Wednesday, August 24, 2016

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered]

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered] full

All the TALISMAN catalog has been reissued by a Swedish label with new artwork, newly remastered audio and previously unreleased material. We already presented most of these on this blog but a couple missing, and two that can't be absent in your Talisman / Jeff Scott Soto collection.
And one of these is TALISMAN's self-titled debut "Talisman".

Talisman was the brainchild of talented Swedish musician Marcel Jacob (RIP) who at an early age discovered that he possessed the talent for playing guitar and writing songs. Marcel started his professional musical career playing together with Yngwie Malmsteen and in a band called Force (which would later become EUROPE)
With Force, he co-wrote the songs "The King Will Return" and "Scream Of Anger" with Joey Tempest, the later which would remain a live favorite amongst Europe fans and that the band continue to perform live even today.

Then Marcel recorded the album "Marching Out" with Yngwie and remained for 2 world tours from 1984-86. Difficulties with management forced him to quit and head back to Sweden.
In autumn of 86, guitarist John Norum departed from the band Europe and was looking for members to complete his solo band. Marcel joined and started writing songs for Norum's first release "Total Control".

After a successful album and tour, the idea was to get started on a new album for Norum but after some disagreement on direction, Jacob decided to record his own album with the working title 'Guitars On Fire'. Göran Edman, the singer with Norum at the time, sang on the original demos.
Edman decided he would remain with Norum and through conflict of interest, wasn't able to continue working with Jacob. Shortly after Edman could nor pursue the recordings, Marcel then met Christer Wedin, who worked for the record label Elektra, and was convinced Marcel's new project was worth looking into.

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered] booklet

With a deal now in place, a vocalist was needed to secure the direction of the songs. On a whim Marcel contacted Jeff Scott Soto in the US who was with him in Yngwie's band years earlier.
Soto was extremely interested after hearing the songs and once the all were done and mixed, Jacob changed it from a solo project to a new moniker called TALISMAN...
Marcel recorded the bass, keyboards, most the drums and guitars himself except the solos, handled by guitarist Christopher Ståhl.
Then Jeff Scott Soto recorded the lead vocals and arranged the backing vocals / harmonies, all performed by himself on various layers of tracks. The results were spectacular.

The mixing was done at Abba's Polar Studios in Stockholm and in February 1990 Talisman's self-titled debut and first single 'I'll Be Waiting' released in Scandinavia.
Success was not immediate but the single dis air on the biggest hit radio show in Sweden, receiving more and more requests for Taliman's music.

So Jacob / Soto decided to re-release the single for a possible chart position and this time it went straight to number 3, and the following week to number 2. This was huge considering the fact Talisman played hard rock and the standard on the radio show was Top40 pop music.
The single went gold and the album "Talisman" sold over 50,000 copies in Sweden alone, a big number for the local market.

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered] inside

Although Talisman was not properly 'a band' (something developed for the band's second album, the outstanding Genesis) Jacob & Soto formed a terrific tandem on this debut "Talisman". Jacob's fine taste and skills provided a heavenly musical background for Soto's powerhouse vocals.
Simply class. Period.

You just can't resist the melodic sheen of the opening trio 'Break Your Chains', the exquisite 'Standin' On Fire' and of course, Talisman's best ever song 'I'll Be Waiting'. And the rest of the album is plenty of killers, no filler as well. This Sun Hill Records remastered reissue is close to perfection, delivering a great balanced sound and a pristine output.
And if you need more there's previously unreleased live tracks from the era testifying how awesome Talisman was on stage. Be aware there's two versions of this release, one with 6 bonus tracks and this one with 8 bonuses.
A Must Have.

01 - Break Your Chains
02 - Standin' On Fire
03 - I'll Be Waiting
04 - Dangerous
05 - Just Between Us
06 - System Of Power
07 - Queen
08 - Lightning Strikes
09 - Day By Day
10 - Women, Whiskey & Song
11 - Great Sandwich
12 - MJ Playing Solo in Studio (Instrumental)
13 - Just Between Us (Live 1990) Kopparberg, Sweden
14 - Eternal Flame (Live 1990) Kopparberg, Sweden
15 - I'll Be Waiting (Live 1990) Kopparberg, Sweden
16 - Scream Of Anger (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
17 - NJBBWD (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
18 - Standin' On Fire (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
19 - Let Me Love You (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
20 - Ice Cream Man (Live 1990) Stockholm, Blues Brothers, Sweden

Marcel Jacob: Bass, rhythm guitars, drums, keyboards
Jeff Scott Soto: Lead vocals, backing vocals
additional players:
Christopher Ståhl: Lead guitars
Mats Lindflrs: guitars on Women Whiskey & Song
Mats Olausoon: Keyboards
Peter Hermansson: Drums on System Of Power, Lightning Strikes
additional players on the live sessions:
Jason Bieler: Lead guitars, backing vocals
"Jake Samuel" Jakob Samuelsson: Drums, backing vocals
Thomas Vikström: Keyboards, backing vocals


DIRTY LOOKS - Turn Of The Screw (reissue 2016)

DIRTY LOOKS - Turn Of The Screw (reissue 2016) full

Hard to find for many years Rhino / Atlantic just reissued 2016 DIRTY LOOKS' second album "Turn Of The Screw". Without a doubt, alongside their major label debut (Rock Candy Remaster posted here) this is Dirty Looks finest moment, a band with a strong cult following all over the world.

Dirty Looks formed in San Francisco in 1985 when Danish-born Henrik Ostergaard, who had tired of playing in a cover band in Pennsylvania arrived to the Bay Area intent on forming his own band and recording original material.
The band’s first self-titled album was released by a French label called Axe Killer Records. Apparently disillusioned with the San Francisco scene the band relocated back to Pennsylvania in 1986 and recorded a second album called In Your Face.
That record and its single 'Oh Ruby' got the attention of major labels and in 1987 Dirty Looks signed with Atlantic Records who released the Max Norman produced debut.
They got a little airplay on MTV and flirted with the Billboard charts but the album (now a cult classic) was not the success the band and label expected.

Undeterred Dirty Looks soon entered the studio with producer of the moment Beau Hill to record this follow-up "Turn Of The Screw" but were dissatisfied with the results and started over with a new producer, John Jansen, who had produced Britny Fox’s hit debut the previous year.
Dirty Looks were one of several bands of the era (Rhino Bucket, Dangerous Toys, Nevada Beach, etc) that displayed a rather obvious AC/DC influence, but this "Turn Of The Screw" is quite impressive in its own right with a more of the 'Californian sound' of the moment (1989).

The album opens with the raucous title track 'Turn Of The Screw' driven by a hot riff like a mix between Aerosmith and the aforementioned Britny Fox. The song is immaculately put together, very clean yet with a kick ass attitude.
Up next the single 'Nobody Rides For Free' (one of may favorites) continues with the rockin' attack but even more catchy. Great verse with a nice singalong line and then a very melodic chorus that rides a groovy riff.

After these two first winners you can hear in this album Dirty Looks wanted to inject quite a bit of melody into their riff-driven brand of rock and roll. Those first two songs stand out above the rest but the whole album is good. A hyper track called 'C’Mon Frenchie' is followed by the in your face awesomeness of 'Take What Ya Get'.
Another favorite is the slick sleazy rocker called 'L.A. Anna' based in a nice groove and a huge chorus. After the little formulaic but anyway effective 'Love Screams', Dirty Looks deliver the requisite ballad 'Go Away', and for the end we have the killer riff-rocker called 'Have Some Balls', hot n' rockin'.

DIRTY LOOKS - Turn Of The Screw (reissue 2016) inside

Dirty Looks "Turn Of The Screw" remains unheard by most hard rock aficionados and this is your opportunity to discover a very good, ballsy yet polished piece of rock 'n roll. It has not been remastered but the digital transfer is excellent, punchy, vital.
The band churned out five more records between 1992 and 1996, then broke up. They regrouped in 2007 and released a few more albums, unfortunately Henrik Ostergaard passed away in 2011 at the age of 47.

A couple months ago, rabid fans of the band got alienated when it was announced that Dirty Looks are now reformed but with no original members. Seems someone got the rights of the band's name/logo (Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer is involved in this) and will be touring soon.
Anyway, Henrik Ostergaard's legacy keeps alive, and this "Turn Of The Screw" is the best representation of it.
Highly Recommended

01 - Turn Of The Screw (Who's Screwing You)
02 - Nobody Rides For Free
03 - C'mon Frenchie
04 - Take What Ya Get
05 - Hot Flash Jelly Roll
06 - Slammin' To The Big Beat
07 - L.A. Anna
08 - Always A Loser
09 - Love Screams
10 - Go Away
11 - Have Some Balls

Henrik Ostergaard: lead vocals, guitar
Paul Lidel: guitar and vocals
Jack Pyers: bass
Gene Barnett: drums


DELAIN - Moonbathers [Japan Edition] (2016)

DELAIN - Moonbathers [Japan Edition] (2016) full

DELAIN are about to release their new album "Moonbathers" next August 26th, but it just been appeared in Japan today.
The band is known for combining driving metal rhythms with sweeping orchestral and electronic textures – topping it all off with the dazzling vocals of frontwoman Charlotte Wessels. After recently teasing fans with the well-received EP Lunar Prelude, this full-length follow up "Moonbathers" was thirstily awaited.

Those who enjoyed Lunar Prelude, or any of Delain's prior work, for that matter, will be more than satisfied with "Moonbathers". There's no surprises in the musical direction though this is not to say that the album falters in quality.
On the contrary, this should be Delain's strongest album to date.

Each track carries a strong melodic theme which leads to an even stronger hook, owing in large part to Wessels, whose voice – full and rich, but smooth as velvet – pierces through the thick guitar and keyboard layers with impeccable clarity.
Where vocalists in this genre will typically opt for a more classical, operatic style to match the orchestral nature of the music, Wessels shines through her more modern, rocking approach to the craft.

While all of this has been true throughout Delain’s entire history, "Moonbathers" trims off much of the bloat that watered down some of the band’s previous work. Here, each track has a clear voice – with songs like “Hands of Gold” sporting swashbuckling symphonic melodies and a surprisingly aggressive bridge, “The Glory and the Scum” featuring a dark, soaring orchestral score and showcasing Wessels’ outstanding vocal delivery, and “Chrysalis – The Last Breath” bringing listeners to a more cinematic and personal space.
Other standout moments include the straightforward and satisfying “Fire With Fire”, the majestic and swooping “Turn the Lights Out”, and a fantastically bombastic rendition of Queen’s “Scandal”.

DELAIN - Moonbathers [Japan Edition] (2016) back

Above all, "Moonbathers" proves that Delain are fully aware of their strengths, and as such, play directly to them – with quite satisfying results.
Keyboardist Martijn Westerholt's symphonic composition and performance breathes vivid color into what would already be solid metal tracks, and Wessels seals the deal with her outstanding vocal talent.
Delain has displayed this level of quality throughout their career, obviously subscribing to the adage “more of a good thing is never a bad thing”, and though it doesn’t take any risks or shatter any barriers, "Moonbathers" is an undoubtedly solid album that delivers plenty of the goods that fans worldwide adore.
Strongly Recommended

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

D E L A I N 『 ムーンベイザーズ 』

01 - Hands of Gold
02 - The Glory and the Scum
03 - Suckerpunch
04 - The Hurricane
05 - Chrysalis - The Last Breath
06 - Fire With Fire
07 - Pendulum
08 - Danse Macabre
09 - Scandal (Queen cover)
10 - Turn the Lights Out
11 - The Monarch

Charlotte Wessels – lead vocals
Martijn Westerholt – keyboards, arrangements
Timo Somers – guitar, backing vocals
Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – bass backing vocals
Ruben Israel – drums
Merel Bechtold – guitar


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Humanimal [Deluxe Edition remastered]

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Humanimal [Deluxe Edition remastered] full

Some time ago all the TALISMAN catalog has been reissued by a Swedish label with new artwork, newly remastered audio and previously unreleased material. We already presented most of these on this blog but a couple missing, and two that can't be absent in your Talisman / Jeff Scott Soto collection.
TALISMAN's third studio album "Humanimal", for many, their best.

Finding a hole in his busy schedule, in January 1994 Jeff Scott Soto joined the guys in Sweden and recorded & mixed the new album "Humanimal" at Sound Trade Studios in Stockholm, working together with studio and mixing engineer Ronny Lahti (Europe, Electric Boys).

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Humanimal [Deluxe Edition remastered] inside

The guys, being so pleased with the recordings (22 tracks finished) wanted to make it a double album at first, but the label refused. The "Humanimal" album was released in the Summer of '94 and later the same year the Humanimal pt 2 was released with the outtakes from the first one.

Tracks like "Blissful Garden" and "Color My XTC" make you think, are these guys melodic rock or hard rock? Well, all in between with their trademark style. "Animal Ritual," "Seasons" and "Fabricated War" are other standouts of the record, and again you must ask why these guys weren't able to make a larger impact on the music scene?
Well, it was 1994, probably not the best of years for melodic hard rock, but Talisman's kept the flame alive with their inventive technical / melodic sound establishing a considerable following in Europe and Japan.

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Humanimal [Deluxe Edition remastered] back

I don't know if "Humanimal" is their best album - in my opinion all are great - but one thing for sure it's Talisman's most complete, varied record ever thanks to a successful combination of hard rock, heavy funk and melodic rock influences.
Their unique style has a certain groove that just lets each song flow perfectly. They always mix it up with a great balance of heaviness and ballads but the common thread between different songs and albums are Soto's powerhouse vocals.

This Sun Hill Records remastered release is close to perfection, delivering a great balanced sound and a pristine output.
KILLER album

01 - Humanimal
02 - Fabricated War
03 - D.O.A.P.S.
04 - All + All
05 - Seasons
06 - Animal Ritual
07 - Hypocrite
08 - Colour My XTC
09 - Since You've Gone
10 - TV Reality
11 - Blissful Garden
12 - Lonely World
13 - Tainted Pages
14 - You Cannot Escape...
15 - My Best Friends Girl
16 - Dear God
17 - Delusions Of Grandeur

Jeff Scott Soto: Lead & Backing Vocals
Fredrik Akesson: Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Marcel Jacob: Bass, Rhythm Guitar
Jamie Borger: Drums, Percussion
Julie Greaux: Backing Vocals
Ronny Lahti: Guitar, mix


CRUZH - Hard To Get [Limited 100 copies EP] (2013)

CRUZH - Hard To Get [Limited 100 copies EP] (2013) full

Next Friday new Swedish AOR band CRUZH will be releasing their full-length debut via Frontiers Music. Requested by one of you here's "Hard To Get" the EP Cruzh released by themselves some time ago, a piece that indeed honor its name as it was limited to 100 physical copies and now become a collectors item.

At the beginning of 2013 new Swedish Melodic Rock / AOR band CRUZH was presented to the music press creating some kind of mystery. The only thing shown was an image with the silhouette of the three band members and the first single "In A Blink Of An Eye".
The track quickly spread on the internet and both Scandinavian and International websites (it was featured here on the blog) and radio stations played it and speculated around the identities of the band members.
A cool promotional move.

Cruzh is Tony Andersson (ex Dawn Of Oblivion) on keyboards and lead vocals, Anton Joensson on guitar & background vocals (also active in Eye and previously in TrashQueen) and Dennis Butabi Borg handling bass and background vocals (formerly in TrashQueen).

CRUZH - Hard To Get [100 copies EP] (2013) band

"We chose to keep ourselves hidden during the launch" - says Andersson "mainly because we wanted the audience to focus on the music instead of us, but of course also to create a hype and interest in the band. Now, however, we have reached a point where we have chosen to show us to take it all to the next level and reach out to a larger mass."

Although Anton and Butabi come from metal oriented acts, the guys shared love for '80s classic Scandi Melodic Rock / AOR sounds and joined forces with Andersson to shape Cruzh's sound.
All three operate as songwriters and among the influences in their music are Def Leppard, Toto, FM, Winger, Firehouse and Bryan Adams.

CRUZH - Hard To Get [100 copies EP] (2013) CD photo

You can hear those aforementioned influences in the uptempo melodic rocker "Hard To Get", the AORish "Stay" and the ballad "In A Blink Of An Eye", but to me Cruzh has a typical European sound akin Bad Habit, Terra Nova, Grand Illusion, etc.
A really good band and a lovely EP to wait the self-titled debut in a few days.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

1 - Hard To Get
2 - Stay
3 - In A Blink Of An Eye

Tony Andersson - keyboards, vocals
Anton Joensson - guitar, background vocals
Dennis Butabi Borg - bass, background vocals

Out Of Print

Monday, August 22, 2016

THE QUIREBOYS - A Bit Of What You Fancy [20th Anniversary Edition Remastered +8]

THE QUIREBOYS - A Bit Of What You Fancy [20th Anniversary Edition Remastered +8] full

THE QUIREBOYS are about to release their new album in a couple of weeks and one of you asked for the band's debut "A Bit Of What You Fancy", their more popular record in its 20th Anniversary Remastered Edition including a lot of bonus tracks.

Where do you start with such a monumental release? Was it really twenty years ago? Oh God, how time flies when you're enjoying yourself. This long since deleted release gets the Anniversary bonus track & remastered treatment, and truly deserved it.
Just open the box, slip it in the player and crank it up.
Let's be honest here, these Northern monkeys with a bag full of good-time tunes certainly knew how to enjoy themselves and were rightfully successful at a time when the Americans were cleaning up the rock 'n' roll market.

These cats looked great and sounded better; from the opening honky-tonk of '7 O' Clock' with its wonderful mantra, through the sleazy rock 'n' roll riff of 'Man On the Loose' and the cool, smouldering 'Whippin' Boy', all the way to the top of the popstastic 'Hey You' and the terrific sexy ballad 'I Don't Love You Anymore', these boys were everything that was great in music.
Besides the quality music, they seemed to be having an absolute ball carving out support slots and destroying the likes of Aerosmith, the Reading Festival, even Donington buckled to The Quireboys as they gained fans with a thirst for their style and craft.

THE QUIREBOYS - A Bit Of What You Fancy [20th Anniversary Edition Remastered +8] back

This expanded 20-song offering is as good as it got when originally released in 1990 and still, to this day, stands tall as a phenomenal debut album and even if you owned it on vinyl or CD, this "A Bit Of What You Fancy Remastered Edition" is a must as it sounds much more vibrant, punchy. And you have the really interesting early versions of most of these great tunes as bonus.
Any youngsters reading who might not be aware of the band and particularly this record, go get it - it's a bloody classic and one you'll be proud to own.

01 - 7 O'Clock
02 - Man On The Loose
03 - Whippin' Boy
04 - Sex Party
05 - Sweet Mary Ann
06 - I Don't Love You Anymore
07 - Hey You
08 - Misled
09 - Long Time Comin'
10 - Roses & Rings
11 - There She Goes Again
12 - Take Me Home
13 - 7 O'Clock (demo)
14 - Man On The Loose (demo)
15 - I Don't Love You Anymore (demo)
16 - Hey You (demo)
17 - Misled (demo)
18 - Long Time Comin' (demo)
19 - Roses & Rings (demo)
20 - Take Me Home (demo)

Spike – vocals
Guy Bailey, Guy Griffin – guitars
Nigel Mogg – bass
Ian Wallace – drums
Chris Johnstone – keyboards
Additional musicians;
Kevin Savigan – string arrangement
Lee Thornberg – brass
Myrna Mathews, Clydene Jackson, Julia Walters – background vocals


ALCATRAZZ - Disturbing The Peace [Deluxe Edition remastered +9] (2016)

ALCATRAZZ - Disturbing The Peace [Deluxe Edition remastered +9] (2016) full

Continuing with the extensive reissue campaign drawn across Graham Bonnet’s fruitful career, Cherry Red / Hear No Evil are releasing ALCATRAZZ's "Disturbing The Peace [2 Disc Deluxe Edition]", remastered, featuring 9 bonus tracks and a bonus concert DVD.

Having previously brought you Alcatrazz's debut album ‘No Parole From Rock & Roll’, Cherry Red / Hear No Evil re-issue campaign continues with the band's second effort "Disturbing The Peace". After the incendiary debut, this second Alcatrazz studio album appeared in 1984. Major changes had occurred; management, record label and crucially the departure (sacking) of enfant terrible Yngwie Malmsteen.

In came on guitar the inspired choice of a young and extremely talented Steve Vai (ex Frank Zappa and later to grace David Lee Roth and Whitesnake). As Graham Bonnet himself opined now they were a 'band', not a showcase for vocals and flashy guitar shreds. And I’d agree as Vai plays 'with' the band and the result is truly cohesive.
Produced by legend Eddie Kramer, "Disturbing The Peace" simply rocks.

Kicking off with the killer ‘God Blessed Video’ it sets the tone for the entire album, hard rock / melodic US metal that grabs you by the throat with Bonnet's unique vocal, Vai’s impressive riffs and some great drum work from Jan Uvena. It's MTV friendly and indeed enjoyed heavy rotation.
‘The Stripper’ and ‘Painted Lover’ (one of my favorite Alcatrazz songs ever) are two more assassin, catchy tunes, and there's ‘Will You Be Home Tonight’ and the excellent ‘Desert Diamond’ to show off Graham’s broad vocal range and not just the ‘scream style’ he often gets saddled with.

ALCATRAZZ - Disturbing The Peace [Deluxe Edition remastered +9] (2016) back

"Disturbing The Peace" has been reissued some time ago with a bonus live disc, but never in a package as good as this as the fresh remaster of the main album sound million bucks.
Additionally, we have for the first time on CD the rare edit version of 'Will You Be Home Tonight', plus several pre-production demos (very good sound) which are a pure delight for Steve Vai's fans.
And there's more; a bonus DVD disc featuring the band in concert in Tokyo (where they were and still are huge) in 1984. After years of shoddy bootleg footage this is a huge bonus. All in all a lavish package that at last does Alcatrazz justice.
Highly Recommended

01 - God Blessed Video
02 - Mercy
03 - Will You Be Home Tonight
04 - Wire and Wood
05 - Desert Diamond
06 - Stripper
07 - Painter Lover
08 - Lighter Shade of Green
09 - Sons and Lovers
10 - Skyfire
11 - Breaking the Heart of the City
12 - Will You Be Home Tonight (PSA Single Edit)
13 - God Blessed Video (demo)
14 - Wire and Wood (demo)
15 - Stripper (demo)
16 - Painted Lover (demo)
17 - Sons and Lovers (demo)
18 - Skyfire (demo)
19 - Breaking the Heart of the City (demo)
20 - Steve Vai Rehearsal (demo)

Graham Bonnet - vocals
Steve Vai - guitar, backing vocals
Gary Shea - bass
Jan Uvena - drums, backing vocals
Jimmy Waldo - keyboards, backing vocals


ALCATRAZZ - No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll [Expanded Edition Remastered] (2015)

ALCATRAZZ - No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll [Expanded Edition Remastered] (2015) full

Kicking off an extensive reissue campaign drawn across Graham Bonnet’s fruitful career, Cherry Red Records is reissuing a remastered, expanded version of "No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll", the debut album from ALCATRAZZ, the hard rockin' band he fronted from 1983 – 1987, here accompanied by a young, awesome Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar.

Alcatrazz were formed in 1983, basically as a star vehicle for lead singer Graham Bonnet after his days with Blackmore's Rainbow.
The band's initial line-up consisted of Bonnet, a 20 year old Swedish prodigy called Yngwie Malmsteen (who had recently left American band Steeler), Gary Shea & Jimmy Waldo from acclaimed outfit New England and Clive Burr of Iron Maiden fame.
Burr was reportedly only in the band for a week, and left upon discovering the band was going to be based in the United States, as opposed to his native England. Burr was soon replaced by former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had just left Alice Cooper's backing band... great line-up credentials, eh?

Bonnet of course had an illustrious career beginning with The Marbles in the '60s through to the Michael Schenker Group, Rainbow and solo success with singles like ‘Night Games’ in 1981. Alcatrazz was Bonnet's vision of his own Rainbow in the 'American' commercial hard rock way.

ALCATRAZZ - No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll [Expanded Edition Remastered] (2015) inside

For the first album "No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll", the bulk of the material was written by Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Waldo contributing to several tracks. The album achieved a considerable success spending seven weeks on the Billboard album chart.
Alcatrazz was an immediate blast in Japan, while in America the young MTV played the first singles / videos 'Island In The Sun' and 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' on heavy rotation.

So to the album, 10 tracks of intelligent, melodic and perfectly realised hard rock / melodic shred rock cuts that never overstay their welcome. Kicking off with chugging mid-tempo ‘Island in the Sun’ and the first taste of Yngwie’s licks playing to Graham's searing vocals morphing into the heavier vibe of track 2 'General Hospital', then on to the apogee of 'Jet to Jet'.
A triad of songs to rock your socks off... Yngwie’s solos left the hard rock community jaw-dropping. Some stupid journalists of the era snidely wrote off Yngwie as a sub standard Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen never made any secret of his adoration of Blackmore. But a poor imitation? Time refuted this silly comparisons.
The remaining 7 tracks all shine differently from the impassioned ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ to the good time feel of ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’.

ALCATRAZZ - No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll [Expanded Edition Remastered] (2015) back

With this Cherry Red / Hear No Evil Records remastered reissue of "No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll" (really good sound) you also get the added bonus of instrumental versions of all 10 tracks showing how they came together, plus refreshed artwork.
I've made no secret in these words of my admiration for this band and if one person - especially young rockers - reading this gets into Alcatrazz I'll be personally delighted. For all familiar with this great album, this remaster is to treasure for sure.
For me, like the prison the band are named after, it's a life sentence I am happy to serve!

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 - Island in the Sun
02 - General Hospital
03 - Jet to Jet
04 - Hiroshima Mon Amour
05 - Kree Nakoorie
06 - Incubus
07 - Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live
08 - Big Foot
09 - Starcarr Lane
10 - Suffer Me
11 - Island in the Sun [Instrumental demo]
12 - General Hospital [Instrumental demo]
13 - Jet to Jet [Instrumental demo]
14 - Hiroshima Mon Amour [Instrumental demo]
15 - Kree Nakoorie [Instrumental demo]
16 - Incubus [Instrumental demo]
17 - Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live [Instrumental demo]
18 - Big Foot [Instrumental demo]
19 - Starcarr Lane [Instrumental demo]
20 - Suffer Me [Instrumental demo]

Graham Bonnet - vocals
Yngwie Malmsteen - guitars
Gary Shea - bass
Jan Uvena - drums
Jimmy Waldo - keyboards


DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - Transcendence (2016)

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - Transcendence (2016) full

With each new album DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT shows another side of itself and "Transcendence", to be released next September 9, is no exception. What was once Townsend’s backing band has now become something just as large and majestic as the legacy that he created, and "Transcendence" proves that with just a single listen.

Though the record itself is not overly heavy and seldom uses harsh vocals, it is a deeply complex and heavily passionate progressive album that seems much stronger to me that their previous effort, ‘Z² (Sky Blue)’ (featured here on the blog).

Though it has a slow start with a new version of “The Truth,” which originally appeared on Devin’s solo album from 1998 Infinity and which was re-arranged for the new album, things really kick into gear with the explosive and spacey “Stormbending.” There were this kind of tracks in past Townsend’s albums where the epic vibes turned up a notch while the music became dominated by a dizzying blend of synths, guitars and drums.
This is what “Stormbending” is and so is a lot of the rest of the album; from the get go, Townsend amplifies these emotions with his trademark lyrics (“Time is a human construct” has never sounded better), lending a dream-like quality to the whole thing. By the time the post-chorus bridge arrives, with its optimistic guitar and Rush-like synths, the technicolor beast that is "Transcendence" is in full swing.

“Failure” starts out rather softly, but builds into one of the most threatening songs on the disc. It’s grandiose thanks to the huge walls of sounds built from the ground up by the symphonic backbone, Devin’s impeccable singing and a top-level execution by the band.
Then “Secret Sciences” is one of may favorites, very melodic and almost Neo-Prog with clean electric guitars and a punchy rhythm section.

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - Transcendence (2016) inside

The strongest point I feel on this record is that of a vocal one — this is odd for me to say, as Devin Townsend Project has always been about its massively entwined structures, but it’s a safe bet that "Transcendence" is the project’s catchiest recording in their career, although Devin stands for one of the best and most diverse vocalists in the world of progressive metal and beyond.

Songs like “Higher,” “Stars” and “Offer Your Light” are all incredibly catchy numbers that should appeal greatly to a wide range of listeners, no matter their preferred genre.
Anyway, I think that fans of progressive rock will flock to this album far more than those who prefer heavier extremes, even though I can say in no uncertain terms that this record as a whole is quite extreme regarding the amount of passion, precision and performance utilized with it.

For some time there’s been a strong chance that Devin Townsend would choose to fold the Devin Townsend Project. I'm glad he didn't.
This Canadian prog mastermind takes us higher on "Transcendence" with an album plenty of captivating sounds and yes, some ground-breaking songwriting / arrangements.
One cannot say where Devin Townsend Project goes after this, but I can assure you that there is more than enough material to chew on and any fan of defiant rock music should be pleased. This is music without boundaries, without barricades and without limits.
Highly Recommended

01 - Truth
02 - Stormbending
03 - Failure
04 - Secret Sciences
05 - Higher
06 - Stars
07 - Transcendence
08 - Offer Your Light
09 - From The Heart
10 - Transdermal Celebration

Devin Townsend - Vocals, Guitar, Synths and Ambiance
Dave Young - Guitar, Keys, Mandolin
Mike St-Jean - Keys, Synths, Programming
Brian 'Beav' Waddell - Bass
Ryan Van Poederooyen - Drums


DGM - The Passage [Japanese Edition +1] (2016)

DGM - The Passage [Japanese Edition +1] (2016) full

Italians DGM are ready to release their new album "The Passage" next August 26 via Frontiers Music. This just appeared advanced Japanese edition features a bonus track.
This is not the typical Frontiers Music release as DGM are pretty prog metal, but "The Passage" is a very melodic album, a stellar melodic progressive metal CD indeed.

If you go searching there are those praising this band, but it's hard to believe that despite how good DGM really are they aren't more widely recognised. DGM have released eight albums since commencing in 1997, and let me tell you the band has since gained added exposure so it's great to know that many more fans are also aware of this highly talented group.
And Frontiers Music also take notice, hence they added DGM to their roster.

"The Passage" sounds great thanks to guitarist / keyboardist Simone Mularoni who looked after the production as he also does so capably for many others.
You can hear Symphony X's masterful guitarist Michael Romeo blazing it up on the sizzling "Dogma", while the other guest spot goes to Evergrey's lead vocalist Tom Englund on another power packed track "Ghosts of Insanity", sounding so good alongside vocalist Mark Basile who has such a striking and compelling style that complements that technical mastery of his band mates.

DGM - The Passage [Japanese Edition +1] (2016) booklet

It's epic time when the album gets underway with the two longest tracks which are "The Secret Part 1" and "The Secret Part 2" and as to be expected the musicianship is top notch, you gotta love that guitar sound and those wicked guitar / keyboard solos on part one that make you crave for more.
Part two is slower and an equally addictive display of DGM's melodic progressive metal. Title track "The Passage" is shining bright also with more of that arresting solo component.

"Animal" is the more catchy tune here, with an almost a melodic hard rock feel on the verses and the punchy chorus. This Japanese edition of the album add as bonus a beautiful acoustic version of the track, so different that you think it's a new song.
"Daydreamer" is another of so many highlights (and another favorite) as DGM are rocking out with that super cool funk / hard rock sound. The album closes on a lighter note with Mark Basile's vocals shining brightly on "In Sorrow".

DGM - The Passage [Japanese Edition +1] (2016) back

Don't be fooled, "The Passage" is not only melodic prog metal, DGM add many hard rock / melodic hard elements to their music, and you can see why Frontiers Music signed them.
If this is your first exposure to DGM then "The Passage" is one helluva introduction. I would highly suggest getting this one and seeking out the rest of their catalog, because they are aterrific band
DGM have sure got it right once again and as a result "The Passage" is one of 2016's standout releases.
Highly Recommended.

01. The Secret (Part I)
02. The Secret (Part II)
03. Animal
04. Ghost Of Insanity
05. Fallen
06. The Passage
07. Disguise
08. Portrait
09. Daydreamer
10. Dogma
11. In Sorrow
12. Animal (Acoustic Version) [Japan Bonus Track]

Simone Mularoni – guitars, keyboards
Marco Basile – vocals
Andrea Arcangeli – bass
Fabio Costantino – drums
Emanuele Casali – keyboards
special guests:
Tom Englund – vocals on ‘Ghosts of Insanity’
Michael Romeo ‘ lead guitar on ‘Dogma’



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