Yes....I finally got around to buying some NEW music......
Date: April 12, 2013 01:52AM

rather than working my way backwards as I've been doing lately.

I don't expect everyone to rehash their views here as I know most of these albums have been done to death in these parts , but seeing as I have only recently bought and heard them all and couldn't contribute to other threads, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

I bought what I thought were likely to be the best of the recent bunch of releases and I can say for once I bought very well......no huge disappointments other than perhaps Saxon.

My ratings system for the purpose of this post is very simplistic.....I average my iTunes song ratings across the album (out of 5) and multiply by 20 for a score out of 100 and then add/subtract a few points if deemed necessary for things like album flow , production, miscellaneous etc... I have listened to each disc 3 times and adjusted a few ratings up/down as I went.

I must say , the scores were quite different to my assumptions before listening - almost the opposite in rank to be honest. In terms of bias I am a huge JSS fan (Martensson not so much) , a reasonably casual fan of Pretty Maids (have a number of their disks), likewise FM and haven't bothered much with the others in the past.

Without further ado - here's the disks and scores and then some general comment on why I feel my ratings might differ quite a bit from the consensus.

WET: Rise Up 78% (their 1st album was 85%)

Pretty Maids: Motherland 90%

FM : Rockville 75%

Crashdiet: The Savage Playground 88%

Saxon : Sacrifice 68%

N.O.W. : Bohemian Kingdom 90%

Lionville : II 85% (first album 72%)



I have noticed in recent times that my scores have deviated more and more from Andrew and others......the big 95-100% jobs tend to get around 80% from me if they're lucky . In the end I think it comes down to one word - predictability , and my aversion to it.

What is annoying me of late is almost knowing exactly what I'm about to hear as I move through an album and , although it got a decent score from me , W.E.T suffers badly from that. Don't get me wrong - I think we're lucky to have so many quality artists making new material in a genre on life support and one that's been around long enough that there's "nothing new under the sun" but unfortunately only a scarce few have the ability to freshen things up and create something that actually sounds thoughtful, new and exciting with fresh melody/vocal lines rather than a rehash........IMHO of course.

Three of my "albums of the year" of the last decade were Shy:s/t , Trail of Murder: Shades of Art and Place Vendome : s/t. They got (on average) just okay ratings from most but IMHO were so far ahead of albums like W.E.T. , Jamison , Eclipse, Hess, Trixter etc.......it's not funny. Great song writing , tracks that clearly differ from each other and have interesting lyrical and musical tangents ....and great musicianship.



Anyway.......some brief album comments:


W.E.T: I'm a massive JSS fan and to some extent he does himself harm by having such an amazing back catalogue. Does this album stand up against the best of Talisman, Eyes etc.... clearly not IMO. As mentioned earlier it suffers from "cookie cutter" syndrome and while it's a nice album to tap my foot to , I find it hard to remember much of it and am not drawn back to play any tracks again aside from Shot and Learn To Live Again , where the hooks are big enough to overcome the familiarity of the sound.

I have since upgraded the rating on the first track Walk Away but the initial impression was something like "If I hear one more song with Don't Walk Away........don't leave my side tonight..baybee, hold on , blah blah".....I'll shoot someone. It really isn't a bad song but it was almost exactly what I was expecting/fearing and really lacks any sort of depth.

Much better than the Eclipse album , a great JSS vocal performance as usual, but in the end not much to hold my attention other than the couple of tracks mentioned. I haven't listened to it for a while but I think as a whole album I'd prefer Damage Control.


Pretty Maids: I rate this higher than Pandemonium as I feel they get the balance of their unique metal/AOR/melodic rock combo spot on here.

I actually downgraded this a bit from the pure song based rating as it was getting too close to 100% without a few absolutely brilliant tracks. having said that almost every track is strong and it's a consistently good effort with enough variation in the melody ideas to hold my interest.

Seriously good album.

FM This is another very predictable effort - pleasant enough and I love Overland's voice but not a patch on their earlier efforts. I have heard samples of Rockville II and ordered that as it sounds like all the best tracks that are pushing the boundaries of their traditional sound were left for that. Weird.

I did really enjoy Only Foolin , Story of My Life, Crosstown Train and High Cost of Loving but the rest was pretty blah.

Crashdiet: This one surprised me and , if not for the horrible Lickin Dog and average Cocaine Cowboys , would've been rated even higher. This isn't my usual style of music - I have a reputation for being stuck in the past and not open to something with a bit of a more grungy/modern slant - but there are some nice hooks on this. Well written.

Almost as good as Crazy Lixx : New Religion which is a real compliment.

I kept thinking how good Seb Bach would sound fronting this band for some reason.

Saxon : Pretty simple - I bought the album on the strength of the title track and nothing else came close.

N.O.W. Quite a versatile platter this one - from hard rockers to moody slower paced songs with sax. I enjoy Bardowell's voice so add in a bunch of great songs and some strong music and it's a winner.

This is possibly the most consistent album of the bunch - the only songs I marked down a bit were Strong Enough (due to the very familiar vocal melody) and Mary-Ann which to me is the throwaway track. The rest are all very strong.

Special mention to the very tasteful guitar playing - I found myself hearing the sort of phrasing that I myself might have aimed for (back when I could actually play)

A nice surprise this album! Not as easily listening as some of the others but a rewarding listen when in the mood.


Lionville Once again the opening track reaction from me was "Oh no!!". Yes I know who is involved but this is way,way too much like Work of Art to the point of being ridiculous. I have literally heard half of this song or more before. A good song but in this context very disappointing

Thankfully things improve from there and Lionville develops a little of their own sound , in parts at least. I did mark this disc down from the song-based rating as although most of the songs are very strong , they are a bit same-ish/predictable and so this album is again a bit of a victim of cookie cutter syndrome . It lacks 2 or 3 really amazing songs that are needed to push into the 90's.

Not sure about Waiting For A Star to fall....bad memories LOL.


For what it is it's very good and a distinct improvement on the debut. Cool to hear Bill Champlin on the song "Higher" too.....love his voice. Tracks like No Turning Back also have that Chicago 19 vibe , but just not quite in the same league with the musical depth of ideas.

BTW I think Lars has one of the most amazing clean but powerful vocals ever in our genre - I just wish all the material he sang on didn't sound so similar. He could be anything.


That's it!


I don't expect too many will agree with my ratings or comments but hey....just an opinion. In the end all bar Saxon were really good.....anything 75% and above on my rating system is real quality.

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Yes....I finally got around to buying some NEW music......270 the ORIGINAL brent 04/12/2013 01:52AM
Re: Yes....I finally got around to buying some NEW music...... 184 SecurityMark 04/12/2013 05:35PM


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