Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

CD review ANGEL OF MERCY "The Avatar" - re-issue

Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2018 von Markus W. in Angel Of Mercy, The Avatar, News, Heavy Metal, Hardrock, Epic Metal, Power Metal, re-issue, Shadow Kingdom

CD review ANGEL OF MERCY "The Avatar" - re-issue

(8/10) Shadow Kingdom re-issues some stuff from the underground on June 1st – Angel Of Mercy’s first and only album entitled “The Avatar”.

David St.James formed the band in 1980 and it took the bandleader seven years to write the songs and gather a band to record “The Avatar”. Angel Of Mercy’s headquarter was a rented warehouse in the desert heat of Las Vegas, a location they used as a rehearsal room, but also played concerts in front of more than 200 fans.

The album, “The Avatar”, was self-released on vinyl as a private pressing and was supposed to act as a springboard for getting a record deal. Unfortunately things didn’t work as they should and the deal never appeared. This will change in 2018 after a wait for three decades.

30 years after the recording took place it’s Shadow Kingdom that re-issues this ‘lost’ underground pearl in a 2-CD package that also includes some special bonus goodies.

“The Avatar” is actually a pretty cool album that deserves to get some more attention. Even after 30 years the songs are timeless, reminding of influences by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and some epic metal a la Manilla Road.

Fans of traditional heavy metal should have heard this album that was covered with dust for so many years. It contains good music that’s down to earth, well crafted and full of dedication. These songs were written with passion and this album was recorded with full commitment and without any commercial aim. You can’t get metal more authentic than what you get on “The Avatar”.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

Original The Avatar album

  1. In the Beginning
  2. Angel of Mercy
  3. Chained to the World
  4. Soul Searcher
  5. Break Away
  6. Metamorphosis
  7. The Avatar
  8. Victim of the Change
  9. Journey to the Master
  10. The Last Encounter
  11. The Succubuss

 November 1983, Las Vegas Recording Studio

  1. The Succubuss
  2. Soul Searcher
  3. The Avatar
  4. The Last Encounter

Spring 1992, Abandoned Sessions IMR Studio

  1. Enter the Abyss
  2. In the Beginning
  3. Angel of Mercy
  4. Metamorphosis
Unreleased track from The Avatar sessions
(Intended as a lead-in to "Chained to a World")
  1. The Journey Begins

2015 session, IMR Studio

  1. Chained to a World

 

Label: Shadow Kingdom

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: June 1st, 2018

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CD review MISSION IN BLACK "Anthems of a Dying Breed"

Veröffentlicht am 29. April 2018 von Markus W. in Mission In Black, Anthems of a Dying Breed, El Puerto Records, Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal, News, CD Review

CD review MISSION IN BLACK "Anthems of a Dying Breed"

(7/10) Mission In Black is a rather new metal outfit hailing from Germany. Now 'new' might not be fully correct since it was in 2010 when a first demo has been recorded, followed by some shows, supporting bands like Brainstorm and Mystic Prophecy. 

It's five musicians that started their 'mission in black'. Becky Gaber (v), Daniel Tschoepe (g), Andy Flache (d), Martin Grimm (g) and Hannes Jäger (b), that's Mission In Black and some names sound probably familiar. Some guys have been part of South German thrashers Spellbound while Martin Grimm played at Mystic Prophecy. 

The quintet inked a contract with German El Puerto label and finally, eight years after their "Black Infect" demo, the debut is ready to be shipped to the record stores. The longplayer consists out of 13 songs that the label info describes as thrash metal. This is definitely the case but there's also a strong power metal influence present through-out. Listening to the melodies and leads reminds me more of Mystic Prophecy than thrash. The latter comes more forefront with the straight-on "Judgement Day".

What stands out are the hoarse vocals of singer Becky Gaber. It took me a while to get used to it. That Gaber has good vocal skills is what becomes obvious with the clean vocals sections, but it's the husky parts that become a bit annoying over time.

Besides this smaller side note "Anthems of a Dying Breed" became an aggressive and powerful debut that also benefits from a proper production and a well-crafted sound. Good music in known territory.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Premonition of Chaos
  2. Welcome the Apocalypse
  3. Cold Wings of Vengeance
  4. World on Fire
  5. Judgement Day
  6. Mission in Black
  7. Oceans of Blood
  8. Into the Flames
  9. Godless
  10. Where Demons Sleep
  11. God Forbidden
  12. The Beast Within
  13. First Comes the Blood

 

Label: El Puerto Records

Genre: Power/Thrash Metal

Release Date EU: May 5th, 2018

 

 

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CD review SHINEDOWN "Attention, Attention"

Veröffentlicht am 28. April 2018 von Markus W. in Shinedown, Rock, Hardrock, Post Grunge, News, CD Review, Atlantic, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Modern Rock, Attention Attention

CD review SHINEDOWN "Attention, Attention"

(9/10) Shinedown’s story in rock is an impressive one. What began in 2001 in Knoxville, Tennessee evolved to one of the most influential rock acts in the here and now. The debut “Leave a Whisper”, released in summer 2003 and produced by no less than Bob Marlette, went right into the charts and marked a first step of Shinedown’s rise.

Brent Smith and bandmates didn’t slow down after such a successful start and new longplayers followed. Over time the band established themselves as an important factor in alternative rock music and became a big seller when it comes to records and live shows.

Three years after “Threat to Survival” entered the Top 10 of the US-charts it’s “Attention Attention” that asks exactly for this – ‘attention’. The band’s sixth longplayer comprises of 13 songs and an intro entitled “The Entrance”. After you entered to the door to “Attention Attention” it’s a powerful drum beat that marks the beginning of “Devil”. The tune that was unveiled a few weeks ago as a first single comes with an oppressive vibe. It’s a well-done statement that gives an outlook on what to expect of the new longplayer. What stands out in specific with “Devil” is the unpredictable rhythm of the track, building the base for this well-crafted opener.

“Black Soul” is next, starting with some keys and vocals. The song evolves to an alternative metal anthem that lives by the dynamic generated by loud and calmer moments. The title track is next on the batting order. What comes with “Attention Attention” is a dark expression and a hypnotic beat, ending up in a catchy chorus and shows the band’s sense for hooks without entering the fields of cheesiness.

None of the songs on “Attention Attention” is a boring one. Each of the 13 tunes generates excitement, regardless if we talk about the excellent “Pyro” or the gloomy “Monsters”. “Creatures” is the only tune that shows a bit more of standard approach, followed by the heavy grooving “Evolve” which brings back the hard rocking Shinedown.

Next to the terrific songs on the album it’s the lyrics that are more than just embellishment. Shinedown addresses topics like social media (“Kill Your Conscience”), the fight against depression (“get UP”) and for truth (“The Human Radio”).

Shinedown’s sixth longplayer has all the ingredients in place to compete with earlier successes. It’s an energizing and dynamic alternative rock album with catching hooks, great melodies and heavy rocking guitars. Alternative rock without mentioned Shinedown is a mission impossible and the new album strengthens the band's position in modern rock music.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Entrance
  2. Devil
  3. Black Soul
  4. Attention Attention
  5. Kill Your Conscience
  6. Pyro
  7. Monsters
  8. Darkside
  9. Creatures
  10. Evolve
  11. Get Up
  12. Special
  13. The Human Radio
  14. Brilliant

 

Label: Atlantic / Warner Music

Genre: Alternative Rock

Release Date EU: May 4th, 2018

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TRI STATE CORNER release new album today

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2018 von Markus W. in Tri State Corner, Hardrock, Rock, Dark Rock, News, Video, Tour

TRI STATE CORNER release new album today

Tri State Corner will release their newest album "Hero" today. The guys will also hit the road and tour dates can be check in the video below.

 

Here's the video:

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BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE reveals a new song

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2018 von Markus W. in Bullet For My Valentine, BFMV, Gravity, News, Modern Metal, Metalcore, Alternative Metal, Spinefarm Records

Photo: Spinefarm Records (Promo)

Photo: Spinefarm Records (Promo)

Bullet For My Valentine will release with "Gravity" their next studio album by June 29th, 2018. The first single has been unveiled already and it's entitled "Over It". Here you go...

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CD review BLACK STONE CHERRY "Family Tree"

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2018 von Markus W. in BSC, Family Tree, News, CD Review, Mascot, Rock, Southern Rock, Hardrock, Black Stone Cherry

CD review BLACK STONE CHERRY "Family Tree"

(8/10) It was back in 2001 when a new rock band entered the scene, hailing from Edmonton, Kentucky. The name of this outfit – Black Stone Cherry. The roots of the band go back even longer. It was in high school when singer/guitarist Chris Robertson and bassist Jon Lawton met for the first time. Rather quickly John Fred Young (d) and Ben Wells (g) joined the duos, which marked the starting point for one of the most successful Southern rock bands to date.

 

2018 is the year with Black Stone Cherry releasing their newest longplayer entitled Family Tree”. The album follows the extremely successful 2016 record “Kentucky” which could score some excellent chart positions in North America and Europe.

“Family Tree” needs to compete with this fruitful predecessor and I think it can compete. Album number six comes with a tracklist that includes songs, all being rocking anthems in the fields of classic- and Southern rock.

 

Black Stone Cherry takes the musical heritage of bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream, transferring the spirit and vibe into the here and now.  The new album get’s out of the boxes very well with “Bad Habits”. The opener, that includes some Led zeppelin influences, has a bluesy vibe, something that’s also picked-up by “Burnin’”.

 

Next to the rocking tracks there are the soulful moments that are touching. “My Last Breath” is an emotional ballad that contains a lot of feel and it’s a moment of calmness before the wild ride continues with the grooving “Southern Fried Friday Night”. “Dancing in the Rain” is next in the batting order and it’s the first out of two songs with additional support. Warren Haynes has a guest appearance on “Dancing in the Rain” while it’s Chris Robertson’s 5 years old son singing backup on “You Got the Blues”.

 

All in all “Family Tree” became a really good Southern rock album that can connect to earlier successes. Each of the songs benefits from an excellent production and sound while still coming across as being authentic with an organic sound. It proves that professionalism and a true heart for rock music aren’t two poles that never find each other. “Family Tree’ shows a well executed combination of both, making the album to a real spring/summer soundtrack for your ride into the sunset.

 

 

(8/10)

 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Bad Habit

  2. Burnin’

  3. New Kinda Feelin’

  4. Carry Me on Down the Road

  5. My Last Breath

  6. Southern Fried Friday Night

  7. Dancin’ in the Rain

  8. Ain’t Nobody

  9. James Brown

  10. You Got the Blues

  11. I Need a Woman

  12. Get me Over You

  13. Family Tree

 

 

Label: Mascot Label Group

Genre: Southern Rock

Release Date EU:  April 19th, 2018

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CD review MICHAEL SCHINKEL'S ETERNAL FLAME "Smoke on the Mountain"

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2018 von Markus W. in Michael Schinkel, Hardrock, Classic Rock, Neo Classic, News, ROAR, Smoke on the Mountain, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Melodic Metal

CD review MICHAEL SCHINKEL'S ETERNAL FLAME "Smoke on the Mountain"
(8/10) Eternal Flame released two longplayers at the end of the 90’s / beginning of 2000 before the band announced their disbanding. Ten years after the second album “King of the King” was released it was singer/guitarist Michael Schinkel and Helmut Kohlpaintner who re-ignited Eternal Flame. Another six years later the metal world can welcome Eternal Flames next longplayer “Smoke on the Mountain” and I don’t think that the title, combining “Smoke on the Water” and Man on the Silver Mountain”, is a coincidence. 

„Ignition“ is the narrative intro to the album and is followed by the title track. Uptempo guitars and furious leads remind of new-classic metal a la Yngwie Malmsteen. The song is an excellent opener, helping the album to get out of the boxes extremely well. What also stands out are the excellently done vocals by Schinkel, going together with his guitar play very well.

The neo classic vibe continue through-out the entire album but it‘s the opener that unveils the source of inspiration the best. Step by step it‘s classic rock and metal that takes over the scene. Here and there I had to think of the later Rainbow („Got a Rock’n’roll Fever“ & „Close to the End“), Deep Purple („Queen of the Hill“ and „Dreaming“). Jonny Logan‘s „Danger Zone“ sounds like having been the inspiration for the beginning of „Whatcha Gonna Do“. 

„Smoke on the Mountain“ might not re-invent the wheel. It‘s the execution that‘s convincing - from a song writing aspect as well as from a production point of view. „Smoke on the Mountain“ is a great album for friends a traditional metal that‘s built on well-crafted hooks, excellent leads and melodic vocals. Worth to spin this album.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Ignition
  2. Smoke on the Mountain
  3. This is My Life
  4. Queen of the Hill
  5. You Can Save Me
  6. Whatcha Gonna Do
  7. I Believe in This Miracle
  8. Got a Rock‘n‘Roll Fever
  9. Out in the Dark
  10. Dreaming
  11. Take Me There For a Night
  12. Tease My Love
  13. Close to the End

 

Label: Rock Of Angels Records

Genre: Classic Rock

Release Date EU: May 18th, 2018

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CD review ANTHRAX "Kings Among Scotland"

Veröffentlicht am 26. April 2018 von Markus W. in Anthrax, Kings Among Scotland, Nuclear Blast, News, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, Crossover, Live, Heavy Metal, Among the Kings Tour, Tour

CD review ANTHRAX "Kings Among Scotland"

(*/10) East-Coast thrash pioneers Anthrax played a show at Barrowland Blallroom in Glasgow, Scotland on February 15th, 2017. The show was part of the band’s “Among the Kings”-tour and was built very much around the legendary “Among the Living” album which was performed in its entirety.

The show was filmed and recorded, leading to this new Anthrax release entitled “Kings Among Scotland” of which the CD version is the base for this review. Next to the CD version the release will be available in other formats too, like DVD and BluRay, which gives you an additional visual impression of this intense metal show.

Listening to this live release feels like a journey back in time. Next to the brilliant “Among the Living” album also other highlights from the past found a way on the setlist of this show. Songs like the opener “A.I.R” and “Medusa” are still timeless classics in thrash metal that secure together with new material (“Breathing Lightning” and “Evil Twins”) a seamless thrash metal experience for fans of excellent metal music. This isn’t a coincidence knowing that fans voted on pre-show.

“Kings Among Scotland” is a live album that captures the energy of an Anthrax show in a really good fashion. This five-piece band from NYC belongs to the spearhead of thrash metal and releases, like the current one, shows that these five guys still have a huge appetite for metal and that’s what this live album states in a perfect fashion.  

 

(*/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. A.I.R.
  2. Madhouse
  3. Evil Twin
  4. Medusa
  5. Blood Eagle Wings
  6. Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t
  7. Be All, End All
  8. Breathing Lightning
  9. Among the Living
  10. Caught in a Mosh
  11. One World
  12. I Am the Law
  13. A Skeleton in the Closet
  14. Efilgnikcufecin (N.F.L.)
  15. A.D.I. Horror of it All
  16. Indians
  17. Imitation of Life
  18. Antisocial

 

Label: Nuclear Blast 

Genre: Thrash Metal

Release Date EU: April 27th, 2018

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BRUCE DICKISON announces "Scream For Me Sarajevo"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2018 von Markus W.

BRUCE DICKISON announces "Scream For Me Sarajevo"

"Scream For Me Sarajevo" is far more than merely a music or concert documentary. This release captures a concert that was unique, special and impressive. What makes Bruce Dickinson's concert in Sarajevo to something special isn't show effects, a big stage or anything similar. It's the city itself and the circumstances that make this documentary to a very unique one.

The iconic singer performed a show in Sarajevo in 1994, a city that was under siege at that time. Dickinson, together with his bandmates of Skunkworks, put their own health and life at risk to perform a concert in a city that was surrounded by war and chaos. 

The documentation features, next to the concert, interviews with Dickinson and band members, the singer's emotional return to Sarajevo and the life of the people of Sarajevo in one of the darkest hours of the city.

Release date will be June 29th, and "Scream For Me Sarajevo" comes via Eagle Vision / Universal Music.

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CD review FOREIGNER "Foreigner with the 21 Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2018 von Markus W. in Foreigner, Hardrock, Rock, Foreigner with the 21 Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, earMUSIC

CD review FOREIGNER "Foreigner with the 21 Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus"

(*/10) To introduce a band like Foreigner is like carrying sand to the beach. I can't imagine that there are people out there that read my blog and never heard of Mick Jones and band mates. Hits like "Urgent" and "Cold as Ice" all timeless classics in rock, songs that are as brilliant today as they were in the in 1981 when my all-time favourite "4" was released.

In more than 40 years Foreigner has released a robust amount of 'Best of...' albums as well as live releases. To still capatalize on the old classics and new hits, Foreigner needed to do something new and different. Now, it might not be the newest idea on earth to combine rock music, a classic orchestra and a choir, leading to exciting new interpretation of rock songs, but it's the first time Foreigner took this approach. To spice-up things, the new interpretation of hymns like "I Want to Know What Love is" and "Double Vision" were not recorded in a safe studio environment. Foreigner teamed up with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, all together performing live and in front of an enthusiastic audience.

The base for this live release were two shows that have been played in Luzern, Switzerland in May 2017. The band itself, a 58-person orchestra and a 60-person chorus combined forces and gave 13 Foreigner classics a new appeal. This event, that was the outcome of a close cooperation of Foreigner main-man Mick Jones and the Grammy-nominated composer team of Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer, was an exciting moment in the band's history and more than a treat for fans of the iconic band. Fortunately the shows have been filmed and recorded, which makes the magic night available to all Foreigner fans as DVD, vinyl and/or CD, the latter being the base for this review.

"Foreigner with the 21 Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus" stretches the limits and enables Foreigner smash hits to shine in a new splendor. As said in the beginning, combining rock music and classic music isn't something that's mindblowing new. However, in this case it's the excellent songs, a professional approach and a perfect execution that makes the longplayer to a special one.

 

(*/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Overture
  2. Blue Morning, Blue Day
  3. Cold As Ice
  4. Waiting For a Girl Like You
  5. Say You Will
  6. When it Comes to Love
  7. That Was Ysterday
  8. Feels Like the First Time
  9. Starrider
  10. Double Vision
  11. Fool For You Anyway
  12. Urgent
  13. Juke Box Hero
  14. In Want to Know What Love Is

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: April 27th, 2018

 

Photo: Karsten Staiger

Photo: Karsten Staiger

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RSO (Richie Sambora and Orianthi) will release "Radio Free America" in May

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2018 von Markus W. in RSO, Richie Sambora, Orianthi, Guitar, Rock, Hardrock, News

RSO (Richie Sambora and Orianthi) will release "Radio Free America" in May

Richie Sambora and Orianthi will release with "Radio Free America" a debut that was done in close cooperation under the banner of RSO. The album will hit the record stores on May 11th. The longplayer was produced by no less than Bob Rock, known from his work with bands like Metallica and will come via BMG. Stay tuned for more.

 

Here are the videos:

I Got You Babe

Livin' On a Prayer

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UNDERTOW announces new album for late summer 2018

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2018 von Markus W. in Undertow, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Doom Metal, El Puerto Records, News

Photo: Markus Wolf (El Puerto Records Promo)

Photo: Markus Wolf (El Puerto Records Promo)

UNDERTOW want to know it again!
For that reason, they signed a "worldwide deal" with  El Puerto Records last week!

Guitarist Markus Brand is sure:
"After 25 years of underground, it is time to take a big step forward and El Puerto want to and will support us actively. We're glad incredible on joint work and hungrier than ever. This will be clearly heard on the new record! "

Also on label side one is fully convinced:

Torsten Ihlenfeld is „As proud as punch on our latest signing! With UNDERTOW, one of my alltime favorit and long running german metal band signed to EL PUERTO RECORDS! Welcome to the team guys!“


The first details of the new CD will be released shortly. Release date will be in September 2018.

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CD review GATEKEEPER "East of Sun"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2018 von Markus W. in Gatekeeper, Omen, Savatage, East of Sun, Cruz Del Sur Music, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Epic Metal, CD Review

CD review GATEKEEPER "East of Sun"

(8/10) Cruz Del Sur Music is known for having a portfolio of exciting bands when it comes to more traditional and epic metal. A new addition to it is Canadian metal warriors Gatekeeper. The band was founded in 2009 as a solo project by guitarist Geoff Blackwell. Some EP’s have been recorded and released but the debut was long in coming.

After having inked a deal with Cruz Del Sur Records things gained speed and here it is: “East of Sun”. The debut album features 10 songs of which the last two are covers. Let’s start with those. It’s the legendary “Hall of the Mountain King” (Savatage) and “Death Rider” (Omen) that have been slightly re-arranged and recorded for “East of Sun”. Gatekeeper sticks very much to the original version of these two power metal classics. Of course it’s hard to compete with the originals and I don’t think that it was Gatekeeper’s ambition either. What quintet did though in an excellent way is to keep the spirit alive, adding also some extra power to the classic.

The reason we I started with these two song is, because they reflect very well the influences when it comes to Gatekeeper and their sound. Blackwell and bandmates are into traditional metal that has a stronger epic metal aspect weaved in. While listening to songs like the awesome opener “Blade of Cimmeria” or the uptempo “Warrior Without Fear” reminded me of bands like the mentioned Omen but also Manilla Road came to my mind.

I tune you shouldn’t miss is entitled “Ninefold Muse”. It represents the entire spectrum of Gatekeeper’s sound. Starting slowly and with an epic riff the songs builds up to a heavy rocking metal anthem that will be a delight for fans of powerful metal.

The Canadians, hailing from Vancouver, did a great job when it comes to the debut. “East of Sun” is a great album that mixes melodies and strong riffing in a more old-school fashion without sounding outdated. This album is good stuff for the underground.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Blade of Cimmeria
  2. North Wolves
  3. Warrior Without Fear
  4. Ninefold Muse
  5. Bell of Tarantia
  6. East of Sun
  7. Swan Road Saga
  8. Oncoming Ice
  9. Death Rider (Omen cover)
  10. Hall of the Mountain King (Savatage cover)

 

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music

Genre: Epic Metal

Release Date EU: April 27th, 2018

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