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Produced by: Foreigner
This is a pretty cool release. Not great - but pretty cool. let me explain.|
This 5 track EP is being sold at Foreigner gigs across the US this summer and features the return to vocal duties for Lou Gramm after his bout with a brain tumor.
The 5 tracks - Dirty White Boy, Fool For You Anyway, Waiting For A Girl Like You, Double Vision & Juke Box Hero - feature only Lou and Mick Jones in the studio in ultra stripped back form. Mainly it is just Lou and Mick's acoustic guitar, but occasionally there is some drum machine backing or simple keyboards.
Lou's voice struggles in places, but the rawness of it all has some unique appeal.
A less than flawless performance, but a cool one nevertheless.
ESCAPE MUSIC ESM 046
Produced by: Heartland
Escape have re-issued the missing piece of Heartland's back catalogue, their second album - originally released by Long Island records a few years back.|
The artwork has been altered and improved a little and there is the added bonus of 2 extra tracks: Fight Fire With Fire (from the debut album), reworked in 1995; and Wide Open (Version 2).
The album is comprised of all the demo's that were to go towards the band's second album and therefore comprises the line up of the debut album. That's was before the band were resurrected with Steve Morris joining the great Chris Ousey.
There are some great songs on this over-looked album. They are only marginally let down by the fact the album was never fully developed and lacks that production. I guess that will always be Polygram's loss.
Due to the demise of Long Island Records, this title has been hard to find - that's now solved. So if you haven't got it yet, there's even more reason to buy now.
NUERRA RECORDS 3950-2
Produced by: Michael Lee Firkins
Michael Lee Firkins burst onto the scene a few years back in the flood of instrumental hard rock guitarists that seemed to come from everywhere after Joe Satriani and Steve Vai hit the mainstream.|
Shrapnel Records was the home of at least half of them. Michael I think was one of those. Regardless of that he has been one of the few to survive.
And this is his new album.
This 9 track album is all covers, except for one original. Those covers come from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Rick Derringer and even Duke Ellington.
Bluesy southern fried rock, with a touch of funk and a heap of blues.
The tracks are mainly vocal - thanks to the gritty bluesy vocals of Sonny Reece - with a few instrumentals for good measure.
A good album for those fans of southern blues rock, covers & instrumentals.
NUERRA RECORDS 3953-2
Produced by: Neil Zaza & Timothy M. Bradford
The opening track of Neil Zaza's new album really packs a punch. Good tight instrumentation and a several horns thrown in for good measure.|
And guitar riff's everywhere...
So I check the album credits and it is immediately obvious why the caliber of this album is what it is.
Rounding out the line up featuring Neil on guitars, is Journey stalwarts Steve Smith and Ross Valory. Add to that Timothy M. Bradford on keyboards with guest stars Stuart Hamm on bass (2 tracks), Michael Lee Firkins on guitar (2 tracks), plus the brass section and a string section on one track - and a killer instrumental album is your for the taking!
Throw in a cover of Prince's Purple Rain, Rain written by Stuart Hamm and Baking @ 350F written by Michael Lee Firkins and you have a real winner.
Fans of guitar hero instrumentals need to check this out. Very high quality.
NUERRA RECORDS 3951-2
Produced by: Dreamland
Another instrumental album from a bunch of guys called Dreamland.|
The album is defiantly for instrumental fans. Nothing quite as intense or classy as the above two releases, but still strong enough to warrant investigation.
The guys cover standard electric rock songs with some touches of more acoustic driven songs and plenty of solo's.
The nice thing about the album is that the solo's and general feel is a little more laid back than your average intense solo-ist affair.
Being a band there is also a good tight band feel.
ROCK HARD RH 0001-2
Produced by: ESP & Curt Cuomo
Eric Singer Project - or ESP (obviously) features Eric Singer (er, obviously) and his buddies Bruce Kulick, John Corabi & Karl Cochran playing a bunch of their old favourite covers by artists such as Kiss, Deep Purple, Nazareth, Sweet, Humble Pie, Aerosmith and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.|
Full marks to the guys for keeping this 100% authentic - this sounds like it was recorded in 1978.
This is laid back, raw, rough and has a distinct 'live in the studio' feel.
Kiss fans should get into it as well as Korabi fans, but I am not convinced the appeal will go much further than that.
70's rock fans should get a blast out of it though. Long live Bell Bottom's and disco balls!!
SISYPHUIS RECORDS / DANFORD ENTERTAINMENT
Produced by: Faith Nation
Faith Nation are a Christian rock band that offer a debut album of good songs heavily influenced and sounding like classic 80's hard rock.|
Their sound can be likened in part to fellow Christian rockers Shout and a few other bands of the same genre.
Vocalist James Salter has a great voice in the range and style of Europe lead vocalist Joey Tempest (in his Europe style vocals).
The style ranges from the heavy keyboard pomp of Arms Around The World and Ordinary People to a more traditional 80's hard rock of Make It Simple and Don't Leave Me Now.
Check out the great ballad Love Is An Ocean, where Salter does a very good Dennis De Young vocal. He has an impressive range.
These guys have produced one of the best Christian rock album's of recent years and a solid AOR album in itself.
Well worth checking out...
VIRGIN RECORDS SWEDEN / AOR HEAVEN
Produced by: Various
Finally the first Talk Of The Town album has been released. AOR Heaven got the ball rolling with re-release of their Reach For The Sky album.|
Now comes the debut album - a much sort after title - plus a few cool additions and a couple of unreleased tracks.
The album itself doesn't need too much reviewing. Big Swedish melodic AOR, with the sensational vocals of Thomas Vikstrom. Plenty of keyboards and heaps of melody. The bonus tracks comprise of 4 tracks from the R.F.T.S. album plus 2 tracks from Thomas' own solo album If I Could Fly.
The unreleased tracks are Queen Of The Night and Midnight Cowboy.
Essential for Swedish AOR collectors and 80's AOR fans in general.
POINT MUSIC / AOR HEAVEN CLASSICS
Produced by: Hanz Marathon
Marathon's Early Works is a collection of unreleased tunes from before they almost got their big break. Alas they never did and these songs have been laid to rest for many years.|
The songs were recorded in 1986/7 as demo's for the upcoming album, but stand alone quite well - even all these years later.
The guys can consider themselves very unlucky not to have been signed.
The primary appeal of these songs is going to rest with fans of early to late 80's rock, with marathon offering plenty of harmonies, keyboards and guitar.
The 14 tracks vary in quality, but the album seems to get stronger as it goes. Or maybe that is because it grows on you as it goes. Maybe both!
The sound is European for sure, but there is a strong US vibe also.
Dated a little and demo's for sure, but that shouldn't deter fans of the above to investigate. It's quite a solid piece of work for its time.
Produced by: ?
Amanda Marshall's new album sees her working with one of my favourite songwriters Eric Bazillion of The Hooters. So with that in mind I was quite looking forward to it.|
But in the end it remains fairly predictable 90's female pop. There is nothing here that wasn't on her debut. There is unfortunately no sing of Hooterization of this album as Bazillion plays a solid but safe part in proceedings.
Some of the songs do stand out, but generally they take the mid paced soul/ballad commercial pop route.
There are a few tracks near the end and track 2 also was catchy, but other than that I think it's for fans of the debut only.
NEH RECORDS 14047
Produced by: Bobby Barth
Well, it isn't just the title that is humorous. This is a good time fun hard blues rock album that will suit any fan of George Thorogood, ZZ Top, or Lynyrd Skynyrd maybe.|
Helped out on and produced by Axe mainstay Bobby Barth, the album retains a certain Axe feel, but it truly is a blues album for blues fans.
Not for every Axe fan - more for those who appreciate a little diversity and also those with a major disposition for the blues.
Good vibe, good hard blues and good fun.
CMC INTERNATIONAL 06076 86270-2
Produced by: Terry Manning & The Delaware Destroyers
George 'What do you mean there are only 3 chords' Thorogood is back (again) and this is his new album.|
This is a typical Thorogood album - need I say more?
Ok, there are some slow blues numbers, a few uptempo sort of rock anthem's (like Get A Haircut), some mid paced cruisers and a couple of good time party tracks.
Basically your typical Thorogood fare. I doubt this album will find any new fans, but should please the old with no trouble at all.
As an independent set of ears, I quite enjoyed the experience.
Not a bad set of tunes, and a harmless bit of musical fun. Check out the title track - very cool!
ADMM RECORDS CANADA
Produced by: Rob Lamothe
The great Rob Lamothe is now a native of Canada and to commemorate this move, he has placed a collection of his solo works onto this new compilation, that is getting Canadian domestic release only.|
Seeing that his other albums have been only on import, this is a pretty good move.
If you have the past solo efforts, then this will only duplicate them. But as Rob put it, this is basically for his new found countrymen.
And if you fit into that category and like great quality, mellow, thought provoking pop rock, check this out.
But it is still a pretty cool package and if any of you die hard Lamothe fans would still like to get a hold of this to complete the collection, drop me a mail and I will put you in touch.
AOR HEAVEN CLASSICS
Produced by: Rick Santers
This Rick Santers CD was released as part of the 4Cd box set when the band he led - 'Santers' had their back catalogue released on CD for the first time late last year.|
This album was the forth recorded, but was never released.
The good folk at AOR Heaven have taken up the European license and have thoughtfully added several live bonus tracks - making it even more worthy of purchase.
The album itself is a great slice of catchy 80's AOR/ Canadian rock, with plenty of good hooks and memorable songs.
It's been out a while now, but if you still haven't heard it, but own ANY other Santers records, don't delay any further.
This album is about a year old now, but it's still worthy of a review.|
These guys have great potential, if they are even still going - I am not sure.
This is good melodic hard rock, commercial USA style.
They funk it out a bit as well as straight forward hard rock, putting them in the Jeff Scott Soto / Takara vein of rockers.
Plenty of funky hard rockers and song with a more commercial edge.
The sound better when being more straight ahead rock as the funkier moments like N.A.B. and Season Of Suffering for example don't quite it the mark.
Interestingly there is a version of the tune Religion, that Nelson recorded for their Imaginator release. Jailhouse main songwriter Michael Raphael wrote that song.
Best commercial moments include Long Way Up and I Believe. Also includes 4 bonus live tracks.
Worth a listen.
CMC INTERNATIONAL 06076 86273-2
Produced by: Brian Wheat & Soulmotor
Soulmotor is the brain child of Tesla's Brian Wheat. Tesla were one of the most sensational American hard rock bands of all time. May they rest in peace.|
Unfortunately this album has little to do with the wonderful commercial hard rocking harmonies and melodies of that band.
Rather it is more stripped back, heavy blues with a healthy dose of southern rock and 90's distortion and production values.
While I can find the music enjoyable in parts, the moment vocalist Darin Wood opens his mouth, I feel the urge to hit the forward button. His gruff, dark, modern tones do nothing for me in the least.
Tesla fans should not buy blindly. If you liked Raging Slab, Dokken's Shadowlife or a southern Alice In Chains...have a listen.
Produced by: Nuno Bettencourt
The long anticipated solo debut from ex-Baby Animals vocalist Suzie DeMarchi was released several months back now. And I was all ready to give it a huge push, but pretty much lost interest after the first listen. Many plays later, I thought I had better mention it.|
This is a huge modern production, Nuno has done a great job. pity about the songs. The first two - Karma and Satellite are great examples of melodic but modern rock, after that it is a downhill slide into a moody faceless collection of songs with no major hooks and an overly 90's friendly sound.
If you were longing for a return or a continuation of the great commercial rock of The Baby Animals, you will be greatly disappointed.
If you liked Nuno's Mourning Widows, the import price of this might be worth it. There are a few worthwhile moments.
ZOOM CLUB RECORDS ZCRCD 12
Produced by: Paul Raymond & Andy Simmons
I got this Cd several months back and have been putting off reviewing it ever since.|
Mainly because I can't find too many nice things to say about it.
This is European/UK flavored rock, with that traditional English rock feel to it.
My Radio is Ok, not a bad hook, but the rest of the album is simply uninteresting and lacks a decent production. 2 or 3 songs from the album and you have heard it all.
The addition of Phil Mogg on vocals for 2 tracks does little, as one of the songs is the 433rd version of UFO's Light's Out that has been recorded. Do we really need to do this tired old song yet again? It sounded great on the last UFO album, when they remade it, but there has been at least 3 versions of it since then even! Sorry Paul and co....maybe next time.
DEADLINE RECORDS CLP0489-2
Produced by: Bob Marlette
Deadline records have signed a few of the old school of bands and will release similar compilations of the old and the new mixed together.|
For the reformed Quiet Riot - this album features 8 new tunes, 1 from the AC/DC Tribute album and 6 newly recorded versions of past hits.
All wrapped up in a package produced and mixed by Bob Marlette. Curious pairing, Bob and QR. There is no denying Bob's a great producer, but this is a really smooth and polished album, where a rough, live and raw sound may have presented the band in a better light.
The new tunes are all brutally heavy, (while still very polished!), so the traditional fans should have no trouble liking these songs - now featuring Rudy Sarzo on bass. The remakes however are a little less likely to impress. They are a little glossy for my liking.
Still, they are my only complaints - over all, not a bad release, but probably for die hards only.
CMC INTERNATIONAL 06076 86269-2
Produced by: Blackie Lawless
God! what do I say about these guys?|
You know what? I am not a fan and never have been, so I will just got from the feedback I have heard elsewhere.
It seems the album has been OK received, with a few saying it is typical prime time WASP.
A few others I have heard say it is a tragic representation of what they used to be.
To my ears it sounds more or less like they are taking the piss out of themselves and just having fun.
Legendary? No. Good fun and a good listen? Just maybe!