Tag Archives: review

Review: Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics – The Man With Stars On His Knees

Review: Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics – The Man With Stars On His Knees

May 2016

Reviewer: Dan Mann

After leaving Heaven’s Basement, Aaron Buchanan wasted no time in putting together a stellar group of fellow musicians, namely The Cult Classics. What we have here is the first fruits of the collaboration, namely the band’s debut album ‘The Man With Stars On His Knees‘.

If I was only allowed to use one word to review / describe this release, it would without doubt be ‘energetic’. From the off, you are dragged kicking and screaming into a wall of sound. Not a shoutry / screamy wall, but a high octane fueled powerhouse, the bass reaching down and making your furniture vibrate! It just made me turn it up even more and to hell with the neighbors!

There are a multitude of influences on the album, each blending seamlessly into the next, giving you what is without doubt an absolute monster of a release.

Stand out tracks for me, ‘Dancin’ Down Below‘, ‘A God Is No Friend‘ & ‘Morals‘.

Looking forward to catching the band out on the road this Summer when they’ll be airing this material live. You can see them on the following dates –


3rd Camden Rocks Festival.

11th Download Festival.

25th Wildfire Festival.


29th Ramblin’ Man Fair.

Review: Dirty White Boyz – Down And Dirty

Review: Dirty White Boyz Down And Dirty

Escape Music (March 2017)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

When the component elements of the band consist of the former frontman of Kiss Of The Gypsy, members of Bailey, Demon and Lawless and you add in a lot of enthusiasm and on top of that you have 3 vocalists, well that’s a brilliant starting point. It also ensures that the backing vocals, to Tony Mitchell’s excellent lead vocals, through the album are just top notch.

The debut album is being released on Escape Music and it’s got to be said this is a cracking piece of work, it’s classic hard rock, has all the elements you want and need and then some. Twelve slabs of very different types of Rock, some heavy with a real kick to them, some ballads, and some classic rock songs, it fits perfectly together and knits into a hell of an album. From excellent twin guitar work on ‘Sanctuary‘, to the cracking ‘Waitin For This Feelin‘ where it’s very easy to just start singing along, especially at the chorus, through the out and out rockers like ‘Dynamite‘ and the slightly more bluesy rocker ‘Bring It On‘ there’s a definitely a bit of something for everyone here, and although there’s a lot of variation here there’s definitely a great flow throughout the album.  The band itself with Paul Hume and Jamie Crees nailing the Guitar sound from start to finish whether it’s a balls out rocker or a slower tempo ballad, just great work as always, Nigel Bailey laying down some terrific Bass runs as always such a solid performer in whatever he does and Neil Ogden so solid behind it all on Drums keeping everything driving forward, well they just eek class. Clearly a band that is very well at ease working with each other and enjoys what they are creating.

Highlights are ‘Hangin’ On A Heartache‘ which is just classic hard rock, beautifully put together and it kicks some ass live. ‘Ride With Angels‘ which has that little bit of a country rock feel to it and the excellent ‘Rise‘ which almost has some pop sensibilities about it before Tony kicks it up a gear on the chorus that just soars, still another very well written track, which is the order of the day here, this is a project that will hopefully have legs and start working quickly on a follow up to this album.

Having been privileged to get to see Dirty White Boyz debut live show at the Just Say Yes charity show in Derby at the end of January, don’t miss out on their upcoming live shows in the UK, there’s that little bit of an extra edge to their sound live, some addition guitar from Tony and they were one of the highlights of an excellent night. Down And Dirty is one of those albums that allows multiple plays without becoming tiresome, there’s plenty of meat on the bone. In what has been a very strong first quarter of the year for new album releases this is an excellent debut, it’s brilliant to have Tony Mitchell back fronting a really talented band, don’t let this release slip between the cracks in the avalanche of new albums coming at you, it would be a massive shame if you missed out on this one. Produced and Mixed by the guys themselves they can be very proud of this release.

Review: Bonfire – Byte The Bullet

Review: Bonfire – Byte The Bullet

UDR (March 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

German hard rock band Bonfire are back with believe it or not their sixteenth album. With new vocalist Alexx Stahl, whose taken over from Michael Bormann after his short stint, who himself replaced David Reece who had been vocalist since the departure of the band’s original vocalist Claus Lessmann. A lot of people never seem to get over the fact a band’s vocalist has been replaced, refusing to accept the replacements regardless of talent. I’m not one of those people, preferring to concentrate on the actual music, and it’s got to be said, Alexx fits the band perfectly.

And so to the album itself. ‘Byte The Bullet‘ is without doubt a repeat spinner. Having already sampled the two singles, I was looking forward to seeing if the remainder of the album was of the same ilk. Opening an album with a seven minute track certainly nails things firmly to the mast, ‘Power Train‘ building slowly before launching into a pounding, rip roaring hard rock track.

The remainder of the album follows in good stead, the two singles ‘Praying 4 A Miracle‘, and a great cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Locomotive Breath‘ certainly good choices as said singles. There is one slightly bizarre track, track ten to be exact, which has bassist Ronnie Parkes being asked to repeatedly say the track name ‘Friedensreich‘ to much amusement and laughter. That’s followed by an instrumental, ‘Instrumetal‘, which is a slight speed-fest by the band, as it’s played with a fairly hasty tempo combining well known segments of songs, ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ being one.

The ballard ‘ Without You‘ highlight’s Bonfire’s passion for such songs, and shows that Alexx is more than capable of slowing things down as well as belting out songs.

The album rounds off with another version of the classic Bonfire track ‘Sweet Obsession‘ which of course made it’s first appearance on their legendary 1987 album ‘Fireworks‘. While it’s never going to hold the same position as the original, which I’ve played to death, it is certainly a worthy version and not one to be dismissed out of hand.

To sum up, I can see this being one to consider when it comes time to compile my favorite album releases of the year. Highly recommended.



Review: Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo

Review: Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo

in-akustik (March 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Unbelievably it’s 35 years since ‘One Night At Budokan‘ was released, and here we have Michael Schenker return to Japan, this time at The Tokyo International Forum Hall, accompanied by three vocalists who’ve made appearances on a plethora of MSG releases. The vocalists in question are of course Gary Barden, Robin McAuley and Graham Bonnet.

Photo by Emili Muraki©

It will be released on 2CD, 2CD+DVD, Vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray and Digital download. If you limit yourself to just the audio formats, you’ll be missing out on some excellently produced concert footage.

I personally have preferred watching the footage as you get a far better feel of the concert as well as better sound quality. The 2 CD’s have a total of 18 tracks running at just over an hour and a half, fifteen and a half minutes of which is Michael letting lose on an extended ‘Rock Bottom‘!

Photo by Emili Muraki©

This release is without doubt a ‘must buy’ for Michael Schenker fans, as it covers his long and illustrious musical career. If he never released another thing, Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo, would be a fitting tribute to the Flying V legend.


Review: KXM – Scatterbrain

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?

Review: My Dynamite – Otherside

My Dynamite - Otherside

Review: My Dynamite – Otherside

Listenable Records 2017

Reviewer: Dan Mann

My Dynamite are back, 5 years after their self title debut album, with a brand spanking new release entitled ‘Otherside‘.

If your familiar with the band then you already know exactly what to expect. For the rest of you, prepare to be hit from the off with swathes of the Black Crows, mingled with British 70’s rock/blues eg The Faces, Rolling Stones etc.

I for one am really liking this 70’s rock revisited trend of a lot of bands over the last couple of years. No it’s not all a nostalgia trip as bands such as My Dynamite manage to put their own signature to it.

There are also country undertones with the likes of ‘Can’t Tell Lies‘ and ‘So Familiar‘ which isn’t really my thing, but done very well never the less.

What is my cup of tea are tracks like ‘Round the Bend‘, ‘Witch Hat‘ and ‘Motortalkin’‘. If they don’t get your foot stompin’ and give you a feel good injection then you must be emotionless!

The ballad ending ‘Don’t Steel The Light‘ rounds off the album perfectly with some great acoustic guitar and melancholy vocals.

Overall the album is very pleasing to the ear but for me the country tones creeping in muddy the band’s identity somewhat style wise. However, this is still an album worth checking out.

Review: Jim Jidhed – Push On Through

Jim Jidhed – Push On Through

Review: Jim Jidhed Push On Through

AOR Heaven (January 2017)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

There are lots of great singers out there on this planet, but there’s definitely some that are just on a different level, Jim Jidhed is definitely one of those. Lead singer of Swedish band Alien, his voice is just like velvet rolling through your ears.

This is Jim’s 6th Solo album and musically the sound is a bit different from the previous releases, this time it’s a little more Rock, a little bit of a harder edge on tracks like ‘Love Was Waiting‘ but it’s still very much an AOR/Melodic Rock record with signature Ballads that are just terrific.

The highlight of this has to be ‘The First Time‘, such a well crafted song, more of a classic AOR track, but just absolutely top notch, Jim delivers, as everywhere else, a confident, smooth and always classy vocal, with the assembled crew adding to the song with some great playing, almost reminiscent in places of a John Waite style of song it just rolls along, with the guitars held just short of exploding into screaming solos, great stuff, not the loudest track on the album, not the brashest, but it’s just got that something a little extra to it.

The tracks like the raucous ‘If We Call It Love‘, which is a cracking rocker and can see this one being very popular live and the beautiful ballad ‘Too Many Words‘ are also all excellent, along with the title track ‘Push On Through‘, I can imagine that the album took some time to put together, and it was worth it, looks like a lot of attention to detail went into the process from putting the songs together to mixing everything, great work all around..

With the likes of Ken Sandin (Alien) on Bass, Michael Palace (Palace) and Philip Lindstrand on Guitar being welcome additions to the creation of this album, not only excellent musicians, but people that know and understand Jim’s music it all helps to create a great package. With the albums producer also looking after Drum duties, Daniel Flores has done a terrific job of both, it’s generally the guitar sound throughout that makes it a little bit outside the AOR standard, but the leanings are still correctly there, it would have been a mistake to make the music any heavier and the blend with Jim’s voice wouldn’t have worked as well as it does, a lot of care has been taken here. While we await a new Alien album don’t overlook this little gem, Jim is on top form, as always and there’s some excellent tracks on this one.

Let’s hope that Jim gets out to do some solo shows around Europe to promote this album, would love to hear these songs live and would be a travesty if they weren’t aired to a wider audience, that’s how good this one is, what a great start to 2017, another bloody cracking album, worth everyone’s attention.


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