To some, Rick Springfield will be most known for his acting career. Yet I bet most reading this blog are more familiar with his other, and to me more important, side, that of singer. And that is a long career, yet the guy seems to never age. Damn… And it is not that I am an avid follower of all the musical output of Rick. I just buy a record here or there. But as I had been reading a lot of good stuff about this 2012 album Songs For The End Of The World, I decided it was time to pick this one up. There are 4 versions available, which can be identified by the different front covers. Don´t know if they differ in songs as well.
What strikes me most about this album is its sheer energy! Springfield seems to be completely in touch with contemporary rock music and has delivered a vibrant CD that is just filled with great hooks and catchy melodies. I think every of the 12 songs could be a (hit) single. Which is something I frankly care little about as I don´t listen to radio anymore. But if I did, music like this would surely light my days!
So if you lost touch, this is a great album to get back into the groove with. Even if you are only vaguely curious about the guy, give this a try. It rocks and is just very tasty!
The Canadian band Mystery has graced these pages before and while it took them a few years to release this album, another release is already imminent, so as usual I am running late. But don´t let that stop you for checking out this one, as I think it will proof to be worth every dime you invest in it. That is, if you are into quality progressive rock.
Core of the band is again singer Benoit David (back from his fling with Yes) and Michel St-Pere (guitars and keyboards). Antoine Fafard is playing bass and Nick D`Virgilio has found another home after leaving the drum kit of Spock´s Beard behind. Together the quartet have recorded a massive album that is a showcase of everything that is to like about this type of music. It may be preaching for the converted (as I bet most self proclaimed haters of the style already skipped reading this), but Mystery are a band that proves that music in this genre cán be elaborate yet melodic and catchy. Interesting and complex and still strike an emotional chord. Rock hard or be gentle like a soft summer breeze. Well, you get the idea.
For me it is easy to listen to this all day and never get bored. Premium stuff, buy it!
Another new month, so about time for a new Phil Vincent release! Well this one is from last year actually and under the Legion banner. His collaboration with UK inhabitants Vince O’ Regan et al, has proven quite fruitful with 4 albums in 3 years. Well the message stays the same I think. Anybody into Dokken typed hard rock and in need of a straight rock fix, this is what you need.
Another 11 tracks of melodic hard rock, with Phil´s trademark vocals (and please pay extra attention to the harmony vocals, he does those very well!), enough guitar riffs to soothe even the most thirstiest of fans and solos galore. At times it sounds a bit like a heavier Saxon, but that could be down to the UK influence. And in my book that is not a bad reference mind you.
I like this type of kick ass albums on a regular diet. Not all day long and not every day of the week, but I surely enjoy listening to this! Always easy to digest, never a dull moment and just plain enjoyable. Fists in the air and head-banging good. And coming from one of the hardest working men on the planet (and down to earth and nice too), we all could do worse…
Ah, it has been a while since a Beardfish album landed in my player, but the boys are back with this 2012 release of The Void. In between more material has been released by the way, but I am still catching up!
So the first thing to notice is that the guitars are cranked up quite a bit here. And I like it! Voluntary Slavery almost becomes a prog metal work out, such is the power and riffage on display. And Turn To Gravel opens with a heavy groove that would make Led Zeppelin proud. But of course a band of this calibre will not let us get away with only throwing a lot of power at us. The keyboards are there, don´t worry. Alas the hammond organ is less prominent than before, but if you listen close enough, more vintage sounds pop up. In They Whisper it is a Wurlitzer, and the piano version of Ludvig & Sverker is based upon…, well I guess you figured that one out already. So as the CD develops things are becoming more in the expected progressive rock territory. Again Beardfish prove to be able to entertain with ease. And when an album gets better with every playback, you just know you are slowly falling in love with it.
So don´t worry about guitars, or about crossing borders, Beardfish still manage to come up with music that is simply too good to ignore. A must buy for fans of the genre and people with an open mind have another CD to delve into.
Ever since I first started listening to Coheed And Cambria, I have been caught. Not only with the music, but also with the fact that a guy (Claudio Sanchez) comes up with a storyline, and is able to fill a whole bunch of albums based on that. And even adding a comic to go with that. As it also is a kind of SciFi theme, there is a faint resemblance to the Star Wars Saga in terms of conceiving a story and start telling it. Yeah I am a bit of a geek.
So now the band is back with The Afterman Saga. In between getting this and writing the post, the successor has already been released, so no rest for the wicked I guess. What I don´t understand is the emo tag C&C sometimes get. To me this is progressive music with some alternative touches. Okay, some people might find it hard to get into Claudio´s voice, but I am loving this. Be it on the more explosive tracks like Mothers Of Men or Holy Wood The Cracked, or the more contemplative stuff like The Hollow, The Afterman or Substraction, I always enjoy the musicianship on offer. Good songs, good melodies and especially in the lighter stuff some chilling moments due to the beautiful arrangements.
So no doubt that new album will find it’s way into the collection as well. Great stuff as always!
With a man as busy as Phil Vincent, it is easy to lose track of all his output. Whether solo, with Legion, or in this case D`Ercole, the albums keep coming like there is no tomorrow. The guy´s inspiration has no limitations as I happen to know more output is already on the way. But okay, let´s point ourselves to this album. In the band are Tane DeAngelis on drums, William Arnold on bass, Damian D´Ercole on guitars, Phil handling all vocals (massive harmonies alert once again) as well as keyboards, rhythm guitars and some more drums and Legion buddy Vince O`Regan is handling lead guitars. Which strikes me as a bit odd, as on the previous effort Damian handled most of the solo work if memory serves me right.
Of course the songs here are in the by now familiar Vincent vein. so melodic hard rock, spiced up with keyboards where it adds to the picture to give it that great eighties feel. It rocks hard, it kicks ass and fits seamlessly in the heritage. Which is far from over as you will understand. And when looking back, with a person that writes and records continuously, it is self explanatory several monikers are needed to channel all that material. But hey, as long as I get walls of harmony vocals, loud guitars and songs that can carry the weight, I am not complaining!
Okay here we go! Soundtrack music for gamers, geeks and freaks that have nothing better to do. And you should take some of that quite literally as this album is obviously inspired by the mine craft game that is all the rage in the gaming community right now. And like on his first album, 16 year old (at the time of recording) Wil Grisack shows a keen sense of humour with his song titles: Welcome To My Mind, And I Say To Myself What A Beautiful Cube, In Love With My Skins, Beats The Minecraft Soundtrack (month 3) or Carpal Tunnel Begins To Set In (year 4)…
Many songs on offer here could easily be used in the actual game (or any other for that matter) as they share that same, simple midi based sound and structure. Other efforts are more elaborate and again make clear Pod Persin is an inventive and musical person. He shares the hard working ethic with his father, kids rocker Mr. Billy (famous for a.o. his 12 cd´s in 12 months quest) since this new release comes hot on the heels of his first CD and rumour has it he has already started with work on CD 3. Well, his website is online now, so maybe somewhere in between he finds time to update that as well . Remarkable quality for a guy of his age and something anyone into soundtracks, and ambient or new age should check into.
It never seizes to amaze me how many undiscovered talent is walking the face of the earth. Take for instance Norwegian multi instrumentalist Arild Broter. Drummer, keyboards, guitar and composer of some intricate instrumental rock that shows a keen ear for infectious melodies and riffs, combined with an obvious love for intelligent rhythmic ideas. And to these ears influenced by the greats of seventies progressive rock. Considering he is of an age where most dudes just want to hang out with as much girls and alcohol as their body or parents lets them, makes his achievements even more impressive.
So this second album under the Pymlico banner (he released first album Inspirations a year earlier) turns out to be quite the treasure for people who have a knack for that type of progressive rock (think King Crimson, Pink Floyd et al), with some more modern ambient – new age typed parts thrown in for good measure. And should you not be aware, to make instrumental music sound as logical and easy to digest as vocal music, takes some effort and talent. Especially if you like to throw in some more complex stuff here and there as well.
My thanks go out to Arild for letting me in on his music. I love his work so far and hope he keeps himself entertained enough in his basement to keep releasing this quality work. And I suggest you all head over to his website and go check this out and buy it. This music needs listeners, as much as possible!
Next up is this independent self titled release by Dutch prog rockers SemistereO (you try typing that!). Although I needed repeated play to get into the album, I think the 5 piece have delivered a very interesting and entertaining album.
So the first question will probably be why I really had to dig in. Well, that is because of the sound of the lead vocal. Martijn Weyburg has a typical voice, that I needed to get used to, especially higher up. But the big surprise is, when he does harmonies, he amazes with a awesome melodic touch and a very playful way of arranging them. Very good!
Secondly the band use a wide range of influences. In that way they remind me of bands like Porcupine Tree and especially the wonderful Leprous. So very adventurous and versatile. And then those grandiose harmony vocals really come in handy, as they take care of attracting you to the songs. Because when 10 songs bring you 65 minutes of music, you can be sure there is a lot going on.
Even if the band is not yet of of Leprous standard (which is part a money thing as big productions don´t come cheap), I am impressed with the musicianship and overall quality on offer here. Any open minded prog rock lover should show their support and get this. Then the band can develop and will certainly surprise even more in the future.
What better man to follow up on a post on Jimi Hendrix with, other than Steve Lukather? One of the founders of legendary rock band Toto, but also on countless albums by anybody who is anybody. Let alone with a vibrant career of his own. And on these pages a review rarely comes as fresh as this one, since the album was released past Tuesday. One of the benefits of a pre-order…
It is no secret that Lukather´s life has been all but peachy. And as it should be, he manages to boil all that down to songs. And to some solos that will leave no one untouched. In a way an album by Luke is a sort of homecoming, familiar and comfortable. Yet, while the ingredients might be the same, the result leaves a different taste on every album he has made under his own name. If anything, the man has so much hours under his belt, he can play just about anything and make it look easy. And it has long become obvious he does not care to be pigeon-holed. Whether it is jazz, fusion, rock, pop or funky, he goes where his songs and moods take him. It suits him just fine, so maybe he has been creating a style of his own, identifiable in a split second.
So if you liked him before, waste no time and buy this. If you like Toto, give this an ear, especially if the more mature albums like Tambu rank among your favourites. If you consider yourself a serious lover of music, or just want to find out why I love this stuff: give it a try. There is no Lukather album that disappoints, they all get better with repeated play!
PS: it says 2012 on the digibook, but is available since 2013-01-22!