What does a man, with an enormous legacy in a multi-million band, do when he is inspired to record another album? Well, if that man is Ace Frehley (Kiss), the answer is: simply do what you do best and that is to record a CD of rocking songs, play the guitar, and not worry to much…
That´s how simple life sometimes is dear people. In between my busy activities lately (after all I am, amongst other things, a recording musician myself), I have been listening to this album. I bought it because of the things I read about it and must say, I quite like listening to it. Some might think it is a bit patchy, and Ace is first a guitar slinger and second a singer, but overall it is very enjoyable. Consisting of 11 originals and 1 cover (Fox On The Run), I feel this is rooted in seventies rock. So it goes a little beyond your standard 3 chord song and of course that is a good thing. Moods vary from flower power-ish on a track like Change The World, to rocking like in Space Bear or Foxy & Free. Lyrics give a nice insight in the man´s thinking, and the honesty is touching.
Another nice touch is Ace thanking his former mates for putting up with his insanity. Despite taking 20 years to record another release, I think Ace should not worry about what his critics say. If he is able to write more albums in this vein, I am sure he will please a lot of people.
For several years H.E.A.T. from Sweden are rumoured to be one of the best current melodic rock bands on the planet. So I figured it was about time I checked them out. And you know what, normally one should not believe the hype, but this might be the exemplary exception to the rule. This has turned out to be a damn fine slab of melodic rock music / AOR! The band (a sextet) is doing everything right here.
So we get the syrupy choruses, the addictive melodies, keyboard colouring all songs, enough guitar to rock (and flashy solos too!) and the rhythmic backbone of drums and bass to drive every song. The lead singer has a more than pleasant voice and still gets massive support from all the harmony vocals. And if by now you are thinking, oh well, then they probably just rip off the big names and steal their songs, you have got that wrong! Of course, in this genre it is neigh on impossible to be fully original, so you do hear influences from Toto, Journey and the like, but I never once thought, oh this is song X from band Y.No it is diverse, it is varied, it is just sounding damn good.
Convincing from start to finish, I want more!
If you, like me, are a sucker for Hammond organ, rocking guitars, versatile songs, memorable melodies and don´t mind getting a little adventurous when listening, then you have to check out Presto Ballet! Coming from a metal background, principal writer and player Kurt Vanderhoof is exploring his progressive rock tooth here. And does so with style and finesse.
This is probably album 4 or so, but this never tires me. For me this is 7 songs and just over an hour of pure bliss. Always inspiring and uplifting and produced with obvious love for the history of this type of music, yet sounding modern and rich.
I won´t even bother to write a longer piece about this. I firmly believe that any serious fan of progressive rock music should own at least one, if not all albums from this band. Love ´m to death!
There is no way in the world I can keep up with the release schedule of Joe Bonamassa. So I am still behind listening. But really I don´t care much about that as I still find every album to be worthwhile. Don´t know how they do it, but the creative juices keep flowing. And of course Joe has a keen ear for covering the right tracks…
As we are accustomed to, Black Rock ranges from more rock infused tracks, to typical blues workouts. So you could say that he resembles Rory Gallagher in that aspect. Opening with the driving Steal Your Heart Away, which has not only a great haunting chorus (probably due to the high pitched vocal harmony) but also a damn fine beat. But there also some other styles here. Athens To Athens has an acoustic feel to it, probably with a dobro or something like that. The same applies to Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind, although that has a totally different feel, more jazzy.
And it is with regret that I say the only track I don´t feel comfortable with is Night Life. Despite BB King guesting and Joe raving about his hero, to me it adds little to earlier versions. That is not saying that it sucks, mind you.
If you have never checked him out, why don´t you? If you liked him before, this will not disappoint.