brass section into a more prominent role, I find my finger reaching for the skip button.
Mon
21
Jul
Andrew's picture

OUTLOUD - Let's Get Serious (Review)

Greek/American rockers Outloud are back with album number three, good to see the guys keeping momentum flowing with short gaps between albums.
And I’m pleased to say they help keep momentum going by delivering consistently good records that are thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. I wasn’t a fan of their last EP release, but the studio albums to date have all been excellent.
This is no exception.
 
The almost Spinal Tap-influenced opening hard rocker Death Rock! would be laughable delivered by any other band, but when it’s from these guys, it just works. The double kick drum flurry and catchy chorus “we’re gonna rock you to death” is pure hard rock heaven.
Fri
18
Jul
Andrew's picture

YES - Heaven & Earth (Review)

I don’t mind myself some falsetto vocals, but when there’s no light and shade – that is, the vocals are all falsetto all of the time, and the album goes some 50 minutes, well, my ears begin to rebel.
 
Iconic prog-pop-rock band Yes are back with their first album in many moons, with stalwarts Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and Geoff Downes with new vocalist Jon Davison in for the departed icon that was Jon Anderson.
As expected Davison is an Anderson soundalike and does his job keeping the traditional Yes sound intact.
 
Fri
18
Jul
Andrew's picture

TED NUGENT - ShutUp&Jam (Review)

I expect some Ted Nugent fans would like the legendary guitarist and outspoken politico to take some of his own advice and “Shut Up & Jam”.
It’s hard to separate the man from the opinions sometimes and I know he has alienated some with his views, but on his first new studio album in 7 years Ted does what he does best – wail and shred. Unfortunately – I don’t think the majority of songs featured here are that good, or worthy of the 7 year wait between records.
 
Thu
26
Jun
Andrew's picture

NIGHT RANGER - High Road (Review)

Night Ranger are quite possibly my favourite band around. They are just so consistently good and feature several times already in my all-time Top 30 with such classic albums as Big Life, Midnight Madness, 7 Wishes, Dawn Patrol, Neverland (still underrated!) and Man In Motion of course. Even the Night Ranger album we can’t mention (Feeding Off The Mojo…oops!) was great!
Some fans had a hard time with the band’s modernized and sometimes inconsistent Hole In The Sun album, but how can you go pass such great tracks as Whatever Happened, There Is Life and Rockstar? Every album sees the band deliver some great new tracks.
Thu
26
Jun
Andrew's picture

TESLA - Simplicity (Review)

 
As a longtime fan of this band – since the very beginning actually – I feel that I’m more than qualified to call this new album the band’s weakest to date.
The essential quadrilogy of Mechanical Resonance (one of the best debut albums in history), The Great Radio Controversy, Psychotic Supper (again, utterly essential) and Bust a Nut are four of the best American hard rock albums I own.
I’ve not rushed into this review hoping the album would grow on me more than it has. But I’m still stuck in a middle ground of appreciating some of the tracks on here as classic Tesla brilliance, but overall, there are several tracks that fall flat and simply drag.
 
Thu
26
Jun
Andrew's picture

URIAH HEEP - Outsider (Review)

You don’t get any better example of classic rock than Uriah Heep. The 70s stalwarts prove that rock n roll is the only genre that lasts a lifetime by continuing on their merry way, touring and recording unabated.
Outsider is the band’s latest opus, following up from 2011’s Into The Wild. And as expected we get another slice of pretty consistent blues based rock n roll, where that lush Hammond organ has the same profile as the guitars and rhythm section.
 
For the most part I’m really enjoying what’s on offer here. There are no surprises and no left turns, just straight ahead classic 70s style rock n roll a la traditional Heep.
Mon
16
Jun
Andrew's picture

ASIA - Gravitas (Review)

Asia delivers another new album in pretty quick time following their acclaimed XXX album in 2012. Gone is guitarist Steve Howe and in his place is young gun Sam Coulson.
Mon
16
Jun
Andrew's picture

L.R.S. - Down To The Core (Review)

This is one of the smoothest records I have heard in a long time. It's a very fine slice of mature, well-written and executed traditional AOR, featuring some of the finest people the genre has to offer. First it's a huge pleasure to hear the ear candy vocals of Tommy La Verdi back in the melodic game finally – it's been way too long for a guy with a voice born for this.

Pages

Subscribe to Reviews

Foreign Music CDJapan