Reviews

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Artist Title Scoresort descending Label
Steve Perry STEVE PERRY - No Erasin' (Single Review)
Steve Perry STEVE PERRY - 'Traces' (First Playback Pre-Review) Fantasy
Def Leppard DEF LEPPARD - Let's Go (Single Review)
Bon Jovi BON JOVI - Burning Bridges (Review) 10 Mercury
HEAT H.E.A.T - Tearing Down The Walls (Review) 100 Gain
Harem Scarem HAREM SCAREM - United (Review) 100 Frontiers
Degreed DEGREED - Dead But Not Forgotten (Review) 100 Sun Hill
Eclipse ECLIPSE - Armageddonize (Review) 100 Frontiers
Eclipse ECLIPSE - Monumentum (Review) 100 Frontiers
Rick Springfield RICK SPRINGFIELD - Rocket Science (Review) 100 Frontiers
Toto TOTO - XIV (Review) 100 Frontiers
Yngwie Malmsteen YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Blue Lightning (Review) 22 Mascot
Quiet Riot QUIET RIOT - Road Rage (Review) 30 Frontiers
Bret Michaels BRET MICHAELS - True Grit (Review) 30 Cowpoke
Jack Russell's Great White JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE - He Saw It Coming (Review) 30 Frontiers
Reviews In Brief REVIEWS IN BRIEF 30-100 Various
Sammy Hagar SAMMY HAGAR - Lite Roast (Review) 33 Independent
Meat Loaf MEAT LOAF - Braver Than We Are (Review) 35 429 Records
Tora Tora TORA TORA - Bastards Of Beale (Review) 40 Frontiers
Bryan Adams BRYAN ADAMS - Get Up (Review) 40 Universal
Coda CODA - Coda (Review) 40 Z Records
Asia ASIA - High Voltage Live (Review) 40 Frontiers Records
Kane Roberts KANE ROBERTS - The New Normal (Review) 40 Frontiers
Yngwie Malmsteen YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - World On Fire (Review) 45 Yngwie
World Trade WORLD TRADE - Unify (Review) 45 Frontiers
Operation Mindcrime OPERATION MINDCRIME - The Key (Review) 45 Frontiers
Radiation Romeos RADIATION ROMEOS - Radiation Romeos (Review) 50
Heart HEART & FRIENDS - Home For The Holidays (Review) 50 Frontiers
Richard Marx RICHARD MARX - Beautiful Goodbye (Review) 55
Rik Emmett & RESolution9 Rik Emmett & RESolution9 - RES9 (Review) 55 Mascot

Pages

Tue
18
Jun

REVIEWS IN BRIEF

Label: 
Various
Categories: 
REVIEWS IN BRIEF
 
Less words, but same conclusions and same scores.
 
A lot more to come as it’s the only way to keep up with the number of releases there are these days and the fact I missed so many over the last 12 months.
 

DYNAZTY – Firesign – So they changed style mid-career, who cares when its this good! I love these guys and the last three albums have been kick ass hard rock albums, bordering on melodic metal. Such great songs and a massive production. Nils Molin has the perfect hard rock voice. For those that love something that might fall in between Eclipse and Masterplan. 94
 
KISSIN DYNAMITE – Ectasy – Another European band showing the rest of the world how its done. Huge production, layers of everything and a bunch of high-energy anthemic rockers with big choruses every track. There’s some diversity in the material here, kinda modern, kinda punky, kinda 80s hard rock…but kinda killer! 90
 
TWO OF A KIND – Rise – I absolutely loved the debut, it was a fantastic slice of female fronted, harmony rich AOR. And I love Fred Hendrix’s writing style and his ability to deliver fresh and original songs. I’m gutted to say this album isn’t a patch on the debut, not the songs, nor the rough production. 50
 
DREAM CHILD – Dream Child – Another attempt by Frontiers to recreate Dio (this one featuring Craig Goldy, Wayne Findlay, Simon Wright, Rudy Sarzo and Diego Valdez from Helker as the Ronnie Dio stand in). Songs are pretty decent but just like recent Dio albums, everything is the same tempo and you can barely tell the difference between tracks. Valdez is one hell of a singer though! The production is also pretty ordinary – a really muddy, bass heavy sound. 65
 
BULLETBOYS - From Out of The Skies – It could almost be called From Out Of The Garden Shed such is the production quality. And the songs aren’t much better. The Bulletboys debut is legendary and between that and this album comes an array of releases that both astound and also dismay. At least it isn’t as bad as Acid Monkey. 30
 
LIONVILLE – A World Of Fools – These guys have earned themselves a well-deserved reputation for high quality European pure-AOR. And it doesn’t hurt to have Work Of Art’s Lars Safsund holding the mike. Another super smooth, very likable, highly melodic slice of music. 92
 
ALL 4 1 – The World’s Best Hope – Not to be confused with the multi-platinum R&B group (there was no better idea for a name?), this is another Frontiers/Alessandro Del Vecchio project featuring a lineup that is almost Alliance plus Terry Brock. So basically, quality all-round and some very fine performances. Should have been marketed better and under another name and it is fairly safe and predictable, but sometimes that’s a good thing. 87
 
TAINTED NATION – On The Outside – Pete Newdeck delivers his best Ozzy Osbourne here with a powerful, modern and seriously rocking slice of melodic metal. Killer production and should be huge. Huge I say! 90
 
 
NEWMAN – Aerial – Maybe not quite as strong as the last studio album, but that’s hardly a slight. Always enjoyable, always quality and always a must buy. British melodic rock at its best. 90
 
PHANTOM V – Play II Win – Not earth shattering or something that held my attention for a long time, but this second album from Axel Kruse, Bobby Boebel, Michael Voss and Claus Lessmann is a big step up from the pretty average debut. 80
 
EISLEY / GOLDY ‎– Blood, Guts And Games – The thought of the two Giuffria guys together again had folks excited. When the album title came to light, it pointed towards trouble for anyone hoping for more pink and fluffy from the guys. Then came the music. Awful songs, awful style and awful production. The result kills any hope of the guys coming back to deliver what fans really wanted. 30
 
STYX – The Mission – From the band with almost as many live/DVD releases as Foreigner comes a new studio album! Wow! And even more amazing, its pretty darn good. A concept album with more pomp than the last few records, it is entertaining and sounds great. Even the James Young lead vocal sounds great, ok, well… at least it’s short. 91
 
TONY MILLS – Streets Of Chance – Absolutely superb AOR album from Britain’s Tony Mills. Doing what he does best with a solid production and some highly memorable songs. And now he’s got a new album out. Get both. Feature review for the new album coming up. 90
 
AXEL RUDI PELL – Knight’s Call – Axel. Rudi. Pell. But not as good. 70
 
PERFECT PLAN – All Rise – Perfect name, almost perfect album. A monstrous melodic rock debut from yet another Swedish discovery. Right up there with Roulette, Art Nation and Rian. Essential for fans of the genre. Can’t believe I didn’t get a review of this done at the time. A monster! 95
 
THRESHOLD - Legends Of The Shires – The best progressive hard rock album since Dream Theater’s Images And Words. A double album with all killer, no filler. Brilliant production, songs, performances and I love the vocals of Glynn Morgan. Masterpiece! 100
 
 
VEGA – Only Human – More essential British melodic rock. The guys can do no wrong and their productivity now means its hard to compare album against album and pick the best, as they have reached that number of releases where its just all good. No exception here. A little more modern in places, but still brilliant. 93
 
REVERTIGO – Revertigo – Mats Leven, Anders Wikstrom and Thomas Broman, now that’s a powerful trio. As hoped, it’s a pretty strong album. Modern to a point, but still melodic and hard rocking. A great addition to the Mats Levin catalogue. 87
 
JAMES CHRISTIAN – Craving – It’s a nice change of pace from House Of Lords and its better produced than the Lay It On The Line record. The Cliff Magness backed album is a smooth, anthemic, mid-tempo collection of songs that suit JC completely. 85
 
WHITE WIDDOW – Victory – Love these guys, love the throw back Giuffria/keyboard heavy sound and the smooth AOR melodies. They guys haven’t delivered a bad album, but I do think this one is a little safe and a repeat of past formulas. Production not as tight as previous, but I’m still a big fan. 80
 
SCREAMING JETS – Gotcha Covered – Love this band! Great classic Aussie hard rock. Which is what this covers album focusses on – classic Australian pub rock classics. There’s covers of Men At Work, Dragon, Australian Crawl, Inxs, Icehouse The Angels (whom vocalist Dave Gleeson now fronts) and even AC/DC. But guys, if you are going to cover the best – give it your best. This is yet another example of a limp-wristed straight up interpretations of songs that either don’t suit the band at all, or just aren’t rocked out enough to warrant the effort. Very poor. 50
 
Score: 
30-100
 
Wed
12
Jun

ROULETTE - Now (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
90%
Label: 
Black Lodge
Artist: 
Friday, March 22, 2019
Categories: 
 
If you are having a hard time keeping up with your Swedish melodic rock bands, you aren’t alone. But Roulette are one you must make time for. Their new album Now is a master class of slick melodic rock with an old school sound, but a contemporary production.
 
Despite being around since 1985 and releasing several singles and a ‘best of’ compilation, this is technically their debut album. And what a way to make a splash.
 
I simply love the lower register vocals of Thomas Lundgren – moody, powerful and perfect for the band’s commercial style. Add in an even balance of guitars and keys and a tight rhythm section and you get a must have record.
 
The band seem to effortlessly fly through multi-layered harmonies on tracks like Never Enough, Keep On Dreaming, Better Day and Another Night – pure melodic bliss. Elsewhere its simply more high-standard Scandi-AOR/melodic rock, performed just the way we like it, and beautifully produced I might add. Only with track 3, Soldiers Of Love do the band stumble. Its not a big deal, but its my least liked track the band has recorded and at track 3 it halts the momentum of the album a little.

Another highly recommended, thoroughly professional slice of classic melodic rock right here. Let’s hope the guys keep the momentum flowing now and are back soon with more.
Score: 
90
Tags: 
 
Wed
12
Jun

CRAZY LIXX - Forever Wild (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
96%
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, May 17, 2019
Categories: 
 
I’ve been a registered Crazy Lixx fan from day 1. I think the band shot themselves in the foot with their musical left turn on the third album Riot Avenue and have spent the last two albums re-establishing the sound their first two set up.
 
Now we have album number six already! Forever Wild is the new definitive Crazy Lixx album. The new lineup established with Ruff Justice has gelled and whatever the guys had in mind for this album, as far as delivering something great for fans, they’ve nailed it.
 
If there’s a better album in this space this year, I’ll be surprised. This is an album that has one glorious hook filled anthem after another. There’s some variety in amongst the songs and some longer than others which are cool to explore.
 
The band in my mind is getting close to their Swedish friends H.E.A.T for sheer enjoyment and bringing the old school ‘fun factor’ to melodic hard rock.

Fantastic album from start to finish without a filler in sight. Anthems, choruses and hooks from the opening riff to the closing beat. Brilliant!

 

Score: 
96
Tags: 
 
Fri
03
May

Alliance - Fire And Grace (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
93%
Produced By: 
Robert Berry
Release Date: 
2019
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Label: 
Escape
Artist: 
Categories: 
 
Most should be aware of my admiration for all-star melodic rockers Alliance. The pitch perfect AOR vocals of Robert Berry are always welcome, but when he teams with David Lauser (Sammy Hagar) and class guitarist Gary Pihl (Boston, Sammy Hagar), there’s no stopping the flow of intelligent, well-crafted and challenging melodic rock music.
 
Fire And Grace is no different. Although a little rougher around the edges this time around, the album (minus past member Alan Fitzgerald) delivers the same classic sounding album you might expect. Berry provides all keyboard parts this time.
 
While the album is melodic rock and AOR with a prog twist at its best and harkens back to a simpler era of the early 80s, the sound isn’t dated – its just classic.
 
There are some stupidly good songs here. The driving opener Don’t Stop The Wheel Turning; the feel good anthemic 80s buzz of Good Life and the epic, mood driven dramatic ballad Uncertain all give the album a flying start.
 
Elsewhere the rhythmic free flowing Fire And Grace; hands in the air Raise Your Glass and the AOR perfection of Reason To Walk Away are all standouts amongst an album lacking any sign of filler.

Alliance have delivered one of the best AOR albums of the year so far, with track after track of engaging, intelligent songwriting here. No Alliance album has ever been a one-play and understand affair. They require a little effort and a little time, with the listening richly rewarded with layers upon layers of musical melody and brilliance.
Score: 
93
 
Wed
01
May

WHITESNAKE - Flesh And Blood (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
85%
Release Date: 
May 10
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, May 10, 2019
Categories: 
 
The Snake is back! David Coverdale and his band of interchangeable merry men return after a production delay and a question mark over just how long Whitesnake Inc. can continue in light of a decreased vocal ability from the Governor.
 
Continuing their journey on the snaketrain is duelling guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra, with Reb delivering a bigger hand in the album’s inner workings and Joel getting his first chance to work on new material after joining before The Purple Album.
 
So what to make of this latest addition to the Whitesnake catalogue? Flesh And Blood may not be a very original title and the artwork looks like a 5 minute photoshop re-arrangement of the band’s 1994 ‘Greatest Hits’ cover, but inside is a more appealing discovery.
 
The band sounds energised and firing on all cylinders. David Coverdale’s vocals are managed as well as possible throughout the album, but they are heavily processed and a long way from his peak as one of the world’s best rock vocalists. Thankfully he still carries the same attitude and presence as he always has, making it hard to fault the performance overall.
 
Flesh And Blood sounds like a hybrid of Good To Be Bad, Slip Of The Tongue and maybe a little Slide It In. Plus it has its own little personality too.
 
The album gets off to a rollicking start with the 4x hard rock bombardment of Good To See You Again, Gonna Be Alright, the commercial friendly single Shut Up & Kiss Me and the cheesy Hey You (You Make Me Rock), which should give a writers credit to Dann Huff for its borrowing from Giant’s Lay It On The Line.
Quality pauses for two songs that just annoy me - the mid-tempo romp of Always & Forever (annoying chorus hook) and the ballad When I Think Of You (annoying chorus and lead guitar hook).
 
We’re back into the rollicking for the stampeding Trouble Is Your Middle Name and Flesh & Blood.
Well I Never has another very average chorus I could easily skip, but the near 7 minute moody Heart Of Stone is perfect.
Get Up brings memories of Coverdale/Page’s Feeling Hot, while the sweet acoustic After All has a Sailing Ships vibe to it.
Closing the album is the pretty average 6 minute Zeppelinesque rocker Sands Of Time.

At 13 tracks and 59 minutes, the album is too long. I could happily cut 3 of those tunes easily as there’s 4 fillers here. I would also note that I don’t like the sequencing either. I’d opt for an entirely different running order for a smoother flow.
But the majority of the album is still classic Whitesnake and thoroughly enjoyable, so for that reason I’m happy to rate this pretty highly, knowing that I can creature a CDR or playlist with a few less songs and my own preferred running order.
 
The Snake is alive!
Score: 
85
 
Wed
10
Apr

KANE ROBERTS - The New Normal (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
40%
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, January 25, 2019
Categories: 
 
KANE ROBERTS has a cult melodic rock following, but it's been how many years since he actually recorded a melodic rock record?
 
That question will remain open, as this is nothing like his Self-Titled and Saints & Sinners records that fans have always hoped he would return to. Rather it is an amped up and further modernized version of Under A Wild Sky from way back in 1999.
 
So, a few problems with this record. First of all, the sound and style is modern rock – but a version that is now at least a decade (or two) out of date. Secondly, the production is atrocious yet again. The programmed drums and the thin sound just sound so ‘one-man band’.
Third – once you get past the aggression of the first two tracks, the rest of the album is a pretty mellow affair. And it’s a struggle to get through. If the sonics don’t damage your ears, Kane’s constant yelling will finish them off.
 
I dig a few of the songs – the opening duo offer some definitive hooks. One of the album’s best belongs to Beginning Of The End, but the arrangement and production is an absolute mess, all over the show.
There are tracks here that just sound so devoid of hooks and direction, they place the few that do in an uncomfortable position – raising them above the grade they probably deserve.

There are some decent hooks, ideas and riffs here, but the album is too much of a mess to appreciate. Production is horrible, execution is questionable and the style…the less said about that the better.
Score: 
40
 
Wed
10
Apr

LONERIDER - Attitude (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
90%
Label: 
Escape Music
Artist: 
Friday, April 26, 2019
Categories: 
 
LONERIDER is an exquisitely recorded album, with performances to match. FM frontman Steve Overland re-joins his Shadowman partner guitarist Steve Morris (Heartland/Ian Gillan) and a rhythm section comprised of legendary drummer Simon Kirke and Tyketto bassist Chris Childs.
 
Every note on this album sounds planned, executed and placed perfectly in place. Its quite a diverse musical tapestry, with a bluesy rock base branching into AOR, earthy midwestern rock, a couple of tunes that could almost be described as southern rock. And there’s a couple of pretty lush ballads to flesh out a very interesting record.
 
The songs, while diverse and multi-genre spanning are all rock songs at heart and I can’t pick a filler amongst them all. It’s especially rewarding to hear Steve Overland in a fresh setting that doesn’t automatically mirror FM, Overland or Shadowman – which is obviously this album’s closest relative, musically speaking.
 
Steve Overland sounds flawless as usual and its great to hear Steve Morris delivering some sublime guitar riffs and divine solos.

If you’re a fan of all of the above – there’s no questioning the quality of this record.

Score: 
90
 
Fri
29
Mar

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Blue Lightning (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
22%
Label: 
Mascot
Categories: 
 
The deluxe edition of Yngwie Malmsteen’s new CD comes with a drinks coaster. I recommend sticking to the regular version and just use the disc instead.
 
Yes, it’s that time of the year again, where we get to investigate Yngwie’s latest musical offering – this time he’s tackling “the blues”. I’m not sure which blues he speaks of – this record has as much in common with the Mississippi Delta or the origins of blues based rock as Steve Perry is to gangsta rap.
 
Look, I know it’s fun to read a bad review and especially one aimed at Yngwie – but it’s not without cause. This album continues the muddy mess that has been every record in recent years where Yngwie is in control of playing, producing and mixing. It’s just bloody awful.
 
The opening title track has wall to wall rhythm with bass reduced to sounding like a distant foghorn dipped in crude oil. There’s no space between instruments and the relentless double kick drum on just about every damn song is completely out of place. Much like Yngwie playing the blues.
 
Just check out Foxey Lady. Widdling intro, brain damaging bass thumping and thrash like double kick drum speed while Yngwie’s “vocals” and continual widdling travel along at half the speed. Doesn’t anyone ever say “dude, this ain’t right?”
It’s the same with Purple Haze. Widdle, thump, widdle, thump, wail, widdle – all at double the sensible tempo.
How about the utterly classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps – the beautiful, gentle, restrained masterpiece of subtlety and style? Widdle, thump, widdle widdle, wail, double-widdle, triple-widdle.
There is zero soul on this album.
 
Yes Yngwie can play like a BMF. Yes, he can widdle faster than the speed of taste, yes he used to be an essential purchase when actually using a producer, a vocalist, a bassist and a drummer (a real band that is).

Until he employs a modicum of self-restraint and self-awareness (and a vocalist and a producer etc etc), then I will be here to critique these albums honestly. And honestly, this is more of the same.
I’ll score this a 22 – the same number of years since the last great Malmsteen record.
 
Score: 
22
 
Thu
28
Mar

LA GUNS - The Devil You Know (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
70%
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, March 22, 2019
Categories: 
 
I believe the usual line used is “stripping it back to the roots” or “delivering the raw energy of the early days”. I prefer the terms “low budget” and “crap production.”
 
The production quality aside – and it really is painful to listen to this album at volume – LA Guns definitely deliver the high energy levels.
 
This is a lively record of uptempo, attacking rock songs with a bad attitude and an aggressive feel. There’s touches of the debut and Cocked And Loaded, the punky part of Vicious Circle and some outside 70s blues rock influences (Led Zep anyone?)
 
Tracii shreds like a teenager and Phil sounds….well, like classic Phil, which is always a good thing.
 
The songs themselves are a mixed bag. The first three are pretty much classic LA Guns and Don’t Need To Win sounds like the earliest vibe of the band, Another Season In Hell stretching things into more adventurous territory.
 
The rest…I could take them or leave them. Nothing really stands out and as stated, the production is so rough and raw, its hard to appreciate any song that doesn’t deliver the highest quality.

So it’s another middle of the road score here for LA Guns. Their inconsistent catalogue remains just that. I’ll stick with the debut, Hollywood Vampires, Vicious Circle, Waking The Dead and Cocked & Loaded. Those are essential LA Guns records.
 
Score: 
70
 
Tue
26
Mar

TESLA - Shock (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
88%
Label: 
Universal
Artist: 
Categories: 
 
Tesla have been splitting fan opinions with their last few albums, but from what it appears, perhaps ‘Shock’ has come close to impressing most of the fan base.
 
The most noise surrounding this album seems to be the ‘Leppardization’ of the sound, given then Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen is producing. Yes, it’s obvious, but how can that be a bad thing, really?
The production is big and fat and the guitars are front and centre, Jeff Keith sounds in better shape and the songs are very strong.
 
For me it is great to hear Tesla back to their classic tone, leaving the modern tuned down aspect of their last couple behind – for the most part. The album’s title track certainly delivers a bombastic modernized set of riffs, but it fits well within the album.
Two ballads in the first 5 songs might be pushing things a bit – but both are classic Tesla.
 
I do have to raise my concerns with the carefree, breezy California Summer Song. It’s horrid. Lets Get Rocked meets that jackass Kid Rock with a truly obnoxious song. Then it’s another ballad – and the weakest of the album. So the album really suffers for pace through the middle, but finally The Mission comes to kick ass and rescue us from the mid-album cheese.
 
From here out it’s nothing but hooks and riffs and little for any Tesla fan to complain about.

The album’s twelve tracks clock in at only 44 minutes, but a slight tweak in the sequencing and the abandoning of California Summer Song would bring this album closer to the band’s best work. Their first 4 albums are untouchable.

Welcome back Tesla!
Score: 
86
 
Tue
26
Mar

CRANSTON - II (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
78%
Label: 
Indie
Artist: 
Categories: 
 
To those not paying attention, it might seem that PHIL VINCENT is in 17 bands, but the reality is it is only 5. And his solo career!
 
So yes, he's a busy lad and sometimes it might be valid to quote the quality over quantity cliche, but as long as he's delivering records like Cranston II, I don't think you could fairly use that.
 
CRANSTON is singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Phil Vincent, AOR God Paul Sabu and D’Ercole drummer B.F. D’Ercole. So Phil isn't reaching far outside his musical circle for collaborators, nor is he delivering anything we haven't heard before - crunchy melodic hard rock with a slight pomp touch and those unmistakable Kip Winger styled vocals.
 
But the genuine warmth in which I hold Phil is testament to the material he delivers. Ok, so the production might not quite be there, but there's always a few songs from each album you treasure and there aren't too many fillers on offer. And he's a very fine guitarist too.

If American melodic hard rock with a pomp touch and a heavy Winger influence is your thing, then look no further.

Score: 
78
 
Tue
26
Mar

THE END MACHINE - The End Machine (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
65%
Label: 
Frontiers
Categories: 
 
George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, Mick Brown, and Robert Mason - it should be a slam dunk, home run, guaranteed hard rock monster right? Well not in this case.
 
Straddling a line between classic and modern rock, the album sounds sonically great and you can't argue that the performances of the critically acclaimed personnel isn't to their usual high standard. But why is the album stuck in a nowhere zone?
 
For me its the songs. They just aren't there. I'm not finding any compelling reason to come back to the album once it's finished playing. I think Robert Mason is a powerful singer, but I've never warmed to any album he's been involved in. For example, the second Lynch Mob album he fronted was a huge let down after the classic debut. I think he sings great, but without the necessary personality to own any project he's fronting.
 
The emphasis on down tuned guitars and that modern hard rock sound leaves me cold and the similar mid-tempo pacing throughout keeps me reaching for the skip button.

I was hoping there would be a more Dokken or even Lynch Mob flavored sound here or at least some kind of personality, and while there are hints of both, neither takes hold. For me it is just another modern American hard rock album in a pool of too many other similar projects. They guys needed better songs and more personality.

 

Score: 
65
 
Fri
01
Mar

TOBY HITCHCOCK - Reckoning (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
86%
Label: 
Frontiers
Friday, January 25, 2019
Categories: 
 
Toby Hitchcock is one of the voices of the last decade or so. Since his Pride Of Lions debut, his powerful tenor has been front and centre for some of the genre’s best anthems and most epic ballads. Any Toby Hitchcock is good Toby Hitchcock.
 
And for the most part, this album is no different. Songs are delivered by the who’s who of the AOR scene, with at least another 4-5 classic songs here – Queen Untouchable, Promise Me, No Surrender and This Is Our World. Man, the guy can sing.
 
I like that a lot of the album is uptempo and flows at a pretty hectic pace. I don’t think this is as strong as Toby’s Erik Martensson helmed debut. Even though this album is also a Swedish production, the differences are quite stark. Reckoning sounds firmly planted in the 80s, with the keyboards and production style a more distinct European in flavour.
The songs are enjoyable but not to the same level as the debut or Pride Of Lions.
 
There is one issue that desperately needs to be addressed. The keyboards. We need to talk about the keyboards.
 
As has been the case with all Daniel Flores productions, the keyboards dominate. They are the highest element in the mix, aside from vocals and there are just way too many layers of them. There is no letup in the sonic bombardment. There needs to be more space for the rest of the instrumentation to breathe. Even during guitar solos the keyboards still dominate.
 
I like Daniel a lot – very talented and sweet guy – but there must be an intervention. The keyboards are simply overbearing, and the production style is becoming very repetitive. Find Me (all 3), the second First Signal album, the Palace debut, Cry Of Dawn and now Toby Hitchcock – largely all sound the same. So moving forward I hope some individual personality can be infused into these projects. And that's the main essence of what's missing here - its own personality.
 
That said, there’s still plenty to enjoy and Toby’s vocals are powerful, emotional and totally immersive. Fans of Find Me, Daniel’s other AOR work and 80s keyboard melodic rock will enjoy.
 
Score: 
86
 
Wed
27
Feb

JETBOY - Born To Fly (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
85%
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, January 25, 2019
Categories: 
 
Of all the glory days comebacks that could happen, a new Jetboy album would not have been on my list of most desired, nor expected. But nevertheless, here it is and what do you know, this ain’t bad!
 
The guys have mellowed a tad since the days of ‘Dammed Nation’, but there’s no denying the spirit and energy on display here. There have been some real clunkers delivered by American legacy bands in the last 12 months, so I wasn’t expecting much to be honest.
The style and the sound are here, not to mention a far superior production quality than some of their peers have delivered, it’s just a little less ‘in your face’ now.
 
This album does capture the essence of the 80s/90s Los Angeles metal scene and dials up the AC/DC riffing. And at the core of it is some catchy and enjoyable songs. You can hear the effort the band has put in with the production quality, but there appears to have been a lot of attention paid to the songwriting too.
 
An album exceeding expectations is always good – but when those expectations were neutral at best, it’s even more pleasing to hear an album as well made as what Jetboy have done here.
 
Good job guys – a big riffing, good fun, old school American hard rock album.
 
Score: 
85
 
Wed
27
Feb

ROBERT RODRIGO BAND - Living For Louder (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
80%
Label: 
Independent
Categories: 
 
Robert Rodrigo Band is the brainchild of Spanish guitarist Robert Rodrigo, the man behind the excellent Airless and composer of two previous instrumental solo albums.
 
This album is a mixture of all that has come before, delivered in an energetic collection of well-produced songs. There are a couple of enjoyable left turn instrumentals with another two additional more straight-ahead instrumentals later in the album. The remaining six tracks feature vocal god Johnny Gioeli in full force. His style and tone suit the album perfectly – giving both his trademark rasp and ability to turn melodic opportunities to shine.
 
There is real musical dexterity and diversity between the tracks – from a straight blues boogie to stadium anthems and some groovy sounding hard rock.
There is some vivid musical experimentation in several of the verses, but come chorus time, its all hooks and melodies.
 
10 tracks, 40 minutes….no room for fillers or fluff here. An enjoyable album with a few really good hooks and some impressive guitar work. Familiar for fans of the genre, but fresh also.
 
Score: 
80
 
Wed
27
Feb

TORA TORA - Bastards Of Beale (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
40%
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Categories: 
I love Tora Tora’s acclaimed ‘Wild America’ album – a stand out album at the time, offering something just that little bit different and unique. A mix of bluesy hard rock, Led Zeppelin and a touch of late 80s sleaze.
 
The same can’t be said about this record. ‘Bastards Of Beale’ struggles for an identity, apart from occasionally sounding like a distance version of themselves and some Zeppelinesque touches.
I’m struggling with the quality of the vocals and the production is also very rough. If you like that rawer, unpolished sound it might appeal more, but to me it sounds like the guys set up live in the studio and just hit record.
 
Anthony’s vocals are also a good distance from the energy of ‘Wild America’ and are just annoying in places. The overall style and quality of the songs are nowhere near the uniqueness and strength the band once commanded.
 
It all just sounds underdone and under budget. No question the guitar playing is still top notch, but everything else fails to meet expectations.
 
Unlikely to be played again.

 

Score: 
40
Tags: 
 
Tue
18
Sep

TREAT - Tunguska (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
98%
Release Date: 
2018
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock, AOR
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, September 14, 2018
Categories: 
 
Treat really are on a blinder since reforming and this, their third studio album since then, is a testament to the ability of the band to keep delivering each time, yet do so in a fresh manner each time.
 
Tunguska is the perfect companion piece to the timeless classic Coup De Grace and the album between, the more modern sounding Ghost Of Graceland.
Tunguska has elements of both – the modern forward momentum of Ghost and the classic anthems of Coup.
 
In all honesty – if you’re a fan of Scani melodic rock, all three are as essential. Period!
 
So we have another high energy album here featuring 12 amazing compositions – all layered in vocal harmonies - 10 mid-up tempo tunes and a couple of monster ballads. Tomorrow Never Comes and the impossibly good Build The Love are genre defying classics.
 
The diversity among the tracks might give some fans reason to rate this downwind of the last 2 albums, but I embrace this evolution in Treat’s history. Best Of Enemies, Creeps and Man Overboard are probably the most challenging songs to dissect, but for me they still kill and add texture between the anthems of Always Have, Always Will; Progenitors and Rose Of Jericho.
It doesn’t stop there though, Riptide, All Bets Are Off and Undefeated give the last half more energy than the first.
 
The only caveat I will impose is the sequencing. I would not have chosen the running order of the songs as has been done here. I think there are a couple of options to make it even smoother.
 
Highly digestible Scandi melodic goodness right here. The band can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, and this makes 3 from 3 in the classic album stakes.
The choruses are huge, the hooks even bigger and the sound is baby bum-cheek fresh. The harmonies really are something!
 
I just love these guys. Get it!
Score: 
98
 
Mon
17
Sep

STEVE PERRY - Traces (Full Feature Review)

information persons: 
content: 
92%
Produced By: 
Thom Flowers & Steve Perry
Running Time: 
40
Release Date: 
October 5
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
AOR, Soul
Label: 
Fantasy
Artist: 
Categories: 
 
The return of Steve Perry is one thing, but the avalanche of publicity for the immediate release of a single and a full album due October 5, has been something else.
Such is the rarity of new Perry work, I have been writing for 22 years and only covered one new studio album – Journey’s Trial By Fire.
But here we are – Traces is the new album – a 10 track chronicle of Steve’s recent life experiences and a 15-track deluxe edition available via direct online or USA Target stores. This is a review of the standard/international edition. It will be updated with word on the additional 5 tracks ASAP.
 
To many – me included – Steve Perry is the voice of AOR, the definitive authority on just how good vocals can be. You have to get past the pure excitement factor of just getting to hear his voice again before you can objectively critique new material. I have given most of my personal favourite artists a serve at one point or another over the years, however, I’m pleased to say there’s not much to be critical of here – provided fans understand the reality of Steve Perry 2018.
 
The voice is rougher, raspier and it isn’t as strong as it once was. But that’s almost stating the bleeding obvious. Who would be at nearly 70 years of age?
What I care about is performance and songs and ‘Traces’ gets a tick in each column.
 
I can’t imagine anyone is surprised to hear this is a ballad filled, slow to mid-tempo record. And while some may struggle with the pace, I doubt any long time Perry fan is going to be disappointed.
Steve Perry at 70 is still Steve Perry. Just like hearing Neil Diamond at any stage in his career, so too is the joy of hearing Steve Perry. It’s that distinctive voice and those trademark inflections, that tone and that unmistakable delivery of mood and emotion that no one does better.
The characteristics and familiar style of Steve Perry’s past is all over this record. You can hear parts of ‘Street Talk’, ‘Strange Medicine’ and of course ‘Trial By Fire’ and other Journey-isms.
 
Taking a look at the songs themselves:
 
‘No Erasin’' is the upbeat easy to like, catchy as hell lead track (and single). I’ve enjoyed it from the start and I’m still enjoying it. Immediately memorable and the layered Motown harmonies are trademark Steve.
 
‘We're Still Here’ is the second track and a ballad as expected. It’s very smooth, very moody and features a more direct and unfiltered lead vocal. Textured with modern production effects and soulful harmonies, the chorus isn't big, but it's cool. Compared to the rest of the album’s ballads, it almost feels ‘up’, especially with the chorus.
 
'Most Of All' is a co-write with the great Randy Goodrum. It features a wonderful heartfelt vocal; slower and very sparse and smooth, this time lead primarily by Steve's voice and a grand piano. The chorus lifts tempo slightly as does Steve's voice. I picked it as a favourite from the first listen and that’s stayed true. Not unlike Strange Medicine's slower moments, plus a nice guitar solo and plenty of soul.
 
'No More Cryin' is yet another ballad, but each track has its own vibe, making the album far more enjoyable overall. This track has a touch of the Memphis blues about it and immediately reminds me of old school Steve. The chorus lifts the tempo and has some cool modern guitar riffing.
 
'In The Rain' is something very special. This is a very personal, very emotional piano ballad, formed with just a warm, soulful vocal, the piano and some lush orchestration. The vocal is amazing - very raw and haunting and Steve’s most ambitious high notes on the album. I can’t praise that enough and the vocal-melody makes the song.
 
'Sun Shines Grey' is co-written with John 5 and producer Thom Flowers. We've found the album’s other rocker, and it reminds me of modern day Rick Springfield mixed with Journey's Can't Tame The Lion. I could imagine Neal Schon playing on this, but John 5 is the man behind the riffs and also delivers a cool solo.
 
'You Belong To Me' is another soft piano ballad with accompanying string orchestration and an ultra-smooth and soulful vocal. There's some rasp in that voice its aged, but it’s still driven by those classic Perry nuances.
 
‘Easy To Love' is another stand out ballad. This one is characterised by some percussion and organ accompanying a slow, steady Motown style vocal. The chorus jumps in tempo with some classic Perry soul harmonies. This is definitely another ballad with a familiar vibe.
 
'I Need You' is a cover of the Beatles tune, a mere 2.59 in length, this ballad features the most familiar Perry vocal sound yet! Soft, slow, soulful...it’s the theme of the record.
 
Closing out the standard edition of this album 'We Fly' is another unique ballad. The first minute features just Steve's vocal. Talk about putting yourself out there! It’s an intense song that builds as it goes with atmospheric keyboards in the background.

And there you go. A very quick 40 minutes flies by as you immerse yourself in the music and lyrics of the maestro. It’s a very fine record, there’s no doubt. Immaculately produced and constructed, with equally impressive musical performances by the band assembled and also the orchestral parts. The soulful harmonies are classic Perry and lush in texture.
 
What I do like about this album is each ballad has its own style, its own emotion and its own unique energy. Overall, this is a very contemporary album. The two rockers are both very commercial and the ballads could be lifted from any era. It’s a mood album…but perfect for when you’re in that mood.
 
It's Steve ‘MF’ Perry. It’s also very very good.

 
Target Special Edition Bonus Tracks:
 
‘October In New York’ is a slow crooner of a song – a very authentic jazz/40s pop crooner complete with a stripped back jazz-ballad arrangement with orchestration and a simple piano to accompany. Not huge on this one – but the musical style is not my bag generally speaking.
 
‘Angel Eyes’ lifts the tempo a little – mid-range for this track, which quite honestly could have come straight off Street Talk. Gracious, this one should have been on all editions! A wonderful breezy tune with lots of Motown influences and the same feel as ‘I Believe’ and ‘Go Away’. The vocal is quite marvellous.
 
‘Call On Me’ takes on the third different style in 3 songs. Almost as if Steve has left the more adventurous tracks for the special edition. This one has another familiar feel to it, using a mid-tempo reggae beat in the same way as Steve has done before, with his soulful vocals just dripping over the instrumentation. Another fine vocal it must be said and another likeable song. I would have used this on the regular edition.
 
‘Could We Be Somethin’ Again’ is yet another left turn – a slow to mid-tempo pop/soul track with a tidy little beat and another warm vocal. Good song, but definitely a bonus track kinda tune.
 
The 3 minute ‘Blue Jays Fly’ is the 5th song with the 5th different style. Not sure how to describe this one. A softly sung vocal over sparse instrumentation – it’s almost in a meditative or lullaby state that doesn’t feature a lot of vocals. It closes out things nicely, but not one I’d choose for the main set of songs.
 
More songs are always welcomed – there’s a couple of great tunes here that could easily have been part of the main release. The other 3 make for likable bonus tracks and take Steve’s overdue comeback album to a better length.
My original review and rating remain intact.
Score: 
92
 
Thu
23
Aug

STEVE PERRY - 'Traces' (First Playback Pre-Review)

Label: 
Fantasy
Artist: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
Categories: 
 
STEVE PERRY will release his brand new 10 track studio album 'Traces' on October 5 worldwide via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG)
 
I was fortunate enough to get a secure audio stream of the new Steve Perry album ‘Traces’, thanks to Universal. Below are my first impressions, written while listening to the album for the very first time. A full feature review will appear here in due course and in the upcoming issue of Fireworks Magazine.
 
01. No Erasin' 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
 
I’m still enjoying the lead track and first single 'No Erasin'. Immediately memorable and how good is it to hear this voice again? So we've all heard the song...what's next is THE question!
 
02. We're Still Here 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, Brian West
 
'We're Still Here' is the second track, written with Brian West. It's a ballad as expected. It is a very smooth, moody ballad with a more direct and unfiltered lead vocal. The chorus isn't big, but it's cool. Laid back and textured with modern production effects. Steve sounds great. Soul harmonies pop up here and there.
 
03. Most Of All 04:23
Writers: Steve Perry, Randy Goodrum
 
'Most Of All' is another very sparse, soft and smooth ballad, this time lead primarily by Steve's voice and a grand piano. The chorus lifts tempo slightly as does Steve's voice. I'm guessing this is going to take some time to get to know but will be a favorite. It is a very smooth track and not unlike Strange Medicine's slower moments, a nice guitar solo and plenty of soul.
 
04. No More Cryin' 04:29
Writers: Dan Wilson, Steve Perry
 
'No More Cryin' is another ballad, but at least all 3 so far have each had a different style. This one is more bluesy with a touch of Motown to it. The chorus lifts & has some modern styled guitar riffing. Co-written with Dan Wilson, this is going to be another highlight.
 
05. In The Rain 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
 
'In The Rain' is written by Steve & David Spreng. It has starts off as another slow piano ballad, with a warm, soulful vocal and here comes some orchestration... It is very sparse...almost no percussion, just piano and vocal. Some great vocals here.
 
06. Sun Shines Gray 03:57
Writers: Steve Perry, John 5, Thom Flowers
 
'Sun Shines Grey' is co-written with John 5 and producer Thom Flowers. We've hit an uptempo one folks! The song reminds me a little of Journey's Trial By Fire sound: almost a Can't Tame The Lion vibe, but modernized. I could imagine Neal Schon playing on this. John 5 is delivers a cool solo and can be heard throughout, albeit in an understated role.
 
07. You Belong To Me 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, Barry Eastmond
 
'You Belong To Me' is another slow, soft piano ballad with some more string orchestration in place and of course, an ultra-smooth and soulful vocal. There's some rasp in that voice and yes, it's aged, but still full of those classic Perry nuances.
 
08. Easy To Love 04:03
Writers: Steve Perry, Thom Flowers
 
'Easy To Love' is yes, another ballad...a little different this time. Percussion and some organ accompany another slow, steady vocal. The chorus jumps in tempo with some classic Perry soul harmonies. This is definitely another ballad with a familiar vibe.
 
09. I Need You 02:59
Writer: George Harrison
 
'I Need You' is a cover of the Beatles tune, a mere 2.59 in length, this ballad features the most familiar Perry vocal sound yet! Soft, slow, soulful...it’s the theme of the record.
 
10. We Fly 03:56
Writers: Steve Perry, Jeff Babko
 
Closing out the standard edition of this album 'We Fly' is...wait for it...wait for it...a ballad! The first minute features only Steve's vocal. Talk about putting yourself out there! An intense song that builds as it goes with atmospheric keyboards in the background. Should be another favorite in time.
 
Album Produced by: Steve Perry & Thom Flowers
 
Well folks, that's that! Obviously, one should not ever pass judgment on a record after just one listen, so stay tuned for my full, detailed review soon. Much more listening to do here.
Upfront I'll say that it sounds great but is a very slow paced record. Not unexpected I guess with the subject matter in mind and the time passed since we last heard from “the voice”.
All but 2 tracks are ballads and overall the tempo and the soulfulness of the songs clearly makes this a mood listening album. Perfect for when the situation calls for it, but not for all situations.
 
Thank You Steve Perry for coming back to share your voice with us fans.
 
RELEASE DATE: October 5th, 2018
 
TRACK LISTING:
1. No Erasin’
2. We’re Still Here
3. Most Of All
4. No More Cryin’
5. In The Rain
6. Sun Shines Gray
7. You Belong To Me
8. Easy To Love
9. I Need You
10. We Fly
11. October in New York (Deluxe edition only)
12. Angel Eyes (Deluxe edition only)
13. Call On Me (Deluxe edition only)
14. Could We Be Somethin’ Again (Deluxe edition only)
15. Blue Jays Fly (Deluxe edition only)

 

 
Wed
15
Aug

STEVE PERRY - No Erasin' (Single Review)

Artist: 
Categories: 
 
The first line of No Erasin’ says it all – I know its been a long time comin’… - the same line Steve Perry teased fans with just yesterday. Who thought we’d be listening to the first single and watching the new video just 24hrs later?
 
No Erasin’ is a triumphant return – Steve’s first new song in 20 years – and it’s classic Perry all the way. This is a GREAT song. That’s the most important aspect. It’s a personal message, which I will presume is going to be the continued theme of the album as a whole.
 
The voice? It’s there, it’s absolutely there. It’s different, yet so familiar.
 
Twenty years since we last heard Steve on record and you can hear the differences. In the same way Steve’s voice matured from the insanely high notes of Escape and Frontiers, to the deeper and more soulful Street Talk, Trial By Fire and Strange Medicine albums, so to has it further matured to be an understandably older voice. Raspier and yes, more fallible, but each time I play this song I have to pause afterwards and just appreciate how good he still sounds.
 
The production is first rate – the mix is exquisite, and every musical nuance can be heard. On the surface it seems a pretty simple song, but depth comes with time and there is so much depth here. From the classic Steve Perry soul-harmonies of his solo work and the many layers of backing vocals, to the vocal inflections such as at 1.05 and 1.40 in the song – it’s just classic “solo” Perry all the way. And the melody bridge at 3.50 – perfection.
 
The video is a joy to watch, just look at Steve’s face – you know he’s loving this and you can feel it.
 
It’s a huge sound. It may not be the faster, heavier album intro that was You Better Wait and it may well be that the album is fairly laid back and ballad heavy, but with this raspy tone and the personal lyrical style Steve does, that makes for a really compelling album and I can’t wait to hear more.
 
Putting aside the fanboy happiness to hear Steve back again, this single has already surpassed my expectations. Thank you Steve Perry.
 
Tue
16
Jan

RICK SPRINGFIELD - The Snake King (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
90%
Produced By: 
Rick Springfield
Running Time: 
53
Release Date: 
January 26
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Blues, R&B, Country, Pop Rock
Label: 
Frontiers
Friday, January 26, 2018
Categories: 
 
Few artists have crossed as many boundaries and tested as many limits as Rick Springfield. He’s rarely delivered an album that sounded much like the one before it. Yet you always know just who it is.
 
Rick has taken a true hard left on a few occasions. And for the most part, his dedicated fan base has followed every step of the way. I say for the most part, because even though I can’t think of a bigger RS fan than myself, there are a couple of albums that sit on my shelf more to satisfy my completist compulsions. And to be honest, they probably sit more because I’m always playing my favourite RS material.
 
So on a gut feeling that this was something ‘he just had to do’, Rick takes one of the bigger detours of his career, diving into a full service blues album. Well…mostly.
 
Fans will be familiar with Rick’s love of the blues. Several times over the years he has leant in that direction on an individual song or two. There are still very familiar aspects to ‘The Snake King’. One is of course Rick’s warm voice and those lyrics – delving into familiar subjects like spirituality, God, relationships, sex, depression and temptation.
 
There is also some familiarity in the music. In fact, there’s a few tunes that could easily have appeared on ‘Rocket Science’ – the fairly breezy country tinged opener Land Of The Blind; plus the cool relaxed Blues For The Disillusioned and the 10 minute long Orpheus In The Underworld, which is quite possibly the most lyrics ever written for any song…ever!
 
In-between those are some truly impressive examples of some genuine delta blues riffing, complete with harmonica, brass and some guitar playing that really impresses - both fast rocking and slower traditional blues rhythms. Most impressive here, besides the trio of more recognisable Rick songs are the title track; the heavier rock of Little Demon – which converts to a slow guitar solo of pure class; the lyrically dark, rollicking double time blues of Suicide Manifesto and the quite commercial Voodoo House.
And a special mention for the intense title track The Snake King, with its amazing slide guitar.
 
There’s more than enough here for most dedicated fans to appreciate.  For others it might be a case of heading to iTunes and picking and choosing personal favourites, one advantage of this digital age.

The Snake King is a mood album. For me it may not played at the lengths previous albums have been, but I do know that when the mood does arise, I will enjoy this without question. It’s too good not to. Bottom line – The Snake King is all class as usual, as expected.
 
Score: 
90
 
Wed
25
Oct

REVOLUTION SAINTS - Light In The Dark (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
90%
Produced By: 
Alessandro Del Vecchio
Release Date: 
2017
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Label: 
Frontiers
Friday, October 13, 2017
Categories: 
 
In designing this supergroup, the powers that be could have gone two ways – the Damn Yankees melodic hard rock route, with a more prominent role for Jack Blades’ vocals; or the Journeyesque AOR/melodic rock route, which is what this sounds like.
With superstar drummer and vocalist Deen Castronovo taking on the vast majority of all vocals, Revolution Saints offers Journey fans something with a little more bite.
 
I would have preferred a Damn Yankees model – where members wrote the songs and were fully utilized and the band had their own identity.
 
Revolution Saints is very much Deen and Alessandro Del Vecchio’s baby and while once again Alessandro has crafted a strong set of melodic rock friendly songs and a big production, there doesn’t appear to be much of Jack Blades’ personality on here past the opening anthem Light In The Dark.
 
Doug Aldrich shreds and riffs like the magician he is, but this is Deen’s record. Damn the boy can sing! Whether it’s the uptempo anthemic material or the slow, resolute ballads, Deen gives Steve Perry a run for his money.
Highlights include the perfect stadium anthem Light In The Dark, the slow dark and moody Freedom, the exquisite Journeyesque ballads Wouldn’t Change A Thing and Can’t Run Away From Love, the harder edge of rockers Take You Down and The Storm Inside.
The new album is far more uptempo than the debut, but I still probably prefer that release as the rockers here are good – but there are times where I find my attention drifting when some of the songs tend to sound very similar.

Overall, this can be described as another great slice of European produced melodic rock – even if the 3 principle musicians are all Americans. It doesn’t push any boundaries, but it’s not meant to. The sole purpose of Revolution Saints is to deliver a Journey friendly album of commercial 80s style melodic rock and let Deen sing his heart out. That is delivered with ease and for that reason, fans will love this record.
 
Score: 
90
 
Wed
25
Oct

STEELHEART - Through Worlds Of Stardust (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
70%
Produced By: 
Miljenko Matijevic
Release Date: 
2017
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock, Modern Metal
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, September 15, 2017
Categories: 
 
This is an odd little album. There’s virtually no recognizable sign of the MCA signed Steelheart that produced two cracking albums in the early 90s before shedding members and changing musical format in the late 90s.
Rather, this is a continuation of frontman/onlyman Miljenko Matijevic’s preference towards alt-modern hard rock, with some seriously loud, sometimes screechy vocals.
 
Song wise it’s a pretty strange set up, with 4 intense semi-industrial metalized hard rockers followed by three ballads then another intense metal track followed by two more mellower tracks.
 
Taken as a whole, it’s pretty interesting listening and a musical statement has definitely been made here, but how many Steelheart fans will be receptive to this?
 
And what’s with the same melody being used on three different tracks?? Check out My World, You Got Me Twisted and Got Me Running. Eh?

Tracks I will probably revisit for enjoyment – You Got Me Twisted, My Dirty Girl and the Led Zeppelin goes alt-metal opener Stream Line Savings. But the rest….no thanks.
Score: 
70
 
Wed
25
Oct

MORITZ - About Time Too (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
60%
Produced By: 
Moritz
Release Date: 
2017
Released: 
Europe
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Artist: 
Monday, July 31, 2017
Categories: 
 
On songs and performance alone, you’ve definitely got a contender for one of the best classic British melodic rock albums of 2017. There’s a lot to like with the keyboard/guitar driven old school 80s AOR and the vocals of Peter Scallan. Some of the songs such as blissful Chance Of A Lifetime are just perfect.
 
But the production is a huge problem. The rhythm section is the biggest culprit, with mega-bass, but virtually no drums and the overall mix is a problem when trying to enjoy this at a decent volume.
 
I like these guys, I like these songs, but it’s 2017 now guys – there can’t be any excuses for bad production and it’s something I always point out here and will continue to do so.

The market is flooded with releases, so if you aren’t delivering the best on all fronts, sales will suffer.
Score: 
60
Tags: 
 
Wed
18
Oct

LA Guns - The Missing Peace (Review)

information persons: 
content: 
70%
Produced By: 
LA Guns
Release Date: 
2017
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Label: 
Frontiers
Artist: 
Friday, October 13, 2017
Categories: 
 
LA Guns are vocalist Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns. Full stop. Both parties have trialled separate line-ups without the other, but output has never matched what these guys can do together.
I used to adore LA Guns. Vicious Circle, Cocked & Loaded, Waking The Dead, Hollywood Vampires…all genre classics!
 
But recent years have seen the band deliver some pretty suspect releases and you really don’t know quite what a new album might deliver these days.
 
With Missing Piece there are still some missing pieces. Phil sounds a fresh and vibrant as always, Tracii is shredding like a mofo, but the sound here leans towards a loose and trashy punk vibe, with a pretty ordinary production effort.
The album moves fast, the riffs come just as quickly and there’s attitude overload, but essentially, we’re talking about half an album of decent songs and half forgettable ones, plus a questionable production quality.
 
What I’m liking is the rapid fire All the Same to Me, Speed; the groovy Kill It Or Die (shit chorus though) and the ballads Crystal Eyes Christine and the more epic The Flood's the Fault of the Rain.

Cool attitude, great energy, but poor production and too many fillers where it doesn’t sound like too much time has been spent on the writing process. I’m still up in the air over buying a hard copy for my LA Guns collection. It’s already missing a few albums due to similar QC problems, so my OCD won’t kick in too badly.
Score: 
70
 

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