Our next ‘willing’ volunteer to share their Top Ten Albums Of 2018 is reviewer David Mark Pearce. So here, in no particular order, are his choices.

The Dead Daisies – Burn It Down

Red Dragon Cartel – Patina

WET – Earthrage

Sunstorm – The Road To Hell

Joe Satriani – What Happens Next

Ammunition – Ammunition

Perfect Plan – All Rise

Gioeli/Castronovo – Set The World On Fire

Ted Poley – Modern Art

Peacemaker – Concrete & Terror

Review: The Dead Daisies – Burn It Down

Spitfire Music (April 2018)

Reviewer: David Mark Pearce

Okay, let’s bake a cake – a “Rock” cake, of course! Let’s see …… as it’s a “Rock” Cake we’ll need some very specific ingredients: a dash of Kiss; a couple of teaspoons of Grand Funk Railroad; some Black Sabbath; a pinch of Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Whitesnake and Motley Crüe, then blend with some Jack Daniels. When the mix is ready, place in the rock ‘n’ roll oven for the last fifty odd years and ta daaaaa – you have yourself the new Dead Daisies album.

It’s now ready to serve so here goes but, wait, it’s so hot when it comes out of the oven that your house goes up in flames. Yes, the tenuous link has arrived, the band did indeed ‘Burn It Down‘ lol. We got there in the end! In a roundabout way, what I’m saying is that this is a band which truly wears every single one of its’ influences on its’ sleeve and when it comes to solo sections in a live setting, they play them in place of just the normal solos one might expect to hear.

I think, though, there are less sing a long choruses and hooks on this album (if compared to their previous one,) but that trade off has been balanced by the heavier direction they’ve taken on this album. Does it deter in any way, I hear you ask? No, not in my opinion. This band is superb and is just a straight ahead, good old fashioned, rock band.

Someone said to me they were just a rich man’s plaything. Well, he may well be indulging himself and employing some of the best musicians around. If I had the money, I would – but, so what. These guys are still putting their respective names to something and you’re only as good as the last thing you do, so I would dismiss that statement as rubbish and ignorant, to a large degree!

Anyway, if I were you, I’d buy your very own slice of The Dead Daisies version of a rock cake and enjoy the new album, as there is plenty on offer to digest!

Review: Joe Satriani – What Happens Next

Sony Music Cmg (January 2018)

Reviewer: David Mark Pearce

Believe it or not, although being a guitarist myself, this is my first review of a guitar instrumental album.

I think it’s good to go in at the very top and start with what he does best. Yes, there’s faster, maybe more technically intricate out there – but none anywhere near as commercially successful as Satch! Why? Well, the guy has technique in spades, but where as others rely almost solely on that alone, Joe brings musicality, skill and melody to his songs. Everyone, from your dyed in the wool shredder to (let’s face it!) your Dad, will be singing along and tapping their feet, or fingers, too. That’s what, in my opinion, makes Satch the best!

To be the best, or the captain of your own ship as it were, it helps if you have first and second mates along for the journey. In this instance, Glenn Hughes and Chad Smith. Satch has been quoted as saying something along the lines of “What would happen if I put this guy with this guy?”. Well, he did it here and it’s a perfect combination! Hughes is more known for being the so called voice of rock, although I’ve never seen him as that – he’s more funk, to me, than out and out rock – but everyone seems to forget just how good a bassist he is. I mean, c’mon, he was in Trapeze and Deep Purple and you’re not in those bands on looks alone! Combine him with Smith and that’s the solid rhythm section taken care of, but it’s one that’s really interesting to listen to as well. Hughes really delivers on what, I believe, is his first instrumental outing!

All in all, what we have here is, I think, Satriani’s strongest album in many a year. I’m intrigued to find out “what happens next” well, after this one, wait – that is this one ….. oh, you know what I mean!

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

KXM - Scatterbrain

Review: KXM – Scatterbrain

Rat Pak Records (March 2017)

Reviewer: David Mark Pearce

KXM – ‘Scatterbrain‘ The second album, the often called “difficult” second album ….. well, it might be for some bands out there – but not for messrs Lynch, Pinnock and Luzier!

Will you hear the same tribal intensity as the first album? – YUP.

Will you hear the same amount of Lynch riffage? – YUP.

And will you hear a band that’s taken what it had on the first outing, put it back in the blender and added some other secret ingredients? – then, simply, yes and more!

I would say the lads have spread their experimental wings even further, but their sound is still very much at the heart of this album. It’s a band which isn’t constrained by some big shot producer saying they should do this or that. As they openly admit, they just get together and, over a short amount of time, days in fact, jam it out until they’ve got their songs together and then record and refine – y’know the way bands used to do it!

Hell, there’s even a kinda soft reggae influence on one of the songs, so that shows how experimental this band is, but don’t let that put you off as the song in question features a searing solo from Lynch. Like I said, there are a few other ingredients in that old Rock ‘n’ Roll blender for y’all! It’s a pleasure to listen to this album, let alone review it. Three musicians who have been at the top of their game for years and still are. Long may it continue!

How about a tour lads?

Shotgun  -  'Live Down Decadencia Drive'

Review: Shotgun  –  ‘Live Down Decadencia Drive’

Livewire/Cargo

Reviewer: David Mark Pearce

Originally named Kingpin, the band relocated from their native Sweden to Hollywood, changed their name to Shotgun Messiah and re-recorded their debut self-titled album in 1989.

Frontman, Zinny Zan, left less than a year later.  Now, I could go on about the rest of the band’s career but there would be little point as this album is a live representation of their highly impressive debut.

Fast forwarding to 2012, Zinny reunited with drummer Stixx to reform the band.  However, as original bassist Tim Skold and guitarist Harry H Cody are not part of the reunion, they simply called themselves Shotgun to represent the 50% of the band.  To fill the shoes of those not present, in came Chris Laney on bass and backing vocals and the magnificent Rob Marcello on guitar.

So, here we have the superb ‘Live Down Decadencia Drive‘ some twenty-five years later and we are able to hear the debut album done some serious justice.  This was the reunion tour and a last opportunity for die-hard fans to hear the band play live and to eventually own their copy on CD.

So how good is it?

Bloody excellent, is how good.  I guess when most bands play an album live, they do it in track by track order, but Shotgun have decided to mix it all up.  Why, I don’t know, but who cares.  We start off with ‘Squeezin Teazin‘, a great song leading nicely into “I’m Your Love”, which is faster paced – but, that’s cool, as it lifts you nicely.  In fact, the pace of the album is great.  Once you’re up from song one, you stay up for the entire album.

Other songs on offer are ‘Dirt Talk‘, ‘Nervous‘ and ‘Shout It Out‘ to name a few and they save the best til last with the massive song ‘Don’t Care Bout Nothin‘ which, for me, was the stand out song on the debut album.  The only songs missing from that album are ‘The Explorer‘ which was a Harry Cody instrumental and ‘Spar 10‘.

As I said, twenty-five years have gone by and Zinny’s voice isn’t as high as it once was but, instead, he sounds great in a lower register.  Besides, when you have a great back up singer, Chris Laney, to take care of the high stuff, then all vocal angles are more than covered.

To recap, we’ve got Zinny on vocals, the pounding rhythm of Stixx on drums, underpinned by Chris on bass and backing vocals.  So, that leaves someone to fill the very large shoes of the original guitarist, Harry Cody.  And, who better than Rob Marcello of Danger Danger, Laney’s Legion and, now, The Defiants to take up the mantle?  I couldn’t think of a better fit, as Rob just rips on this album.

All in all, this is a superbly performed high-energy sleazy ass rock record.  If you want to go back to where you left ‘Bop City‘, then go and buy this excellent album and you’ll be right there.

 

 

Shakra - High Noon

Review: Shakra – High Noon

AFM Records (Jan 16)

Reviewer: David Mark Pearce

Shakra, as you might know, have been around since their S/T debut in 1988. Fast forward eighteen years and the highly talented band from Switzerland are back with their latest album ‘High Noon‘. When Dan asked me to review this album, he was quite taken aback when I said I’d never heard them. Sure, I was aware of them, but had never heard anything by them. Having said that, I actually like getting albums by bands I’ve never heard – no pre-conceptions!

I may, or may not, be alone in this, but I actually thought I was listening to something by Gotthard on the opening track ‘Hello‘ – well, throughout the whole album actually. When I listened to this album it felt to me like Bonfire meets classic Krokus, staying in the vein of the aforementioned Gotthard. That’s a positive, by the way, as Gotthard are a class act as is this band here!
I’m also hearing, at times, a hint of Dee Snider in vocalist Mark Fox, aside from the obvious Steve Lee overtones. The first track, ‘Hello‘, blasts right out of the gate at a fast pace. Exactly what I want from an opening track. Straight between the eyes and no messing around. The second track and album title ‘High Noon‘ is more of a mid paced affair, a proper foot stomper but, don’t worry, we’re soon back up to pace with the next one ‘Into Your Head‘.

This brings us to the song ‘Around The World‘ with a really, really cool bluesy guitar solo and then the guitarist opens up the taps and ends in a spectacular flurry of notes. Brilliant. I don’t have the liner notes, so I’ve no idea whether it was Thom Blunier, or Thomas Muster, who performed it.
One song which really stood out was ‘Is It Real‘. Just a straight ahead rocker, with a great “no frills” riff in the chorus. It’s one of those songs, as indeed are others on this album, where If you saw this band live, you’d have every expectation of seeing feet on the monitors, heads banging, guitars down low and fists in the air, hair flying everywhere and for a drum stick to come flying past to some lucky member of the crowd. That’s exactly what you want from a band – great songs, a kick ass show and for you to be feeling like you could take on the world after it!
To sum up, there isn’t a bad song on this album. They’re all powerful and the choruses are really catchy, while still regaining the same power.

Tabula Rasa

Review: Wigelius – Tabula Rasa

AOR Heaven (2016)

Reviewer – David Mark Pearce

Well, this is my first ever review, also the first as part of the Rockposer Dot Com! team and I couldn’t have been given a better album. Dan asked if I fancied writing a review and I said “Sure, why not, I’m sat on my backside with a heavy cold and while my chest isn’t working too well at the moment, my ears are firing on all cylinders!”  🙂

So, here we are …… a band called Wigelius and an album called ‘Tabula Rasa‘, which means ‘Blank Slate’ in Latin.

Who, you might say?  I know, as that’s exactly what I said, but when you’re two songs in and you’re wondering why you’ve not grabbed your guitar to jam along, then you know you’re onto a winner of an album.

I confess I’ve not heard their debut album ‘Reinventions’, but on the strength of this one, I’ll be tracking it down – no pun intended!

Band leader, Erik Wigelius, is responsible for the top notch production. Every instrument can easily be heard without that in your face approach, which is often expected from a band these days.  The loudness wars, eh?!

I mention Erik for his production, because some of you might know that he and his brother, Anders, are responsible for slick sound of Care of Night’s ‘Connected’ album.  Has the penny started to drop about what these guys are capable of yet?

Well, I guarantee when you start listening to this, you’ll want to put the album on again, as it is beautifully performed in every area.  From a guitarist’s point of view, the man on the strings, Jake Svensson, again a name I do not know, is a stellar player – melodic, with just the right amount of flash and speed added to taste and not just here and there but throughout!

Erik is the drummer and Anders is the rather fine vocalist.  My feet were tapping from the opening song and trust me if that doesn’t happen, then neither does the album!

There’s a serious Mutt Lange overtone to this but, don’t worry, it’s no Def Leppard/Adams affair.  Imagine, instead, that influence over a Swedish AOR band and you might start to have an idea of what’s on offer here.  The cracking ballad ‘My Cherie‘ at the end, has a wonderful middle 8 which provides a spine tingling lift in an already great song and is a fine example of the quality of songwriting on offer from this fine album.

But, before we talk of the end, we should talk about how this album begins.

The opening song ‘Do It All Again‘ starts with a great Bon Jovi ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ vibe, only on the intro, as the song then settles in to a Go West meets Bad English ‘Best of What I’ve Got’ sort of feel with a sprinkle of Madonna ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ in the pre chorus – you’ll hear it, trust me.

Then we’re into the excellent ‘Deja-Vu‘.  This is where Jake really shines because, wow, what a solo!  This song changes key everywhere, pulling you this way and that, but grabs hold of you for every chord and melody change. It’s up to you to hang on for the ride!

Long Way Home‘ has a great groove and (if they haven’t by this point) your feet will definitely be tapping along to this one, as they will with ‘Yesterday’s News‘.  Think In Faith/Blood Red Saints when it comes to backing vocals and how they’re arranged on this album, particularly on ‘Time Well Wasted‘ – I swear you’ll want to sing “shot in the dark and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name” by Bon Jovi here!  Again, trust me, you’ll hear it.  I don’t mean to detract anything from what’s on offer.  To me, it sounds like these guys have been influenced by these bands and weaved in, although not copied, their inspiration – let me get that straight.

Now, I’ve highlighted a few songs here, but I could’ve easily picked out a similar amount of the ones I didn’t choose and said exactly the same.  This album is that good!

So, now we put them into the “Who do they sound like?” box.  There are all sorts – I hear the more melodic sides of Bad English, Bon Jovi, Heat, It’s Alive and WET, amongst others.  As far as I’m concerned, they should be right up there with them and one of the first albums on everyone’s playlist.

This album came to me at the end of 2015 and you guys won’t be able to hear it until 2016, but let me tell you it’s already in my top ten for both years and, I would say, extremely near the top of those years offerings and, on that note, I’m just about to reach for my guitar ……