I

Dennis Churchill Dries – ‘I’

AOR Heaven (2015)

Reviewer: Paul Nicholls

Once you have a successful interview in the can with an artist , it’s very easy to become gushing and lose your objectivity when asked to review the album that artist has on release. On this occasion I can happily say that not withstanding our interview , I wholeheartedly love this album .

From the opener ‘Heard It On The Radio‘ , a track with its feet firmly embedded in everything that made the 80’s radio rock essential listening when cruising around with the car windows open , your girl/boy friend at your side , Dennis leaves you in no doubt that this is no ‘Contractual Obligation‘ album . No , It is in fact a return to magnificent from for a man for whom tragedy has struck not once but twice , almost ending his career .

Track two , ‘I‘ lays Dennis’ heart bare , sung from the soul , it is a call to anyone that has ever doubted themselves in a world of peer pressure and approval.The song should be a rallying call to the uncertain , Believe in YOU .

Dennis’ voice is throughout in fine fettle , having lost none of its power and tone over the years , in fact the years have added a distinct amount of “Gravel” that puts me in mind of Jimmy Barnes . Yes , I really DID say that!

Ably assisted by Paul Sabu on Guitar and production , who after a few quite hard albums ( for which he has received a degree of flak) returns to this stereo sounding wonderful and the Paul Sabu who delighted us before , both tuneful and unpredictable in his soloing . A true partnership made in heaven? Quite possibly , as Paul’s guitar and Dennis’ voice complement each other so well , it’s an experience that both surprises and also reassures that Rock Music is NOT dead ( sorry Mr Simmons) .

Before I lead you to believe that this is an out and out rock album let me inform you that there are more different shades on offer here than a Dulux sample sheet .

From the thumping chest pounding ‘Unbroken’ to the heartfelt and touching ‘Pieces‘ ( played on piano , which I’m reliably informed is merely a touched up demo , yes it was THAT good), this album truly does have something for every rocker out there ( as long as you can appreciate finely crafted songs , played and sung to perfection) .

From the ashes of White Sister and Tattoo Rodeo comes a great album ‘I’ which Dennis himself sees as therapy for the past tragedies . If this is Therapy I’m going to patent it and retire on the proceeds .

Available now at all good outlets , you collection needs this album

DCD

During the 1980s and ’90s, in those halcyon pre-Autotune days when the song was king and talent mattered, Dennis Churchill Dries was the singer and bass player of the bands White Sister and Tattoo Rodeo. Both of these groups earned prestigious major label record deals, but in the long run would learn how tough the music business can be.

Issued to rave reviews in 1984, White Sister’s self-titled debut was produced by Gregg Giuffria of Angel fame. While having tasted life on an independent label with its follow-up ‘Fashion By Passion’, Churchill Dries was also a part of the outfit Tattoo Rodeo. Picked up by Atlantic for ‘Rode Hard, Put Away Wet’ in ’91, they hit the road and opened for Bad Company and Damn Yankees. The band followed up with ‘Skin’ some four years later, and called it quits in 1998. There was a reunion show in 2006, and talks of new material, but all was scrapped after the death of drummer Rich Wright.

In October 2008, to the astonishment of just about everybody, original White Sister members DCD, Rick Chadock, and Garri Brandon reunited to appear at the legendary indoor rock festival the Firefest. To say that they blew the doors off would be an understatement. They went over so well that the Firefest team invited the boys back again the following year, and they did not disappoint! There was hushed yet optimistic talk of new music.

And then in October 2012, the unthinkable happened. Chadock lost his battle with cancer…Dennis was crushed by the loss of his music partner and closest friend of 35 years. New music from White Sister was not to be, and DCD retreated into solitude.

Dennis began writing on his own as a form of therapy, and in 2014 was reunited with Paul Sabu, who produced, engineered, and mixed “I”, and supplied the guitar work. DCD  drew priceless encouragement from the multi-talented Sabu, whose bands have included Only Child, Silent Rage and Sabu.

“I” is heavily influenced by the music of the late-1970s and ’80s, mixing chunky grooves with radio-friendly melodies and drawing influence from DCD’s favourite acts, including The Beatles, Bad Company, Journey, Steve Perry, John Waite, Styx and Toto. The voice remains in great nick, too. “I took several years off, and only performed 3 shows from 2006 through the recording process in 2014…I still have a lot left in the tank!”.

Line-up:

Dennis Churchill Dries – vocals, bass, keyboards, acoustic guitar;

Paul Sabu – guitars, keyboards,  backing vocals

Tracklist:

1. Heard It On The Radio

2. “I”

3. Home

4. Unbroken

5. Song For The Living

6. Pictures

7. Can You Feel It

8. Pieces

9. She Loves You

10. So Good To See You

11. Home (acoustic version)

Sound clips:

DENNIS CHURCHILL DRIES – Can You Feel It (Edit)

DENNIS CHURCHILL DRIES – Heard It On The Radio (Edit)

DENNIS CHURCHILL DRIES – I (Edit)

 

Dennis Churchill Dries

Official Website

Record Label

Scream Arena

The United Kingdom has always provided its own twist on the US art form that is rock ‘n’ roll, from The Rolling Stones on through Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Who, Queen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden et al. And drawing on such greats amongst others, England’s Scream Arena take a brand of melodic hard rock with metal undertow and give it a firm twist, balancing now with the classic. A rare feat.

Formed by lyricist Andy Paul and going through the usual line-up changes until arriving at the motley but right crew the band is today, Scream Arena is a response to both the fey indie bands masquerading as “rock bands” in Britain and the studied off the shelf misery of so many metal bands championed by the fashion conscious, Scream Arena is simply a full tilt hard rock band with a lyrical slant towards narrative storytelling. “We are so tired of Smiths retreads and rewatered workings of The Clash being sold to us as the future of rock music”, says frontman Andy Paul. “It was time to say “enough”.”

The catalyst for the Scream Arena debut album was famed US rock producer/musician Paul Sabu taking the band under his wing and guiding them along the way. Sabu was responsible for bringing the idea of a cover of the Elvis Presley classic “Heartbreak Hotel” to the table and being keen students of history and believing that an acknowledgment of the roots allows the way ahead to be clear, the band agreed and with Sabu crafted a nod and a wink to the King. Andy recalls, “We saw no real reason behind covering “Heartbreak Hotel” but as we got into the idea we saw and appreciated the logic and indeed the song”.

Listen exclusively to “Heartbreak Hotel” from the upcoming album on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/mightymusicdk/scream-arena-heartbreak-hotel

The remainders of the songs on the album are self-penned originals with the basic premise being that of telling a tale, be it real or imagined, but wishing to draw audience with ideas that they can relate to. Thus full tilt opener “Born Ready” is Tarantino made rock & roll, while “The Price of Love” is based on a very true tale where the names are changed to protect the badly behaved.

This is a beginning for Scream Arena, a British band that charts its own course and does not apologize for such confidence. This is hard rock from the heart and soul and all Scream Arena ask is “listen to the album cos rock and roll is back on the menu …”.

http://www.facebook.com/screamarena
http://mightymusic.dk/scream-arena

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Jesse Damon – Temptation In The Garden Of Eve

AOR Heaven

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I was waiting for this album with much anticipation so it had a lot to live up too. With Paul Sabu on production and also bass duties for that matter, it had all the boxes ticked theoretically. Well after having spent time listening to this release I can honestly say I’m not disappointed. Out of the four Jesse Damon solo albums, this is by far the best. Okay I’m a big fan of Jesse’s work both solo and of course with Silent Rage, but the production on the earlier releases is by no means on par with this release.

It’s an album of two sides, by which I mean there are tracks that are most certainly Jesse solo material, and tracks that would easily slot straight into a Silent Rage album. The production is big, full of punch and space. All too many albums these days sound either compressed or overblown. Not so with this. Having Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse/Tainted Nation) on drum duties and backing vocals helps fill the tracks with a real element of depth.

I absolutely love the late 80’s style keyboards courtesy of Eric Ragno, who lets face it can be found on so many great albums. A prime example would be the second track on the album, “Black Widow”.
To sum up, if you love that late 80’s style but with a modern twist then I can wholeheartedly recommend this.