Medicine Wheel – Medicine Wheel (Demo CD)

Medicine Wheel – Medicine Wheel (Demo CD)

Tracks:
 

  1. Reason
  2. Overflow
  3. When Tomorrow Comes
  4. Perfect World

Album Cover:

Label: AC/DC Records 
Producers: Medicine Wheel
Year:
1998

Total Playing Time: 18:12 m:s

Review date: 8 April 1999

Web site:

Email: dbova@dot.net.au

Rating: 8
Verdict: Not typical Mood Swings material, but I see Medicine Wheel as a very commercially viable prospect.
Medicine Wheel formed in early 1998 and are based in Sidney Australia. The band consists of:

Luke O’Shea – singer, songwriter, guitars & keyboards
David Sleishman – drums (of Sleishman Drums)
David Bova – guitar
Marcel Wall – bass

With this review there is the possibility of Mood Swings getting all hip & trendy. Medicine Wheel are playing in the same ball park as bands like Matchbox 20.

‘Reason’ is an acoustic based rock song that oozes Matchbox 20, Hootie etc. Despite the fact that this isn’t a style of music that I listen to a great deal, I found myself getting drawn into the music. It is a mid-tempo tune that has some lead guitar that will help the more rock oriented Mood Swings readers come on board. ‘Overflow’ features a rowdy chorus that gives it almost a ‘folky’ feel. ‘When Tomorrow Comes’ is an uptempo tune that uses a ‘yat, yat a dat, yat yat a dat’ style chorus to surprisingly good effect. Once again the song has a singalong feel. ‘Perfect Word’ sees the band back in more contemplative mood. The only tune where I feel the band veer toward the non-descript meandering that typifies this type of music.

I’m in danger of getting shot down in flames by the more metal & AOR oriented Mood Swings readers, but I like it.

Mister Kite – Diary Of A Stranger (Demo CD)

Mister Kite – Diary Of A Stranger (Demo CD)

Tracks:
 

  1. Strangers
  2. God Only Knows
  3. Here I Am

Album Cover:

Label:  
Producers: Mister Kite
Year:
1999

Total Playing Time: 11:59 m:s

Review date: 8 April 1999

Web site: http://welcome.to/misterkite

Email: misterkite@hotmail.com

Rating: 7
Verdict: Mister Kite better the first demo by improving the song writing this time.
No sooner have I posted a review of the first Mister Kite demo I received, when another one drops through the letterbox.

‘Strangers’ is a slow number in the same vein as Metallica’s ‘One’. At only 2 mins long it acts as a prelude to ‘God Only Knows’, which continues the theme before launching into more familiar Mister Kite territory as heard on the first demo. That slow deliberate approach is still in evidence. This time the guitar playing is more restrained and the overall impression is of a more structured song. ‘Here I Am’ shows the band continuing to develop their own style.

This time out Mister Kite do better job at developing their own style, which, with my somewhat limited knowledge of metal these days, sounds like a slower, more progressive, version of Metallica. My only complaint is than the whole thing sounds a bit doom laden. Despite the fact that I’ve given this the same rating as the first demo, I think there are definite signs of progress.

Rating: 7

Mister Kite – Angels Falling (demo CD)

Mister Kite – Angels Falling (demo CD)

Tracks:
 

  1. Suckerered
  2. Angels Falling
  3. Feels Like Dying

Album Cover:

Label:  
Producers: Mister Kite 
Year:

Total Playing Time: 15:50 mins:secs

Review date: 12 Feb 1999

Web site: http://welcome.to/misterkite

Email: misterkite@hotmail.com

Rating: 7
Verdict: Mister Kite are developing a slow to mid-tempo style of hard rock with a few progressive tendancies
Mister Kite consist of:

  • Alf Wemmenlind : Voice
  • Mats Bergentz: Drums
  • Anton Johansson: Bass
  • Magnus Kristensson: Guitar

Mister Kite formed a couple of years ago & are from the south of Sweden. As well as playing local gigs, they’ve supported Bruce Dickinson, Aces High & Helloween. This CD represents their first journey into ‘demo-land’.

The bands main influences would appear to be from ‘classic metal’ acts like Rainbow, Rush and Deep Purple. Mister Kite will appeal to the more metal orientated Mood Swings readers.From what is on offer here the band appear to be developing a slow to mid-tempo style of hard rock with a few progressive tendancies.The guitar player gets to ‘let loose’ on most tunes.

Suckerered is a slow brooding bassline driven affair.

Angels is the best track. At 7 mins it is quite long. Once again a slow deliberate approach is taken before the band crank it up, using a very Rush-like riff, for the chorus. A few progressive tendencies show through in this song.

The opening of the final track, Feels Like Dying, really bugged me for a while & it was just while I was typing in the review that I reckonised a Ritchie Blackmore influence on the guitar part. Other comparisons could probably be made to Hughes Thrall. This track picks up the pace slightly. Perhaps the demo’s least convincing track as it sound a little too like Deep Purple.

On the first two tracks the band are on their way to establishing a style of it’s own, which I find fewer and fewer bands doing these days. The band tell me that they have already started work on another demo. I will certainly be interested in hearing how the band are progressing. In the meantime, surf on over to the band’s web site and hear what Mister Kite sound like for yourself.

Cry Havoc – Cry For Help (Demo)

Cry Havoc – Cry For Help (Demo) 

Tracks: 

Cry For Help (Intro)
I’ll Be There
Rescue Me
Holding On To Your Dreams
I Need You
Heart On My Sleeve

The Band:


[Image]

 

Label:  
Producers: Rico Capuano & Cry Havoc 
Year: 1998 

Total Playing Time: 29 mins

Review date: 27 Aug 1998

Web site: http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Backstage/2643

Email:

Rating: 7/8
Verdict: There is certainly enough on here to make me think that the debut album will be well worth investigating when it comes out.
I’ve been posting news stories about Cry Havoc for a while now, courtesy of the Now & Then email newsletters. With this demo, I finally get to hear what they sound like. A 4-piece formed in 1994 & hailing from Glasgow. The band’s objectives are to mix the rawness of Tesla, the melody of Journey, the big sound of Van Halen and the commercial qualities of Bon Jovi. The band signed with Now & Then Records in December 1996 and they start recording their debut album later this year, with a spring 1999 release expected. To keep Cry Havoc in the minds of rock fans until the album is released, the band are making this demo available on CD.

The intro track, Cry For Help, is a little soundbite worthy of the X-files. The band then hit us with an uptempo piece of melodic hard rock called I’ll Be There. The sense of melody is helped along by plenty of harmony backing vocals. To prove their versatility they follow this up with a ballad, Rescue Me. Next up is the band’s trump card – Holding On To Your Dreams. Right from the first time I played this tape, this was the standout track. It just jumps out of the speakers and grabs your attention. High energy melodic hard AOR, with the vocals doing a great job. For me, it tends to overshadow the rest of the songs on the demo. I Need You is another ballad. Heart On My Sleeve is another rocker, hard rock with AOR vocals.

The uptempo numbers work the best, with Holding On To Your Dreams being particularly good. If you like your music to rock, but still be packed with melody in the vocal department, then Cry Havoc are a band for you to check out. There is certainly enough on here to make me think that the debut album will be well worth investigating when it comes out. And if you can’t wait that long, there is always this demo to keep you amused until then.

Unruley – 3 track demo tape

Unruley – 3 track demo tape

Tracks:

I Like It
It's Too Late
Don't Mess With My Girlfriend

The two main guys in Unruley are the Sinopoli brothers – Joey on guitar and vocals and Nicky on bass, along with Ray Saura on drums and Arron Czyk on lead guitar.

They’re new names to me, but if you bought the self-titled Baton Rouge album, then you might recognise Joey from his involvement in the writing of the Love By The Numbers track. Several co-writes with Jack Ponti are also being considered for the next Alice Cooper album. They’ve also shared the stage with Jon Bon Jovi, Ace Frehley, Skid Row, Cinderella, LA Guns and Kix.

The 3 songs on the offer are melodic hard rock. I’d describe them as radio friendly, but I’m not sure that radio stations are friendly to rock music these days. The band quote David Bowie, Kiss and Queen as amongst their influences. They describe Don’t Mess With My Girlfriend as Kiss meets Alice Cooper meets Alice In Chains. I don’t hear the AIC, but I’m perfectly happy that I don’t. A lightweight Kiss is how I’d describe them. All the songs are the type of music I like to listen to and catchy enough for me to remember the chorus. It’s Too Late is the strongest track.

If I owned a record label (in my dreams), then I’d certainly be getting in contact with the band representative (and backing vocalist), Rick Mulholland (Struceng@aol.com), to find out more about the band.

Rating: 8

Jan 1998 update on the status of Unruley:

The Sinopoli brothers are reforming the most popular line up of their previous band, Sinopoli. They will soon be playing shows and releasing a compilation of their old material in the spring. The band was fairly popular in the New Jersey bar scene in the late ’80s. Two EPs sold about 5,000 copies before the band called it quits in 1991. UNRULEY will also continue, so I guess you could say that the Sinopolis will be very busy in 1998.

Blackmail – Female Impersonator

Blackmail – Female Impersonator


[Image]
Tracks :-

Female Impersonator
Demon’s Hide
I Become
World Of Misery

Total playing time : 20:21 (mins:secs)


Producer : Blackmail & Ove Svensson
Label : Ransom Records
Year : 1996

A change from the usual style of music reviewed in Mood Swings. So, who are Blackmail ? They’re a bunch of young Swedish guys who describe their music as ‘Heavy and progressive, Hard Rock’ (that’s progressive with a small p).

First up is the title track. With a title like Female Impersonator I didn’t listen too closely to the lyrics. A couple of relatively quiet seconds, before we launch into a grinding metal song, which has a few more quiet passages dispersed throughout just in front of the choruses. About the only band from the whole thrash movement, who I can actually get to grips with is Metallica. It’s not surprising then, that they spring to mind when listening to these guys. Imagine if Metallica or Megadeth updated their sound to take on board elements of post grunge/alternative rock.

Demon’s Hide is more of a straight ahead heavy, and I mean heavy, metal approach. You know why Metallica are about the only thrash era band I can stand ? Well, it’s simply that James Hetfield can actually sing. With Sepultura, Napalm Death and even Megadeth, it’s virtually impossible to decipher what the vocalists are ranting on about. With Blackmail, the singer manages to keep things on the right side of the grunt/singing line. I Become is another ultra heavy assault on the ears.

World Of Misery retains many of the qualities of what’s gone before, but with a more traditional flavour. This is the best song on offer and the one that shows the most promise. Any band that samples Monty Python must get some points for coolness.

I have to say that I rarely listen to anything this heavy, although you’ve probably noticed reviews of Metallica and Dream Theater (the only band get a rating of 10) in Mood Swings. There are elements of Metallica and Awake-era Dream Theater in here, that why I like this one. This sort of music only works for me with a really good production job to convey the power in the music. Given the fact that this is on Blackmail’s own label, which I assume meant a tight budget, I amazed that the production is so good.

I’d have liked to have seen a little more variety on offer, but I recognise that this is difficult to do in only 4 songs and still get across what that band is really all about. I’d like to see how they fare on a whole album’s worth of material. At the end of the day it’s just a tad on the heavy side to suit my personal tastes and the rating reflects this.

Rating : 7

If you’re interested in this one, then go to the Links page where you can surf on over to their web site.

November – Demo Tape

November – Demo Tape

A list of song titles wasn't provided, so here are my guesses:

I Won't Turn Away
New Day Rising
September
When It All Comes Crashing Down
Here Comes The Rain Again
The Flower
Welcome To The Revolution
Why Do We Die So Young
The Wicked Man

Blane Gilbert, the drummer with November, first got in contact with me following my review of Rainbow’s Stranger In Us All. Luckily he hadn’t actually heard the album yet or he might have been one of the several irate Rainbow fans who thought I was rather harsh in my comments. Anyway, based upon my comment in that review about Rainbow’s Gates Of Babylon being a candidate for my Top 10 favourite songs, he suggested I might be interested in hearing a demo by his band November.

His first attempt at sending me the tape failed due to the US postal service. Several months later he decided to try again. This time I received the tape. In fact, the wait had been beneficial because the band had remixed the tape in the intervening months.

Having listened to the tape over the last month, my one line description of November is – ” traditional hard rock with a twist of the 90s”. I was listening to the track called September when I realised that the guitar playing reminded me of The Scorpions. Having made that association, on subsequent listens to the tape I heard this influence on several of the other tracks as well. Elsewhere I hear elements of Rainbow/Dio and Black Sabbath. I’m sure there are further comparisons I could make but these are enough to give you an idea of where November are coming from. So where does the twist of the 90s come into the equation? At first I thought it was the vocals, but now I’m beginning to think it’s the pace of the songs. I think all I’m trying to say is that somehow November have a slightly modern approach to what is basically traditional hard rock.

For me, the highlights occur at the start of the tape with songs like I Won’t Turn Away, New Day Rising and September. These are the most immediate numbers.

This is the first time I’ve reviewed a demo tape. So I’m not quite sure what to expect in terms of sound quality etc. I guess something along the lines of radio sessions might be a good reference point. The cymbals are too high in the mix for my tastes, but I think the same thing when I listen to Van Halen records and it hasn’t exactly held them back.

At one stage my tastes in music had drifted away from traditional hard rock towards AOR. Now I use the term Melodic Rock to describe what I listen to. Any traditional hard rock CDs I’ve bought in the recent past have been older albums, usually replacing vinyl. I can’t remember the last time I bought an album by a new band playing this genre of music. So whenever November get a record deal and release an album will I go out and buy it? Yes! There’s not really anything more I can say, that’s the ultimate question.

Rating: 8

If you’re interested in this one, then go to the Links page where you can surf on over to their web site.

Hunted – Crawl

Hunted – Crawl

Tracks:

Strangers
Judgement
Jump The Gun
Swing Of The Pendulum
Zachary Jazz
Take Me Back
Wish U Wuz Ded
Tattoo
Baby
Victim
Richman Jnr
Answer My Prayer
Mister Religion
LFK
El Salvador
Slaughterhouse Field
See You

Time: 68:22 m:s

Producers : Hunted & Allan Keen
Label: Primate Records
Year: 1995

I hadn’t heard of Hunted until mainman Andy Milsom got in touch to find out if I’d be interested in including a review of their album in ‘Mood Swings’. Since then I’ve seen an extremely positive review of their album in Hard Roxx.

Hunted hail from Bristol, England and were winners of BBC Radio 1’s Rock Wars in June ’93, which earned them a Radio 1 session. In the next couple of years there was some record label interest, but a deal didn’t materialize. This album features songs written and recorded in various sessions between ’93 and ’95. In the face of record company apathy, the band put this out themselves in 95. The band is still unsigned and is about to go into the studio to record a second album.

If you want to find out about the band then why not surf on over to their web site. The first thing you will notice is a ‘BritRock’ gif. BritRock makes me think about bands like Skunk Anansie and Terrorvision. Both of these have been fairly successful at making it into the charts, but neither particularly strike a chord with me.

A couple of listens and I think the BritRock tag is misleading. Maybe I just have the wrong idea about BritRock, it might be as simple as being about being a British rock band, but I’ve got this idea in my head that it’s got something to do with the type of music that evolved from grunge as well. Hunted is a good, almost old fashioned, British rock band. The band has obviously used this self-financed album to display the fact that they are fairly adept at a number of musical styles. In fact, they remind me of a time when a band was a rock band and you didn’t immediately try to pigeonhole them.

Let’s get the short quirky tracks out of the way. Zachary Jazz is a short jazzy vocal number in the same vein as Slaughter finished off their first album. Richman Jnr is a brief instrumental. LFK and EL Salvador feature some samples.

Strangers, Judgement, Swing Of The Pendulum, Take Me Back, Wish U Wuz Dead, Tattoo are all best decribed as hard rock. Judgement really annoyed me for quite a while. I knew that it reminded me of another band, but couldn’t think who. Finally, it dawned on me that it was Kiss Of The Gypsy. Swing Of The Pendulum starts of with a big Rainbow style Arabic flavour guitar intro, before continuing the Arabic flavour in a Diamond Head sounding rocker. Wish U Wuz Ded has a memorable chorus that wouldn’t have been out of place on an early Thunder album and is guaranteed to stick in your head.

When it comes to ballads, it would appear that Poison are the biggest influence. Jump The Gun is the first example and See You is another drop of Poison.

A couple of tracks hint at a punk/new wave influence somewhere in their past. Complete with John Lydon style vocals, the Sex Pistols get a bit of a revival on Victim. In days gone by it might have made it into the charts. Slaughterhouse Field is a modern sounding tune that could be by Terrorvision.

Baby sees the band veering close to Dan Reed territory. Mister Religion has REM vibe to it – REM meets Thin Lizzy.

So out of all that lot my favourite tracks are Jump The Gun, Swing Of The Pendulum, Wish U Wuz Ded and Mister Religion.

Tracks that don’t work for me are Take Me Back, Tattoo (sounds like playing fast just for the sake of it) and Answer My Prayer.

Keeping all the bases covered, there’s even a couple of snippets of music waiting for you after the end of track 17.

With the variety on offer, there should be something for everyone on this. The band are about to go into the studio to record material for a second CD. It’s a shame they aren’t doing this with record label backing. It will be interesting to see how the second album turns out. I hope they keep up the variety and that they don’t change their style in an attempt to secure a record deal.

Rating: 8

If you’re interested in this one, then go to the Links page where you can surf on over to their web site to get details on how to purchase it.