Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013


CD review STEPHEN PEARCY "Smash"

Veröffentlicht am 26. Januar 2017 von Markus W. in Stephen Pearcy, Ratt, News, Hardrock, Rock

(7/10) Ratt was extremely successful in the eighties and records like “Invasion of Your Privacy” and “Dancing Undercover” are excellent examples for how to combine melody, metal and commerciality to something that creates excitement with a wider group of rock fans.

One of Ratt’s success factors is and was their lead singer Stephen Pearcy. Next to being a great front man and entertainer Pearcy also stuck out from the rest with his a bit more mumbling vocals that became a trademark for Ratt.

2017 is the year for the forth solo album of the singer, entitled “Smash”, a disc that was mixed and mastered by bass player Matt Throne and Pearcy himself, with “I Can’t Take It” being handled by nobody less than iconic producer Beau Hill.

The issue with these kinds of records is that they will be mostly compared to early classics, like the two mentioned Ratt records. “I Know I’m Crazy” is the first chapter of this new output and it’s a dark rock song that grooves very well. The tune is a well-chosen opener with a harder chorus while the verse stays gloomy and more silent.A track that brings back the earlier Ratt days is called “Want Too Much” and also “Jamie” is a grooving melodic metal anthem that shows Pearcy at his best.

Unfortunately “Smash” also includes tracks that aren’t real highlights. “Lollipop” and “Dead Roses” aren’t more than standard hardrock song without any thrill.

To conclude, “Smash” is a good and solid hardrock album, featuring with a few songs that come closer to what we know from Ratt. However, there’s light and darkness with some numbers that are more average. In the end “Smash” is an entertaining longplayer that is nice to have – not more, but also not less.





  1. I Know I’m Crazy
  2. Ten Miles Wide
  3. Shit Down Baby
  4. Dead Roses
  5. Lollipop
  6. Hit Me With a Bullet
  7. Rain
  8. Want Too Much
  9. What Do Ya Think
  10. Jamie
  11. I Can’t Take It (Album Version)
  12. Passion Infinity
  13. Summers End


Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: January 27th, 2017

CD review STEPHEN PEARCY "Smash"

CD Review SANTA CRUZ "Santa Cruz"

Veröffentlicht am 9. März 2015 von Markus W. in Santa Cruz, Hardrock, Rock, Sleaze Rock, Ratt, Skid Row, News, CD Review

(8/10) I think that the name and the cover of this record are misleading. When I read Santa Cruz I haven't thought about hardrock with a strong 80's touch. And the cover didn't lead my thought into this direction either. I had more to think about some alternative rock that I supposed to hear.

Wrong, totally wrong. Santa Cruz plays, as said hardrock with a kick-ass attitude. If you should compare it with another band I would say that Skid Row delivered the blueprint for this album. 

But let's start from the beginning. Maybe some of you haven't heard about Santa Cruz either. The four guys are coming from Finland and started in 2007. Their debut album was called "Screaming for adrenaline" and was published in 2013.

Two years later the new longplayer is available. Simply called "Santa Cruz" the album comes with ten songs. 

Like their heroes from L.A. also the four-piece from Helsinki combine the rough guitar sounds with catchy melodies. The result is hard enough for metal fans but is on the other hand approachable enough for a bigger audience.

Songs like "Velvet rope" are my personal favorites on the album. The riff is heavy, the sound is energetic and the song just rules with its enormous punch."Let them burn" sounds more like the Sunset Stripe than Helsinki and also "Vagabonds" blows your speakers. 

Even the ballad "Can you feel the rain" is a song that is more than just a standard attachment. It is done very well and doesn't drown in sweet cliche syrup.

Santa Cruz released with their second album a modern interpretation of 80's hardrock that makes a lot of fun to listen to. And it can become the soundtrack for your next party too. Well done and eight points go to Finland.





  1. Bonafide heroes
  2. Velvet rope
  3. My remedy
  4. 6(66) Feet under
  5. Bye bye Babylon
  6. We are the ones to fall
  7. Wasted and wounded
  8. Let them burn
  9. Vagabonds (Sing with me)
  10. Can you feel the rain


Label: Spinefarm

Genre: Hardrock


CD Review SANTA CRUZ "Santa Cruz"

CD review X-DRIVE "Get your rock on"

Veröffentlicht am 17. August 2014 von Markus W. in X-Drive, Ratt, Mötley Crüe, Hardrock, Rock, Sleaze Rock, Skid Row, Kiss, CD Review

(8/10) X-Drive is a new project with partly well known musicians. Funny enough it's only the founder of the band who is not known - yet. His name is Jeremy Brunner, a guitarist from Oregon, who found his way to California. Without knowing anybody in LA and just with a bunch of good songs in his backpack Brunner decided to go for the challenge to find his luck along the West Coast.

X-Drive is the result of this big step for the six stringer. The band is of course more than only him. His ideas convinced more known musicians from LA to join in. James Lorenzo is probabaly the most popular one. The bass player was an important factor in the rhythm section of the multi seller White Lion and also worked with guys like David Lee Roth and Ozzy Osbourne. Singer Keith St.John is well known from Monrose while drummer Fred Fischer played in Midline. They all together are responsible for 12 masterpieces of 80's hardrock which are on the debut of the band.  The name of the album? "Get your rock on". And that's what you get.

What I like with the tunes from X-Drive is the great sense for melodies combined with a really rocking sound. This package is rounded off by a strong production done by Andy Johns, the former Led Zeppelin engineer. Sidenote: It was the last album he was involved before his tragic death in 2013. 

To pick out certain songs would not be fair. They are all good and I couldn't identify a filler. They are all characterized by the great melodies, the rocking guitar, catchy riffs and the well performend vocals from Keith St.John. This guy can really sing and he has the blues in his veins; obvious in tracks like "Turn the noize down".  But also the grooving title track "Get your rock on" and slower "Just can't stay" sound pretty cool. Even the ballad "Baby bye bye", a weak spot on many records with this kind of music, sounds good too. Eventhough the lyrics are cliche the song is well crafted. And now I did it - I picked out a few songs. But again, all the tracks are worth to be listened to. 

X-Drive has brought back the 80's hardrock in a way that it's more than a pure copy. It's a re-vitalisation and partly modernized. Go for this album if you liked bands like White Lion, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row and Kiss in the 80's.  Thumbs up.





  1. Love's a bitch
  2. Get your rock
  3. Steppin' on the rock
  4. Baby bye bye
  5. California
  6. Lay me down
  7. Turn the noize down
  8. Beyond the angels
  9. Rattlesnake eyes
  10. Just can't stay
  11. Change of heart
  12. Love breaks the fool

Label: Frontier Records
Genre: Hardrock


CD review X-DRIVE "Get your rock on"