Trucker Diablo, Fighting For Everything, 2017

trucker diablo - fighting for everythingThis is the third Trucker Diablo album that has reached the YMB office. Find the 2012 The Devil Rhythm and 2013 Songs of Iron albums amongst these pages. Yet it seems that means I missed album 3, Rise Above the Noise, from 2015. Which also answers my question about the time gap between albums.

In the past I have called the music from Trucker Diablo a combination of Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society. Yet this time around I would like to describe this as the evil younger brother of Nickelback. With which I mean to say that many songs on this are catchy as the flu too, yet brought with a venomous intent and a take no prisoner mentality. Yes a little of that wonderful Thin Lizzy dual guitar attack is still present (check We Will Conquer All for a taste of that), but overall I have found this to be a kick ass hard rock album that grabs you from the go and still manages to get better every time you listen to it.
For me the killer tracks are opener Born Trucker, the already mentioned We Will Conquer All and the beautiful album closer When The Waters Rise. But this surely is a no filler album.

Anyone who thinks that rock is dead should get this served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That will make ‘m change their mind. Rocks, and rocks hard!


Dave Kerzner, Static, 2017

dave kerzner - staticDave Kerzner has been making a name for himself with Sound Of Contact. Or with working with artists like Kevin Gilbert, Steve Hackett, Keith Emerson, Alan Parsons, and many more. Should you still have no clue; he is a singer and keyboardist, as well as a songwriter and producer. And Static is his second studio album. And guesting on this are even more names! Like for instance Nick D’Virgilio, Durga McBroom and Colin Edwin.

Looking at that list it will not be much of a surprise that this is tagged as progressive rock. But like with the music of Kevin Gilbert, this is music that in my humble opinion stretches beyond that. The reason being that this is about songs, and not about technicality. And in songs, melodies are always important. And the artwork gives clues about what to expect. Fake News and faceboot 😉 Yes this is an album about all the clutter in life today. Especially those twisted minds in politics, media or society in general.
The result is an album that is not as dark as the subject would imply. Of course it is not “party all night long” music, but to me it is more melancholic than angry. And as we all know, melancholy is a feeling that reaches out easily and creeps under your skin before you realise it. And when it gives you beautiful songs like Chain Reaction, Trust or in fact any other song on the album, who cares?

Excellent album from start to finish, and another one of those that just keeps getting better.


FAS IV, Catatonia, 2017

fas iv - catatoniaHow time flies when you are having fun… Still catching up on 2017 releases, and now it is time for the second album from FAS IV/ FASIV that landed on my desk. I really liked their first album so in that case it is always nice to hear what comes next.  The band originates from San Francisco and consists of Frank Abreau Salazar IV on guitars and vocals, Miles Delaco on bass and production and Tim Aristil on drums.

The music sometimes reminds a bit of songs and bands of the past (the Beatles being an obvious choice), mixed with more modern acts like Muse or Oasis. The album opens with the extended intro of Broken Mirror before kicking into gear with the title track. The first of many songs with a memorable hook and catchy melodies. Because even when the reverberated sound brings back memories of the Eighties, it is clear they stand with two feet in the now. Many of the songs have developed a bit of a crush with me. Chelsea, Deep Inebriation or Different Personality being a few of them. I love the band’s energy and knack for songs that sound familiar but fresh. So that dose of pop mixed in with the rock really serves them well.

And thus we, the people, have another band on our hands that deserves to be big. Maybe not 100% original, but what they do, they do with class and conviction.


New Rock Company releases

Coming Friday we will see the release of the highly anticipated new album from Brazilian rock hope Marenna! Expect a cracking live album, raw and in your face. So no overdubs but real musicians giving it their all. Check the album here:

Next week it is time to release album 5 from Russian multi-instrumentalist Vitaly Kiselev, a.k.a. Sunrise Auranaut. Inserter sees him raise the bar once more. For fans of (instrumental) progressive rock a must! Check it in the next video:

Both albums are already available on pre order for a reduced price and ready to ship! Visit Rock Company for details.

Tragik, Tainted, 2017

Tragik-TaintedAlbum number 7 for this US hard rock band with many pomp influences. Lead by the unmistakeable voice and talent of multi-instrumentalist Phil Vincent. And what is most striking is that, even after recording for over 20 years and being involved in over 30 albums, the man still manages to evolve. Both as a songwriter, as well as a producer. So even when this is in essence a pomp hard rock album, some things cross new borders. And yes people, that is a very good thing in my book!

Opener Welcome Back is a driving song, built around riffs and melodies and with crunching guitars and solos. And then arrives Not Over You (Listen). I can already hear the critics wail over this… And why? The base of it is a drum loop and parts of the song have an Eighties wave feel to them. It also clocks in at over 9 minutes. But if you are able to listen beyond that; you will hear it is an adventurous take on something familiar. And people who follow the blog on a regular base, know that I am all for experimenting. I think this is a great song that keeps you on your toes!
Songs like Can’t Take It Back or Face Of Sorrow are aiming for the more traditional tastes. And songs like Into The Great Unknown or Heaven (another 8+ epic) aim to blend genres again. And closer Harsh Reality sees Vincent and co groove like never before. The guitar work of the late David Zychek playing a great part in it.

So for me this is another great release from the band. And as with all of the earlier releases, the album just keeps growing on you. Wonderful stuff.


Fischer’s Flicker, Open 28 Hours, 2017

fischers flicker - open 28 hoursMust say that reading the accompanying press sheet was a blast. Comparing the musical mind of Chicagoan Scott Fischer with a colourful symphonic amusement park is quite a find. Especially when you read the blurb after listening to the album a couple of times. Because then you already know the truth in that sentence.

Yes, this album is colourful and very amusing. Progressive in the same sense as older Supertramp albums were. So the melodies all have pop sensibilities and the power to attract all kinds of people. But the song structures and arrangements will also please the more demanding listener. This is mature in every aspect, which makes sense after finding out it is already album 7 from the band. Mixing a whole bag of influences (prog, power pop, funk, etc) and still sounding intriguing and convincing. And coherent. Or as the press info says; good songs are universal.
So from the soulfully rock groove of opener The In-Betweener to the serene closer Zen, the 10 songs on offer pack a punch in whatever guise they come under. Even a cover of The Kinks’ No More Looking Back sounds an integral part of the whole. Or maybe as another one of the many facets these musicians are able to bring to the table.

To conclude, I like listening to this album. A lot! It has an energy about it that I find very attractive, the songs are all well written and delivered and the diversity within them is the icing on the cake for me. A winner!


Staring Into Nothing, Power, 2017

staring into nothing - powerIt took me a while to realise that the male lead vocalist and parts of the music reminded me a bit of B.D. Gottfried, discussed here not so long ago. But don’t let that fool you in any way, because apart for the positives vibes that gave me, this is a whole different animal altogether. In essence Staring Into Nothing are a 3 piece, with additional musicians helping out. So welcome Steve Rogers on keys and vocals, Savannah Rogers on acoustic guitars and vocals, and Kurt Barabas on bass, pedals and backing vocals.

The music is very melodic and often with an upbeat, light-footed sentiment. But when a band is not afraid to add 9, or even 18 minute songs, I guess we all know we are entering prog territory here. But I think this is the kind of prog that could make a lot of people realize that, when done this well, prog is entertaining as hell. Because SIN manage to pour their ideas into SONGS. The melody always seem to come first, and breaks, solos, or instrumental parts, serve to enhance, rather than take over.
And the quality of the songs is of the highest calibre as far as I am concerned. Produced to perfection too. Every note belongs and with every play you become more and more addicted.

So even when I don’t know much about the band, I think this is a massive album that deserves a home in any collection. Simply brilliant!


Still Living, Ymmij, 2017

still living, ymmijThe boys from Brazil are back with album 3, a conceptual album called Ymmij. Now that title might sound a bit mysterious, but the artwork gives some clues away I guess. And I hear you think, concept album? Still Living are a melodic hard rock band or? Yes they still are! And apart from a few interludes with spoken word, meant to enhance the story, the songs on the album work very well on their own. So nobody needs to worry 🙂

Opening in a familiar style with Reign Of Pills, we are welcomed by the guitars of Eduardo Holanda, accompanied by the keyboards of Thiago Nascimento and the drumming of Cleber Melo. All soon met with the powerful voice of Renato Costa. Bass and additional keyboards are provided by co-producer Aldecy Souza. Next track On The Edge shows them operate in a more aggressive and harder style. Great riff too! People already familiar with the band probably know they always strive to deliver catchy tunes with melody and still enough power and surprises to avoid genre cliché’s. So while Call Of The Night continues this more powerful momentum with another killer riff and some almost metal vocals, the melodies are always there to guide us. A song like the Man I’ve Become fits seamlessly with older work, yet somehow manages to sound more mature. Haunted on the other hand manages to surprise with a deep emotional vocal delivery by Costa, who surely seems to be stretching boundaries with his voice. Nice power ballad!

As it turns out Still Living are raising the bar on every level and have delivered a strong album that every lover of melodic hard rock will enjoy. By the way, the European edition closes with the stunning bonus track Redemption, a contender for ballad of the year!



fxrrvst - may xxviDon’t break your tongue trying to pronounce the name of this outfit. Simply put this is to be referred to as Forrest. And the members are Holly Forrest and Matthew Fuentes, from Toronto Canada. Influenced by the lyrics and unconventional song structures from Tegan and Sara and the vibes and guitar of Fleetwood Mac, the duo is sees this as their first step in taking world domination.

Now that is quite a bold statement in the press information. I will spare you most of the rest of the press blurb and just focus on what my ears tell me. And there is no denying that the 9 songs on offer are catchy. Every song has a hook and melody that is instant. And much to my enlightenment, they still manage to stay away from all too obvious choices and routines in their songs. So that is indeed a plus, and a big one.
And while this is marketed as a alt-rock band, for me this is not quite true. Alt is a tag that I suspect will put off people, thinking that the weirdness outweighs the primal attraction. And in this case I am quite sure that a lot of people would find it easy to enjoy the music, once they are persuaded to give it a listen.

I have been playing this for quite some time now, and I still think they musical vocabulary goes way beyond your average radio hit. And that without losing the instant lovable factor.  So maybe that world domination aim is not so dumb after all…


Tusmorke, Bydyra, 2017

tusmorke - bydyraThis is certainly a first; a psychedelic progressive folk rock band from Norway delivering their fifth album, aimed at and done with children. Comprising of 2 mini musicals, written for a local school in Oslo, this is indeed something unique. According to their label both children and adults will be able to enjoy the album. But alas I think they forgot that most of the world are not so fluent in Norwegian.

Now I am able to “understand” the music and think the genre description is quite accurate. And while I understand that within the concept it makes sense to add children singing to a lot of songs, it also makes me question the people who will fall for this. Especially since the language barrier isn’t helping me. So I do not understand the humour on display or the stories about urban wildlife, skyrocketing prices of houses, the financial crisis and so on.
On top of that I think the melodies are often fairly simple, aimed to sing along to at schools. Nevertheless, the music is done well and really supports the ideas. So it makes sense to think that in Norway this is welcomed with open arms. For me its appeal is limited alas.

If you are able to listen past language and or enjoy children singing and a band performing folky rock songs, you might enjoy this more than I did.