Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review : RedBelt - Beautiful surround


RedBelt - Beautiful surround (2016) Independent
Produced by Redbelt / Michael McGinley
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Crossed wires 2.American mercy 3.Got it made 4.Shoot it all the time 5.Beautiful surround 6.Sweet release 7.Cold 8.30 Seconds 9.Pretty little pieces 10.Throw away 11.Golden sidewalks 12.Bones 13.Hard light
www.facebook.com/redbeltmusic
3,5 out of 5

Time for some basic rock and roll with traces of 70´s punk from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "Beautiful surround" is the debut full length from RedBelt and it´s definitely the album if you´re looking for some good time rock and roll that ain´t so polished.
Forget about auto-tune or computerized pop here, there are no DJ´s in sight in RedBelt´s music. This is as much live in the studio as a record could get, I bet this band doesn´t have to rely on backing tracks when they perform on stage.
And I really appreciate the awesome bassplaying from Ricky Ganiere, it´s an underrated instrument that is more important in the music than people can believe.
For fans of New York Dolls, Eddie and The Hot Rods, The Jam.
Highlights : Cold, Throw away, Beautiful surround.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review : Nick Black - Deep blue


Nick Black - Deep blue (2015) Independent
Produced by Nick Black / James Bennett / Victor Wainwright
SOUL / FUNK
Tracks : 1.Ocean 2.Grownups 3.Falling in life 4.D.I.Y 5.Only one man 6.Let´s be glad 7.The worst you can do 8.Reason to stay 9.Don´t leave Louise 10.All over again
http://nickblackmusic.com
3 out of 5

Are you in the mood for some smooth music? Do you feel like dressing up in a classy suit and put on that Frank Sinatra hat you forgot you had? Then here´s the soundtrack for you.
Memphis, Tennessee based artist Nick Black is not to be confused with the California rocker by the same name, because this guy puts his heart in late 70´s soul, funk and even west coast on his second album "Deep blue".
Soundwise, Nick Black comes from the same neighborhood as Michael Ruff, Billy Ocean and Hall and Oates. But there are two Swedish names that comes to mind in the album opener "Ocean" and they are Eric Gadd and Salem Al Fakir, how very charming.
The track "Let´s be glad" invites the listener to some cool Motown soul while "Only one man" sounds like a song from a 70´s American crime drama TV series.
Just close your eyes to his passionate vocalperformance in the ballad "Don´t leave Louise" or get carried away to the bluesy "All over again", no doubt this album is well performed and 100% honest.
I might not be the biggest fan of soul music on this planet but good music is always good music.
Highlights : Don´t leave Louise, Ocean, The worst you can do

Top 5 films of 2016


2016 has been a good year when it comes to film, and 2017 looks like it´s going to be even better with upcoming films such as Resident Evil : The Final Chapter (January), The Great Wall (February), Logan (March), Kong : Skull Island (March), Guardians of The Galaxy 2 (May), Alien Covenant (May), Pirates of The Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales (May), The Mummy (June), Transformers : The Last Knight (June).
But here are the top 5 films of 2016!

1.10 Cloverfield Lane
2.Star Wars : Rogue One
3.Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children
4.Batman V Superman : Dawn of Justice
5.Suicide Squad

Friday, December 23, 2016

Quickbits : Rob Daiker, Noise From Nowhere, Rush


Rob Daiker - Binary affairs (2016) A taste of that charming retro sound
You gotta give Rob Daiker credit for going his own way without looking what´s trendy and knowing that it´s a long shot to release a record like "Binary affairs", he´s a super talented songwriter/producer and can write good songs just as easy as you order a pizza.
The only contemporary about his new record is the small dose of electro pop we get to hear in a few songs, the main part of the music is built on 80´s funk which isn´t the first genre I come think of if you want to sell copies.
Rob Daiker opens the album with "Damn the torpedoes" that sounds like something Adam Lambert could´ve released, I wasn´t such a fan at first of this song but I must say that it´s growing for each time I hear it.
Rob is flirting with Prince in the laid back "All for a kiss" while "Random error" bring thoughts to Dan Reed Network, a band that Rob now is a member of and also played on their latest album "Fight another day".
"Binary affairs" doesn´t have much in common with the Slowrush album "Volume" from 2000 but instead sound like a natural follow-up to his 2009 EP "Bad day for goodbye".
(+) This is a christmas gift for all that love Mika or Robbie Nevil.
(-) If we look at a hit-or-miss perspective, I´m afraid it´s a miss in a commercial point of view,


Noise From Nowhere - This world so sick (2016) Forza Italian rock music
It feels like the post-grunge genre is taking it´s last breath, there aren´t that many bands around anylonger that remains true to the post-grunge sound that was so popular 15 years ago.
But don´t tell Noise From Nowhere from Rome, Italy because I´m glad that there are still new bands poppin´ up like popcorn, that wants to raise the flag of a genre that is struggling really hard these times.
The band debuted with "The Right Chance" EP 2012 and now would like to point out that the world is so sick, who would disagree with the bad things that are happening on our planet at the moment.
Even though with such an important topic, the main reason why Noise From Nowhere exists is their love for music and to play in a band.
And I think they´ve done a good album, the single "Give it up" opens the album and it´s a promising start because the 2nd track "Waiting despite this" is the best track of the new album, there is a strong chorus on this one.
This might appeal to fans of Tantric, 12 Stones and Puddle of Mudd.
(+) Thumbs up for the mix of rockers and ballads where the rockers are in majority.
(-) A few too many album fillers at the end of the album.


Rush - 2112 : 40th Anniversary (2016) A milestone in a new luxurious package
I got the new 40th anniversary edition of Rush´s classic 1976 album 2112 the other day and listened to it on December 21st, and without thinking about it, 21/12 is the official Rush day.
You should always listen to a Rush album on that day and every other day in the rest of the year for that matter, this is the album that led to what Rush would become.
2112 is the album that the label was against, it wasn´t the commercial record they hoped for but when it started to sell lots and lots of copies, the record company couldn´t tell the band what to do ever again. That is artistic freedom.
Everything is perfect in this deluxe edition, 36 pages about everything you need to know about the album, outtakes of live recordings of "2112" and "Something for nothing" from Massey Hall, Toronto in June 1976, these are the shows from which the double live album "All the world´s a stage" was assembled.
There is also a bonus live track of "The twilight zone", only performed twice by the band in their career so I won´t mind the bootleg quality of this version.
A special extra so to speak, are the covers by Alice in Chains, Billy Talent, Steven Wilson, Jacob Moon and Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Nick Raskulinecz.
Billy Talent does a Billy Talentified version of "A passage to Bangkok", an adorable cocky cover I must say. Steven Wilson puts an even more proggy hand over "The twilight zone" that ends up sounding like Pink Floyd meets early Genesis.
Alice in Chains takes on "Tears" in a way that their fans might not expect from these grunge pioneers.
Jacob Moon picked "Something for nothing" which sounds really close to the original, but it´s hardly the highlight here...........that is, my friends, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fightery brotherhood along with producer Nick Raskulinecz on bass.
They performed "Overture" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 when Rush were inducted, I am truly happy that their fabulous version ended up in a new recording on 2112 : 40th anniversary because it´s absolutely stellar!
(+) So if this wasn´t enough, this package also contains a DVD with a live concert from 1976, Q´s and A´s with Alex Lifeson and Terry Brown and bonus videos with Billy Talent and Dave Grohl & Co.
(-) Are you kidding me?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Review : Rogue Valley - Radiate / Dissolve


Rogue Valley - Radiate / Dissolve (2016) Independent
Produced by Rogue Valley
INDIE POP / AMERICANA
Tracks : 1.The brightest stars 2.Host 3.Pulse 4.Bury your heart 5.Loom 6.Breathe 7.Transference 8.Blood moon 9.Cold windows 10.Planet 11.Vainglory 12.Radiate / Dissolve
http://lostinroguevalley.com
3,5 out of 5

There´s a possibility you have heard Minneapolis based Rogue Valley without knowing it because their song "The wolves and the ravens" found it´s way on the soundtrack of Ben Stiller´s 2013 film "The secret life of Walter Mitty".
The song is also featured on their "False Floors" album from 2011, which is a part of the ambitious concept-four-album cycle released between April 2011 and April 2011.
I think it´s amazing that Rogue Valley decided to record and release four albums in one year, one for each season. That´s quite impressive, right?
5 years later and the follow up "Radiate/Dissolve" is here, this time around only one album but it´s enough because their music is beautiful, atmospheric and dreamlike, almost like flying in a hang-glider high up in the sky where the eagles fly. All you hear is the wind.
I love how the split they vocals between Chris Koza and Linnea Mohn, in a way that makes me think of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.
What a great album!
Highlights : Pulse, Cold windows, Loom
Recommended if you like Mercury Rev, Of Monsters And Men, The Golden Sounds

Friday, December 16, 2016

Quickbits : Gno, Jim Jidhed, Chained


Gno - Sick Princess (2016) Mon Dieu, one big Hallelujah moment coming up!
Now what do we have here then? Some French genius and total madness of a genre-breaking sound.
"Sick princess" is the 4th album from the trio Gno that gives us a ménage-à-trois of alternative metal, hard rock and art-pop-prog. Sounds awesome eh?
With supersmart song structures, brilliant riffs and choruses-to-die-for. Gno´s new album is exactly the reason why I listen to hundreds of average albums just to get to that masterpiece I hope is the next one in line.
The band is also introducing new guitarist Djul Lacharme (Alpha Blondy), he replaced Christophe Godin who left the band after their previous album "Crass Palace". Not that I can tell if there´s any difference in the band´s sound since "Sick princess" is the first album I get to hear from Gno.
But I am enjoying every second of this musical eargasm and it was really cool that the opening track "Love is over" starts with a guitar intro that reminds a bit of Telegram by Nazareth.
For fans of T-Ride, The New Shining, King´s X
(+) Riffs, riffs and more riffs. I can´t get enuff of ´em!
(-) Too bad I already posted my Top album list, I feel ashamed, Gno should´ve been on it.


Jim Jidhed - Push on through (2017) It´s fun being a legal alien
If you´re into Scandi-AOR a la Talk Of The Town, Glory and Alien, then you should look this way.
The lead singer of the Swedish melodic rock band Alien will release his 6th solo album early next year, it´s produced by Daniel Flores (The Murder of My Sweet) and is a more rocking affair compared to Jidhed´s previous solo albums "Reflektioner" (2007) and "Tankar i vinternatt" (2015).
I can´t get rid of the feeling that the new album could´ve been so much better with another mix, so why not push the release date back and remix it.
But this is what we got so.......
"If we call it love"is pure 80´s AOR and it´s written by Pam Barlow and Janet Minto and was probably meant for the first Alien album in 1988, a record Barlow and Minto wrote several songs for.
It´s nice to have Jidhed singing in English again after a couple of solo albums in Swedish but even if "Push on through" is without doubt a good album, it doesn´t reach the fine quality of "Jim" from 1990 or the amazing AOR smash "Full circle" from 2003.
Musicians on the album are Daniel Flores - Drums, Ken Sandin - Bass (Alien), Michael Palace - Guitar and Philip Lindstrand - Guitar.
(+) A standing ovation for the awesome vocals from Jidhed.
(-) I don´t like the production which is rather sharp and very disturbing, I have all the respect for Daniel Flores but he can do a helluva lot better.


Chained - Dark dreams (2016) Echoes of the grunge era
1991 came by and said -remember me? Only in this case, 1991 has a new name, it´s Chained.
Chained was formed in Parma, Italy in 2011 where the line up today features Alberto Stagni - Vocals, Luca Pettenati - Guitar, Alberto Bottioni - Guitar, Fransesco Marvasi - Bass and Stefano Superchi - Drums.
They´ve been writing songs and rehearsed all this time to get ready to record and release their debut album "Dark dreams", heavily influenced by Five Finger Death Punch, Godsmack, Alice in Chains and Stone Sour.
The weight in their sound is definitely in grunge similar to Alice in Chains but also the metal of Metallica, I think the production is good and they pull off some great riffs once in a while but the lead singer´s bad English drag it´s overall rating down of this otherwise, solid album.
(+) The track "Shut your mouth" is pretty good.
(-) I get it why they picked that eeny-meeny-miny-moe intro but compared to Negan´s classic in The Walking Dead, this feels rather lame.

Top 10 Albums by bands that only released one album


Here are the top 10 albums by bands that only released one album, only official studio albums allowed in this list, no compilations, live albums or unofficial releases counts.

1.Sex Pistols - Never mind the bollocks (1977)
2.T-Ride (1992)
3.Touch - Touch (1980)
4.Biscaya - Biscaya (1983)
5.Airborne - Airborne (1979)
6.GTR - GTR (1986)
7.Signal - Loud and clear (1989)
8.Producers - Made in Basing street (2012)
9.RoyWorld - Man in the machine (2008)
10.Atticus Fault - Atticus Fault (2002)

And now some more great albums by bands that never released a follow-up.
Sinnistar - Future shock (2002), Shiva - Firedance (1982), Three - To the power of three (1988), New Radicals - Maybe you´ve been brainwashed too (1998) ,Army of Anyone - Army of Anyone (2006), Color - Are you with me (2001), Year of the Rabbit - Year of the Rabbit (2003), Revis - Places for breathing (2003), Enter The Hunt - For life, til death, to hell, with love (2006)

Review : Porcelain People - Streetlights


Porcelain People - Streetlights (2016) Independent
Produced by Porcelain People
ELECTRO POP
Tracks : 1.Streetlights 2.Vital 3.Start it over 4.Harlequin 5.Play in my paradise 6.Beating hearts 7.Kingdom 8.Feeling like falling 9.Help me now 10.Undeniable 11.Can´t fail now 12.Goodnight is not goodbye 13.Lullaby
www.facebook.com/PorcelainPeopleMusic
2 out of 5

A whole generation grew up watching MTV and pop videos around the clock, kids now can´t really understand that it used to be a music channel and not the reality TV we have today.
But I guess the Louisiana based duo Porcelain People knows exactly what MTV used to be and wished they´d been around to have their music videos spinning back in those days.
At least, their music sure do makes me think of the late 80´s and early 90´s with a mix of synth pop, soul and dance.
Think Erasure meets Londonbeat with a touch of Bodies Without Organs and you´ll get the debut album "Streetlight", I think the songs are ok but I´m not a fan of Josh Thornhill´s vocal performance.
A vocal coach will get him right back on track because he has the singing part inside of him, you just have to bring it out.
Perhaps it´s not so strange that the instrumental piece "Kingdom" is my favorite song here.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review : Skyward - Skyward


Skyward - Skyward (2016) Independent
Produced by James McCurley
MODERN ROCK
Tracks : 1.Daily 2.Casualty 3.The floor 4.Animal 5.Stand-ins 6.Burn 7.Now 8.Crows and wolves 9.(M)arrow 10.Giving tree 11.Drag me through 12.What you´ve become
www.facebook.com/SkywardBand
3 out of 5

Let´s turn back the clock 16 years to the year 2000 like the lyrics to Pulp´s 1995 hit "Disco 2000" that goes "Let´s all meet up in the year 2000" because that´s exactly what Skyward´s music takes me to.
The same year my playlist was made out of songs like Drift by Neve, Right Now by SR 71, On the roof again by Eve6, It´s my turn to fly by The Urge and Hanging by a moment by Lifehouse.
These songs on Skyward´s self titled debut album could´ve easily been released around 1999-2001 because this 5-piece band from Virginia, USA makes modern rock the way it sounded around millennium.
The band features Jonathan Huang - Vocals, Anna Breeding - Synths/Vocals, Jordan Breeding - Guitar, Jeremy Hashigushi - Bass and Caleb Gritsko - Drums.
The album´s lead track is "Animal" and it´s a good song but it´s not the best one, I´d rather go for energetic songs like "Burn" and "Casualty", love the intro on this one.
For fans of Ash, Skillet (early albums), Feeder

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Quickbits : June Divided, Diamond Days, Black Lab


June Divided  Body Wars (2016) Indie rock ear candy
Say hello to Melissa Menago - Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards, Chris Kissel - Guitar, Lenny Sasso - Bass and Keith Gill - Drums. Your new favorite band.
What happens if you mix the 80´s pop of Berlin and T´Pau with modern pop / rock a la PVRIS and Katy Perry? Then you´ll get Philadelphia based June Divided´s 3rd release "Body Wars".
Their new EP is produced by Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday) and I´m happy he has given them a concert hall sounding production, it´s not everyday you get to hear such a big sound with 80´s reverb. Thumbs up.
All 6 tracks are remarkably strong so their songs should be climbing the charts if only press and radio could see beyond Kanye West and Taylor Swift.
(+) Melissa Menago feels like a new Chrissie Hynde.
(-) Why haven´t I heard of this band before?


Diamond Days - The Death of Us (2016) Close to emo except the haircuts
With traces of powerpop, energetic rock and pop / punk, Liverpool based Diamond Days now give us their 2nd EP "The death of us" containing 5 tracks where at least 3 are really good.
The EP opens with the short intro "The space between us" but then they turn it up on the following 3 songs "The death of us", the funny title "Not every song with a long name was written by Fall Out Boy" and "Kings and Queens".
The last song "We are young" is a bit mediocre and doesn´t reach the same level as the other songs.
Alex Fearn - Vocals/Guitar, Tom Shepherd - Guitar/Vocals, Tom Jack Jackson - Bass/Vocals and Mark Highdale - Drums/Vocals are often compared to Panic At The Disco, You Me At Six and Fall Out Boy but in my ears, Diamond Days sound more like the bands Cartel, Transit and Futures.
Their debut EP "We´ve come a long way" was released in 2014 if you feel like checking out more songs.
(+) Be sure to keep them on your radar, this band will get better.
(-) At times, they are a bit anonymous.


Black Lab - A New World (2016) Still going strong
It´s hard to keep track on every single release Black Lab puts out with compilations, b-sides, instrumental albums, acoustic albums, live albums, unreleased collections, EP´s, remixes but the studio albums you should know about are "Your body above me" (1997), "See the sun" (2005), "Passion leaves a trace" (2007), "Two strangers" (2010), "A raven has my heart" (2014) and their 6th album "A new world".
They´ve been on both Geffen and Epic Records but the last decade, Black Lab has released all the music via their website Blacklabworld.
Paul Durham - Vocals/Guitar and Andy Ellis - Guitar/Programming has taken their band through various styles such as grunge, modern rock and electronica but it has always been clever music to me.
The new album is no exception, I like the moody atmosphere which in some moments bring thoughts to Blue October but not as progressive.
This album needs a few spins to get into but once you do, it will be a close friend.
(+) Here´s a reason why the independent music scene is so much more exciting.
(-) It feels rather sad that such top quality music doesn´t reach a bigger audience.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Review : Babymetal - Live at Wembley


Babymetal - Live at Wembley (2016) Amuse Inc
Produced by Kobametal
METAL / J-POP
Tracks : 1.Babymetal death 2.Awadama fever 3.Yava 4.GJ! 5.Doki Doki Morning 6.Meta Taro 7.Amore 8.Megitsune 9.Karate 10.Ijime Dame Zettai 11.Gimme Chocolate!! 12.The one 13.Road of resistance
www.babymetal.jp
4 out of 5

The Metal Resistance world tour kicked off at Wembley, England on April 2nd, 2016 and was recorded for release on CD and DVD.
Just one day earlier, their 2nd studio album Metal Resistance was released featuring the singles "Road of resistance" and "Karate", but that didn´t bother Babymetal that was here to promote the new album rather than playing most of the songs off their first album.
8 tracks are taken from "Metal resistance" and only 5 tracks from the debut, including the world wide hit "Gimme chocolate". By listening to this explosive live album, one can only come to the conclusion that the guys in the band are incredible musicians and it´s more to this than 3 Japanese girls getting maximum credit on the cute-factor.
Babymetal is about spreading love and metal around the world and unite the fans, no matter where they come from or who they are.
The leaders of this world doesn´t have enough metal in their blood, because if they had, there would be everlasting peace among the nations.
If you think Babymetal is just a thing that will go away, think again.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review : Hawk - I´m on fire


Hawk - I´m on fire (2016) Independent
Produced by David Hawkins
ROCK
Tracks : 1.Mother road 2.I´m on fire 3.Turn up the radio 4.Enter the sun 5.Topanga 6.Sunshine 7.You and me 8.C´mon Edie 9.True 10.Love me too 11.Higher 12.Higher reprise
www.hawkmusic.net
3 out of 5

The Chicago based band Hawk is not to be confused with the London based band fronted by Julie Hawk, these Americans sounds like they´re stuck in 1972 and don´t wanna leave either.
Hawk is the brainchild of singer/guitarist David Hawkins who also is the driving force behind alt-country band Be, but Hawk is a completely different thing more towards the rock´n´roll of The Faces, The Rolling Stones and even Hellacopters.
What we´re dealing with here is a re-release and a remastered version of Hawk´s 3rd full length album "I´m on fire", originally released in 2014.
As a songwriter, David is influenced by 60´s rock like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who but also other bands such as R.E.M and The Velvet Underground.
I think it´s an honest record where the focus lies on basic garage-oriented rock so making catchy choruses isn´t top priority so to speak, however "I´m on fire" is a good album and I do prefer this over The Hives.
Next Hawk album will be out in 2017 and it´s confirmed to feature guests such as Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Ken Stringfellow (The Posies) and Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello).

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review : Journey - Live in Manila


Journey - Live in Manila (2016) Eagle Rock Entertainment
Produced by Kevin Shirley
AOR
Tracks : CD1 : 1.Majestic 2.Never walk away 3.Only the young 4.Ask the lonely 5.Stone in love 6.Keep on runnin´ 7.After all these years 8.Change for the better 9.Wheel in the sky 10.Lights 11.Still they ride 12.Open arms 13.Mother, Father 14.Wildest dream 15.When you love a woman
CD2 : 1.Seperate ways 2.What I needed 3.Edge of the blade 4.Where did I lose your love 5.Escape 6.Faithfully 7.Don´t stop believin´ 8.Anyway you want it 9.Lovin´ touchin´ squeezin´ 10.Turn down the world tonight 11.Be good to yourself
www.journeymusic.com
4 out of 5

Journey´s concert in Manila, Philippines on March 14, 2009 finally gets a release on a 2-disc set. It´s already available on DVD since October 2009 but as a collector of CD´s, I embrace this release of their 4th live album.
Arnel Pineda´s home-coming in front of 30,000 people captures the band in their best element, you can hear this night was special for their new frontman as well as the entire band.
Pineda is singing really well and the band is rocking like it was the last day of their lives, it´s a glowing 2 hour performance where 7 songs are taken from their 2008 album "Revelation" and the rest is a parade of the band´s greatest hits where Deen Castronovo is taking the lead vocal duties on "Keep on runnin´", "Still they ride" and "Mother, Father" with bravura.
But it wasn´t all smooth because high temperatures were causing problems, tuning became an issue and everyone on stage was dripping from wet from the heat.
By the third song, Neal noticed his guitar strings felt as if they were starting to rust.
With that in mind, it makes it even more impressive that the bridge between "Ask the lonely" and "Stone in love", Neal Schon is playing some unbelieavably fantastic guitar that is simply breathtaking.
Highlights : Never walk away, Mother Father, When you love a woman, Edge of the blade

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review : Bring Me The Horizon - Live at the Royal Albert Hall


Bring Me The Horizon - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2016) PledgeMusic
Produced by Bring Me The Horizon
ACTIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Doomed 2.Happy song 3.Go to hell 4.Avalanche 5.It never ends 6.Sleepwalking 7.Empire 8.Throne 9.Shadow moses 10.True friends 11.Follow you 12.Can you feel my heart 13.Antivist 14.Drown 15.Oh no
www.bmthofficial.com
5 out of 5

It´s not the first time a rock band performs with a full live orchestra, Deep Purple did it already back in 1969 and then many bands followed like Metallica in 1999 and Kiss in 2003 to name a few.
It doesn´t necessarily mean that you have a winning formula just because the songs gets an orchestral facelift but with Bring Me The Horizon´s material, these songs truly gets new life in a way I´d never thought they would come out.
This album was recorded in April this year where the band performed for the first time with an orchestra and choir, the setlist is based on the band´s 2 latest albums "Sempiternal" and "That´s the spirit" with an exception of the song "It never ends" that is taken from their 2010 album "There is a hell, believe me I´ve seen it.........".
This live performance feels very emotional both for the band, the fans and the listeners who allows 85 minutes of their lives to such an important milestone for BMTH.
For me, it wasn´t a question of buy or not to buy since the proceeds from the release is going to Teenage Cancer Trust. I bought it, not only because of this humane reason, it´s a bloody great record too.

Review : Hearteater - Mare


Hearteater - Mare (2017) Independent
Produced by Hearteater
ALTERNATIVE METAL
Tracks : 1.Burrow 2.Morgan le Fay 3.Mare 4.Mare Part 2 5.MDMA 6.God within
www.facebook.com/hearteaterband
3 out of 5

Hearteater is a young band from Copenhagen, Denmark, whose inspiration origins in genres like grunge, nu-metal and metalcore and combines clean vocals, rap and growling where the final result sounds like a blend of classic hard rock, hardcore and extreme metal.
Their first EP dropped in 2015 and in early next year, the 6 track EP "Mare" is unleashed to the world.
The music is both melancholic, dark and at the same time, brutal where the band feels like they are marching on with an army of riffs.
It´s not polished and definitely not mainstream, this is true metal for real metalheads so I won´t be surprised to see them joining Manowar´s "Death to false metal" parade.
Good stuff!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top 20 debut albums

Many bands and artists started out with their best album as the debut, here comes Palace of Rock´s top 20 best debut albums from bands and artists that has released 2 or more albums in their career.
So it doesn´t include the ones with only one studio album released like Sex Pistols-Never mind the bullocks (1977) for example which should´ve been on this list otherwise.

1.Steve Perry -Street talk (1984)
2.Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
3.Boston - Boston (1976)
4.Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (1980)
5.The Storm - The Storm (1991)
6.Giant - Last of the runaways (1989)
7.Love / Hate - Blackout in the red room (1990)
8.Bad English - Bad English (1989)
9.Spys - Spys (1982)
10.Dare - Out of the silence (1988)
11.Asia - Asia (1982)
12.Unruly Child - Unruly Child (1992)
13.Damn Yankees - Damn Yankees (1990)
14.Saigon Kick - Saigon Kick (1991)
15.Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory (2000)
16.Factory - Factory (1979)
17.Dio - Holy diver (1983)
18.Alanis Morrisette - Jagged little pill (1995)
19.Guns´n´Roses - Appetite for destruction (1987)
20.Duran Duran - Duran Duran (1981)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The best power trios


Power trio´s! Right down basics, some of the best bands around are built on a drummer, a bassist and a guitarist or if you switch the guitarplayer to a keyboardist instead like in prog. You´ll get magic.
So here are the best trios in various genres.

PROGRESSIVE ROCK
1.Rush
2.King´s X
3.Genesis (1978-1998)
4.U.K
5.Emerson Lake and Palmer

CLASSIC ROCK
1.The Police
2.ZZ Top
3.Cream
4.Grand Funk Railroad
5.Jimi Hendrix Experience

HEAVY METAL
1.T-Ride
2.Budgie
3.Triumph
4.Mountain
5.Motorhead

ALTERNATIVE ROCK
1.Muse
2.Biffy Clyro
3.Dizzy Mizz Lizzy
4.Thirty Seconds To Mars
5.Crash Kings

Philippe´s Top Albums and EP´s of 2016


And so Philippe Valleix´s Top 20 Albums of 2016.

1) Biffy Clyro - Ellipsis
2) Opia - Eon
3) Sixx AM - Prayers For The Blessed
4) Andy Black - The Shadow Side
5) Gene The Werewolf - The Loner
6) Megosh - Apostasy
7) Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
8) Night Riots - Love Gloom
9) Asking Alexandria - The Black
10) Ray Toro - Remember The Laughter
11) RavenEye - Nova
12) Good Charlotte - Youth Authority
13) New Volume - Envy
14) Rick Springfield - Rocket Science
15) Josh Flagg - Tracing Shapes
16) Kaato - Kaato
17) Those Damn Crows - Murder & The Motive
18) 3 Doors Down - Us & The Night
19) Beyond The Black - Lost In Forever
20) Cavo - Bridges

And his Top 15 EP´s of 2016.

1) The Alchemy - Modern Edge (4 tracks)
2) Twin Wild - My Heart (4 tracks)
3) Ghost - Popestar (5 tracks)
4) Angels & Airwaves - Chasing Shadows (5 tracks)
5) Day Old Hate - First Light (5 tracks) 
6) As Lions - Aftermath (4 tracks)
7) The Invisible World - Color/Echo (5 tracks)
8) Waterparks - Cluster (5 tracks)
9) Nasty Ass Honey Badgers - Take What We Want (6 tracks)
10) Night Argent - Night Argent (6 tracks)
11) Ash & Skies - Chasing D. (6 tracks)
12) Grumble Be - Disconnect (5 tracks)
13) Shapes & Colors - Love/Sex/War (5 tracks)
14) Diamond Days - The Death Of Us (5 tracks)
15) Shatter Proof - Paper House (3 tracks)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Top 20 Albums of 2016


Now this toplist might seem a bit early but there are hardly any new releases in December except christmas albums, live albums, re-issues and just a few new studio albums that I´ve heard already so that´s why I´m going online with the Top 20 Albums of 2016 today.

1.Dizzy Mizz Lizzy – Forward in reverse (5)
2.Babymetal – Metal resistance (5)
3.Biffy Clyro - Ellipsis (4,5)
4.Cheap Trick - Bang zoom crazy...hello (4,5)
5.Kansas - The prelude implicit (4,5)
6.Vola - Inmazes (4,5)
7.Alter Bridge-The last hero (4,5)
8.Circus Maximus – Havoc (4,5)
9.Sixx A.M – Prayers for the damned Vol.1 (4,5)
10.The Mute Gods – Do nothing till you hear from me (4)

11.Eliot Sumner – Information (4)
12.Ghost - Popestar (4)
13.KoRn - The serenity of suffering (4)
14.HELLYEAH – UNDEN!ABLE (4)
15.Ace Frehley – Origins Vol.1 (4)
16.In Flames - Battles (4)
17.Otep – Generation doom (4)
18.Sixx A.M - Prayers for the blessed Vol.2 (4)
19.Blink 182 - California (4)
20.The Ramona Flowers - Part time spies (4)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Review : Phantom Phunk - Arboles Ossific


Phantom Phunk - Arboles Ossific (2016) Independent
Produced by Phantom Phunk
INDIE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Snowy in Florida 2.Sip of wine 3.The unheard spirit symphony 4.Gateways 5.Hey there 6.Looping 7.Brother´s keeper 8.Distant kaleidoscopes 9.Tommy´s cosmic avocado 10.Jungle crunch
www.phantomphunk.com
2 out of 5

Tampa, Florida is the home for Phantom Phunk but it could just as well be Mars. Is this my first encounter with extra-terrestrial music?
There are moments when I listen to their debut album "Arboles Ossific" that doesn´t make any sense at all and in other moments, it´s as clear as ice.
They describe their sound as indie-graveyard pop which totally suits these crazy tunes but to get a full picture of Phantom Phunk´s original sound, I´d like to add post-punk, 60´s pop and slightly jazzy garage-prog as a complete package.
The music might seem a bit complex and it´s certainly not made for family television series, but this band is definitely unique and quite cool at the same time so I can´t say it´s crap either.
If I didn´t know better, I would believe this is the first record from a supergroup of Serj Tankian (System of a Down), David Byrne (Talking Heads), Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Damon Albarn (Blur).
In my world, the album title Arboles Ossific is another meaning for Strange sounds from outer space.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review : The Cavalry - Build your own empire


The Cavalry - Build your own empire (2016) 7dc Records
Produced by Tristan Jackson / Will Garrett / Big Smo
COUNTRY ROCK
Tracks : 1.JFK intro 2.Don´t mean you´re gone 3.Wake up call 4.When the radios gone 5.Red, white and blue jeans 6.Wake up call (stripped) 7.When the radios gone (stripped) 8.Red, white and blue Jeans (stripped)
www.facebook.com/TheCavalryNation
3 out of 5

Cowboy hats and boots are for America as Vodka is for Russia and IKEA is for Sweden, and if you wear a cowboy hat and boots, the step isn´t too far that you´re a fan of country music.
The country music capital of the world is without doubt Nashville and if you add some southern rock into it, you will get The Cavalry´s new EP "Build your own empire".
This is a typical Nashville rock record for fans of Dierks Bentley, Kid Rock and DarkHorse. The Cavalry is a musical playground for Tristan Jackson who is not only the lead singer, Tristan is an award-winning film maker and he has also worked alongside with Tom Cruise, John Travolta and many other A-list actors.
Tristan co-wrote the songs on "Build your own empire" with Nolan Neal, The Henningsens and Love and Theft. The song "Red, white and blue Jeans" features Nolan Neal from the TV hit show The Voice and rockband Hinder, it´s a good song but "When the radios gone" is even better. Other bands that comes to mind while listening to this radio ready affair are Royal Bliss and Rascal Flatts.
So by now you should know what to expect from this band that recently won the Best New Rock Band Award at the Los Angeles Music Awards.

Review : The Invisible World - Color / Echo

The Invisible World - Color / Echo EP (2016) Independent
Produced by The Invisible World
ALTERNATIVE ROCK
Tracks : 1.Color / Echo 2.Bellamy 3.The way 4.Joliet 5.Brick by brick 6.Oughta know
www.facebook.com/theinvisibleworld
3,5 out of 5

Kansas has corn, Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto from the wizard of Oz, the band Kansas but also the 5-piece The Invisible World.
When I listen to their 2nd EP "Color / Echo", it feels like I have known this band for many years because they do not only sound familiar, this band plays like true professionals in a way that you could easily believe they have been around for decades.
The roots of the band stretch back almost 15 years where the current line up are Jesse Collins - Vocals/Acoustic Guitar, Bryce Veazey - Electric Guitar, Brandon Woodall - Drums, Jon Gibbens - Bass and Ara Woodall - Electric Guitar.
These guys have created an irresistable blend of roots rock, folk and a midwestern-like modern rock sound for fans of The Hooters, Sister Hazel and Kings of Leon.
I dig all 6 tracks but my personal fave is "Bellamy", catchy upbeat and positive love rock on the menu. Perfectomundo!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Review : StonerPop - StonerPop


StonerPop - StonerPop (2016) Independent
Produced by StonerPop
ELECTRONICA
Tracks : 1.Preachers 2.Running 3.You´re never listening 4.Monsters 5.Fox
www.facebook.com/stonerpopculture
2,5 out of 5

StonerPop is a two-piece electro-pop act hailing from Louisiana featuring Maudie Michelle - Vocals/Instruments and Jimmie Manueva - Instruments.
The music is quirky, ambient and sometimes a lovely flirt with 80´s synth-pop. "Preachers" opens the EP, imagine if Brian Eno teamed up with B52´s and had a lot of fun in the studio, then you would get "Preachers".
If Devo had a female singer the result could very well be the 2nd track "Running", it´s a cool song.
"You´re never listening" can be described as a computerized quasi-punk song close to The Stranglers 80´s albums, the synthesizer sounds can almost be used as audio torture.....they´re inside my head.....take em away!!!!
Hahaha, no worries.
The last track "Fox" sounds like a possible collaboration between Moby and Massive Attack. It´s a bit different compared to the other songs but I like the groove.
It wasn´t easy to get into this EP but I like StonerPop´s experimental side.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review : The Von - 3nity

The Von - 3nity (2016) The Machine Records
Produced by Luis Bonilla
ROCK
Tracks : 1.I know it´s love 2.Nature of the beast 3.My heart machine
www.facebook.com/TheVon4U
3 out of 5

Oh man, I find traces of several genres in The Von´s new EP "3nity". The South Florida based trio has recorded 3 songs that takes the listener through a varied soundscape of new wave, prog, 90´s rock and gothic sounds.
You might think it´s a shattered affair, well it certainly looks that way but The Von manages to hold it together in a respectable way.
The opening track "I know it´s love" is the weakest out of these 3 songs but it´s not bad, just ok. The song is a blend of 80´s rock a la Big Country and the Aussie rock of Noiseworks. It doesn´t look that bad on paper but the vocal melody won´t receive any award from me I´m afraid.
The 2nd track "Nature of the beast" sounds more like the child of Queens of The Stone Age and early Muse, this one´s better and I really dig the bass in this song.
Now to the best song on the EP which is "My heart machine", the intro bring thoughts to Rush while the rest of the song could´ve been something Carfax Abbey had written. The gothrock-ish vibes I get from this one is super.
Luis Bonilla - Lead Vocals/Bass, Marek Schneider - Guitars and Elisa Seda - Drums released their debut album "Ei8ht" in 2015 if you feel like checking out the band even more.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Interview with The Soul Shakers

When Elias Paul Reidy (formerly of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) and Brett Hellings formed The Soul Shakers after a chance meeting outside of a club on the Sunset Strip, they had one single goal in mind - to bring good ole-fashioned, ass-shaking rock ‘n’ roll back into the forefront.
Please read the new interview with the guys about double live albums, tour riders and why they prefer women and song over wine.


Hello, your first single Here To Have A Good Time is out now. How has the response been so far?

Brett  - Hey Kaj!  Well, so far the response has been really good.  We're grateful to have such a positive reaction...you never really know what people are gonna think when you put something out there but it looks like people still dig 'em some rock and roll and a good time.

So, who are The Soul Shakers? Who are in the band?

Brett  - The Soul Shakers consist mainly of the two of us—Elias Reidy (Guitars/Bgvs) and me, Brett Hellings (Lead Vox).  We started the group in and around LA in 2014, and after several lineup changes, name changes and city changes we’ve remained the backbone of the group.  Since moving to Nashville, we’ve started to form relationships and play more consistently with other solid musicians. We’ve been working with Bill Van Vleet (Drums), Schylar Shoates (Guitars) and Thomas Banks (Bass).   Things have been really shaping up for us since the move down South.

When can we expect a release of your upcoming debut album?

Brett  - The album is done!  We finished it this summer/fall and we are waiting to release it until after the new year.  

You are originally from L.A, why did you move to Nashville?

Brett  - I'm originally from outside of Philadelphia but moved to LA in my 20s.  I consider LA to be a second home. The move to Nashville was prompted when we wanted a change of scenery, some new experiences and inspiration, and to get back closer to home and our roots. We also wanted a city that was solely focused on the music—what better spot than Music City for that? So far it's been a good decision. We certainly miss  some qualities of LA a lot, but Nashville has treated us well. 

The album is produced by Dan Malsch (Motionless In White, Tantric, Framing Hanley), were you on the same level of how you wanted the album to sound like?
 
Brett  - Definitely on the same level. It’s one of the main reasons we wanted to work with Dan so much.  He kind of let us be us and understood the type of rock sound we’re going for.  That's the sort of producing Elias and I love since we both tend to be very hands-on in the studio and during the mixing process. Dan lets you become you and makes sure it sounds the best it possibly can.  Couldn't have done it without Dan the Man—if you’re ever looking for a great record, SoundMine will deliver. 

You are influenced by 70´s rock and most 70´s bands released double live albums so when will you make a double live?

Brett  - God, I hope the next one is a double live album!  I will say that I would absolutely love to release a record like that, but I also  think it takes a lot more time on the road then we’ve played yet to pull it off—at least a quality one.  But don't doubt it, it's on our bucket list. 

Out of wine, women and song. If you could only have 2 out of 3, which one would you take away?

Brett  - Great question…I think that's one of the toughest questions I've been asked yet in this slew of interviews!  All three of those things have a place in my life. I guess for the question’s sake, I’d take women and song.  The wine part would be hard to give up, but music is my life and no one wants to listen to it alone. 

I guess you look up to classic bands like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes. But do you think there are any new bands around that are good enough of keeping the legacy alive of true rock and roll?

Brett  - It's a struggle out there nowadays.  There are some good bands out there that are trying to keep rock and roll alive, and I guess only time will tell.  It's the reason we will never stop doing what we do... rock and roll will find a way to survive and we want to be a part of that survival. 

When The Soul Shakers are big enough, what will be on your tour rider?

Brett  - A new shirt for every performance! That would be nice.  Definitely always some Jack Daniels or 1800 Tequila to get us loose for the show.  Make sure they’ve got Deviled eggs backstage at the show,  I love those things.  I know this goes beyond the rider, but I personally can't wait to have my very own guitar tech, vocal warmup coach and roadies.  I'm gonna take care of those guys pretty damn good. 

Where will The Soul Shakers be in 10 years?

Brett  -  Making music.  More records and touring.  Great rock and roll bands don't happen overnight, so as long as we are still plugging along I will be happy.  E and I aren't stopping, and whoever wants to jump on that train with us will be welcomed with open arms.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Quickbits : Birds of Tokyo, Ray Toro, In Flames


Birds of Tokyo - Brace (2016) The best record so far from the sons of Perth
The 5th studio album from Birds of Tokyo is definitely a challenging record, produced by David Bottrill (Tool, Rush, Muse), these Aussies has gone for a more darker electro rock sound on "Brace".
I wasn´t too happy about their poppy approach on the 2015 "Anchor" EP but this band is truly unpredictable because soundwise, they have decided to walk a different path on "Brace".
This is what you get if you put Vast, Depeche Mode and Twenty One Pilots in a blender, not so radio friendly perhaps but who cares? I like it and I like it a lot.
The band says the Mums of Australia is going to hate it, they´re probably right but this is what music is all about, to get a reaction and I am happy and surprised as a lottery winner getting the first million.
Bring out the cake because this needs to be celebrated and by the way, where do I send the flowers?
(+) The perfect film soundtrack to Blade Runner if it was done in 2016.
(-) If it doesn´t sell, we won´t get another record like this one from Birds of Tokyo.


Ray Toro - Remember the laughter (2016) Nice debut solo from the MCR axeman
The story of My Chemical Romance might have ended in 2013 but the bandmembers continues to release music in new projects like guitarist Frank Iero and The Patience with the 2nd album "Parachute" out this year, singer Gerard Way released his solo album "Hesitant alien" in 2014 while bassist Mikey Way is a member of Electric Century with the brand new album "For the night to control" out now.
Guitarist Ray Toro played on Reggie and The Full Effect´s "No country for old music" from 2013 and then worked on his debut solo album "Remember the laughter" between 2013-2016.
The album is recorded and mixed in Ray´s house and he wrote, produced, sang and played most of the instruments except drums by Jarrod Alexander and Tom Rasulo.
Tim Pierce (Rick Springfield) is playing guitar on the track "Requiem" which is one of the album´s 15 tracks but 5 of those are just short pieces of sounds.
Ray´s full name is Raymond Manuel Toro Ortiz and his favorite band is Iron Maiden but "Remember the laughter" doesn´t sound anything like Maiden or his previous band MCR.
It´s a mix of new wave and alternative pop / rock in the same vein as The Outfield meets Angels and Airwaves which is really cool, the best songs are "Take the world" and "Isn´t that something".
(+) This works just fine as medication while waiting and hoping for MCR´s comeback.
(-) Less is more but the mix feels a bit too minimalistic


In Flames - Sounds from the heart of Gothenburg (2016) The Swedish metalgods are on fire
Sounds from the heart of Gothenburg is the 2nd live album from In Flames, the first one The Tokyo Showdown was released in 2001 so it was about time the band gave us another one.
Recorded in November 2014, in front of a sold-out venue of 10,000 fans right inside the Scandinavium in their hometown.
What a great way to close a chapter for long-time drummer Daniel Svensson who´s been in the band for 18 years, he is now replaced by new drummer Joe Rickard.
This double album mainly contains songs from the band´s 3 latest releases "Siren charms" (2014), "Sounds from a playground fading" (2011) and "A sense of purpose" (2008).
14 out of 20 tracks are taken from these albums where the songs from "Siren charms" are much harder live compared to the polished versions on the studio album.
The rest of the setlist are taken from the albums between "Colony" (1999) and "Come clarity" (2006) where the highlight is "Cloud connected", it doesn´t get more metal than this.
None of the members on their debut album "Lunar strain" from 1994 are in the current line up but that seems like a small matter since the band´s trademark comes from singer Anders Fridén, guitarist Björn Gelotte and bassist Peter Iwers.
(+) Thumbs up for the great audience that shows what loyal fans they are.
(-) If you wanted more songs from their early era, you might be disappointed.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review : Rik Emmett & RESolution9 - RES9


Rik Emmett & RESolution9 - RES9 (Mascot Label Group) 2016
Produced by Rik Emmett / Dave Dunlop / Steve Skingley
ROCK / BLUES
Tracks : 1.Stand still 2.Human race 3.I sing 4.My cathedral 5.The ghost of shadow town 6.When you were my baby 7.Sweet tooth 8.Heads up 9.Rest of my life 10.End of the line 11.Grand parade
www.rikemmett.com
3 out of 5

Melodic rock, blues, christmas music, acoustic albums, well Rik Emmett has done the lot. He has released countless of solo albums but what most fans know his work from is the hard rock trio Triumph between 1975 and 1988, plus a short reunion in 2008 at the Sweden Rock Festival.
With the new album RES9, Rik is banging on the big drum because he managed to get his former bandpals in Triumph to play on the track "Grand parade".
Even though the names of Gil Moore - Vocals/Drums and Mike Levine - Bass are credited on "Grand parade", I can´t say it´s sounding like a typical Triumph song.
The song is slightly jazzy and smooth, not that bad though but I expected something else from a band that has released classic hard rock albums such as Rock and roll machine, Just a game and Allied forces.
Rik Emmett´s ultimate goal for RES9 is to connect with as many people as possible, he says there´s a common thread of positivity in the album that ties into the records he was making 30 years ago.
If you look at RES9 as a good melodic blues album, then you will be more than happy to have it in your collection. But if you rather wished for something that would fulfill your every dream of a melodic rock album, then look away and keep going.
Rik is doing some electrifying stunning guitar playing on RES9, he also has a groovy band behind him with Dave Dunlop - Guitar, Paul DeLong - Drums and Steve Skingley - Bass.
The best tracks are the more melodic rocking songs like "Heads up", "Human race" featuring Alex Lifeson on 12-string guitar, "I sing" featuring James LaBrie on lead vocals and the beautiful "My cathedral".
Another cool track is the 70´s rocker "End of the line" that features both Alex Lifeson on the third guitar solo and James LaBrie on lead vocals. The band is hot!
All in all a good album.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review : Smash Into Pieces - Rise and shine


Smash Into Pieces - Rise and shine (2017) Gain / Sony Music
Produced by Per Bergquist / Smash Into Pieces
ROCK / METAL
Tracks : 1.Turn it down 2.Let me be your superhero 3.Merry go round 4.Higher 5.Animal 6.Stay 7.YOLO 8.Save it for the living 9.In love with love 10.Rise and shine
www.facebook.com/SmashIntoPieces
4 out of 5

Touring, touring and more touring, that seems to be the motto for Swedish 5 piece Smash Into Pieces. These guys work hard and in January, they unleash album no.3 "Rise and shine" that features the singles "Let me be your superhero", "Merry go round" and "Higher".
This band is about to become the biggest export of metal from Sweden after Ghost and In Flames. Well, Smash Into Pieces are only waiting for their first big international hit and after hearing their new album "Rise and shine", I must say that it´s on it.
The laid back "In love with love" takes the band out into the masses of mainstream, not to mention the infectious "YOLO" that gets stuck in the head like superglue.
The opening track "Turn it down" defines what´s Smash Into Pieces signature sound, a fat modern hard rock track that sounds like a given partystarter.
I can´t say I was such a big fan of their more pop-oriented singles "Merry go round" and "Higher" at first, but these songs grow and are now good album tracks.
You will find the real highlight at the end of the album with the title track "Rise and shine", Jesus! This one is just as gigantic as Godzilla. Play it loud!
Also, let´s welcome their new drummer that goes by the name of The Apocalypse DJ.
Hats off!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rock and Roll Heroes - Skillet


Skillet is the first christian band to hit no.1 on the mainstream rock chart, they have toured hard ever since the formation in 1996 and truly earned their success. You could say there are two different Skillet soundwise, the industrial rock/post grunge version pre-Comatose and the symphonic rock version post-Comatose.
But it´s definitely the 2006 album Comatose that made them a name on everybody´s lips, that album and the new one Unleashed are bigger than life.
Rebirthing, the opening track of Comatose, is top quality epic rock like a gift from god so it was easy to pick Comatose on Palace of Rock´s Top 25 christian rock albums ever made.

Invincible from 2000 is hardly an album the average Skillet fan listens to but it´s an underrated piece of work and the one that made me a fan of this band.
This album is more of an electro rock affair with plenty of ultra strong tracks that won´t be misplaced in a setlist live.
Best tracks : You´re powerful, Best kept secret

Skillet has built a strong foundation with the following albums, Hey You I Love Your Soul (1998), Alien Youth (2001), Awake (2009) and Rise (2013).
The smash hit Monster from the Awake album is their most popular song but the band lined up chartclimbers like Awake and Alive, Lucy and Sick of it from the latter albums while the die hard fans look back on the fan faves of their early albums with songs like Alien Youth, Vapor, You are my hope and Locked in a cage.
No wonder, Skillet has become widely influential for bands like Wavorly, Stria, Awaken The Empire, The Spiritual Plague and The Truth Is.

The only two albums that doesn´t reach the high level of the other ones with this Memphis based quartet are the debut from 1996 and Collide from 2003, these should appeal to the post-grunge lover but I miss the overall brilliance of this band´s normal standards.
Sure, there are signs of what was to come on Collide but the record´s uneven and the production lack of power.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Quick Bits : Jerad Finck, Sixx A.M, Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow


The break from writing reviews here at Palace of Rock only did me good, I needed it. I wrote the last review in June and the latest quickbits was posted in April so now it´s time to re-open the palace of reviews. First out a quickbits about 3 really cool albums.
Jerad Finck - Criminal EP (2015) Modern pop / rock without a due date
There are lots of artists out there that could only dream of having experienced the same things Jerad Finck has, Jerad´s song "Runaway" was the #1 independent song in the U.S in 2011 and he has opened for Daughtry, Vertical Horizon and Ingram Hill.
Jerad worked with producers like David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson), Andrew Williams (Five For Fighting) and Nathan Meckel on his latest record "Criminal" which is the follow-up to the 2012 EP "Stuck in your riddle" that was released on Rock Ridge Music.
We´re talking adult contemporary pop/rock here for fans of The Fray, Parachute and Gavin DeGraw.
It´s real easy to like these radio ready tunes where songs like "Blood in the water", "The good life" and "Fire proof" stands out, no doubt Jerad´s an incredibly talented guy.
(+) These are 100% honest songs.
(-) If you´re allergic to anything mainstream, don´t bother listening.


Sixx A.M - Prayers for the blessed Vol.2 (2016) An arsenal of active rock anthems
DJ Ashba cannot see why he should ever return to Guns´N´Roses and why should he, Sixx A.M has built a strong fanbase after 4 really great albums and album no..5 "Prayers for the blessed Vol.2" keeps the band on top of the rock.
They will be kings of the mountain if they continue to release such awesome music as "Prayers for the damned Vol.1" and the new one which is absolutely stellar.
If you dig the singles "Barbarians", "We will not go quietly" and "Without you", you´re in for a treat with the rest that are all killers, no fillers.
When was the last time a band released two great albums the same year?
Favorite track at the moment : "Riot in my head".
(+) Impressive with such a strong release only 7 months after Vol.1.
(-) ................................


Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow - Memories in rock - Live in Germany (2016) The return of a rock legend
When Ritchie Blackmore announced he was gonna play some rock and roll again, there were some of the former members of Rainbow that had hopes of being a part of the historic comeback.
After 2 decades of playing medieval folk music in Blackmore´s Night, Ritchie brought in a whole new team of musicians for the 2016 line up and it wouldn´t feature Joe Lynn Turner.
Ritchie said before the announcement of the new line up that Joe Lynn Turner won´t be a part of the Rainbow shows, but he just doesn´t know it yet. Another classic quote from the man in black.
That pissed off JLT so much that he called out the new line up as a covers band, so much drama.
But when it all comes down, it has always been Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow from the start where the other members have come and gone.
Too bad though that Ritchie only settled for 3 shows, 2 in Germany and 1 in Birmingham, England.
Well, we wanted a tour.
The new live album "Memories in rock", which is the 5th live album from Rainbow, is recorded from the nights in Germany during the summer of 2016.
I think this line up of Ronnie Romero - Lead Vocals (Lords of Black), Jens Johansson - Keyboards (Yngwie Malmsteen), David Keith - Drums (Blackmore´s Night) and Bob Nouveau - Bass (Blackmore´s Night) are backing up Ritchie in a real fine way.
(+) Frontman Ronnie Romero is a perfect fit for the songs of the Dio era.
(-) I wish Ritchie could´ve picked a few more Rainbow songs instead of the Deep Purple era.

Live albums from 2016


Back in the 70´s and the 80´s, live albums were the highlights of a band´s career but in the 90´s they became more and more like greatest hits albums that sounded like a studio recording with an overdubbed live audience. Boring if you ask me.
Now you might wonder if there are any new good live albums and there are, both new live recordings and the unreleased ones that finally gets an official release.
2016 is not a big year when it comes classic live albums but there are some really nice ones like:

Bring Me The Horizon-Live at the Royal Albert Hall
BabyMetal-Live at Wembley
Disturbed-Live at Red Rocks
Steel Panther-Live from Lexxi´s Mom´s Garage
Bad Company-Live 1977 Live 1979
Led Zeppelin-The complete BBC Sessions
Saga-Live in Hamburg
The Rolling Stones-Havana Moon
Rainbow-Memories in rock, Live in Germany
Rainbow-Monsters of rock, Live at Donington 1980
Toto-Live at Montreaux 1991
Crazy Lixx-Sound of the live minority
Tesla-Mechanical resonance live
Night Ranger-35 years and a night in Chicago
Queen-On air
Royal Hunt-Cargo
A.C.T-Trifles and pandemonium
In Flames-Sounds from the heart of Gothenburg

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Album Spotlight : Silver Rose EP

Silver Rose is a testament to the ambition of its maker. Essentially a new outlet for Ruido Rosa’s Carla Sariñana, it’s the rollicking sound of a musician at her artistic peak. Culling influences from a wide variety of different sources, you can distinctly hear on the EP the tortured strains of Jesus and Mary Chain, the pop sophistication of Mazzy Star and the ethereal whimsies of Bat For Lashes converging with a definite ear for the ultimate 70’s soft rock melodic hooks. Recorded at Panoram Studios in Mexico City from late 2015 into March this year, it includes session work from Edward Patrick on drums, Cesar Saez, and Javier Blake from Mexican punk pop band División Minúscula. All of the songs were written by Carla Sariñana except for ‘Where I Left My Heart’ which was written in collaboration with Cesar Saez. Essentially a bilingual project, it’s a record of two halves: English and Spanish, both cohesively tied together with Carla’s enchanting ear for dreamy melodies. Both immediately infectious and challengingly cerebral, Silver Rose is a testament to the resplendent artistry of its maker.

Silver Rose EP is out now.

Tracklisting : 1.Suenos de Amor 2.Noches 3.Take me home 4.I`m alright 5.Crimen 6.Where I left my heart

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Album Spotlight : Dario Mollo´s Crossbones - Rock The Cradle

Best known for his partnerships in the The Cage with Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath) and Voodoo Hill with Glenn Hughes (Black Country Communion, Deep Purple, California Breed), Italian guitarist Dario Mollo began his career in 1981 with the band CROSSBONES. With them, he released his first studio album in 1989, which was produced by Kit Woolven (Thin Lizzy Official, MAGNUM and UFO, among others) before getting involved in the production side of things himself.

For this new CROSSBONES album, the Italian axeman brought back original drummer, Ezio Secomandi with the line-up completed by his regular collaborator Dario Patti on bass and keyboards. The choice for the singer was Carl Sentance (Nazareth, Don Airey Band, Persian Risk, KROKUS), who came at the suggestion of Don Airey of Deep Purple, during a recent visit to Dario’s home.

“I think this record has a strong identity and character,” tells Dario. “It is a mature production and the songs range on many styles of hard rock and classic heavy metal, but every song has a catchy chorus. I also think this album shows how much I liked working with Carl. He is easily one of the best singers I have ever worked with. I am certain our cooperation will not end with this cd!” concludes Dario.

The quality of the material presented here is witness to that statement.
Dario Mollo’s CROSSBONES

Dario Mollo – guitars
Carl Sentance – vocals
Dario Patti – keyboards, bass guitar
Ezio Secomandi - drums

Rock The Cradle is released on December 2.

Tracklisting: 1.Red; 2.Take Me High; 3.Navigation; 4.Rock The Cradle; 5.Gates Of Time; 6.I Got This Feeling; 7.In My Blood; 8.Running From The Shadow; 9.Speed; 10.Fright.