I listened to the latest Bon Jovi album this evening and it completely passed me by. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t very exciting either. It was the perfect background music whilst I got on with doing stuff. Never once did I pause to listen to music. The first Bon Jovi album where I didn’t stop and have a listen to at least one song.
Aussies White Widdow have a new album out called “Silhouette”. As expected it is a classy blend of guitars, keyboards and harmonies. If your like your melodic rock to have a classic AOR sound, then well worth checking out.
If that is all too bright and breezy for you, the maybe Full Nothing’s self titled debut might be more to your tastes.
I’ve never quite ‘got’ these guys, but you have to admire them for still being around and doing a pretty good job at being consistent throughout the years. Enuff Z Nuff have a new album called “Clowns Lounge” out.
Finally whilst posting this brief update I’ve been listening to Liquorwork’s “Psycho Soundwaves”. Not sure if it is a long term listen for me, but interesting if you like instrumental progressive metal. There doesn’t seem to too much info about these guys online, apart from their Facebook Page.
Jorn has a new album of cover versions out called “Heavy Rock Radio”. The choice of songs ranges from the obvious (Dio’s “Rainbow In The Dark”) to the surprising (Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”) and from the welcome (Foreigner’s “Rev On the Red Line”) to ‘did you really have to’ (Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”). Interesting, if hardly essential.
Harry Hess seems to have been very busy recently with involvement in several projects, but one that I wasn’t expecting was a new First Signal album. Now that Harem Scarem are back in the game, shouldn’t he be busy writing songs for HS so that we get albums of a decent length, rather than the barely over half an hour ones that have become their norm. Having said that this new album will no doubt have the same quality trademark that is associated with all his projects.
Female fronted goth/folk/symphonic rockers, Souls OF Diotima have a new concept album out shortly called “The Sorceress Reveals – Atlantis”. As with all concept albums it is said to create mental pictures, making it more like watching a movie.
Taking the whole concept album idea to what seems like another level Vivaldi Metal Project has a go a “The Four Seasons”. The brainchild of keyboardist MISTHERIA, it features a huge cast of musicians.
Back onto more traditional Mood Swings fayre, Dare have new album out in July called “Sacred Ground”. Will this 7th album be the one to finally eclipse the debut?
Born Of Fire have a free download of a cover of “Carry On My Wayward Son” available from their website – http://www.bornoffireusa.com/index2.htm
Giulio Garghentini has a new single called “Live it Up” out. A new name to me, the song has a relaxing Westcoast vibe.
Flicking through my notes for post ideas I came across this half written entry about Ricky Warwick. Ricky Warwick is not a name that I would have said would have been around for the long haul. Sure ‘The Almighty’ had some decent songs that charted, but when they disappeared, I forgot all about this man. And then he pops up again fronting Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders doing a pretty decent job of giving the music a hint of Phil Lynott without things getting too ‘Stars In Their Eyes’. I always thought he was Scottish and I guess he is, but it turns out his early years were spent in Northern Ireland. It is those experiences that he has tapped into for quite a few of this solo songs. His latest album, ‘When Patsy Cline was Crazy (& Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)’ is a double album, which I think started off as two crowd funded single albums. The first album is an electric affair where the influence of Lizzy looms large, but it is the second acoustic album that has grabbed my attention. A gritty set of tracks that have an charming honesty about them. And as for the lyrics, is anyone other than people from Northern Ireland going to understand ‘Presbyterian Homesick Blues’. Van Morrison with a rocker’s heart.
Veering off into slightly different territory for me, I’ve been listening to El Cuero’s “Souls Under The Red Light”. Maybe not something that I will listen to long term, but this Neil Young like fuzz rock makes a change when Melodic Rock is churning out formula driven albums.
Another whilst I’m on the subject of lack of variety in Melodic Rock, I notice that Human Zoom have a new album out called “My Own God”. If you haven’t come across them before, their USP is the use of a saxophone to spice up what is otherwise fairly standard Germanic hard rock.
Tygertailz (aren’t they Welsh? Or is that just the lead singer?) are a blast from the past who appropriately have a new album called “Blast” out. Whilst the likes of Pretty Boy Floyd made the big time, Tygertailz never got the same level of attention. Still Tygertailz are still going whereas I assume PBF called it quits a while ago. My expectations weren’t too high when I started listening to this, but their lightweight glam is quite catchy and eminently listenable. Highlighting that the golden era for this type of music was quite a while ago, they cover Mud’s “Dynamite” on the album.
Staying on topic of blasts from the past who are still going, Diamond Head have just released a self title album. They have a new singer, Rasmus Bom Andersen, on board for this album which is described as a return to their NWOBHM roots. If you enjoy their vaguely Led Zep like take on the genre, then the quick listen I had suggests the album is worth checking out.
Last weekend I was reading a review of Axl fronted ACDC’s gig is Lisbon. Incredibly, it seems like this strange combinations is working. Not sure if they have done any more and since my thirst for Axl related news is pretty low I haven’t checked. I wonder how long Axl’s couldn’t give a shit about the fans attitude will get along with ACDC who’s career has been based on having an army of stalwart fans? For moment, it seems the man is a bit star struck at being in the band and displaying some respect.
And if the sight of Axl sitting on stage in a chair with ACDC wasn’t bizarre enough for you, what is it with this Babymetal phenomena. OK, it kind of works for a couple of songs, if you are watching videos on youtube, but listening to the album without the visuals just gets boring.
To finish off with this week, it is back to more traditional faire and news that Ted Poley has a new album called “Back to Fade”. I was a bit worried when I heard that it was a collaboration with Alessandro Del Vecchio as I thought it might yet another less than exciting project album. But after listening to a few songs, it seems the guys have gelled well and produced a great album. Yet more good news for D2 fans who already had The Defiants album to be cheer about.
Drive She Said – Pedal to the Metal: Big keyboard driven AOR was always the trademark of the duo of Mark Mangold and Al Fritch. And from opening track ‘Touch’ it is clear that not much has changed with these guys. A solid release, despite some very strange 80’s disco happening in a couple of tracks at the end of the album.
Treat – Ghost of Graceland: No such dubious practices with Treat who have used the 6 years since to Coup De Grace to craft another great album.
Dion Bayman – Don’t Look Down: Dion is a completely new name to be, but I believe it is the third album from this Australian. Think Henry Lee Summer, Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams. Up-tempo happy songs, maybe a little lighter than most of the music I have been listening to of late, but a real feel good album.
Chris Ousey – Dream Machine: The voice of past favourites, Virginia Wolf, The Distance and Heartland, is back with his second solo album. I has been a long time since I listened to any of his material and there is no doubting he is a great singer, but, so far, I’m left wondering if the songs really match the quality of his voice.
Coda – Coda: Featuring Paul Sabu, Vince O’Regan and Eric Ragno this doesn’t quite set the world on fire like you would expect from musicians of this pedigree.
Epic – Like A Phoenix: I read good reviews of this album at a couple of websites I normally agree with, but I have to honest and say that it hasn’t grabbed my attention. Maybe these days I expect female fronted bands to all be trying to emulate the likes of Nightwish and Epica with gothic/symphonic rock. Instead Epic are more in the vein of Headpins and Heart. I like both those bands, but this one hasn’t clicked with me.
The Defiants – S/T: Paul Laine teams up of Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello for a Danger Danger side project. It sounds a lot like D2, which is no bad thing, and well worth checking out.
I was reading Andrew McNeice’s article over at MelodicRock.com about his website having been online for 20 years when it struck me that the earliest reviews at Mood Swings date back to 1996 and that in a few weeks time my web hosting was up for renewal. With the web hosting now renewed in April for another year, Mood Swings has also crept past the 20 year mark.
It started off as an experiment to make use of the free web space that came with my internet access. Back then there were precious few websites dedicated to AOR and Melodic Rock and somehow it seemed to take off transforming from Nigel’s AOR Pages into Mood Swings and moving to the confusingly titled home at ‘mswings.com’ (No jokes about Microsoft flight simulators please).
At the start it was merely meant to be a way of posting reviews of the albums I had bought that month. Then a few bands offered to send me albums to review and then a few of the independent melodic rock record labels. New postings and reviews became more frequent and I found myself devoting quite a bit of time to keeping it ticking along. Of course, as life evolved I found that I had to devote my energies elsewhere – a wife and family became my primary focus and Mood Swings had to take a back seat. However, I still kept listening to music and occasionally I even managed to post to Mood Swings.
The initial title ‘Nigel’s AOR Pages’ very clearly communicated the focus at that time – AOR. Whilst that is still my favourite style of music, I found my musical tastes expanding and as the music I covered at Mood Swings varied I realised that Melodic Rock was a more appropriate description. At one point the main focus was progressive rock and it is a genre that I keep coming back too. Sometimes pure AOR just seems too restrictive.
Thanks to everyone over the past two decades who have sent me news items and review material.
In 2016, the truth is that I just don’t have the time to devote to Mood Swings that it needs to keep it the vibrant source of news and reviews I had envisaged. Despite there being I multitude of Melodic Rock websites out there in the net, I still there is always space for another one to hopefully help people discover an album or band that would have otherwise passed them by.
Hopfully the Melodic Rock genre will continue to generate great music for us to listen to and get excited about!
Last in Line – this has been promoted as a Dio tribute, but I tend to think of it as a memorial to Jimmy Bain. Does it sound like Dio, well yeah, but Jorn does it better. When this was being promoted on melodicrock.com there was an interview with the band. Watching Jimmy slur his way through the interview just felt kinda sad. A talented man laid low by the excesses of his lifestyle . Back when I was younger if I was asked to name a bass player, it would probably be Jimmy’s name that came into my head first, but because of Rainbow rather than Dio. Not a bad album, just one that pales in comparison to the albums it tries to emulate.
Last Autumns Dream seem to have a knack of producing consistently decent albums. They are always very catchy and engaging, but they tend to a bit one paced. Not a problem if you are only dipping in to listen to a few songs, but can make your interest wane if sitting down for a full sitting. Their new album, ‘Paintings’, his has got a cover
Reo Speedwagon’s ‘Take It On The Run’. Pleasant enough but pales in comparison to the original.
I have been getting the press releases from Dockers Guild for quite some time, but haven’t paid that much attention. An eclectic album, not sure what it trying to accomplish, seems a bit mental on first listen. The theme from 1999, followed by the Flash Gordon suite. I’m not sure what to make of it. Guess I should stop typing for a while and just listen…………during the break I listened and did some more research and discovered that the project’s mastermind used to be the keyboardist in 80’s hard rockers Blioxi.
And talking of albums that are a listening challenge, let’s move onto Zierler. ‘Etc’ is a very technical piece of progressive metal. The album changes mood and tempo so often and rapidly that it is like trying to watch the TV with someone constantly switching between channels. One that if you need to be prepared to invest the time in before it reveals it’s rewards.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking about the new Dream Theater album, ‘The Astonishing’. Given that it is a concept album, I splashed out for the physical media of it. I think to listen to these types of albums properly you need to have the lyric book sitting in front out you if you are to have any chance of figuring out what it is all about. Something that is missing with just buying the download.
I’m always think female fronted symphonic rock is a genre that should appeal to me, but it doesn’t always a maintain my interest for too long. Delain are a band that maybe aren’t the first to come to mind when discussing this genre of music. Their latest EP seems like a decent example of the genre.
I’ve had a quick listen to the new Reckless Love album, ‘Invader’. These guys are the spiritual successor to David lee Roth. Some moments veer very close to pop, but hey, this is all very melodic stuff that will have you foot tapping along.
After a few progressive metal albums that are difficult to get into, enter Vanden Plas. You don’t have to worry about the story in the background to this one to really enjoy the music. It is just good melodic progressive metal that is top notch. They guys have been some really good music over their past few albums and maybe haven’t been getting the attention that they deserve. They have been my refuse over the years when dream Theater have been a bit off their game.
It seems like Drive She Said have a new album coming out shortly. I’ve listened to the trailer video and somehow it doesn’t do it for me. I’ll have to wait until more material is available before I make up my mind.
This morning I have been checking out a few recent releases.
The first one is Chris Antblad’s ‘Age Of Concord: On The Radio’. I have to admit that I know next to nothing about this guy, except that I really like an album of his called “A New Dawn” from a few years back. There doesn’t seem to be much about him out there on the net apart from the fact that he was a part of ‘Spin Gallery’ whose album I reviewed. The new album is a catchy mixture of AOR meets Westcoast. Here is a track from his previous album:
Long time favourites of mine Magnum have a new album out called ‘Sacred Blood Devine Lies’. As ever with these guy, a very solid album with no surprises, just good catchy melodic hard rock meets AOR & Pomp.
And talking of solid performances, Rage of Angels have a new album out called ‘The Devil’s New Trick’. This time out Rob Moratti is the single vocalist, giving the album more of a band feel compared to the debut which had multiple singers.
In between new stuff, I have been listening to Days Of Jupiter ‘Only Ashes Remain’. Sometimes you just just have to have little variety in your musical diet. This week that variety has come from these guys. They sound a lot like post-grunge bands such as Nickleback. Whilst I can like listening to this type of stuff for a few tracks at a time, I seldom stick in there through a whole album. More of a musical snack than a full meal then.
And one I forgot mention last week- the self titled album from newcomers Inglorious who have a distinctively retro sound. That retro sound was achieved by staying clear of modern recording practices such as auto-tune and the like. A 70s vibe going on here with Purple mixed up with Lizzy & Zep.
And before sign off this week, if Days of Jupiter didn’t convince you that Mood Swings really is a good name of my website, then maybe next recommendation will. Returning in Feb with a new album after a 5 year absence are Sister Hazel. Seems like they are aiming to be the new Eagles.
An album that I haven’t has a chance to listen to yet, but which got top marks over Dangerdog is the new one from Reckless Love. So far, a bit of a one song band as far as I’m concerned – ‘Beautiful Bomb’. Here are that song and another called Monster from the new album .