American singer and multi-instrumentalist Phil Vincent has been featured here before. And where recent years has seen him join several other bands (Tragik, Circular Logik, D`Ercole and Legion) and sing on other people their records, somehow he still got some time left to spend on another solo album. And solo is the key word here, although I do believe his Legion buddy Vince O´Regan shreds out a solo or two. the rest is all mister Vincent himself!
After listening to this, I kept thinking how unbelievable it is that he still seems to get better with every release. The sound keeps improving, his drums and guitars never sounded so rich like on this one. Which makes me regret it is a digital release only (his first ever!) Well I can understand with all the downloading going on, that it saves the independent artist some cash, yet a shame it remains.
Back to the music. Sometimes heavier than ever before (just check the opening trio of All Over You, It´s Finally Over and On The Run) and sometimes his more progressive side takes over like on the epic Last Goodbye, love that piano / vocal build up. Speaking of vocals, especially in the multi layered pieces, you should take some time getting a grasp of all that is going on. Fantastic once again! Recommended for anyone into melodic hard rock with some more artistic moments.
Must say I never quite understood the Winger bashing when they started out. Guess they could not care less as it did not stop them from scoring a couple of hits in the early days. Still they turned left somewhere down the road and stuck with the music they cared about. Thus delivering us some pretty entertaining albums. After a period in which they all went their separate ways (and Kip Winger releasing some stunning solo work in a much more progressive style as well as a mandatory live acoustic disk) they have returned to recording again.
And in 2009 that brought us Karma. Opening with some fierce tracks like Deal With The Devil and Stone Cold Killer, they prove they still know how to write rocking tunes with catchy hooks and some flashy solos from Reb Beach. And could it really be this is heavier than ever?
But I am also happy to report some more expanded songs have found their way to the album. Supernova, After All this Time and Witness all clock in at 6 to 7 minutes and go way past the verse – chorus routines. And with bonus track First Ending they prove even more that boundaries only exist in the minds of the narrow, as that is a lovely piano piece.
So for me another great Winger album with huge choruses and killer songs. Keep ´em coming!
Some names behind this band are more known than others, but the origin of this new band lays with the so far unknown Terry Chism (singer / keyboards) making contact with Stuck Mojo and Fozzy guitar player Rich Ward (whose solo venture The Duke – My Kung Fu Is Good I also really like). Other band members come from nearby, with Stuck Mojo and Fozzy drummer Frank Fontsere and Simon Farmery (Pride, Furyon and… Fozzy!) on bass. Now Stuck Mojo is an unknown entity to me (yet – please forgive me), so I can´t really tell how close this is. But since TC reckons Steve Perry, Bryan Adams and Michael Sweet to his musical greats, I think it is a pretty safe bet to say this is a far more melodic outing. Yet this is no Journey or Stryper clone.
It may be bold, but these guys are just too good to be copycats. This is melodic hard rock yes, with emphasis on a positive message (read on the website where Chism comes from), but it is too damn good to ignore. Some may hesitate because of the references to Christian Music. For me, this is an true uplifting album with inspired playing, catchy songs, with more balls than the average melodic rock album, and still succeeding in avoiding the obvious routines. And the best thing is, for now they are giving it away free! Just head on over to their website, and make sure their name is heard. This deserves a big crowd and your support to start with!
While advertised as melodic hard rock (for fans of TNT and Europe), already the opening seconds of the title track (with majestic choirs) suggest that the band stretch beyond that tag. And the rest of the songs only proves that first impression. Melodic all right, and hard rocking as well, but there are definite progressive influences at play here.
But the question is, do I really mind about that? Off course not, in fact, this only adds to the albums´ appeal. My guess is that the record company has some say in this and, probably inspired by the high pitched vocals of singer Jake E, came up with the TNT and Europe reference.
All that put aside, I think that if you like your melodic hard rock with some progressive twists than this album will do you no harm. Better yet, it is an entertaining disk that walks the walk and talks the talk. Even the Chris De Burgh cover Don´t Pay The Ferryman fits in seamlessly. So pick it up when you have the chance.
Despite being a fan of Badlands singer Ray Gillen, I never knew this album existed. That is, until I recently discovered it. And with many known names (Bobby Rondinelli, the late Mike Starr, John West and Chris Caffery) on board, axeman and principal songwriter Al Romano has a lot of things speaking for him. So I figured more people would like to know about this.
Style wise this is even not that far away from Badlands. Less bluesy, more straight ahead melodic hard rock perhaps, but Gillen´s voice is unmistakable. Only 8 songs on it, of which 2 are sung by John West, this version also includes an interview with Al Romano and Bobby Rondinelli.
So for anyone familiar with Ray Gillen and into his voice, or if you just happen to like your hard rock with melody and power, this is something to dig up. May be hard to find, but worth the effort.
After a long hiatus Bangalore Choir are back! Well to be honest, part of them. And as singer David Reece released a solo album not so long before, it is tempting to say that this is sounding more like a successor to that, than to the On Target classic.
But as I am more into listening than into making connections and or discussions about comebacks or solo outings, let´s return to the music.
I think this is a more rocking affair than On Target was. More up to date, but also more straight. Reece still has a convincing voice, and writes catchy tunes with partners in crime like guitar player and producer Andy Susemihl and Tommy Denander, to name but a few. Drums are provided by my dear friend Hans in ´t Zandt and there are several guest guitar solo´s from the likes of Christian Tolle or Martin Kronlund.
Music like this will always find an audience. Some songs nest themselves straight into your system. Martyr is instant, as is a track like Survival Of The Fittest. Livin´ Your Dreams has a nice groove and a exciting middle section. Tomorrow is a high octane rocker with Hans flashing some of his considerable skills. Still Have A Song To Sing is beautiful, with a meaningful lyric and a heartbreaking solo.
So there you go, again an album to enjoy, rain or shine!
Guitarist Robby Böbel is a busy man. As is singer Tony Mills. and when someone’s name appears on many a release, the danger of overkill is always present. As is the question of quality versus quantity.
So you will understand I was curious how my impressions of this release would turn out.
Lucky for all of us I quite like this album. I find it inspired and easy to listen to, even with multiple plays in a row. Which is an achievement considering the output of the writers at hand! What we have here is a splendid melodic hard rock album full of good ideas, memorable melodies and the production and technical prowess to do it all justice.
Of course if you are looking for something new, this is not for you. But for anyone into quality songs and quality performance, which sound fresh because of the inspired playing and writing, you know just what to do!
Personal play tips: start it up and you´ll catch it up soon.
Fair Warning are one of those melodic hard rock bands that actually have a signature sound. First because of singer Tommy Heart. His voice is a pleasure to listen to. Great range, warmth and depth and he carries the melodies with ease. Second it is because of the guitar work of Helge Engelke. He plays a special guitar which has a very high register but keeps yielding a powerful tone.
Third and most important, the band write great songs and execute them accordingly. Whether it´s the high octane rocker Fighting For Your Love, the upbeat Hey Girl, or the slow rocker Falling, the songs find their way to your ears easily.
One way of looking at it is that the band play it relatively safe. You know what you get when you buy a Fair Warning record. No experiments, nothing out of the box. On the other hand, when it´s good, don´t break it. Why change a formula that made them very successful abroad?
So enjoy another quality release!
Together with Damian D´Ercole on guitars (a great find!) and Dirk Phillips on drums, Phil has so far released 3 albums under the Tragik banner of which Outlaw is the second. Latest opus And We All Turn To Dust will be reviewed some time later.
Style wise it is definitely Vincent influenced melodic hard rock. For me, Tragik is sounding different because of the keyboards, especially the use of loops in some tracks. This creates a vibrant kind of tension other albums with Phil don´t have. Don´t worry, no techno stuff here, it is still hard rocking music. Most of the time anyway
I understand some people don´t like the arrangements on this record. I for one think it really adds to the discography of mister Vincent. I even consider this one of his most adventurous work, also on the production side of things. His trademark vocals have hardly sounded any better and melodies are still present, but the guitars sound more heavier at times. And as said, more room for keyboards.
A lot of albums feature the best songs up front. In this case I feel they close the album. To open with a ballad type song is a bold move. And things only get better. Like this one a lot, great stuff!
Personal play tips: What You Give, Just Can´t Get Enough, Who´s Gonna Make The First Move (or just take a random pick).
Well, let me try to explain. I am fully aware that Moodswings is a fantastic album, with a lot of classic songs, that are always played live and are very popular among the aficionados, and count me in. All right, but to me the right choice still is this record. Why?
* it shows the band in top form (not unique, they always are)
* it is another testament of the great songwriters Pete and Harry are (not unique, etc.)
* whereas Moodswings is more mainstream melodic rock, this album displays a more distinct sound
* it serves as the perfect closure for the first two albums
* it serves as a perfect indication of what was to come
* thus it is pivotal!
And that´s it really. I actually like to think the band agrees, as this album got the most songs played on the final concert at Firefest (if I am not mistaking) as was recorded on the Raw and Rare DVD.
So my Voice Of Reason lights a Candle so the Paint Thins and hopes to never be Breathing Sand…. (okay, that was a bit much)