The now sadly gone UK label Now & Then has produced a lot of albums that I consider classics. One of those is this 1993 debut from USA outfit Shotgun Symphony. At the time they only released a couple of albums, but as they now have a website, maybe we can expect some more music from the guys. Which would be a good thing, as this is quite enjoyable.
On this disk we find 10 songs in the melodic rock vein. And all are classy. Produced by Ivan Gunn (Balance Of Power, etc.) this album is a prime example of how one can rise above the main playing field in a over crowded genre. First you need a singer with an identifiable voice who sings his melodies with ease. So bring in Tracy White, check. Then you need a solid rhythm section, that is not afraid to cross boundaries if the song benefits from it. So bring in Ron Sivulich Jnr on drums and Ed Avila on bass. Next is a keyboard player that can add rich textures, so welcome Charlie Calv. And last but not least, you need a guitar player that can riff, play massive chords, and still rips it up like the best of them, and Mike Maino does just that. Of course, many of the members sing backing vocals, we would not want it any other way right?
So add to this ten songs that put all these qualities to good use and you have achieved instant success. That is, if there was any justice in the world. As we all know, that is not the case, so far to few people actually are aware this album exists. Which is a crying shame that needs to be undone. So head on over to the website and start exploring! Or better, buy it to help inspire the band to give us more music…
Despite this being the …ehr 10th release of Last Autumn´s Dream, as it turns out this will be the first time they are featured here. So about time! Core of the band are singer Mikael Erlandsson (Sweden, also Salute and a lot of other stuff) and German guitar player Andy Malecek (Fair Warning). First album (2003) was recorded with the almost complete Europe line-up, but ever since a lot has been happening. On drums we now find Jamie Borger (a.o. Talisman). All time low was the suicide of famed bass player Marcel Jacob (Talisman) in 2009. But for lovers of this kind of melodic rock it is a good thing they decided to recruit another bass player (Nalle Pahlsson) and this is their third album since. So with 10 albums in 10 years, these guys obviously love to keep busy…
Opening with a very short intro (and title track) things are kicked into gear with Pickin´ Up The Pieces. Next track 2nd Look is also catchy. The follow up to that, For You, reminded me a lot of Maroon 5 actually. Groovy riff, some piano, mighty chorus and harmony vocals, things could be worse! If you are familiar with Fair Warning, you will surely recognise Andy´s high pitched solos and overall guitar sound.
I guess by name you have read enough names and typicals to have a clue as to what you will get out of this. If that is what you like, do not hesitate to pick this up!
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!
This second album from On The Rise (now with only Terje Eide playing most of the instruments, along with the help of people like Eric Ragno) is a prime example of how commercial sounding melodic rock, can still be relevant. Commercial actually being the wrong word of course, as almost bloody no one plays this type of music on radio anymore. Which is a shame! But you will get I am hinting at music that is easy on the ears and quickly sinks into your system.
Opener Lifeline has a brilliant riff and chorus, and the guitars are supported by some tasty Hammond. As is the case on several other tracks on the disk. Enough room for variation, and arrangements are mature as well as the playing.
So in all honesty, I think this is a pretty simple thought process; do you like your rock to be melodic, with enough guitars and keyboards to keep things interesting and diverse, and with harmony vocals that are big where they can be? Than this is clearly a winner for you.
What does it need to make a good melodic rock album? Well, one would be tempted to say: a good singer, and good catchy songs. Okay, and what does it take to make an excellent one? To me that would be: get Mike Slamer in to to handle production, play guitar and help out with the songwriting!
Because looking back on Slamer´s career (City Boy, Seventh Key, Steelhouse Lane, Streets, etc.) I notice a trend, I just plain like all he has done. Very much. So when one of the best voices in rock (that would be Terry Brock) reunites with him to deliver another album, we expect it to be killer. And ladies and gents: it is.
To me that is due to the fact that the two understand how to write catchy songs that fit the incrowd´s taste perfect. Yet are able to avoid the all too obvious routines and add some nice twists and turns to avoid predictability. Coupled with a massive million dollar sound and that just jawdropping guitar playing, you get a winner from start to finish. Brock sings like in the Strangeways days of old, and Slamer… man, he is good. His sound is astonishing, and is only topped by his playing.
So a very simple advice to anyone into the names mentioned or just passionate about melodic rock, this is an essential buy. And for those wanting to learn about quality music: this is a perfect way to get introduced to your new addiction….
Don´t know if I can write an unbiased piece about this band, as I know them personally. Fred Hendrix (singer, recording, producer and principal songwriter) produced the first 2 albums by my band Chinawhite and our drummer Hans played for Terra Nova in the early days and also did other work for Fred. Guitar player Gesuino Derosas I consider to be one of the best players to ever emerge from these shores, and his playing here is more proof of that. Rounding out the band are Fred´s brother Ron on keyboards and Lars Beuving on drums. All members perform backing vocals as well, and they are important to the band´s melodic sound.
Causing quite a stir with their first album, especially in Japan, I feel Terra Nova have gone from strength to strength. Fred is not only a nice guy, but also writes easy accessible tunes that sound familiar in an instant. Some may say that it´s on the save side, other will say he strives for creating melodic rock songs that are ready for the masses. What no one can deny is that every album delivers the goods. From the beginning Fred has had a clear view of what he wanted to achieve, and he has never let that out of his sight. I admire him for that.
Influenced by the sound of acts like Journey and Foreigner, whether in ballad style, or with the rockers present (some are surprisingly heavy). It sounds great as usual, backing vocals are huge, and when he gets some space, Gesuino shreds or plays a melodic solo with impeccable feel. Not for every hour of the day maybe, but always tasty when called upon!
Are you missing the melodic rock of Harem Scarem? That powerful voice of Harry Hess with those massive backing vocals? With melodies that stick in your head for days and have you tapping your foot and whistling all day? And with crunchy guitars with great solo´s? And with keyboards to spice things up a little?
Then look no further as First Signal is bringing you just that. Frontiers label boss Serafino Perugino chartered not only Harry Hess, but also managed to get some prolific writers to delivers the goods. Think brothers Martin, Erik Martensson, Richard Marx, Bob Marlette, James Christian and Robert Sall to name a few of them. And with players like Eric Ragno and Dennis Ward, with the latter also handling producing, mixing and mastering, you know you are in for a treat.
Even if it sometimes is by the numbers, the standard of these guys is so high, the record is great still! So little more to add. If you don´t own it already, you know what to do. And if all these names mean nothing to you, melodic rock probably is not your thing…
Not quite sure what number this CD is, I think I already own at least one. And after reading the booklet, I understood why some of the tracks sounded familiar. This CD contains some reworked acoustic versions of earlier songs and some new ones ” to spice things up”, and a Beau Hill remix of Rainy Days. The package comes with a free DVD which offers insight in a band´s affairs as well as live footage.
Band member I am most familiar with is guitar player and singer Marco Ferreira, who divides his attention over more projects. But Goodbye Thrill (like their label Kivel Records) aim at the melodic rock crowd. So this is not about inventing an exciting new genre, but about writing and playing stuff that people into this style will want to listen to. And for those people this is a safe buy. It is melodic, all too rough edges are cleverly avoided without sounding like a children´s choir on Saturday, and the playing is supporting those melodies well. All in all value for money!
Thanks to Andrew McNeice from MelodicRock.com we are finally able to enjoy the lost Alias album aptly called Never Say Never. Carried by the immense voice of Freddy Curci we get 17 tracks of quality melodic rock. In the band also the famous mister Marco Mendoza on bass, co-songwriter Steve DeMarchi on guitars, Larry Aberman on drums, Robert O’Hearn and Denny DeMarchi on keyboards.
Listening to this, it is hard to understand why it never got released in the day… Must have been that grunge wave washing all rock bands from the public eye.
But anyway, times have changed again (thank God!) so here we are. This album is full of that infectious feel good rock that makes all fans of the genre stick to the style. So the choruses are catchy, harmony vocals in abundance, good musicianship and while being keyboard heavy, still enough guitars and solos to rock! Despite being smooth in overall feel, I never got the feeling the band cut their corners short. So enough variety to last!
And with 4 bonus tracks we get value for money as well. Buy it!
With their debut album After The Rain, brothers Nelson created quite a buzz in the music business. Since then, things have gone up and down, with output varying in style.
But 2010 saw them returning with a vengeance to the style that made them famous. That is melodic rock with pop sensibilities.
I think they always had the looks, the sound and the songs, but just not always found themselves in the right time. In nowadays market making money is still a challenge for all parties, but again the album cannot be blamed for that, This is Nelson as I like them best. Uplifting, happy songs with plenty good melodies and great playing. From the opening notes of Call Me, to follow up Day By Day, to whatever track comes next, this is music made for the masses without becoming cheap or cheesy. It rocks, guitar solos in abundance, and still every track has a memorable hook and melody.
So for anyone who lost track of them after Love And Affection, you will be pleased with this! The website URL says it all really….