2018 Top Ten

The following are some of the albums I enjoyed listening to in 2018:

  1. The Senior Management – Heart and Soul – AOR meets country – yee haa! A killer combination to these ears.
  2. Dukes of the Orient – Dukes of the Orient – not exactly a new album as it took years to finally get completed and released. A must have for fans of John Payne fronted Asia.
  3. Praying Mantis – Gravity – One of the most consistent bands over the years who are always a joy to listen to
  4. Nightwish – Decades – A band that have crept up on me over the past year, possibly through youTube videos of their live performances with Floor as the vocalist. All three vocalist are featured here.
  5. W.E.T. – Earthrage – these guys always nail it. JSS is one of my favourite singers. Sometime it is just too perfect and seems like it lacks emotion and is off a factory production line. But take a break and listen afresh to be amazed all over again.
  6. Stryper – God Damn Evil – Sounding good on their latest album, despite the comical opening track. It doesn’t quite measure up to No More Hell To Pay, but that would be a difficult task in my estimation.
  7. Keldian – Darkness and Light – This was actually released in 2017, but it is one that I’ve been playing quite a lot this past year. A great combination of power metal, synths and melody.
  8. Mystery – Lies and Butterflies – Something to chill out to.
  9. Night Flight Orchestra – Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough – Unashamedly retro sounding feel good music
  10. Subsignal – La Muerta – accessible progressive rock that just gets better with each listen. It probably deserves to be higher in the list, rather than squeezing in at number ten.

I hope you all had a good Christmas and wish you all the best for 2019. Hopefully 2019 will bring more great music to listen to!!!

ELO Live

ELO were at the SSE Arena in Belfast last night. In preparation I’ve been playing some of their music over the last couple of days. I have to say the comeback album released on Frontiers a while back is a bit of a snoozy affair.

The concert was good. Jeff isn’t one for between songs banter with the crowd, restricting himself to saying thanks a few times, even leaving the musical director to introduce the other musicians and singers. As expected most of the music was from their heyday, concentrating of the hits. When I was a Boy from that comeback album made an appearance, as did a Travelling Willburys song. The big finale was Mr Blue Sky, with Roll Over Beethoven being perhaps an odd choice for the encore during which it seemed the band were more into it than the fans.

My fave moment from the show was when they cranked it up for “Do Ya”. The following video is taken from the American leg of the tour.

The Senior Management

In a recent post I mentioned reading Fireworks magazine during my summer holiday. Of course, I had a playlist on my phone to pass away the time on the plane and whilst chilling by the pool or on the beach. That playlist consisted of the following:

Gioelli- Castronova – Set The World on Fire

Radioactive – F4ur

Two Of A Kind – Rise

Killer Bee – Cracked Up

Guild Of Ages – Rise

Heartwind – Higher & Higher

Universe Infinity – Rock Is Alive

Mass – When 2 Worlds Collide

P.A.L. – Prime

Dare – Out Of The Silence II

Sister Hazel – Water & Wind EPs

The Senior Management – Heart & Soul

Daughtry – Cage To Battle

Airrace – Untold Stories

Hartmann – Hand On The Wheel

The album that really impressed me the most was The Senior Management. When I first read about the band’s country influenced AOR it didn’t sound all that promising, but maybe I should have remembered that Dark Horse are also a favourite of mine. I don’t know if there is such a thing as innovation in AOR these days, but adding a little country element to the mix certainly made this my fave holiday listen.

Nightwish – Ghost Love Story Live

I’m not sure how I stumbled across this, but there seems to be a bizarre thing on YouTube called reaction videos where you watch someone watching a video for the first time. Quite a few of the ‘watchers’ seem to have chosen the live version of Nightwish’s Ghost Love Score from Wacken 2013, which I believe was Floor’s first concert with the band. Everything, including a light show that is perfectly synchronised with the music, just seems to combine to yield an epic performance.

Some YouTube Surfing

I was sitting yesterday morning surfing through my YouTube feed and bookmarked the following:

Sons Of Apollo

An all star line-up featuring PORTNOY, SHEEHAN, BUMBLEFOOT, SOTO, SHERINIAN. One of my favourite singers fronting a band that sounds like early Dream Theater, should be a dream come true? I’ve listened to this a couple of times and I’m not sure its working for me. Maybe when I listen to the whole album it will click.


Boulevard

Of course, I’m a sucker for pure AOR and Boulevard are one of those bands that I always had on my list to check out, but never did. I guess I can now.

Robin Beck

Still love the voice, but this song isn’t that special.

Dan Reed Network

A little funk AOR is always welcome.


Eden’s Curse

Not sure why, but it looks like Eden’s Curse have re-recorded their debut album.

Accept

I was reading about these guys in the latest edition of Powerplay magazine. Always welcome in small bursts.

Exit Eden

Whilst the idea seems great, I guess it all depends on how much you like your pop songs messed with, assuming you are familiar with them in the first place!

Crazy Lixx

A bit of cheese is welcome.

Innuendo

Quite a few weeks after Brett Richey got in touch to say that they have a new album out, I finally got a chance to check it out.