Several Shorts 2

port mahadia - echoes in timePort Mahadia, Echoes in Time, 2007

Despite the cast of known characters (David Ragsdale and Damian Wilson to name a few), I am sorry to say it did not convince me like I expected. Maybe my expectations just were to high, or I should give it a few more spins. It´s not bad mind you, but it just didn´t stick.  Some really good progressive ideas though, so time will tell.

soil - scars

Soil, Scars, 2001

Holy smoke, these guys take no prisoners. Labelled as nu metal, but I totally like their songs. The band show a lot of attitude. It grooves and kicks ass from start to finish. This just plainly rocks hard, yet stays melodic.
Highly recommended for any rock lover.

Hinder - Extreme BehaviourHinder, Extreme Behavior, 2005

This band got labelled as post grunge alternative, but to me that is just wrong. This is (hard)rock with a modern twist. The album shows depth in the song writing department, so don´t let the parental advisory sticker tell you otherwise. Very diverse, great and hard rocking record. And still enough light and dark to keep it interested. My only complaint is it´s length. A few songs more would be nice gentlemen…

Green Carnation, The Quiet Offspring, 2005

green carnation - the quiet offspringJust recently I discovered this band, and so far every new addition to my collection has proved a pleasant experience. So how will this one fare?

The album starts off with the title track, and already they take no prisoners. Very convincing delivery and great use of light and dark. The singer may not have the greatest reach, or be able to put a little rough edge on his voice, he still hits all the notes. And he´s supported by a lot of backing vocals without it all sounding too smooth.

I especially like the guitars and keyboard parts. Together they create a lot of dynamics, thus making this a fresh sounding album.  Hey, and a band that puts an organ to great use really can´t go wrong or ? 😉 The band is also not afraid to use subtle arrangements with piano and vocal. Of course a heavy guitar riff is never far away, after all this still is metal. Production wise they are not afraid to use more modern influences (processed drums / loops). And the best thing about that is they do it seemingly effortless. To conclude, give this a chance, I promise you won´t be disappointed!

Personal play tips: The Quiet Offspring, A Place For Me, The Everlasting Moment.

Website no longer active (ALAS!)

Roger Daltrey, Under A Raging Moon, 1985

Roger Daltrey - Under A Raging MoonTogether with the McVicar record (bought it for the utterly fantastic songs Without Your Love and McVicar) I got this one. Just because I read somewhere it was a really rocking record.

And is it? In a eighties AOR kinda way, yes it is. Songs are penned by several legends in the genre (including Who band mate Pete Townsend) and played by some big studio names. And with all that class writing and playing, together with Roger´s still forceful voice you can´t really go wrong now can you? And adventurous in places as well. The title track being a prime example of that (more drums anyone?).

So it actually proved a pleasant listen. Maybe a little light for my normal taste (at the time that is) but nevertheless worthwhile. It seems there is a 2008 reissue, but this is the original I bought second hand.

Personal play tips: After The Fire, Fallen Angel, Under A Raging Moon.


Several Shorts

fuel - natural selectionFuel – Natural Selection, 2003.

The first records I bought from these guys. But if this is anything to go by, certainly not their last. Good band, good songs. It rocks, it keeps your attention. May sound a little after Nickelback, but I like them as well. You won´t be disappointed if you give it a try!

jane´s addiction - ritual de lo habitual

Jane´s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual, 1990.

Supposed to be a classic so I gave it a try. I can´t really say it is a classic. I do think it is unique! Very distinctive own sound. A lot of groove and yeah, it rocks. The uniqueness has a lot to do with the vocals. Needs repeated play.

rage against the machine

Rage Against the Machine, Same, 1992.

I remember hearing this after it came out. Only a few songs stuck at the time. But playing it again now reveals it is actually better now than I thought then. Of course the singles are easy, but a lot of other stuff popped up. So if you think highly of massive grooves and the exceptional fretwork of Tom Morello, get it if you don´t already own it.

uriah heep - high and mighty

Uriah Heep, High And Mighty, 2004 Remaster.

Being somewhat of a completist, I was happy to find this for a reasonable price. And being totally unaware of the controversy surrounding it, I listened with a fresh ear. Afterwards I read the booklet and understood why this sounds less than a Heep records compared to most I already owned. So in a way I understand the dispute. Nevertheless, though not your typical rocking Heep record, this does have it´s moments. And the story behind it is intriguing. Not for starters, but after all worth the money.

The Darkness, Permission To Land, 2003

the darkness - permission to landDue to the controversy surrounding this band I never paid much attention to them. Lately I heard their single I Believe In A Thing Called Love again and convinced myself to check them out. If only to see what the fuzz was all about.

Having listened to this, I must admit this is far better than I anticipated. Sure, Hawkins isn´t behaving like the regular rock singer with his falsetto here and there. But hey, I like Queen a lot and think Freddy is one of the best singers ever, so why not.

And I have to admit, this actually rocks! It may not be the most original material, but it´s got attitude, it´s got melody, it´s got balls and it grabs your attention from the second you press play, so how can this be bad. And with a guy wearing a Thin Lizzy T-shirt on a photo in the booklet, there´s at least one dude knowing good music 😛 . Some lyrics are also very funny, so when I get the chance, I will get their other album as well. (they did make 2 did they?)

So I suggest that everyone who likes rock should at least give it a try. Don´t let the controversy make you believe otherwise!

Personal play tips: Black Shuck, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Stuck In A Rut.


King Crimson, Three Of A Perfect Pair, 2004

king crimson - three of a perfect pairWow, talking about a trip down memory lane… This album I originally bought on LP (for the young ones, think of that as a very large CD, often in a black colour, that you could play on both sides on a thing called pick-up (don´t ask) ). I always thought that from that period, Beat was the better record, but boy it was sure nice hearing these tracks again.

On this 2004 30th Anniversary addition (yeah, that long ago…) there are 6 bonus tracks. Or actually 4, as Sleepless gets a remix round from Tony Levin, Bob Clearmountain and an, ehrm Dance version…. Not sure I am all to keen on that one… The first bonus track, The King Crimson Barber Shop is hilarious however. Just vocals, but magnificent.

But back to the songs.  Of course for KC adepts nothing new here. Soundscapes and songs. Very accomplished musicians. Most surprising to me however was that I still know all these tunes by heart. The impact must have been greater on me than I realized at the time. Of course the classic ending of Dig Me (” dig me, but don´t bury me” ) still sounded as strong as ever. And the aforementioned Sleepless is a great song no matter what remix you put it through.

But if you don´t know King Crimson, is this the album to start with? Mmhm, I don´t know. I guess the début (In the Court Of The Crimson King), Discipline, or Beat would be more obvious choices. But if you are willing to take a chance and want to discover this great band, give it a try. There´s a chance you will be hooked forever…

Personal play tips: just start it up.


Wicked Temptation, Seein´Ain´t Believin´, 2010

wicked temptation - seein ain´t believinThis 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.


Junk Farm, Didn´t Come To Dance, 2009

junk farm - didn´t come to danceThis is the second album from German trio Junk Farm. Released some 2 years after their debut , I was curious to find out how the band had developed.

First thing I noticed was the dropping of the “fusion trio from hell” monicker. And indeed, little fusion work outs this time. Alas, I really liked those on the debut. Music Police is the sole exception.
But what has stayed is the humor (see cover and song titles like Stalker, Lost By A Love Song  and Eurovision Song-incest), the ferocious grooves, the organ, the melodic singing with strong harmony vocals and the great guitar riffing and soloing.
New are the synthesiser solo´s here and there. At least in my humble opinion.  Nice touch with the acoustic guitar in song Where Are We Going To and the closing track as well.

So as a whole this album sounds more coherent as the debut, but I miss those fusion tracks a little. Nevertheless, if you like your music rocking, with melody and groove, check this band out. They are excellent!

Personal play tips: Didn´t Come To Dance, Still Not Dead, 10 Out Of 1, etc. .


Breathing Space, Coming Up For Air, 2007

breathing space - coming up for airUpfront I want to apologize as I am likely to not make many friends with this post. Matter at hand here is the 2007 debut from Breathing Space, called Coming Up For Air. It is the brainchild of Iain Jennings, so that might ring some bells.

Musically this is symphonic rock, bordering into mainstream rock. The instrument handling is fine, the songs are melodic, the production is at level, etc. The songs are varied, though pretty mellow most of the time. The packaging is professional. So it looks good as it sounds good.

So maybe you are wondering why I started with suggesting this post will not make me more friends. That brings me to the only problem I have with the album; the vocals of Olivia Sparnenn. Don´t get me wrong, she has an angelic voice, totally sings in tune and you can understand the lyrics.
It is just that I feel she sings very clinical. No emotion what so ever. Which is okay for any pop diva maybe, but not for serious music. Sorry to say this, but it actually spoils my listening pleasure. Where´s the drama, the feel, the hurting?

Let´s hope a lot of people will disagree with me. Fine, support the band and buy it. For me, despite liking the music, this will not be an album I will revisit often.


Junk Farm, Ugly Little Thing, 2007

junk farm - ugly little thingThis self proclaimed “fusion trio from hell” released this debut in 2007. Well I don´t know about the devil, but this is a tasty album for sure.

Built on drums, keys and guitars, but with vocals, this is a very accomplished band with a lot of humor. It takes guts to come up with this band name and CD title, but also the lyrics reflect this. But they don´t use humor to hide the fact that they are incapable, no way. What we have here is a band full of excellent ideas and the skills to rock, groove, shred, whatever.

Some tracks are mainly fusion on a rocky edge, others border more in crossover territory between metal and fusion. But melodies all around! Same goes to organ and solo´s. I suspect 6 stringer (and singer) Benjamin Schippritt grew up on metal and ranks Steve Vai among his influences. Due to the use of organ (Berthold Fehmer) and because of the grooves (courtesy of Michael Sticken) I think they like Niacin as well. But don´t get me wrong, I found this lot having their own sound and I totally enjoy this. And though German, very NOT your typical German Power Metal band. My compliments!

Personal play tips: An Eye For An Eye, Master-Sync, Strange Behaviour.