Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CD REVIEWS FOR APRIL 2014 ( page two )

by Emperors And Elephants
(Pavement Records)

Formed in 2010 Chicago's own Emperors and Elephants come out swinging for the fences with their debut release, 'Devil In The Lake', with the addition of former Texas Hippie coalition guitarist Randy 'The Arsonist' Cooper, the band serve up a hefty dose of hard driving meat and potatoes in your face rock music that pull no punches and will leave a lasting impression on your senses. Along with Cooper, are Jesse Andrews on vocals, Jeph Stiph  on guitars, John “Stoppable” Vanders on bass and Jason Meudt  on drums. 'Devil In The Lake' is a powerhouse of a recording, every song is great and packed with passion, and these boys serve it up heavy as hell. As is evident on songs like, "Bring It Down”, “Who Are You”, “Hit Of Red”, “You And I”  and a wicked cover of the Chris Isaac classic “Wicked Game”. Soundwise, for me, Emperors And Elephants give off a heavier Alice In Chains sound or like 'Core' from STP vibe. Lead singer Jesse Andrews reminds me of a cross between Brent Smith from Shinedown and Shawn Albro from U.P.O. The musicianship is rock solid throughout. The powerful guitar riffs and in pocket rhythm section really keep a lot of these songs interesting and not as bland as some typical mainstream rock bands. 'Devil In The Lake' hits you like a ten ton brick and its like you're on a ride that scares you right out of  pants but you don't want to get off.  Overall, 'Devil In The Lake' by Emperors And Elephants is a powerful debut outing with no filler. I can definitely start at the beginning and listen all the way through without skipping any tracks, which is a rarity these days. A strong debut. If your a fan of good hard rock, 'Devil In The Lake' might be in your CD player for awhile. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Feel Never Real
(Pavement Music)

Hailing from the great 'Lone Star" state of Texas, the power rock trio Feel Never Real unleash their sophomore album, 'Rock Rebel Gold'. Tim Jones - Vocals & Guitar, Mathew Cass - Bass & Vocals and Shea Lange - Drums & Vocals. Feel Never Real is unmistakably meat & potatoes in their approach to their southern flavored hard rock, and you won't find any surprises or stark contrasts between any of the 10 tracks. What you will find, however, is a straightforward, hard rockin' group of songs that will undoubtedly appeal to rock music fans of all ages. 'Rock Rebel Gold' rocks. Hard rock with melodic twists and influences ranging from everywhere. The album has all around great production. I love some of the different sounds they incorporated on this album. Repetition is a common theme with a number of the tracks on 'Rock Rebel Gold'. Songs like "New Rebel", "Trailer Park Princess" , "Low Class", "Kiss My Ass" and "D.I.I.X.", give a pretty accurate portrayal of what this trio are going for. One recurring theme with this recording is the talents of singer Tim Jones, a rock frontman whose voice brings to mind Brent Smith from Shinedown and Wes Scantlin from Puddle Of Mud. Kudos go out also to bassist Mathew Cass and drummer Shea Lange for providing the band with a solid foundation. Overall, 'Rock Rebel Gold' is a winner in my book. The production is solid, fine-tuned, and particularly hook-oriented. Lyrically it's nothing very creative, but Feel Never Real manages to create a strong connection with its' listeners nonetheless. They bring quality musicianship and genuinely smart production to the table. The result is a banquet of  delectable hard rock music. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Space Elevator
(Nova Sales & Distribution)

Space Elevator is a new rock band from the UK that was put together by song writing partners David Young (guitar) and the Duchess (vocals). They have enlisted the services of three great players to bring their debut release to life. Neil Murray, bass (Whitesnake / Gary Moore/Black Sabbath/Brian May) Elliott Ware, Keyboards (The Who, Alice Cooper, We Will Rock You) and in demand rock session drummer Brian Greene. Space Elevator will take your senses on an auditory journey of well crafted rock songs with great dynamics and powerful playing supporting lush vocal harmonies and instantly memorable melodies. Your journey begins with the opening, "Elevator" that sets the stage for the rest of the CD, and is actually one of the real highlights, as groove laden riff from David Young complement the alluring vocal prowess of the Duchess. The chorus is instantly catchy, the guitar solo from David Young is tasty, and the overall vibe is like some majestic combination of Yes meets Queen. "We Are The Losers" is a grandiose symphonic rocker, with emotional lyrics that the Duchess drives home with a potent delivery. On the alluring melodic gem, "I Will Find You (Gallifrey Dreams)" the band combines a melodic pop themes and the end result works quite well. "Ordinary Day" and "Little White Lies" are melodic gems. While "Loneliness of Love" is a stunning AOR rock song that has radio play written all over it.  More solid & catchy melodic rock can be heard on "More Than Enough", "Really Don't Care" and "Oils And Bubbles". The last two tracks, "We Can Fly" and "Move On" are filled with amazing melodies, atmosphere, dramatic textures. Expect to be bowled over by the majestic & powerful sounds that will come out of your speakers or through your headphones when you pop this CD in. Musically speaking, this is also top notch from the entire cast. It's recordings like this that should be the talked about in the music world. It's an amazing listening experience that gets better with every listen. It's absolutely brilliant! Quite Queen meets Kate Bush like especially with multi-layered guitars and loads of backing vocals. Space Elevator has something for everyone here, love songs, theatrical stories & great rock songs all bound together intelligently providing a nice flow from start to end. Very impressive! - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

(Membran & Riff City Records)

After the release of both “Rockville” and “Rockville II” at the end of 2012 and start of 2013, one of finest AOR bands to come out of the UK, FM return with their new EP, 'Futurama'. For those new to FM the band is made up, Steve Overland (vocals), Jim Kirkpatrick (guitar), Merv Goldsworthy (bass), Jem Davis (keyboards) and Pete Jupp (drums). 'Futurama' fearures eleven brand new recordings: six (one a remix) new studio tracks, "Futurama", a instrumental piece that will remind some of the love theme from "Top Gun". Then there are "Cold Hearted" and "Bad That's Good In You" two amazing AOR gems that demand to be played at maximum volume. The stripped down acoustic, "Preying On My Mind" will tug a your heart strings for sure. There is also a extended remix of "Cold Hearted". There are five live tracks featuring selection of old & new from FM's back catalogue, "Tough Love", "All Or Nothing", one of my all time favorite FM songs, "Closer To Heaven", solidifying why Steve Overland is considered by many as one of the finest voices in Rock. "Crosstown" Train", "Story Of My Life" and another personal FM  favorite, "Breathe Fire". If you've ever heard of FM, or even if you haven't; if you've ever heard anything on 'Indiscreet', 'Tough It Out' or 'Metropolis', or even if you haven't - if you like melodic rock music with catchy hooks, sing along choruses and the impression of singing along the highway on a hot Summer's night with the sun roof down, 'Futurama' by FM is essential listening.- Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Stone River
(Gypsy Soul Records/Fontana North)

'The Valley Of The Butterlies', the incredible debut release, from the amazing Canadian band, Stone River serves up blistering blues/rock that needs to be played at high volume! Stone River are Renan Yildizdogan - Lead Vocals/Guitar, Darren Flower - Guitar/Vocals  Jeff Desilets - Guitar, Jay Macedo - Bass/Vocals and Sasha Siegel - Drums. From the jangling funk of the lead off track, "Southern Feeling", to the laid back groove vibe of the final cut, "The Valley of the Butterflies" you are treated to all the wonderful elements one comes to expect from a classic rock influenced band. Sounding like the second coming of the James Gang ,with a twist of The Allman Brothers and The Black Crowes. Stone River proves to be worthy of the comparisons. When you listen to tracks "Come On" you get loose jamming with a sense of high tension and anticipation. You find yourself waiting, yearning for the explosive climax. "Divine Child" has the same tension and anticipation to it; except this time, guitarists Darren Flower and Jeff Desilets maintain a steady strut before they let loose. The further we journey through 'The Valley Of The Butterflies", the better it gets. Tracks like "Cold Black River", "On These Turning Tides", "Inside These Walls" and "Dust and Stones" all deliver great performances from the entire band. This is what music is all about. It's all about the passion and soul here, and the undying spirit of rock 'n' roll. Stone River know how to write great songs. Crunchy chords, crisp fills and leads, it all begs for you to turn it up loud. It's always refreshing to hear a band that can put me on the edge of my seat. Stone River might just be the CPR good ol' rock 'n' roll needs! - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by The Lad Classic
(Swift Kick Records)

Canada's The Lad Classic are an amazing Rock band. One that knows how to live in a groove, emote feeling, and draw in all those that encounter their passion. No frills just great musicians jamming together to produce the coolest new rock music I've heard in awhile. Paul Stevens on vocals, Ben Healey on guitar, Mark Rynkun on bass and Josiah Whitney on drums. The band's motto is "Win ‘em with the melody; kill ‘em with the attack." That is what the quartet have successfully served up with their EP, 'Thunder'. The highly anticipated electric version to their 2013 acoustic EP ‘Lightning’'. Produced by Damon de Szegheo (Serena Ryder, Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, Craig Cardiff). For those who missed out on their 'Lightning' Ep, The Lad Classic have included both 'Thunder' & 'Lighting' versions with this release. All five tracks offered are winners! "Cadillac Jack", "Hit Me", "Another One", "London Bridge" and "Blow Out". The acoustic versions bring a whole new flavor to the table and is an amazing listening experience. Plugged in or unplugged The Lad Classic deliver the goods!  'Thunder' is a brilliant piece of music, it really makes you feel good, the feeling in each track is a great break from the usual fodder thrown out for the massess. The Lad Classic serve up music for the soul, something that will make you stop, listen & appreciate that music has a future & its here. Overall, 'Thunder' is an awesome collection of soulful, bluesy tracks with swagger. I defy anyone to play this and not start moving to the fantastically deep and passion filled rhythms. The Lad Classic are going places so get on board and enjoy the ride! Highly recommended for everyone who loves pure rock and soul music.  - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Toseland
(52 Music)

'Renegade' the full length debut release of Toseland is a powerful first outing filled with great rock tunes played by a tight band and the impressive vocals of James Toseland who also plays all the piano on the album. The album itself is a very strong and energetic record produced by Toby Jepson (Little Angels) who has also produced the likes of The Answer and The Virgin Marys. Backing Toesland up is his band, Zurab Melua (guitar), Dave Hollingsworth (bass), Rabea Massaad (keyboards), Jim Watson (keyboards) and Ben Menal (drums).  'Renegade' has that classic rock vibe with a modern day swagger and should certainly appeal to people who have that craving for the big anthem arena rock of the 80's. The songs are extremely well-written, the musicianship is tight, and James Toesland's vocals are rock solid. Containing 11 tracks.  Each song is just as memorable than the one that proceeded it. Highlights include "Life Is Beautiful", "Gotta Be A Better Way", "Crash Landing", "Comin' to Get Ya", "Kingdoms", "Burining The System" and the tour de force title track. Overall, 'Renegade' is solid debut outing for James Toesland that packs loads of energy, attitude and passion. If you like rock music with catchy hooks, singalong choruses and the impression of belting along an empty highway on a Summer's day with the roof down, 'Renegade' delivers the goods big time. You know, music that makes the hair on your arm stand up, and makes you want to rock out and sing along at the top of your lungs? That's 'Renegade', and that's Toseland. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

(Earache Records)

Australia's instant shot adrenaline Massive stake their claim for greatness with their supercharged debut release, ‘Full Throttle’. Massive is one of the most talented bands to arrive on the scene in 21st Century. The band is powered by Brad Marr on vocals and guitars, Ben Laguda on backing vocals, lead guitar, Aidan McGarrigle on backing vocals and bass and  Jarrod Medwin on backing vocals and drums. These lads serve up good, old fashioned, in-your-face rock and roll. The kind of rock and roll that will blow-out-your-speakers guaranteed. 'Full Throttle' is a collection of soul baring, angst ridden, riff heavy material that is proudly anchored in the foundations of traditional Hard Rock song writing. From the opening, "Burn The Sun" that opens the album with a roar to the sure to get your rock and roll juices pumping rockers, "Hollywood", "One By One", "Dancefloor" and "Bring Down The City". All eleven tracks are winners all giant guitar driven monster riffs served up on a bed of crushing grooves and big hooks. Basically, NO FRILLS RIFF ROCK! 'Full Throttle' is an album that is all about attitude & energy. Just a kick a** band that likes its rock and roll loud and without compromise. Putting together songs that grab you and take you for a rifftacular rock 'n' roller coaster ride! Massive pulls off every song here perfectly. Massive is a name that fits this band like a glove. Crank up your speakers, sit back and hold on and hang on tight! You pop these songs into your car stereo as you are crusing down the highway and you will be shaking your head, singing along, and ruling the road. 'Full Throttle' by Massive is a must have for any true fan of rock and roll. In a year, when all your friends start asking you if you've ever heard of Massive, be the one that says "Where have you been?" This band has what it takes to rock the world! Just watch them take over FULL THROTTLE! - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

(Razor & Tie Records)

Southern California's riff-heavy Hard Rockers Kyng, Eddie Veliz on guitar and lead vocals, Tony Castaneda on bass and backing vocals and Pepe Clarke on drums, return with their highly anticipated sophomore release, 'Burn The Serum'.  This is powerful, ass-kickin' hard rock recording. While Kyng's sound, like a lot of these retro/stoner type bands, involves a great deal of old school Black Sabbath worship, the band also reaches back to some of the more obscure sounds of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s heavy rock scene. It's heavy, fuzzy and has a great groove and a nice sense of melody. Heavy riffs and grooving rhythms dominate, but there’s a strong blues side to the songs on 'Burn The Serum', as well as a fantastic sense of melody and a decidedly fuzzy and unpolished production. The title track, "Lost One", "Electric Halo", The Ode", "In The Land Of Pigs",,  "Sunday Smile" and "Big Ugly" are the stand outs, but as with their debut release, 'Trampled Sun', Kyng serves up a lean, filler-free album with 'Burn The Serum'. This is the kind of pure, hard-driving rock you just want to crank up on your car stereo and take a road-trip. Quality tends to stand out in a crowd though, and that’s exactly what Kyng has done with 'Burn The Serum'.  It is confirmation of Kyng's prowess and a signal that there's more to them than analog worship and thick grooves.  If you're a fan of bands like Firebird, Graveyard and Scorpion Child , you really need to check out Kyng, and 'Burn The Serum' is as good a place as any to start. As far as hard rock albums go, it really doesn't get much better than this. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society /All Access Magazine

by Captain Black Beard
(Dead End Exit Records)

Sweden based rockers, Captain Black Beard broke out onto the music scene in Stockholm playing clubs and recorded their debut, a live album, back in 2009. A year later the band release their debut studio album. In the fall of 2011 the band performed their first concerts abroad as they did a short tour of the U.S. Now in 2014, Captain Black Beard are back with their sophomore release, 'Before Plastic' , and it's simply amazing. The album is full of upbeat, infectious rock anthems that the band's energy and obvious enthusiasm make very hard to resist. Captain Black Beard is made up of, Sakaria Björklund - vocals, lead & rhythm guitar, Christian Ek - lead & rhythm guitar, Robert Majd - bass & back-up vocals and Victor Högberg - drums & percussions. Just repeat to yourself "it's OK to rock, it's OK to rock", then let the band take you on rock and rolling ride that you will want to experience over and over again. Songs like, "Please Come Home", "Somebody", "Music Man" and the adrenaline rush that is "Keep On Drivin'" will take you back to a time when it seemed like this was the only kind of music on the radio (oh how I miss those days!) The band's passion for the music comes across in all 11 tracks and the album is stronger for it. All in all a very solid and well produced album of hard rock, plain and simple, the way it was meant to be. In an age of over-produced, synthetic junk, 'Before Plastic' is back to basics, down and dirty Rock 'N' Roll by a band that knows the meaning of the words and can back it up with their instruments and vocals. If you've been missing the kind of pure fun rock & roll that's been so hard to find these past 15 years, you've got to check out Captain Black Beard. You'll be cranking it up and singing along before you know it. 'Before Plastic' is a record has it all. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

by Caligula's Horse 
(Welkin Records)

Australian Prog Rockers, Caligula' s Horse, Jim Grey / Vocals, Sam Vallen / Guitars, Zac Greensill / Guitar and vocals, Dave Couper / Bass and vocals and Geoff Irish / Drums. The band's sophomore outing,  ‘The Tide, the Thief & the River’s End’, in my opinion, is one of the most diverse and powerful progressive rock band I've heard in quite some time.  The band deliver a deep dark album full of intense musical performances from all band members while simultaneously creating some very memorable melodies and grooves that capture your ear at every turn. The production is solid and sounds amazing with lots of great layering of parts and an excellent mix that allows all the many layers to breathe. Clocking in a tad over 50 minutes 'The Tide, the Thief & the River’s End’, is an exhilarating listen. It is very difficult to mention,  highlights on an album that seems so complete and in which the entire flow of songs feels like a musical journey but tracks like, "A Gift To  An Afterthought","Water's Edge", "Into The White" and "All Is Quiet By The Wall" will give you an excellent example of what this album delivers. From syncopated grooves to soaring melodies and soft interludes, 'The Tide, the Thief & the River’s End’ delivers a very satisfying progressive metal hit. Words will never do justice to an album of such high quality so I suggest you listen and hear for yourself. 'The Tide, the Thief & the River’s End’, is essential listening for fans of acts like Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Pain of Salvation, among others, or just of good, memorable music. As far as I'm concerned, Caligula's Horse's 'The Tide, the Thief & the River’s End’ will definitely go down as one of the best albums in the Progressive Rock genre. This album is fantastic, it’s a real step-up for the band and a defining moment for the whole movement. If you like Progressive Rock music you’ll absolutely love this record, and if you haven’t heard of Caligula' s Horse yet, I’d strongly recommend you give 'The Tide, the Thief & the River’s End’ a shot. This is one of those rare, perfect, gems of an album that can completely captivate you and capture your imagination time and time again. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

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