Monday, August 29, 2016

CD REVIEW: MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE by Palace




MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE by Palace
(Frontier Records)

In a year when it seems like a lot of 80s Hard Rock bands are on the comeback trail (Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Dokken, Journey, Tesla, and Great White), Palace is a band who wasn't around during that era, but is heavily influenced by that era, may have put out one the best melodic hard rock this year. So, who are Palace? The band was founded by lead singer and guitarist Michael Palace. The lineup is rounded out by Rick Digorio on guitar, Marcus Johansson on drums and Soufian Ma'Aoui on bass. Heavily influenced by 80's imagery and sounds, Palace delivers massive arena rock with a modern touch! AOR fans of all ages will find much to love among the eleven hard rocking tracks on "Master Of The Universe".  There is excellent songwriting, singing, and musicianship. As far as the music is concerned, it's well balanced. Meaning, there's enough crunch to not over power the melody and enough keyboards to add depth.  From the pulsating opening track "Master Of The Universe" to the driving "Man Behind The Gun", to the heartfelt "Rules Of The Game" to the smooth laden groove of, "Stranger's Eyes". Every song has that vintage AOR/arena rock feel. Palace delivers truly unforgettable slice of melodic hard rock here. The musicianship is outstanding; strong guitars, rhythmic drums, throbbing bass, and soaring smooth vocals. Sound quality, engineering, and mixing for this album are all on point. The production quality for this album is really top-notch! 'Master Of The Universe' by Palace is pure melodic rock gold.  This one is easy to recommend. If you like melodic rock at all,  you NEED this album in your collection. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

CD REVIEW: ALIEN ARCHITECT by Another Lost Year




ALIEN ARCHITECT by Another Lost Year
(Emp Label Group)

Charlotte, North Carolina's Another Lost Year are back with their sophomore release, 'Alien Architect'. Having impressed me with their 2012 debut, 'Better Days', I was curious to hear what the band would be the second time around. So how does it hold up to their debut? Rather good, actually! There are a few mainstream bands who manage to still hold my attention and Another Lost Year is at the very top of that list. The new album  is a welcome return to great, catchy and infectious melodies, hooks and riffs. While I still need to give this album more time to fully digest, my early favorites are "Bastard Sons (featuring Jose Urquiza from 3 Years Hollow), "Trigger Finger", "Run The Tank Out" and the lead off single, "Wolves". For a sophomore release this is a very strong and solid effort. I could easily see just about every song on this disk making it to radio airplay. They are all very radio-friendly. And normally, too much radio-friendliness and catchiness would turn me away. But not here. In addition to the powerful hooks, these songs have a deep groove that grabs me and keeps me listening. So I can't fault the music, at all. The lyrics are very good as well. However, it seems that each song is lyrically written with a few very nice and meaningful lines. Then, those nice lines are repeated over and over. Nothing wrong with a bit of repetition, and some of the best songs ever written are very repetitive. However, I would have loved to see the band expand a bit more on the intriguing ideas they began to present in each song. I get the feeling they are very capable of it, and could have given the songs a bit more depth than they already have. If they keep making records like this, Another Lost Year is going to be around for a long, long time! This is a very tight, talented band.- Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Friday, August 26, 2016

CD REVIEW: BULLETPROOF by Tango Down




BULLETPROOF by Tango Down
(Kivel Records)

Powerhouse rockers Tango Down are back with their latest release, 'Bulletproof'. Chas West  (Tribe Of Gypsies/ Resurrection Kings) on vocals who replaces David Reece. Scott Miller on guitar, Axel Gessner on bass and Keith Michaels on drums. The album for that matter demonstrates great song-writing as well as intense performances and it is this combination that makes for a lasting listening experience. Chas West delivers a powerful vocal  performance. Scott Miller's guitar riffs are in your face while the rhythm section of bassist Axel Gessner and Keith Michaels drumming intensifies the overall performance. The album is full of powerhouse tracks that keep your interest throughout. There are not any obvious filler tracks that you immediately want to skip over.  "Punching Bag", "Give Me A Reason" the balls out rocking title track and the arena anthem, "When We're Young" are my current favorites, but all the songs are rock solid. These songs are the type that will be stuck in your head long after listening to them. The bottom line, if  you are a long time Tango Down fan. 'Bulletproof' will rock your socks off big time! It's just a tremendous album all around. This is one of those rare albums where the band gets everything right. If you are new and checking out Tango Down for the first time this is a great place to start.- Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

CD REVIEW: THREE DAYS TO COME BACK by Handful Of Rain




THREE DAYS TO COME BACK by Handful Of Rain
(Independent Release)

Hailing from Spain, melodic hard rock act Handful Of Rain are out to make a lasting impression with their debut release, 'Three Days To Come Jack's.  From out of the blue, this band manages to entertain on many levels.  The band is comprised of, David Requejado on vocals, Niko Delrin on guitar, Dave Lago on guitar. The instrumental textures on this recording run the gamut from classic rock to melodic hard rock and the song styles are almost as diverse. Catchy hooks abound, and lots of maturity exhibited for a new band.  Brilliant with changes in timing and tempo that will surprise and leave you smiling.... whilst mercilessly banging your head of course. Highlights include, "Saints & Sinners", "Break The Chains", "Find A Way" and "Tears In The Rain". Handful Of Rain is one of those bands that really illustrates how bad modern rock radio really is. In a perfect Rock Radio World tracks from this album would be on regular rotation, and known by so many more of the faithful.  If bands like Handful Of Rain could find a way to tour the US opening for some more well known bands I think many people would take a liking to them. Unfortunately, there bands that just don't get the opportunities here that they used, which is a shame because people can't like what they don't hear or don't know about. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Monday, August 22, 2016

CD REVIEW: POLYMORPHIC TRAGEDY by O' Reagan




POLYMORPHIC TRAGEDY by O' Reagan
(Z Records)

Guitarist extraordinaire, Vince O' Reagan returns with third release, 'Polymorphic Tragedy'. A rock solid effort, Vince O' Reagan is so melodic in his playing that he reminds me of Vinny Burns (who I am a big fan of as well!), the songs on this recording just flow! Most of the vocals on this effort are courtesy of Keith St. John (Burning Rain), along with Paul Sabu and Phil Vincent who all do an awesome job. Sure, Vince O' Reagan might indulge in the occasional inclination towards shredding, but when the songs are this full of excellent licks and riffs, all is easily forgiven. Overall, ''Polymorphic Tragedy' is chock block full of the great melodic hard rock that it likely cannot be all consumed in just one sitting (it takes at least one repeat listen to absorb the whole thing.) I appreciate a player who doesn't bore me. All of the tracks are well written. Highlights include, "Unchain Me Tonight", "Welcome To The Real World", "Long Way to Go" and "Masquerade". If you love great, grooving,  melodic hard-rock songs that make you crank your stereo all the way up and drive too fast, this recording is definitely worth checking out. Just be warned: Vince O Reagan and the band is not responsible for any legal ramifications you may suffer for the lead foot you'll experience if you listen to 'Polymorphic Tragedy' while driving! 

 - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

CD REVIEW: NO B by Jane Lee Hooker




NO B by Jane Lee Hooker
(Ruf Records)

New York City based Blues rockers Jane Lee Hooker pull no punches and hold nothing back on their powerful debut release, 'No B'. Powerful, raw and rockin are just a few words which sum up a powerhouse of an album. Don't buy anything else until this is in your collection. You won't be disappointed as the intensity of the music will just floor you. Yes its raw but that's the beauty of this recording. The band is comprised of, Dana 'Danger' Athens (vocals), Melissa , High Top (guitar), Tina 'T Bone' Gorin (guitar) and Hail Mary Z (bass) and 'Cool Whip' Houston (drums). These ladies are not rookies when it comes to the rock and roll game. Between the five members, they have decades of experience playing, recording, and touring both nationally and internationally. Individually, they have played for thousands of fans while sharing bills with the likes of Motörhead, MC5, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Deep Purple. What these ladies bring to table is a swagger and attitude serving up their own take on classic Blues standards including Muddy Waters' "Champagne And Reefer", Willie Dixon's "Shake For Me" and Albert King's "The Hunter". Amongst the classics, the band also dishes out an original song,  "In The Valley". I have to say, listening to this album it's obvious they love playing together. For me, Jane Lee Hooker is the type of band that would play live giving 100 percent from start to finish regardless if they were playing to twenty people or a thousand. If you want pure, intense and unbridled energy to get your adrenaline up every time, you have to check this album out. The bottom line here is quite simple really,  'No B' by Jane Lee Hooker rocks like a m**********r!
 - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Saturday, August 6, 2016

CD REVIEW: BLACK WATER by Cattarse




BLACK WATER by Cattarse
(Independent Release)

While Cattarse's sound, like a lot of these retro/stoner type bands, involves a great deal of old school Black Sabbath worship, this Brazilian rock trio reaches back to some of the more obscure sounds of the early ‘70s hard rock scene, like Sir Lord Baltimore, Blue Cheer, and High Tide. Founded in 2008, by brothers Igor van der Laan (guitar/vocals) and Yuri van der Laan (Bass). The band's nine song debut release, 'Black Water' is heavy, fuzzy and has a great groove and a nice sense of melody. Heavy riffs and grooving rhythms dominate. This album is the one that truly sounds like it could actually have been released back in 1970. A solid listen front to back. Highlights include, “Walking on Glass,” “Mr. Grimm”, “Meet me in the Darkness ”, "Fire in the Hole" and the title track. Each song is like an epic mini jam session but in an easily digestible run time so you can't really get bored with any of the songs and they each have their unique riffs and nuances. This is the type of music which makes me picture me playing my old turntable cranked to full volume and pissing off the neighbors. Tough to find new bands these days who are original, but can evoke the way back machine into the early 70's hard rock vibe without being mere copycats and sounding cliche. Cattarse serve up a lean, filler-free album. This band is the real deal. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society