Chequered Past

Whilst having a look through youTube I came across these guys who were a fusion of metal and punk. It was a combination that few appreciated, including, by the sound of a another interview video I came across, band member Steve Jones. I liked the album, including this cover of a Waylon Jenning’s song.

Gathering Of Kings – First Mission

I only picked up on this recently. It is a Phenomena style project featuring a variety of Swedish musicians and vocalists. Right from the off the tracks have a retro in your face AOR meets hard rock vibe. The following video perfectly illustrates what is on offer.

Degreed – Ruins

Ruins is the new track from Degreed.

Mats from the band describes it as follows:

“Ruins is a song about mine and Robins hometown and how it is in many smaller towns – the stores close and the people move to the cities to find jobs.
It’s about growing up in the little town and loving it and still loving it even though the houses fall apart and the people you knew have moved.
Ruins is starting off softer and ending up in a big chorus – It’s a little bit pop and a little more rock all mixed into one, there’s something in it for everyone!” –

Burning Rain – new album on the way

Burning Rain have a new track called Midnight Train released, which I assume means a new album is also on it’s way. I have to admit that these guys, featuring Doug Aldrich, have passed me by. I’m now going back and listening to their previous album, Epic Obsession. A bit of retro Whitesnake meets Led Zep action, which I should have picked up on earlier.

New Dream Theater Song – Fall Into The Light

Dream Theater have released another song, Fall Into The Light, from their forthcoming album. If the first track, Untethered Angel, didn’t fill you with excitement, then this one might do the trick. The extremely fussy Dream Theater fans seem to be generally giving this one the thumbs up. Jordan Rudess does some really nice playing in the final section of the song.

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!!!

New Evergrey album due in January

If dark melodic metal is one of your preferred genres, Evergrey have released the first track from their forthcoming album, “The Atlantic”, which is due in January 2019.

Getting funky

Two names from the past cropped up this week, both known for putting a funky edge to their brands of rock. First up were a band I’ve mention before, but the Electric Boys’ new album is now released.

Next up Dan Reed Network have new album called “Origins”.

A welcome return from both bands.

Misthaven – Aces Review

Misthaven is a female fronted band from Campobasso in Italy. They started out in 2014 and there have been a few personel changes before they got to the point of this self released debut album. The band describe themselves as alternative rock, listing influences such as Evanescence, Alter Bridge and Halestorm.

I quite like Lizzy and her band, I have listened to Evanescence occassionaly, but don’t recall ever listening to Alter Bridge. When I first did a search for the band the term symphonic metal came up as a description for the band which to be honest, together with this list of influences, didn’t fill me a great deal of hope as that is a crowded genre in which it is difficult to standout.

Against these low expectations, I wasn’t surprised when the first few songs didn’t do that much for me. The more gentle approach during the 4th song “Sunwarmth” changed my mind somewhat. The next song “Won’t Look Back” also has a lighter feel to it, but it isn’t until the straight forward rock of “Melted Past” that it feels the band have started to hit their stride. When we reach “In Time” the vocals are starting to grow on me and it reminds me of Judie Tzuke to conjure up a name from the dim and distant past.

Then the slow piano of “On Springs and Hopes” really showcases the vocals which have just enough edge to show emotion. If you listen on Spotify and let it continue beyond the end of the album, Kate Bush will feasture at some stage and this song does remind me of her. This slower vibe is continued with the acoustic guitar led “Watch Over You” which keeps things simple and builds nicely.

“Here Comes War” combines that light and shade of the preceding track with a mixture of soft and heavy styles which perhaps hints at the direction the band hope to pursue on future albums.

There is a stange combination going on here, the vocalist excels when the music is minimal. The guitarist sounds like he would prefer to be in a 80s metal outfit. It is almost as if you can hear the band working out their preferred style as the album progresses. Everytime I listen to this is takes me a while to get into it, with the second half containing all the highlights for me and when it ends I’m left with a postive impression.

Frontiers combinations

Froniters have a long history of creating collaboration albums with varying degrees of success it has to be said. Two of the most recent are Steve Overland with Robert Sall in Groundbreaker and Ronnie Atkins with Erik Martensson in Nordic Union.

Both of these are solid melodic rock albums which sound just like you expect them to. Not groundbreaking, but well worth a listen.

O.O.D.’s The Disorder out now

O.O.D. describe their music as in a niche that fits somewhere between rock and metal and have been compared to King’s X, vintage Metallica and Motley Crue. The vocals do kinda remind me of King’s X.

Another Magnum live album

Magnum have a live album called “Live at the Symphony Hall” released on 18 Jan next year. The single below features Tobias Sammet.

Vision Quest self-titled debut

Vision Quest are to release their self-titled debut on Rockshots Records. A rock opera inspired by the 1985 coming of age drama “Vision Quest” and bands such as Magnum, Kansas and Asia. They describe is as a “epic journey into melodic rock”. Let’s hope they can live up to the tagline. We will find out on 14 Dec.