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melodic rock

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Brother Ape, Karma, 2017

brother ape - karmaFor me personally, this is a giant treat, a new Brother Ape album. Finally! The last couple of years the only releases becoming available were EP’s in digital format, alas. As you might know, I prefer CD’s, so I am very happy to present their new album here. I also was so lucky to be able to buy one of the Deluxe Editions. Those 3 EP’s I mentioned are all present on the bonus disc, including 2 extra songs, making that bonus disc a 14 track miracle of listening pleasure.

The regular album on this release holds 8 songs with a playing time of just over 40 minutes. Now I don’t mind because of my extra disc (even when 6 of those 8 originate from those EP’s), but for modern standards that is… well modest. But hey, you do get totally awesome songs as opener Oblivion, the instant Sixteen and the hauntingly exciting Hina Surawa. As well as 5 other killer songs of course, no fillers here.
Because in my humble opinion, every Brother Ape album is a testament of beautiful crafted songs with emotional depth, coupled with instrumental prowess, hooks and melodies. It is sometimes hard to believe how the trio of Damicolas, Maxen and Bergman keep coming up with brilliant idea after wonderful arrangement.

Every lover of melodic rock music infused with prog elements will absolutely love their music. No doubt in my mind.

Website

Bryan Cole, Sands Of Time, 2016

bryan-cole---sands-of-timeMelodic Rock Records releases are becoming a regular guest here on the blog. And now it is time for Bryan Cole to be featured. More specifically with his debut Sands Of Time. Anyone familiar with the label will already have a clue as to what to expect. And if not, then I guess the name of the label is giving it away easy… 🙂

And while I can honestly say the name did not ring any bells with me, looking at the song writing team, there are quite some names present besides Bryan: Jim Peterik of Survivor and Pride Of Lions Fame, Brett Walker and more… not bad!
So one of Pittsburgh’s most talented sons sure got on a head start here. And while we are throwing names around like candy on Halloween, more musical references are Giant and Bad English. That should in fact tell you all you need to know. Because let’s face it, mister McNeice has a knack for delivering artists that fit his label and Cole does not disappoint. At all!
If anything, for a debut this sounds confident and mature. Soaring vocals, guitar solos, tons of harmony vocals, all there. And the songs are there too, but with the names involved that was kind of a no-brainer.

So another simple one, buy!

Website

PS: turns out this is also blog post 1000! Reason to celebrate a bit, YAY!

DangerAngel, All The King’s Horses, 2016

danger angel - all the king's horsesAnd back for another Melodic Rock Records release. And man, this one might be dividing the melodic rock crowd like never before. If my memory serves me well, this is the third album from the band and for me, one of the absolute highlights this year. We get 12 songs and 55 minutes of highly infectious and energetic music on this disc.

So I hear you think, why will it divide the MR community? Well, to me it seems that many melodic rock purists, just like the prog scene by the way, have a certain sound they demand from their beloved bands. They want melodies, vocal harmonies, guitars that bite, a supporting role for keyboards and flashy solos. And DangerAngel deliver just that, with one exception…
Their use of keyboards might be way out of the comfort zone for aficionados. As it is modern, almost dance like and not covered up, but clearly audible in the overall sound of the album. And you know what, I LOVE it. This album brings some exciting new colours to the palette! Yes the melodies shine, the guitars rock hard and the solos rip your face, but their clever use of keyboards really gives them an unique identity.

For me it is simple, this is a must buy album for anyone serious about rock. This is way too good to be ignored and has to be heard to believe. Stunning stuff!

Website

The Radio Sun, Outside Looking In, 2016

the radio sun - outside looking in-fullThese guys from Down Under are wasting no time! Already album number 3 in hardly 3 years and they are already working on number 4. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s first take a look at this one. The quartet have managed to step their game up a bit more, finding a great balance between up tempo rockers and some damn fine ballads.

Producer Paul Laine (ex Danger Danger) not only found the right balance in the sound, he also adds his vocals in a duet with singer Jason Old on the track Wink And Smile. But there is no shortage of vocals either way, since all the members contribute to that massive sound. And expert guitar slinger Steve Janevski (also Black Majesty) has been buzzing of joy with Brett Garsed playing a guest solo on Falling For You.
As was to be expected, a lot of feel good choruses find their way unto the album. With lead single Switch Off The World Tonight leading the way with its Damn Yankees quality. Other references are Firehouse, Trixter or Warrant.

So if you are a sucker for melody, huge sound, ripping solos, or in short all the great rock music from the past, then this is a sure winner for you. Pick it up from label Melodic Rock Records or find it in a store near to you. It rocks!

Website

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!

Website

Classic: House Of Shakira, Lint, 1997

house of shakira - lintListening to the recent House Of Shakira album Sour Grapes, my thoughts automatically drifted back to their 1997 debut Lint. So I decided to dig it out and gave it another play. And man, what a great album this still is. So here goes another “Classic” post.

The album opens with somewhat mysterious Middle-East sounding singing, and it does not take long before the song Morning Over Morocco kicks in. And kick it does! I seem to remember that their singer at the time, Andreas Eklund, had been living in Africa for a while, so that might explain the Eastern flavours that pop up throughout the album. Giving it a bit of extra sizzle, like the title song Lint so aptly proves. Great energy and stunning harmony vocals if you ask me.
Method Of Madness opens with some beefy guitar and melodic singing. When the band kicks in, those harmony vocals again take centre stage and seduce you. Nobody sings Hi Hi Hi as good as they do! But don’t think this is all fluffy, far from it. The guitars and solos are top notch as well, no rest for the wicked here. Song number 4, named No: 8, is a beautiful semi ballad. An organ supports the guitars well, and Eklund delivers a heartfelt lyric. Who’s Lying Now would make Journey jealous, such is its melodic appeal. Elephant Gun is another face melter, great groove and that chorus is another one to die for. Did I mention they do stunning harmony vocals? Anyway, only half way through, but you will get the message.

Anybody who claims to love melodic rock needs to give this a home!

Website

Intuitive, Reset, 2016

intuitive-resetAnd again on route to try to catch up with all the releases coming from Melodic Rock Records. In fact, most of the time the reviews could be kept fairly simple, as label boss Andrew (also host of the, for genre fans, mandatory melodicrock.com) has a clear view of what he wants to get out into this world. The name says it all really.

But the melodic rock genre is a bit of a tricky one. Some bands just steal about every riff and melody they can get their hands on, while others serve music by the numbers and quite frankly bore their listeners to death.
Luckily that is not the case with Intuitive. These guys show how to record and release an album that is worth the while. Especially the second part of the album just pours vibrant songs like The Reckoning Day, Illusion, Take A Chance, and so on. The melodies are good, the guitar solos shred, it packs the right amount of punch, the whole thing works like a charm.

So with quality like this, it is easy to recommend the album. And while you are at it, check out the back catalogue of MRR as well. Like any independent label, it needs the support of the buyers to stay afloat and bring us more joy and more music. You know you want it to 🙂

Visit the Label Website

Cranston, Self Titled, 2016

CranstonSo, what can we expect from an album with rock icon Paul Sabu together with the hardest working man in the business, Phil Vincent? Both multi-instrumentalists, but here Sabu is taking care of instruments and some backing vocals, Vincent is delivering most of the lead and backing vocals and B.F. D’Ercole is on board for the drumming.

Well, opening track Long Long Way to Go makes clear what we are dealing with here. This is the melodic rock so very popular in the eighties, but transported into this day and age. So it has a modern, and at times maybe even somewhat metallic edge to it. But the hooks and the melodies are there. Second song You Oughta Know is one of the most instant tracks on offer. Killer chorus and riff, and will be roaming through your brain for days. See You On The Other Side continues the siege with confidence and swagger and rules like there’s no tomorrow.
But in fact every single one of the 10 songs on the album is killer. No ballads, just rockers, all with truck loads of melody and the right amount of guitar and keyboards on the solid foundation provided by drums and bass.

Plain and simply these 2 giants have been inspiring each other to great heights and delivered a must have rock album.

Website

Jace Pawlak, Promise, 2016

jace pawlak - promiseThe previous album by Jace Pawlak had a piece of music for everyone on board. And was considered his best yet. Well, give or take 18 months later that has changed with this new release, Promise. The promise Jace made to himself was to make an album that came as close as possible to the ones from his childhood that he loves so much and made him become a musician himself. And most of those fall in the melodic rock category. Think Journey, Night Ranger, Toto, and such.

So while the style on this album is limited to melodic rock, one thing is for sure, he raises the bar again, and seems to do so with ease. No wonder Kivel Records were quick to pick it up. But back to the music. There are 10 tracks on the album and it opens with the rocking Tonight Is Everything. Hooks and melodies galore, perfect for setting the scene. Before You Run continues the party and Every Now And Then is a text book example of how to write a ballad that impresses with delivery. A thing worth mentioning is that Pawlak really pays attention to his lyrics and is not afraid to delve a little deeper. Also the assistance of his father and brother on guitar is a feast for the ears. Some mean, yet always melodic soloing going on there.

Without naming all the songs on the album, for melodic rock fans the conclusion is simple, you have to hear this one. So much love and dedication went into this album, and it shows! Do yourself a favour and pick it up.

Website

The Radio Sun, Heaven Or Heartbreak, 2015

the radio sun - heaven o rheartbreakRound two from these Aussies, and again on Melodic Rock Records. And more things are the same, as again Paul Laine was responsible for mixing the album. Another thing that has not changed is the music itself. As the name of the label already suggests, melodic rock.

Opening with the track the album got it’s name from, it is clear from the word go what we will get served: quality melodic rock built on steady riffs, tons of melody and flashy solos courtesy of Black Majesty‘s Steve Janevski. During playback of this album, it did seem that singer Jason Old has grown in his performance. Maybe it is just me, but it felt more confident and powerful. Whether in the rocking songs, or the great ballad Dying Without Your Love, there is a lot to like about this album.

Overall a rock solid follow up to the first album, and a nice surprise in the addition of Andy Taylor’s I Might Lie. Fans of the label or the genre, in case they do not already have it, you know what to do! Oh, and number 3 is already on the way…

Website

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