Review: Michael Bormann’s Jaded Hard – Feels Like Yesterday

RMB Records (October 25th 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

To be honest, this could easily be a really short review being such a fan of this band’s vocalist. There are vocalists I like that I always grab the releases ofwhatever band / project they sing on. One such vocalist is Michael Bormann.

Unbelievably it’s been almost fourteen years since Michael’s departure from Jaded Heart. Since his announcement of the formation of Jaded Hard around two years ago, I’ve been keeping a beedy eye on their plans. Jaded Hard have up to now been playing live dates in Europe. But now they’ve taken the plunge and are releasing an album, ‘Feels Like Yesterday‘, containing twelve brand new songs.

Put it simply, this is like an early Christmas present for all Bormann fans. This is like re-visiting those classic Bormann fronted Jaded Heart albums, albums I absolutly love!

With albums you’re instantly taken with, it’s damn hard to pick favorite or stand out tracks. However, for me personally ‘Won’t Surrender‘, ‘We’d Still Make It‘, the Tyketto sounding ‘Bring Me Higher Love‘, the Y&T esk ‘Good Times‘ and ‘It Feels Like Yesterday‘ fit the bill.

To be fair, in my humble opinion, there isn’t a bad/weak track on the album, I’ve already played it multiple times and have it pencilled in as another likely contender for my top ten list for the year.

If your a Michael Bormann fan then this is a must buy. Likewise if your a melodic hard rock fan, add it to your ‘to buy’ list forthwith!

 

Review: Jack J Hutchinson – Who Feeds The Wolf

Jack J Hutchinson Music (October 18th 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

The man with the hat, Jack J Hutchinson, is back with a brand new 11 track album titled ‘Who Feeds The Wolf‘.

From the offset it is pretty obvious that Jack is not sticking to the overly ridged rules of what constitutes blues / blues rock. This is an album of som much more, a mixture of influences showing their face.

Justify‘ the opening track is as Jack says himself about the album, angry, a take no prisoners song if you like, grabbing you by the lapels and saying “listen to this”.

Second track ‘Haunted Bones‘ has a fantastic heavy riff chugging through the song, a multi genre track that will appeal to blues rock & rock fans alike.

The third track ‘Kiss Your Ass Goodbye‘ is much more on that southern infused blues that Jack is more known for. What I refer to as a Jim Beam sipping song!

I Will Follow You‘ slows things right down with a beautifully balanced  accoustic number.

Lucky Man‘ sounds a lot like Rival Sons, not a bad thing in my book, and it’s I think always great to have a real mixture of styles on an album to keep the listener on their toes rather than everything melting into one track.

Track six, ‘Peace Of Mind‘ as another laid back track, again beautifully layered that grows into a real foot tapper.

Roll Another One‘ sits perfectly with the current crop of British band’s releases and should certainly help gain more fans, especially with ‘Haunted Bones‘ paving the way on Planet Rock’s playlist.

We take another fork in the road with ‘Let It Ride‘, with it’s Americana slant. Not AOR but certainly that side of the rock genre.

Autumn Leaves‘ is without a doubt one of my favorites on the album. Laid back, yes, but with such a great atmosphere. I can’t put my finger on exactly why this song resonates but it hits me on a personal level, bringing up certain memories and events.

Winds Of Change‘ is not to be confused with the Scorpions hit. With it’s waves of Hammond organ it’s suprisingly more mellow rock than blues, but an enjoyable, catchy tune.

And alas we reach the final track on the album. ‘Sleep Awake Obey‘. AIt’s a track as the title suggests with some angst as well as some of the urgency of the openning two tracks.

Overal ‘Who Feeds The Wolf‘ just works on many levels. I’ve found myself playing it a fair bit since the promo dropped into my inbox. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing the material live at Planet Rockstock later in the year.

All in all, highly recommended.

 

Review: Wicked Stone – Devil In Me (EP)

Factory Music (September 13th 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Okay let’s start by placing my cards on the table. Wicked Stone, yes I’m a fan!

I first saw them supporting RavenEye at Leo’s Red Lion and when I was booking bands to play the second Fibrofest, Wicked Stone instantly came to mind as a band we needed back at Leo’s.

It’s been a bit of a wait for new material since the band’s release of ‘Ain’t No Rest‘ in 2017, but with everyone working and with other commitments it’s more than understandable.

So, was it worth the wait, a wait that seems longer being an inpatient fan?

Two words……….damn right!

One thing I like about Wicked Stone‘s releases is they capture the full on intensity of the band’s live shows. Fat riffs and a pounding bass & drumline help propel the tracks deep inside your earlugs.

From the opening onslaught of ‘Couldn’t Take Anymore‘ to the last track on the EP, ‘Devil In Me‘ you don’t catch a breather, the infectious, foot stomping assault gives no quarter.

This is a ‘no brainer’, add ‘Devil In Me‘ to your music collection.

After receiving the promo came news of line up change. I hope the band manage to get onto that illusive next rung and get the attention they justly deserve.

 

Review: Collateral – The Black Heart, Camden, Feb 7th 2019

Reviewer / photographer – Dan Mann

The last twelve months has seen Collateral get a foot in the door to the next level of rock stardom.

Their appearance last night at The Black Heart, Camden certainly kicked off 2019 in style, introduced onstage by Planet Rock‘s Paul Anthony, the band launched into a set of original material in front of an enthusiastic sell out crowd who happily sang along to every song.

This was a showcase of how a hungry young rock band should perform, their enjoyment and enthusiasm clearly showing, as they stormed through their set, ending on their current single ‘Midnight Queen‘, a song that’s undergone a new mix by Romesh Dodangoda  and is currently on Planet Rock’s playlist.

If you’ve not yet seen Collateral play, then grab the chance now before they’re playing arenas!!

Set List:

1 – Calm Before The Storm

2 – When Faith Breaks

3 – You Were the Only One

4 – Going With The Wind *

5 – Coming Home

6 – Move On

7 – Just Waiting For You *

8 – Promise Land **

9 – Merry Go Round **

10 – Lullaby Encore **

11- Midnight Queen * + **

*Denotes songs from ‘4 Shots! EP‘ **Denotes songs from forthcoming debut album

all images copy-write© RPR Media UK

 

Review: Gathering Of Kings – First Mission

RN Records (January 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Here we have another album I’ve been eagerly awaiting having bought four of the tracks from Amazon last year, so I had a pretty good understanding of what the album was going to be like.

First Mission‘ is a smörgåsbord of an album, combining a wealth of talent from other Scandi rock bands eg. Masterplan, Therion, The Night Flight Orchestra, Soilwork, Saffire, Pretty Maids, Spiritual Beggars, Corroded, Streamline etc. The end results are a melodic rock fans wet dream. Imagine someone sitting down to record the ultimate Scandi rock sampler, yes it’s that good!

They haven’t shurked on the number of tracks either, giving us twelve in total. And to pick a favorite? It would be easier to squeeze myself through a catflap, but if forced to pick the highlights as it were I’d have to go for ‘Forever and a Day‘, ‘Out of My Life‘ & ‘Saviour‘.

If you are a fan of melodic hard rock and Scandi rock then this really is a no brainer, purchase wise.

Get yourselves a copy and give it the beans!

Review: Gin Annie – 100% Proof

Off Yer Rocka Recordings (Jan 25th 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

For those of you unfamiliar with Gin Annie, they’re a five piece melodic hard rock band, hailing from the West Midlands, Wolverhampton to be exact, which is part of an area (the Black Country) steeped in rock history!

Gin Annie are part of a strong, and still growing line of of British bands who are collectively being grouped under the moniker ‘New Wave Of Classic Rock‘.

Well here we have the band’s debut album, ‘100% Proof‘ supplying us ten tracks of guitar driven rock that is sure to get your foot or feet tapping / stomping.

All the ingredients are here, the riffs, the pounding drums, great vocals, and of course none of those would mean anything without great songs.

From the start of the first track ‘Love Ain’t Here‘ the stage is set  for what’s to follow. Catchy? Damn right it is..

The album meanders between the out and out hard rock of ‘Damage Is Done‘ and ‘All I Want‘ to the more melodic ‘Chains‘ and the rather excellent ‘Haunt Me

I love the riff throughout ‘Fallin’‘, classic air guitar moment!

The album wraps up with the gritty ‘Born To Rock And Roll‘ which is full of that bourbon soaked atmosphere that such a titled song should contain.

It’s so satisfying to have yet another band furiously waving the flag for British rock and delivering such a strong debut.

Add this on your ‘to buy’ list.

 

After much agonising, as is the custom every year, we present the first of the Top Ten Albums Of 2018. Here, in no particular order, are Dan Mann‘s choices.

Palace of The King – Get Right With Your Maker

Wonderworld – III

Ghost – Prequelle

Roxanne – Radio Silence

Voodoo Circle – Raised On Rock

Buck & Evans – Write A Better Day

Redfern Hutchinson & Ross – Mahogany Drift

REƎCE – Resilient Heart

DeWolff – Thrust

Merryweather Stark – Carved In Rock

 

Review: Collateral EP Launch – Leo’s The Red Lion Nov 24th 2018

Reviewer: Dan Mann

This was Collateral‘s third visit to the legendary Leo’s The Red Lion venue, having first rocked the stage opening for last year’s Fibrofest and again as openers for Bad Touch as part of Rock The Red Lion earlier this year.

However, this time they were the headliners, for this was the launch of the band’s EP ‘4 Shots!‘ (review here).

Before Collateral we had the support of two bands. Openers Twisted Illusion had travelled all the way from Manchester for their short set.

A band I was not familiar with, but I’ve got to say what a great performance, with helpings of Rush, linked with traditional hard rock and the vocal pipes of front man Matt Jones hitting some pretty high notes.

They had a great reaction from the crowd, in fact I had to join a long queue to purchase a CD, of which they swiftly sold out. Always a good indication of how well a band is received!

Next up a band I know a lot of people were looking forward to seeing, Dead Man’s Whiskey.

Unfortunately vocalist Nico Rogers didn’t endear himself to the crowd with an expletive riddled introduction, and the band took some time to get the crowd back on side.

Once back onside the crowd soon started rocking along with the band, helped enormously by lead guitarist Billy Kons who was the ‘star’ of the band’s performance.

Personally I preferred the openers, but maybe I was seeing Dead Man’s Whiskey on the wrong occasion and will need to see them again.

And so onto the main course.

With an audiovisual intro, beamed onto a screen behind the band, that really helped set the scene, the band exploded into action! Yes I’m absolutely biased when it comes to Collateral, a band I’m delighted to see now get the praise and exposure they justly deserve. While the crowd were mainly Collateral affectionados, the band certainly soon made the remainder fans too.

We were treated to a mixture of tracks, some from the band’s previous incarnation as The Angelo Tristan Band, some covers including their great renditions of Neil Young’s ‘Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World‘ and Bon Jovi’s ‘You Give Love A Bad Name‘.

The biggest reaction from the crowd was for the single ‘Midnight Queen‘, with some enthusiastic singing along, mind you the crowd sang along with virtually every song the band played!

Guitarist Todd Winger is certainly an axeman to watch out for, a rising star I have no doubt. Drummer Ben Atkinson and bassist Jack Bently Smith creating a formidable ‘engine room’ and in Angelo Tristan, a true front man.

All in all a very successful and enjoyable evening was had by all. Onward & upwards!

Full photo set available here

All photos copy write© and cannot be altered or amended.

Review: Collateral – 4 Shots! EP

Roulette Media Records (Nov 23rd 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I first came across Collateral a while back, forgot I’d liked them on Facebook (I know!) and re-discovered them just in time for them to be the opening act for last year’s Fibrofest. What I’ve witnessed in the time since is a band that has grown from strength to strength. After going through several band member changes, the band have now found an even more impressive footing during their live performances, but also when it comes to their recorded material.

The first song ‘Going with The Wind‘ I’d already listened to plenty of times when Collateral were original called the Angelo Tristan Band. Listening to it on this EP is almost re-discovering it. The production lifts it in terms of depth and soundscape.

Track two, ‘Midnight Queen‘ was the band’s first single, which has already helped garner the band new fans and shows them at a more commercial angle. A very catchy tune indeed.

Angels Crying‘ is another track I know from their previous incarnation and perfectly demonstrates what a fantastic voice Angelo Tristan has. Superb stuff.

And unfortunately we reach the forth and final track. ‘Just Waiting For You‘, again a track I’m already familiar with, shows a maturity of songwriting and is now given that final polish that will help propel the band onward.

Which leaves me with two thoughts….why aren’t Angelo and the boys already household names? And how will I last until next year’s full album?

Collateral will break through I have no doubt. If you don’t believe me then listen to this here EP and catch them live at your earliest opportunity.

 

 

Review: Roxanne – Radio Silence

Rat Pak Records (October 26th 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

We’ve only had to wait 30 years for the release of ‘Radio Silence‘, Roxanne‘s sophomore album. Was it worth the wait you ask? Before I get to that let’s just delve back in time. Roxanne released their self titled album back in 1988, which is when I first stumbled across the band and have loved that album ever since.

Imagine my surprise when Rat Pak Records announced a follow up album. I certainly wasn’t the only person who wanted to know more and was eager to hear whether the band still had that ‘something’ that first drew us to become fans.

Well folks, the good news is……….you ain’t going to be disappointed!

What those Roxanne fellas have managed to do is record an album that is a natural follow up to the debut without sounding dated. Now that’s certainly not an easy feat.

From the first few bars of ‘Someone To Kill‘ it’s obvious that ‘Radio Silence‘ is going to be a bit of a corker. All the elements are there, vocalist Jamie Brown‘s voice is still bang on the money, the band sounding tight as hell and your hand quickly reaches for the volume to crank it up!

From the slightly funked up ‘Super Bad‘ to the laid back ‘Broken Chandeliers‘ the album keeps on delivering. I absolutely love ‘Go Fuck Yourself‘, with it’s catchy chorus and riffs.

I must mention the cover version included in the album’s eleven tracks. On the debut we were treated to the superb cover of Wild Cherry‘s ‘Play That Funky Music‘. On ‘Radio Silence‘ we have a great cover version of The Scream‘s ‘Man In The Moon‘, a track I’ve always l liked and Roxanne‘s version isn’t a disappointment.

If you liked Roxanne‘s debut album then you will absolutely love ‘Radio Silence‘. How much do I like it personally? Well it’s certainly a contender for my Top 10 of 2018 list, that’s how much!