Category Archives: Review

Review – Midnite City – Midnite City

Review: Midnite City – Midnite City

AOR Heaven (Oct 20th 2017)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy 

While continuing as frontman of Welsh Legends Tigertailz, and with Teenage Casket Company off the horizon, Rob Wylde decided to put together a new Melodic Rock project, falling under the moniker of Midnite City and bringing together some excellent musicians including none other than Pete Newdeck (Drums as well as handling production duties).

This self-titled debut is a collection of eleven classy Melodic Rock tracks with that classic vibe, and often when bands attempt to do this it comes off as just a copycat type of thing, and it often doesn’t work, but this album sounds just right and fresh straight off the bat.

The first thing you notice right the way through is probably the clarity, from the laden keyboards, the very solid guitar, the tightly knitted rhythm section and the power of Rob’s vocals, they don’t sound like disparate elements at all, and there’s a terrific flow to this album, without making everything sound the same. There are songs here that will be crowd pleasers live, even on first listen the closing track ‘Think About You‘ had that big sound in the chorus and you could almost hear people singing along already and it’s not alone, you get the impression that this album was created with crowd interaction somewhere in the mind of the band.

The songs are like melodic rock velvet, not in any way sickly sweet, but just damn smooth. The standouts are probably the first single ‘Summer Of Our Lives‘, ‘Nothing’s Like Losing You‘ and ‘Last Beat Of My Heart‘ which provide a ridiculously good triple threat, having lived with this album for a while now there are certain tracks that I just keep coming back to and these along with the closing track “Think About You” are striking me the most, but it us just a damn strong album, great work from Rob and Pete in particular, but everyone plays their part in creating a terrific album.

Something else that Pete Newdeck adds to any band he’s been involved with is superb backing vocals, that distinctive voice just lifts something especially on tracks like ‘Things She Said‘ which oddly enough to me has a feel of classic Harem Scarem about it to begin with, and of course that is no bad thing, but this album is no homage it’s strength lies in what is done well and that’s the sound and the delivery. When the lists of Top Melodic Rock albums for 2017 are drawn up there’s no doubt that this one is going to be getting a number of votes, a new name on the scene and hopefully one that will be around for a long time, this album is being released on 20th October with a launch show in Nottingham right before the Rockingham Festival, can’t wait to hear these songs live.

 

 


Review: Jorn – Life on Death Road

Review: Jorn – Life on Death Road

Frontiers Music Srl (June 2017)

Reviewer – David Mark Pearce

Here, at long last – the new album by Whitesnake! No, wait, I meant Dio. Sorry – Black Sabbath!

Life on Death Road‘ is Jorn’s first, all original, album since the mighty ‘Swing of Death‘ (with Trond Holter), but, when you listen to this stunning new album, you could be fooled at times into thinking it was by any one of those bands! Some may think I’m being a tad detrimental to the fine work on display here, but nothing could be further from the truth!

If ever there was an artist who’s not ashamed to wear his influences on his sleeve and pretty much sing from the same hymn sheet, it’s Jorn! I refer back to the three bands I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Whitesnake, Dio and Black Sabbath (Dio fronted, of course) are surely up there as having, over the last fifty years, shaped Rock & Metal into what we know today – which I’m paraphrasing from something Jorn has said.

So, don’t be surprised that this album is very much in the vein of those bands in particular. Even the guitarist went to great lengths to try his best to be, uh, “influenced” by Mr John Sykes. Not that that’s a bad thing, as I see no sign of his new album on the horizon any time soon.

My only criticism of this album and the whole influence thing, is the song ‘Devil You Can Drive‘, which is pretty much Whitesnake’s ‘Slip of the Tongue’, just with different lyrics. Aside from that, I love this album.

It’s not a follow up, or continuation, of ‘Swing of Death‘ (which I was hoping for as it’s one of my favourite albums), but a great album none the less that stands up on its own.

I hear another album is in the works and trust me when I say I already have suitable finances put aside for when it comes out


Review: American Mafia – Made In New York

Review: American Mafia – Made In New York

Lions Pride (September 25th 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

As regular readers of my ramblings know only too well, I’ve impatiently awaited the arrival of ‘Made in New York‘ since it was first announced.

I was one of the people who took part in the band’s Pledge campaign, ending up with a rather splendid t-shirt indeed. American Mafia are a band I was instantly attracted too after hearing the samples from their first album ‘Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine‘, and have played that particular release to death! Well I was certainly hoping for more of the same when it came to this five track EP.

Unlike the aforementioned album, all the vocals on ‘Made in New York‘ are handled by Don Chaffin, who’s vocal style is certainly my taste, don’t like the vocalist, don’t like the music…simples!

The simple fact is if you like ‘Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine‘ then you’ll like ‘Made in New York‘, it’s a perfect follow on from the band.

To still have bands following that hard rock path with no added fluff and nonsense is an absolute blessing, the old ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ saying is a perfect example of what the EP brings to the table.

All I can say more is roll on another full album from the band. I for one already have my wallet open and ready!


Review: Heaven & Earth – Hard To Kill

Review: Heaven & Earth – Hard To Kill

Quarto Valley Records (October 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Heaven & Earth are back with a brand new studio album, ‘Hard To Kill‘, four years after the release of the superb ‘Dig‘. Due to the sheer quality of ‘Dig‘, the band had set themselves rather a momentous task to better it.

So the question is have they managed it? Well the short and simple Fluff Freeman answer is “not arf”. Yes it’s a classic rock album, but it’s still like a breath of fresh air in a market stagnated with projects.

The level of musicianship on this album is sublime, this is a tight, coherent band showing you exactly what years of experience and skill can achieve. Some albums just have that ability to grab you by the scruff of the neck and make you take notice.

Yes the album is full of influences, show me an album that isn’t. The influences my lug holes can pick out are ones that are from favorites of mine. Be it the Whitesnake in the title track ‘Hard To Kill‘ or the heaps of Uriah Heep evident in ‘Till It’s Over‘, they just make me like the album even more!

While there are stand out tracks like ‘The Game Has Changed‘, which is an absolute delight of a foot stomper and ‘LA Blues‘, which certainly wouldn’t be out of place on any blues rock release currently out there, there really isn’t a single filler on this album.

If you dug ‘Dig‘ then you will absolutely love ‘Hard To Kill‘. If your a fan of no frills, honest , down to earth hard rock, then this really needs to be on your shopping list.


Review: H.E.A.T – Into The Great Unknown

Review: H.E.A.T – Into The Great Unknown

Ear Music (Sept 22nd 2017)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy 

Swedish Melodic Rockers H.E.A.T have been gaining a huge amount of traction in recent years, with some terrific album releases, a headlining appearance on the opening night of the final Firefest Festival and just a growing reputation as one of the best live acts on the scene. But late last year the announcement was made that Eric Rivers (Guitarist and major force in the band) was leaving which brought a raft of questions with it, this was closely followed by the news that Dave Dalone (Guitar) was to rejoin the band as his replacement. So interesting times ahead and a lot of interest in the direction that the new album was going to take.

Into The Great Unknown‘ features ten tracks, that may sound a bit different to what the band has done before. That of course doesn’t mean there aren’t great songs on here, it’s so very difficult to look past a song like ‘Eye Of The Storm‘ which really is a killer, perhaps showing off some more of Erik’s vocal talents than the more poppy songs. There is a bit of an epic feel to it, building and soaring while at the same time having more mellow moments.  Or take ‘Redefined‘ which to me sounds like it would fit brilliantly to the soundtrack of a movie like The Karate Kid or those of a similar ilk, that sounds a little flippant perhaps but not meant as a slight in any way it’s the intro and feel that just bring me back to that 80’s sound, but the more you listen to this one the more you get from it.

Tracks like ‘Best Of The Broken‘ and ‘Blind Lead The Blind‘ are H.E.A.T through and through and on the other end of the spectrum you have the lead track form the album, ‘Time On Our Side‘ which without any doubt has split a lot of opinion since it was unleashed on the world a little over a month ago, not all of that has been positive either, but for me anyway the more I’ve listened to it the more it’s grown on me, perhaps not the strongest track on show here but interesting and a very different approach.

H.E.A.T are no different to any band, sounds can change as they experiment with different styles and develop, if you look at this bands history there are places where this has occurred, generally with changes to band personnel. The first two albums sound very different to anything with Erik singing, and ‘Tear Down The Walls‘ was a large progression from ‘Address The Nation‘, so we shouldn’t be too surprised in the fact that this new album sounds different again. Not as immediate, perhaps it’s the general flow of the tracks that is different, or the energy.

Musically the band sound great, Dave has fitted back in really well, Crash, Jona and Jimmy are as solid as ever and great backing vocals, Erik vocally continues to smash it, the aggression is still there, ‘Bastard Of Society‘ and ‘Shit City‘, and there’s a still a lot of power in places, this is a really good album, but not 100% convinced everything works together, the band should be applauded for continually exploring new avenues, looking to advance their sound and develop, and this album is still growing on me, but there are also bumps in the road. No doubt there are some new monsters here to be add live, and the next release will be very interesting.


Review: Moritz – About Time Too

Review: Moritz – About Time Too

Shadows Of A Dream (August 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I’m sure there were several possibilities when it came to the album title, but somehow this one seems rather fitting! Four years after the release of ‘S.O.S.‘ comes ‘About Time Too‘, the new album from British AOR band Moritz.

Well they say patience is a virtue, but having already heard some of the new material both as sound files and also live when the band patiently played both Fibrofest’s for yours truly, I was hankering to hear the whole kit and kaboodle!

Next came the problem of writing an unbiased and subjective review of the album…..but hey, not being someone to balk at a challenge here goes.

If your a fan of the band and familiar with their previous releases then ‘About Time Too‘ is not really going to spring any surprises for you. For those of you unfamiliar, what you get is an album that follows in the rich tradition of British AOR. Great song writing, great melodies, and an overall superior musicianship, all the components that fans of the genre look for.

Some of the tracks feel almost like old friends as I’ve played them quite a few times over the last year. ‘Moon And Back‘ & ‘Chance Of A Lifetime‘ are to me classic Moritz tracks.

From the keyboard soaked intro of ‘Love Long Gone‘, the R&B meets rock ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is‘ and the near seven minute closing track ‘There’s Something About / Unwanted Man‘, this is everything you want in an AOR release.

So the question that this raises, if you like AOR and haven’t ordered it, why the hell not?

 

 

 


Review – ColdSpell – A New World Arise

Review: ColdSpell – A New World Arise

Escape Music (Sept 22nd 2017)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy 

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Sweden’s ColdSpell, the last studio album ‘Frozen Paradise‘ was released in 2013, so four years on we welcome a new batch of Melodic Rock songs for our listening pleasure with ‘A New World Arise. This time around there are 12 tracks, each with their own character built in.

There is a maturity to these compositions, these are songs with substance and depth not just thrown together randomly, there is a hint of Progressive Metal at times, guitar work is excellent as always with this band, lots of intricate work from Michael fitting in perfectly with the other components on show. And no shortage of sharp spiralling solos, check out “Call Of The Wild”, on show as well.

The music and vocals are both as strong as ever from a very tightly knit unit that deserve to be heard by a wider audience, ColdSpell are one of those bands that rarely put a foot wrong but have yet to get the success they perhaps have deserved, hopefully this new album will go some way to remedying that.

This album starts off so strongly with three powerhouse tracks, ‘Forevermore‘, ‘Call Of The Wild‘ which is the debut video from the album, and the excellent ‘It Hurts‘. To be honest the rest of the songs follow on in the same vein, powerful, melodic and full of sustained high quality. Certainly not an album with fillers, a lot of hard work has clearly gone in here to ensure that the end product contains both variety and passion.

Pera (Drums) and Chris (Bass) are a formidable pairing, providing the backdrop for everything that’s on top of it. Just terrific work all around and what’s great is that after living with the album for a while, favourite tracks are not set in stone, it can range from almost ballad ‘Signs‘ to the very rocky ‘Forevermore‘ with sweeping guitar and that solid riff and drumming driving it along. Another day could easily bring up ‘It Hurts‘ which is brim full of emotion. The additional keyboards from special guests Jona Tee (H.E.A.T.) and Ged Rylands (Tyketto/Rage Of Angels) add that little extra dimension to some tracks.

If ColdSpell have not been on your radar until now, adjust your settings and sort that out, this is another terrific album from a band that really deserves huge success, excellent musicians that create top class music, this is for me one of the best Melodic Rock/Metal releases of 2017, dig into it and allow it to seep through your pores, well worth the time investment.

This is polished without losing the edge, clean without becoming in any way sterile, what a cracking job all around.

 


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