Review: Michael Romeo- War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1

Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group (July 27th 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I’m sure most of your are familiar with the name Michael Romeo, founding member of progressive metal band Symphony X. Well in this release Michael delves into the depths of symphonic metal.

I’ll say from the start, if your not a fan of widdly widdly guitar then this release is probably not for you. Having said that, those guitar connoisseurs among you will absolutely love it!

Kicking off with an intro that wouldn’t be out of place in a Star Wars film, Mr Romeo soon makes it obvious where his roots lie.

I’ll be honest and say I have to be in the mood for symphonic metal, but catch me at the right time and there is an increase in volume shall we say. Those increases were quite frequent during the various playbacks of ‘War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1‘, the production leading to a decent sound full of depth and atmosphere.

Listening to the robot effects at the beginning of ‘F*cking Robots‘ is an experience on headphones, even more so up-scaled through a home cinema system, making it one of my favorites out of the ten tracks on offer. The current single ‘Djinn‘ is shall we say a little daring as a single coming in as it does at a nearly seven and a half minutes long. But it so highlights the vocal talents of Rick Castellano. Boy can he hit notes most of us could only almost manage in tight trousers.

With a run time of some 50 minutes, this album certainly doesn’t short change you, leading you as it does through the mind of H.G. Wells. There are influences aplenty with more than a nod to my favorite classical composer Holst. It’s almost the Planets Suite meets Conception meets Savatage.

To sum up, this is an album I discovered I enjoyed far more than I expected. It is without doubt a labour of love by Romeo and here’s looking forward to Pt 2.

 

After being out of print for quite some time, Gov’t Mule‘s ‘Dark Side of the Mule‘ and ‘Shout!‘ will be repressed on vinyl. Each limited to only 2000 copies, they will be available from June 29, 2018.

Dark Side of the Mule‘ features 90 minutes of Pink Floyd covers recorded during the band’s Halloween 2008 show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, MA. Now available again on limited transparent/green marble and brown/yellow marble vinyl.

Shout!‘ features 11 tracks recorded by the band plus a bonus album featuring an all-star lineup of vocalists interpreting The Mule songs. Special guests Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Ben Harper, Toots Hibbert, Glenn Hughes, Jim James, Myles Kennedy, Dave Matthews, Grace Potter, Vintage Trouble’s Ty Taylor and Steve Winwood. Now available again on limited colored marble vinyl 4LP Boxset.

Both albums will have a download card for a complimentary MP3 download

Doom Side Of The Moon Tracklisting:

A1. Speak To Me
A2. Breathe (In The Air)
A3. On The Run
A4. Time
A5. Great Gig In The Sky
B1. Money
B2. Us And Them
B3. Any Colour You Like
B4. Brain Damage
B5. Eclipse

Shout!  Tracklisting:

A1. World Boss
A2. No Reward
A3. Captured
B1. Done Got Wise
B2. Whisper In Your Soul
B3. Scared To Live
C1. Stoop So Low
C2. Forsaken Savior
C3. Funny Little Tragedy
D1. When The World Gets Small
D2. Bring On The Music

E1. World Boss (with Ben Harper)
E2. Funny Little Tragedy (with Elvis Costello)
E3. Bring On The Music (withTy Taylor)
F1. No Reward (with Glenn Hughes)
F2. Captured (with Jim James)
F3. Scared To Live (with Toots Hibbert)
G1. Done Got Wise (with Myles Kennedy)
G2. Whisper In Your Soul (with Grace Potter)
G3. Forsaken Savior (with Dave Matthews)
H1. Stoop So Low (with Dr. John)
H2. When The World Gets Small (with Steve Winwood)

 

Internationally acclaimed guitar hero Michael Romeo has announced the release of his solo album, ‘War of the Worlds / Pt. 1’, on July 27th via Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group.

The wildly ambitious 10-song disc sees the founder, chief songwriter and prime mover of the progressive titans Symphony X furthering his reputation as one of the world’s preeminent axe slingers and composers of adventurous, multi-faceted orchestral metal.

It’s me putting all the things I love about music in a blender,” says Romeo. “Somebody might listen to it and say, ‘What is this guy thinking?’ But it’s all about being creative and having a good time with it.

No doubt there will rapturous responses from Romeo’s longtime fans. While ‘War of the Worlds / Pt. 1‘ brims with the kind of thrill-seeking guitar chops that have placed the Garden State shredder in numerous “all-time greats” lists, it also offers some unconventional twists: Along with classic metal textures, Romeo pays homage to film score giants Bernard Hermann and John Williams, and there’s even some surprising EDM/dubstep elements guaranteed to turn heads – all of which makes for an enthralling and immersive journey.

Recalling the forbidding tone of the notorious H.G. Wells novel that inspired its name, Romeo casts the lead track, ‘Introduction‘ as a precursor for what is to follow. The dark, symphonic instrumental (equal parts Bernard Herman and Gustav Holst) gives way to the pummeling metal double-header of ‘Fear the Unknown‘ and ‘Black,’ on which Romeo’s rifftastic twists and turns are ably assisted by Rick Castellano’s soaring vocals.

A startling change-up occurs with ‘F*cking Robots‘, a striking mash-up of digital blurps, bleeps, DJ-like scratches and ace guitar madness. “My fans might think I’ve lost my mind on this one,” the axeman jokes. But just as quickly, he floors the six-string goodness on ‘Djinn‘, an epic, theatrical rock roller coaster on which the rhythm section of John “JD” DeServio (bass) and John Macaluso (drums) provide a muscular backdrop for the guitarist’s elastic soloing and Castellano’s full-throated vocal chops.

The lush balladry of ‘Believe‘ is a big-hearted respite from the shards of molten metal, but Romeo whips out the doomsday riffage on ‘Differences‘ and ‘Oblivion‘, both chock full of widescreen hooks and synapse-altering solos.

Closing out the set is the cinematic musical odyssey ‘Constellations‘, which sees guitars and keyboards majestically taking flight into a kind of heretofore unseen otherworld. “That one probably took the longest to create of all the songs on the record,” Romeo recalls. “It wasn’t just the recording – it was the writing and scoring. I had to break out the pencil and paper on that one. But I couldn’t be happier with the results. It really ends the album on a powerful note.

Romeo recorded the bulk of ‘War of the Worlds / Pt. 1‘ over a year-and-a-half period in the comfort of his home studio (nicknamed “the Dungeon” by his wife) in Hazlet, New Jersey. The project gave him the perfect opportunity to work with the rising Long Island star Castellano, a singer he’s had his eye on for some time, as well as fellow Jerseyans Macaluso and Black Label Society member DeServio. “JD and I went to high school together,” Romeo notes. “We always wanted to do something together, so this was the perfect opportunity. The planets finally aligned, and we were able to work together. It was great to have him play on it.

Symphony X fans have been waiting two decades for an honest to goodness Michael Romeo solo album (not counting his 1994 demo recording, The Dark Chapter, which was released in several countries), and the arrival of ‘War of the Worlds / Pt. 1‘ will be no doubt be cause for celebration. And the guitarist promises a sequel – “Most of Part II is already finished,” he says, “It just needs a few vocals, a couple solos, a few tweaks here and there. I want people to absorb the first one for a while, and then we’ll put out the second record. They’ll complement each other, but they’ll also be a bit different.

In anticipation of his upcoming live album ‘British Blues Explosion Live‘ blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Joe Bonamassa released the video to ‘Spanish Boots.  The two-time GRAMMY-nominated blues rock guitar icon will release of ‘British Blues Explosion Live‘ on Friday 18th May on CD/DVD/Blu-Ray & 3LP (Black / Red, White & Blue) via Mascot Label Group in Europe and J&R Adventures in North America.

A Salute to the British Blues Explosion, featuring the unbelievable music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page! Joe pays tribute to his British Blues heroes during a short but very sweet tour of Britain – 5 performances only. This show was recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London on July 7, 2016.

Joe will return to the UK in October to perform three arena concerts.

Before the October concerts, Joe plays the prestigious Hampton Court Palace Festival on Tuesday 12th June 2018.

Joe Bonamassa October 2018 UK Tour
24 Hour Ticket Hotline: 0844 844 0444

Book online: www.jbonamassa.com/tour-dates and www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Plymouth Pavilions                             Thursday 11 October

Nottingham Motorpoint Arena                      Friday 12 October

Bournemouth International Centre   Saturday 13 October

Hampton Court Palace Festival 2018

Tickets: https://hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com/artists/joe-bonamassa

London, Hampton Court Palace                     Tuesday 12 June

 

Joe Bonamassa, the two-time GRAMMY-nominated blues rock guitar icon, who is about to kick off his UK/European tour, has announced the release of ‘British Blues Explosion Live‘, a new live recording featuring music and footage from his incredible concert at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London in July 2016, honoring the British legends of blues-rock.

Joe Bonamassa’s love of the British Blues is at the heart of his musical inspiration; and, for the first time, with this unforgettable performance he was able to give special homage to the British guitarists that inspired him, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

If it wasn’t for certain British musicians of the early 1960s, the Blues may well never have exploded into Rock music as we know it today, and indeed may have passed into history,” says Bonamassa.

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page are some of the greatest guitarists of their time that influenced Joe Bonamassa’s career. All three are Yardbirds alumni, and indeed actually all played together at one time in the same band. Jimmy Page went on to form Led Zeppelin, which became the ultimate electric Blues band and both Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck became international superstars in their own right.

British Blues Explosion Live‘ will be available on Mascot Label Group, on CD/DVD/BR & Vinyl May 18, with pre-orders starting today.

The DVD and Blu-ray includes amazing bonus content such as Joe performing ‘Taxman‘ Live at the Cavern Club, Joe being honoured with a “Brick In The Wall”, the British Blues Explosion Explained by Mick Wall and a photo gallery of the British Blues Explosion UK Tour.

A Salute to the British Blues Explosion, featuring the unbelievable music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page! Joe pays tribute to his British Blues heroes during a short but very sweet tour of Britain – 5 performances only. This show was recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London on July 7, 2016.

Joe Bonamassa has been more influenced by the impact of British Blues than by any other music out there. From a young age, the musically inclined Joe fell in love with the hard-rocking, gritty and edgy sound that emanated from mid-1960’s Britain. This is especially true of the highly innovative and evocative guitar music produced by three of the field’s greatest heavyweights, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. With the deepest reverence for what these three men have accomplished and a true love of their music. 

Joe Bonamassa’s love of the British Blues is at the heart of his musical inspiration; and, for the first time, with this unforgettable performance he was able to give special homage to the British guitarists that inspired him, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

The five-piece band included Michael Rhodes (Bass), Reese Wynans (Keyboards), Anton Fig (Drums) and Russ Irwin (Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals).

Official Website

Facebook

Supersonic Blues Machine have released details of their second album ‘Californisoul‘.

It will be released on October 20th as 2 LP, CD & MP3.

Once again the album features an array of musical talent, featuring Billy F. Gibbons, Steve Lukather, Eric Gales, Robben Ford and Walter Trout alongside Fabrizio Grossi, Lance Lopez and Kenny Aronoff!

The album is available to pre-order from Mascot Label Group

Official Website

Facebook

aaron-keylock

Today, teenage guitar legend Aaron Keylock has released an audio stream of his new single ‘All The Right Moves’ on YouTube.

The song features on his upcoming debut album ‘Cut Against The Grain’, which is released on Friday 20th January 2017 by Mascot Label Group.

Aaron Keylock has released the audio stream to coincide with his 16-date UK tour with Nashville blues rock trio SIMO and British blues rock guitar band Federal Charm, which gets underway at the Talking Heads in Southampton on 16th November.

Touring under the moniker of Planet Rock ROADSTARS – The Best In Breaking Blues And Rock’ – the tour promises to be one of the hottest live concert triple headers to hit the UK in 2016.  Every night each band will change headline spot, giving each of the artists an equal share of the limelight.

UK Tour dates:

Southampton, Talking Heads                      Wednesday 16 November
Brighton, Haunt                                                Thursday 17 November
Cardiff, Globe                                                    Friday 18 November
Leek, Foxlowe Arts                                         Saturday 19 November
Nottingham, Bodega                                      Monday 21 November
Wolverhampton, Robin 2                             Tuesday 22 November
Bristol, Tunnels                                                 Wednesday 23 November
York, Fibbers                                                      Friday 25 November
Crewe, Box                                                         Saturday 26 November
Norwich, Waterfront Studio                        Sunday 27 November
Sheffield, Greystones                                    Monday 28 November
Newcastle, Cluny                                             Wednesday 30 November
Glasgow, O2 ABC2                                           Thursday 1 December
Edinburgh, Mash House                                Friday 2 December
Manchester, Deaf Institute                         Saturday 3 December
London, Islington O2 Academy                  Wednesday 7 December

You can book tickets Here

jeff-healey-holding-on

I Can’t Get My Hands On You (Live)‘ is taken from the new Jeff Healey release ‘Holding On‘, which will be released on the Mascot Label Group on December 9, 2016 (vinyl expected on January 13, 2017).

Featuring five rare Jeff Healey studio tracks that were all recorded during the same time period as ‘Heal My Soul’ (‘96-’98) and a concert recorded in 1999, a live snapshot of a brilliant performer at the top of his game, ‘Holding On‘ is the perfect complement to ‘Heal My Soul‘.

It’s great that his legacy is being kept alive,” says Sonny Landreth. “Certainly, his music lives on, and for his fans, it’s stronger than ever. But it’s important to turn the next generation on to people like Jeff. He’s right up with the all-time greats…

rik-emmett-resolution-9-res9

Classic rock legend Rik Emmett and his band RESolution9 will release their new album ‘RES9‘ worldwide on November 11th.

Allied Forces! Rock & Roll Machine! Magic Power! If you’re fan of classic rock, you should know these songs by legendary Canadian rock band Triumph by heart. Former Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett signed with Mascot Label Group a few months ago, and it’s time to reveal his new band and his new album.

The members of RESolution9 are from Rik’s touring quartet: Dave Dunlop on guitar, Steve Skingley on bass, and Paul DeLong on drums, with Dave and Steve co-producing the project.

RES9 features contributions from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie, and Rik Emmett’s onetime Triumph bandmates, bassist Mike Levine and drummer Gil Moore. The first new track ‘Human Race‘, featuring a guest appearance by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, will premiere in less then two weeks.

RES9 is available to pre-order on CD, black and red vinyl. The red vinyl is limited to only 300 copies worldwide, and available exclusively on the MLG webstore.

 

Lyric Dubee

Mascot Label Group is thrilled to announce that the Canadian award winning and multi-genre artist Lyric Dubee has signed with their label Provogue. Proficient and at ease playing rock, pop, blues, classical, and jazz, Lyric’s deep appreciation and experimentation with all the genres led him to personalize his own style of music known as revolution rock. Provogue will release his upcoming album in 2017, more details about this release will follow later this year.

Mascot Label Group CEO Ed van Zijl: “In our never ending search for new talent we now bring you Canadian future star Lyric Dubee. From a very young age it was obvious there is something special about him, not just another great guitar player but also an impressive songwriter. I predict that in a few years the whole world will know who he is!

Lyric Dubee released four albums before he turned 18, is endorsed and supported by Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars and Guitar Center and is part of the Brotherhood of the Guitar.

His most recent album Combat Of Love (September, 2015) was recorded in LA with Grammy Award winning producer Warren Huart (Aerosmith, The Fray, James Blunt), which debuted at #7 on the DRT (Digital Radio Tracker) and moved up into the USA National Airplay Top 200 from #187 to #182. The single ‘Linger‘ entered the DRT USA Top 80 Independent Artists Charts at #21; and the following ‘Combat of Love‘ debuted at #11 on the US Top 20.FM Count Down in Hollywood, California. Lyric’s music can be heard in regular rotation on various online and traditional radio stations and found on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, songza and many other sites.

Since 2013, Lyric has performed live in over 250 national and international shows and music festivals, where he has opened for or shared the stage with performers such as Walk Off The Earth, Honeymoon Suite, David Usher, Rik Emmett (Triumph), Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Lee Aaron and Carole Pope (Rough Trade). His international shows include a very successful tour of Japan and China last fall; Lyric has plans to visit these countries again next year. From August 2 onwards, he will be joining Kaya Stewart (daughter of guitarist, songwriter, record producer and Eurythmics front man Dave Stewart) to open for the legendary band The Go-Go’s during their farewell tour. Lyric will also accompany Kaya during her three headline dates, including a daytime Album Launch Party at Webster Hall on August 12. Dave Stewart: “Lyric Dubee is a natural born star, he plays guitar like his life depended on it and sings his own songs with the sincerity needed to cut through a lot of today’s manufactured music”.