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Seems this year so far has brought me a lot of new discoveries. The latest being UK band Morpheus Rising with their Let The Sleeper Awake album. Kinda funny to name yourself after the Greek God of dreams, and then let the sleeper wake up… Ah well, I am sure they know what they are up to.
The band is formatted as a classic metal quintet (vocals, bass, drums and 2 x guitar) and that is exactly what first song Daylight confirms. High energy, dual lead guitar attacks, the works. Singer Si Wright has a warm and pleasant voice, but is not your typical metal screamer. His tone is darker and deeper, more like a 80´s new wave singer. Next track Lord Of The North continues that adrenaline pump, but here it seems keyboards are added. Low in the mix, but there is something cooking all right. The chorus is a big winner! The dual leads are again put to good use and deliver many a bridge that holds your attention. And much to my surprise Wright pulls off some screams as well. More metal than I figured
As the album develops, the impression of the style of the band evolves as well. Due to the colours added with keyboards, I sometimes got a different vibe from this album. More progressive if you will, but I would like to bring that new wave connection up again. I really like the overall effect, bringing the band an identity of their own.
To sum it up, a very interesting melodic metal release that is very well worth hunting down. Excellent!
Singer David Reece has been featured here before, both solo as with Bangalore Choir. Now he has teamed up with producer and guitarist Martin Kronlund. The pair are apparently not planning on leaving it at this, judging by the booklet text. Time will tell.
Together with known names as Andy Susemihl, Tommy Denander and several others, including my dear friend drummer Hans in ´t Zandt, they have recorded 10 tracks that will appeal to any serious rock addict. With so much experience involved, it is not a big surprise that this turned out really good. Well actually you don´t get guarantees on that, but you know what I mean.
First track My Angel Wears White is already testament of the fact they they are not out to leave anybody standing. Can easily compete with the best Bangalore Choir have released. Samurai is another winner, but here is no filler in sight. Another track I really like is Animals And Cannibals, up tempo, melodic and kick ass. Bonus points for the lyrics, often real feeling stories told here, instead of bubblegum ” I love you” in 100 variations.
My only complaint is the album length. With 10 tracks of 3 to 4 minutes, they leave us wanting more after just over 40 minutes. Really whets your appetite for more!
After the much debated and publicised happenings in and around the Stratovarius camp, things went a bit silent in the Timo Tolkki corner. But he has resurfaced with a new band and he called it Revolution Renaissance.
Up front I want to remark that any lover of Tolkki’s former band, will find listening to this a very comfortable experience. In fact, this plainly sounds like Stratovarius with an all new cast (besides song writer and guitar player Tolkki of course. So if you liked his former band, this will push the familiar buttons.
On the upside, the experiments many people dreaded are not present and now we have two bands operating in a similar style. On the downside, who needs two bands operating in a similar style? Why all the fuss if the outcome is so close?
Despite adding nothing to what is already there in his legacy, this is still an album to enjoy. Tolkki obviously still knows how to write a tune or 10, still handles his six string well and got new folks in to fill in the other parts. Maybe not essential therefore, but little wrong with either. You decide if it is worth your time and money.
The website is no longer available…
A band with practically a who´s who in Swedish rock. I mean Johan Niemann on bass, Daniel Palmqvist on guitars and Daniel Flores on drums; you could do worse! Together with Andreas Lindahl on keyboards and the unknown (to me) singer Angelica Rylin the band obviously mean business.
Melodic metal with some Gothic touches, this is well crafted music that will appeal to many. And to only address that to focal point Angelica does not do the album justice. With players of this calibre it is probably of little wonder that this leaves little to be desired. Big pompous sound with a lot going on arrangement wise. Yet the melodies and convincing vocals keep it all together.
So even if it all hints at a formulaic approach to attract the unaware fan, the quality is undeniable and you should delve into tracks like No Evil, Bleed Me Dry (video on the disk as well), One Bullit, or the amazing album closer Death Of A Movie Star. You will not be disappointed.
The mighty Jorn Lande brings us another album under his own name. Jorn has been involved in many bands so far (Masterplan, Millenium, Vagabond, Ark to name a few), but this is already his ninth offering under his own name since his 2000 début Starfire.
In many ways, you can´t go wrong with Lande behind the microphone. His sound is instant, he as many colours (Dio and Coverdale being big influences) and within the melodic metal field there are not many competitors at his level. Russel Allen comes to mind, but that is about it I guess.
Also his band consists of some top ace players, Willy Bendiksen on drums and Tore Moren on guitars being among them.
If you heard Jorn solo before, this is a safe buy. Waste little time and get it, if you don´t already own it that is. For those not yet confident enough, here´s a thought for ya. Like big guitars, melodic choruses, a singer with a stellar set of pipes and songs to match? Dig that heavy sound and riffing, songs with diversity and mood swings, with a top notch production? Melodies to die for and solo´s that count? Hey (wo)man, where have you been, buy this on sight (and any other of his albums as well I might add). Oh and if you can, get the bonus edition. It has a cover of one of Thin Lizzy´s most beautiful songs (The Sun Goes Down) on it.
Personal play tips: Spirit Black, City In Between, Rock And Roll Angel.
Together with the release of the 3d Mastedon album (the first in 19 years!), record company Frontiers also reissued the much sought after 1988 debut It´s A Jungle Out There.
Mastedon is the brainchild of brothers John and Dino Elefante. The first may also be known from his time as lead vocalist in Kansas. He did for instance the sadly underrated Drastic Measures album. Plus he released a number of solo albums that are, besides a sometimes wonderful listen, also a lot more mainstream.
When I bought the 2nd Mastedon album in 1994 (1990´s Lofcaudio) I was not aware of this album. That particular CD is a long time favourite, so you will understand I was very curious for this one. Biggest surprise was the use of several lead vocalists. Something unexpected, as John is perfectly able to lead himself. Gives a number of songs a whole other vibe.
Musically speaking it is very recognisable. Melodic metal at it´s best. Catchy choruses, high octane backing vocals, great riffs and soloing, clever use of keyboards and memorable hooks. So what else can we ask for?
Bonus tracks perhaps. So we get all songs from the original album and 2 live tracks. Okay, that´s it? Yes, this is every inch as good as it´s follow up. Really wets my appetite for number 3!
Personal play tips: Islands In The Sky, Right Hand, Wasn´t It Love.
This is another band my dear friend and drummer extraordinare Hans in ´t Zandt is participarting in. He´s building up quite a back catalogue this way.
From to word go this is melodic hard rock and it sure kicks ass! In the guitar department the influence of Zakk Wylde is obvious. Lots of overtones and heavy riffing here. Another reference might be the Sykes era of Whitesnake. The band managed to write compact tunes with a good ear for memorable choruses. It is catchy, but they did their best to avoid all too much predictability. And succeeded. Due to a lot of “four on the floor” the rhythms are pounding their way straight into your system. Gotta love that!
I just happen to know that mastermind Peter Wagner likes his Status Quo from time to time, but very little boogie here. This is in your face melodic mainstream metal with a singer with a convincing and a little raw voice. And lots of backing vocals of course . There is a ballad at hand also. At least some kind of me thinks.
My only, but small critisism, is that sometimes the riffs seem not totally in sync with the drums. At least that´s how I feel. But don´t let me steer you away from this release. If great soloing, riffing and melody are your thing, pick up a copy!
Personal play tips: Money, Liar, Children.