Unforgettable, feel-good rock classics! The new band of metal legends Bobby Blitz, Mike Portnoy, Mark Menghi and Phil Demmel!

It’s evident within the initial seconds of BPMD’s ‘American Made‘, as the legendary Bobby Blitz (Overkill) chants the introductory lyrics to Ted Nugent’s ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang‘ in his signature skyscraper-high howl, that he and his equally iconic bandmates — drummer Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo), bassist Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and guitarist Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, ex-Machine Head)— are here to have a damn good time.

Featuring 10 unforgettable rock classics reimagined as heavy bangers, ‘American Made‘ is a party on wax. Tracks such as the raucous ‘Toys in the Attic‘ (Aerosmith) and rager-ready ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers‘ (ZZ Top) prove that BPMD not only manages to capture the essence of each original track on the album, but skillfully transforms each classic into an unforgettable metallic anthem for a new age.

The seasoned quartet flex their musical muscles on renowned classics such as ‘Saturday Night Special‘ (Lynyrd Skynyrd), ‘We’re an American Band‘ (Grand Funk Railroad) and ‘Walk Away‘ (James Gang), and introduce a whole new heavy generation to deeper cuts like blues standard ‘Evil‘ and ‘Never In My Life‘ (Mountain). Channeling nostalgia while maintaining a fresh attitude, ‘American Made‘ is a summer soundtrack for all ages!

American Made‘ will be available in the following formats:
– 1-CD Jewel Case
– 1-LP Gatefold BLACK
– 1-LP Gatefold Red/White/Blue Splatter (NPR Mailorder exclusive)
– American Made T-Shirt + Jewel Case Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive)
– American Made T-Shirt + Vinyl Black Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive / North America ONLY)
– American Made T-Shirt + Vinyl Red/White/Blue Splatter Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive / North America ONLY)
– Digital Album

Line up:
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth: Vocals
Phil Demmel: Guitar
Mark Menghi: Bass
Mike Portnoy: Drums

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Bad Touch frontman Stevie Westwood has recently done a Q & A regarding the band’s brand new album ‘Kiss The Sky‘, out Friday 19th June 2020 via Marshall Records.

1. You recorded the album in the iconic Rockfield Studios. Tell us more what it was like to record the album there.

Completely jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring. We are so privileged as a group of friends to have recorded in a place with such musical gravitas. It really did kick us up a notch as musicians, and just felt so right. Plus, I got to sit at Freddie’s piano, the one he wrote ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Plus, everyone of the Rockfield team was brilliant and special mention to our producer, (who later became our friend), Nick “Brino” Brine… He deserves a serious pat on the back. Through many tireless hours, he’s managed to capture and refine that raw energy that we’ve always had, but always struggled to get down on recordings up until “Kiss The Sky,” so to him we owe tremendous thanks. 

2. Tell us more about the concept of the album. What is the overall message?

We’ve always been and will always be Bad Touch. We play feel-good rock n roll for the soul. Our never ending mission to give you the night you’ll never forget; a break away from the monotony and tyranny of life, and to leave anybody who is awesome enough to come to a gig smiling from ear to ear. That’s our mantra. This album is 110% just that, this is a dancing round your bedroom, annoying your neighbours album; that we hope people will love any bit as much as we do.

3. What does the album mean to you on a personal level?

It means the world, it’s my life, it’s all of our lives. Pieces of ourselves smooshed together into something fun and beautiful (hopefully…) We’ve been a team for a decade now and to think, through all the ups and downs, that we’re still together, as a family, and producing stuff like this… “awesome” doesn’t even summate it. Eighteen-year-old Stevie would be happy…

4. What was your inspiration for this album?

We wrote the album as a team, as we always do. Our inspiration just being to want to write the best music we possible could, music that we love and that we’d love to play in front of people, and that hopefully they will love too. I believe we’ve done it.

Bands that are influencing Bad Touch right here and now include, Rival Sons, Blackberry Smoke, Led Zeppelin, Black Stone Cherry, The Temperance Movement, Black Crowes plus so many more.

Some personal inspirations/influences? There’s the obvious contenders, people like; Robert Plant, Paul Rogers, Chris Robinson, Ronnie Van Zant, Freddie Mercury, and so many of the vintage hall-of-fame. Plus more modern people like; Charlie Starr, Cormac Neeson, Chris Roberston and Chris Cornell, to name just a few.

5. What can fans expect from the album and what do you want them to take away from it?

We want people to have as much fun with this album as we had recording it (hopefully without the headaches!.. Though if you crank it to 11, we can’t promise!)

This album has been the hardest one to write so far, for all the right reasons. We’ve put so much into this as individuals and collectively as a unit, and we’re super proud with the end result. It’s fun, it’s loud, it’s in-your-face, it’s everything that Bad Touch have always been, plus so much more.

6. The album sounds great. What was your aim to achieve with this album, sound wise?

We have taken a lot more time, effort, sweat and tears when it came to this album from the get-go. Our attitude to songwriting was a lot more critical. If a song wasn’t cutting-the-mustard, we either changed it until it did, or we binned it and moved on. No compromises.

As a unit we are so proud of what we’ve created. It’s 110% Bad Touch, and it has taken everything, that each member had to give, to create. It’s been a hard-fought album, we’ve come the closest we ever have to killing each other, but the end product is beyond what we could have hoped for.

Scandi rockers Brother Firetribe are back with a brand new single and video, ‘Night Drive‘.

Streaming links are Here

Night Drive‘ is taken from their upcoming new album ‘Feel The Burn’, due for release this September.

Line up:

Pekka Heino – vocals
Roope Riihijärvi – guitar
Jason Flinck – bass
Tomppa Nikulainen – drums
Hannes Pirilä – keyboards

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Review: Room Experience – Another Time And Place

Art of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group (May 22nd 2020)

Reviewer: David Pearce

A lot of the recent reviews I have done have been for Scandinavian or German rock bands. For this review I am moving further East to Italy to take a listen to Room Experience.

Room Experience were set up by keyboardist Gianluca Firmo. He is joined by fellow Italians keyboardist Davide ‘Dave Rox’ Barbieri, Steve De Biasi on guitars, Simon Dredo on bass and Pierpaolo ‘Zorro’ Monti on drums. The line-up is completed by the English lead singer David  Readman.  After their well-received debut album in 2015 the follow-up, ‘Another Time and Place‘ has just landed in circumstances no one could have predicted. So, is it going to brighten up your lockdown?

Hear Another Song‘ starts with De Biasi’s driving guitar and  Readman’s growling vocals. The style is reminiscent of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard especially De Biasi’s excellent solo, but Readman’s performance gives it a real edge. It is a promising start to the album.

Wild Heart’ starts with a keyboard intro that sounds like Depeche Mode’s heavier cousin and gives this song a really different sound to the average rock track. ‘Disappointed‘ is a really heavy track that harks back to late 70s era of groups like Rainbow and Judas Priest and really suits Readman’s style.

Strangers in the Night‘ is a rock ballad that starts with a piano that sounds like Roy Bittan’s work from the early Meatloaf ballads, before moving into a Mid 80s style chorus that sounds like it will be really good played live.

The Distance‘ is a song with a mellow tune that could easily be another live favourite and in places sounds almost reminiscent of Kool and the Gang! ‘Shout‘ is back to basics with a driving rock tune that sees Room Experience let loose and create a wall of sound backed by Monti’s drums that keep the momentum going throughout the song.

Another Time and Place‘, the title track is another no nonsense rocker that makes the album sound like it is going through the gears. ‘The Miles That Make A Road‘ has a Europe style vibe and is definitely one of my favourites on the album.

The Night Goes On‘ is a track that once again showcases how well the musicians complement each other, creating the backing for another really good vocal performance by Readman.

A Thousand Lives‘ keeps up the high standard with a fantastic tune and a great chorus. ‘Your Voice Inside‘ is another mellow rock ballad that will get the phones lighting up when they get back out on the road.

The final track ‘The Distance‘ is an anthemic rock song with Gianluca Firmo taking on lead vocals. The song definitely reminds me of The Scorpions, both instrumentally and in terms of Firmo’s vocals and it gives the album a really strong finish with my favourite track of the lot.

Room Experience are a superb rock band with a wealth of experience and a definite ear for a killer tune. In answer to my original question, this is an album that will give your lockdown a real lift, so play it loud and put it on repeat!

Jet Jaguar have released a new video & single for the track ‘Blinding Lights‘.

Blinding Lights‘ is the second single and video from the new Jet Jaguar album ‘Endless Nights‘ (out: July 17, 2020) via Pride & Joy Music.

Jet Jaguar was formed in 2014 and hails from Cancun, a city located in the Mayan region of Mexico. The band’s name was inspired by the Jaguar, a sacred animal for the Mayan civilization and for the areas inhabited by the Mayans. In early 2016, their ‘Zero Hour‘ EP was released. The title track and their first Spanish song ‘Rompiendo el Acero‘ have become fan favorites. 2017 was a busy year for Jet Jaguar. This year saw them tour Mexico twice (for a total of 35 dates). The group also embarked on their first European tour across Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and Romania.

Jet Jaguar received worldwide recognition by being the first Hispanic-American band to ever win the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in Germany in August 2017. In 2018 Jet Jaguar performed in Mexico City at the biggest metal festival in Latin America, ‘Corona Hell and Heaven‘, alongside acts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, the Scorpions, Judas Priest and Megadeth. They also performed at ‘Tecate Mexico Metal Fest‘ and had their first gig at the Lunario del Auditorio Nacional (Mexico City).

Jet Jaguar kicked off 2019 with performing at the biggest festival in Costa Rica ‘Grito Latino Fest‘. Currently, Jet Jaguar is planning the release of their debut album ‘Endless Nights‘, which will see the light on July 17th, 2020 on German Heavy Metal label Pride & Joy Music. Future plans include touring throughout Mexico, Europe and Latin America in support of the album.

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Domination Black release the first single, ‘Center Of The Universe‘, from their new album ‘Judgement IV‘ (out: July 17th, 2020).

Line up:

Matias Palm: Vocals

Teppo Heiskanen: Guitars

Juuso Laitinen: Guitars

Lauri Eerola: Bass

Ville Nissinen: Drums

Juuso Elminen: Keyboards

Domination Black have come a long way since their formation in 2003. After releasing their first two albums in 2005 and 2006 with their first line-up they already had started steering into a more melodic direction with their MCD ‘The Haunting‘ in 2008. In 2009, however, original vocalist Kari Killgast left the band. About half a year later, Domination Black found a new frontman in person of Matias Palm (Merging Flare, Heavy Metal Perse) and started recording their 3rd album ‘Dimension: Death‘ which was then released in 2012. It truly was a step into a new melodic sound and received raving reviews all over the place. Supporting the album, the band toured in Finland, Sweden, Romania and Russia. The year 2014 saw Domination Black releasing their new single ‘Master Of Deception‘ and visiting Estonia for the first time. Since then, there was a break for a couple of years until the band finally started demoing songs for their next full-length album. But this also meant that some changes needed to be made. Along came new drummer Ville Nissinen (formerly of ID: Exorcist) and guitarist Juuso Laitinen (Deathproof). The recordings were finally started in summer 2018 with the new energy. The group also played some gigs to introduce their new line-up to the audience.

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Pride & Joy Music is happy to announce the signing of French/ Swedish Metal group Season Of Dreams.

The group’s debut album ‘My Shelter‘ will be released on August 14th, 2020.

Track list:

1. Before The War

2. In The Rublle

3. We Are Soldiers

4. The Land Of Forgotten Dreams

5. Acid Pouring Rain

6. Monsters

7. My Shelter

8. Soldier Without Command

9. Angel Forever

10. United

11. Worlds Collide

12. Mr. Blacky

13. From Creation To Chaos

14. After The War

Season Of Dreams was founded by Jean-Michel Volz, the main composer in the band A Taste Of Freedom. He wanted to create a Heavy/Power band with Power Metal influences.

Volz was looking for a singer with powerful vocals and first asked his friend Pasi Humppi (FRETERNIA) but due to a busy schedule, Humppi was not able to provide the vocals and introduced Volz to Johannes Nyberg (ZONATA, vocals & keyboards).

A good chemistry was there from the beginning, and the duo started to write songs for their debut album ‘My Shelter‘. Nyberg’s brother John joined the project on some songs after listening to the first recordings. Four months later, the album was written, recorded, mixed and mastered. Jean-Michel Volz handled the music parts at the MindMirror Studios; the cover artwork was created by Stan W. Decker (RAGE, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, MASTERPLAN).

Vocals: Johannes Nyberg (Tracks 2-13)
Rhythm guitars: Jean-Michel Volz (Tracks 1-13)
Solo Guitars: Jean-Michel Volz (Track 9)
Solo Guitars: John-Nyberg (Tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,12)
Drums: Jean-Michel Volz (Tracks 1-13)
Bass: Jean-Michel Volz (Tracks 1-13)
Keys: Johannes Nyberg (on all tracks)
Keys: Jean-Michel Volz (Tracks 2-13)

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Review: Mike Tramp – Second Time Around

Target Records (May 1st 2020)

Reviewer: Grant Foster

I have to admit something. Mike and I have history. Back in his Freak of Nature days, I not only saw them many times, but also supported him in Basingstoke, of all places. I’d just had my second tattoo completed and Mike and I shot the breeze for quite a while with the main man before and after the show on tattoos and many other subjects too. I wasn’t a big fan of White Lion, I really liked Freak of Nature and after ‘Capricorn’, I kinda lost track of Mike until a couple of years back when I was quite rightly told to stop being such an arse and acquaint myself with his later solo work.

It’s fair to say, Mike will never escape his White Lion days – I’ve read interviews where he complains about having to sing way above his natural range – and he has to field constant reunion questions. Mike’s solo work on the other hand, is as honest as the day is long. He seems completely comfortable in his own skin now and has turned out a high quality body of work so far.

Second Time Around‘ is a re-imagining of Tramp’s 2009 album, ‘Mike Tramp & The Rock and Roll Circuz’, that was only released in Denmark. Now you may think – ‘Why?’ Mike himself has said that the originals are some of his favourite tunes and were never given a chance and he missed singing them live. The question is – does it work?

Co-produced by Mike and Soren Anderson, the songs actually come across as fresh and full of life, when they could have seemed to be stale. Mike’s vocal delivery through out is warm, convincing and within his rightful range. He certainly sounds stronger vocally than I ever remember him. The songs here cover a wide variety of feelings and moods.

From the opener ‘All My Life’ which is an autobiographical tale of life in a rock and roll band, to ‘The Road’, which is deeper and darker, then on to the melancholy feel of ‘Anymore’, which deals with breakup and love lost. ‘Come On’ rocks and bops along, ‘Between Good And Bad’ is a gritty rocker, ‘Highway’ is a sunny day in musical form and ‘Tomorrow‘ is a stomping rocker. The album concludes with ‘When She Cries.’ It’s a hugely touching ballad about the day Mike’s daughter was born.

Mike has proved once again he is an excellent vocalist and a story teller of some note. This release has to be up there with the finest of Mike’s solo work and even touches the highs of his White Lion and Freak of Nature days, as it really feels like a real band collaboration on the arrangements.

With the release of their single ‘Higher Ground’ earlier this spring, Reach was defining the start of a new musical era and let their listeners into the alluring, ghostlike and gritty world they create around their upcoming new album. Following their previous single they are now releasing ’The Law’, a song about the evil machinery of mankind. Nothing escapes the law and no one steps above it.

Giving a comment on the upcoming release Ludvig Turner, the singer, guitar player and songwriter of the band says:
The title of this song states the obvious subject. It’s fascinating and terrifying how we created these specific rules to streamline our behaviour towards authority and community. For the greater good? That’s the point, right? But for whose greater good? The Law is not about ”a law” but a song dedicated to the broken and corrupt states around the world. It calls to look up and see what kind of controlling systems and oppressive structures that govern us, without being written down in any book of law legally speaking, but rather is something fundamental that goes back thousands of years in human history. These are laws that are created by us, but do not belong to us and do not exist for our sake.

Releasing ‘The Law‘, Reach leads their listeners into an era of explosive intimacy with songs wrapped in a veil of mystery and playfulness telling stories about love, death and emotion in severe conflict with each other.

Talking about writing the song, Turner says: “I’m the escape, salvation, the mother of lies” was the first line that came to me. I was noodling in at home with my guitar and made this riff that just sounded evil and industrial. Sometimes I write music to a lyric or the other way around but this riff really helped me get these lyrics down.

Find out more…
Reach was founded in 2012 and is a power trio consisting of Ludvig Turner, Marcus Johansson and Soufian Ma´Aoui. During their eight years as a band, they have released albums praised by critics and met audiences from stages around Europe. Reach is defined by strong melodies and original song writing – they are keen to constantly be under development and chasing a sound that is exciting and unique.

The band members playfulness and mutual trust gives the trio freedom to offer explosive, intimate live shows with a lot of free improvisation. In February Reach gave a sold-out show at the Fryshuset, Stockholm with rock bands H.E.A.T and Crashdïet followed by a performance at Trädgårn, Gothenburg. In December, they embark on an extensive European tour together with H.E.A.T and supported by Deaf Rat. Out on the roads they bring an explosive repertoire full of new songs.

The Law‘ is released May 22 on Icons Creating Evil Art.

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Toby Jepson premieres lyric video for lead single ‘I Won’t Be With You‘ ahead of the re-issue of his debut album ‘Toby and the Whole Truth – Ignorance Is Bliss’ (25th Anniversary).

The song is a reflection of Toby’s mindset during a turbulent period after the split of his former band Little Angels following 1993’s number one album ‘Jam’ and a final sold out show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in 1994. “I’m not going to lie”, Jepson says, “it was a tough time immediately after LA split up. I channelled my anger, confusion and sadness into writing and recording what I now realise is my darkest work to date. ‘I Won’t Be With You’ is perhaps the clearest example of this. I winced a little when I heard it again for the first time in a few years, it put me right back in that period, but it made me realise how far I’d come and as piece of history it’s about as raw and honest as I’ve ever been.

Back in 1995 Toby engineered the entire ‘Ignorance Is Bliss‘ album himself despite never doing so before – yet, out need came invention. Friend and colleague, Bryan Adams, gave Toby the use of his Canadian home studio – the ‘warehouse’ situated in his private residence in West Vancouver B – for free, to mix the album which was completed in two weeks by British super producer and mix engineer Stephen Harris assisted by Mike Plotnikoff.

Fast forward to May 2020 and in the midst of the world’s biggest modern day pandemic, this little known gem is set to emerge again, on Toby’s own record label ‘Jepsongs Recordings‘, with a fresh coat of paint, including two previously unreleased bonus tracks as well as a full restoration remaster by Simon Francis.  Released in a ‘song book’ format containing 36 pages of production notes, hand drawn illustrations (by Toby’ s youngest daughter Evelyn), lyrics, song explanations and a forward introduction by writer, journalist, long-time friend and confident David Gailbraith (Kerrang! Magazine) this release is set to re-establish this long-lost opus as a curious bookend to the career of one of rock’s most enduring, yet largely underground artists.

Since announcing the release of the special edition of ‘Ignorance Is Bliss‘, Toby has launched a new podcast. Taking its title from the debut solo record, the ‘Toby and The Whole Truth‘ podcast series seeks to uncover the reality of what it means to live and work as a successful person in the real entertainment business. Launched as lockdown took place in March, Toby has released introspective interviews with Ricky Warwick (Black Star Riders/Thin Lizzy/The Almighty) and Saxon frontman, Biff Byford. Each episode reflects on successes, failures, mental health battles, dreams verses reality, relationship struggles, excess, boredom and the mediocrity of a world hidden from view are all tackled in this compelling series. Toby’s next guest will be his fellow Planet Rock DJ, Wyatt Wendels.

The shift in mood of experiences 25 years ago compared to now isn’t lost on Toby, “If the lockdown has proved one thing to me – with regard to how to move forward in what is now an unknown, unprecedented situation in the music business – it’s about engaging directly with those that really care; the fans, the loyal long term appreciators, the modest music lover who has always been there for me. I see the ‘Toby and the Whole Truth’ Podcast and Patreon as a way of bringing together a community of like-minded folk to enjoy a simple love of music and the arts. For so long far too much time has been spent ‘selling’ and not enough ‘giving back’ so that’s where my focus is: throw my creative arms around my friends and audience and give them something of real value”, enthuses Toby.

Listen to the podcast: https://tobyjepsonofficial.com/tobyandthewholetruthpodcast/ 

Be notified about Patreon launch: https://tobyjepsonofficial.com/patreon/ 

The podcast series and re-issue of ‘Ignorance Is Bliss‘ follows a hugely successful period for Toby’s current rock band, Wayward Sons, following the release of their second album ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’, and a month long UK/European Tour earlier this year as special guests to Steel Panther just before the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the planet.

Since entering the Lockdown, Toby has adjusted to life indoors and been entertaining audiences worldwide with a series of weekly livestream acoustic gigs covering all aspects of his musical career, including ‘Ignorance Is Bliss‘, as well as weekly acoustic video cover of tracks by his heroes, including Dio (Jepson a former member of Dio’s Disciples), Queen, The Who, ELO, and many more.

Toby and the Whole TruthIgnorance Is Bliss’ (25th Anniversary Re-Mastered) is released 17th July 2020 and available to pre-order now: https://tobyjepson.bigcartel.com/

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