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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Justin King - Humilitas Occidit Superbiam


Justin King - Humilitas Occidit Superbiam (2009) Independent
Produced by Justin King
PROGRESSIVE ROCK / FOLK
Tracks : 1.Almost there 2.Driving 3.Brightest as they´re passing by 4.Anchor in your veins 5.Rivers 6.No escape 7.Sparrows 8.Homeward 9.On my mind 10.A toast
www.myspace.com/justinkingband
4 out of 5

I love to discover old but fresh albums, like the 2009 album from Justin King called "Humilitas Occidit Superbiam". This record is awesome! I just love the way he combines progressive rock, electronica and folkmusic. This album sounds like a mix between Blue October, Sting, James Taylor and David Gilmour. Portland based Justin King is hardly a newcomer in the music business, he released his debut "Le Bleu" in 2001 and I am very familiar with his albums "Justin King and The Apologies" and "Fall/Rise" both from 2007. "Humilitas Occidit Superbiam" is a beautiful album made by a pro all the way, the song "Sparrows" would make David Gilmour proud for sure. Another favorite is "Anchor in your veins" which bring thoughts to Blue October, very cool. Without doubt his best album so far.

My Chemical Romance - Conventional weapons


My Chemical Romance - Conventional weapons (2013) Reprise Records
Produced by Brendan O´Brien
POP PUNK
Tracks : 1.Boy division 2.Tomorrow´s money 3.Gun 4.Ambulance 5.The world is ugly 6.The light behind your eyes 7.Kiss the ring 8.Make room 9.Surrender the night 10.Burn bright
www.mychemicalromance.com
4 out of 5

In October 2012, My Chemical Romance announced they would release 2 new songs every month as a part of the Conventional weapons project. Now 5 months later, all 10 songs are out and the album is complete. I really think it´s quite impressive to know that all these songs were written and recorded for their 2010 album "Danger days:The true lives of the fabulous killjoys", but were saved for this release instead. These songs are everything but fillers, sure they´re leftovers but great leftovers! And the good news is that MCR are working on their 5th studio album for a release in late 2013. This is a good year for MCR fans. Well, well, back to Conventional weapons......I love all songs but I´ve got some favorites such as "Gun", "The world is ugly" and "The light behind your eyes". We´re talking quality here my friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Weeds - Roots / Routes


The Weeds - Roots / Routes (2013) Catskull Records
Produced by Mike Moschetto
INDIE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Sunset eyes 2.Attention 3.Death valley 4.Feel nothing 5.Up to speed your life 6.Stranger than fiction
www.facebook.com/theweedsma
2,5 out of 5

The Weeds is a male/female fronted band with members from Transit, Late nite wars and DeFeo. Their debut "Roots / Routes" is released today and it´s certainly a grower but the EP´s got some rough road ahead before the music will knock me down completely. I thought at first that the songs were a bit uninspiring but after a few spins, I started to dig the music more and do appreciate the balanced vocals between Justine DeFeo and Joe Lacy. "Roots / Routes" shows a band with emo flavored indie rock songs and even alternative pop, not that far from Sherwood soundwise. The music is well arranged and even I don´t like all songs, the opener "Sunset eyes" and "Stranger than fiction" do stand out here. They´re good tunes.

Holy Sexy Bastards - Holy Sexy Bastards


Holy Sexy Bastards - Holy Sexy Bastards (2012) Independent
Produced by Holy Sexy Bastards
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Perfect ten 2.What are you talking about 3.Kiss your friend 4.Sweet home 5.Is it true 6.Break up 7.Well-being 8.Red light 9.Ill 10.Getting over you 11.Nice to be a girl 12.I could use you 13.Dear enemy 14.Calling
www.holysexybastards.com
3 out of 5

Garage rock from Venezuela, woah that must be the first time you read those words. Well, it´s actually the first time I write those words. The trio Holy Sexy Bastards are pretty good too, they deliver 3 chord rock songs influenced by 60´s rock a la The Kinks and early 70´s garage rock of MC5 with traces of powerpop.
We´re dealing with short 2 minute songs here where the production is rather raw and simple, my guess is that this is how HSB sound like live. "What are you talking about" gets stuck in the head for sure, but the real highlights are "Perfect ten" and "Sweet home". There are some fillers at the end of the record but overall, a solid album.
For fans of The Mooney Suzuki, The Hives, Living Things

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Hero For The World - A Hero For The World


A Hero For The World - A Hero For The World (2013) Jacob K Music
Produced by A Hero For The World
POWER METAL
Tracks : 1.We are forever 2.Eternal shadows 3.Free forever 4.Let it go 5.Heaven´s eyes 6.Alive 7.End of time 8.A Hero for the world Part 1 : Over land and sea 9.Part 2 : A quest for the brave 10.Part 3 : One hope of light
www.aherofortheworld.com
3,5 out of 5

A Hero For The World is a new power trio band ready to conquer the world with their anthemic power metal, this is an international band featuring the two Swedes Jacob Kaasgard - Vocals/Keyboards and David Sivelind - Guitars/Bass, but nowadays living in the Philippines plus the drummer Andy Gentile from Los Angeles, USA. They are signed to the Hong Kong based label Jacob K Music. This band has connections in all corners of the world it seems, so why not add influences from the German metal scene with bands like Avantasia and Helloween. The self titled debut album is well produced and impressively performed, I do think Jacob´s high pitched voice gets a bit annoying on a few songs but there´s no doubt he´s got it all under control. The celtic metal of "Free forever" is a true highlight here, so melodic and almost breathtaking. The single "Eternal shadows" will give any power metal fan wet dreams, it´s majestic. The album´s lead track "A hero for the world" comes in 3 parts and will please fans of Sonata Arctica. This is a strong debut from a band you´ll hear more from, I´m sure.

Godyva - Alien Heart


Godyva - Alien Heart (2013) Southern Brigade Records
Produced by Godyva
GOTH METAL
Tracks : 1.Apocalypse fire 2.No return 3.Alien heart 4.My earliest memories 5.I feel you (Ti Sento) 6.In your eyes 7.Everything is over 8.I stay here 9.Brainstorm 10.This light 11.Apocalypse fire II
www.godyva.it
3,5 out of 5

I thought it was a good idea to start this sunday morning with some romantic metal from Italian band Godyva, they have already released two albums in 2006 and 2008 with their 3rd album "Alien heart" coming out in early March this year. This female fronted band has a modern sound with melodic choruses, there are layers of keyboards making it all rather pompous at times. The production sounds luxurious even though Godyva bring thoughts to Epica and Within Temptation, I do think they have a sound of their own too. The ballad "In your eyes" is really beautiful and the opening track "Apocalypse fire" is just as strong as an opening track should be. My favorite song is their brilliant cover of Matia Bazar´s 1985 hit "Ti Sento", here with the English title "I feel you". You won´t regret spending your money on this album, I´m sure you will be as thrilled as I am.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wolves At Bay - I was the devil once


Wolves At Bay - I was the devil once (2013) Animal Style Records
Produced by Nick Bellmore
POST HARDCORE
Tracks : 1.Hide like my friends 2.Know why 3.Forget who I was 4.Still afraid 5.Hollow 6.I was the devil once 
www.facebook.com/Wolvesatbay
3,5 out of 5


How can anything so dark, be so colorful? And how can anything so depressive, be so meaningful? It´s all about how you put your emotions into the music and let your creative and artistic side take over. Wolves At Bay deliver a blend of post hardcore, emo and punk like artists painting a picture but these guys put their colors into the music. Although I haven´t heard their full length debut "Only a mirror" from 2011, I suggest you start listening to their new "I was the devil once" EP if you´re new to this band. For fans of Cave in, Brand new, Refused, Thursday. This 6 track EP grows real fast and steady, and I´m pleased to say the music is as far away from autotune and American Idol you can get.

The Tossers - The Emerald City


The Tossers - The Emerald City (2013) Victory Records
Produced by The Tossers
CELTIC PUNK
Tracks : 1.The Rover 2.Here´s to a drink with you 3.Emerald city 4.Wherever you go 5.USA 6.St Patricks Day 7.Bombo lane 8.The break of dawn 9.The south side of town 10.Where the beer and whiskey flow 11.God bless you 12.Johnny McGuire´s wake 13.The Fermoy Lasses and Sporting Paddy 14.Slainte
www.thetossers.com
3 out of 5

The Tossers comes from the Irish neighborhoods of Chicago but they sound like a fullblooded Irish folkrock band, they released their first album in the mid 90´s and in March, The Tossers releases their 7th album "The Emerald City". It´s actually the first Irish folk album I own, I don´t really count Thin Lizzy into that category since they´re more of a hard rock band influenced by traditional Irish music. The Tossers write songs like they could be classic Irish anthems to be sung in every pub, however these songs are way more punk-ish with celtic vibes. Other reviewers have compared them to The Pogues and Flogging Molly, but I do think The Tossers are better. This is music that will put you in a good mood, why not get yourself a fine whiskey and listen to "The Emerald City". I can think of much worse things to start a weekend. Cheers!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Well Hung Heart - Young enough to know it all


Well Hung Heart - Young enough to know it all (2013) Independent
Produced by Well Hung Heart
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Bulls#!t 2.Devil 3.This is not love 4.Wedding song 5.Savioritis 6.You got me 7.Oh girl 8.Love me baby 9.If you want it 10.Die in a dream 11.Get the F out of California
http://wellhungheart.bandcamp.com/
4 out of 5

Well Hung Heart is a duo from Orange County, California, featuring the adorable singer Greta Valenti and the talented guitarist Robin Davey. The first time I heard this duo was a live acoustic recording on youtube and I never expected for a minute that their debut album "Young enough to know it all" would be such an explosive rocknroll album. I´ve heard Greta in her former band Fuji Minx which was more of a new wave/indie pop band and Well Hung Heart is a completely different kind of band, let me tell you. WHH has released a few singles before this 11 track album including the very cool "The music made me do it" which isn´t included here. But there are lots of raw and slamming rock on this album to satisfy the most demanding Led Zep fan, I don´t know how they did it but WHH managed to capture the sound of a band playing live on stage. Yes it´s the same feel and groove here. I think they sound a bit like White Stripes meets PJ Harvey with traces of Led Zeppelin. My favorite tracks are "Wedding song", "Devil" and "Bulls#!t".

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trick or Treat - Rabbits hill Pt 1


Trick or Treat - Rabbits Hill Pt.1 (2012) Valery Records
Produced by Simone Mularoni / Trick or Treat
POWER METAL
Tracks : 1.Dawn of times 2.Prince with a 1000 enemies 3.Spring with a warren 4.Premonition 5.Wrong turn 6.False paradise 7.Between anger and tears 8.Rabbit´s hill 9.The tale of Rowsby Woof 10.SassoSpasso 10.I´ll come back for you 11.Bright eyes
www.trickortreatband.com
2,5 out of 5

The Italian power metal band Trick or Treat started as a Helloween tribute band in 2002, but then decided to write their own material and released the debut "Evil needs candy too" in 2006. The 2nd album "Tin soldiers" featured Helloween singer Michael Kiske on 2 songs which must´ve been a big moment for Trick or Treat, last year their latest effort "Rabbit´s hill Pt.1" came out and it´s a concept album based on Richard Adams novel "Watership down". They even do a cover of Art Garfunkel´s 1978 song "Bright eyes" that was used as a theme song in the soundtrack of the animated film "Watership down", it´s also one of the highlights on this so called metal opera. The track "Premonition" sounds like Queensryche with Tony Martin on vocals, I do think Alessandro Conti is a great singer so it´s no wonder Luca Turilli picked him as a new frontman for Turilli´s Rhapsody. Trick or Treat is a tight band but the music feels like nothing new under the sun so I don´t get too excited over this overambitious album. The intro "Dawn of times" bring thoughts to Spinal Tap, they could´ve left it off the album. All in all, I really don´t need to hear Pt.2.

Bleach Blonde - EP


Bleach Blonde - EP (2013) Rise Records
Produced by Bleach Blonde
POP PUNK
Tracks : 1.Sea mint pastel 2.Play catch up 3.This is instrumental
www.facebook.com/thebleachblonde
3 out of 5

Bleach Blonde wasn´t even a year old when their self titled debut EP came out. This band started in the summer of 2012 by frontman Danny Stillman and guitarist David Barella and they´re joined by the Drop Dead Gorgeous member Danny Cooper on drums, plus bassist Coty Eikenberg and guitarist Michael Payne. The band plans to record their debut full length this year with producer Kris Crummett, hopefully the next album will contain music more than 10 minutes because these 3 tracks are very short. We´re talking Ramones short here. You can almost hold your breath through the entire EP, I do dig the songs and I don´t find them 100% pop punk-ish because Bleach Blonde´s strength is to spice it up with energetic rock. No doubt we´re dealing with a new promising band here.

Doggerland - No mind of it´s own


Doggerland - No mind of it´s own (2013) Pug-Nose Records
Produced by Doggerland
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Dog 2.Wired 3.Apathy 4.Moniiq 5.Small space mysticism
www.doggerlandmusic.no
3,5 out of 5

"No mind of it´s own" is the debut EP from Norwegian rock band Doggerland, and it´s quite an interesting EP too. These guys didn´t take the mainstream lane on the music highway, they went for the more daring and experimental lane instead where the music is both artsy and progressive. At their website, you can stream a few songs including the first single "Dog". Their sound bring thoughts to early Muse, Mew and even Sunny Day Real Estate in some moments. I must say that "Dog" isn´t the best track here although I find it really good, the following "Wired" and "Apathy" are much better. I just love the guitar work and dark atmosphere in those songs. You might think they´re a bit complex the first time you listen but give them a chance, there are some really cool arrangements on this EP.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tystnaden - Anima


Tystnaden - Anima (2012) Valery Records
Produced by Tystnaden
GOTHIC METAL
Tracks : 1.Lust 2.Struggling at the mirror 3.Egonist 4.Days and lies 5.Against windmills 6.Father Mother 7.Mindrama 8.War 9.The life before 10.Innerenemy 11.The Journey
www.tystnaden.com
3 out of 5

It´s rather odd for an Italian band to pick a Swedish word for a bandname but this 6 piece band chose the title of the 1963 film "Tystnaden" (Silence) by Ingmar Bergman as their name back in 1999. Their debut album came out in 2006 and last year their 3rd album "Anima" was released, it´s actually the first time I hear this band and they´re good. The production is crispy and they´ve got a strong vocalist in Laura De Luca, I also think it´s a great idea to spice the music with growls and opera choirs. We´re talking modern gothic metal with symphonic vibes, imagine a mix of The Murder of My Sweet and Lacuna Coil and you´ll get "Anima". The best tracks are "Egonist", "Days and lies" and "Mindrama". Thumbs up!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stick It Out - Today´s dump


Stick It Out - Today´s dump (2012) Valery Records
Produced by Stick It Out
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Lay down 2.Again 3.Turn on dime 4.All of your words 5.Not for me 6.Step back 7.The right page 8.Have you understood? 9.Slippin´ away 10.Price you pay 11.Rock the crowd 12.Another big deal
www.stickitout.it
2,5 out of 5

Stick it out is a song by Canadian band Rush but it´s also the name of an Italian rock band, Stick it out released their self titled debut in 2008 and followed up with "Today´s dump" last year. They´re influenced by punk rock and 80´s hard rock, imagine a mix between Therapy?, D.A.D and GunsNRoses and you´ll get Stick It Out. I like the energy in this record but I have a hard time liking Dave E Dee´s limited vocal performance, the music ain´t that far away from Foo Fighters either but these guys don´t have Dave Grohl´s great sense of making melodies though. "Today´s dump" is a decent album and I really don´t mind listening to songs like "The right page" and "Again".

Import / Export - Dayglow Whore


Import / Export - Dayglow Whore (2013) Independent
Produced by Import / Export
PROGRESSIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.My favorite heaven 2.Flightless 3.Terra Incognita 4.Death is for the living 5.Summary execution 6.Flashes of Quincy 7.One of many 8.We sold it all 9.Children of darkness 10.Freccia o´Doro 11.Dayglow whore 12.Children of light
http://importexportband.com
3,5 out of 5

Now there isn´t every day you get to hear a new album in the soft prog genre in the same vein as Alan Parsons Project, Tangerine Dream, Steve Hillage and Brian Eno. The Seattle based band Import/Export creates music built on art and cinema and releases their new album "Dayglow whore" via a generative iPhone/iPad app this month. The band is Chris Cullman - Bass / Vocals, Vince Tafoya - Keyboards, Arsen Gogeshvili - Keyboards / Guitars and Jeff Meigs - Drums. They worked on this album for a year and the result is also quite impressive, this is definitely a dreamlike soundtrack that will take you on a musical journey where you get the chance to keep calm and carry on away from the everyday stress. Also for fans of Peter Gabriel and NeverEnding White Lights.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Brujas Del Sol - Moonliner


Brujas Del Sol - Moonliner (2013) Devouter Records
Produced by Brujas Del Sol
SPACE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Ships in the distance 2.Satanic surf girls love to dance 3.Conquistadors 4.Noon the moon 5.Baba Yaga 6.Castles upon Golden gate
www.facebook.com/BrujasdelSol
2,5 out of 5

We are truly living in space rock times with the Asteroid 2012 DA14 passing very close to earth at this very moment when I write this, and earlier this morning a meteor rain hit Russia, destroying buildings and injured a 1000 people. It was the largest meteor to hit earth since Tunguska in 1908. Not to mention, Felix Baumgartner who made the highest jump from space in October last year. These are exciting times for any space nerd and I come to think of Oklahoma based Brujas Del Sol´s psychedelic music as perfect for these happenings. Nasa should get in touch with the guys of Brujas Del Sol to use "Noon on the moon" or why not "Conquistadors", very nice. You can expect anything from large reverbs to long instrumental pieces and fuzzboxes on their new album "Moonliner", the album is a bit uneven though and I find myself bored to tracks like "Castles upon Golden gate" and "Baba Yaga". Did anyone say Hawkwind?

Exalt Cycle - Revelations


Exalt Cycle - Revelations (2012) Valery Records
Produced by Exalt Cycle / Cole Martinez / Brent Hamker
NUMETAL
Tracks : 1.Worst honor 2.A new day 3.The passing 4.Blackdawn 5.Through the fire
www.exaltcycle.net
3,5 out of 5

Time for some classic numetal the old school style, the Italian 4 piece sounds like Static-X meets KoRn so we´re talking aggressive and strongly riff oriented metal here. The band went to Cleveland, USA to record their 3rd release "Revelations" and it truly sounds like American numetal. All 5 tracks are great but I want to point out "The passing" and "Through the fire" as a bit stronger than the others, all songs are written by frontman Zack who reminds a bit of Wayne Static. This EP sounds like it could´ve been released somewhere around 1997-2001.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Timecut - Things can turn ugly


Timecut - Things can turn ugly (2012) Valery Records
Produced by Timecut
ALTERNATIVE METAL
Tracks : 1.Sore 2.Martie´s 3.Fair and bright 4.Blank 5.The chant parade 6.John is loud 7.Hype 8.Want 9.Mozimbo 10.This will lead to and end
www.timecut.net
3 out of 5

The Italian trio Timecut released their debut album "Exeptions" in 2008 where the line up was Giampi - Vocals/Guitar, Joba - Bass and Alle - Drums, it received amazing reviews which brought them to Valery Records where they released their follow up "Things can turn ugly" in late 2012. Except this time, the drummer Alle is replaced by Ste from Zeroin, you can tell they´re heavily influenced by 90´s rock/metal with bands like NIN, Tool, Deftones and Failure. Their new album feels both suggestive and melancholic but also really melodic, I dig their mix of industrial rock, grunge and alternative metal. It takes a few spins to get into this record but it certainly grows, the track "Blank" is great! Without doubt a solid album.

Four Minute Mile - Bridges/Streetlights


Four Minute Mile - Bridges/Streetlights (2013) Better Days Records
Produced by Four Minute Mile
PUNK ROCK
Tracks : 1.Sunburnt 2.Camelia 3.Grey 4.Heisenburg
www.facebook.com/fourminutemilewa
2,5 out of 5

Washington based Four Minute Mile formed in 2011 and signed to Better Days Records for the release of their debut "Bridges/Streetlights" EP. They deliver a blend of pop punk, hardcore and punkrock where the songs are rather short and quite fast, I really like the energy behind Kevin Hart´s drumming and the songs are ok where "Camelia" is a bit stronger than the rest. Perhaps they should be a little more punk-ish on their next record, and I don´t mean playing faster but try to get a more raw sound, it would definitely suit them.
For fans of Kid Down, Future of the left, Transit

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Fire - Supernova


The Fire - Supernova (2012) Valery Records
Produced by Olly Riva / Maurizio Baggio
MODERN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Claustrophobia 2.See you next time 3.Follow me 4.Paralyzed 5.Supernova 6.Waltzin´ Monnalisa 7.Just can´t get enough 8.Dynamite 9.Mr Pain 10.Out of here 11.Business trash 12.Tu Sei Solo Mia
www.thefiremusic.com
4,5 out of 5

Here´s an album that easily would´ve fought it´s way onto my Top album list of 2012 but I didn´t hear the CD until now, I got a package from Valery Records this week and I thought I would listen to Italian modern rock band The Fire today. I was stunned! Although I have posted a few video´s on my blog Palace of Rock and knew they were good, I never expected such a killer album that "Supernova" is. I remember those times when I heard smash albums from Revis, 30 Seconds To Mars and Saliva, this album is up there in the same league. I´m talking blockbuster modern rock made for the arenas, their sound is huge and I just put on a big smile on my face when I hear "Waltzin´ Monnalisa" that can be described as My Chemical Romance meets Moulin Rouge. Amazing dramatic rock! The opener "Claustrophia" is nothing but a smash and I have one word for this type of music, MAXIMUM ROCK!

Everlyn - A ticket to the moon


Everlyn - A ticket to the moon (2013) BMG Music
Produced by Flo Nowak
POP/ROCK
Tracks : 1.What goes around 2.Dreams are for those who sleep 3.One ticket to the moon,please 4.Tested lives 5.Analogies 6.Vortex 7.Pointless road 8.Anything but easy 9.Time to change 10.It´s not me, it´s you 11.3 years ago 12.The last letter
www.facebook.com/Everlynband
3,5 out of 5

You better keep the name Everlyn on your mind because 2013 could very well be the breakthrough year for this Madrid based pop/rock band, their debut album "A ticket to the moon" is perfect for this day and age with radio friendly songs where most choruses are hookladen and infectious, their female lead singer Karol Arribas sounds like she has done this all her life. She´s an impressive vocalist for sure. Their song "Time to change" was used in Coca Cola´s "Better world" campaign last year and they have already shared the stage with bands like The All American Rejects, Blink 182 and Sum 41. I can think of a handful songs that have potential to be released as singles, just listen to the amazing "One ticket to the moon, please" or the catchy "What goes around". I just love those adorable synthmelodies, another great song I love is "Dreams are for those who sleep" and we shall not forget the Coca Cola song "Time to change". Upbeat feel-good pop punk on the menu. Voila! For fans of VersaEmerge, We Are The In Crowd, Valora.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Odd Dimension - The Last Embrace of Humanity


Odd Dimension - The last embrace to humanity (2013) Scarlet Records
Produced by Simone Mularoni
PROGRESSIVE METAL
Tracks : 1.The unknown king 2.Under my creed 3.Dissolving into the void 4.It´s so late 5.Another time 6.Fortune and pain 7.The new life of time 8.Far from desire
www.facebook.com/OddDimension
3,5 out of 5

Odd Dimension is another progmetal band from Italy, their debut "Symmetrical" was mixed by Karl Groom of Threshold while the new album is produced by Simone Mularoni of DGM. "The last embrace of humanity" is a well crafted album where the band sound tight and inspired, the production is crystal clear and I do think the band have a sound of their own. We get a piece of Iron Maiden´s classic heavy metal mixed with Dream Theater´s prog and the modern metal of the German band Superior. The album also features a guest performance from Michelle Luppi (Vision Divine) on the standout track "It´s so late", the melodic "Another time" is another highlight along with the strong opener "The unknown king". One thing for sure, the Italians are not only experts in football, they´re coming on strong in the genre of progmetal as well.

Monday, February 11, 2013

W.E.T - Rise up


W.E.T - Rise Up (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by W.E.T
AOR
Tracks : 1.Don´t walk away 2.Learn to live again 3.Rise up 4.Love heals 5.What you want 6.The moment 7.Bad boy 8.On the run 9.Broken wings 10.Shot 11.Still believe in us 12.Still unbroken
www.frontiers.it
4 out of 5

Thank god, W.E.T wasn´t a one album band with the excellent debut from 2009 as the only release from this American/Swedish project. The men behind W.E.T, Robert Säll (Work of Art), Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse) and Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman), deliver yet another melodic rock monster with the follow up "Rise up". I consider their 2009 song "If I fall" to be one of the best AOR songs written in the last decade so I had lots of expectations on the new album, and I´m pleased to say "Rise up" contains enough quality to end up on most AOR fans best of lists this year. The new single "Learn to live again" is a smash, just like the title track that bring thoughts to christian band Petra. My favorite though is "Broken wings" that can be described as Big Country meets Giant, splendid guitar riffs. So guys, when are you gonna write a song called "W.E.T T-shirt contest"?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Player - Too many reasons


Player - Too many reasons (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by Player
WEST COAST
Tracks : 1.Man on fire 2.Precious 3.I will 4.Tell me 5.Sins of yesterday 6.You´re my addiction 7.Too many reasons 8.To the extreme 9.The words you say 10.Life in color 11.Part of me 12.Kites 13.Nothing like you 14.Baby come back
http://player-theband.com
2 out of 5

Player could be one of the most unexpected comebacks last year when they announced they would release the "You´re my addiction" EP, followed by the full length "Too many reasons" in 2013. Only 2 of 4 original members are in Player anno 2013, they are Peter Beckett - Lead Vocals/Guitar and Ronn Moss - Bass/Vocals. Together with John Friesen - Drums and JC Crowley - Keyboards, they were quite successful in the late 70´s with albums like "Player" and "Danger zone". They released 2 more albums in the early 80´s before parting ways and then recorded a reunion album in 1996, the new album "Too many reasons" doesn´t really sound like a 100% Player album but more like a mix between Beckett solo and Player, we´re dealing with a soft rock sound here where the westcoast vibes are all over these 14 tracks. I´m not complaining about the quality of the songs because some are really great like "I will", "Tell me", "Sins of yesterday" and "To the extreme" but what about the production? Are these demos? If it would´ve been released by a major label back in 1982, the album cover would´ve said "unreleased demos". Poor sound quality I´m afraid.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Diamond Dawn - Overdrive


Diamond Dawn - Overdrive (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by Diamond Dawn
AOR
Tracks : 1.Into overdrive 2.Take me higher 3.Cryin 4.Standing as one 5.California Rush 6.Indestructible 7.Turn it up 8.The hunter 9.Give it all 10.Don´t walk away 11.Powergames
www.facebook.com/DiamondDawnOfficial
2,5 out of 5

Who would´ve thought 20 years ago that it would become trendy again to play AOR in Sweden? But there is a new wave of young AOR bands rising up with H.E.A.T in the frontline, standing behind them are bands like Houston, Dynazty and now also Diamond Dawn. A lot of AOR fans seem to love their first single "Take me higher" but I just don´t see the excitement in this average AOR song, there are a few good songs on the album though like the opener "Into overdrive", "Indestructible" and "Powergames". The music is well performed but there are just too many cliche´s, but I bet they´ve got themselves a spot at Firefest.

Friday, February 8, 2013

DGM - Momentum


DGM - Momentum (2013) Scarlet Records
Produced by Simone Mularoni
PROGRESSIVE METAL
Tracks : 1.Reason 2.Trust 3.Universe 4.Numb 5.Pages 6.Repay 7.Chaos 8.Remembrance 9.Overload 10.Void 11.Blame
www.facebook.com/dgmprog
4 out of 5

The Italian progmetal band formed in 1994 as an instrumental band but later turned into a vocal based progmetal band, after a few line up changes, their current lead singer Mark Basile (ex. Mind Key) joined the band in 2007 and they released their 7th album "Frame" in 2008. Another 5 years went by before their brand new album "Momentum" is unleashed to the world, this time with special guests like singer Russell Allen (Allen/Lande) on "Reason" and guitarist Viggo Lofstad (Pagan´s Mind) on "Chaos". Quite interesting that these two guys are involved in DGM´s 8th album because I do think they sound a bit like Jorn Lande, Pagan´s Mind and even Masterplan. We´re talking songbased progmetal here, very melodic but also really technical. I am impressed by Mark Basile´s vocal performance but the one who stand out is guitarist and producer Simone Mularoni, talk about six string shock here. I can´t pick out any favorite song because they are all great. You´ll be sorry if you don´t check out this awesome record.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Midrone - Foreverness


Midrone - Foreverness (2013) Independent
Produced by Paul J.N.
SYNTH POP
Tracks : 1.A miracle is in the air 2.Arabian wonders 3.The little walk down memory lane 4.Many ways to say goodbye 5.Springtime nights 6.Don´t mean anything 7.The party´s over 8.Halo 9.The story of Jimmy Jack 10.Foreverness
www.facebook.com/midrone
3 out of 5

Midrone is a one man band from Madrid, Spain with 4 albums released. Earlier, he has written songs in both Spanish and English but on the new album "Foreverness", the songs are only in English. When I listened to the songs from his previous albums, I thought the sound felt a bit shattered with many different styles but the new album is more focused on classic 70´s pop with traces of 80´s synth pop. Some songs are slightly progressive too which only makes the result even more enjoyable, he could work a bit harder on the production though because it feels a bit lowbudget. But I really enjoy songs like "A miracle is in the air", "Springtime nights" and "The story of Jimmy Jack". This guy is a talented songwriter.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Great White - 30 years, Live from the Sunset strip


Great White - 30 years, Live from the Sunset strip (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by Great White
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Desert moon 2.Lady red light 3.Face the day 4.House of broken love 5.Save your love 6.Mista bone 7.Big goodbye 8.Back to the rhythm 9.Rock me 10.Can´t shake it 11.Once bitten, twice shy
www.greatwhiterocks.com
2 out of 5

American hard rock band Great White are celebrating 30 years with the new live album "30 years, Live from the Sunset strip", recorded on the legendary Sunset strip in L.A. We get a selection of their biggest hits and if you compare it to one of their Best of albums, you´ll see most of these songs over and over again. All tracks are taken from their albums between 1986-1992 except for "Back to the rhythm" which is taken from the album with the same title released in 2007. This is their 8th live album but the first one with the new frontman Terry Illous (XYZ), he was 5 years old when Great White started. Cool. However, I think there´s just too much blues on this record with long boring intron and the tiresome "House of broken love", I do like "Lady red light" and the beautiful ballad "Save your love". But why is the lead vocals so low in the mix? Do the fans really need another live album with this band?

The Rockford Heroes - Edge of the silverthorn


The Rockford Heroes - Edge of the silverthorn (2013) Independent
Produced by The Rockford Heroes
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.No reason to believe 2.The day of return 3.Forever 4.And then there was temptation 5.Gold encicrcles the altar 6.Capricious arrows 7.A split second goodbye 8.The fools realm
www.crown.nu/wordpress/misc/band/
3 out of 5

What I appreciate most with this album is the lovely mix of 70´s hard rock, NWOBHM and pomp. I mean, how many bands can you count today that sound like Magnum, Uriah Heep and Diamond Head on the same album? The Swedish 4 piece The Rockford Heroes has released 3 albums and they are all available for free at their website so what are you waiting for? This is a good band and I do like their name too, Rockford is the hometown of Cheap Trick and who doesn´t remember the American drama TV series The Rockford Files from the 70´s. I´m not a fan of all songs on "Edge of the silverthorn" but there are a few highlights like the pompous "Gold encircles the altar", the AOR-ish "No reason to believe" and the sweet heavy metal of "The day of return". Thumbs up for the great harmony vocals too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Caravels - Lacuna


Caravels - Lacuna (2013) Topshelf Records
Produced by Robert Katz
POST HARDCORE
Tracks : 1.Lacuna 2.Tangled 3.Having had and lost some infinite thing 4.New Zealand 5.Hundred years 6.Twin 7.Hanging off 8.Sleep talk 9.Ordinary lives 10.Dog days
www.facebook.com/caravels
2 out of 5

After 3 EP´s, Caravels recorded their debut full length live in the studio with Robert Katz (Goo Goo Dolls). Their sounds lies somewhere between experimental indie rock and hardcore, the music ain´t so bad but I have a hard time liking their singer or perhaps screamo man is a more suitable term. I don´t mind screamo at all but this guy is hitting the same note throughout the entire album and I just don´t get it. However, I kinda like the music which is autumn-like and moving. For fans of The Receiving End of Sirens and The Early November.

Bets - Bets


Bets - Bets (2013) Independent
Produced by Ariana / Aaron Espinoza
INDIE POP
Tracks : 1.I love you but 2.Make my night 3.You and I 4.Rooftop lover
www.facebook.com/betsmusic
2,5 out of 5

Bets is a singer/songwriter from USA, her debut EP is produced by Ariana and Aaron Espinoza of the indie rock band Earlimart. Bets makes unique and artsy indie pop like a mix of Tori Amos and Regina Spektor, the opening track "I love you but" is my fave on this 4 track EP. I really like this piano based retro pop tune. "You and I" has a breeze of Paris and also the same vibes as a James Bond Theme, the more jazzy "Rooftop lover" don´t move me at all. But I will settle for 3 nice songs out of 4, the music of Bets is comfy and romantic. She´s a talent with potential.

Biffy Clyro - Opposites


Biffy Clyro - Opposites (2013) 14th Floor Records
Produced by GGGarth / Biffy Clyro
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Different people 2.Black chandelier 3.Sounds like balloons 4.Opposite 5.The joke´s on us 6.Spanish radio 7.Victory of the sun 8.Biblical 9.Stingin´ Belle 10.Skylight 11.Trumpet or tap 12.Modern magic formula 13.The thaw 14.Picture a knife fight
www.biffyclyro.com
5 out of 5

Bob Geldof wanted some media spotlight and said Rock and roll is dead, -the kids aren´t interested in rock anylonger, he said. What´s the alternative then? Autotune, rap, DJ remixes and Gangnam Style? Then God help us all! Perhaps God already answered Geldof´s controversial comment and let Biffy Clyro reach #1 on the U.K album chart with "Opposites". In fact, it´s the first time any of Biffy Clyro´s albums hit No.1. They went mainstream success with "Puzzle" and had several hit singles from the previous "Only revolutions" album from 2009. Their new album comes as both a single edition (the one I review) and a double edition, it feels like a delicate problem to pick a single from "Opposites" because the majority of the songs sound like future hits to me. Guitarist and singer Simon Neil has written a bunch of new BC classics, "Black chandelier", "Victory of the sun" and "Stingin´ Belle" are already huge but there´s more. The opening track "Different people" gives me the goosebumps and the stadium rock of "Biblical" is worth a Grammy. And if Geldof would hear "Sounds like balloons", I´m sure he will take back his stupid comment about rocknroll is dead. This album is nothing but gigantic.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fake Problems / You Blew It - Florida doesn´t suck


Fake Problems / You Blew It - Florida doesn´t suck (2013) Topshelf Records
Produced by Derek Perry / Christian Padron
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Fake Problems - Small devil song 2.Fake Problems - Gone before dawn 3.You Blew It - Batavia,NY 4.You Blew It - I´m a kid, that´s my job
www.topshelfrecords.org
3 out of 5

"Florida doesn´t suck" is a split EP with 2 new bands from Florida, we get two songs each with Fake Problems and You Blew It. The first two songs are upbeat Britrock-like songs with pop flavor, you could call ´em feel-good songs that will make you get up and dance in no time. I especially like "Small devil song" a bit more than "Gone before dawn", but the latter one is good too. Fake Problems will put a smile on your face. You Blew It is a noise rock band with a more melancholic feel to their tunes, their songs doesn´t grab me the same way as Fake Problems but track 4 "I´m a kid, that´s my job" is cool. I don´t like the mix of You Blew It´s songs, the sound is quite messy and the drums are just a blur.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

FerreTT - Year of the Ferret


FerreTT - Year of the Ferret (2013) Independent
Produced by Nicky G.
HEAVY METAL
Tracks : 1.Do we need an earthquake 2.My cock.....your funeral 3.Much too young 4.Sweet action 5.Ferret´s in town 6.Cry of the blackfooted Ferret 7.They eat the living 8.Wild nonstop nights 9.Twincest 10.FerreTT beach U.S.A 11.Drinking beers 12.Wrath of the wizard
www.facebook.com/ferrettnation
1 out of 5

I´m not sure what to make of this? I mean, are these guys serious? With songtitles like "My cock....your funeral" and "Twincest" and artistnames such as King of the night time world on Lead vocals and Dangerous Dave on Bass. Are we dealing with a new Spinal Tip or Bad News here? No, it looks like the New York based heavy metal band FerreTT ain´t no comedy band at all, they´re only here to have some fun and to salute the hair metal genre of the 80´s. No harm there since I welcome new bands that haven´t forgotten about this wonderful decade. But "Year of the Ferret" sounds like a homemade recording, imagine listening to a demo from 1984 and you´ll get the idea. And they don´t make it any easier when several tracks are quite lengthy between 7 and 11 minutes, but I must say that it sounds like they had a lot of fun making this record so hands up. The track "Cry of the blackfooted Ferret" ain´t so bad, in fact it could´ve been an unreleased song by Poison, except for the title then. Better luck next time guys.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Cheek of Her - Megaphonic


The Cheek of Her - Megaphonic (2013) Independent
Produced by Helen Dooley
ART POP
Tracks : 1.Beauty queen 2.Something out of nothing 3.Yes, it´s a love song 4.Bog standard heartburn 5.The swell
www.facebook.com/thecheekofher
3 out of 5

It takes a few spins to get used to Helen Dooley´s voice but after a while, I start to like it. London based artist Helen Dooley aka The Cheek of Her sounds like a female Sparks spiced with some B-52´s, No Doubt, Florence and The Machine and even The Sounds. Her 2nd "Megaphonic" EP contains the new single "Beauty queen" that stand out here along with the fabulous "Something out of nothing", I´m not equally the same fan of the last two tracks "Bog standard heartburn" and "The swell" but they´re ok. If you´re into quirky and dramatic pop with traces of new wave, you should definitely check out The Cheek of Her. The music is really charming and the good moments are adorable.

Symbols Of The West - A Thousand Lights


Symbols Of The West - A Thousand Lights (2013) Rock Shock It! Records
Produced by Chris Wonzer
INDIE POP
Tracks : 1.Your wake 2.Radio tower 3.Save my city 4.I hope you can dance 5.Clarion 6.Spirit canoe 7.Madness 8.Come alive 9.We are ghosts 10.All in us
www.facebook.com/symbolsofthewest
2,5 out of 5

Symbols Of The West is an indie pop duo from San Fransisco featuring Nat Kendall and Lauren Stark, their debut album "A thousand lights" will appeal to fans of Belle Histoire, Blondfire and Faded Paper Figures and can be described as The Smiths meets Air with a touch of Simon and Garfunkel. We´re talking electronic oriented indie pop, quite romantic but also rather melancholic. The album opens with 3 really good songs in "Your wake", "Radio tower" and "Save my city", but the album falls on the 2nd half and the songs doesn´t move me the same way as the first half. A decent album anyhow.

Ice Nine Kills - The Predator


Ice Nine Kills - The Predator (2013) Independent
Produced by Ice Nine Kills
POST HARDCORE
Tracks : 1.The coffin is moving 2.Father´s day 3.What I never learned in study hall 4.A reptile´s dysfunction 5.Someone like you
www.facebook.com/IceNineKills
4 out of 5

Boy, I really loved Ice Nine Kills song "The people under the stairs" from their previous album "Safe is just a shadow" (2010) and I´m glad to see the band´s new "The Predator" EP has reached #9 on Billboard´s Heatseeker chart. Early last year, this band posted an amazing cover of Adele´s "Someone like you" and this splendid version is included here. Woah! We also get 4 new tracks where "What I never learned in study hall" featuring Tyler Carter from Issues, sounds like a given hit to me. I am impressed by "The Predator", these new songs sound like a band that deserve to be rockstars. The first track "The coffin is moving" is a perfect opener for their live shows, what crowd can stand still to this furious energy bomb? The rhythmic riffs in "A reptile´s dysfunction" are delicious, and did I mention that "Someone like you" is bloody great? Oh, I did. Ok then..........

As They Burn - Will, love, life


As They Burn - Will, love, life (2013) Victory Records
Produced by As They Burn
METAL
Tracks : 1.Medicine 2.0 2.Origin 3.Dream collapse 4.The conscious man 5.Isis 6.Frozen vision Part 1 7.Frozen vision Part 2 8.When everything falls apart 9.Z(h)ero 10.F.R.E.A.K.S 11.Sons of Shiva
www.facebook.com/astheyburn
3,5 out of 5

Paris based metalcore act As They Burn formed in 2007 and recently signed with Victory Records for the release of their new album "Will, love, life", which is the follow up to their first album "Aeon´s war". This band deliver a kind of film-ish metalcore that is both dark and aggressive, there are no singalong choruses in sight but still their music feels really melodic mostly because of the beautifully arranged songs. This is a big sounding record and even if it´s superheavy, the music is also rich of nuances. "Will, love, life" is a metal monster coming your way with unstoppable tracks like "Origin", "Isis" and "Frozen vision Part 1&2". Expect to read more about As They Burn in 2013, this band´s career has just started and they´re only going uphill from here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tainted Nation - F.E.A.R


Tainted Nation - F.E.A.R (2013) Massacre Records
Produced by Pete Newdeck
HARD ROCK
Tracks : 1.Dare you 2.Loser 3.You still hang around 4.Nothing like you seem 5.Who´s watching you 6.Your only friend 7.Hell is a lie 8.Don´t forget where you came from 9.Never promised you anything 10.Haunted 11.Don´t tell me 12.What are you waiting for
www.taintednation.co.uk
3,5 out of 5

Tainted Nation is a new British/Swedish hard rock band lead by Pete Newdeck (Eden´s Curse), with him in the line up are members from Lionsheart, Firewind and The Poodles. The debut album "F.E.A.R" will appeal to both fans of 80´s hard rock and modern rock/metal, the first single is a cover of Lambretta´s "Bimbo" but here it´s called "Loser". I really like this explosive version but I also dig their own original songs such as "Hell is a lie", "Dare you" and "Haunted". This is a well produced album where the bass sounds fat and heavy, awesome. It will be interesting to see if this line up will stick around for album no.2! I´m sure Pete Newdeck has plans for another record in mind. This is a good start for sure.