Tag Archives: Dan Mann

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: 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: Black Bambi – Black Bambi

Review: Black Bambi – Black Bambi

20th Century Music (August 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Black Bambi, one of the multitude of bands that never ‘made it’ back in those heady days of the late 80’s and early 90’s. With legendary producer Beau Hill at the helm and with the backing of Atlantic Records everything was lined up for success right?  Wrong! Black Bambi was unfortunately one of those bands that came so close. Now with new re-issues label 20th Century Music about to finally release the album to the masses we can at last hear what all the hype was about.

As expected given the original recorded date, you get a strong dose of hard rock, but with that almost bluesy groove that some bands managed to inject, something that is certainly to my own personal tastes and it’s something that I think helps the album stand out a little more than other releases from that time period.

If there’s one big similarity for me sound wise,  it’s with sorely missed Scandi rockers Aces High with hints of Royal Court Of China. And those are similarities that I’m certainly happy to hear.

Beau Hill’s production across the twelve tracks of this self titled album shines through, with a tight bass line and a spaciousness to the sound with no muddying of vocals and guitar.

Stand out tracks for me – ‘Celebration‘, ‘Shadows‘ and ‘Soul Of A Child‘. Mind you there isn’t a bad track on the album.

Highly recommended.

Review: Devilfire – Dark Manoeuvres

Review: Devilfire – Dark Manoeuvres

Escape The Fire Records (October 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

In a musical landscape of what has lately been relatively boring releases (with some notable exceptions), there are still gems that reach out and grab you. Such a gem is Devilfire‘s ‘Dark Manoeuvres‘. Having had my interest triggered by the video for ‘Waiting For A Rockstar‘, I was looking forward to hearing the rest of the album.

This is certainly a jam packed album with thirteen tracks, kicking off with ‘Ready For War‘, quite a laid back feel but with plenty going on in the background, the instruments and vocals are not fighting or jockeying for position.

Don’t think for one minute that this is a laid back album though. Track two ‘She’s Like Fire‘ picks up the pace without jeopardizing the vocals, the sort of track that calls for the car stereo to be cranked, windows open, ‘educating’ your fellow traveler!

(In And Out Of Love) All Of The Time‘ while having a solid rock rhythm, it leans much more towards the blues end of the spectrum with some lovely guitar injections and a more soulful vocal.

Next up is that track that triggered my interest, namely ‘Waiting For A Rockstar‘. Talk about a catchy tune, another volume cranker for sure! Perfect single choice.

With ‘Lay It On The Line‘ your once again shown what an accomplished vocalist Alex Cooper is. Yes I’ve said it a 1000 times (now 1001) that if I don’t like the vocals regardless of the music then the album is lost to me. It is certainly a catchy tune to boot.

Kill Your Love‘ is leaning more towards melodic hard rock which shows the band’s diversity, it’s almost like Vega with a harder edge and a potential single.

Tear Me Apart‘ is a ballad, and before some of you moan, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With a great late 80’s style guitar break and punctuated with piano it does the job well.

God Give Me Vengeance‘ has elements of angst, an emotional track delivered with real feeling. A track that highlights the bands ability to bring everything to the fore. ‘Devil In Your Eyes‘, one criticism, it’s too short. Just as the band are building up a head of steam for what should be an all out audio assault it ends!

(You Gotta) Revolution‘ starts off with a great guitar intro, reminiscent of Reason, a memorable, punchy chorus underlined by the hard working rhythm section.

The same feel can also be found on the next two tracks. ‘She’s Always On The Run‘, love the vocal twists and turns, leading again to a memorable track. The intro to ‘A Thousand Times‘ again is so like a Reason track, this underlying similarity at times is certainly one of the reasons I’m enjoying this album.

And so the final track arrives. ‘Somehow‘, an acoustic track that draws you in and yet again shows the diversity of this band.

This album has had numerous plays at home, in the car and at work. A potential contender for my albums of the year list. Well worth checking out.





Review: Charlie Bonnet III – Sinner With A Song

Review: Charlie Bonnet III – Sinner With A Song

Charlie Bonnet III / Cb3 Music 2017

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Okay I’ll hold my hands up and say I wasn’t aware of Charlie Bonnet III (sorry Charlie), but I initially received a PR release about a collaboration with none other than Tracii Guns.

I was intrigued as to how this would sound, as it wasn’t something that to me was an obvious partnership music wise.

Well having received a copy of the EP from Charlie, all I can say is what a pleasant surprise. This is Southern Rock yes, but with a sleazy slant to it.

Yes there are elements of the EP that have a strong Steve Earle / Lynyrd Skynyrd feel to them, but hey that’s kind of to be expected when it comes to anything Southern Rock.

With  strong melodies and insightful writing it’s a real pleasure to listen to.

For me personally, the two stand out tracks, of the six that are on the EP,  are ‘Restless And Reckless‘ & ‘Heading Home‘.

It would certainly be good to hear a full album’s worth of this material. For Southern Rock fans, it’s certainly worth checking out.


Review: Greta Van Fleet – Black Smoke Rising

Review: Greta Van Fleet – Black Smoke Rising

Virgin EMI 2017

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Greta Van Fleet are a band who are certainly making themselves known. I first became aware of them after their video for ‘Highway Tune‘, the first track on the EP, popped up on my YouTube feed. I was amazed to find the band actually formed back in 2012. The amazement kind of turns to annoyance, not in a negative way, but to find out how young they all are, with this amount of talent it’s just sickening haha!

Oh course the first thing that hit’s the listener is the huge comparison between vocalist Josh Kiszka and a certain Robert Plant CBE. It is ridiculous how much they sound the same, what a fabulous voice. Accompanying Josh are his two brothers, Sam (bass guitar) & Jake (lead guitar) and their friend Danny Wagner (drums). These four guys deliver a polished, professional slab of 70’s rock mingled with elements of modern, and absolutely loaded with Led Zeppelin influences.

Yes this influence and the vocal similarity may be held against them by certain quarters, but we need to look past that and applaud them for traveling down the rock route rather than some reality TV pop combo!

Black Smoke Rising‘ is available to download for a mere £2.09! If ever there was a bargain to be had, this is it. Grab yourselves a copy and crank it up….


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