Tohpati Bertiga, Riot, 2012

tohpati bertiga - riotIt is not always that the best guitar players out there, are the ones everybody has heard about. Proof in question is Tohpati a monster guitar player if ever there was one. Just listen to first minutes of album opener Upload and you know why. So it is a good thing a label like MoonJune invest in bringing talent like this to the fore. And okay, a label like jazz-rock – fusion – progressive rock will put some off. that is a shame because there is some serious fret abuse going on here. The trio (also with Indro Hardjodikoro on bass and Adityo Wibowo on drums) are sure out to make themselves heard.

Even if not all is put into recognisable melodies (this is again an instrumental album), every song on here is largely that. A song that is. So we do get riffs, breaks, and lines. And some shredding too. And not of that typical neo classical fodder we hear so much. No this is much more inventive and involves all three musicians as well. So perhaps that makes this a musicians band, though I am quite sure that anyone who is not afraid of technical prowess, likes fusion and grooves, should give this a try! And as Tohpati is involved in more bands and projects (I also heard Tohpati Ethnomission – Save the Planet from 2010), the website link is just a start to explore.

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Ligro, Dictionary 2, 2012

Ligro - Dictionary-2Okay, this must be one of the most challenging albums ever to have made it´s rounds in my player. From Indonesia we have another MoonJune release in the jazz, fusion and or progressive rock vein. The trio of Agam Hamzah on guitar, Adi Darmawan on bass and Gusti Hendy on drums really managed to keep me busy but in all honesty, I am still not sure I am getting this.

With 8 tracks and over 73 minutes of music (with 4 tracks clocking in at over 10 minutes) I can´t help thinking these are all spontaneous jams recorded on the spot. Inventive and complex yes, but themes and melodies are nowhere to be found. Or at least not for these ears. And reading that drummer Gusti is also a member of one of the country´s most successful pop rock outfits makes this even more puzzling.

So maybe you are up for the task, I think I´d better put my mind to rest for a while and visit it again some time later, I surrender for now!

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Docker’s Guild, Season 1: The Age Of Ignorance, 2012

Dockers Guild - The Age Of IgnoranceActually, the reason for this write up is quite a sad one. I was somewhat aware of this album, but it was not until Melodic Rock reported about an open message from founder and writer Douglas Docker that I contacted the band about the release. In short, that message was an expression of disappointment as Docker found out that his album, created with blood, sweat, tears and a lot of money, was mainly illegally downloaded, instead of bought. And the simple conclusion is, without money, there can be no follow up. Because, as you will understand from the title, this is supposed to open up a line of releases (5 in total!). And with known guests like for instance Gregg Bissonette, Tony Franklin, John Payne, Göran Edman, Tony Mills or Amanda Somerville, let alone a good studio to let this sound as we expect it to, one needs to make money from selling the album, to be able to continue. A cause I am openly sympathetic to!

So after that rather long introduction, let´s get back to that original task: what is my opinion on this CD? Well that is quite simple: I loved listening to the album! This is very catchy music, that is more melodic than metal. Especially the keyboard work is great and very tasteful (Docker plays them). The concept is of course something familiar for style afficionados. Think Ayreon, Avantasia and sorts. But I feel, that even when this is progressive, it´s emphasis on melody and keyboards sets it apart from those references. The fact that the David Bowie song Loving The Alien finds a place within the concept, is a bonus in my humble opinion. I won´t go into the story here, something you will have to ponder over for yourself after you have laid your eyes on the booklet. 😉 I will conclude by stating I hope in the end everything will turn out for the better and we will get that next album after all, I will be looking forward to it. For that to happen we do need your support, so don´t be shy and start clicking…

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Magnum, On The 13th Day, 2012

magnum - on the 13th dayIf you are a site regular, it will not come as a surprise that I really like Magnum. I mean, their brand of music evolving around melodic rock and progressive rock, is always a pleasure to listen to. And I know some say that over time their output has become predictable to a certain extend. But some bands get away that, as long as they provide excellent songs, and Magnum is one of those.

I felt that after the Hard Rain days things have really been picking up for the band again. Undoubtedly main song writer Tony Clarkin has since rediscovered his inspiration. So despite not coming up with a longer epic (album opener All The Dreamers clocks in at just over 7 minutes), with 11 tracks and 57 minutes of music, we have little to complain about. And with Dance Of The Black Tattoo, a more hard rocking song is delivered. quite cool track!
If you belong to the people who have never heard a Magnum album, you probably do not enjoy this type of music. Still if you are curious, start with On A Storyteller´s Night, Wings Of Heaven or Vigilante. I am quite sure that after that, you will understand why I still enjoy the band and it´s music.

Many songs of this release fit within the repertoire with ease and will surely find their way into the live set. And deservedly so!

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Marius Tilly Band, Blue Colors Red Lights, 2012

marius tilly band - blue colors red lightsBlues rock is certainly not a strict USA only affair. As it turns out, even some young white dudes from Germany know a thing or two about it. So please welcome the trio that are the Marius Tilly Band. With Marius being the singer and guitar player and he is supported by Benjamin Opperman on bass and Maximilian Wastl on drums. But they cheated a little and invited some guests for extra guitars and keyboards. All to please us, the listeners!

First song Mr. Mule struck me as a pop song disguised as a medium tempo blues track. And that pop feeling  kept creeping up throughout the album. So strictly speaking, this might turn out to be a much to simplistic and commercial album for purists. But that would be a shame, as I think the guys have come up with some excellent ideas anyway. A track like Out Of These Days is beautiful with a smooth bass line and some exquisite strat tones supporting the emotion charged vocals.  Speaking of stratocaster, great sound mister Tilly! A track like Sometimes is a lot more bluesy in approach, and in some strange way reminded me of Steely Dan a bit, but that ain´t a bad reference no matter how you look at it.

So there you go, for someone who is not that keen on blues, I found this a pleasure to listen to, probably because of the influences from outside the genre. Give them a try!

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Ladiscordia, Orizzonti Di Cartone, 2012

ladiscordia - orizzonti di cartoneOn offer for your reading pleasure is another album presented by Fabrizio from Coral Riff. The band is called Ladiscordia and the album Orrizonte di Cartone.  As I said before my Italian is far from brilliant, yet I am quite sure the title translates into Cardboard Horizon.

In my humble opinion the music on this album is quite different from other outings from Coral Riff. I would describe this as rock with strong alternative touches. And still, the first name that popped up in my mind when I started listening was the Golden Earring. Go figure ;-). With 10 songs and a total running time of just under 30 minutes this isn´t a very long album. In fact, I know of single songs that top that. But music is not a competition, and if the band believe this to be the best they have to offer at this moment, then this is what we deserve to get.

Again I had no problems with the vocals being in their native tongue. The guitar driven rock works well and I quite like the way they infused the alternative touches into the songs. Mostly by adding some strange sounds here and there and by utilizing guitar themes that create an alienating feeling. And sometimes a piano can be heard. It is always hard for me to throw names at you. A song like L´Organo Di Vetro has some The Cure references, but rocks a lot harder.
So if the names mentioned strike a chord, or if you´d like to try something new, check this out. I like it.

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Rick Springfield, Songs For The End Of The World, 2012

rick springfield - songs for the end of the worldTo some, Rick Springfield will be most known for his acting career. Yet I bet most reading this blog are more familiar with his other, and to me more important, side, that of singer. And that is a long career, yet the guy seems to never age. Damn… And it is not that I am an avid follower of all the musical output of Rick. I just buy a record here or there. But as I had been reading a lot of good stuff about this 2012 album Songs For The End Of The World, I decided it was time to pick this one up. There are 4 versions available, which can be identified by the different front covers. Don´t know if they differ in songs as well.

What strikes me most about this album is its sheer energy! Springfield seems to be completely in touch with contemporary rock music and has delivered a vibrant CD that is just filled with great hooks and catchy melodies. I think every of the 12 songs could be a (hit) single. Which is something I frankly care little about as I don´t listen to radio anymore. But if I did, music like this would surely light my days!

So if you lost touch, this is a great album to get back into the groove with. Even if you are only vaguely curious about the guy, give this a try. It rocks and is just very tasty!

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Mystery, The World Is A Game, 2012

mystery - the world is a gameThe Canadian band Mystery has graced these pages before and while it took them a few years to release this album, another release is already imminent, so as usual I am running late. But don´t let that stop you for checking out this one, as I think it will proof to be worth every dime you invest in it. That is, if you are into quality progressive rock.

Core of the band is again singer Benoit David (back from his fling with Yes) and Michel St-Pere (guitars and keyboards). Antoine Fafard is playing bass and Nick D`Virgilio has found another home after leaving the drum kit of Spock´s Beard behind. Together the quartet have recorded a massive album that is a showcase of everything that is to like about this type of music. It may be preaching for the converted (as I bet most self proclaimed haters of the style already skipped reading this), but Mystery are a band that proves that music in this genre cán be elaborate yet melodic and catchy. Interesting and complex and still strike an emotional chord. Rock hard or be gentle like a soft summer breeze. Well, you get the idea.

For me it is easy to listen to this all day and never get bored. Premium stuff, buy it!

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Legion, Resurrection, 2012

Legion-ResurrectionAnother new month, so about time for a new Phil Vincent release! Well this one is from last year actually and under the Legion banner. His collaboration with UK inhabitants Vince O’ Regan et al, has proven quite fruitful with 4 albums in 3 years. Well the message stays the same I think. Anybody into Dokken typed hard rock and in need of a straight rock fix, this is what you need.

Another 11 tracks of melodic hard rock, with Phil´s trademark vocals (and please pay extra attention to the harmony vocals, he does those very well!), enough guitar riffs to soothe even the most thirstiest of fans and solos galore. At times it sounds a bit like a heavier Saxon, but that could be down to the UK influence. And in my book that is not a bad reference mind you.
I like this type of kick ass albums on a regular diet. Not all day long and not every day of the week, but I surely enjoy listening to this! Always easy to digest, never a dull moment and just plain enjoyable. Fists in the air and head-banging good. And coming from one of the hardest working men on the planet (and down to earth and nice too), we all could do worse…

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Beardfish, The Void, 2012

beardfish - the voidAh, it has been a while since a Beardfish album landed in my player, but the boys are back with this 2012 release of The Void. In between more material has been released by the way, but I am still catching up!

So the first thing to notice is that the guitars are cranked up quite a bit here. And I like it! Voluntary Slavery almost becomes a prog metal work out, such is the power and riffage on display. And Turn To Gravel opens with a heavy groove that would make Led Zeppelin proud. But of course a band of this calibre will not let us get away with only throwing a lot of power at us. The keyboards are there, don´t worry. Alas the hammond organ is less prominent than before, but if you listen close enough, more vintage sounds pop up. In They Whisper it is a Wurlitzer, and the piano version of Ludvig & Sverker is based upon…, well I guess you figured that one out already. So as the CD develops things are becoming more in the expected progressive rock territory. Again Beardfish prove to be able to entertain with ease. And when an album gets better with every playback, you just know you are slowly falling in love with it.

So don´t worry about guitars, or about crossing borders, Beardfish still manage to come up with music that is simply too good to ignore. A must buy for fans of the genre and people with an open mind have another CD to delve into.

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