Friday, June 30, 2017

THAT ROCK GUY - Nothin' To Lose (2017)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

THAT ROCK GUY is Adam Barclay, an Australian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He's also a guy who's played in a multitude of bands, done lots of session work, and just finished touring nearly the entire world. Surprisingly, and mostly unheard of, he's done the latter without the support of a single studio album of his own material. Until now. Word has gotten around to the right people.
That Rock Guy has signed with Germany's AOR Heaven Records for the release of his debut album, "Nothin' To Lose", which appears today June 30.

Mr. Barclay writes and performs, essentially, Eighties classic melodic hard rock, often with a sharper edge, but also plenty of AOR atmosphere and a melodic rock accessibility.
To start, his songwriting skills are exceptional. He crafts songs with an abundance of melody and harmony, largely coming from the vocal arrangements and guitar lines.

As a vocalist, Barclay has something of raspy texture to his melodic and clean vocals. The guitar lines are brisk and sharp, giving his songs that aforementioned edge. And Barclay lays down some impressive solos, playing that fret board like a six string guitar hero.
If you like guitar forward melodic hard rock, you will enjoy this album.

With that essential melody and harmony, Barclay also powers his songs with a deep and powerful rhythm and groove. Additionally, while he does it with clean melodies, he also knows a song has to turn on a hook, and uses the turn of a riff or a catchy refrain to do so.
For something with a thick rock groove and stronger edge look to 'Can't Get Enough Of You', 'Bring On The Night', or 'One Shot In A Million'. With that last song, don't get tricked by its slight gentle start. It's a powerful rocker.

With 'Your Dreams Are Keeping Us Together' you get something of an arena ready anthem as it turns on a fine vocal arrangement, irresistible groove, and a catchy chorus.
Finally what's 80s melodic rock / AOR without some ballads. 'Without You' and 'Never Gonna Say Goodbye' deliver the goods, with the latter having more of that AOR smoothness. And a killer guitar solo.

That Rock Guy may be a 'one man band', but darn, it sounds really awesome. "Nothin' To Lose" it's all good, every song is a keeper, catchy, rocking and melodic.
In this debut CD, Adam Barclay / That Rock Guy offers an exceptional and entertaining album of classic Melodic Hard Rock.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Superstar
02 - Your Dreams Are Keeping Us Together
03 - Through the Night
04 - One Shot in a Million
05 - Never Gonna Say Goodbye
06 - Bring on the Night
07 - Can't Get Enough of You
08 - Nothin' to Lose
09 - Without You
10 - Land of the Rising Sun

Adam Barclay: all vocals and instruments.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

7 MILES TO PITTSBURGH - 7 Miles To Pittsburgh (2017)

7 MILES TO PITTSBURGH - 7 Miles To Pittsburgh (2017) full

7 MILES TO PITTSBURGH is a new band that should be Dutch's best kept secret, but after listening to their self-titled debut CD "7 Miles To Pittsburgh" this is destined to change soon, as this terrific album needs to be played at all radio stations world wide.
Well, at least classic rock radio, and if this doesn't happens, we are here to promote this type of silently released great albums.

At first glance, before listening to a single bit of music, I thought about a modern rock act from America, perhaps due the band's name or maybe the album artwork.
"7 Miles To Pittsburgh" is a killer classic rock / melodic hard record with many influences under its sleeve, but with a unique sound and fabulous musicianship.

Of course, when I read the line up of 7 Miles To Pittsburgh, things started to take another color.
On vocals and guitar is Andrew Elt who was the frontman for classic ’80s melodic hard rock band Sleeze Beez. He also played guitar for that great band and since then has been continuously involved with many bands such as The Moon.
Then there's Martin Helmantel, a veteran of the Dutch rock scene, on bass for 17 years with prog-rock band Elegy. Drummer Joris Lindner has been part of progsters Komatsu, but the guy also play guitars on the album, most of the guitars, and he's damn good at it as well!

Then I played the first track 'Same Size Soul' and got instantly hooked with this band.
Groovy guitars, punchy bass, dynamic drumming and Andrew Elt’s typical raspy pitched voice blends for a killer opener.
But wait, follower 'Pittsburgh' is even better. What a killer pumpy song reminiscent of late ’80s and certainly early ’90s songwriting. The verses are great on guitars, there's dashes of classic keyboards (akin Hammond) while the chorus is vocal driven, melodious and darn catchy. Lindner's guitar solo is simply awesome.

Then 'Lost And Found' is another highlight. It starts slow with some acoustics, a rounded bass and vocals that somehow reminds me of '90s Queensryche, but then at about the 1:40 mark, big time guitar distortion and screeching vocals kicks in for a bit, before falling back to its acoustic beginnings. Following the second chorus, the song does build into something heavier and even more interesting, plenty of nuances.

Three songs and I am already sold.
There's a meaningful variation in tracks to come, some with a more modern approach, but 7 Miles To Pittsburgh it's very classic at their core.
At times King’s X comes to mind, then some groovy melodic hard rock, other moments I hear Bad Company shining through. Classic Rock elements are deeply rooted in the band’s background, as we might know from Elt’s collaborations and constant touring with tribute bands alongside his management duties for Walter Trout.
It’s obvious they all take along a piece of their own history, which makes it all more interesting.

7 MILES TO PITTSBURGH - 7 Miles To Pittsburgh (2017) inside

Coming out of nowhere, "7 Miles To Pittsburgh" is one of the surprises of the year.
Combining the best elements from the '80s, '90s and the good stuff from the 2000's, 7 Miles To Pittsburgh is one of the more interesting and awesome bands I recently heard.
Varied and cleverly composed songs, top notch musicianship and great production makes "7 Miles To Pittsburgh" one of the best debuts of the year.

Add to that Andrew Elt's terrific vocals - why this guy isn't fronting a major Melodic Hard Rock band is beyond me.
But don't worry, he's fronting 7 Miles To Pittsburgh, and that's even better, as here alongside his talented band mates, the vocalist has total control to create the music he wants.
And what a superb piece of work it is.

01 - Same Size Soul
02 - Pittsburgh
03 - Lost and Found
04 - Earth Dance
05 - Jambalaya
06 - Damn
07 - Imaginary Friend
08 - Above the Fold
09 - 21 Grams
10 - If All Else Fails

Andrew Elt - Vocals and some Guitars
Martin Helmantel - Bass, Keyboards and some Guitars
Joris Lindner - Drums and most Guitars


ANGELWINGS - The Edge Of Innocence (2017)

ANGELWINGS - The Edge Of Innocence (2017) full

In one of our Advanced Releases sampler we presented the first single from ANGELWINGS, and now we have the band's full length debut “The Edge Of Innocence”.
Originally formed in 2013 in Gibraltar, Angelwings got together to perform covers but a year and a half later they started writing their own material, and the result is this diverse, melodic and at the same time progressive album.

In the time in between the recording of “The Edge Of Innocence” some Angelwings singles have seen radio airplay internationally, and they’ve shared the stage with such different acts like Saxon, Kings Of Leon and Duran Duran.
So how does the album hold up? The production value is top notch. Musically, there are some very nice arrangements throughout which highlight the ongoing musical influence that the 'new' progressive female-fronted Sympho / Melodic Prog genre have had on Angelwings.
But they add they own spin, that being a clean sound and melody as main focus.

The highlights on this album include 'Lillith' which features some beautiful arrangements, Divi Cano’s lovely sweet vocals, and a beat that will get stuck in your head. 'The Fallen' is another remarkable tune, as it alternates between melodic vocals and a heavier sounding rhythm.
'Memories' is a softer track (not a ballad) showcasing Divi’s vocal capabilities more than anything else on the album and driven by some very heartfelt guitar work.
Then the elaborated 'Legend & Myth' is another good example of this as it contains some very good vocal arrangements and harmonies.

Title track 'The Edge of Innocence' is a more cinematic track. Starts with a a dark atmosphere ideal for a Tim Burton movie. Then it grows with strong keyboards and powerful guitars that lead the song towards a more epic point.
'Forbidden Love' is another good, uptempo song, where the main melody perfectly glue with the smooth vocals and the chorus is nice, quite commercial.
With 'Embracing Fantasy' Angelwings gives us classic sympho metal very well acclimated with a superb keyboard work and a whipping solo. However, as happens on the entire album, everything it's very melodic.

ANGELWINGS - The Edge Of Innocence (2017) back

In their debut “The Edge Of Innocence” Angelwings has achieved something that I liked a lot: while the 'new wave' of female-fronted sympho prog tend to turn things too much metallic with some vocal 'growls', this band has a knack for refined melodies.
Indeed, Divi Cano’s owns a strong set of pipes but she never exaggerates, keeping the focus on harmony instead of overwhelming operatics.
Yes, finally here's a band that craft a nice blend of sympho progressive with melodic, moderated clean metal riffs and using the keyboards not only for creating pulse but adding an effective palette of sounds.
Highly Recommended

01 - Wonderland
02 - Game of Life
03 - Forbidden Love
04 - Memories
05 - Lilith
06 - The Fallen
07 - Nile Goddess
08 - The Edge of Innocence
09 - Embracing Fantasy
10 - The Legend & the Myth

Divi Cano – vocals
Paul P. Cano - guitar
Glenn Cano – keyboards
Darren Fa – bass
Mark Brooks – drums


THE WEIGHT - Keep Turning [deluxe edition] (2017)

THE WEIGHT - Keep Turning [deluxe edition] (2017) full

Welcome to another time machine, retro-rock trip by the hand of THE WEIGHT and their debut album "Keep Turning". Conjuring that classic rock chops from an era when when drums had to be hit hard, vintage organs swirl, guitar riffs came straight from the amp and the vocals were 'real', this 4-piece from Austria sound like a lost British late '70s stadium act.

In current times there's a strong 'revival' of this genre with many classic band reunion, but we have also a new generation cultivating this musical style from the guts. The Weight is formed by very young musicians but take for sure they've listened to all that timeless LP's and learned the lesson.
Opening with the rousing 'Maybe', a catchy rocker with melodious refrains, bursts of classy organ and
flaming guitar riffs, The Weight presents their credentials.

Title track 'Keep Turning' is more groovy, with a midtempo haunting pace and not far from what The Answer or The Darkness have recently brought to the table: classic stuff with an updated sound but 'that jamming' feel so late Seventies. Steady rhythm section, sweet vocals and a solid guitar work.

THE WEIGHT - Keep Turning [deluxe edition] (2017) inside

On 'Blow It' singer Tobias Jussel add swagger over the lively instrumentation, then 'The Preacher' is a slow burner, slightly bluesy Zeppelin-esque ballad filled with heartfelt lead vocals and a hazy atmosphere. These guys are good at it!

'The Doctor' cheats you starting slow with some piano, but soon evolves into a rocker with some Bad Company and Traffic on it. Here's a lot of space for guitar solos, organ stabs and a loosely feel overall. You can picture this one played live and the crowd hands in the air.
Speaking of 'live', this release was originally a 5-track EP including the aforementioned songs, but The Weight has put out this 'deluxe edition' adding 7 extra songs, all recently recorded live.
You have all the studio tracks (plus two extra songs) in live take form where the band sounds slightly heavier, confirming they were built to perform live. The version of 'The Doctor' is on fire.

THE WEIGHT - Keep Turning [deluxe edition] (2017) back

The Classic Rock resurgence is in good hand with bands like The Weight, a young outfit with the right chops and the ability to write & perform very strong music in this vein, organic and with nerve.
These guys need major exposure, believe me, this is really good stuff.
Strongly Recommended

01 - Maybe
02 - Keep Turning
03 - Blow It
04 - The Preacher
05 - The Doctor
06 - Keep Turning (Live)
07 - Maybe (Live)
08 - Blow It (Live)
09 - The Preacher (Live)
10 - Money Ain't for Keeping (Live)
11 - Heads or Tails (Live)
12 - The Doctor (Live)

Tobias Jussel - vocals, keyboards
Michael Böbel- guitars
Andreas Vetter - drums
Patrick Moosbrugger - bass


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

STEEL SEAL- The Lion's Den (2017)

STEEL SEAL- The Lion's Den (2017) full

"The Lion’s Den" is the third album from STEEL SEAL, a band new to me and whose name makes you think about heavy metal. Indeed there's metal in it, but the good, old-fashioned classic melodic metal blended with equal doses of groovy hard rock. And you have Fabiou Lione at the mic, guarantee of great vocals throughout.

Backed by a wildly talented keyboardist (Adriano Rossi) and a fantastic vocalist (Fabio Lione) who sings like the second coming of Glenn Hughes, this band is off to a strong start in the classic metal tournament for your attention.
Songs like "Never Die," "Master of Hell," and "Open Fire" really showcase Steel Seal's ability to make familiar musical notions exciting again by stretching combined talents into better forms of servicing the song.

There are flashes of utter brilliance on this album as evidenced by the track "Fate (Knocking At Your Door)" a rousing number kicked into high gear with super percussion and machine gun vocals that still retain their tonal clarity.
The former, "Break Your Chains" and "A Dream Within a Dream" have a nice Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow vibe about them. Lots of great vocal melodies and some stunning guitar playing (much like the rest of the album).

The final track "Wake or Sleep" is another highlight, a classy mid-tempo piece that has such gravity you are surprised it is the final song to the album instead of the end of the first half of a double album.

STEEL SEAL- The Lion's Den (2017) back

"The Lion's Den" is a very complete collection of classic melodic metal / hard rock songs rich in melody and composition.
Do not be fooled by the the band's name of the album's artwork. This is classic stuff, ranging from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and Deep Purple to 1985 Yngwie or Axel Rudi Pell.

As said production is top notch with the proper EQ and mix for this type of genre, there's stellar vocals, wonderful keys and super guitars.
With "The Lion's Den", Steel Seal has released the album that Yngwie Malmsteen or Rainbow owe us since two decades.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Never Die
02 - Master of Hell
03 - Open Fire
04 - Break Your Chains
05 - Fate (Knocking at Your Door)
06 - Lonely
07 - A Dream Within a Dream
08 - In for the Kill
09 - Waiting For the Rain
10 - Wake or Sleep

Marco Valerio Zangani (guitars)
Luca Iovieno (drums)
Roberto Fasciani (bass)
Adriano Rossi (keyboards)
Fabio Lione (vocals)
Andrea De Paoli: keyboards intros on 3, 9
Lorenzo Milone: guitar solos on 3, 4, 7, 9, 10


SAMSON (Bruce Dickinson) - Shock Tactics [remastered Digipak reissue +3] (2017)

SAMSON (Bruce Dickinson) - Shock Tactics [remastered Digipak reissue +3] (2017) full

Founded by guitarist Paul Samson, SAMSON were one of the seminal acts of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal between the late Seventies / early Eighties. Best known for their first three LP with future Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson (then 'Bruce Bruce'), "Shock Tactics" is the band's last album with the vocalist, now reissued in remastered form with the addition of 3 bonus tracks recorded during the original sessions.

Regarded by many as Samson's finest album, 1981's "Shock Tactics" was the last to feature Bruce Dickinson on lead vocals before joining Iron Maiden - who were coincidentally recording Killers, their last album with Paul Di'Anno, in the same studio at the same time of Samson's "Shock Tactics"... Coincidence? I don't think so...

Despite of being part of the NWOBHM, Samson's style was more hard rock oriented than metal, with lots of melodies in the same wagon of Praying Mantis or Tygers Of Pan Tang.
In "Shock Tactics" the band's songwriting had improved to a more direct, catchy, easy to the ear songs and a clear yet powerful sound.
The band also benefited greatly by the presence of producer Tony Platt, known for his work with Foreigner, Gary Moore, and... Iron Maiden's first EP (another coincidence?) among other Rock acts.

SAMSON (Bruce Dickinson) - Shock Tactics [remastered Digipak reissue +3] (2017) inside

Kicking off with their best-known song, the catchy "Riding with the Angels" (penned by ex-Argent singer Russ Ballard), other highlights include "Nice Girl", "Earth Mother," "Blood Lust," and "Communion." Paul's riffs are sharp & clear, and his solos concise & effective.
Bruce's high note, that 'air raid siren' style he is known for slightly appear on "Grime Crime" having a considerable amount of shrieking in them, but it does not exactly sounded like the end of Maiden's Aces High. Although Bruce's singing voice is warming up, his higher end has not been totally developed yet.

However, it's fun, and enjoyable, to hear Dickinson doing a more hard rock stuff and complementing the classic guitar riffs with cool results.
"Communion" is a highlight, and it is also the lone ballad on the album. The Iron Maiden lyrical mentality for ballads is forming here with feelings of sadness and grief. This track it is just a nice acoustical melody which is practically just a vocal showcasing for Bruce.

SAMSON (Bruce Dickinson) - Shock Tactics [remastered Digipak reissue +3] (2017) back

Samson's "Shock Tactics" is a very good slice of classic British Hard Rock, consistent and very well produced.
This is a very welcomed reissue (the previous out of print is being sold at Amazon for £538 !) which although features an early 2000's remaster, it feels really balanced, warm, like a new vinyl LP, (in fact, this reissue it's also available in a luxury crimson 180gr. Vinyl LP).
And you have 3 juicy bonus tracks recorded at the original album sessions.
An underrated album that is definitely worth checking out.
Highly Recommended

01 - Riding with the Angels
02 - Earth Mother
03 - Nice Girl
04 - Blood Lust
05 - Go to Hell
06 - Bright Lights
07 - Once Bitten
08 - Grime Crime
09 - Communion
BONUS TRACKS from Original Session Recordings:
10 - Little Big Man
11 - Pyramid to the Stars
12 - Losing My Grip

Paul Samson - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Chris Aylmer - Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals
Thunderstick - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Bruce Bruce (Bruce Dickinson) - Lead Vocals


VAN ARX - Stand Together For Rock and Roll (2017)

VAN ARX - Stand Together For Rock and Roll (2017) full

VAN ARX appear to be a Swiss cover band that graduated to doing their own material. "Stand Together For Rock and Roll" is their debut album released worldwide (including the US).
While their appearance is a bit reminiscent of a “parody” band and their songs a bit on the simple side they seem to be decent enough and able to churn out sufficiently catchy material, in the vein of Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Ratt, etc, with a production that doesn’t belie any serious budgetary constraints.

Van Arx formed already back in the '80s, but in the early 1990s they split up. All members continued working in the music business, and with the resurgence of classic rock especially in Europe they decided to reunite and since then never stopped to play shows.
"Stand Together For Rock and Roll" includes their own songs written for this album, but you'll hear many references and homages.

The Swiss band’s hearts clearly beat for '80s Hard Rock, particularly the glam rock / hair metal sub-genre. You can also see this when looking at their outfits. With wigs, make-up and plateau boots they live their Sunset Strip fantasies, and this is what the audience look for assisting to their shows.

Van Arx feature three different lead vocalists, depending on the song. One sings with more, the other with less talent but at least the voices fit to the particular songs.
With the exception of drummer Sticky Martin, everyone in the band takes over lead vocal duties, which is a good idea because it contributes to the songs’ versatility.

VAN ARX - Stand Together For Rock and Roll (2017) inside

hough the songs often remind you of hits by aforementioned artists - there's some Kiss' bars on 'Make My Day', some Ratt in 'I Want Some Girls' or Motley in 'Send the Devil to Hell' - there's some tracks where Van Arx deliver a more personal style.
Title track 'Stand Together for Rock and Roll' is a ridiculously catchy tune with some Wig Wam on it, and 'Stay Tonight' is a fine, darn good midtempo melodic rocker.

Add Van Arx to the Sunset Strip current revival scene, and while there's better bands doing this - as the opposite as many think, a sub-genre not so easy to recreate - these guys have the chops and round-up some catchy, fun, entertaining songs.
Two thumbs up

01 - Make My Day
02 - Stand Together for Rock and Roll
03 - Stay Tonight
04 - Rock and Roll Master
05 - Rock Battle
06 - Crazy
07 - Bang Your Head
08 - I Want Some Girls
09 - She Did Anyway
10 - Send the Devil to Hell
11 - It Is Over
12 - You Like to Party We Love to Rock

Tyler String - Vocals, Guitar
Jake Fake - Vocals, Guitar
Brewster Kickass - Vocals, Bass
Sticky Martin - Drums


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

DEF LEPPARD - Adrenalize [Japan SHM-CD remastered miniLP] Out Of Print

DEF LEPPARD - Adrenalize [Japan SHM-CD remastered miniLP] Out Of Print full

Let's go with more DEF LEPPARD classics in a high quality Japanese SHM-CD pressing. This is the remastered, out of print numbered version of "Adrenalize", Def Leppard's fifth studio album, the first by the band following the death of guitarist Steve Clark. It was produced by Mike Shipley & Def Leppard, with Robert John "Mutt" Lange as executive producer.

I love Def Lepp's "Adrenalize" for many reasons. First of all, it's a terrific collection of songs, but also had the honor to beat the Grunge clock for more than a year. Released on 31 March 1992, "Adrenalize" debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart and peaked at No. 1 on the UK Albums chart.
Def Leppard had always aimed to be a big deal. Their iconic 1987 album, Hysteria, had been a giant of an LP, breaking sales (and length) records, and propelling them to where they’d always wanted to be.
Singer Joe Elliott said of their fourth record, “We set out to be the biggest band in the world. And for a short while, we were.”

The momentum built by the British band had propelled them through the end of the ‘80s and into the ‘90s – but things were different by then. Musical tastes were changing; relied-upon colleagues were looking in other directions, and guitarist Steve Clark was dead. That was the backdrop to what would become Def Leppard’s fifth album, "Adrenalize".
On Jan. 8, 1991, Clark’s girlfriend found him dead on his sofa. He’d suffered compression of the brain stem the previous day, brought on by alcohol and pills.
Def Leppard had faced tragedy before, most notably the 1984 car crash in which drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm. “Whenever anything negative happens to us, it always pulls us together, personally and musically,” Allen said after Clark’s death. “You batter on with the record and it takes your mind off whatever bad is happening.”

So that’s just what they did, operating as a four-piece, and leaving guitarist Phil Collen to play both his own parts and those of the much-missed Clark. The pair had influenced each other throughout the band’s career, with Collen’s Van Halen style set against Clark’s Jimmy Page influences.
Collen was forced to channel his late bandmate during the sessions. He described it as “the weirdest thing ever.” “It was like talking to a ghost,” he noted. “I’d done my parts, and I’d have to learn Steve’s parts as he played them. Although he didn’t play on it, he did through me. It was schizophrenic; his personality would come through.”

DEF LEPPARD - Adrenalize [Japan SHM-CD remastered miniLP] - sleeve

The band had reunited with longtime producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange – but there was a new twist. Def Leppard decided to take matters into their own hands and co-produce, along with engineer Mike Shipley, while placing Lange in the role of executive producer.
The result was a killer 10-track Melodic Hard Rock album that spawned seven singles, including three major hits.

There's killer rockers in 'Let's Get Rocked', the AORish 'Stand Up [Kick Love Into Motion]', 'I Wanna Touch U', the swagerin 'Personal Property' and while Elliott described the lyrics for 'Make Love Like a Man' as 'too stupid' after they attempted to deliver a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of “macho”, the single become a hit.
You find here as well the hit power ballad 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad', another superb tune from the Def Lepp craft.

While a like all tracks, my absolute favorites are 'Tonight' and 'White Lightning', easily among my 10 best Def Leppard songs.
'Tonight' is the perfect midtempo Melodic Rock song in my book, then 'White Lightning' is dedicated to the memory of Clark (as the entire album). This track started off as a Clark-Collen collaboration but eventually became a song about the band’s fallen comrade. I love it.

DEF LEPPARD - Adrenalize [Japan SHM-CD remastered miniLP] - back

"Adrenalize" was the last time Lange worked with the band, and it turned out to be the last album categorized as “glam metal” to achieve No. 1 chart success before the musical revolution of the early ‘90s.
It sold more than three million copies in the U.S. during its first two months on sale. It kept Bruce Springsteen’s Human Touch off the top spot, while the Boss’ simultaneous release Lucky Town got to third position. It was also the last Def Leppard album to achieve large-scale mainstream success.

Yeah, I know most of you already has a copy of this album in one way or another. Anyway, let me tell you this Japanese SHM-CD sounds million bucks. There's the 2 original Japan bonus tracks 'Miss You In A Heartbeat' and 'She's Too Tough' already included later into Retro Active, but here are slightly longer.

You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox

Universal Japan ~UICY-93454

01 - Let's Get Rocked
02 - Heaven Is
03 - Make Love Like A Man
04 - Tonight
05 - White Lightning
06 - Stand Up [Kick Love Into Motion]
07 - Personal Property
08 - Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
09 - I Wanna Touch U
10 - Tear It Down
11 - Miss You In A Heartbeat
12 - She's Too Tough

Joe Elliott – lead & backing vocals
Phil Collen – guitars
Rick Savage – bass, acoustic guitar on "Tonight"
Rick Allen – drums


STATION - Station (CD version)

STATION - Station (CD version) full

The great new single from STATION presented in our last Adv. Releases sampler caused that many of you asked for the must have CD version of the band's self-titled full length album. New York Melodic Rockers STATION debuted with an awesome EP (featured on this blog) produced by legend Michael Wagener.
Then after touring extensively North America and sharing the stage with rock greats such as Pat Benatar, Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe), Bret Michaels (Poison), Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Jake E Lee and more, STATION released by themselves their awesome, 'back to the '80s' album "Station" for fans of the genre rejoice.

"Station" is an awesome slice of pure American late '80s influenced Melodic Hard Rock plenty of classy melodies, killer choruses and rockin' hooky riffs.
These young dudes of Station really nail how this genre should be played: sharp melodic layers of guitars, round fat bass lines, kickin' drums (with that big-boom sound) and an lots of harmony vocals in the song's chorus.

Singer Patrick Kearney has the right vocal register for this type of lovable music recalling Kevin Chalfant, Joe Elliott or Sammy Hagar at moments, sometimes Warrant's Jani Lane. His performance is incredibly matured and professional throughout the entire recording.

From the opening bars of "I Don't Want to Know Your Name you can't stop to tap your foot, raise your fists and play air guitar all day!
"Everything" continues this party off with a great drum beat and then frontman Kearney jumps in with his clear, yet powerful vocals. The chorus kicks in, and I’m having flashbacks of Poison and the first Cinderella.

The more heavy "Dressed to Kill" (with some Skid Row), the kicking "More Than Enough" (Ratt anyone?), the killer "No Way Out".... in fact all tracks here are fantastic.
There's 15 songs total, seems too much, but you want more and more... believe me.
Station also delivers fine ballads, just check the mid-tempo "Are You Sleeping Alone", and the classy power ballad "Waiting for You".

I have to say I'm sold. I am in love with Station. They are each talented individuals, and together they fit together seamlessly. Their debut "Station" is pure Melodic Hard Rock Heaven plenty of catchy songs very, very well produced.
The band pay much attention to details, and have shot quite professional video clips like it used to be in the MTV golden years.

STATION - Station (CD version) disc photo

If today's youth ever wanted a first-hand lesson of what Melodic Hard Rock music was all about in the '80s, this is the perfect place to start.

01. I Don't Want to Know Your Name
02. Everything
03. Dressed to Kill
04. Are You Sleeping Alone
05. True Believer
06. With Me Tonight
07. Bitter With the Better
08. More Than Enough
09. No Way Out
10. Waiting for You
11. Never Say Never
12. I Can't Live Without You
13. Wildest Dreams
14. Shot of Life
15. One and Only

Vocals - Patrick Kearney
Guitar - Chris Lane
Bass - Mike Anderson
Drums - Justin Ryan


Monday, June 26, 2017

MOTHER ROAD - Drive [retail CD]

MOTHER ROAD - Drive [retail CD] full

After listening the great vocal pipes of singer Keith Slack in the recent post here of Taz Taylor Band Straight Up [2012 Remix], one of you asked for this criminally underrated album, MOTHER ROAD's "Drive" featuring Slack at the mic plus other excellent musicians such as Alessandro Del Vecchio.

Mother Road was put together by Austin singer Keith Slack (MSG / Steelhouse Lane) and famed German guitarist & producer Chris Lyne (Soul Doctor), and after hearing the first songs recorded by the band AOR Heaven Records immediately signed the band.
Rounding out the outfit are huge keyboard player and producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, drummer Jacky Tsoukas, and bassist Frank Binke.

These guys obviously have studied their Bad Company, Deep Purple, WhiteSnake, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin albums really well, as their debut CD "Drive" tips its hat to many of the legendary Classic (Hard) Rock bands from the last 40+ years.

Slack's voice easily merges traditional classic rock with earthy blues, maybe with a little more of gritty edge. Lyne's guitar mirrors his sound, with a sharp and brisk to soulful and stirring delivery. At times, on Mother Road he reminds me of John Sykes with a touch of Gary Moore.

MOTHER ROAD - Drive [retail CD] booklet

Keith Slack's voice is perfectly suited to the genre, displaying a wide range in a variety of styles from all out rockers like the album opener "The Sun Will Shine Again", the foot stomping "Feather In Your Hat" and the bump & grind swagger of "Drive Me Crazy", to slow bluesy movers like "Out Of My Mind" or "These Shoes", a powerful song that has that Bad Company meets Whitesnake vibe.

There's a fantastic guitar / keyboard dueling between Lyne & DelVecchio on the killer "Still Rainin", a pure catchy muscular bluesy hard rock number with hooks and scorching lead guitar, and the Hammond organ provides the swirling waves behind Lyne's guitar in the latter half of "These Shoes".
"Dangerous Highway" is the 'road song' the band’s name suggests, and the Jon Lord-like opening conjures up images of Deep Purple before the riff kicks in. It’s another mid-tempo song that Mother Road does so well.

"Poor Boy (Long Way Out)" channels late Seventies stadium hard rock; whilst "Dirty Little Secret" sees some of the best vocal and guitar work on the album (and that is saying something).
"Blue Eyes" has a distinct vintage Cry Of Love heavy blues warmth to it albeit with a vocal by Slack akin a rough Paul Rodgers.
Final track "On My Way" strips it back to subtle acoustic bones before bursting into life and finally taking it down again. It’s a powerful song, emotive and a great way to close a great album.

MOTHER ROAD - Drive [retail CD] back

With melodies aplenty, incredible vocals and stellar musicianship, it's pretty easy to recommend "Drive", and I can safely say that there's a built in audience ready and waiting for stuff like this. It's honest, true, real bluesy Classic (Hard) Rock fron the heart.
Slack' s ability to infuse genuine feeling into the music is one of the keys to its appeal. Chris Lyne gets a chance to put his talents on display and does an amazing job in the rhythm and lead guitar here. The guy rocks hard with his great tone and aggressive phrasing.

Mother Road is the type of band you'd go see and there would be no fancy clothes, no half-dressed chicks dancing on stage, just a bunch of guys in jeans and t-shirts with some Marshalls and their instruments. They'd plug in and they'd blow you away.
As said, "Drive" was criminally ignored when appeared some time ago, and you're are missing a superb, killer record if you never has given at least one spin of it.
Highly Recommended

01 - The Sun Will Shine Again
02 - Feather In Your Hat
03 - Drive Me Crazy
04 - Out Of My Mind
05 - These Shoes
06 - Dangerous Highway
07 - Poor Boy (Long Way Out)
08 - Dirty Little Secret
09 - Blue Eyes
10 - Still Rainin'
11 - On My Way

Keith Slack (vocals)
Chris Lyne (guitars)
Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards)
Frank Binke (bass)
Athanasios Zacky Tsoukas (drums)


BIG BIG TRAIN - The Second Brightest Star (2017)

BIG BIG TRAIN - The Second Brightest Star (2017) full

Classic Prog collective BIG BIG TRAIN have made the surprise announcement that they’ll release a brand new album soon. They launched their 10th record Grimspound (featured here) at the end of April this year to great critical acclaim – and they’ve wasted no time in setting up its follow-up, "The Second Brightest Star", available at the band's merch site and next month at all major retailers.

The Second Brightest Star is a companion album to Grimspound and the previous Big Big Train CD, and features 40 minutes of new material.
Alongside these new tracks, the CD contains an additional 30 minutes of music presenting songs from Folklore (2016) and Grimspound (2017) in extended arrangements.

The new songs are very interesting as most of them sound quite unlike any recent releases, such as the title track and 'Skylon'. Big Big Train feel very introspective here, showcasing aanother side of this fascinating combo.
'The Passing Widow' is acomposition with much of early Genesis on it, very good stuff. 'Terra Australis Incognita' and 'The Gentlemen's Reprise' were both originally planned as potential conclusions of 'Experimental Gentlemen' (from Grimspound), but none of the two pieces were used. It's great to hear them here.

On the other side, the "extended versions" from the previous albums are typical Big Big Train, and I think these re-works are much better than the originals.
'Brooklands' and 'London Plane' are more expansive here, intriguing, the latter being a true rendition to that British Prog classic era.

BIG BIG TRAIN - The Second Brightest Star (2017) back

This sublimely beautiful offering is the third installment of an brilliant trilogy from Big Big Train, all released in roughly 13 months time. Beginning with Folklore, followed by Grimspound, and now: The Second Brightest Star.
Sweetly reflective, dreamy, and gorgeous classic Prog.

01 - The Second Brightest Star
02 - Haymaking
03 - Skylon
04 - London Stone
05 - The Passing Widow
06 - The Leaden Stour
07 - Terra Australis Incognita
08 - Brooklands sequence:
- On The Racing Line
- Brooklands
09 - London Plane sequence:
- Turner On The Thames
- London Plane
10 - The Gentlemen's Reprise

Dave Gregory - electric & 12-string guitars
Andy Poole - acoustic guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Rikard Sjöblom - guitar, keyboards (8), backing vocals
Danny Manners - keyboards, double bass
Rachel Hall - violin, viola, cello, backing vocals, string arrangements
Greg Spawton - bass, bass pedals, backing vocals
Nick D'Virgilio - drums, percussion, backing vocals
David Longdon - lead & backing vocals, flute, melodica, electric & acoustic guitars, banjo, piano, celesta, synth, mandolin, lute, percussion


FRANK HANNON BAND (Tesla) - World Peace [retail CD]

FRANK HANNON BAND - World Peace [retail CD]  full

After Tesla's released their 9th album Simplicity, shortly after it was revealed that guitarist Frank Hannon started working on a new album with his FRANK HANNON BAND entitled "World Peace".
The record first appeared digital, but later this physical CD was released, not easy to find though.

While on the road touring with Tesla during the summer or 2014, Frank spent all the lonely hours in his hotel rooms recording musical ideas. The songs started flowing so he would literally be recording music in the dressing room five minutes prior to Tesla stepping on stage.
After returning home Frank knew he had a batch of strong material, so current Frank Hannon Band members bassist Aaron Leigh and drummer Kelly Smith joined him in the studio to help put the album into fruition.

FRANK HANNON BAND - World Peace [retail CD] disc photo

When the majority of songs were recorded, an old original concept came back to Frank Hannon's mind from the year 2000 when the guitarist wrote an instrumental native American chant song he titled "World Peace?" which asks the question: "When will it come?".
With that concept in mind, the flames grew hotter and it shows in the lyrics on the CD.

We have here powerful heavy protests tracks such as "The Picture", "Electric Chair" and "Born Free" mixed with the happier positive melodies of "Lucky 13", "Down The Road" and "Break The Silence", all wrapped by killer hard rock sound.
The songs not only showcase Hannon as a powerful lead singer and shredding lead guitarist, but also a prolific songwriter. The recognizable sound of Tesla is evident here, but the sound of an unleashed artist is also heard.

FRANK HANNON BAND - World Peace [retail CD] back

Built on the bedrock of contagious riffs, tight grooves and raunchy guitar leads, Frank Hannon's "World Peace" upholds the all familiar hard rock truisms with commendable conviction. As happened on his previous album, a dash of bluesy melodies impregnates some of the material, but I can hear as well a new modern approach, basically in the sound department.
Anyway, this is a hard rocking based record, an effective time-tested affair showing of what Hannon is capable of as a player and as a songwriter.
These songs rock from the heart, his band feels glued and effervescent, and "World Peace", as a whole, it's a killer slice of true, honest classic hard rock.
Highly Recommended

01 - Born Free
02 - The Picture
03 - World Peace
04 - Love Is Like a Fire
05 - Electric Chair
06 - Lucky 13
07 - New York City (Psycho Cab Ride)
08 - Down the Road
09 - Get off Yo Ass!
10 - Heavy Metal Hippie
11 - Break the Silence
12 - Requiem
13 - Eye of the Mind [digital bonus track with purchase]

Frank Hannon (vocals, guitars)
Aaron Leigh (bass)
Kelly Smith (drums)


Sunday, June 25, 2017

V.A. - 0dayrox Advanced Releases July 2017 - Vol.4

V.A. - 0dayrox Advanced Releases July 2017 - Vol.4 Mr Big, Kryptonite Hinder Riverdogs

More & more very interesting releases coming up this Summer. Let's check the more relevant Melodic Rock / AOR advances just appeared.
Frontiers Music has put out more advances from their upcoming releases such as MR. BIG's third single 'Mean To Me' (so far my favorite as it owns that early '90s melodic rock feel) and a new track from KRYPTONITE, the new amazing project including Jake Samuels from The Poodles, Alessandro Del Vecchio (Lionville), Pontus Egberg (formerly of The Poodles and now the bass player for Treat), Robban Back (ex-Eclipse) and young and immensely gifted guitarist Mike Palace. You will love what they have cooked up for you.

Also there's a new cut from the much anticipated debut of THE NIGHTS. The band includes Finnish singer Sami Hyde (Tony Mills Band) who has written songs for many artists like The Magnificent, and Ilkka Wirtanen, known for his work as a producer and co-writer for Reckless Love.
'American Dream' is the 3rd single from RIVERDOGS upcoming album, and if the first two were good, this one is even better with a true classic melodic rock sound.

And Frontiers has presented the first song from one of their newest acts: WAYWARD SONS. This new band is made up of Toby Jepson (vocals, guitar), Sam Wood (guitar), Nic Wastell (bass), Dave Kemp (keys) and Phil Martini (drums). They have an impressive resume of groups they have previously worked with: Little Angels, Gun, Spear Of Destiny, Treason Kings and Chrome Molly to name a few - which is reassuring in terms of the band as players. The music is hard rock but mixed with a vitality and energy - both musically and lyrically.

Melodic hard rockers STATION returns with the hook-laden 'All You Need Is a Heartbeat', a song that recalls an era of refined harmonies, guitar solos you could sing along with as easily as any chorus and cannon fire drums.
Yes, you guessed it: pure '80s! I love this band and this track is one of the best I heard recently truly in the best tradition of the genre. Terrific tune.

Also returning there's Italian hard rockers VOODOO HIGHWAY with the single 'To Ride The Tide' (new album soon), MASSIVE has a strong new single 'Calm Before The Storm' to premiere at their June/July 2017 UK Tour Dates, and young rocker JARED JAMES NICHOLS surprises with the new song 'Last Chance', much more heavy and modern than anything he has released so far.

HINDER seems to have abandoned their modern rock origins in favor to a more melodic rock feel as heard in their new single 'Remember Me' (new full album soon). Well done guys.
DAMN FREAKS is one of the most promising emerging indie bands which will be releasing their debut CD in August. 'Break The Chains', the first single featuring Tygers Of Pan Tang singer Jack Meile rocks with a lovely '80 US hard rock sound with some Van Halen / early Dokken on it.

With the suggestive title 'Alien Makers Of Discord', this is the first single from the new project PROSPEKT, a killer melodic progressive metal / hard rock combo bringing to mind the awesome pristine sound of James LaBrie solo works. '90s guitar hero Greg Howe delivers a scorching guest guitar solo. Can't wait for the full album.
Steve Lukather's son Trev is playing and arranging the new album from young female rocker DIAMANTE, and the fresh single 'Coming In Hot' is a cool rocker with a strong '80s Joan Jett vibe on it.
For the last, UNISONIC will release a live album soon, with the band's name track 'Unisonic' presented as advance. Killer version full of fire.

01 - Station - All You Need Is A Heartbeat
02 - Wayward Sons - Until The End
03 - Mr. Big - Mean To Me
04 - Kryptonite - This Is The Moment
05 - The Nights - Nothing But Love
06 - Riverdogs - American Dream
07 - Damn Freaks - Break The Chains
08 - Hinder - Remember Me
09 - Jared James Nichols - Last Chance
10 - Diamante - Coming In Hot (feat Trev Lukather)
11 - Massive - Calm Before The Storm
12 - Voodoo Highway - To Ride The Tide
13 - Prospekt - Alien Makers Of Discord (solo by Greg Howe)
14 - Unisonic - Unisonic (the song) [Live]

Only at 0dayrox

JYRKI 69 (The 69 Eyes) - Helsinki Vampire (2017)

JYRKI 69 (The 69 Eyes) - Helsinki Vampire (2017) full

"Helsinki Vampire" is the solo debut album from JYRKI 69, lead vocalist for Finland's darkest and deadliest goth metal band The 69 Eyes The disc builds on the distinctive "goth 'n' roll" sound that The 69 Eyes honed over the course of a dozen albums (millions of units sold collectively worldwide) while adding a more richly textured, darkly romantic atmosphere.

Yeah, sure, Goth is not a musical sub-genre belonging to this blog, but this album is worth to check. I like some The 69 Eyes material, and since the entire album has been produced, mixed, and mastered by the band's longtime producer Johnny Lee Michaels, fans will find this album to be closer to the band's classic sound.
In short, goth rock mixed with hard rock guitars and an overall dark sound.

However, Jyrki's 69 debut adds it own spin. His vocals are an acquired taste, some kind of a baritone croon with sinister tone. Alongside the heavy guitars you have synth arrangements akin the last Depeche Mode, and together the dark atmospheres, pianos, bells, etc the album results quite interesting, different, captivating.

Several of the tracks from "Helsinki Vampire" have already been picked up for use in upcoming movies, including the horror film Sunset Society (starring Lemmy from Motorhead as a Sunset Strip vampire), suspense film Close Your Eyes, and Halloween Hell House (starring 21 Jump Street's Richard Grieco).
Yeah, Jyrki's 69 are special for horror films, from the lyrics to the musical cadence.

"Helsinki Vampire" launches with “Ad Infinitum,” an eight-minute introduction that presents beautifully haunting electronics and minimal vocals forevermore. The impressive piano and keyboard work continue in “Versailles,” a downtempo, melancholic tromp through the garden, as well as on the gentle embrace of “Spanish Steps.”
A sensual tale of one little girl with “Bloodlust” deep in her eyes, prowling the streets at night is already slated to appear in the upcoming horror flick Sunset Society mentioned above.

Watch Motorhead's Lemmy play a Sunset Strip vampire;

Spooky Horror romp “Last Halloween” has also been selected for use in the soundtrack of Halloween Hell House and it's one of my favorites from the album, bringing to mind '80s slasher movie soundtracks. That keyboards pattern...
A languorous tale of one morbid and darkly ironic birthday celebration – while burying your mother with tears of love and loss – “Happy Birthday” is anything but; the irony here being palpable.
With the pace amping upward, “Call Of The Night” begs for all children of the night to hear Jyrki’s musical call. Superb bass breakdowns, sweeping guitars, and those seductive vocals mark this as a highlight of these vampiric offerings.
In fact, Jyrki channels his own inner Dracula on the spoken word offering, “Perfection.”

The intoxicating dark guitars of “Close Your Eyes” (reminds me of Sixx:AM) rolls into the ringing church bells of “In Your Dreams,” a mid-tempo rocker that raises the bar and marks the beginning of the end.
“Sayonara” is styled as a live concert send-off and included as a bonus track on the CD only.
“Hello, goodbye / Every day we die,” Jyrki sings in this official send-off. Do you think he knows that everyday is Halloween? Probably, as the entirety of "Helsinki Vampire" is languorous, sensual, macabre, and horrific in the most theatrical of senses.

Like a live-action Horror film that seduces, enthralls, captivates, and then repeats the vicious cycle, "Helsinki Vampire" is an album for all who dare to try something different. In fact, if you're an '80s culture freak (movies & soundtracks) you'll love Jyrki 69's solo debut.
Musically, expect a bizarre mix of Alice Cooper, Depeche Mode and Sixx:AM, some heavy synths, some heavy riffs, brooding vocals, etc.
I liked it.

01. Ad Infinitum
02. Versailles
03. Spanish Steps
04. Bloodlust (from "Sunset Society")
05. Last Halloween (from "Halloween Hell House")
06. Happy Birthday
07. Call Of The Night
08. Perfection
09. Close Your Eyes (from "Close Your Eyes")
10. In Your Dreams
11. Sayonara (CD only)


FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - Six String Soldiers [full retail]

FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - Six String Soldiers [full retail]

Tesla's axe slinger FRANK HANNON released his solo debut in 2004, and after several years preparing new material and assembling a new band, has created what is quickly being regarded as one of the most impressive unabashed tributes to the importance of the Guitar in Rock-n-Roll music.
"Six String Soldiers" is a full length disc of 12 solidly written songs backed by the musicianship of legendary guitarists Dickey Betts, 3-time Grammy Award winner Rick Derringer, Pat Travers and Y&T founder Dave Meniketti.

Joined by New Mexico's guitarist Mike Araiza and fronted by the soulful voice of Jeff Sandoval, Frank has assembled an army of talent that is rarely seen on a single disc these days.
This album reminds us of a time in America when soon to be classic songs blasted from the radios of the newest muscle cars, guitar-driven songs topped the charts and freedom was in the air.

"I'm Alive" opens with a bang highlighted by the bluesy guitar of Pat Travers. Outstanding vocals and songwriting bring an uplifting message filled with superb riffage and melody.
If you're a Tesla fan you will love "Set Me Free", perhaps the best track in a disc plenty of highlights. It has that irresistible bluesy touch, a fantastic refrain and a crazy solo.
Title track "Six String Soldiers" is an instrumental, but not that kind of flashy modern shred, it rocks like hell over a blasting and retro sounding rhythm section.

FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - Six String Soldiers [full retail] disc

"Lipstick, Smoke and Gasoline" is an instant favorite. The first note starts with an infectious groove that carries to the end. Frank and Mike deliver some great head-banging riffs as Dave Meniketti brings a truly 'face-melting' guitar solo.
You may have not heard Jeff Sandoval before, but that is quickly going to change with "Cross Your Mind" and "Love, Life and Beauty". Jeff's vocals bring these songs a heartfelt honesty to them that is sadly missing in most of today's rock music.

The life of a professional musician is beautifully conveyed in "Touch the Ground". Guitar legend Dickey Betts' decades of traveling from town-to-town, gig-to-gig comes thru brilliantly in his unmatched signature style making it an absolute must have.
The great Rick Derringer himself makes "To the Light" absolutely shine on this album. His guitar work reminds us why he is a true master and Classic Rock guitar icon.
After the awesome slow ballad Tesla-like "Redemption", the CD ends with a short instrumental which shows Frank enjoying his guitars & amps.

FRANK HANNON (Tesla) - Six String Soldiers [full retail] back

Built on the bedrock of contagious riffs, tight grooves, and raunchy guitar leads, Frank Hannon's new solo record upholds the all familiar Hard Rock truisms with commendable conviction.
Few virtuoso of Hannon's caliber are interested these days in sustaining the canonical values of straightforward hard rock with such earnestness.
But you can tell he is genuinely enjoying himself, putting demonstrations of his chops on the backburner and getting a kick out of the grooves, the riffs, and the sprawling melodies of traditional Hard Rock spiced by bluesy overtones with class.
These songs Rocks, his band Rocks, and "Six String Soldiers" Rocks, in a really, really good way.
Highly Recommended

01 - I'm Alive (feat. Pat Travers)
02 - Set Me Free
03 - Six String Soldiers
04 - Lipstick, Smoke and Gasoline (feat. Dave Meniketti)
05 - Invincible
06 - Cross Your Mind
07 - Touch the Ground (feat. Dickey Betts)
08 - I'm Just Sayin'
09 - Love, Life and Beauty
10 - To the Light (feat. Rick Derringer)
11 - Redemption
12 - 12.21

Frank Hannon - Guitars, Bass
Jeff Sandoval - Vocals
Mike Araiza - Guitar
Cortney DeAugustine - Drums
Dave Meniketti - Guitar
Dickey Betts - Guitar
Rick Derringer - Guitar


Saturday, June 24, 2017

TEN - Gothica [Japanese Edition +1] (2017)

TEN - Gothica [Japanese Edition +1] (2017) full

After a couple of busy years with one album, one EP and extensive tours, British Melodic Hard Rock institution TEN have returned to their former label Frontiers Music for the release of their 13th studio album "Gothica" next month. The Japanese Edition just arrived with a bonus track.

TEN has slightly changed their style in the last 10 years or so, and perhaps their current musical path is perfectly encapsulated by the track 'Travellers'. Its depth and scope are amazing, the band’s usual palette of colours stretched to somewhat darker hues, though without sacrificing musical identity, nor their storytelling element.

Explaining that its contents dwell upon history, romance and erotic horror, leader Gary Hughes has called the album “a little more sinister then the previous”.
From the Henry VIII-themed 'A Man For All Seasons' to 'Welcome To The Freakshow' fetishism and the vampiric 'La Luna Dra-cu-la', this album stimulates the ol’ grey matter as well as entertaining, while refusing to be bogged down by bookish stuffiness.

The classic TEN catchiness it's well represented by 'Jekyll and Hyde', the very melodic 'In My Dreams' (which felt like a piece of commercial melodic rock perfectly designed for early '90s radio).
I really like the first single 'Paragon' however is not the strongest song here, but this Japanese Edition includes as bonus track a remix of it, different, shorter and much more effective.

Then if you are looking for TEN's melodious light proggy side check 'The Wild King Of Winter', an almost sorrowful piece of beautiful music, leading into rhythmic guitar with a fantastic beat and some great guitar solos, as well as a catchy chorus and some very prog leaning keys from Darrel Treece-Birch, a man whose surname is even cooler than his nickname.

TEN - Gothica [Japanese Edition +1] (2017) back

A true contender for 'Album Of the Year', TEN's "Gothica" is a rich tapestry of an album, full of beautifully written songs with fantastic guitars, great rhythm and keys, all overlaid with the colorful voice of Gary Hughes.
Produced by Hughes, and mixed & mastered once again by the man of the moment, Dennis Ward, the album's sound is very good avoiding the 'muddy' output of some of the band's last recordings.
Definitely one of the best albums this year so far.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. The Grail
02. Jekyll And Hyde
03. Travellers
04. Man For All Seasons
05. In My Dreams
06. The Wild King Of Winter
07. Paragon
08. Welcome To The Freak Show
09. La Luna Dra-cu-la
10. Into Darkness
11. Paragon (Bonus Mix) [Japan Bonus Track]

Gary Hughes – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Programming
Dann Rosingana – Guitar
Steve Grocott – Guitar
John Halliwell – Guitar
Steve McKenna – Bass
Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards
Max Yates – Drums, Percussion
Karen Fell – Backing Vocals



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