Friday, December 13, 2013

CD REVIEWS for Decenber 2013

(Tee Pee Records)

'Jeweler's Daughter' the debut release from Pittsburgh base rockers, Carousel is required listening material. After countless spins, my favorite song.., is the whole album! The powerful twin guitar attack along with the rumbling bass line and ground breaking beat of the drums are unbelievably good. Incorporating elements of Thin Lizzy, Mountain and the rhythmic groove of Diamond Head. Carousel is one of those bands that I immediately latched on to upon hearing for the first time. There is something comfortably familiar yet modern about their sound. As a whole, Carousel encapsulates everything I love about hard rock music and their debut release just solidifies that fact for me. Great, soulful vocals, amazing production and songs full of fat, twin harmony guitarist and a groove that will have you bobbing your head, pumping your fist or a bit of both at the same time. The title track opens the album with a bombastic blow to the dome as lead singer/guitarist Dave Wheeler unleashes his vocals with an attitude that has you thinking that running into this guy in an alley might not be a good thing. The arena rock groove of "Long Time" has an intro that just builds to a level of tension before erupting right into the opening chorus full of those sweet, twin harmony guitars courtesy of guitarists Dave Wheeler and Chris Tritschler. These guys play off of each other with almost a telepathic precision. The rhythm section of bass player Jim Wilson and drummer Jake Leger hold the groove down that is tight as a glove. That band chemistry can be heard on rockers like, "On My Way", "Waste Of Time" and, "Light Of Day. All nine tracks are winners! It's impossible to deny the 70' Classic Hard Rock influence here, but it feels like an homage more so than a rip-off. All in all 'Jeweler's Daughter' is without a doubt one of my favorite albums of 2013. It is sonically a face melting platter of hard edged rock music.  It's an album that evokes all kinds of emotions. It will put a smile on your face and compel you to throw you hair around, no matter how much or how little you might have. Carousel are the REAL DEAL! - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

DEAR SANITY by Lavalle
(Kivel Records)

Lavalle serves up a dose of great melodic rock with an edge on their debut release, 'Dear Insanity'. Lavalle nail the perfect combination of classic `80s AOR and hard-hitting European rock. Think Dokken meets King Kobra meets Eclipse meets Pink Cream 69.  Lavalle is lead vocalist, Carsten Schultz (Evidence One), bassist-Paul Logue (Edens Curse), drummer- Ramy Ali (Evidence One), along with new comer to the scene, guitarist- Eddie LaValle. The production is huge and the musical performances are intense. This really is a very high energy rock album that makes you want to drive fast, party hard, and headbang like there's no tomorrow! Eddie Lavalle's guitar hooks are amazing, and the melodies lodge themselves in your head instantly. Carsten Schultz turns in a rock solid vocal performance. Making sure the band is locked and loaded are the tight rhythm section of Paul Louge and Ramy Ali. So, just how good is this band? Well, the answer to that question can be heard in their songs, and you can pretty much pick any of the songs on 'Dear Sanity' at random and find an absolutely killer single-worthy melodic rockers like, "Fading Like the Sun", "Scared To Love", "The Lonely Ones", and "Smoke And Mirrors" are particularly convincing. When it comes to melodic hard rock, it really does not get any better than this. With, 'Dear Sanity', Lavalle prove that they are a force to be reckoned with. This powerhouse of a debut release provides hard hitting, riff driven, hook laden songs. I would highly recommend to any fan of melodic hard rock, heck, I'd recommend, 'Dear Sanity' to anyone who appreciates superior production, songwriting and musicianship regardless of their musical taste. - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

FOREVER by Maxx Explosion
(Kivel Records)

East coast rockers, Maxx Explosion are a rock trio that boasts a stellar line up. The band is powered by Chris McCarvill on lead vocals, bass and keyboards along with House of Lords Alums guitarist, Jimi Bell and drummer Bj Sampa.  The band's powerhouse debut release, 'Forever', is an all out rocker of an recording!  No gimmicks, just straight up bang your head, let's rip it up and have a good time rock music. Chris McCarvill's vocals and bass playing are rock solid and powerful. Bj Sampa's drumming is great and Jimi Bell's guitar work is awesome! 'Forever' is full of diverse tracks that will keep your interest throughout. Highlights include the steam rolling opening track "Devil's Locomotive", that has your undivided attention from the moment in comes on. There are groove laden rockers like "Falling Away", "Don't Wanna Break", "Rise", "Beat Around the Bush" and the groove laden rocker "Famous" which has a hook that will blow you away and the epic sound of the title track that closes the album. Maxx Explosion serve up superbly crafted songs, unbelievable guitar work, soaring vocals, incredible drumming and a perfect production that make for one memorable and satisfying listen experience. Overall, 'Forever' is a must have album for all melodic rock fans who like their music on the heavy side. This is just a tremendous album all around. 'Forever' is one of those rare albums where the band gets everything right. - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

BLACKFINGER by Blackfinger
(Church Within Records)

After much anticipation the long awaited self titled debut release from Blackfinger has finally been unleashed! Blackfinger features Eric Wagner, the longtime vocalist for Chicago doom legends TROUBLE. His first recorded output since TROUBLE’s 2007 release 'Simple Mind Condition'. Completing the band are, Rico Bianchi and Doug Hakes on guitars, Ben Smith on bass, and Larry Piatz on drums. Being a big fan of Eric Wagner's work in Trouble, I was eager to hear him with his new band. The minute I pressed play and the opening track on, "I Am Jon" came on I was instantly immersed in it. This album is built like they used to make them. It has a great vintage vibe that fits the tunes and the playing is spot on. There is no lack of head-bangin, thick guitar riffs, catchy vocal lines, rolling bass lines and solid drum grooves. Blackfinger takes your senses on a buffet of drenched doomy funereal riffs, and guitar tones with, "Yellowood", "Why God", "Here Comes The Rain" and "My Many Colored Days". All twelve tracks are solid and worth experiencing more than once. Hats off to Rico Bianchi and Doug Hakes who form a lethal and powerful dual-edged guitar tandem. The rhythm section of, Ben Smith and Larry Piatz is solid and tight. Eric Wagner's signature vocal's are moody, emotional, forceful and anguished. Production of this album should be duly noted as it captures all the sounds, tones and nuances of a 70's-style album. I'm on my second listen as I write this, and I know that it's going to be listened to at least once a day for the next couple of weeks. To me, that's the sign of a great album. If you love the new retro scene, I'm here to give you heads a heads up! Blackfinger with this album has just shoved their way to the front of the line! - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

SYMPHONY OF SIN by Eden's Curse
(AFM Records)

Eden's Curse plays a fairly straightforward and completely awesome brand of melodic heavy metal that takes the best elements of melodic hard rock and traditional/power metal. The band's latest release, 'Symphony Of Sin' is a very strong album overall.  This is very hard-hitting , but it's also completely melodic and catchy recording. The band has gone through some changes, personnel wise. Michael Eden who, sadly, is no longer in the band. Keyboardist Alessandro del Vecchio is out as well, then they hired and quickly let go of Pathosray singer Marco Sandron, finally settling with newcomer Nikola Mijic. Fans will hear what kind of impact all that turnover has had on the band's sound. As far as the music goes, Eden's Curse is all about power and melody in equal measure, and they write some unforgettable songs, whether they're pounding rockers like The album opener, title track "Break The Silence" or "Ride the Storm". The remaining ten tracks are solid and finds the band taking their powerful sound to the next level. Pushing their songwriting and performance to the point where a lot of progressive influences have permeated the music adding alot of complexity to their style. Nikola Mijic's vocals are melodic and clear, the guitar playing is very strong especially the solos which are simply mind blowing, and the rhythm section is powerful and solid. You'll find yourself singing these songs or humming the melodies hours after the disc stops spinning. It is a crime that music this good is so well hidden by the way the music industry operates these days. 'Symphonies of Sin', should do well for the band. If you're a fan of melodic heavy metal, particularly bands like Pretty Maids, Masterplan, Pink Cream 69 and, lately, Pagan's Mind, you will absolutely want to hear what Eden's Curse has to offer. - Highly Recommended

Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

(Frontier Records)

Primal Fear is a band that has taken the influences of Judas Priest,Accept and Helloween and added a few more layers of molten steel to create they're modern day yet ever so classic Heavy Metal. The band is back and sounding heavier and more lethal than ever with, their latest 
release, 'Delivering The Black'. The album combines the strongest songs delivered by the band ever, with a well-balanced monstrous teutonic dual guitar riffs courtesy of Alex Beyrodt and Magnus Karlsson. The thunderous rhythm section of Matt Sinner on bass/vocals and Randy Black on drums. Ralf Scheepers' vocals are simply mind blowing! Together this group Metal mercenaries serve up crushing songs guaranteed to make you bang your head and flex the devil horns with pride. From the moment the juggernaut, "King For A Day" opens the the album, Primal Fear attack your senses with unbridal passion and fury!  From there it's full steam ahead as the band serve it up hard and heavy with, “Alive And On Fire” and “Road To Asylum” and the pedal the metal grinder, "Rebel Faction". The two tracks that stopped me dead in my tracks, “When Death Comes Knocking” and “One Night In December” a ten minute monster of a song spiced with big orchestral arrangements and complex sound designs. Liv Kristine from Leaves' Eyes makes a cameo singing backing vocals on the acoustic tinged “Born With A Broken Heart”. "Indemnified" closes the album in a blaze of glory. 'Delivering The Black', hands down is the best Primal Fear release to date. Taking nothing away from their previous outing. This album just takes the band's powerful and majestic sound to a whole new level!  Primal Fear does not pretend to reinvent the wheel. They celebrate all things heavy metal and do a damn awe-inspiring job! - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

(New Ocean Media)

'Halfway To Hell', the latest release from Birmingham, Alabama rockers, Lynam is a six song EP that combines a driving rock beat with lyrically driven melodies that together produce some truly entertaining and compelling music. Lynam consists of Jacob Bunton (lead vocals, guitar), David Lynam (drums), Mark Dzier (bass), and Lonny Paul (guitar). The energy and talent of frontman Jacob Lynam, the chemistry between the band members is tight as a glove and helps drive the band's rock solid sound. All six songs are top notched, great guitar and the songs have nice hooks. From the opening, "Rise Up" to "Wrong Side Of The Grave", the songs have enough crunch to rock you and the hooks stick in your head. Lynam is one of the best of rock bands to come onto the music scene. 'Halfway To Hell' begs to be cranked up to the max! It will put your speakers to the test.  It will get the ladies dancing, the gents rocking, and everyone reaching for another drink and having a good time. The bottom line is that it's impossible to play this and not have a good time. Once it starts, you will rock out! What more can you ask for? - Highly Recommended
Tony @ aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

(Corpo Records)

Planet of Zeus are a heavy rock, southern metal band from Athens, Greece. Formed in 2000 and since then have extensively toured around Greece, playing in every venue possible, ranging from shitholes to stadiums. Planet Of Zeus is, Babis on vocals and guitars, Yog on guitars, JayVee on bass and Syke on drums. Together these lads play a take-no-prisoners brand of ultra-heavy southern flavored rock that draws on seventies classic rock influences. Throughout the band's debut, 'Eleven The Hard Way' you can expect to be steamrolled with a heavy rock vibe that rumbles in your chest and explodes in your brain. From the moment, "Eat Me Alive" jumps out of your speakers the bone crushing assault on your senses is relentless with "Something's Wrong", "Woke Up Dead (William H. Bonney)", "Stab Me" to album closing juggernaut, "Space Loop 430*" clocking in at just over eleven minutes. Planet Of Zeus are really tight, and is a band who doesn't need a gimmick to lure music fans in. This band is NOT gimmicky, nor do they need to be. They are a straight forward, in your face, hard rockin' band. Fans of Kyuss, Earthride, Goatsnake should enjoy this. Great band, Love 'em. - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

MACHO LIBRE by Planet Of Zeus
( B-Otherside Records)

Following up their debut, 'Eleven The Hard Way', those Greek rockers known as Planet Of Zeus return with their sophomore release, 'Macho Libre', to wreak havoc with its own explosive brand of rock `n' roll. Picking up where their debut left off. Planet Of Zeus is, Babis on vocals and guitars, Yog on guitars, JayVee on bass and Syke on drums. 'Macho Libre' features the same riff rockin', bass-driven, heavy-on-the-heavy rock that you'd expect from the band--but make no mistake, this ain't no sophomore slump. While, 'Macho Libre' is the natural and logical continuation of the band's debut, the album showcases the dynamic band that Planet Of Zeus has become. The sound is bigger and the songwriting is more refined, yet the group still manages to capture the raw essence that won their fans the first go around. Seamless transitions and tempo changes, from one jam to the next. Non stop riffing and licks, great bass and drums. From the opening, "Doteru", the music builds to a peak, then kicks into overdrive with "Dawn Of The Dead", "Leftovers", "Vanity Suit" then changes up a bit with, "Unicorn Without A Horn" then putting the pedal to the metal once again with the title track to the album closer, "Scream". Planet Of Zeus have a knack for knowing exactly when and how to let these riffs and rhythmic patterns breathe and comfortably regroup, bypassing what could turn into quick listener fatigue in lesser hands. The musicianship is top notch, production and sound quality is rock solid.  An absolute must have for stoners, enjoy alongside Kyuss and Earthride, Rock On! - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

IT BEGINS by Black Rain
(Sony Music)

French rockers Black Rain return with their latest release, 'It Begins'. A hard rock album with melodic glam tendencies that should easily have any hard rock or metal fan in full appreciation of this bands range and capabilities. The band consist of lead singer/guitarist Swan, lead guitarist Max, bass player Mat H and stickman Frank F. Their album was produced by Jack Douglas (Aerosmith/Alice Cooper). Black Rain's musical approach is straight out of the early 80's Hollywood rock scene, with big hair, insanely catchy guitar hooks and choruses designed to be shouted along with. The band appears to be very much influenced by early Motley Crue albums, and that's not a bad thing at all. 'It Begins' is chalk-full of monster hooks, powerful sing-along choruses, and pretty decent guitar work. The songs have a strong 'Too Fast for Love' vibe with a 'Look What the Cat Dragged'. Highlights include; "Blast Me Up", "Bad Love Is Good", "Death By Stereo", "Dancing On Fire" and "Young Blood". The band's vibe harkens back to the days of the sunset-strip. The good-old-days when clubs like The Rainbow, The Whiskey, and The Cathouse featured awesome bands like Poison, Faster Pussycat, and Warrant. If 'It Begins' had been released 20 years earlier it would have easily gone triple platinum. Instead, the album serves as a much-needed antidote to mainstream radio and its stunted version of what rock & roll is supposed to sound like. There is a party packed in every track on this album. Rock & Roll doesn't get much more fun than this. If you still carry a torch for bands like Poison, Motley Crue, and Bang Tango, then 'It Begins' by Black Rain is a must-have album. - Highly Recommended
Tony aka The Atomic Chaser @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

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