(8/10) After some years of absence German alternative metal outfit Farmer Boys is back. Alex Scholpp, Matze Sayer and the rest of the gang have been pretty much in the spotlight during the 90’s. It was a time when the band released the debut “Countrified” which was followed by three more longplayers. “The Other Side”, released in 2004, marked the beginning of the end, or at least the start of a hiatus. The band’s status was always a bit blurry since activities decreased dramatically and with the expectation of a handful of live shows the Stuttgart-based metal powerhouse slowly slipped off the radar.
13 years after having released the latest studio album Farmer Boys are back with a big bang. Next to Scholpp and Sayer also founding member Ralf Botzenhart is back with Farmer Boys; a line-up that’s completed by Richard Due and Timm Schreiner.
The first countable output of this Swabian quintet is a 7” that was released a few days ago. Supported by a video clip it’s “You and Me” that brings Farmer Boys back to business. The title track is a melodic alternative rock song that brings creates a modernized 90’s vibe. It comes with some good hooks and the catchy expression is opening the gate to a wider group of rock music enthusiasts.
The second song, “Revolt”, acts as a kind of counterbalance. This tune is harsher and more metallic and explodes in the chorus. The verse though is more of an ease and pretty melodic. Both songs together are an excellent ones to give people, who missed the band's first era, an understanding of what Farmer Boys and their music is about.
The last song, which is actually number one in the batting order, is “Emperor”. It’s more an intro that starts silent and evolves to a cinematic instrumental.
The band can be also experienced live on stage since they have planned three shows in Germany:27.04. Hamburg, Hafenklang28.04. Köln, Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld29.04. Stuttgart, Longhorn
All this are first teasers and the 7" is the precursor for a full-length studio album with a release date planned for later this year. Welcome back Farmer Boys!
Label: Eat The Beat Music
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: April 21st, 2017
(9/10) It was in 1986 when prog metal legend Fates Warning released a milestone in metal - an album entitled “Awaken of the Guardian”. The longplayer was the third one the band released, following the debut “Night at Bröcken” and the sophomore “The Spectre Within”.
These three albums together have been cornerstones in progressive US metal; records, which were and still are influencing many bands around the globe. So what could be more natural than to celebrate the milestone record "Awaken of the Guardian" with a show that’s build on these eight terrific tracks.
What might sounded in the beginning as a mission impossible became true in 2016. The organizers of the ‘Keep It True’ festival came up earlier with some reunion shows of other bands and also unexpected surprises took place, but this time the guys outdo themselves – Fates Warning performed a set on the 2016 festival edition, playing the entire “Awaken the Guardian” album in the original line-up. Fortunately this show was filmed so that every Fates Warning fan has a fair chance to get this concert being delivered right into the living room.
John Arch, Frank Aresti, Jim Matheos, Joe DiBiase and Steve Zimmerman performed an old-school set that was a treat for each metal head that calls him a serious fan of this kind of music. Songs like “The Sorceress”, “Guardian” and “Exodus” are classics written for eternity, performed as if this Fates Warning line-up would have never parted ways. What surprises (or not) is John Arch whose voice sounds excellent. DiBaise and Zimmerman act as the powerhouse, providing a spot-on rhythm base on which Matheos and Aresti could build on with razorblade sharp riffs.
The encore was a special treat for everybody who likes this first era of Fates Warning since two songs from “Night at Bröcken” (“Night at Bröcken” & “Damnation”) and “The Spectre Within” (“The Apparition” & “Epitaph”) acted as the icing on this metal cake.
A few months after the ‘Keep It True’ festival gig a second concert in the same line-up took place – this time in North America. ‘ProgPower USA’ hosted the same show, which was built on the exactly same setlist. One exception though. The encore included with “Kyrie Eleison” another tune from “The Spectre Within” while “Night at Bröcken” was not played at ProgPower USA.
This release includes the footage from both shows. Each of them is a treat in itself and brings back a time when metal was heading towards its first peak.
Both concerts are highly entertaining, not only because of the music. They are professionally filmed with various cameras in different angles, which gives, thanks to a well-done cutting, almost three hours of pure metal joy. And the fact that Bill Metoyer was responsible for mix and mastering also means that you can count on an excellent sound that blows your speakers.
This album is a more than worthy celebration of one of the most important records on progressive metal music.
‘Keep It True’ show:
‘ProgPower USA’ show:
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Prog Metal
Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017
The album will be available as:
(8/10) Normally this kind of records have a street date that's a few weeks before Christmas because they can act as nice presents for people that don’t want to do something wrong. Longplayers, filled with ballads, are a safe bet since this kind of songs can reach a wider audience. At least you can reach out to more music fans than with screaming guitars only.
In most of the cases I would guess that also a financial benefit is at least a strong motivator for such an album, but things are different when it comes to Ruhrpott-based guitar wizard Axel Rudi Pell. The six-stringer released in the past a series of four longplayers, all filled with ballads. Those records have been highly successful with the latest one even entering the German album chats. Therefor it seems natural that Pell continues with this successful outlet, showing the soft core of a hard rocking man.
And as the earlier discs followed a simple numbering systematic also the new record uses the same approach. “The Ballads V” is the title of the new longplayer that features ten songs. The fact that the blond guitarist is too ambitious to just take some of his old songs and put them on a new disc, things get quite exciting on “The Ballads V”.
Starting with “Love’s Holding On” means approaching the first stunning highlight. Pell invited a guest for this song. It’s no less than Bonnie Tyler who agreed to do a gorgeous duet with Johnny Gioeli. This song is the first single and it’s a great choice. These voices are in perfect harmony, making the tune to a great opener. After such an impressive beginning it’s “I See Fire” that’s next. No guests are included but it’s a cover version. And to our surprise it’s a song from shooting star Ed Sheeran that became a new outfit. The tune is rearranged and fits perfect to Axel Rudi Pell’s sound.
To round off a great start into the album means also mentioning “On the Edge of Our Time”. Like the first double header also this tune is a new one. It’s a typical power ballad that comes with a lot of feel. I must say that the song doesn’t bring a lot of new to the table, but in the end it’s a well-done ballad of which a lot of other bands only could dream of.
The next songs are better known since they have been released on regular studio albums. However, the fact that tunes like “When Truth Hurts” and especially “Hey Hey My My”, originally by Neil Young, are excellent ballads makes this album still to an entertaining experience that acts as a silent counterpart to the hectic daily life.
The Grand Finale is getting closer and its two live songs that finishes the album. “The Line” from the 2000 release “The Masquerade” is the first one, followed by a superb 14 minutes version of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” that was recorded at Bang Your Head in 2014 with Doogie White on vocals.
It’s up to you to decide if you like these kind of releases. My conclusion is, that “The Ballads V” is closer to a new ARP album than being a simple compilation of known stuff. I like the album that still includes enough rock feel for having a good time.
Genre: Classic Rock
Release Date EU: April 21st, 2017
Hardrock dinosaurs Foreigner will celebrate the bands 40th anniversary with a collection of remastered classics. The album that comes via Rhino/WMG will include 40 songs (23 tracks on the vinyl edition) and it goes without saying that hits like “Cold as Ice” and “Waiting for a Girl like You” are part of this comprehensive collection. As a cherry on the cake there will be an addition of two new songs – “Give My Life for You” and “I Don’t Want to live without you”. Release date will be May 19 followed by a European tour, starting on May 20 in Luzern, Switzerland (http://www.foreigneronline.com/tour).
Gin Fizzy is a Dutch cover band who did a show on April 1st in De Lier, The Netherlands. The five-piece band played the entire "Live and Dangerous" album from classic rock legends Thin Lizzy. Here are some pics from this night.
Gin Fizzy are: