Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

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CD review GUS G. "Fearless"

Veröffentlicht am 7. April 2018 von Markus W. in Gus G., Fearless, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, AFM, News, CD Review, Dennis Ward, Firewind

CD review GUS G. "Fearless"

(8/10) Greek guitar wizard is a busy man. Having been part of Ozzy Osbourne’s band as well as supplying riff power to death metal legends Nightrage shows the width of styles Gus G. can handle. Next to these bands, the axeman also has his own powerful metal outfit called Firewind and last but not least he releases under his own name.

The guitarist teamed-up with Dennis Ward (v/b) and Evanescence drummer Will Hunt and all three recorded a very well-done Gus G.-disc that pays attention to more traditional metal. The trio kicks-off things with the spot-on opener “Letting Go” followed by a gloomier track entitled “Mr. Manson”, a song that reminds of the later Ozzy Osbourne releases of which Gus G. was part of.

Not paying too much attention to the names of the tracks on first sight led to a thought of having heard these keyboard melodies of track no.6 earlier. A few seconds later things were crystal clear. Gus G. covered with “Money for Nothing” a Dire Straits smash hit. He sticks pretty much to the original when it comes to the beginning of the classic. This approach doesn’t last very long. Gus G. shifts the tune towards a heavy interpretation of what Mark Knopfler and Co. wrote many years ago. Fun fact besides the brilliance of the new arrangement is the small lyric changes/updates, when “Color TV’s” become “LED’s”.

Last but not least the album also includes instrumentals which will be a delight for fans of the Greek guitar master. Furious guitars and blistering riffs are impressive, not only when it comes to the instrumentals, but specifically there.

“Fearless” is a cool next addition to Gus. G.’s discography, showing one of the best contemporary guitarists at work. And without any fear I can say that Gus G. is in line with guitar heroes like Michael Schenker, George Lynch and Co.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Letting Go
  2. Mr. Manson
  3. Don’t Treat on Me
  4. Fearless
  5.  Nothing to Say
  6. Money for Nothing
  7. Chance
  8. Thrill of the Chase
  9. Big City
  10. Last of my Kind

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: April 20th, 2018

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CD review PLACE VENDOME "Close to the Sun"

Veröffentlicht am 9. März 2017 von Markus W. in Place Vendome, Michael Kiske, Dennis Ward, Hardrock, Melodic Metal, Melodic Rock, News, CD Review, Frontiers Music, Rock

(8/10) Some news from Place Vendome? Actually not. OK, there’s a new longplayer that hit the stores. The band/project that was founded in 2004 became a constant factor in melodic rock. What began with the successful debut found its continuation with two more records of which “Thunder in the Distance” was the latest one. Place Vendome seems to follow a kind of a four years rooster in which they come up with a new album. And here it is number four. “Close to the Sun” is the title of it and it comes with all the things you could expect from the band. So there is some news that comes with the well-known musical brilliance that’s known from the predecessors.

The artwork includes the eagle, the line-up is stable and the songs are well-crafted melodic rockers. Things stay as they were and that’s good. Place Vendome found a formula for melodic rock that also  makes this longplayer to an irresistible experience, even though this kind of music isn’t unique. But as on the first three records Place Vendome finds again the right balance of melodic vocals lines, mighty guitars and catchy hooks. Kiske, Ward & Co. manage to never drown in triviality with their songs. They deliver quality.

The opener “Close to the Sun” is the perfect example. Michael Kiske’s vocals are outstanding, the furious guitars are a treat and the rhythm section is pushing hard. This song reflects all Place Vendome trademarks and is a well-chosen opener. A number that brings the more emotional side to the forefront is “Strong” which is a power ballad (I actually don’t like this word). The songs marks a more silent moment on the album before gears are shifted with “Across the Times”. In the end I could mention each of the tracks since they are all equally good.

To spice things up Place Vendome invited some guest for “Close to the Sun”. Guitar solos were added by Kai Hansen, Gus, G., Magnus Karlsson and some more. And last but not least it was Dennis Ward himself who gave this album the sound that’s needed for such a powerful melodic rock production.

This album is a real highlight for fans of melodic metal and leads to a ‘thumbs up’ from my side.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Close to the Sun
  2. Welcome to the Edge
  3. Hereafter
  4. Strong
  5. Across the Times
  6. Riding the Ghost
  7. Light Before the Dark
  8. Falling Star
  9. Breathing
  10. Yesterday is Gone
  11. Helen
  12. Distant Skies

 

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: February 24th, 2017

CD review PLACE VENDOME "Close to the Sun"
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CD review KHYMERA "The Grand Design"

Veröffentlicht am 4. Dezember 2015 von Markus W. in Khymera, Dennis Ward, Pink Cream 69, News, CD Review, Hardrock, AOR, Rock

(8/10) Releases of albums that include Dennis Ward are per se good ones. Khymera's "The Grand Design" is such a longplayer. The beginning of this project was actually a while a go when Daniel Liverani, an Italian keyboarder, and Kansas singer Steve Welsh teamed-up to create some music together. Things gained speed when Dennis Ward joined and two albums have been the result of all the effort. After those releases the band decided for having a break before Ward pick-up the thread again. Now, being in full control over songwriting and production, the new record "The Grand Design" has been created

The project (or is it a band?) released seven years after "The Greatest Wonder" a new album that is full of melodic rock pearls.

Close to AOR, Ward picked up things where Khymera stopped with "The Greatest Wonder". Melodic rock records are often confronted with the risk of being cheesy and sugar sweet. Ward avoids all this by giving the album still a rougher sound that makes things less polished. Still the sound of the album is excellent and the edges make it morr alive than the majority of releases in the same genre.

Khymera has some softer moments such as "I Believe" but contains also enough rock songs. The fast opener "Never Give Up on You" belongs to those numbers as well as the title track. Some ballads are a 'must' on melodic rock records too. On "The Grand Design" those are called "Land of Golden Dreams"; a song that builds up to a rocker towards the end. "Streetlight" insteat is a pure piano based tune that carries a lot of emotions.

"The Grand Design" belongs to the cool AOR releases which I can recommend also to headbangers that are searching for a X-mas gift for their girlfriend.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Never Give Up On You
  2. Tell Me Something
  3. Say What You Want
  4. I Believe
  5. A Night To Remember
  6. She’s Got The Love
  7. Land Of Golden Dreams
  8. The Grand Design
  9. Streetlights
  10. Who’s Fooling Who
  11. Finally
  12. Where Is The Love

 

Label: Frontiers Records

Genre: AOR

Release Date EU: December 4th, 2015

CD review KHYMERA "The Grand Design"
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