Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

CD review THE WINERY DOGS "Unleashed in Japan - Live"

Veröffentlicht am 21. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, CD Review, News, Hardrock, Rock, Dream Theater

(8/10) There are three 'supergroups' at the moment which go into a similar direction. We are talking about California Breed and KXM who release(d) their first studio records in May. Next to those two there are The Winery Dogs who published their debut a year ago.

The allstar band around Billy Sheehan, Richie Kotzen and Mike Portnoy also has a new disc out on the market. It is a live recording from a show in Japan. You could think about, why releasing a live disc with one album? What is the benefit?

I will not focus in this review too much on the already known songs (see the review link to the debut album further down) since the joy of the live album is that 5 out of the 10 songs haven't been released by The Winery Dogs earlier. There is with "Shine" a Mr. Big track on the live album. "Stand", an acoustic ballad, actually comes from Kotzen's time with Poison and "You can't save me" is taken from his solo record "Into the black. In addition to that there is the Elvin Bishop cover "Fooled around and fell in love". Eventhough those songs aren't totally new it is exciting to listen to the versions with a The Winery Dogs approach.  All those covers are very well done and fit to the setlist very easily. The Winery Dogs make those songs their won and interpret them in their own style. This goes esp. for the Elvin Bishop cover, in which the trio adds a hardrock component to the soul foundation of the original tune. Well done and at least as good as the original. With "Criminal" the live gig also included a non-album track. The track is a cool blues based rocker with a great chorus which reminded me to the earlier Whitesnake ("Fool for your lovin"). Sounds cool.

The production of the live album is very authentic. The sound reflects the live atmoshere pretty well and I don't think that there have been a lot of adjustments afterwards. Probabaly this was also not needed looking on the experience and capabilities of the three musicians.

As an extra benefit the live album comes with a CD 2, which is the bands debut album in its full length. Of course only a benefit if you don't call this fanastic debut not your own already.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

CD 1:

  1. Elevate
  2. Criminal
  3. Time machine
  4. I'm no angel
  5. Not hopeless
  6. Stand
  7. You can't save me
  8. Shine
  9. Fooled around and fell in love
  10. Desire

 

CD2:

  1. Elevate
  2. Desire
  3. We are one
  4. I'm no angel
  5. The other side
  6. You saved me
  7. Not hopeless
  8. One more time
  9. Damaged
  10. Six feet deeper
  11. Time machine
  12. The dying
  13. Regret

 

Label: Ear Music

Genre: Hardrock

CD review THE WINERY DOGS "Unleashed in Japan - Live"
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CD review U.D.O "Steelhammer - live in Moscow"

Veröffentlicht am 21. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in UDO, Accept, Heavy Metal, CD Review, News

(7/10) The German with the raspy voice is back - Udo Dirkschneider. The undestoyable 'German tank' with the significant vocals is releasing another live album end of May. This time it's recorded in Moscow, Russia. The new live record is already number six in the last thirteen years which is maybe a bit too much. So there was a need to change something this time for making the album still interesting for fans. And what was changed was the setlist. 

Surprisingly there is almost no Accept song part of the tracklist. This might be disappointing for some older fans, but  those can of course still go for the earlier live releases. The only Accept track this time is "Metal heart" - that's it. The focus goes more on the latest studio album "Steelhammer". Makes sense, since it was the promotion tour for this album and these tunes haven't been on former live records either. The rest of the tunes are a kind of 'best of', mainly from the earlier U.D.O. days. It is for example a nice thing to hear songs like "They want war" again. But also songs like "Timebomb", "Holy" and "Mean machine" are always a pleasure to listen to again. Also not that often played anthems like "No limits" found a spot on the setlist.

"Steelhammer - live in Moscow" became a live album which is, due to the setlist, definitely interesting for all die-hard U.D.O. fans. For all the others it's maybe a bit less exciting, esp. if you call one of the earlier live albums already your own.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Intro
  2. Steelhammer
  3. King of mean
  4. Future land
  5. Cry of a nation
  6. Trip to nowhere
  7. They want war
  8. Never cross my way
  9. Stranger
  10. Stay true
  11. In the darkness
  12. Azrael
  13. No limits
  14. Mean machine
  15. Burning heart
  16. Metal machine
  17. Devil's bite
  18. Go back to hell
  19. Timebomb
  20. Holy
  21. Metal heart

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review U.D.O "Steelhammer - live in Moscow"
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CD review MARTY FRIEDMAN "Inferno"

Veröffentlicht am 20. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Marty Friedman, Heavy Metal, CD Review, News

(9/10) One of the best guitarists, Marty Friedman, worked on his new solo album, which is out in the stores now. 

 

I don't have to tell you a lot about the guy. At least everybody who's interested since a longer time in metal should know the six stringer from Cacophony, but also from his years with Megadeth. It was the end of the 80's when quite some talented shred guitarists got a place in the spot light. It was the time of Tony McAlpine, Jason Becker, Vinnie Moore,.... and Marty Friedman.

 

Friedman's new stroke of genius is called "Inferno" and I have to say that nomen et omen in this case. It's an acoustical inferno in a positive sense.

 

The smart thing Friedman did is to mix instrumental tunes and songs which include vocal parts. The album starts furious. "Inferno" and "Resin" are two instrumental which are breathtaking fast and those songs prove why Friedman belongs still to the best shred guitar players in these days. It's the mix between neo-classical elements and some thrash riffs, which makes the tracks very exciting and energizing. These two anthems could be your acoustical caffeine shot in the morning. The first songs with vocals are coming half way. They are placed at the right spot in the playlist. For "I can't relax" Friedman managed to gain Danko Jones for the job behind the mic. The song is an acoustic version of a hyperactivity syndrom. You can feel the uneasiness while listening to the track. "Meat hook" provides another break in the pattern of the album. Friedman and Jorgen Munkeby, which you might now from Shining, created a metal/jazz melange which at least I haven't heard before in such a way. This tune shows that there can be chaos with structure. There are certain moments when you think, that the musicians get lost in creative improvisation. But the moment you have this idea they find back to the basic pattern and the structure. Another songs which works pretty well too is "Sociopaths" with vocals from Revocation guitarist and singer David Davidson. The rough vocals and screams from Davidson are an excellent chosen contrast to Friedman's filigree way of playing guitar. The last positive surprise pops up closer towards the end of "Inferno". Jason Becker, who has to suffer from the ALS-syndrom, was able to compose "Horrors" together with Marty Friedman. It's great that those two companions got that chance to do write together again.

 

"Inferno" contains an interesting mix of songs, all hold together by the guitar of Marty Friedman. And since "Inferno" has some songs including vocals, the album becomes more interesting for a broader targetgroup than 'just' guitarists. I like the album.

 

 

(9/10)

 

 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Inferno
  2. Resin
  3. Wicked panacea (feat. Rodrigo y Ganriela)
  4. Steriodhead (feat. Keshav Dhar)
  5. I can't relax (feat. Danko Jones)
  6. Meat hook (feat/ Jorgen Munkeby)
  7. Hyper doom 
  8. Sociopaths (feat. David Davidson)
  9. Lycanthrope (feat. Alexi Laiho & Danko Jones)
  10. Undertow (feat. Gregg Bissonette & Tony Franklin)
  11. Horrors (co-written by Jason Becker)
  12. Inferno (Reprise)

 

 

Label: Prosthetic Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review MARTY FRIEDMAN "Inferno"
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CD review GUANO APES "Offline"

Veröffentlicht am 19. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Guano Apes, Rock, Alternative Rock, CD Review, News

(8/10) If you have not been stranded on a desert island for the last two decades you know the Guano Apes. Actually is was 20 years ago that the band from Göttingen, Germany started their success story. Selling in total more than 4 million records as well as getting an MTV Music Award means something. This doesn’t come from nothing. After an eight year long break Guano Apes released in 2011 their fourth album – “Bel Air” – and now it’s time for a new highlight.

The title of the new disc is “Offline”. A well chosen one, which reflects on the information overflow in these days and the need to escape from that. Have some offline moments.

The album is more straight forward than the predecessor. I think that on “Bel Air” the band was more searching their position after the longer breaks. The album felt to me like a mix of many different and creative ideas. Compared to this “Offline” became a really rocking album which is right to the point. Maybe the tunes are a little bit less diverse than on the earlier release, but this, on the other hand, also makes the album easier approachable.

One of the songs I really like on the new album is  "Like somebody". The tune reflects a lot the trademarks of the German quartet. It has the pumping and grooving bassline combined with Sandra very unique vocal. Those two things make the song so typical Guano Apes. With "Close to the sun" the album has another highlight which reminds me a bit to "When the ships arrive" from "Bel Air". The track is a cool mid-tempo rocker with an awesome chorus. With "Fake" the album has a mean and dirty song which hits the bull's eye. With the unleashed energy coming with the track it's a potential highlight in the upcoming live shows. "Jiggle" sounds probably most like the earlier Guano Apes. The song is easy and complex in one. Yes, I know. This sounds like a contradiction, but eventhough the tune has different layers it sticks directly. Hard to stand still during this song attacks your ears and brain. After this rock'n'roll storm the closer brings you back again into a more mid-pace environment. "The long way home" is an almost chilling tune with a good melody that makes you almost dreaming. But actually all songs are really good. Small thing I miss are the real screams from Sandra, which she was so unique for in the earlier days. But hej, Guano Apes got also more mature over time too and they still rock. That's cool.

Unfortunately the album isn't too long. It's just 40 minutes and another two songs would have been a nice extra. The production is beyond a shadow of a doubt very good. It's actually really energizing and spot on.

So, put the disc into your player, press the ‘play’ button, go offline and enjoy ‘Offline”.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Like somebody
  2. Close to the sun
  3. Hej last beautiful
  4. Numen
  5. Cried all out
  6. It's not over
  7. Water wars
  8. Fake
  9. Jiggle
  10. The long way home

 

Label: Epic / Sony Music

Genre: Rock

Photo: Harry Weber
Photo: Harry Weber

Photo: Harry Weber

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CD review KXM "KXM"

Veröffentlicht am 19. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in KXM, King's X, Lynch Mob, Dokken, Korn, Hardrock, Rock, Alternative Rock, CD Review

(9/10) Is KXM a new supergroup? I don't know. Are they a bunch of experienced guys? Absolutly. Are they playing cool music? Of course they do.
KMX is the name of the new band which was formed by three well-known guys. Doug Pinnick from King's X, George Lynch from Lynch Mob/Dokken and drummer Ray Luzier from Korn. That's also where the band's name comes from. It's an acronym out of the bands the guys are involved. The K comes from Korn, the X comes from King's X and last but not least Lynch Mob delivers the M to KXM.
This combination of styles sounds already like 'wow'. Considering all the different styles coming together by the three guys the result must be impressive. And it is. 

It was in the beginning of 2013 when the idea about KXM was born. The three guys started to jam together. No clear goal in mind, just enjoying the moment of making music, they started. Since the flow of creative output didn't want to stop the result of these sessions is the 12 tracks long debut of the band.
Their sound is pretty unique. Modern metal element from Korn which are also coming back in Lynch's unique guitar sound, are part of the sound as well as the more complex song structure from King's X and the screaming guitar from George Lynch. The result is an explosive mixture, reflected in tunes like ...

"Stars" is the first track on the album and sets the scene for the rest of "KXM". The structure of the song is a bit complex aft er the first listening session. But over time it becomes a really great tune with an enormous groove and a modern guitar riff from Lynch. "Stars" sounds a bit like a jam session. Another great tune is the ballad "Never stop". It's an accoustic guitar beauty with some country feeling and a lot of passion. Ballads can become sometimes just boring stuff on a rock album, but KXM made it a highlight on their debut. "Faith is a room" is another cool track. It is darker than the other ones and has a pounding rhythm. It's irresistable. Also "Do it now" is remarkable. The song has a bit of a sleazy hardrock charme with a partly dominating part which is in interaction with Lynch's guitar play. The little bit gloomy vocal line gives another extra to the track. Those songs are quite representative for the entire album. It's highly entertaining and pleasure for your ear canals.

It took me a few rounds to figure out the entire beauty of the musical gem. Maybe you have the same and my advice is to not give up. This is an album which wants to be discovered and not just listened to.


(9/10)



Tracklist

  1. Stars
  2. Gun fight
  3. Rescue me
  4. Never stop
  5. Faith is a room
  6. I'll be OK
  7. Sleep
  8. Love
  9. Burn
  10. Do it now
  11. Human frcition
  12. Tranquilize
  13. Resecue me (radio edit)



Label: Rat Pak Records
Genre: Hardrock

CD review KXM "KXM"
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CD review AVATAR "Hail the apocalypse"

Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Avatar, Modern Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) I haven't known Avatar before and when I got the new album I was curious what to expect. Based on the cover my thoughts went into a wrong direction. Not pirate style traditional metal came out of the speaker, it was riff based modern metal with rough vocals and a full sound. Very cool.

 

The band is based in Gothenburg, Sweden and was founded already in 2001 by John Alfredsson. They started with death metal the Gothenburg style before they adjusted their direction. This change was also accompanied with some line-up changes, but in the end the result is convincing enough to justify the new sound.

 

It's the mix and the diversity of different sound elements which makes this disc standing out from a lot of other releases in modern metal. "Death of sound" e.g. is a real sick tune. With the bass lines and the interlaced songstructure it reminds even a bit to System Of A Down. Something totally different is "Tsar boma" - the song has German lyrics which are arranged in a way that they almost could come from Rammstein. It's a funny intermezzo which sounds like Rammstein on a modern metal trip. The guitarlines in "Get in line" remind a bit to the German metal institution too. With the industrial beat and the hard riff the song also shows some Rob Zombie trademarks.

"Puppet show" reflects a circus or funfair in the musical part. Almost with a polka rhythm the song sounds different from the others. A Volksfest vibe is immediately present. In the end even a horn section finds its spot in the tune. Actually the song reminds partly a bit to the legendary Leningrad Cowboys. Cool and standing out. Towards the end it becomes dark and gloomy. "Something in the way" and esp. "Tower" are slower songs which spreads a real threatening sphere. They sound damn cool and the keys/samples create a drastic scenario. The closer is for me actually the best track on the album.

My question is, why the band needs such a 'carneval image' and all this masquerade. This looks a bit ridiculous to me and takes away attention from the really good songs. These tunes, jeans and t-shirt would deliver enough quality for a successful career.

 

"Hail to the apocalypse" is afresh and modern metal album which has a lot of surprises. As soon as you think you know how the band sounds they come with a new twist. Everything is hold together by the vocals from Johannes Eckerstrom and the approach of being unpredictable. Interesting to follow this band in the future.

 

 

(8/10)

 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Hail the apocalypse
  2. What I don't know
  3. Death of sound
  4. Vultures fly
  5. Bloody angel
  6. Murderer
  7. Tsar bomba
  8. Puppet show
  9. Get in line
  10. Something in the way
  11. Tower

 

 

Label: Gain Records

Genre: Modern Metal

CD review AVATAR "Hail the apocalypse"
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Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN , De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,

Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Gus G., Firewind, Marty Friedman, Heavy Metal, Live Review, News, Ozzy Osbourne

Guitar, riff and shred night in Holland. The motto could have been 'Let the f**king guitar scream'. Why? Because two of the best guitarists decided to play a co-headliner tour. Marty Friedman, well known from Megadeth, Cacophony and his solo releases, as well as Gus G. (Ozzy Osbourne, Firwind, Nightrage) decided to combine forces on a tour through Europe.

It was Gus G. who had the honor to open this evening in De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Holland. To my surprise the venue was only fiiled half. Strange for a Friday night, but it might be that the good weather dragged people more to the beach than to the concert venue. Anyhow, own bad luck if you missed the show. The gig of Gus G. was full of highlights. Not enough that the guy from Greece is a real guitar wizard. He found with Mats Leven also a partner in crime behind the mic. This combination is a killer. Of course Gus showed what we he can do with his six string instrument, but he gives enough space for the others too and his songs are real metal anthems and not only a sequence of soli. The voice of Mats fits perfect to this approach and it's the combination which made already Gus' first solo release so cool. And they all breathe metal from the beginning till the end. All four guys on stage gave they very best, looked for interaction with the fans and delivered an energetic and authentic stage acting. Pure heavy metal. The setlist was a mix between solo material, combined with Firewind tracks and also stuff from Ozzy ("Crazy train") and Thin Lizzy. The sound was heavy and crystal clear. After an hour the last metal rocket was ignited and it was time to prepare the stage for the next highlight of the evening. Actually it was not a lot to change but there was still a 30 minutes break. I think, that this was mainly to give the rhythm section the time to recover, since the two guys have been the motor of both shows.
 

 

Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,
Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,

I haven't seen Marty Friedman live so far. Of course I know him from his Cacophony times with Jason Becker as well as from his Megadeth years. But I was curious about his solo live performance. I can conclude already at this stage of the review that it was a great experience to see him live. It became obvious again, why Marty, who live in the meantime in Japan, is one of the best shred guitarists on this planet. Metal riffs and soli en masse in sometimes an unbelievable speed made the crowd go wild. Next to Friedman another guy made the long trip from Japan to Europe. Takayoshi Omura joined Friedman on the tour and also did a great job. He is quite popular in his home country and got the chance to show all his capabilities during „Ripped“ where he played an awesome solo. The highlight came in the end of the show. Marty Friedman invited Gus G.and Mats Leven to join the stage again. This means that we had a triple axe attack for the final song of the night. They all jammed together „Symptom of the universe“. A magic moment.

A confusing moment at the end of the evening was when the band left the stage, the general light was still turned off and the fans screamed for an extra encore. There was hope, but after a minute the light was turned on and it became obvious that this was it. Actually you could see the disappointment in the faces of some fans and it would have been nice to reward their enthusiasm with an extra song.

All in all it was another great night in De Boerderij and it was a pleasure to be part of this fireworks of riffs. These guys have passion and dedication for what they are doing and I appreciate this a lot.  Thums up.

Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,

Setlist Gus G:

  1. My will be done
  2. Eyes wide open
  3. Blame it on me
  4. Vengeance
  5. Summer days
  6. Just can't let go
  7. Hollywood
  8. World on fire
  9. Fire & fury
  10. Terrified
  11. Into the void
  12. Redemption
  13. I am the fire
  14. Crazy train

 

Setlist Marty Friedman:

  1. Hyper doom
  2. Steroidhead
  3. Stigmata addiction
  4. Elixir 2014
  5. Amagi goe
  6. Kaeritakunattayo
  7. Inferno
  8. Ashes
  9. Forbidden city
  10. Tornado of souls
  11. Ripped
  12. Devil take tomorrow
  13. Ballad of the Barbie bandit
  14. Symptom of the universe

 

Location: De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands

Date: 16.05.2014

Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,
Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,
Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,
Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,
Live review GUS G. / MARTY FRIEDMAN ,  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, 16.5.2014,
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CD review SABATON "Heroes"

Veröffentlicht am 16. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Sabaton, Power Metal, CD Review, News, Heavy Metal

(7/10) Next round for the power metal band from Falun, Sweden. Or should I say: the next battle to fight for the guys in the camouflage pants?

Sabaton had an enormous increase in popularity over the last years. In my point of view this has mainly to do with the fact, that their power metal has a highly melodically component, which makes the music and the songs easy accessible for a broader fan base.

Beside the fact that Sabaton doesn't have a fixed keyboarder at the moment, not a lot of things changed. They reached a level of stagnation and repetition, eventhough on a high level. The missing keyboarder led to the fact that guitars are more in focus compared to the latest release, which makes "Heroes" a bit more heavy and basic. Something which fits the band very well.

The sound of the album is excellent too. Peter Tagtgren did an excellent job and gave "Heroes" the volume, power and heaviness which a band like Sabaton needs.

The songs on the album follow the same pattern as we know it from the band from the last years. Very melodic power metal anthems with hooks that definitely do their job. The melodies stick to your mind from the very first moment and I can imagine, that the tunes work out live pretty well.

Already the opener contains all Sabaton trademarks. "Night witches", which is about a Soviet bomber regiment with the same name, comes with the bombastic sound and the arching harmonies which are so typical for the guys from Sweden. "No bullets fly" keeps the melodic approach but reduces the speed a bit. The keys are more dominant than with the opener, but the song still rocks. Having a ballad is something which isn't so usual for Sabaton. This time they have one of them on the album. "The ballad of bull" is the name of the tune and it's full of cliche and pathos. For me a bit too much and overdone. It reminds to the newer Manowar - if you understand what I mean. But again, the music is pretty cool and catchy.

Next to the powerful songs there are still things which I don't like with Sabaton. When it comes to the new album I must say that the cover choice for the earbook isn't really clever. The martial expression combined with the 'S' in the middle feels strange. I don't like that. But that's peanuts. Where I even have a bigger problems with is the fact that Sabaton combined 'happy' sing-along music with lyrics about war and historical abominations. This just doesn't go together, eventhough the lyrics mostly focus on resistance and 'heroes'. To swing and sway to these lyrics stays weird. The whole things reached its peak in "Inmate 4859".

To conclude: "Heroes" became from a musical standpoint a good power metal album; maybe a bit weaker than the predecessor but far better than a lot of other releases in this genre. The lyrics and the image of the band are for me still conflicting with the music.

Generally spoken it seems to me that the band is a bit on the same trip as Manowar - image, lyrics, stagnation, own festival,... I hope that they don't end up like the band from New York (by the way. I still love the early Manowar releases).

The ones who likes the former releases of Sabaton will also enjoy "Heroes" and all the other ones will still go for other bands. That's life. Stagnancy - for the good ot the bad.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Night witches
  2. No bullets fly
  3. Smoking snakes
  4. Inmate 4859
  5. To hell and back
  6. The ballad of bull
  7. Resist and bite
  8. Soldier of 3 armies
  9. Far from the fame
  10. Hearts of iron
  11. 7734
  12. Man of war

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Power Metal

 

 

CD review SABATON "Heroes"
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CD review POP EVIL "Onyx"

Veröffentlicht am 15. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Pop Evil, Modern Metal, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, CD Review, News

(9/10) As a metalhead you are at least hesitating while readin 'pop' in whatever context. But of course 'pop' isn't a bad thing in itself. Honestly I think that each metalhead has also pop music faves - but nobody mentiones them normally ;o) Anyhow, here we have a band called Pop Evil. What should we expect from a band with such a name? I was doubting what I will get to hear after putting the disc into the player. And I was surprised after I have heard the first notes and songs. It is really good stuff.

After listening to the album from the Michigan, USA based band I have to say that I like what I heard. And the name of the band expresses the style pretty well too. If 'evil' represents the metal side and 'pop' says that it is popular music the whole story makes sense all of a sudden. Pop Evil takes on "Onyx", their third album, the heavy riffs from metal and combines them with a popular sound. I could imagine that "Onyx" is an interesting piece of music for a quite broad targetgroup of fans.

When I checked out the album I had to think from time to time about Linkin Park in their earlier phase and Papa Roach. Sometimes they also sound like a really rocking version of Nickelback. More general Pop Evil plays a mix between Nu Metal, Modern Metal and traditional hardrock. This is an explosive melange which is a treat for your ears.

The opener "Goodbye my friend" rocks pretty hard and has with its dominant bassline a great groove. The rough vocals from Leigh Kakaty, sometimes even screams, do the rest for a good start into the disc. An Alter Bridge alike ballad "Torn to pieces" is also part of the album as well as the real Nu Metal tunes like "Divide" with it's special vocal lines and the dynamic rythm section. A track with some parallels with the earlier mentioned Linkin Park. "Sick sense" is probabaly one of the hardest songs on the album. The song really explodes in the chorus and spreads hell of a lot of energy. 

There are also grunge elements in the songs from Pop Evil. They are just used here and there. Listen to the verse of "Deal with the devil" and you know what I mean. Alice In Chains could have been the blueprint for this tune. But Pop Evil doesn't copy. They give the track a nice twist in the chorus, which is more hardrock than grunge. And the whole things fits together. And last but not least Pop Evil got also support from six stringer Mick Mars from Mötley Crüe on "Boss's daughter", the last song on the record.

"Onyx" became a fresh and modern album which finds the right balance between heavy, modern and melodic. Since it is their third album, the one that decides about success or failure, I could see them as the next big thing. Check it out.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Goodbye my friend
  2. Deal with the devil
  3. Trenches
  4. Torn to pieces
  5. Divide
  6. Beautiful
  7. Silence & scars
  8. Sick sense
  9. Fly away
  10. Behind closed doors
  11. Welcome to reality
  12. Flawed
  13. Last man standing
  14. Monster you made
  15. Boss's daughter (feat. Mick Mars)

 

Label: Eleven Seven Music

Genre: Modern Metal

CD review POP EVIL "Onyx"
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CD review NEIL SCHON "So U"

Veröffentlicht am 14. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Neil Schon, Journey, Bad English, Hardline, Hardrock, Blues, CD Review, News

(8/10) I don't think, that I have introduce Neil Schon to you. The six stringer from Oklahoma City gained a lot of reputation with Journey - the band he had the biggest successes with. Other highlights in his discography are the two genre highlights of Bad English and the legendary "Double eclipse" from Hardline.

On his solo release Schon goes more back to the roots. He pays more attention to the basic rock feeling merged with some blues elements. This gives the album a more basic character compared to Journey. Schon also got the right musicians together for such an album. The bass was played by Marco Mendoza (Black Star Rider, ex-Whitesnake) and Deen Castronovo handled the drum sticks, both guys (esp. Mendoza) rooted in metal, rock and blues.

One of the best songs on the album is "What you want". I like the hooks and the thrilling spirit of the song. It has a classic rock expression which reminds a bit to Led Zep and Deep Purple. "Love finds a way" - the title gives you already an idea about the song. It's a romantic ballad with an awesome melody.  Something nice to listen to. Two out of the nine songs are instrumental. I prefer the furious and rocking "Exotica"  more than the closer "Big ocean". It's nothing wrong with the last mentioned one, but I think it's a bit misplaced in the end. It sounds more like a too long outro to me. This impression gets even stronger by the fact that "Serenity" as well as "Shelter" are really straight forward hardrockers which take no prisoners.

All in all I like the songs and I like the album. "So U" is a solid rock album with a good vibe. Not more, but also not less.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist
  1. Take a ride
  2. So U
  3. Exotica
  4. What you want
  5. Love finds a way
  6. On my way
  7. Serenity
  8. Shelter
  9. Big ocean
 
Label: Frontiers Records
Genre: Hardrock 
 
 
 
 
CD review NEIL SCHON "So U"
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CD review TIMO TOLKKI'S AVALON "Angels of the apocalypse"

Veröffentlicht am 13. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Timo Tollki's Avalon, Startovarius, Heavy Metal, Melodic Metal, CD Review, News

(6/10) Oh man. Another album of the egocentric Finnish guitar wizard Timo Tolkki. The second album of his band/project called Avalon got the title "Angels of the apocalypse". Honestly, I think it's at least in parts more an oath of manifestation. I'm old enough to remember the great times Tolkki had in the early years of Stratovarious and the awesome records he released with the band. But those moments are history. Reality looks different.

Starting with the good thing. Tolkki managed to get a lot of guest into this project. It's mainly vocalists he worked together with. Those are pretty diverse and with different backgrounds. Floor Jansen, Simone Simons and David DeFeis from Virgin Steel are just some of them.

Actually the start of the album isn't too bad. "Jerusalem is falling" is a cool opener with epic guitar soli and good harmonies. But you have to go first through the intro, which is an a capella one, sung by Fabio Lione. The guy can really sing. This is what he has proven with Rhapsody Of Fire and Angra. I just wonder why his voice sounds so forced and fragile in this intro.  It's not the Lione I know. David DeFeis did a really good job on "Rise of the 4th Reich" and adds some extra quality to a pretty standard tune. It almost feels a bit like wasting his voice in such a song, but at least he got the chance to show the width of his vocals. Unfortunately Floor Jansen didn't get this opportunity. If you know her from ReVamp and you know what she can do with her voice it is  almost penal to not use this potential. Just listen to "Design the century" and you know what I mean.

What I also have to criticize is the flat and powerless sound on the album. This is everything but not a good example. I think it would have been better of Tolkki would have sticked to the guitar and not take over the producer role too.

So we can conclude that the new Avalon album isn't a milestone in symphonic power metal. It comes with some interesting guests who do their best in trying to make some average tunes more exciting. "Angels of the apocalypse" is one of the first disappointments for me in 2014. Another missed chance for Tolkki.

(6/10)


Tracklist:

  1. Song for eden
  2. Jerusalem is falling
  3. Design the century
  4. rise of the 4th Reich
  5. Stargate atlantis
  6. The paradise lost
  7. You'll bleed forever
  8. Neon sirens
  9. High above of me
  10. Angels of the apocalypse
  11. Garden of Eden


Label: Frontiers Records
Genre: Symphonic Metal

 

CD review TIMO TOLKKI'S AVALON "Angels of the apocalypse"
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CD review OUTLOUD "Let's get serious"

Veröffentlicht am 13. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Outloud, Firewind, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, CD Review, News

(6/10) Outloud is from Greece and they are in business already since six years. Founded by six stringers Tony Kash and Bob Katsionis (Firewind) the band focus on melodic rock, mainly based on the 80's rock. Over time the line-up changed a bit and it is in these days vocalist Chandle Mogel and guitarist Bob Katsionis who can be seen as the driving forces behind for Outloud. 

As we speak the band releases their third album called "Let's get serious". 

The album offers light and darkness in once.

Maybe starting with the bad points isn't the best way, but however. The first impression of an album is the cover. When I have seen the one from the new Outloud album my first thought was: who on earth has decided for this one. It looks really like an amateurish collage. Not comparable with the covers from the earlier releases. Having this cover combined with a album title "Let's get serious" is almost ironical.

The second thing which is a real downer is the sound and the production of the album. It sound from a bit one dimensional and flat. This is esp. a sad thing due to the fact that the songs are pretty OK. Those could have shined much more with a more powerful production.

What I like with the album are the songs itself. Not that the tunes are extraordinary, but we are talking about twelve cool hardrockers which spread a good vibe and fit perfect into the coming summer context. It shows, that there have been experienced musicians at work, who wrote solid and straightforward rock tunes. It makes fun listening to the album from a song perspective. There are tracks like "I was so blind" which is a hardrocking AOR tune. There is "It really doesn't matter", an acoustic guitar ballad which is pretty cool and you have the fast rockers like "Toy soldiers" on the album too; a tune which can be seen as up pace melodic metal. It shows a broad spectrum of music on the album.

To summarize: "Let's get serious" became an album with good songs, a sound which can be improved and a cover which is a 'no go'. It's your decision.

 

(6/10)

 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Death rock
  2. I was so blind
  3. One more time
  4. Bury the knife
  5. Like a dream
  6. It really doens't matter
  7. A while to go
  8. All in vain
  9. Another kind of angel
  10. Let's get serious
  11. Toy soldiers
  12. Enola gay

 

Label: AOR Heaven

Genre: Melodic Hardrock

CD review OUTLOUD "Let's get serious"
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CD review 21 OCTAYNE "Into the open"

Veröffentlicht am 12. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in 21 Octane, Axxis, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) The start of 21 Octayne was aready in 2008  when Axxis was looking for a new drummer. That was the moment when Marco Wriedt and Alex Landenburg met in the rehearsal room. Eventhough Landenburg didn't join the German melodic hardrock institution it was clear to both of them to do some music together. 
After a couple of jam sessions 21 Octayne became more realistic than ever. After adding Hagen Grohe, who also singing for Aerosmith's guitarist Joe Perry, to the band the line-up was completed. 

As a first release the debut "Into the open" sees the light of day in these days. The music can be described as hardrock with some really metal elements. The opener "She's killing me", in which riff meets melodic chorus, is a good proof. The slow beginning of "Dear friend" is a cool misleading section. While expecting a ballad the song turns into a heavy riff based metal tune, which has some real powerful modern metal guitar sounds. Another cool track is "Don't turn away". When I hear the cool bassline in the beginning I could even see the jam sessions in front of my eyes. "My teddy bear" is a dirty street rocker while the title track is a ballad with a great chorus. You can feel the open in this song.  The highly melodic "Me, myself and I" reminds with it's beautiful chorus to Gotthard before "Your life" closes an awesome debut album.

I was curious about the album and I have to say that it fulfilled my expectations. Powerful hardrock with great melody lines and an indescribable feeling for hooks and harmonies. I like the album.

 


(8/10)
 


Tracklist:

  1. She's killing me
  2. Dear friend
  3. Turn the world
  4. Don't turn away
  5. My teddy bear
  6. Into the open
  7. Me myself and I
  8. The heart (save me)
  9. Your life

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Hardrock

CD review 21 OCTAYNE "Into the open"
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CD review KILLER BE KILLED "Killer be killed"

Veröffentlicht am 11. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Killer Be Killed, Sepultura, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, The Mars Volta, Thrash Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) This is really a cool album. When De La Tierra released their album I expected something like this. But now it's Killer Be Killed who publish an album which grooves like hell and has some real killer tracks.

But who is Killer Be Killed? The project is consisting out of Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspirecy), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) and Troy Sanders from Masterdon. Actually it was Max and Greg who started to work on a few new songs. Funny enough Max used his old 4 track recorder which he already made use of during the sessions for Sepultura's "Chaos AD".

The exciting part of the album is the mix of the different styles that creates something which is not totally new, but very exciting and fresh. It's a cooperation of musicians which are on the same level. That makes the music stand like a rock.

Songs are great. Already the opener is a masterpiece of groove metal. It finds the right balance between heavy riffs and a quite melodic chorus. This track sets the tone of voice for the other 10 tunes on the album. "Face down" comes a bit more aggressive than the opener and has the intransigency of the older Sepultura. An anthem which is right to the point. Another cool track on the album is the more modern metal based "Save the robots". Eventhough it's a bit different it fits perfect into the framework of Killer Be Killed's sound. The song is quite melodic, has a quite cachty melody and could be a harder version of Linkin Park - in their early days. "Fire to your flag" follows and is a total different story. With not even three minutes it's an ultra fast one which gives the feeling of being sucked into a tornado for a few minutes. The closer "Forbidden fire" is the longest track on the debut. It starts very releaxed with some sphereful sound samples and an hypnotic spoken word section. But after a bit more than a minute the songs explodes. The riff kills the silence and make the tune a slow and evil groove monster. This pattern continues throughout the entire track. A well chosen closer for album.

Killer Be Killed are of course no roockies. We have a bunch of experienced musicians who step out the frames of their own bands in order to try out something partly different. A project which can be seen as successful and I hope that we will hear more of them in the future.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Wings of feather and wx
  2. Face down
  3. Melting of my marrow
  4. Snakes of Jehovah
  5. Curb crusher
  6. Save the robots
  7. Fire to your flag
  8. I.E.D.
  9. Dust into darkness
  10. Twelve labors
  11. Forbidden fire

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Thrash Metal

CD review KILLER BE KILLED "Killer be killed"
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