Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

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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.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  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"
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New video from SKID ROW

Veröffentlicht am 28. August 2014 von Markus W. in Skid Row, Hardrock, Sleaze Rock, Rock, Video, News

Skid Row released a video for "We are the damned" from the last EP. Cool guys, cool song and better than ever.

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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.

 


(8/10)

 


Tracklist:

  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"
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CD review SKID ROW "Rise of the damnation army - United world rebellion: Chapter two"

Veröffentlicht am 1. August 2014 von Markus W. in Skid Row, Hardrock, Rock, CD Review, News

(9/10) Oh man. Skid Row rocks. This is what the five guys from New Jersey prove again. It seems that the band is like wine - the older the better. Eventhough they had their biggest successes in the 80's I think, that they are even better today. Skid Row became a synonym for pure hardrock with a lot of energy and street credibility.

The newest release is called "Rise of the damnation army" and is the second part of their EP cicle. Like on the "United world rebellion" disc the band hits another homerun. Powerful hardrock song is what you get with this EP. None of the seven tracks is a filler. 

"We are the damned" is the opener. The track has an irresistable groove and finds the right mix between hard and melodic. The fast "Give it the gun" doesn't give you time to breath too. It's the pumping bass of Rachel Bolan and the tight beat that pushes the song on and on and on. Very cool.

The soulful ballad "Catch your fall" is the first moment to recover from the opening package. Eventhough we are talking about a ballad Skid Row let this song rock too - without any typical cliches. The nice chilling time has an end when the bassline breaks the silence and introduces "Damnation army" to you. It's a dirty and fast hardrocker with a kick-ass attitude. This song is the best one on the album and should become part of each live show. If there is a bit of a weaker track on the EP, than it's "Zero day". Much better than what you get from a lot of other bands the tune doesn't reach the extremely high level of the other ones.

Bonus tracks are also part of the EP. The Skid Row version of "Sheer heart attack" from the legendary Queen is a treat for your years. I don't want to say that this version is better than the one from Queen. That wouldn't be right and wouldn't be fair too. But what the New Jersey guys made out of this song is just amazing. Bolshy rock with some punk feeling. Thums up. The fast Aerosmith cover "Rats in the cellar" rounds off an EP which is for sure one of my faves for this years.

I'm already curious to see their live shows in autumn when they are rocking Europe together with Saxon - a package on equal level. That's good because I think that Skid Row would blow quite some other headliners off the stage. Rock'n'roll is alive and Skid Row is better than ever before.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. We are the damned
  2. Give it the gun
  3. Catch your fall
  4. Damnation army
  5. Zero day
  6. Sheer heart attack
  7. Rats in the cellar

 

Label: UDR

Genre: Hardrock

CD review SKID ROW "Rise of the damnation army - United world rebellion: Chapter two"
Photo: UDR (Promo)

Photo: UDR (Promo)

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CD review SEBASTIAN BACH "Give 'em hell"

Veröffentlicht am 17. April 2014 von Markus W. in Sebastian Bach, Skid Row, Hardrock, Alternative Rock, CD Review, News

(7/10) Former Skid Row singer and Broadway artist Sebastian Bach has a new album out in the stores. It's Bach's third solo studio record and it was produced by Bob Marlette, who already worked with bands like Alice Cooper and Filter earlier. 
The musicians who have been supporting Bach on the album are well known names like Duff McKagan (b), Devin Bronson (g) and Bobby Jarzombek (d). With John 5 and Steve Stevens the singer could also get very experienced guest guitarists on board. So, good preconditions.
 
"Give 'em hell" became a hardrock album with quite some modern metal elements. It reminds to the Skid Row release "Subhuman race" from 1995 and the question is, if this is needed or not.
 
The album has really good songs, but also tunes I don't like at all. For me Bach's new release became interesting half way. I was already close to give up when the first tones of "Push away" hit me.
 
The first for songs on the record  are not the best ones in the history of the singer. While the opener "Hell iside my head" is partly OK, the first single "Temptation" is one of the weakest tracks the blond singer ever put on an album. This song doesn't kick-start rock'n'roll passion and I was tempted to stop here. But...
 ... , as said, the middle part has really strong tunes. "Push away" is the first really cool rocker on this album. Slow and gloomy the song builds up to a powerful rocker, which has some moments of Guns'n'Roses "November rain". "Dominator" reflects nomen et omen. This song dominates the album. It's a hard rocker with an energetic guitar riff and great vocals of Bach. It shows the range of his vocals and he reminded me in the end of the chorus a bit to Vince Neil. "Had enough" is a soulful ballad which stands out. Maybe a bit standard but a beautiful melody. Also the April Wine cover "Rock'n'roll is a vicious game" is a slower song. The harmonica gives this track a Southern Rock touch which fits good. Actually in the bridge a bit like the older Skid Row. I like the song. I just wonder why they haven't started with those tunes, but maybe I missed something while listening to the album several times.
The end of the album isn't bad, but the songs are again a bit more average compared to the before mentioned ones.
 
I guess that there will be always a comparision between Bach and Skid Row. I personally like Skid Row and their street rock approach a bit more. For me the modern metal parts are nothing Bach should focus on. There are other younger bands who can do this better. The middle part proves: Coppler stick to your last.
 
(7/10)
 
 
Tracklist:
  1. Hell inside my head
  2. Harmony
  3. All my friends are dead
  4. Temptation
  5. Push away
  6. Dominator
  7. Had enough
  8. Gun to a knife fight
  9. Rock'n'roll is a vicious game
  10. Taking back tomorrow
  11. Disengaged
  12. Forget you
 
Label: Frontiers Records
Genre: Hardrock
CD review SEBASTIAN BACH "Give 'em hell"
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Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013

Veröffentlicht am 20. November 2013 von Markus W. in Ugly Kid Joe, Skid Row, Live Review, News, Hardrock, Heavy Metal

A rainy, grey and cold November evening in Amsterdam. So a good day for having a hot rock show. That was almost the scenario on November 19th when Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row played at the Melkweg in Holland’s biggest city. As opener “Dead City Ruins” joined the package. Since I haven’t seen their show (just heard positive comments) I can’t say a lot about them.

 

But I can say much more about Ugly Kid Joe. After a long intro, which was a kind of rap/hip-hop song the band entered the stage around 20:00. The sound was very good from the beginning, but there was a kind of distance between band and audience during the first song. I think that a lot of people didn’t know what to expect from the band after all those years of absence. But already with the second song the ice was broken and a good rock’n’roll party started. The setlist contained newer material like “Devil’s paradise” from the latest EP, but also the hits like “Neighbors” and of course “Cats in the cradle”.

After finishing the “Goddamn devil” the band showed their humor. Whitfield asked the audience to just imagine that the band has left now the stage. But instead of leaving the stage all band members stood still – as a statue. The band kept their postures for quite some minutes and after a few moment of surprise the crowd demanded an encore. And of course the band appreciated that and played two more songs. The first one was “Everything about you”. The final song was a Motörhead cover – “Ace of spades”. The crowd got really wild and celebrated Ugly Kid Joe. After that show we can say that they are back in business – which is very good news.

 

After a 30 minutes break Skid Row started their gig. Since Ugly Kid Joe played a real good show it was difficult for Skid Row to top this. But they managed. Actually it was a fantastic show. Also they combined new stuff like "King of demolition" with the older highlights in the bands history like “18 and life”, “Youth gone wild” and “Slave to the grind”. Skid Row had as well a cover song in their setlist. It was “Psycho therapy” from the Ramones, which was sung by Rachel Bolan. He actually did a very good job here. But I also want to mention that all band members played a fantastic show. Johnny’s voice and personality fits perfect into the band, Dave and Scott played excellent and their stage acting was great. Last but not least Rob’s drumming gave the whole band the drive and foundation which was needed. They obviously had fun and enjoyed playing together. This was also expressed by Dave Sabo who was really touched by having that strong support from the fans. Guys, you're welcome…

Skid Row was standing on stage as one unit and created an awesome vibe. They rocked the Melkweg and the around 300 visitors couldn’t get enough. I can see from time to time the discussions about having a reunion with Sebastian Bach. Nothing against Sebastian, but I have to ask: “Why?”. After I have seen the show I think, that the band has to continue in this line-up. Again, they are one unit, they are good and they rock. My only wish is: Keep on rockin'. Hope to see you guy back soon.

 

So all in all it was an excellent way to spend a grey, rainy Tuesday evening with great bands which played a fantastic show and rocked the Melkweg. More of this. This is rock’n’roll.

 

 

By the way, there are still some shows to come. If you have a chance – go there:

21.11.13 Ludwigsburg Rockfabrik

22.11.13 Saarbruecken Garage

23.11.13 Vaureal Le forum

24.11.13 Lucerne Schuur

26.11.13 Vienna Ottakringer Brauerei

 

 

Setlist: Ugly Kid Joe

  1. Intro
  2. V.I.P.
  3. Neighbor
  4. C.U.S.T.
  5. Panhandlin’ prince
  6. So damn cool
  7. No one survives
  8. Devil’s paradise
  9. Cat’s in the cradle
  10. I’m alright
  11. Milkman’s son
  12. Goddamn devil
  13. Everything about you
  14. Ace of spades

Setlist: Skid Row

  1. Let’s go
  2. Big guns
  3. Makin’ a mess
  4. Piece of me
  5. 18 and life
  6. Thick is the skin
  7. Riot act
  8. In a darkened room
  9. King of demolition
  10. Psycho therapy
  11. I remember you
  12. Get the fuck out
  13. Monkey business
  14. Slave to the grind
  15. Youth gone wild

Location: Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date: 19.11.2013

Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013
Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013
Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013
Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013Live review SKID ROW / UGLY KID JOE in the Melkweg, Amsterdam 19.11.2013
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