Hear it – Enjoy it – Tell it
Please support the Blog!
If you like what I do, please consider to help me do more:
Categories
Buy Rock Company CD’s?
Visit Rock Company for all Rock Company releases and enjoy #musicforallmoods. Hard Rock, Prog, Ambient, all there.
Visitor counter

Visits since May 7 2017

Your IP: 54.196.72.162

Archives
Twitter
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 148 other subscribers

CD Reviews

1 2 3 84

Lifesigns, Cardington, 2017

lifesigns - cardingtonI was fairly late to the party after the first Lifesigns album was released in 2013, but after hearing a lot of their songs on the radio, I loved it. (Yes I said radio, my favourite station One World Music plays rock and prog every Friday!) Anyway, when I heard about the new album, I decided to step in and make sure I got this one early. Alas mister postman refused to cooperate, my first copy was broken so John Young (keyboards and vocals) had to send in another one.

But boy, since it arrived safe and sound, it has been making many rounds! And to put it simple; this is another fantastic progressive rock album. I probably like it so much because it not only gives a big nod to all the great music of the past, but still sounds up to date and contemporary. Don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but that is how I feel about it.
So it has the long epic tracks as well as shorter ones, but they all feel authentic and logical. No throwing together a bunch of ideas and see what comes out. This is coherent and given enough thought. And man, the way instrumental parts in for instance Voice In My Head lift the song to an even higher level, amazing.

In my humble opinion anyone serious about progressive rock should own this one, jaw dropping good!

Website

B.D. Gottfried, Through The Dog’s Eyes, 2017

bd gottfried - through the dogs eyesA couple of years have past since the previous album from B.D. Gottfried (vocals, drums, keyboards) landed on my desk. And that was quite an enjoyable affair. And now Through The Dog’s Eyes has been released. Even when you might not be familiar with the name, Gottfried is a seasoned pro who has been around. His writing style is probably best described as pop / rock combined with often witty lyrics. In fact, I guess production wise this album rocks a tad more than before. But that extra bite only adds to the charm.

And charm this has in spades. Every song owns the ability to nest itself in your brain for you to hum along to. And while that might make you think that the songs are predictable and simple, they are not. Every track has an edge to it. A break, a non standard bridge, you name it. But the combination of all the used elements is just working. At least for me they are. From the opening track Something You Weren’t, to the should be a hit Blame It On The Money, to the suspense of Frequencies. Any of the 10 tracks on offer brings something to the table.

So it is safe to say that this is another album that the world should hear. Fingers crossed it is listening…

Website

Michael Malarkey – Mongrels, 2017

michael malarkey - mongrelsAccording to the press sheet Michael Malarkey is an actor, known from The Vampire Diaries. But since I hardly watch TV, I must say I wouldn’t know. So I guess the good thing about that is, being able to listen to this without any prejudice.

First thing I noticed about the album that it is pretty eclectic. Site regulars will probably understand that this counts for bonus points in my book. Second thing is that I think Malarkey can really sing. His dark and fairly low voice has presence and grabs you while delivering his lines. And last but not least; he writes quality songs too and lights them with thoughtful lyrics! And as a bonus; this is a musician not afraid to keep it sparse. Because when all you need to get the massage across is a guitar and a voice, there really is no need to expand in the arrangement.
Don’t worry though, variety is key on the album. Clearly a lot of thought went into the dressing up of the songs on the album. But all songs create an impact. Be it because of the vocal delivery, the sometimes chilling contributions on violin, or because the whole of the instruments just reaches out to touch you.

So the title might refer to a bastard dog, this is far from whimsical. Very moody and beautiful. Music that a lot of people will like if they take the time to soak it in. If you do; make sure to hear Uncomfortably Numb and the title track. Or even better, listen to it as a whole.

Website

Lonely Robot, The Big Dream, 2017

lonely-robot - the big dreamI guess John Mitchell (Arena, It Bites, Kino, The Urbane, *Frost, etc.) likes to keep busy. And frankly I do not mind at all. Not only is he a gifted guitar player, but as a singer he also manages to convince. And over time his production skills have been in demand as well. Yet without the proper songs all that is of little use.

And so we now have the second Lonely Robot album to digest. As before, less metal than Threshold, yet of the same progressive and melodic blood. A bit of a concept running through, it seems the man has strange dreams… Or is it just the packaging? Nah, just kidding. On offer on my version are 14 songs of which the first 11 form the actual disc. The extra songs are 2 acoustic versions and a song with Kim Seviour (ex-Touchstone) guesting.
And the album serves songs like the powerful Awakenings, the highly melodic impact of Sigma, the drama of In Floral Green or more powerful riffing in Everglow. We get the groove and feel of False Lights and the … You get it, there will always be something that gets you going. You can be sure there is enough happening to whet your appetite and quench your thirst for melodic prog rock. There is a reason Mitchell is so in demand, he is damn good at what he does!

For me it’s simple, it walks the walk and talks the talk. Go check this!

Website

Dudley Taft, Summer Rain, 2017

dudley taft - summer rainWith a family tree heavily present in politics (senators, governors and even a president), becoming a guitar player is probably not the most obvious career choice. Yet Taft chose that path and never looked back. So after playing and touring with Trey Anastasio (Phish), Sweet Water and Second Coming, he is now releasing his fifth album under his own name. With influences ranging from ZZ-Top to The Cult to Jimi Hendrix.

And while I must confess I had never heard of the guy (sorry man), I must confess that if this album is anything to go by, we have been missing something here in Europe. Or at least I have. Because, even when it speaks of being dedicated to the blues, I have found this to be a pretty bad ass rocking album. And in my book that is a good thing!
So expect the songs to rock and rock with power. Yes, extended solos all over the place, but nothing of what I would consider typical blues. Even if that could be contributed to me never listening to pure blues albums. 🙂 This is 11 songs and over 52 minutes and authentic music, delivered with passion. Very melodic, varied and energetic. No dull slow 12 bar blues that lasts way too long in sight! (Not that there is anything wrong with that if you like it, it’s just not my cup of tea)

A very convincing and pleasant acquaintance, let it rain!

Website

Leprous, Malina, 2017

leprous - malinaThis is the third time Leprous are featured here. And reading back to what I wrote about 2013 album Coal, (and yes, I did listen to The Congregation from 2015 as well, just never got around to write about it) it seems that I could state about the same thing here. But, to avoid that people think this is “just a repeat exercise”, that is not the way to go. Because then I would really be selling another magnificent prog metal album short.

Because make no mistake, the ingredients might be the same, but Leprous are just too damn good to write the same song twice. They still manage to deliver highly addictive melodies over intricate arrangements that have more twists and turns than your average Sicilian mountain trip. The rhythmic details in their music are still unpredictable. The album still rocks without sounding over the top heavy.
Maybe they have become even more focused on the song and thus manage to create an even bigger impact. And I do think there are some new experiments here and there. Yet I do not think that it is of much use to over analyse. My only criticism being that the beautiful booklet does not mention any contact info for the band itself…

For me another clear winner from an band that still manages to excite. A damn good prog metal album that needs to be heard by anyone serious about the genre. No looking back to the greats of the Seventies, but a band boldly moving forward. Love it!

Website

Our Ceasing Voice, Free Like Tonight, 2017

our ceasing voice - free like tonightAnyone remember the Crash Test Dummies? Or maybe Dutch band The Pilgrims? Well, yes or no does not really matter, for now we have Our Ceasing Voice to deliver low dark raspy vocals! And with that also comes a slight change of direction for the Austrian trio. From ambient post rock, to more focused and catchy rock with pop sensibilities.

And the result surely is something to be proud of. From opening track The Arsonist to closer Countings, I find myself getting enchanted. Not only with the vocal delivery of Dominik Dörfler mind you. Also the guitars and synths from Sebastian Obermeir and the drumming from Markus Rappold contribute to an intense and atmospheric album.
Okay, the rock part may be subtle, but it is there. Yet in a way I think the band just wants to create dramatic and pure music, regardless of genre tags. And for me they have delivered in spades. Their vocals will always be a focal point, as there are very few singers who deliver them this way. But even such rather unique vocals need a canvas to shine on.

Hats off to the guys, this is a very good album that keeps you interested play after play. In a time where music seems to become bland and predictable, bands like this are needed to keep the flame burning!

Website

Gentle Knife, Clock Unwound, 2017

gentle knife - clock unwoundThe last couple of weeks has seen, or rather heard, me playing this album a lot. And not because it is such a complex album. Well it is actually. But that was not the point. The point is, that this is a very intriguing mix. A bit like the bastard child of early King Crimson and well ehhh, some more modern prog bands with guitars, organ, saxophone, flutes and brass and stuff. See? I even have a hard time describing this.

But that is all really. I am finding this a very pleasant album to listen to. Yes it may move from whisper quiet to loud and back. Yes, large portions are instrumental with some unusual instruments taking the lead, or using a talking voice like you are watching a movie with a voice over.
And now you think this is a disjointed affair? No it is not. It is diverse indeed, and it really calls for you to pay attention. But I just love what is served. There is always a certain tension flowing, and that keeps attracting me. Even after numerous spins I still wonder what will come next. Yet, the melodies are present and worthwhile.

So what more can I say about it? For me an irresistible mix and an album that grows and grows. Consider me impressed!

Website

Ten, Gothica, 2017

ten - gothicaEver since the first release X in 1996, we have been following the band Ten. I say we, because in this case even my better half is quite fond of the band! And despite numerous changes of personnel over the years, the band has always been about the songs, storytelling and dark voice of Gary Hughes. And of course Gothica is no exception. Anyone familiar with the band will recognise the identity in an instant.

And no, in this case that is not a bad thing! Because the sound may have a certain ring to it, it is the voice of Hughes that takes care of the familiarity. And his knack for writing pompous songs with enough twists and turns to surprise even the most avid fan, but always with a great chorus and enough hooks to catch your attention.

Being a prog lover myself, I love the fact that Ten boldly play 8 minute songs if need be. And manage to do it with panache and energy. The storytelling of Hughes has always been great and this time we get to hear about Jekyll and Hyde, La Luna Dra-Cu-La, The Grail, time Travellers, and so on. The 7 man band all shine. They can rock, they can play fiery solos, and they can bring it all down and get you on the tip of your toes with a piece of piano and vocal.

Even when not all albums of the past are of the same calibre throughout, Ten rarely disappoint, and this one is very consistent and just amongst the best of them.

Website

Zeroscape, Finish Dem, 2017

zeroscape - finish demYou should never judge a book by the cover but I must confess I was having questions when I read the press sheet accompanying this release. Most prominent genres, but not limited to, are reggae, metal and rap. All because this Canadian band, formed in 2001, believes that all music styles could “melt”.

And truth be told, melting a lot of styles they surely do. Does it all work? Mhm, difficult question. I always try to approach every album with an open mind, but these guys really ask a lot. Though in all honesty, that might be because I rarely enjoy reggae or rap, or even metalcore. And when a song like The Funeral borrows heavily from a famous Survivor song, you ain’t helping your case with me.

Yes I applaud the effort and agree that combining style elements from various genres is possible and can lead to exciting music. But I guess you have to like those elements to be able to enjoy the result. So bits and pieces of this work for me, and others just don’t. But don’t let that stop you from giving it a try if you are curious. I do think these guys enjoy what they do and sound convincing doing it.

Website

1 2 3 84