Yngwie J Malmsteen’s Rising Force – Alchemy

Yngwie J Malmsteen’s Rising Force – Alchemy

Tracks:

 

  1. Blitzkreig
  2. Leonardo
  3. Playing With Fire
  4. Stand (The)
  5. Wield My Sword
  6. Blue
  7. Legion Of The Damned
  8. Deamon Dance (7,105,726)
  9. Hanger 18, Area 51
  10. Voodoo Nights
  11. Asylum

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

Label:  Dream Catcher
Producer:  
Yngwie Malmsteen
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 68:17 m:s

Review date: 08/02/2000

Web site: www.yngwie.com 

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Rating: 60%
Verdict: Strictly for existing Yngwie fans.

 

 Considering the length of time Yngwie has been making albums and the length of time I’ve been listening to hard rock, it is a bit surprising that this is the first Yngwie album I’ve bought.

Opening track, “Blitzkrieg”, starts the album off in typical neo-classical style with Yngwie’s guitar emulating a violin as he races up and down the fretboard for this instrumental. Vocalist Mark Boals first sees action after the Gregorian chant which starts off “Leonardo” dies away. Mark’s style of singing is in the higher registers which suits this style of music. From this point onward it is really a case of a neo-classical hard rock assault on your senses with Yngwie taking every possible opportunity to display his undoubted guitar skills. Mark Boals and the rest of the band do an excellent job of providing the necessary background, but there is no doubting the star of the show. There isn’t a great deal of variety on display and the pace never really drops below frantic. Stuck in the middle of this is an instrumental called “Blue” which has a more sensible pace and which interjects a sense of melody to proceedings. The culmination of all activity is the instrumental final track, “Asylum”, which ranges from a reckless display of fretboard racing at the start, through some slower classical guitar to the suitably dramatic ending where Yngwie is off on a speed mission again.

I’m sure existing Yngwie fans will love it, but the faint hearted or casual listener will find this fairly inaccessible. I’m left thinking that maybe that covers album he did a while ago would have been better introduction to his work for me.

PV – Create Your Lover

PV – Create Your Lover

Tracks:

  1. Summer Days
  2. Create Your Lover #2
  3. The Things You Do
  4. While You Sleep
  5. Create Your Lover #1
     

Album Cover:


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Label:  
Producer: Morton Arnetvedt, Iver Sandoy & PV
Year: 1999
Management: BigWave Productions

Total Playing Time: 19:40 m:s

Review date: 03/02/2000

Web site:

Email: bigwavebuz@aol.com 

Rating: 82%
Verdict: Refreshingly good.

 

PV is a singer/songwriter from Scandinavia. This CD marks his first solo outing. Helping PV out on the records are Paul Nelson, Jannicke Larsen, Morton Arnetvedt, Iver Sandoy, Inge Rypdal and Dag Oyvind Rebnord.

 Last month I was struggling to come to terms with Harem Scarem’s increasingly more modern tact and their adoption of a power pop style. It is strange that when this slice of modern rock-pop made it into my CD player that I had no problems embracing it.

It is hard to describe just what is at the centre of PV’s sound as it changes across the songs on here. The first track, “Summer Days”, lilts in on some female vocals and then some acoustic guitar before it ends up as a vaguely jazzy Westcoast-AOR, but mainly pop tune. On “Create Your Lover #1″, which strangely comes before #1, PV’s voice takes on a Leonard Cohen/Nick Cave quality as it sits upon some sparse acoustic guitar. After this, the bright infectious uptempo “The Things You Do” comes as a bit of a surprise. PV shares the vocals with Jannicke Larsens for this jangle-ly  guitar driven pop which call to mind The Bangles. “While You Sleep” has another moody start before becoming a slow atmospheric tune. “Create You Lover #2″ at first replaces the acoustic guitar of #1 with a piano, but gradually picks up more instruments and tempo as it progresses, before fading out in a very Jean Michel Jarre fashion.

As you can see PV crams quite a bit into just 5 songs, but somehow there is a continuity to it all. I find listening to this refreshing. It is good to know that it is possible to create a record with a sound for Y2K that isn’t simply a clone of the Foo Fighters etc.

Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory

Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory

Tracks:

  1. Regression
  2. Overture 1928
  3. Strange Deja Vu
  4. Through My Words
  5. Fatal Tradedgy
  6. Beyond This Lide
  7. Through Her Eyes
  8. Home
  9. The Dance Of Eternity
  10. One Last Time
  11. The Spirit Carries On
  12. Finally Free
     

Album Cover:


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Label:  Elektra
Producer:
Mike Portnoy & John Petrucci 
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 77:06 m:s

Review date: 15/01/2000

Web site: www.dreamtheater.net, www.onceinalivetime.com 

Email:

Rating: 89%
Verdict: A concept album masterpiece!

 

“Falling Into Infinity” was a relative failure for Dream Theater. The band, partly as a result of record company pressure, adopted a more ‘commercial’ and accessible approach. In complete contrast, this time out they’ve released that most inaccessible of rock forms – a concept album. For the concept, the band looked back to the “Metropolis” track on the “Images & Words” album. I won’t spoil your fun by going into detail on the storyline, but it is based around traveling back to a past life using hypnosis.

Concept albums are an often traveled road for bands with progressive tendencies. Whilst other bands might try to claim otherwise, DT have admitted having a corner in the recording studio called ‘inspiration corner’ which was filled with covers from albums like Pink Floyd – The Wall, Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime, Marillion – Brave etc.

Those influences come through in the music, mixed of course with Dream Theater’s own inimitable style. It almost goes without saying on Dream Theater albums, but playing on this is very impressive. I remember listening to the Liquid Tension Experiment album and thinking how well Jordan Rudess gelled with the DT guys. As you probably already know Jordan Rudess has replaced Derek Sheridan on keyboards and is now a fully paid up member of DT. He fits in well and his style seems to be more suited to DT. In terms of the music, DT have managed to take the best from the past DT albums to create a stunning musical landscape.

Dream Theater have created a concept album that must surely rank as one of the greatest of all time.  If ever the phrase “a masterpiece” was used to describe a concept album, then Metropolis Pt 2 deserves this description. I’m sure many will call this the peak of DT career to date. My personal preference would be to have a more “uplifting” storyline as the basis for the concept.

As a concept album this is brilliant, but the lyrics and individual songs suffer by being forced to fit in with the storytelling format. That is why “Images and Words” is still my top DT album. Indeed, whilst I’m going to enjoy listening to this album, what I’m really looking forward to is the next regular DT album with this band line-up. I’ve got the feeling the next album could well rival I&W in the affections of those of us who prefer music in a more conventional format.

Bother – Losing Time

Bother – Losing Time

Tracks:
 

  1. Free
  2. Solitude
  3. Return To Athens
  4. Losing Time
  5. Faith

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

Label:  Bother
Producer:  
Matt Buras & Jeff Wojtowicz
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time:  30:24 m:s

Review date: 12/01/2000

Web site: www.botheronline.com 

Email: 

Rating: 66%
Verdict: A progressive metal act with a refreshingly original approach. Bother concentrate on the metal of ‘progressive metal’.

 

Bother are a progressive rock/metal band from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, who started playing together in 1995. The band consists of Sean McKnight (vocals), Marty Earhart (guitar), Mathew Rubright (guitar), Matt Zawila (bass) and Luis Castrillon (drums).

Whenever a new progressive metal band comes to my attention, these days I immediately expect yet another Dream Theater clone. Bother avoid this pitfall by employing two guitarists and dispensing with the services of a keyboard player. Indeed, for want of a better comparison, my initial shot at describing the Bother sound involved mentioning early Metallica. I think this initial impression was compounded by the somber lyrics which all focus on looking on life from a fairly jaded viewpoint. It was actually when I was listening to the new Dream Theater album, just after listening to Bother, that it stuck me that a few DT-isms do creep into Bother’s work, but I don’t think I’d have noticed under other circumstances.

Whilst there are examples of shredding guitar passages, Bother thankfully stick to regular song structures and don’t forget that they’re playing songs. I find many progressive acts simply create musical passages, which (possibly) other musicians can appreciate, but which leave the rest of us fast asleep. Singer, Sean McKnight, keeps the vocals in the middle registers which gives the album a slightly modern feel. One of the problems I have with many progressive metal acts, e.g. Fates Warning, are ridiculously the high pitched vocals.

The first couple of tracks, “Free” & “Solitude”, are slow to mid-tempo numbers that feature some heavy duty riffing. At 8:26 m:s “Return To Athens” is the most obviously progressive track on the album. Although the track does contain the obligatory tempo changes, the overall feel is more urgent than the opening duo. With about 2:30 m:s to go the guitars ‘come out to play’ and the song terminates in suitably heavy style. The title track reminded me in places of Awake era Dream Theater. The final track, “Faith”, continues to stick to the formula established earlier, but is the track which comes closest to having a ‘hook’.

In a genre where many new acts seem content to plagiarize from Dream Theater, Fates Warning etc, it is good to see Bother forging their own path. Although I’m not adverse to the odd touch of metallic riffing, that path is erring on the heavy side for my personal tastes. Perhaps a little bit more variety might have I led me to a different conclusion. For those of you with a more metal orientated outlook than myself, Bother are a band to investigate. I will certainly be keeping an eye on what the band get up to in the future.

This self-financed EP-length debut CD is available through the Bother web site and www.CDbaby.com .

Harem Scarem – Rubber

Harem Scarem – Rubber

Tracks:

  1. It’s Gotta Be
  2. Who-Buddy
  3. Coming Soon
  4. Stuck With You
  5. Sunshine
  6. Face It
  7. Trip
  8. Pool Party
  9. Headache
  10. Somebody Else
  11. Enemy (bonus track)
     

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

 

 

Label:  Warner Music
Producer:
Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance 
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 43:34  m:s

Review date: 12/01/2000

Web site: www.warnermusic.ca/harem/index.html 

Email:

Rating: 71
Verdict: Harem Scarem go power pop and for the most part succeed.

 

Just before the release of this album Harem Scarem changed their name to Rubber. However, for the release of the album in Japan they decided to stick with their old moniker for a while longer. When the album (or some variation of it) is released in Canada, it will be as Rubber. The whole name change is a pretty stupid in my opinion, but my view of why they did it is, that it is an attempt to say to fans that they’ve moved on since s/t & Mood Swings and that this is now the style of music they want to write. I guess they just got fed up with everyone asking if the next album was going to be Mood Swings Pt 2,3,4…..

Harem Scarem have modified their style for every album to date and Rubber is no exception. Rubber sees the band playing power pop. Whereas their last album still had a rock feel to it, Rubber edges the band into the land of pop. They’ve kept the great vocals and harmonies which makes this instantly recognizable as a Harem Scarem record. The biggest disappointment is that Pete Lesperance’s guitars take a real back seat.

When it comes to thinking of comparisons, well I’m struggling because simply don’t listen to much power pop. Elsewhere I’ve seen the Foo Fighters and Marvellous 3 used as comparisons.

“It’s Gotta Be” is an uptempo power pop tune that sounds pretty uninspiring at the start, but does get better by the time the chorus arrives. On the next couple of tracks (my favorites), “Who-Buddy” and “Coming Soon”, I actually hear a little bit of country creeping into the formula and I’m reminded of the Jayhawks or someone like that. On “Coming Soon”, and later on “Sunshine”, Del Amitri’s brand of rock-influenced guitar pop also springs to mind. “Stuck With You” & “Face It” increase the pace and feature some of those great HS vocals. On “Trip” there is a real Cheap Trick vibe going on and this track is the one with the most obvious rock feel to it. My reaction to the first two thirds of the album is positive, but end of the album sees my attention fading. “Pool Party” is the low point of the album for me. Very average power pop with a few tempo changes thrown in. I was channel hopping on the TV the other night and came across a program about UK new wave/punk band The Jam. Listening to “Headache” I can hear a few similarities. There seems to be a Ska-type rhythm going on in the background. If the Jam were still going today, then Paul Weller & Co. might be churning out stuff like this. On the acoustic guitar ballad, “Something Else”, a boom/echo on the drums detracts from the song. The final track, “Enemy”, is described on the cover as a bonus track and features what by this stage I’ll describe as anonymous power pop.

Harem Scarem have been hedging their bets between the worlds of rock and pop with the past couple of releases. With the name change and the release of this album it looks like they’ve jumped off the fence and planted their feet firmly in the world of pop. This style of power pop isn’t something that I’ve investigated too much. However, by following Harem Scarem/Rubber, I’ve ended up listening to something different. If a new band called Rubber, that I knew nothing about, came on the scene playing this type of music, I don’t think I’d have paid much attention.

This band called Rubber have created a good album of power pop and to be honest with anything I’d call ‘pop’ I’m happy if I like most of the tracks for a couple of months (maybe even a few weeks). Whenever I get bored I can always move onto something else. On this level HS/Rubber have succeeded. However, it is impossible not to think of the earlier albums. Voice Of Reason, for example, which I’ll admit I hated when I first heard it, took me about 3 years to get into. It is one of those albums you can revisit a multitude of times and still find something new each time. I don’t think I’ll be doing the same with Rubber.

Even with a ‘bonus’ track this only clocks in at 43 min, so I guess that means that a few new tracks have been held back for whatever HS compilation the record company can think of next and for the Canadian/European release of the album which is bound to have a different track listing to this. With all this talk of Rip-off Britain in the press, makes me think music fans should have their own expression – “Rip-off Harem Scarem”.

Jimi Jamison’s Survivor – Empires

Jimi Jamison’s Survivor – Empires

Tracks:

  1. Cry Tough
  2. Run From Thunder
  3. I’m Always Here
  4. Empires
  5. First Day Of Love
  6. Have Mercy
  7. Just Beyond The Clouds
  8. A Dream Too Far
  9. Love Is Alive
  10. November Rain
  11. Calling America
  12. Burning Heart
  13. Rebel Son
     

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

 

Label:  Frontiers Records
Producer:  
Klay Shroedel
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time:  58:03 m:s

Review date: 05/01/2000

Web site: www.frontiers.it 

Email:

Rating: 94%
Verdict: Top class AOR – crammed full of killer tunes.

 

Survivor’s Vital Signs album is somewhere in my list of Top 10 albums and I rate Survivor above the mighty Journey as THE definitive AOR band. So this album had some high expectations to meet to convince me it was worthy follow up to Vital Signs, When Seconds Count, Too Hot To Sleep etc.

“Cry Tough” starts up and it’s great to hear that Survivor vibe on some fresh material. Think what you like about the whole name business but just hearing Jimi’s voice make you think about all those classic Survivor tunes. On “Run From Thunder” things get even better. This is maybe a little heavier than expected. “I’m Always Here” is the Baywatch theme slightly reworked. Surprisingly it doesn’t sound out of place here. I’ve always liked this song. “Empires” is a splendid ballad with Lisa Frazier complementing Jimi’s voice beautifully. “First Day Of Love” starts off like something from Vital Signs before getting surprisingly heavy yet retaining a sense of melody. “Have Mercy” changes pace a few times, but is a good AOR rock tune. “Just Beyond The Clouds” is a ballad. “A Dream To Far” is a mid-tempo AOR rock tune that rocks out more that expected. A little bit of funk gets added on “Love Is Alive”, but it doesn’t quite work and the song is just about the only one on the album to lack impact. The acoustic guitars of the ballad “November Rain” creates one the album’s sparser moments. “Calling America” is a cover of the Tom Cochrane tune. Live versions of “Burning Heart” and “Rebel Son” are tagged on the end of the album, presumably to remind us of Survivor’s past triumphs, but really aren’t needed as the new material stands perfect well on it’s merits.

Without the presence of Jim Peterik & Frankie Sullivan, apart from song writing credit on “Empires”, many question whither or not the use of the name “Survivor” is justified. Whatever the rights or wrongs, the bottom line is that this is a great album which is a successful follow up to previous Survivor releases.

Bobby Kimball – All I Ever Needed

Bobby Kimball – All I Ever Needed

Tracks:

  1. ‘Till Tomorrow
  2. All I Ever Needed
  3. My Kinda Lover
  4. Two Souls
  5. This Time
  6. Kristine
  7. Live The Groove
  8. Do You Ever
  9. Loves Gonna Find A Way
  10. Hand In Hand
     

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

Label: Point Music/AOR Heaven
Producer:  
John Zaika & Bobby Kimball
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 50:18 m:s

Review date: 05/01/2000

Web site: www.bobbykimball.com
www.point-music.com
www.aorheaven.com 

Email:

Rating: 70%
Verdict: Some good ballads, but unlikely to have much appeal outside Toto fans.

 

Point Music/AOR Heaven have picked this one up for distribution in Germany and other European territories and have spruced up the artwork, liner notes etc. Bobby Kimball is one of Toto lead singers and featured on their last release “Minefields”. Bobby has enlisted the help of Starship’s Mickey Thomas to useful effect on a few of the tracks.

Surprisingly, not that much Toto or Toto related material has found it’s way into my collection, despite the fact that they up there with Journey, Survivor, Styx etc when AOR reigned supreme in the 80s. Of course, it is only relatively recently that I’ve found myself gaining some appreciation of Westcoast style AOR.

” ‘Till Tomorrow” starts the off the album in a mid-tempo Toto westcoast groove, which is pleasant, but maybe lacks the impact that an opening number should have. The title track is a big keyboard driven ballad which outclasses the opening easily. The album is fairly mellow affair with quite a helping of ballads. These ballads are where the album excels. “Two Souls” is a slow smoochie number with a soulful feel. On the biggest ballad, “Kristine”, which features piano, strings etc, Mickey Thomas shares lead vocals. This is easily the album’s highlight. There are yet more ballads in the form of “Do You Ever” and “Hand In Hand”. Whilst other artists might struggle to maintain interest with so many ballads, Bobby manages to carry it off with style.

The remainder of the tracks didn’t capture my interest quite so much. The funky horn driven “My Kinda Lover”, the swirling keyboards and funk guitar of “Live The Groove” and “Love Gonna Find A Way” all didn’t match the standard set by the ballads. Only the Toto/Huey Lewis “This Time” seemed to come close

For me, I’ve got to be in the right mood to get into this album. There are some very impressive ballads on here and the mid-tempo westcoast style number merely serve as adequate filler as far as I am concerned. I’m not sure how much appeal this will have outside existing Toto fans.

Jaded Heart – IV

Jaded Heart – IV

Tracks:

 

  1. Live And Let Die
  2. Hey God Don’t Hesitate
  3. Way Back Home
  4. Stonecold
  5. When You Hear The Thunder
  6. Ain’t A Perfect World
  7. With Your Eyes
  8. But You Like It
  9. Take My Soul
  10. She’s A Woman
  11. Behind Your Pride
  12. Easy Lover
     

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

Label:  MTM Music
Producer:  
Bobby Barth
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 66:25 m:s

Review date: 05/01/2000

Web site:

Email:

Rating: 74%
Verdict: Jaded Heart get the “Bobby Barth” treatment and give us some muscular hard rock/AOR.

 

From the reviews I’d read of their previous albums, plus maybe hearing a track or two from samplers, I had dismissed Jaded Heart as being second division players and only of interest to those truly in love with continental hard rock.

This album sees the band signed to MTM and they’ve traveled to Bobby Barth’s NEH Studio to record the album and let Bobby do the knob twiddling. As you might expect Jaded Heart have taken on some of the characteristics of GOA/CITA and Axe in the process. The result is a beefy full sound that I get the feeling their previous recordings were lacking. If you like muscular hard rock/AOR with good vocal harmonies then Jaded Heart deserve your attention.

“Live And Let Die” get proceedings off to a cheesy start with a kid’s choir at the start of the tune before it develops into a solid mid-tempo rocker. More heavy happenings occur in the form of the Aerosmith influenced “Hey God Don’t Hesitate”, “When Your Hear The Thunder”,  the catchy “Ain’t A Perfect World” which all work well. “But I Like It” is a fairly standard slice of Euro-rock that gets rescued by a decent chorus. The heaviest tune is “Take My Soul” which mixes Metallica and CITA. “Behind Your Pride” is the remaining rocker and features a slightly more subtle approach.

On the ballad front there is the power ballad “Way Back Home”, the semi-ballad “With Your Eyes” and the blues of “She’s A Woman”.

That just leaves the two most talked about songs on the album – “Stonecold” and “Easy Lover”. These are of covers of the Rainbow and the Phil Collins/Philip Bailey tunes. Jaded Heart have chosen a couple of great tunes to cover. Unfortunately for Jaded Heart the original artists did brilliant versions in the first place and these cover versions end up sounding a bit on the clumsy side. The result is that, instead of being content with the covers, you’re left itching to hear the originals.

Don’t be put off by what you may have heard about those cover versions, Jaded Heart’s own material is worth investigating for those with a liking for hard hitting melodic hard rock/AOR.

Robin Brock – Blame In On Rock & Roll

Robin Brock – Blame In On Rock & Roll

Tracks:

  1. PickBoy Rules
  2. She’s Outta Control
  3. You Lost Your Heart
  4. Rockin On The Ariwaves
  5. I Lied
  6. Burning Up
  7. Just A Fantasy
  8. If I Can Forget
  9. Lipstick And Lace
  10. It’s My Heart
  11. Drowning
     

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

 

Label: A2 Records 1999

Total Playing Time: 47:20 m:s

Review date: 04/01/2000

Web site: www.assassignation.co.uk 

www.robinbrock.com 

Email:

Rating: 76%
Verdict: If you’re missing Pat Benetar & Heart, then Robin’s album is definitely well worth checking out.

 

Singer/Songwriter Robin Brock had already released her debut album in her native Canada, when it came to the attention of Assassination Music in the UK who signed her to the newly formed A2 Records.

When it comes to female vocalists, it is the country arena that has been grabbing my attention recently with Shania Twain and Faith Hill. It made a pleasant change to hear someone successfully approaching things from a rock perspective again. On the rockier numbers Robin sounds like Pat Benetar and the on the slow, more AOR, numbers like Heart’s Ann Wilson. That’s a combination that is hard to ignore.

“Pickboy Rules” is a bit of shock to the system when you first hear it. A surprisingly heavy instrumental introduction. From then on it is a mixture of rockers and ballads with Robin sounding like the singers mentioned above. “Rockin’ On The Airwaves” is one of the more catchy numbers and I think it is lined up to be a single. “I Lied” beats it to the best song on the album award. The Heart-style mid-tempo AOR number has been used in the soundtrack to the film “Out Of This Mind”. “Burning Up” is the rockiest tune of offer and it is the type of rock ‘n’ roll rocker that sounds like a Poison tune. A few tracks, “She’s Outta Control”, “Just A Fantasy” and “It’s My Heart”, have a real 80’s AOR feel to them.  The trashy “Lipstick & Lace” and  the ballad, “Drowning”, weren’t to my tastes.

Robin has a great voice and it is good to hear some classy female AOR again. This is a good album and I think fans of 80’s AOR divas Pat Benetar and Heart will welcome it with open arms. 

Mariah’s Trench – Beyond Orgasm

Mariah’s Trench – Beyond Orgasm

Tracks:

  1. You’re The One
  2. Throw Your Stone
  3. Upon The Mighty Wind
  4. Attack The Deceiver
  5. I’ll Climb The Clouds
  6. I Believe It’s True
  7. Dreams Will Fade
  8. The Dogs Of War
  9. The Pharoah’s Message
  10. Endless Voices
  11. Sword Of Justice
     

Album Cover:


[Image]

 

Label: Frenzy Feed Records 
Producer:  
Mark & David Watson
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 45:12 m:s

Review date: 04/01/2000

Web site: www.frenzyfeed.com 

Email:

Rating: 65%
Verdict: Intelligent hard rock that is at it’s best on the slower numbers.

 

Mariah’s Trench is a band put together by David Watson, with Bruce Michael Paine helping on vocals and David Johan on guitars. David Watson doubles up on both these and plays everything else himself. David is known as the “Rockin’ Doc” as he has trained as a medical doctor. This is the second Mariah’s Trench album.

The first thing that struck me about the album has nothing to do with the music. I like the art on the album cover. Some bands and record labels don’t seem to pay much attention as the how their product looks. It is good to see someone making the effort to make an album look attractive.

Mariah’s Trench play what I’ll describe as guitar orientated rock. Their brand of hard rock/metal always has the guitars to the fore. It is one of those albums where it obvious that the guitar player is the main songwriter. When it comes to comparison Diamond Head meets MSG is the best I can come up with.

“You’re The One” starts the album off in an uptempo fashion. The track is a fairly ordinary start and doesn’t really show the band in their best light. More metal orientated listeners may find them more appealing, but I found the faster tracks fell into the ‘ok’ category. The final rocker “Sword Of Justice” fares best, mainly due some blistering guitar soloing.

On the second track, “Throw Your Stone”, the pace slows and the effect is immediately more pleasing. I’m reminded of early-MSG. When “Attack The Deceiver” starts up it is clear to me that everything seems to gel much better on the slower numbers. The lead guitar really kicks in about a minute from the end to bring this track to a climax. “I’ll Climb The Clouds” and “The Dogs Of War” are slow-ish instrumentals with just a smattering of spoken samples, which highlight the guitar playing abilities of the “Rockin’ Doc”. It looks like the band feel happiest on the more deliberately paced numbers and they stick with the same style on “I’ll Believe It’s True” and “Dreams Will Fade”. “Endless Voices” is yet another successful slow rocker that features some good guitar work.

If you prefer you metal/hard rock in a slightly more intelligent guise, ala Diamond Head or MSG, then Mariah’s Trench are worth checking out. 

The band are featured on www.mp3.com, so surf on over there to find out what the band actually sounds like.