Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 2014 CD Reviews

by Hong Faux
(Razzia Music)

Sweden's Hong Faux' s highly anticipated return comes in the form of the six song EP, 'Hello Neptune'. It amazes me how much you can see Hong Faux have grown as artists since the release of their full length debut, 'The Crown That Wears The Head'. Nik Seren on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Johan Bergqvist on bass and backing vocals, Bjorn Billgren on lead guitar and Daniel Israelsson on drums.  Their ability to craft a tight, full sound with impossible-to-resist rock-n-roll hooks is better than ever, and it was never bad. The band's lyrics have matured as well, bringing both edginess and depth. The songs offered up on 'Hello Neptune' are "catchy", addictive and they rock! From the moment the opening notes of "ATS", comes on the band immediately draw you in and have a stranglehold on your senses. "Coming Through The Rye", a great choice for the lead off single is a mid tempo mover that will have you singing along in no time flat. The next two tracks, "Dream Machine" and the title track, "Hello Neptune" are rock solid and are catchy as hell. "Valar Morghulis" has psychedelic vibe to it. Closing out the album is the tribal groove of "Big Bang". Listen to the album just once and you'll have all the songs stuck in your head.  'Hello Neptune' is a synergy of music that is original, fresh, fun and untouchable. It captures all the elements of the band's sound in one tight package. I highly recommend this album to anyone who has ears and can hear. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE - A Lovecraftian Rock Opera by Various Artist (Platform West)

'Dreams In The Witch House' is the H.P. Lovecraft's 1933 story of a student whose dreams devolve into a horrific reality. It receives the biggest, baddest, boldest adaptation yet. A powerful concept album that will blow your mind. This soundtrack perfectly captures the atmosphere of the short story. The more you listen to it, the more it will frighten you ( at least it did for me). The story itself of 'Dreams In The Witch House', may not be one of Lovecraft's best stories. It bores the reader with math and science. What it does have though is a cool title and some of the oddest characters Mr. Lovecraft ever created. Combine that with awesome music and lyrics and you have a rock musical that rivals "Jesus Christ Superstar" or Jeff Wayne's 'World Of The World'. The music is a great mix of European flavored progressive rock and Heavy Metal. Featuring some of the finest musicians from both genres featuring seventeen singers, including Jody Ashworth (Trans Siberian Orchestra), Alaine Kashian (Broadway's Cats) and Swedish metal phenom Chris Laney as Brown Jenkin. The album also features fourteen musicians, including Bruce Kulick (former KISS guitarist) on "Signum Crucis" and "Nothing I Can Do" and Douglas Blair Lucek (guitarist for W.A.S.P.) shredding on guitar on, "The Nightmare" and "Between Reality and Dreaming". The boring math I mentioned earlier is summed up in one song, "A Bridge to the Stars" that sounds like it was made for a Broadway show. Parts of the story are disturbing, and the cover art is undeniably hideous.  The lyrics throughout the album tell the original story correctly, with just a bit of embellishment here and there . In this case, the character of Kezhiah Mason the witch is not as sinister, but more sympathetic, and alluring, than Lovecraft wanted her to be.  All in all, 'Dreams In The Witch House' is impressively fun to listen to, especially for all Lovecraft fan-beings.  A wonderful Rock Opera. A diverse experience that ultimately comes to a satisfying conclusion. I love every sanity blasting second of it and would recommend it to any Lovecraft fan! - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Bad Touch
(Animal Farm Records)

Hailing from Dereham, UK' s Bad Touch debut release, 'Down And Out' is a good reminder of what rock and roll is all about. It's loud, it's catchy and it's not forced or overshadowed by overly complex lyrics or arrangements. The straight forward rock music and choruses on this album are hard not to admire, whether or not you're a fan of  rock music. Bad Touch is made up of, Stevie Sparrows on Vocals, Rob G on Lead Guitar, Daniel Seekings on Guitar, Michael Bailey on Bass and George Drewry on Drums. The classic rock influences are pretty obvious, Take a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd , a little Black Crows and throw in some Buckcherry and you have a Bad Touch, but most of the time it doesn't sound like they're trying to copy one particular band. As for their album, there aren't any weak tracks on here.  Stevie Sparrows' vocals are rock solid on every song; very soulful. Songs that stand out to me are "Down", featuring some smoking guitar work by Rob G.  “Poison In A Pretty Dress” ,“Mirror Man" and "Dr. Heartbreak". All the songs offered up are just great, in-your-face hard rock songs. The entire band's chemistry is apparent, as its members work together perfectly to create a sound that is dyna fromic and tight, making for a refreshing alternative to often self-obsessed popular and indie rock music of today. If you like authentic, good rock music, you won't be disappointed with this album. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Red Sun Rising
(Independent Release)

Red Sun Rising  are an up and coming rock band  from Akron, Ohio. Mike Protich on vocals and guitar, Ryan Williams on guitar, Tyler Valendza on guitar, Mark Matthews on bass and backing vocals and Adam Mercer on drums. The band serve up a straight-up, no-gimmick rock sound loaded with plenty of hooks and layers of wonderful guitar lines. The band's debut release, 'Into Forever' is such a diverse sounding recording that is guaranteed to satisfy any rock music fan. It's powerful and melodic with a good range of tempos and the musicianship is rock solid. Featuring six solid rock songs, but there are some standouts. "Illusion" opens the album with energetic groove that is extremely catchy. "Every Time You Leave" is just as rocking with its anthemic vibe. The remaining four tracks, "Emotionless", "Movin' On", "Love Is All To Blame" and  the powerful title track, "Into Forever", are all solid tracks. Frontman, Mike Protich has a sincere, powerful voice that never sounds overdone and the lyrics do not sound cliched or adolescent. The dual guitar work of, Ryan Williams and Tyler Valendza is tight and have great chemistry. While, bassist, Mark Matthews and drummer, Adam Mercer provide the band with a solid foundation. Overall, a solid album from start to finish.  If you like good rock music that isn't pushing the borders of metal or screaming obscenities into your eardrums, then Red Sun Rising is a great band to pick up and their debut release, 'Into Forever" is a great debut effort that music fans will appreciate and a sign of better things to come. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by The Wyldz
(Independent Release)

Hailing from Austin, Texas via Paris, France, the power rock trio known as The Wyldz deliver their debut release, 'Human Rise'. A stunning  recording of blues infused
driving riffs, throw in a few soulful grooves, combined with soulful vocals and you have something truly unique. The Wyldz is made up of Mitch Bassoul on bass and vocals, Alex Dhée on guitars and  Oliv Porrini on drums. The band's soulful, rock and blues influences float casually to the forefront. They have that Cream meets Zeppelin vibe with a modern day feel. Plus, the fact that they are produced by Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar/Grady) is even more reason to check these gents out. 'Human Rise' is a neo-classic rock tour de force album. If you are in the mood, or appreciate, killer guitar riffs, great vocals, and a tight rhythm section, served up by a powerhouse rock trio, then The Wyldz are ready, willing and able to deliver the goods! The highlights here, beside the blistering guitar work and vocal prowess, is the hook-laden song writing of their songs. Be prepared to do whatever it is you do with music in the background, only you'll be doing it with a grin ear to ear. "Light As A Feather", "Speed Of Light", the title track, "The Big Machine" and "High And Wide"'. All the tracks offered up here are all guaranteed to move you in ways unimaginable. You will find yourself clenching fists while you rock out to every note. Not just singing along to the songs, but you might find your eyes tear up from the passion and soul that you feel while you sing them. From start to finish, 'Human Rise' is very impressed debut that covers a range of tempos and emotions. This is one of the most complete and compelling albums I have heard this year. When it comes to playing music, for The Wyldz it goes way beyond just playing the music, it's about the passion and soul and the undying spirit of rock 'n' roll. The Wyldz bring a much needed soul filled energy to the rock scene that's been missing for some time. Spread the word, these boys will blow your mind. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Supercharger
(Gain/Sony Music)

Denmark's Supercharger are back with their latest release, 'Broken Hearts And Fallaparts', a album that is a perfect musical blend of fury & rock and roll bravado. The riffs here are great and loaded with tons of attitude and swagger. Making for one unforgettable listening experience! Supercharger is powered by, Mikkel Neperus on vocals, Thomas Buchwald on guitar, Dennis Samaras on guitar, Karsten Dines Johansen on bass guitar,
Lars Rygaard on keyboards and Blues Harp and Benjamin Funk on drums. Right off the bat the band have your undivided attention as soon as "Like A Pit Bull" blasts out of your speakers. The breakneck speed at which the album rolls is only matched by it's crunching tunefulness and ability to launch into anthems such as "Supercharged", "Blood Red Lips" , "Hold On Buddy" and the adrenaline rush that is, "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah". One thing for certain, Supercharger will have you rocking and rolling in no time flat! The rest of the songs on the album blast in and smack you around for 3-5 minutes before the next one hits you, all have enough of a difference about them so that variety is delivered. What I also like about Supercharger is that not only do they have a ballsy guitar sound, they have some damn fine melodies too. 'Broken Hearts And Fallaparts' is a perfect Rock 'N' Roll album. It's one of those albums so right that you wouldn't change a note even if you could. It's a blast from start to finish. So if you're into rock music that makes you feel like celebrating or just rocking out to in general, you can't go wrong with Supercharger. This is how all the 21st century Rock 'N' Roll should sound like. This is a great band that makes you want to turn up the volume to the max! 'Broken Hearts And Fallaparts'  is a must for anybody that loves rock and roll. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Amoral
(Imperial Cassette)

Following up the success of their previous release, 'Beneath', Finnish rockers, Amoral return with the sixth album, 'Fallen Leaves & Dead Sparrows', that sees the band considerately sharpening their traditional progressive metal approach, which combines the theatrical thematic portrayal of Dream Theater, the rhythmic complexity and structural dynamic of Rush, a restrained style of Metallica-like speed metal riffing, and the dramatic approach to melodic construction of Marillion to arrive at a distinct sound easily recognizable as the band's own. Amoral is made up of, Ari Koivunen (vocals), Masi Hukari (guitars), Ben Varon (guitars), Pekka Johansson (bass) and Juhana Karlsson (drums). Typical of progressive rock/metal, this album features stunning instrumental sections during which the musicians display formidable technical skill in complex instrumental interactions, but what sets Amoral apart from most is that for the most part these sections are not dynamic diversions from the song's central theme, but elaborations of particular events of that defining theme presented in dramatic form, as part of a coherent development towards harmonic resolution of the song's textural tension and thematic conflict. 'Fallen Leaves & Dead Sparrows', sounds spectacular and there are a number of inspirational and uplifting moments throughout this album,  "On The Other Side pt. I", "No Familiar Faces", "Prolong A Stay" and smooth swagger of " Blueprints" show Amoral at their best, offering a variety of diverse stylistic elements while combining top-notch technical musicianship with enveloping atmosphere and pure feeling. Amoral structure songs to contrast shades of light and dark, emphasizing the overcoming of struggle through a symbolic triumph of positive change and illumination in the form of stunning guitars and shining keyboards, gliding smoothly over a rhythmic pattern established by precise drumming, and fantastically fluid and flexible bass guitar, working frequent and unexpected time-changes to re-route thematic development in a way that varies a given mood, something that this band does very well. 'Fallen Leaves & Dead Sparrows' is an absolute stunner of a recording. This isn't the album that you go cruising down the road in a convertible to, but rather sitting alone in a candle lit room with headphones and time to digest the various and sundry layers that comprise this masterwork. It may take a few spins to really sink in, but this is a magnificent work of art that is fully worth your time. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Royal Bliss
(Air Castle Records)

There are many words that can explain the latest release from Salt Lake City, Utah's Royal Bliss. Some being brilliant and amazing. A very interesting band, that continues to maintain a sound and style all their own. Neal Middleton on lead vocals, Taylor Richards on guitar, Dwayne Crawford on bass and Jake Smith on drums. The band's latest release, 'Chasing The Sun' is sure to appeal to just about any modern rock fan. It's not sonically adventurous, but it's not meant to be. It's comfortable and executed with precision. It contains a great balance of songs, and it's just "Rocky" enough to lift you up when you are driving in your car, while at the same time being appropriate to be played with kids in the backseat. Stand-alone hard tracks this album contains include, "Welcome", the lead off single, "Cry Sister", "Rock You All Night Long" and "It Haunts Me", all of which show maturity and development from the band's two previous releases. The slower tracks, such as, "Dreamer", the haunting, "Drink My Stupid Away" and the album closer, "Home" are just as good if not better than what the band delivered on their previous releases. Overall, this is a fantastic album with no filler tracks. I can definitely start at the beginning and listen all the way through without skipping any tracks, which is a rarity these days.  'Chasing The Sun', represents pure genius in the modern rock and roll era. Royal Bliss's passion and devotion to their fans and ambition to keep rock and roll alive in the world is a blessing to all rock and roll fans in existence, and hopefully they will stay around for years and years to come. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Overtures
(Sleaszy Rider Records)

'Entering The Maze' from Gorizia, Italy's Overtures is an incredible debut effort. The musicianship is tight through and through, and the arrangements are mindblowing.  Michele Guaitoli - Vocals, Marco Falanga - Guitar,  Adriano Crasnich - Guitar, Luka Klanjscek - Bass and Andrea Cum - Drums. Listening to the first two songs, "The Maze" and "Under The Northern Star", attests to the magnificence and high level of song writing this band is capable of. Other highlights include; "Of Nightmares", "Empty Trails" and the epic, "In The Middle Of Nowhere". Every song on this album is a winner. The music is explosive and bombastic on a grand scale, and in combination with the production, it jumps out of the speakers. Michele Guaitoli's vocals are powerful with unlimited range. The composing chemistry of guitarists Marco Falanga and Adriano Crasnich is tight and colorful, coming up with inspired riffs, melodic solos and incredibly catchy choruses. The rhythm section of bassist, Luka Klanjscek and drummer Andrea Cum are tight. In terms of technique things do not get much better than this: Heavy guitar riffs, perfectly phrased solos, precise use of double bass beat drums, without overdoing it. In a perfect world Overtures would be all over rock radio. Unfortunately, the mainstream rock radio has ignored the Progressive/Metal music genre.  Which is too bad as this band deserves the exposure. Overall, I was impressed and with repeated listens the material has really grew on me. To sum things up, 'Entering The Maze' has the perfect combination of elements: strong, hooky songwriting, stellar musicianship, powerful vocals, and crystal clear production that dares you to turn it up one more notch. In short, this is one amazing recording I would recommend it to anyone interested in great music that defies simple categorization. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Blacklist Union
(BLU Records)

L.A. based Blacklist Union return with their latest release, the band's third, in the form of, 'Til Death Do Us Part'. Featuring a who’s who of rock from beginning to end. Backing up frontman, Tony West are musicians from Saliva as well as Hunt Sales (formerly of David Bowie's Tin Machine and Iggy & the Stooges). The music on, 'Til Death Do Us Part' makes no apologies. From the opening title track, to rockers like, "Alabama Slammer", "Blown Away" and the swagger of "Feed The Snake". What is most refreshing is its lack of self-absorption; for all its merciless reality and acerbic veracity, the music never loses sight of a passionate, independent spirit and defiant joy in living on its own terms. Tony West is blessed with a convincing, dynamic voice that is every bit as compelling and expressively graphic as the words he sings. What he lacks in terms of polished proficiency he more than compensates for with undeniable sincerity through a passionate voice of genuine desperation. Blacklist Union may not be exploring any new ground, but the album manages to not sound stale. 'Til Death Do Us Part' stands as Blacklist Union most powerfully expressive and conceptually unified album. If you are a fan, pick this album up. It's about as strong as anything else that they have ever released. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


by Red February
(Independent Release)

Red February is a brand new rock band from San Francisco consisting of singer Marcus Cappellazzo, guitarist Markus Spohn, and drummer Sebastian Dunkel. The band's debut single, "Jet Pilot" is a shot of adrenaline that has an infectious groove. It's unique, in that it's a rock song with real soul and it drips with talent and complexity, perfect. The overall groove is infectious and the song's pace is fast and really rocking and it just makes me want to blast the speakers into my ears and rock out! - Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Saints Of The Rebellion

Saints Of Rebellion deliver a slab of rock fury that is raw and loaded with riffs that grab you, give you a good shaking and don't let go, and nor would you want them to! The band's debut single, "New American Dream", is monster of a adrenaline rush that is served up with giant guitar driven monster riffs served up on a bed of crushing grooves with soaring melodic vocals and big hooks. Saints Of The Rebellion pull no punches and hold nothing back! They are upfront and will punish your finest of speakers! - Tony @The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

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