Widetrack, III, 2018

widetrack -3The story behind this band is quite interesting. And maybe even holds a lesson or two. After he lost his father at the young age of 57 in 2006, Ron Tippin (vocals, guitars and drums) decided to skip all excuses and do something with all the songs he had been writing. The result being a first Widetrack album in 2007, and a second in 2009. After more turmoil, the recently released third album is the next milestone. One which now also includes his young son Zach on bass. Completing the current line up is Brian Burleson on lead guitar.

The music of this trio is said to be a mix of the progressive tones of Pink Floyd, Tool and Porcupine Tree on one hand, and the more grungy sounds of Soundgarden and Queens Of The Stone Age on the other. Well, the excellent singing mostly reminded me of UK prog metallers Awake By Design, with the music indeed baring a more melancholic signature, just like mr. Wilson likes to put into his songs.
The result is an album that listens away with a remarkable ease. Nowhere the band are trying to impress with technical ecstasy. But they impress with bringing songs that hold your attention from start to finish. From opener Burn the Sun to closer Still Here, the 12 tracks show maturity in delivery and a clear focus of what the band wants to be.

Call it alterna-prog, call it what you want. The culmination of said influences  is an album that excites. Bravo gents!

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Mecca, III, 2016

mecca - IIIYou do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this is the third album by American AOR / melodic rock band Mecca. Led by Joe Vana, this collective features some people with a Toto pedigree, like David Hungate and drummer / producer Shannon Forrest. But there are more ace guests here: I mean, names like Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto should also ring a bell or?

Anyway, 3 years in the making, recorded 100% analogue, this seems something special. And for lovers of the smooth side of bands like Giant, Toto or Journey, it is. Every note is spot on and while all songs are good, some are off the scale. And even when I do realise that this opinion is personal, I am sure that only very few people will be able to resist songs like Take My Hand or Let It Go. Vana comments that he only needed 8 songs to say what he had to say. And yes, I agree the album flows. But man, I would have loved to have a couple more tracks on this.

Anyway, better just under 34 minutes of musical heaven, than 50 minutes of crap. So I do hope it will become the classic that Andrew from Melodic Rock Records claims it already is. We will know over time. For now, I just know it is DAMN good!

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Chickenfoot, III, 2011

Chickenfoot - iiiThe second Chickenfoot album is aptly titled III, typical Hagar humour I presume. Anyone familiar with the first outing from these 4 rock giants, will have a pretty good clue as to what to expect. If you haven´t bought this one yet, I see no reason not to. It is fun, energy level is high, and even the odd message present. So not all songs are about tequila and girls 😉

Those amongst my readers not yet familiar with the band, Chickenfoot is the collaboration of Joe Satriani (guitar), Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chillies on drums and the former half of Van Halen (Michael Anthony on bass plus backing vocals and Sammy Hagar on lead vocals) complete the band.
And while sometimes there is suspicion about the reason for such a coming together, in this case I feel it is all about the music. Everything, from the 3d artwork, to the lyrics, the album´s unexpected title, to the overall performance, just breezes that feeling of pure enjoyment. Satriani sounds very inspired and delivers killer riffs. And we all know he can play some mean solos. Anthony and Hagar continue what they did in VH, and Smith just hits the skins with power and groove.

So the band bring another set of great rocking tracks that sound instantly familiar and overall very convincing. Just take a listen to songs like Up Next, or Big Foot. If you like those, buy the thing. I specifically want to mention the track Three And A Half Letters. It´s lyric is built out of letters Sammy got from people seeking his help. Gave me the chills, brilliant.

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