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REWIND / SONG HAUS 50001-2
Produced by: Steve Evitts
The debut Phantom's Opera album is re-issued in fine style here with the inclusion of 4 bonus tracks and all the original packaging.|
On it's own it is a pretty smooth collection of pop hard rock with a slice of pomp and progressive for those who like it a little varied.
The four bonus tracks only add to the value as they are pretty cool also.
Add to that it's availability as a domestic US release via Song Haus and sumthing distribution and throughout Europe via AOR Heaven and Point Music and there is no excuse for fans of Phantom's Opera and Colie Brice and even Michael Romeo's solo, material not to have this.
This is one re-release that has stood the test of time.
Produced by: Mark Mangold & American Tears
These three albums (Branded Bad, Tear Gas and Powerhouse) have been re-issued by the fine folk at Frontiers records in Italy and complete the trilogy of Mark Mangold related re-issues.|
The others being the Drive, She Said and Touch re-releases.
Now this was the first band that Mark was in so we are talking late 70's here and a sound that is somewhat dated now.
But having said that these are still fine albums for their time and needless to say, if you already have the Touch and Drive She Said CDs, you are going to need these also.
A delight for fans of 70's pop rock. And the packaging is nice too!
FRONTIERS FRCD 013
Produced by: Various
Union is the third compilation of Now & Then artists - both current and some hints of what is to come.|
The difference this time around is that Frontiers Records have taken over the distribution arm of Now & Then.
But the music remains the same and here we get the best highlights from the past few months, with tracks from Ten, Crown Of Thorns, Pangea, Emerald Rain and Stan Bush.
Also included are current releases by Johnny Lima and Dante Fox.
The bonus is we also get our first listen into upcoming albums, with new tracks from Hugo, Vinny Burns, Millenium, Norway and Millenium.
The Vinny Burns track is a highlight - smooth vocals and great melodies more in the style of Neal Schon's Late Nite album.
Hugo's track is pure AOR, but lacks the punch of his debut. This may be addressed as the album is being re-mixed for late year release.
And at a mid price you won't get better value anywhere.
ESCAPE MUSIC ESM 040
Produced by: Steve Verroca
Another re-issue - this time courtesy of the folks at Escape Music.|
And this CD also follows the release of the other Franke CDs. This is their debut album and funnily enough is the last to be re-released, but maybe the most eagerly sought after by the AOR collectors and fans of Franke's work.
Of the three albums, this is maybe the finest and will round out many collections.
Comparable to a more stripped back and Foreigner, plus having dated a little more than the Foreigner material of the same era.
There is a US compilation of hits through Razor & Tie, but with Escape's releases you can have all three albums in their entirety and complete with original packaging.
ZOOM CLUB RECORDS ZCRCD9
Produced by: Legs Diamond
Legs Diamond fans will love this. A release form the vaults, this album was demo-ed live in the studio in 1979 are subsequently scrapped.|
But here it is being unleashed on the public.
A word of warning - as classic as this sounds and as good a representation it is, of English rock in 1979, it sure has dated and will I think only appeal to fans of that generation of rock and of course Legs Diamons fans.
On the plus side - the way the album was recorded or demo-ed back in the late 70's has allowed a great live feel and fun vibe to the whole proceedings.
For Diamond fans and general rock historians.
STAND BACK ENTERTAINMENT MLSB-003
Produced by: Phillip Lewis
This is the US version of the Japanese release that came out mid last year as El Nino. It is also Phil Lewis of LA Guns' first solo release.|
It somewhat lacks the direction of his previous work with LA Guns and Girl and is a mix of styles from psychedelic pop rock to experimental rock to more of what we might expect from Phil generally.
Vicious Circle hinted at Phil's love of Psyedelica, but he lacks the fire power of Tracii Guns to pull it off.
I really don't think Phil's voice gets a good workout at all. There are a couple of acoustic pop ballads that aren't too bad, but overall, I am a little disappointed.
The album turns a little industrial/alternative on No Sell Out, but for the main, it is in that psychedelic pop vein.
So if you like a softer and more trippy Phil Lewis, go for it.
STAND BACK RECORDS SB001
Produced by: LA Guns
Listening to LA Guns' comeback EP after the departure of vocalist Phil Lewis, I can easily see why they have now moved on from Ralph Sanchez as a vocalist and are currently trying again with Love/Hate vocalist Jizzy Pearl and if you believe what you hear - also with Phil again.|
There is nothing wrong with the songs as such, I enjoyed listening to them being a LA Guns fan, but I don't think Ralph's voice fit the style.
The bands last full length effort Vicious Circle was a masterpiece and anything else less than that will be hard to get into.
Some good solid hard rock, but missing that edge that the combination of Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns give to the band when they are together.
But this does grown on you after repeated listens. I think the band were in a no win situation. This is heavy rock with a rawer edge than previous albums and also a little less sleeze and more straight ahead hard rock.
Not sure why they re-record the Ballad Of Jayne. That does a big injustice to the song. Cold Gin though is quite cool.
Maybe they should have done a Van Halen cover?
STAND BACK RECORDS SB001
Produced by: Denis Degher
And this is the US release of the Tracii Guns solo album. Both the Phil Lewis and this album come to you at a domestic price in North America thanks to Stand Back Entertainment. Good job too!|
Because neither of these albums are completely justified at an import price, but I would feel mush more comfortable paying out the local price for them.
Killing Machine is just that - a brutal assault on the senses from one of rock's hardest hitting guitarists.
The songs are all equally attacking and this will appeal to those fans of the heavier end of hard rock. Still the guitar work is impressive, even if the vocals are what lets the album down overall.
There is a couple of bonus tracks - 2 live tunes from 1997 featuring Sanchez again. Again not bad - the recording is somewhat raw, but there is that Van Halen cover I mentioned they should do - Ain't Talking Bout Love does the job nicely!
Don't take it too seriously, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
USG RECORDS 1031-2
Unproduced by: Devin 'they paid me cash' Townsend
Zimmer's Hole is another of the continuing diversification of USG records Germany, to capture the metal market rather than the melodic market.|
This project features a combination of members of Strapping Young Lad, Frontline Assembly and Unit:187. It is also produced by Debin Townsend. Which is quite puzzling, for to call this album produced is doing serious credibility damage.
The Zimmer guys sing about rock n roll cliche's and generally have set about to have some fun.
In their bio state that they know how to make music - tongue in cheek. Well they sure do - their bum cheek. While I am at it, here's a rock n roll cliche just for them - this is pure bollocks.
Taking the piss or just getting pissed and hitting record in the studio - this is hideous.
Furious metal and a general crock of shit.